Weekly News Term 1|Week 8

A Note from The Principal

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Last year when I talked to our students about Suffrage, I asked them – What would you march for? What issue is important to you? We talked about women’s rights, gender equity, animal rights, and climate change.

The issue for my generation was Apartheid, the discrimination and regulation of people based on their colour and ethnicity. The Springbok tour and subsequent protests changed our lives in this country, and how we saw ourselves and our place in the world.

Last Friday many of our students marched for something that is incredibly important to them – climate change. I was so proud of all of them – for caring, for marching, for the mature way they approached the issue, for the wonderful, thoughtful conversations I had with many of them about why they were marching, for the respectful way they considered the school’s position and worked with us. For the way they led our school, proudly wore their uniform, and stood up for what they believed in. I was so honoured to know young women who were using their voice for greater good and prepared to take a leadership role.

The challenge now is what happens next? Was it a oncer, and we all go back to driving to school everyday because we can’t be bothered walking? Using plastic, buying lots of new clothes, not bothering to recycle? I hope the energy and pride that our students put into marching and designing those clever placards, can now be put to a sustainable way of living their life – and embedding change.

I also want to acknowledge the leadership and thought that led to “Harrys Hoot” last Friday night. What a fabulous event. A community of young people, coming together, well behaved, respectful, keen to have fun and support someone who has a hard road ahead of him. What a fantastic testament to the foresight, planning, and compassion of our boarding leaders and the staff at Tolcarne. Again, I was so proud watching our students contribute to a very special event and I thought, this is what we are about; community, connecting and caring – thank you all for showing the world that those concepts are so important.

Because the world needs to know that, doesn’t it? Friday 15th March, started as a day for us to all be pleased for our young people, and I still am, but I felt so sorry for all of them, that their actions and deeds, which were and are, critical to our lives and our planet, were wiped from our collective consciousness as the terrible tragedy unfolded in Christchurch.

A day, when our lives changed again. We have all had to examine our own thoughts, ideas and prejudices, show compassion and love for our fellow New Zealanders. We have had to think about the world around us and examine what we believe. The attacks on innocent people worshipping is an abominable act, and I am proud of how as a country we have come together, offered support, love and assistance to those in need and we have collectively been outraged by the appalling acts of one person. Again – at this time we need leadership, and we are fortunate to have a strong, articulate and decisive woman who has led the way.

We need to hold on to her words

“We were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we’re an enclave for extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things, because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those that share our values, a refuge for those who need it.”

I asked the seniors in school to lead us now in all of that, showing empathy, love and consideration for all in our community. We had a mufti day on Thursday, that the ‘Sticks and Stones’ group organised. Everyone wore bright, rainbow colours to show our appreciation for and value of diversity, and the joy that comes from belonging to a community that cares. It is a chance to show that to ‘Be You’ is to be accepted in this school as who you are. It was a gold coin donation and all the money raised will go to the Muslim community in Christchurch.

I asked the students to wear those bright colours proudly, and again I challenged them to go past the easy gesture and think about how they can show kindness every day, not just when they dress up. Reach out to their friends or even girls they do not know very well who have a different culture, ethnicity, or religious beliefs to them. Reach out to our international students. Think about how they are feeling, watching the TV coverage, reading the newsfeeds, not understanding the language very well, but seeing the pictures. How scary would that be to be in another country, away from home, feeling like a stranger? Talk to them, check in with them, ask them how they are.

I asked them to connect with girls who might not be in their class, show the juniors how to truly be “Better Together”, they will look to the seniors and follow how they treat others. Talk to them in the whanau groups, share ideas. Random acts of kindness really do make the world go round.

In the weekend I was walking in Wellington, when I literally stepped on this paving stone and I thought perfect – I feel an assembly coming on

The paving stone was a quote by Jane Campion, Film director and it read:

“We are women, we are only half the world, but we gave birth to the whole world. No one on this planet should be ignorant of our views or our voices.”

Our student’s views and voices are so important –  they can change the world as Greta Thunberg has done. I hope they had a sense of their ability to influence on Friday afternoon. I urged them, don’t lose it – keep using it to support all members of our community, and keep looking for ways to make the world a kinder, more caring place for all of us.

Extended Learning Time

As indicated in the newsletter last week on Wednesday 27th March we will be running our first extended learning time where the girls will have two extended classes, instead of their normal five, which will allow for deeper richer learning.

Why are we planning this initiative?

The biggest issue that students and teachers face is time. For most days quick shifts are the order of the day. Each day there are at least five location changes which also require you a shift of gears mentally as you move from one subject to another.  Often these changes can mean that the chances to delve more deeply into designated subjects and work independently are often harder to find.

As a staff, we have been looking at ways to allow staff and students a number of opportunities to work with extended time to develop some different learning activities. The advantages of extended time allows for more in depth learning of the curriculum, the opportunity to complete different types of assessments, more variety in instruction while also encouraging more student agency and independence.

We plan to extend the learning time for two days each term which will allow both teachers and students the chance to use new techniques, delve more deeply into current learning topics, work cooperatively with peers, experience hands on activities, work on longer term curriculum projects, bring in visiting experts, access one on one coaching, go outside the classroom and concentrate time and energy without interruption,

Staff will be planning ways to maximise these advantages and this extended time will be focussed on where the students are in their studies. This is not an add on, the aim is to build on and extend what already happens in the classroom.

We are excited about the learning opportunities this extended time will present and look forward to working with students to enrich their class time.


The Ministry of Education has provided us with a document of ‘tips’ to support children in times that are difficult. This has been sent to schools because of the traumatic event in Christchurch. It would be good to read this and it may also help if you have younger children at other schools.

International Department

Opportunity to become host family for International Students

Do you enjoy sharing experiences with other cultures?

Do you have a spare room available?
Would you like to consider the opportunity to become a host family for an International Student that is studying at St Hilda’s Collegiate?
We have new students arriving in term 2 and are looking to increase our homestay families for short term and long term students.
If you are interested, or would like to find out more about this experience please contact
Roberta Lawrence, Homestay Coordinator for St Hilda’s either homestay@shcs.school.nz or  phone 477 0989

Chapel Matters

This week, like most of Aotearoa New Zealand, we have been reeling from the shocking and tragic events that happened in Christchurch last Friday. At times like this we can respond in practical ways as well as by gathering together as a community for prayer; we have seen the outpouring of compassion and support all around our country, from the laying of flowers, lighting candles, and the holding of vigils, through to the financial support of Give-A-Little pages and the making of meals for needy families.

At St Hilda’s we have had some special chapels where we have brought our concerns, questions, and grief before God in prayer. And we have also joined with other Anglican Schools around Aotearoa New Zealand in making paper doll chains which we will give to our local mosques; these will symbolise how our arms reach around our communities in love, and that our arms are stretched out in compassion. Students have also created a Kia Kaha banner with messages of support on it.



NZ Bebras Challenge

Along with 2739 students from across the country, St Hilda’s students in Years 7-9 recently participated in the NZ Bebras Challenge as part of their Digital Technologies programme of learning in Computational Thinking.  Digital Technologies was introduced as a compulsory technological area of the New Zealand Curriculum in 2018, and Computational Thinking is a key component of the curriculum area.

Bebras is an international initiative aiming to promote Informatics (Computer Science, or Computing) and computational thinking among school students at all ages.

Computational thinking involves using a set of problem-solving skills and techniques that software engineers use to write programs and apps.

The Bebras Challenge is made of a set of short problems, called Bebras tasks, and are delivered online. The tasks are fun, engaging and based on problems that computer scientists often meet and enjoy solving. The tasks can be solved without prior knowledge but instead require logical thinking. The aim is to solve as many as you can in the allotted time.

Several of our students were recognised for their performance in the challenge, earning Distinction (top 10%) and Merit (top 20%) certificates.

Distinction Certificates:
Zara Geddes – Yr 9
Amelie Warlow – Y 9
Phoebe Jaquiery – Yr 8
Chloe Woodhouse – Yr 8
Maia Palmer – Yr 8
Imogen Hornal – Yr 8
Tia Mawhinney – Yr 8
Tarryn Croot – Yr 8
Ruby Goodchild – Yr 7

Merit Certificates:
Kate Beaton
– Yr 9
Evie Rose Grace – Yr 9
Rosa Smith – Yr 9
Sophia Le – Yr 9
Eliabel Legrand – Yr 9
Amelia Leaper – Yr 8
Sophie Lloyd – Yr 7
Olivia Simmons – Yr 7

  • Athletics

Congratulations to all the following girls. What a great day at the Otago Secondary Schools’ Athletics!

Last weekend St Hilda’s was well-represented in both track and field events at the Otago Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships held at the Caledonian Sports Grounds.  The St Hilda’s squad of 26 athletes performed well across several events, achieving numerous top five rankings in Otago, with many athletes qualifying for the upcoming South Island event. These results will be published in the Term 1 newsletter, along with further photos.  A notable highlight of the Otago Championships for long distance runner Zara Geddes (Year 9), was setting a new Otago record for 3000m, an outstanding time of 10.03.45.

  • Cricket

Congratulations to the 1st XI Cricket team who have taken out the Bates Cup for the 10th year in a row

This secures their spot at the NZSS Final’s in December where they will look to defend their National title from 2018 🥇🏏

  • Swimming 
Well done to all our swimmers who qualified to compete at the 2019 New
Zealand Division II Swimming Championship held in Dunedin last week.
Over 500 of New Zealand’s up and coming 12-18 year old swimmers
competed over the 4 day event including St Hilda’s students Meg
McLaughlan,  Nicole Heaton, Natalie Hutchens, Anna Hutchens, Molly
Whittaker, Laura Milne, Andie McGrouther, Imogen Keeling and Penny
Keeling. Congratulations to Meg, Natalie, Nicole and Penny for their
medal winning performances and to all our swimmers whose strong
performances and numerous personal best times reflect their many, many
hours of training.Nicole Heaton – 2nd 50Fly, Natalie Hutchens – 1st 50Fly, 1st 100Free,
1st 50Free, Penny Keeling – 3rd 200Fly, Meg McLaughlan – 2nd 100IM,
2nd 200IM, 1st 400IM, 1st 200Breast
  • Tennis 

Well done to the following girls on their results at the Otago Junior Tennis Open over the weekend
Charlie Byars – 3rd U16 Girls Singles
Mya Haigh – 1st U14 Girls Singles
Mya Haigh & Claudia Christie – 1st U14 Girls Doubles

  • Touch NZ

Congratulations to the following players who have been selected by Touch NZ to attend trials and training camps following the latest National Tournaments.

Invited to trial for NZ U18 – Jaide Dixon

Invited to trial for NZ U20 – Amelia Scully (also includes St Hilda’s old girls Olivia O’Neill, Beryn Abbott and Jess Faulks.)

Invited to take part in a National U16 talent ID camp – Brooke McAlwee, Danielle Ferguson, Gemma Rowcroft

New Zealand School Trustees Association

NZSTA has organised an initiative called Kōrari. The Kōrari programme is set up for parents and people in the community who would like to learn more about the role of school trustees. Kōrari is an introduction workshop and a set of resources that NZSTA has developed to provide governance training.

This session is also to be held at the Brydone Hotel, OAMARU, Monday 8 April, 6.00pm

Also included below are links to the NZSTA website – Information to parents and the interactive sign-up for the LMS (Learning management system) which will enable the person to access the on-line training modules and other information.



Reminder – Health Notice

We have received notification from the Southern District Health Board regarding the Measles Outbreak. Two cases have now been confirmed in Dunedin. Measles is a highly infectious disease and is more serious than many people realise. About one in ten people who contract Measles require hospitalisation and 30% of these go on to develop further complications.

With this in mind, it is important that you keep your daughter at home if she is displaying any signs of illness. The symptoms include fever, cough, red eyes and a runny nose, with a rash developing after approximately 4 days. Affected students must remain away from school for a minimum of 5 days from the appearance of their rash or until fully recovered. We thank you for your assistance with this.

Reminder – Tomorrow’s Schools Review Consultation

The Taskforce will be holding public consultation meetings around the country, starting on Thursday, 14 February and finishing on Wednesday, 27 March. We really encourage everyone to come along to these events and discuss the future of our schooling system. The full schedule is now available on our website (venues will be added for events as they are confirmed)


An online survey which canvasses opinion on each of our 32 recommendations is now available here https://consultation.education.govt.nz/tsr/survey2019/ and will remain open until 31 March 2019. It will be available in Te Reo and other languages within the next week.

A free 0800 number for oral submissions will be available from 11 February. Call 0800 FOR TSR (0800 367 877) to leave your thoughts on the future of our schooling system.

Postcards: for students, families and anyone that just wants to briefly ‘have their say’ on a recommendation or the full report. Freepost postcards will be available at the public meetings.

Formal written submissions about our report can be sent to: tomorrows.schools@education.govt.nz