On Strowan - Volume 13 // Issue 3 // 12 April 2018
The Secondary School covers Years 9-13. Head of Secondary School is Evert van Florenstein.
What an unbelievable busy and productive term. It is a real credit to the students that they have continued to do their very best right to the end with getting their assessments completed to the best of their ability, while still maintaining their co-curricular commitments. We are very conscious of the huge impact our co-curricular programmes are having on the students, especially with respect to the amount of class time missed and the pressure this places on the student to catch up. We are therefore constantly reviewing the number of credits each course is offering, and the value of each of the field trips, interschool exchanges and out of class co-curricular opportunities.
Founders’ Day was celebrated on Friday 16 March and was once again a very special occasion, with a live stream for those that were not able to attend. I have not enjoyed myself at a whole school activity as much in a long time. The traditional Founders’ Day Assembly address was given by an Old Collegian, Mr Roger France (1958–1962), who gave a well-received personal account of the significance of the College on his life as a student, and also on his life subsequently. Mr Rob (Shorty) Bruce-Barron (1950–1952) also attended Founders’ Day to witness and celebrate first-hand the College’s special relationship with Scotland. Mr Bruce-Barron has kindly donated a sum of money to invest which will cover the costs for two students to travel to Scotland each year to visit some of Scotland’s most exclusive independent schools. To honour this very generous gift, the Strowan Scottish Scholarship has been renamed the Robert Burns Scottish Scholarship in honour of Mr Bruce-Barron’s love of everything Scottish, but especially Robert Burns. To further celebrate this special occasion, Hana Pearce (Year 12), one of this year’s recipients of the Robert Burns Scottish Scholarship’s, turned the Robbie Burns poem ‘A Red Red Rose’ into a song with accompanying music. This was extremely well-received by all who attended the assembly. The other recipient of the scholarship was Lewis Edmond (Year 12).
Last Friday, we held our first all boys’ and all girls’ Secondary School assemblies. The intent of the assemblies is to focus on what it means to be a man or woman in the 21st century. At the boys’ assembly we had Matua Steve speak to all the males of the Secondary School. Matua Steve is already well known to the College as the Kapa Haka Tutor. His messages focused on ‘you are born male; however, you have to choose to be a man’ and ‘what do you want to be known for?’. His story telling ability kept the audience captivated and entertained throughout. Anna Simcic, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated swimmers, spoke to all the females of the Secondary School. She asked the girls the question: Who is driving your bus? Her challenge to them was that they needed to be their own driver and be mindful of whom they select for their support. Being the best version of yourself and being grateful were also touched upon.
There were a number of highlights this term which need to be mentioned and acknowledged. Our Jazz Band were crowned National Champions, a very special achievement considering the sudden death of a band member only a few days before the competition. The Pipe Band also had another stellar year by being crowned National B Grade champions for 11 years in a row.
A record number of students and teams attended Summer Tournament Week, a clear indication that our sports programmes are improving all the time. A special mention for Mya Graham and Saxon Morgan (both Year 13) who came second in New Zealand for triathlon, the mixed tennis team placing second in New Zealand, the Year 10 cricket team who placed third in New Zealand at their tournament, our athletics team who excelled at the Canterbury and South Island competitions with a significant number of placings and records, the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams winning the Canterbury Premier Schools’ grade, and the rowing team who made nine A grade finals at Maadi Cup.
I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge and honour the staff who are leaving us at the end of this term. Mr Sam Stokes joined us in 2017 as cover for Mrs Kate Grinter who was on maternity leave. Mr Stokes has done a great job both in the classroom and on the sports field as a coach. He told me that he is really going to miss the students at the College, however, he has committed to continue coaching his StAC football team for the rest of the winter season. We wish him all the best for the beginning of his new journey at Hornby High School.
Mr Tony Brittenden leaves us after joining the College in 1999. He has led the art department to many successes including numerous NCEA scholarship and outstanding scholarship passes. Mr Brittenden’s interest in steampunk is evident as you walk into the Fine Arts department with the many pieces of steampunk on display. If you have been lucky enough to be invited into his office, you will immediately understand his love for the North American Indians, the number of artefacts and memorabilia is simply amazing. Mr Brittenden shared with me a highlight of his time here at the College has been the politeness of the students and the genteelness of the College community. He also told me that he was going to really miss being with his colleagues on a day to day basis. On behalf of the St Andrew’s Community, I would like to thank Mr Brittenden for the many hours of time and energy he has invested into our young people. We wish him well for his next life journey.
At the end of last year, I indicated that teachers would be using specific descriptors for the ‘Fortnightly Notes’ starting at the beginning of this year. Now I would be very grateful for some feedback; are they easy to understand, are they generating useful discussions etc. This has been a very busy term and I know that staff and students alike are looking forward to the holiday break.
Evert van Florenstein
Head of Secondary School