On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 6 // 22 August 2019
The Secondary School covers Years 9–13. Head of Secondary School is Evert van Florenstein.
The warmer weather, the earlier sunrises and the first bulbs breaking into flower indicate that spring is on its way. We have certainly hit the ground running this term, with both students and staff having very busy schedules both in and out of the classroom.
The Senior Leadership Team and I are continuing our weekly classroom visits. This is turning out to be a real highlight for us as we are seeing great teaching and highly engaged learners. It is extremely encouraging that students are developing an understanding, and being able to articulate this, of how they learn, the power of feedback and how this drives their ‘next steps’.
Thank you to all of you who supported the tutor conferences, it is a real point of difference that we can have regular meetings between the tutor and the family. As always, I have had a lot of very positive feedback about them, especially around the opportunity for the tutor, parent and student to be able to have a meaningful conversation about what is going well and what needs to happen next.
At the end of the second week, the Year 12–13 students had their annual formal, A Starry Night. The formal committee did an outstanding job of organising and decorating the formal venue. All the students made such an effort to dress up and get into the spirit of the theme. It was very noticeable how much the students were enjoying the event this year.
The International Assembly is always a real highlight for me. It was once again a real showcase of the cultural diversity we enjoy at St Andrew’s College and very well received both by the students, staff and parents who were in attendance. We were honoured by Jimmy Chen, Christchurch City Councillor, finding the time to come and speak at the assembly. The Otaki Scholar, Rohan Mudkavi from Robert Gordons, Aberdeen, Scotland was also able to attend the assembly. In his speech he outlined the history and significance of the Otaki Scholarship which he was privileged to be awarded. I would like to make a special acknowledgement of Yuji Hattori (Year 13) who spoke on behalf of all our international students. Yuji spoke on his experiences of three years and his life lessons from his time at St Andrew’s College. It is difficult enough to speak in your native tongue in front of a thousand peers, let alone doing so in a foreign language.
On Friday 9 August we held our last Boys’ and Girls’ Assemblies. Zahra Hussain spoke to the girls about making a difference in their community. Her religion and parents have taught her the importance of helping people around them and giving back to their communities. She left the girls with a final quote from Imam Ali: “You presume you are a very small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe.” At the Boys’ Assembly, Anton Matthews, owner of Fush and Te Reo Māori teacher, gave an insightful message which shaped his success both in business, as an individual, and a family man. His message was around what he would tell his 16-year-old self and he shared examples from his own life. There were two key messages among many which stood out. The first was about hustle, and Anton explained that you need to work hard, be prepared to make mistakes, but keep learning and moving forward. The second was about two Māori terms which he shared as being opposite each other. The first was mana, which he explained as receiving strength from others based on your actions. Opposite to this was the concept of manaakitanga, which is giving and helping others. This positive sense of giving to and receiving from others in a positive and empowering way is key to a strong community.
Our sports teams are really excelling this winter, with many of our teams earning the right to take part in semis and finals of their respective competitions. We wish all these teams well for the playoff part of the season. Congratulations to Year 13 students Harrison Darling, Oscar Nation, Etienne Harrington-Watt and Isabella Ambrosius, and Year 12 student Lucca Burley, who have been selected for the New Zealand U18 hockey camp.
Good luck to all our sports teams who are competing in the upcoming Winter Sports Week. I am excited about visiting and supporting our teams around the country.
With kind regards,
Evert van Florenstein
Head of Secondary School
Deputy for Rector