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Rector's Assembly Address

Leavers' Assembly // Friday 30 October 2020

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Nau mai, haere mai ki tēnei hui.

E rua tau ruru; e rua tau wehe; e rua tau mutu; e rua tau kai.
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa, te hāpori o Hato Anaru.

Two seasons of drought; two seasons of scarcity; two seasons of crop failure; two seasons of plenty. This whakatauki seems relevant to this year because although there are hard uncertain times, if you carry on working in a focused way, you will have your day of good fortune. 

Today we are once again celebrating many significant achievements of recent weeks. Despite the challenges and disruption of this unusual year, you have shown that you can rise above disappointment, cope with the unexpected and show resilience in the face of adversity. Well done to you all. 

Welcome to parents and guests with us this morning to support those being acknowledged for sporting, cultural and academic success.

The first success this morning is that just last night our St Andrew’s College junior debating team won the Canterbury Schools’ Junior competition. The moot “that public housing should be built in wealthy areas” was affirmed by the St Andrew’s Year 10 team of Lachlan Odlin, Finlay Fairweather-Logie, Luke Wylie and coached by Oscar Bloom (Year 12). This is the third year in a row St Andrew’s has won this competition and four times in the last seven years. Congratulations! I now ask the boys to come up to receive the Junior Debating Cup.

Another award won over the last two days was for our Young Enterprise team, who won the Regional Excellence award for enterprising technology. They also gained second place nationally in the Gallagher Award for Smart Technology. Congratulations to Year 13 students Omri Kepes, Alan Fu, Jordan Bourke and James Ecroyd. These awards will be acknowledged later in the assembly.

Schools are incredibly busy places and none more so than here at St Andrew’s, but we also acknowledge and remember that a key focus for all must remain academic learning and progress.

As well as our focus on NCEA achievement, many of you challenge yourself in extra examinations and competitions. For many years, ICAS has been one of these opportunities for thousands of students from across Australia and New Zealand. St Andrew’s has a history of students achieving well in ICAS, and each year one or possibly two students across the College may achieve an ICAS gold medal, from gaining the top mark in New Zealand for their year group.

Remarkably this year, 2020 has yielded simply outstanding results with an unbelievable nine medals achieved by seven students. I am delighted that we can acknowledge these students today who have achieved medals in English, Digital Technologies, Mathematics and Science. These medals will be presented at Prizegiving.

I ask the students to come up onto the stage as their names are called, we will acknowledge them individually and I ask them to remain on stage until all certificates have been presented.

The first certificate is awarded for English to student in Year 3 to Chloe Sha. The second certificate is for Digital Technologies in Year 8 to Ryan Gu. The next certificate is awarded for Science in Year 7 to Matthew Bluck. Also, for Science in Year 9 is James Hart and a third top mark for Science, this time in Year 11 is Callum Lockhart. In Mathematics in Year 11, Tobie Harvie is awarded his certificate.

These are six of the nine medals awarded to St Andrew’s students. Incredibly the next three medals have been awarded to one student. Top mark in Year 10, and achieving three Gold medals in Digital Technologies, Mathematics and Science is Gemma Lewis. Incredibly Gemma has achieved three medals in previous years as well. This is an exceptional achievement – well done, Gemma. Congratulations to all our medal award recipients.

Moving on now to another kind of gold medal – the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. Already this year we have presented gold awards to two Year 13 students and during the last term break St Andrew’s hosted the national Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s ceremony in our Centennial Chapel, attended by Peter Hillary and  the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. At this ceremony nine St Andrew’s students, two in Year 13 and the others recent Old Collegians, received their awards.

This morning we recognise a third Year 13 student to achieve her gold award. Congratulations – Libby McKinnel.

Usually at this time of the year we would have recently held our annual St Andrew’s speech competition, Festival of the Spoken Word. Due to the disruptions of this year by COVID-19, it was decided not to hold this competition in 2020, but throughout the year we have certainly witnessed some impressive and powerful speeches from students in assemblies and chapel services. This year we have decided to award the Senior Speech Award, the Mark Ellerm Cup for Best Public Speaker, to a young man who captivated his audience with his authenticity, honesty, insightful message and incredible courage. Congratulations Jamie Carr (Year 13) and thank you for bringing us your powerful message, Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Another special and unique acknowledgement this morning goes to a previous staff member for the commitment he has made to St Andrew’s sport. Mr Roland Burrows retired in April 2017, as Head of the Secondary School. During his 40 years at St Andrew’s he held many roles, including Geography and Social Studies teacher, Housemaster in Rutherford Boarding House, Head of Teaching Personnel and Head of Geography, but the commitment we are honouring today is as Teacher in Charge of trap shooting.

When Mr Burrows retired, he was happy to continue looking after trap shooting at the College, but at the end of 2020 he has decided to ‘call it a day’. During the time he was involved, St Andrew’s won the trap shooting South Island title six times and the National School Teams’ competition in 2016. Thank you, Mr Burrows, for your long service of 27 years to trapshooting. We are pleased to present you with a certificate and gift voucher this morning in recognition of your efforts. 

In today’s assembly we are also acknowledging the quite phenomenal success of a number of winter sports. Despite the disruption to practices early in the season and the cancellation of a number of South Island and national tournaments, 2020 has been an exceptional season.

Canterbury titles in Senior A netball, Girls’ Senior A basketball, Girls’ Senior badminton, ice hockey and 1st XV rugby, plus a number of places in finals in other  sports is simply an outstanding result.

Due to the 1st XV playing their final during the first weekend of the term break, we haven’t had a chance to congratulate the 1st XV for winning the UC Cup, the first time for St Andrew’s in this particular competition, which has been going for 19 years.

It was a moment of enormous pride and excitement for the team, coaches, parents, our College and Old Collegians to win the coveted UC Cup. Congratulations to Captain Jamie Carr, members of the 1st XV, coaches Mr Rod McIntosh, Mr Mikae Tuu’u, Mr Ian Robinson, manager Mr Mike Johnston, trainer Mr Greg Thompson, and other members of the management team. You fully deserve the prestige of winning this title.

At this point I would also like to congratulate three team members who have been named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team and one player in the New Zealand Barbarians’ team, which is a huge achievement both for individual students and our school. Congratulations to Joel Parry, Isi Saumaki and Torian Barnes for making the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and to Mini Toga for making the New Zealand Barbarians’ team.

This term has started as a very busy time for a number of our cultural activities. Congratulations to all students involved with the highly successful Dance Revue and to Catie and Mackenna for your leadership and organisation as Heads of Dance. Well done to our jazz groups as part of the Christchurch Big Band Festival and to Jem Anderson-Gardner and Genevieve Henstock who had their films selected as finalists in the 2020 School Shorts competition, run by the New Zealand Broadcasting School.

Well done also to our Senior College Council and Heads of Council Ben Studholme and Kate Hughes for the effort you put into an outstanding Senior College Formal held here at school last Friday night. Congratulations also to all Year 12–13 students who attended and thank you to the many staff for your support. We are all so very pleased we were able to hold this important event.

And finally is a commendation to all involved with the Years 9–10 production, You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. The energy, enthusiasm and talent that you have brought to appreciative audiences this week has been wonderful – a real ‘feel good experience’ for all.  

The cast are once again exceptionally supported by our band members, lighting, backstage and technical crew. Another wonderful St Andrew’s production – congratulations to you all, Director, Ms Thorner, and Musical Director, Mr Ferguson.

This has just been a taste of some of the awards and achievements being recognized today. A hallmark of the wealth of opportunities enjoyed by you all. Thank you to the many staff who put so much time and energy into giving you these opportunities and well done to you all for the way you made the most of them.


Christine Leighton

Leavers' Assembly // Friday 30 October 2020

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