Te Waka (The Rite Journey)
Resilience, respect and responsibility – these are character traits we want to encourage in our students at St Andrew’s College as they grow from child to adult. The journey isn’t an easy one however. Young people face increasing pressure from media, technology, changing family dynamics and unsuitable sporting or music industry role models that can impact on their self-esteem and coping mechanisms. Often they aren’t aware of why they are struggling and they lack the skills to navigate their way through this confusion.
To support this journey of self-awareness, St Andrew’s has introduced a unique educational, life-skills programme for Year 10 students called Te Waka. The programme brings together strands that already exist at the College – The Duke of Edinburgh Award, Health Education, Outdoor Education and Tikanga Māori – with a new life skills course known as The Rite Journey. The Rite Journey reinvents the traditional process of a rite of passage to assist in transforming the adolescent from dependency to responsibility. Consequently, The Rite Journey is designed to link the hearts and minds of our Year 10 students with rites of passage ceremonies, class discussion and self reflection.
Welcoming a New Age
The dawn service, or Calling Ceremony, was one of the first events of the programme. The special ceremony began at 5.30am with the raising of the College flag and a solo piper as 190 Year 10 students farewelled their childhood, and began their journey into adolescence.
Another event the students celebrated was the Departure Ceremony. The essence of this ceremony was for staff to receive the parents’ blessing and support to work with their child throughout the year. The ceremony also involved the sharing of special childhood memories and provided an opportunity for the students to thank their parents for all that they have done for them.
Te Waka brings together strands that already exist at the College – Duke of Edinburgh Award, Health Education, Outdoor Education and Tikanga Maori, with the life skills course known as The Rite Journey.The dawn service, or Calling Ceremony, was one of the first events of the programme.
And the journey begins
Te Waka has a different focus each term. In Term 1 it’s about their own story, building the relationship with self and asking, “Who am I really?” In Term 2 the emphasis swings to building relationships with other people. There are also health units that explore issues around social media and relationships, and sexuality.
As well as the Calling Ceremony, the students also celebrated a Departure Ceremony. The Departure is another of the significant milestones in the programme. “It is about moving forward towards adolescence and getting parents’ blessing and support in this next stage of their journey towards adopting more adult-type behaviours,” says Rod McIntosh, Te Waka co-ordinator.
“It was an extremely positive evening,” says Rod. “Often in this busy world we forget to stop and say thank you and celebrate what possibilities lie ahead.”
The Te Waka students also took part in this year’s City 2 Surf fun run. The dull, overcast day did nothing to dampen the spirits of the more than 160 students and nine staff who took part in the event. At the finish line, a StAC tent was set up to reward all finishers with drinks and a well-earned BBQ. Parents and supporters joined the happy group. St Andrew’s won the prize for being the secondary school in Christchurch with the most students entered in the event.