Term 1 saw a full-on start to the year with exciting programmes in place across the College. These included the continued development of Google classes in Years 7 to 10, the Variety Concert, showcasing the talent of our Performing Arts students, rehearsals for our entry in the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, sporting codes represented at regional and national levels and, of course, great classroom lessons.
The end of Term 1 saw academic student success celebrated at the NCEA Achievement Assembly. This was complimented by the great experiences offered to students across all areas of endeavour — from National Youth Drama Week, Outdoor Education trips, Student Short-Films at the Māoriland Film Festival, Year 12 and 13 Business Enterprise Week to new decks being created throughout the College by the students learning the trade of building. Students also contributed to the needs of others through ‘Shave for a Cure’ and ‘Orange Friday for Shine’ events, raising money for important causes.
At Ōtaki College I am always impressed by the students’ high expectations which enable them to ‘punch above their weight’ whether academically, culturally, in sport or towards supporting others with their needs.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all whanau members who attended the recent student-led conferences and parent-teacher meetings. It is the support wrapped around our rangatahi from whanau, community and kura that helps students reach for the sky.
The focus for Term 2 is great student attendance, punctuality and a positive attitude for learning, all of which contribute towards rangatahi achieving the best possible results. Our teachers have great teaching programmes to support students to do this.
Mr Andy Fraser will be returning in week two after a successful knee operation. We look forward to his return.
Ngā mihi nui
Hamish Wood, Acting Principal
NCEA Achievement Assembly
On April 2nd, Ōtaki College held the its annual NCEA Achievement Assembly. Students, parents, staff and invited guests filled the hall to celebrate the success of the 2014 academic year. It was a wonderful celebration with so many students gaining impressive grades in their 2014 studies.
Mr Stephen Aitken’s Digital Media classes presented two short films that were submitted into the Māori Film Festival in March. There was also a musical item from rising stars Enata Matakena (singing) and Peter Ruru (on Keys).
Ōtaki College’s 2013 head boy, Nick Putt, spoke on the values he gained when he was at College and University: persevering, learning to communicate and putting in the hard yards. Nick was a good ambassador for the college and was the first Ōtaki Scholar, travelling to Aberdeen, Scotland early in 2014. Nick is completing his degree in Agricultural Science through Massey.
National Youth Drama School
During the April holidays eight Ōtaki College students and their teacher, Stephen Aitken, travelled to Havelock North for eight days of immersive, intensive training in the performing arts. The annual National Youth Drama School provided world-class instruction by industry professional tutors in theatre, dance, stage technology and film. Students were able to focus on an area of their choice, and to also take part in afternoon taster courses. The school culminated in a sharing of work where live performances and films were shown to the public. Comments from the students were extremely enthusiastic:
“The National Youth Drama School was honestly a life changing experience for me. Everyone was so supportive of me and everyone else on the course, it’s like a different lifestyle that feels like forever but is over so quickly. This not only changed my perspective of drama but it also confirmed that this is what I want to do after school.”
“If anyone has a flare for the creative arts and wants an awesome atmosphere to discover new possibilities then I highly advise them to go to NYDS. This not only changed my perspective of drama but it also confirmed that this is what I want to do after school.”
Students were able to discover a creative community and build networks that will last well into the future. It was the first time a group from Ōtaki had been to the school, and they are all excited about attending again next year. Students will be starting their fundraising for next year very soon so they can book early and get the best classes. The school runs for 14–19 year olds and during the week they spent almost every waking moment surrounded by the creative energy of others who share their passion for the arts.
Although the week was exhausting everyone involved felt it was a valuable experience and have taken the skills and techniques back to school to be applied to their learning.
Level 3 Outdoor Education Climbing Experience
In Term 1, the Level 3 Outdoor Education class visited Wharepapa South to lead climb. The group camped at Wharepapa School, visiting Castle Rock and Froggat’s Edge climbing crags and the Vertical Assault Indoor Climbing Wall. The students had learnt to lead climb before the trip so they could attempt some of the high level climbs at Wharepapa. On the trip students also set-up systems to be lowered-off and abseil-off the climbs. Another highlight of the trip was visiting Gravity Canyon in Taihape where students could Bungee Jump or do the Giant Swing. The Level 3 students are to be congratulated for their efforts and Ōtaki College would like to thank; Wharepapa School, Vertical Assault Indoor Climbing Wall, Gravity Canyon and Whitireia Polytech for their support.
All Year 12 and selected Year 13 Students at Ōtaki College got a taste of the business world in March when they took part in the BP Business Challenge.
The BP Business Challenge, which is offered to more than 40 schools throughout New Zealand each year, is a three-day practical workshop which introduces secondary students to the world of business in a fun and engaging way. The students worked in teams to create a business plan which they then presented to a panel of judges. The College would like to thank Penny Gaylor (KCDC Community Board), Grant Robinson (First National Real Estate), Paul Carlyon (Clearheads Psychological Consultant) and Don McAlpine (ICT and Science Specialist) who so willlingly gave up their time to support the students by judging their business ideas.
Kaya Edginton, member of the winning team Hawk Enterprise, said “The BP Business Course was one of the best activities I have ever participated in. As an individual I was able to use my imagination and test my creative boundaries to create a business idea with a group of other students. It was stressful and at some points I felt far too much like an adult! But I discovered that I was able to use my imagination in ways I never had before. I was introduced to the world of business and was very pleased with what I learnt.”
Shave for a Cure 2015
Ōtaki College recently participated in the Shave For A Cure event to support Leukaemia and Blood Foundation NZ. The student council organised the lunchtime event with Erin McArley and Isla Gray taking on the role of team captains.
The College had 6 students participating this year — Tegan Nicholson, Baylee Bengston-Murray, Charlie Howell, Ollie Carson, Damian Doyle and Jack London. The fundraising target of $1500 was exceeded with over $1700 being raised this year. Thanks you to all students, whanau and community members who supported the shavees.
Ōtaki College once again appreciates the support of Chairs Hair Design who provided 2 stylists to shave our participants.
Ōtaki College students have been busy representing the College over the first term. Teams of students have been competing in many disciplines with great success both locally and nationally. Individuals and teams have competed all over the country in surf lifesaving, triathlon, swimming, athletics, touch, waka ama, eventing, canoe polo, volleyball, cricket and tennis.
Congratulations to Matthew Braddock, Chris Hawley-Stone and Fergus Roy who have been selected to play for Capital Football in an upcoming tournament in Sydney.
Now with the change of term and season students will be representing the College in rugby, netball, basketball, mountain biking, football, cross country and road running.
If you would like to know more about sport opportunities at Ōtaki College please contact Kirsty 364 8204 x 734 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to: Watson’s Gardens for supporting the College in the landscaping of the grounds outside the Canteen and to Streetwise Ōtaki for supporting Ōtaki College sport.