Term 4 is an incredibly busy time of year with a very short window of time for our senior students to work hard to complete assessments and re-submissions to finalise Internal Assessment NCEA grades for 2015.
It has been extremely rewarding to see the high level of achievement of our students, academically and in the wider aspects of college life. This only comes about through the dedication of the staff who work with students and the students’ desire to “strive always to be the best that they can be”
I personally want to thank our students for their efforts this year and encourage senior students to take the opportunity to remain at College prior to externals to continue working on gaining credits.
This is also a very exciting time of year as we move into our prizegivings to celebrate our students’ achievements.
The Sports Prizegiving
The Sports Prizegiving took place on Thursday 22nd October and the Academic Prizegiving is on Thursday 29th October. This year there has been a high level of competition among students being nominated or applying for awards and scholarships. This clearly identifies the increasing level of achievement across all aspects of college life and signals that things are looking great for the future. My sincere congratulations to all the prize recipients and their whanau/families — well done!
Localising the curriculum
The staff at the college are constantly looking at ways to bring the curriculum they are teaching to life by linking it to real life contexts. As part of this there is a strong commitment to allow students time to look at environmental issues to see how they can make a difference as they move on in life. To this end the college is working closely with Energise Ōtaki and the World Wildlife organisation to include environmental sustainability in the college curriculum. In recent times we have developed the blended fuel and solar projects into the science curriculum. In an effort to build on this we have embarked on two further projects;1)
On Wednesday 30th August we planted 1,430 willows and poplars at the end of the main field as part of the WWF/Energise Ōtaki/Ōtaki College coppicing project which focuses on sustainable, environmentally friendly, fuels. These trees will grow to approximately 4 metres in the next two years and then be cut at almost ground level. The wood can then be used as fuel and the trees will then commence growing again which will allow students to see how to develop an ongoing sustainable wood supply.2)
Green Bike Project
This project commenced earlier this year in collaboration with the Menz Shed and Energise Ōtaki. The idea behind this is that students learn how to re-build bikes and then take old and discarded bikes and parts to build “new” bikes which can be left in the community for people to use. Hopefully this can be used as a viable alternative to motor vehicles and helps our environment by using the old to build the new and cutting down on car emissions.
Building the Leaders of Tomorrow
The College offers students a wide range of opportunities to build their ability to develop skills around self-management and leadership. Students this year have had opportunities to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Outward Bound, Spirit of Adventure and, more recently, two other leadership opportunities offered by the TUIA Programme.
TUIA Tu Rangatira Rangatahi Leadership Programme
Five Ōtaki College students attended an initial Wananga at Raukawa Marae with five other students from each of the Colleges from the Kapiti District under the leadership and guidance of Marcus Akuhata Brown and his TUIA team. Wananga Two was held at Kapiti College with other students from our local Colleges and Nga Kakano. This Wananga was held on the first three days of the recent school holidays. I attended this with the students and was very impressed with their engagement and on-going commitment to building their ability as leaders.Where to from here?
The students are now looking forward to 2016 to look at projects that they can undertake in College as well as locally and regionally with the support of TUIA. I am currently negotiating with Rupene Waaka, Chairperson of Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Te Whakaminenga (KCDC Maori ART Confederation Roopu) to look at how members of these groups could mentor students to build their understanding of Iwi and Hapu initiatives/Governance as well as providing funding to support TUIA in 2016.
Girl Up Summit
As the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, Girl Up engages girls to take action. A group of Ōtaki College girls attended the Wellington Summit on Sunday 11 October. Following the summit the girls’ intention is to establish a Girl Up club at College. The girls were very positive about the day: “I really enjoyed the day and felt I learnt a lot about different ways women can be empowered and be strong leaders. All of the speakers inspired me in different ways. The ability to shed light on their different experiences and how those experiences empowered them and other women around the world, motivated me to push myself and others to achieve what they really want in life.” Renee Winton
“I was mesmerised by the amazing women who spoke at the Summit. These stories have made me look at things in a different way. I really hope to start up a club at school.” Ele Warwick “I found the summit very informative and I feel like I have gained a lot of personal growth. It illuminated me to how serious gender equality is.” Julia Carpenter
“The Girl Up summit was an amazing chance to meet heaps of new people and network with people who are interested in promoting positive encouragement of women. I learned a lot and enjoyed hearing from some very inspiring leaders. I enjoyed the talk on ‘The Use of Language in Gender Politics’ by Professor Miriam Meyerhoff, which made me open my eyes to the pressures on women and how we all need to pull together in order to boost equality and encouragement of women.” Petra Joyce
Special mentions for:
Jordon Potaka, who was presented with his certificate at Parliament on 15th October by the Hon Peter Dunne, Minister for the Department of Internal Affairs, for completing the Youth in Emergency Management Programme. This programme involves training in the development of good emergency response and risk awareness skills. Jordon has been invited to work with a team of other people to develop the potential and the resilience of more young people.
Hayley Esslemont, a Year 7 student, who recently had her short story ‘Once Upon a Kite’ published in Flying High, Stories & Poems from Kapiti, published by the Kapiti Children’s Writers’ Group.
Parekawa Finlay for taking part in a recent “Recycle and Win!” video competition organised by Keep New Zealand Beautiful. She worked with Jakita Paranihi-Nuku from WRM to create “The ABC’s of Recycling”.
James Micael from organicwealth.nz presented her with a prize at a College assembly.