Weekly News Term 2|Week 9

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

This has been an incredibly hard week for our school community, and your kind gestures, gifts and messages of support have been hugely affirming and comforting. Thank you for the way you have wrapped your care and love not only around your daughters, but around us as well. We continue to grow stronger as a community through this difficult time.

Below is the address I gave to the school in chapel yesterday. I want to share it with you, so we all have a shared understanding of the concerns the girls have raised, and the way we intend to go forward:

Losing a friend, a colleague, a teacher, a mentor is terribly sad, exhausting, at times even overwhelming, and we are all hurting. Whether we knew Mr Smith well, or just in passing grief affects us all differently.

His family have asked everyone not to talk about and speculate about his death and we are respecting that. It is really hard for us to know that some people out there are not thinking about the family, they are just gossiping, and talking and making comments, and we feel like an oasis of reverence, trying to do our best by his family, honour his memory, and remember the wonderful man he was.

There is a lot of speculation about how Mr Smith died. A lot of comments on social media, a lot of assumptions and untruths, and that makes it even harder for us to process and understand what has happened. There is a lot of talk and comment that he took his own life. We don’t have all the facts. As with every death the police and the coroner are involved and the coroner ultimately decides what the cause of death was, and as a school, it is not appropriate, nor is it legal, for us to make a statement.

It might be true, what people are saying, it might not be. If it is true, then we will all feel that there might have been something we could have done or said last Friday; if only we had been kinder, taken more time, stopped to chat , all wishing it was different.

Either way it is even more important that we regard the families wishes. At St Hilda’s we show respect, we show integrity, which means we do what is right and fair, decent and honorable.

These are big emotions, huge, for us – these feelings of confusion and vulnerability and that is normal at times of grief. Yesterday I went and visited Mr Smith’s partner, and when I got back to school, I shut my office door, sat on the couch and cried. Then I got up and got on with my job. I am lucky that I can shut my door, that I have a space, but we all need to find our own spaces in our own time. I don’t know why I bothered wearing any make up yesterday actually. Though I do know the brand of some really good water proof mascara, if you need to know it.

Now, I want to let you know about some of the plans we have to help us all manage the next few days and to ensure that we are looking after each other and ourselves.

I sent an email home to your parents, so many of you will already know, and I am sorry that there wasn’t the opportunity to talk to you all first.

To lighten the load for staff we will only send out Senior reports this term, and we will still hold the Learning Conversations for senior students on Monday 22nd July, the first day of Term 3. Junior reports will go out in Term 3.

A Memorial service for Mr Smith will be held on Wednesday July 3rd at 2.00pm in the gym. We have offered to hold this celebration of Mr Smith’s life because the family have chosen to have a private funeral, which we totally respect, and we also know that as a community we need that opportunity to come together and acknowledge him and his contribution. It is entirely your choice whether you go or not , there is no expectation or pressure. Students will be dismissed at lunch time to go home, otherwise you are welcome to stay for the service, which will finish about 2.40, with afternoon tea afterwards.

The last Friday of the term July 5th, school will be closed. We will still have the Course Selection information evening on the Thursday night 4th July, but we think everyone will be pretty tired, and finishing a day early, gives all our staff a bit of a break.

Finally, I know you are worried about the staff. Thank you but we’ve got this. We are strong, we have each other, we are talking and sharing. Yes we are sad, confused and hurting – but we are resilient, and we will be alright. We have good support, and we have all of you. Your kindness, your compassion, your thoughtfulness, your hugs, your notes, your cakes, your gifts……have been so important to the staff, so thank you for that. We are a family, and we are OK, despite what is being said or happening elsewhere.

A friend sent me a message yesterday, a reading by Haruki Murakami

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about”

We are all changed, shaped and strengthened by enduring and surviving tough times, the sadness and the grief. This is life, whether we like it or not, and we will all come through this better and together.

Jackie Barron

Memorial Service for Mr Smith

A Memorial Service for Mr Smith will be held in the school gym at 2.00pm on Wednesday 3rd July. All members of the wider St Hilda’s community are welcome to attend.

Attendance at this service is entirely optional for your daughter and is at the discretion of you and your daughter.

If your daughter will not be attending this memorial service please click here to complete the Google Form

Reports/Learning Conversations

Academic Progress reports for Year 11 – 13 will be emailed in the first week of the holidays. This report will contain feedback on learning and next steps.  It will also give you an overview of what has been covered in each subject.  Specific assessment information will not be included in the report but can be accessed through KAMAR.

Learning Conversations for senior students (Year 11 – 13) which will be held in Week 1 of Term 3 are a chance for you to meet with your daughter’s subject teachers to discuss how the year is going and put in place plans going forward.  This discussion is with the teacher, student and parent.

On Monday 22 July the students in Year 7 – 10 will have school as usual.

These learning conversations will take place on Monday 22 July during the day (9:00 am – 3:30 pm) and  in the evening (6:00 pm – 8:30 pm)

We realise that it is not always possible for you to make this meeting but we encourage you to book a time for your daughter who should come by herself as this is a critical milestone in her learning for the year and she would find it very valuable to talk to teachers about her next steps.

Booking details will be emailed to parents on Thursday 4th July and the site will remain open until Friday 19 July.

Course Selection Evening

A warm invitation is extended to parents/caregivers of current Year 10 to Year 12 students for this year’s Course Selection Evening, being held @ 6:00pm on Thursday 4 July. 

The focus will be on sharing resources to assist families to make an informed course selection for 2020. This event will coincide with the online release of the 2020 Academic Programmes.

The evening will begin with a welcome in the Chapel followed by a brief outline of how NCEA works. Over the next hour you will have the opportunity to move through two workshops.

  • Workshop 1: Subject Selection, the process and exceptions – academic wellness within the St Hilda’s graduate profile. Navigating the online Academic Programme.
  • Workshop 2: Introduction to the new Parent Portal of Career Central – tools to help identify interests, skills and abilities for career pathway exploration.

The Kamar Parent Portal to enter your daughters 2020 subject choices will also open on this date (linked from the Course Selection page of the Academic Programme). Entries for Year 11-13 in 2020 are due no later than Monday 26 August 2019.

NOTE: Students are not expected to attend this event as the focus is on information for families.

We look forward to seeing many of you on the night.

Sharon Ritchie
Careers’ Advisor/STAR Gateway Co-ordinator


This week has been a very difficult time for our school community. In the midst of our sadness we have been constantly reminded of how amazing our students are in the way they have supported each other and our staff, they truly are incredible young women. We have also appreciated the support you as parents have given your own daughters and also our staff, and we feel very fortunate to be part of such a caring community. We encourage you to keep checking in with your daughter over the weekend and beyond. Please click here for some advice about how you can support your daughter if she is grieving.

Chapel Matters

Mr Smith should be here with us. He should be in his art room helping someone set up their photography shoot or rummaging around for some paper and paint. But he isn’t. Instead, we are here, in shock and in sorrow.
At times like this, we need each other for empathy and consolation, for courage and strength. And we need to know that God can also be a source of comfort and strength for us. In the Bible, God is often described as being like a Shepherd, the one who loves, defends, protects, and cares for his flock; “We are the people of his pasture, and the sheep he cares for” (Ps 95.7). The most famous description of God like this is Psalm 23, which we have used in chapels this week:
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
     he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
    I will fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
There is also a powerful song which we have used in chapel this week which you might like to listen to and use as a prayer.

NZQA Examination Fees

The government have removed all examination fees for NCEA. If you had already paid these this amount has been credited to your account.


St Hilda’s was represented by 10 teams in the Otago Regional Robocup robotics competition on 22 June, with entries in both the theatre and search and rescue categories.  In the lead up to the event the girls worked very hard; displaying teamwork, problem solving, creativity and resilience as well as programming and robotic design skills. We had great community support on the day and it was lovely to see all the St Hilda’s family and whanau at the event.

Our teams placed well in the competition, with some planning to refine their entries for Robocup Nationals in September.  Congratulations to the following teams for gaining places at the competition:

Senior Theatre

1st Place – Samara Collins, Amelia Leaper, Maia Palmer, Mila Pollyn

2nd Place – Anna Fulton, Holly Hesson, Phoebe Jacquiery, Sienna Wright

Premier Theatre

2nd Place – Evie Rose Grace, Emma Grindlay, Eliabel Legrand, Hannah McCoubrey, Rosa Smith

Senior Search and Rescue

1st Place – Victoria Avery and Zara Geddes

2nd Place – Imogen Hornel and Chloe Woodhouse

Search and Rescue Winner
Choc Girls
Basillic Bros
Book Bots

Upcoming events

The Parents and Friends Assn AGM scheduled for July 3 2019 has been postponed, a new date will be announced in term 3.
Course Selection Information Evening for parents (Yr10 – 12) – July 4 beginning in the Chapel at 6:00pm
On the last Friday of the term, July 5th, school will be closed.

Senior Dance – Midwinter Festival

A group of senior Dance students performed in the Midwinter carnival.
The following students were involved in the involved in the choreography and performance. Temple Flaws was also involved in the Choreography for this piece.

Trinity Maydon (12)
Bella Devereux (12)
Ally Wong (12)
Kate Johnson (13)
Abbie Laughton (13)
Nicole Horrell (13)
Sarah Lee (12)

Tolcarne News

This week at Tribe Dinner, we farewelled one of our Gappies, Leonie, who leaves on Friday. Leonie has been an invaluable part of Tolcarne for the last 3 terms. She has always done everything with a big smile on her face, and the Juniors especially will miss her during the weekend activities. Good luck Leonie with all your life endeavours.

On Thursday night, John Hedges, who is the Dunedin Community Relations Manager, came to Tolcarne to talk to our Juniors about staying safe online, and our Seniors about looking after themselves and each other during the weekends. It was a valuable reminder for all our girls.

St Hilda’s Physiotherapy Service Information

From Tuesday 11th June, Roslyn Physio will be operating a physiotherapy clinic at St Hilda’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-1.30pm during term time. The clinic will be staffed by female physiotherapists from the Roslyn Physio staff and will operate out of the main office block at school.

Having a physiotherapy service on site will limit time out of class, enable access for assistance and support and will help to provide timely diagnosis and treatment for students, as well as cohesive advice, guidance and communication for students, parents, teachers and coaching staff. Communication regarding your daughter’s injury/condition will be made by Roslyn Physiotherapy directly to you and your daughter, thus maintaining the strict privacy and confidentiality requirements currently maintained by the practice.  

Appointments can be made by ringing Roslyn Physio on 4771744 or through the school student reception 

Treatment costs are as follows:
ACC Initial appt (30mins) – $27
ACC Follow-up appt (20 mins) – $20
Private Initial appt  (30 mins) – $72
Private Follow up appt (20 mins) – $55

Payment is by invoice. This will be sent out by email directly from Roslyn Physiotherapy monthly and payment can be made online.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Roslyn Physiotherapy to support and enhance your daughters wellbeing by making available this professional and expert assistance on site.



The Cancer Society Otago and Southland Division invites you to the inaugural Runway for Life Fashion Show.  This event is a collaboration between the Cancer Society, Otago Polytechnic and H&J Smith and many other businesses in Otago and Southland have offered their support.

We would love for you to come along and enjoy our fashion show featuring exclusive pieces donated by top New Zealand fashion designers (such as Trelise Cooper, Claire Bloom, Darlene Gore, Tamsin Cooper and more) that you will be able to bid on in our exciting charity auction.

The auction will be followed by a relaxed afternoon tea.  Prior to and after the fashion show, you will have the chance to browse our pop-up shop of fabulous pre-loved and lightly loved clothing and accessories that will be for sale (EFTPOS available).  We would appreciate you passing this invitation on to your colleagues and friends.

When and Where:  Saturday 13th July 1pm @The Hub, Otago Polytechnic Forth Street, Dunedin. (Fashion show to start at 1:30pm.)

Tickets are only $20 and are available online here or from the Cancer Society, 283 Great King St, Dunedin (03) 477 7447.   Email info@cansoc.org.nz  for further information.

“From Professor Margo Barton, Otago Polytechnic:  Otago Polytechnic is proud to be collaborating with the Cancer Society in this inaugural Runway for Life Fashion Show.  Please come along and help raise funds for this worthy cause.  There will be all sorts of interesting and wonderful fashion pieces to suit every wallet and person.”