From the Principal
The Changing Face of Education
For many years we have been told that it is important that students do well at college so that they gain the qualifications that will enable them to progress on to university. While this is true for many students and something that we value strongly, it is not the dream of many others. In fact, 70% of NZ students do not wish to go on to university but our secondary school structures still promote this as the critical academic pathway through the subjects and the timetable that they have in place to deliver curriculum.
Alfred Einstein wrote “the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results”. Clearly if we want to improve educational outcomes and get better results for those students that do not want to follow a university pathway we need to look at alternative ways to deliver the curriculum. At Ōtaki College we are committed to developing opportunities for students to develop the skills and experiences needed to pursue their dreams and career aspirations once they leave college. To help them do this we are working closely with the Ministry of Education and Tertiary providers to re shape the way we can deliver our curriculum. We have already embarked on this process and by next year I am certain that there will be a much stronger shift to incorporate Vocational Pathways, Secondary/Tertiary Programmes (STP), STAR courses and Gateway into our courses for senior students. This will allow us to better cater for those students not wanting to attend university. Parents and whanau can become more familiar with these terms by going to the Ministry website – www.minedu.govt.nz.
This is an exciting time and highlights the fact that the face of education is changing and that we need to change to accommodate this. Ōtaki College does this very well. We are excited by the prospects ahead of us as we continue to build on our capacity to provide greater learning opportunities for all students to enable them to strive to be the best they can be.
Nga mihi nui
A Night at the Oscars — 2015 Senior Ball
“Our annual College ball was held on Saturday 6th June at the Ōtaki Racecourse.The “Night at the Oscars” theme created a glamorous event with a colourful array of ball gowns and very smart suits. We enjoyed hosting Heads of School from local colleges on the coast. The organising committee challenged themselves by transforming the space (the Ōtaki Racecourse) into a venue that was fitting for the occasion and the theme. We would like to thank Mrs Hagan for all her input and also the staff and parents who supported us on the night with supervision. We were also grateful to the Ōtaki Racecourse for allowing us to use their venue. It was an excellent night out, enjoyed by all.”
Roxy5 Film Competition Winners
A team of four Digital Media students led by their teacher, Stephen Aitken, won the first Roxy5 film competition in Wellington on 2nd June. Students Thomas Abel, Michael Cooper, Shania Sharrem and Andy Tam were thrilled to accept their award at a red carpet premiere of the four finalists’ films, held at the Roxy Theatre. The Ōtaki College team was one of four finalists chosen from 13 entries from secondary schools throughout the Wellington/Kapiti area. Their film, Life is But a Dream, is about a sailor who leaves England in 1860 and wakes up in Wellington 150 years later.
The competition was founded by Weta Digital’s Jamie Selkirk and the theme this year was based around Wellington’s 150th anniversary as a capital city. The students won $5,000 for the College, a Weta designed trophy and a full day tour of Mirimar’s film making facilities.
Mr Aitken said of the experience “To have an industry leader like Jamie Selkirk encouraging and celebrating the success of our young people is just huge. The students can now rest assured that they can produce the kind of work that will meet with audience acclaim, and that they can follow their passion”.
Arbor Day Planting
On 5th of June students from the College met with community members from the “Friends of the River”. This is a group that are growing and planting out areas along the Ōtaki River. The students had been involved from the beginning to the end, from bagging the seedlings to planting them out.
Once the plants were in place, there was an unveiling, in which Year 8 student, Matthew Brooker, took part. Teacher, Deb Hadlum, said “It was an excellent example of community spirit and role modelling for our students.”
Vocal Tutor Wins Country Music Award
Students at Ōtaki College are very lucky to have an award winning vocal tutor. Carylann Martin recently performed and competed at the Country Music Awards in Gore where she picked up two Golden Guitar awards and the top busking prize. The students have described Carylann’s win as “awesome, “amazing” and “very special”. They feel “very proud” to have her as their teacher. Carylann says it reminded her of being in their shoes when performing in high pressure situations like assessments.
Year 7&8 Leadership Day
On June the 16th, the year 7/8 Student Council reps, went to Palmerston North to the Regent Theatre for a National Young Leaders Day. We listened to people who were talking to us about their careers and how they started off. Liam Konise (Year 7) went up on to the stage to present one of the speakers with a present. The people speaking were; Marcus Winter, William Pike, Paul Blackwell, Jamie McDell and Chris Jupp. There were also performances by Sariyah Paitai and Phoenix Pole’anga. The students that went from our school were Kees, Jess, Maddy, Kyla, Liam, Hamaika, Karen and myself (Sophia). My favourite people there were Phoenix Pole’anga and Marcus Winter. I liked Marcus because he did some amazing artwork and I liked Phoenix Pole’anga because he was an amazing dancer. Overall, it was an awesome day.
Students see International Production of Hamlet
On 2 June a group of 40 senior English students experienced Shakespeare at its best. They attended the Globe to Globe world tour of Hamlet, directed by Dominic Dromgoole. This production, from the Globe Theatre in London, is travelling for two years, taking Hamlet to every country in the world.
Curriculum Leader of English, Jess Wilson, said the timing was particularly fortuitous, as her Year 13 students are currently studying Hamlet and about to write a research essay on the play. “The opportunity to see a professional cast from the London Globe perform the play in Wellington was unique, and we were delighted so many students were able to go.” She commented that seeing a stage performance will have deepened students’ understanding that they are studying a play, not a novel, and that it is open to many interpretations. “I’m hoping that the performance will have raised as many questions for the students as it answered, to spark their engagement in the research.”
Students attend IPC Omatsuri Festival
On 29 May, 18 Ōtaki College students from years 11, 12 and 13, were fortunate enough to attend this year’s IPC Omatsuri festival. IPC stands for the International Pacific College which is a Japanese University’s NZ campus in Aokutere near Palmerston North.
For the past 3 years IPC have hosted an Omatsuri which is a fun opportunity for Kiwi students to experience Japanese festival foods, games, and cultural activities…. something they would not otherwise experience outside of Japan. The theme this year was “Kyoto” and students were encouraged to use Japanese language as much as possible throughout the evening.