This week was dominated by celebrations of the achievements of our students across all year levels and culminated with activities designed to acknowledge and farewell our Year 13 students.
On Monday night we held our 2nd annual Pasifika Awards Evening, the last event organised by Brendan Curran before he heads off to fill the role of Deputy Principal at Rutherford College. The evening allowed us to celebrate not only the achievements of our Pasifika students, but also celebrate the many cultures and languages represented. We welcomed back former Deputy Principal Rewa Salmeci to present an award named in her honour. Despite retiring 20 years ago, Rewa still has a strong affinity with Massey High School. Similarly, former student Vaimoana Tapaleao (now Pasifika Editor at NZ Herald) was also on hand to present an award to which she has lent her name. My thanks to Mr Curran for leaving the Pasifika Awards Evening as part of his legacy.
Year 11 Prizegiving
Tuesday was time to celebrate our Year 11 student accomplishments. Their prizegiving took place in the afternoon and it provided us with an opportunity to wish them well for their forthcoming NCEA Examinations. Our Year 11 students have faced disruption in their first 3 years of secondary school which is unprecedented. Their foundational learning through Years 9 and 10 were significantly disrupted by lockdowns, and this year was arguably more disruptive due to the uncertain nature of staff and student absences. Despite this, they have demonstrated resilience and adapted to the circumstances they have been faced with. The overall message for them all was that success will look different to each student, each student having faced their own unique challenges over the past 3 years.
Wednesday night was the big one, Our Senior Prizegiving, the evening celebrates the success of our Year 12 and 13 students and incorporates the announcement of the winner of the House Cup (Karearea House…again….), announcement of House Leaders and Gold Badge Prefects for 2023, naming of the school Dux (the most prestigious award of the year), as well as a slew of special awards and acknowledgements.
It was also my first address at Senior Prizegiving as Principal, the first that I did not have the privilege of announcing our new Prefects, and the first address by our new Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr. Wade Hansen.
While details of our new Prefects and House Leaders can be found elsewhere in the newsletter, I look forward to working with our new Head Prefects, Matelita Elisala and Shane Leatupue. All of our new student leaders thoroughly deserve their appointments.
This was the first prizegiving that saw the recipients of some of our more prestigious awards take the stage with their family/whānau. These provided particularly poignant moments, none more so than when Shazeel Ali received the Clem Campton Award for School Dux – he was joined on stage by his family, who all then received a standing ovation.
We also acknowledged significant adults – Barbara Death the deserving recipient of the Terry Smyth Travel Award, Jane Setchell rightly being awarded the Community/Parent Award, and Nikki Witehira being recognised for her outstanding work this year.
The evening was closed by perhaps the most emotional and inspiring address by our outgoing Head Prefects Luke Ryan and Kaycey Dangen – Kaycey acknowledging Massey High School as a near 20-year association between the school and the Dangen family drew to a close.
The prizegivings are a mammoth feat of organisation and preparation and while there are many to thank – particular thanks go to Hayley Garratt, Karen Bentley, and Elaine Curtis.
Farewell to Year 13
Thursday and Friday were devoted to ensuring that our Year 13’s were farewelled in a manner which repaid everything they have contributed to our school during their 5 years. Thursday was the 10th year of our Year 13 lunch – food provided through the generosity of The Massey High School Foundation, The Garelja family, Lim-Yip Family and the Zakeri family amongst others. The day commenced with a concert by and for Year 13 and was followed by the now traditional lunch prepared and served by staff. Our thanks go to Rihab Eed and Tania Mitchell for the organisation of the lunch, and for the outstanding decoration of the old school hall. The lunch is open to all of our Year 13 students and this year they proved to be among the most respectful and grateful cohorts we have had.
Friday was our Graduation ceremony, and our graduates provided ample evidence that they are indeed ready for the next phase of their lives. They demonstrated how far they have come – no longer the children who entered Massey High School, rather young adults prepared to step out into a rapidly changing world – one which they will have a very big hand in shaping. Our tradition of the Head Prefect from when they were Year 9 continued, with Janneke Grundeman (class of 2018) addressing Year 13 via video link.
The Graduation Ceremony was the final act for a number of our families who have had long association with the school, with their youngest children walking out of our gates for the last time.
It was wonderful to be able to celebrate and thank our Year 13s in this way, as the past couple of years were marred by COVID and the two days provided an appropriate send-off before they undertake their last exams at school.
I would like to wish our departing students all the best in their future endeavours.
Of course, our Year 13 students are not the only ones embarking upon these. Our Year 11 and 12 students finished their classes on Tuesday and also begin their examinations. For our Year 11 students, this marks the first time that they have sat external examinations on this scale.
The conversion of the old Library into a new Music Department finally got underway this week – the area has been cordoned off, and the ‘soft’ demolition work has begun in earnest. The building is also being prepared for wrapping so that the roof can come off. The scheduled completion date is in April 2023.
Foundations for the new 33m x18m covered netball court were poured. They will cure for 6 weeks before the steel work is erected. This covered area will be ready for action in term 1 next year.
Movement of staff to allow for demolition of buildings over the forthcoming holidays continued and some may have seen the news of Mr. Vimal Gunawardena leaving his classroom of 27 years for the last time (he is moving into a new classroom in the science block).
Again, I’d like to wish our senior students the best of luck with their exams. I’d also like to remind our junior students that there is much of the year remaining for them and while they will be familiarising themselves with areas of the school that the seniors have vacated, they will also be preparing for their own exams, and continuing with their foundational learning.