Principal’s Address 15th April 201615th Apr 2016
Kia Ora Tatou
Welcome to the final newsletter of this term. It is with great sadness that, as many of you may be aware, one of our members of the Board of Trustees, Louise Mills, passed away on Monday 11 April. Louise has battled cancer for some time and in my last meeting with her a few days prior to falling ill again she had been so positive. Louise is wife to Rob and mother to Sophie, Year 13 and Briar, Year 11 and Hamish and Alec who are both students at Rosebank School.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rob and the children during this sad time. We encourage parents of students who wish to attend Louise’s funeral to also attend to support your own children.
Support for our students who may have been affected by this event has been available through our usual school systems. In the meantime we have worked hard to maintain a business as usual approach to school for the benefit of our students.
End of Term
This week also marks the end of a very busy term. For staff and students I encourage you all to take a break and ensure that you spend time with your families and doing those activities which you enjoy. For senior students I also encourage some time for reflection and catch up as well as preparation for the new term ahead. For junior students, the opportunity to pick up a book and read is essential as the practice of reading will help with all study in the future.
Last Thursday our Year 13 Student Council organised a junior social. The event was a great success with many of the students getting dressed up into fancy dress. The senior students were really well organised and surprised the staff with their level of organisation and tidying up after the event.
New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championships
Also on Thursday, a group of students travelled to Queenstown to compete in the New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championships. One group competed as a team and we had two individuals in the competition which had drawn competitors from all round New Zealand. Although our students did not gain a placing they did do extremely well and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Thank you to Mr Palmer for his organisation and Mrs Heller for getting up early on the day to drive and supervise the students.
Last Wednesday we hosted the annual Taieri College Interchange. All the students played well and there was an excellent school spirit shown across all the competition. The event finished as a draw between the two schools. Once again, thank you to all the staff and parents who supported this event.
With the school holidays upon us I would like to echo the comments made in the Otago Daily Times (8 April 2016) made by Inspector Kelvin Lloyd when responding to petty crime and theft.
‘Police suspected most of the “unsophisticated’ offending was being done by young people and he called on parents to exercise greater vigilance’
As parents please be vigilant with regards to knowing the whereabouts of your children and who they are with at night and over the holidays. The Balclutha Community did suffer during the last school holidays with petty vandalism and damage to property.
Some of our teachers who live and work to support our young people have also been targeted by way of ‘roof rattling’ and other tactics late at night. Our staff expect to feel safe in their own homes and free from harassment. I have this week spoken to the police to and they are aware of this matter and will follow up on complaints made by staff and members of the public.
I realise that all these incidents do not relate to present students of South Otago High School. As a community we can work together to make our community safer.
Parent, student interviews
This week we are hosting our first round of parent student interviews. At the time of writing we have just 28% of the families represented at this event which is disappointing. These meetings are important to provide advice and feedback for families/ whanau to support the education of our students. It is also an opportunity for students to speak about their learning and what their goals and aspirations are for their future. I understand from some parents that there was difficulty in getting appointments to see teachers and also interviews over running. The school is aware of these issues and will be working to address this in the future. In the meantime I do encourage parents to make contact with teachers to talk about the progress of students and the next steps to ensure student success.
To all students, parents, whanau and staff, do have a safe and happy holiday. To the staff, parents and girls heading to Australia for the netball tournament have a great time. I know that you have worked hard for this trip and that you will have a wonderful experience which you will value and remember long after you return.
I do look forward to seeing you all again at the start of next term.
Ka kite ano
Mr Mike Wright