Dear parents and caregivers

This is our last newsletter for the year and my final words as we depart for a much needed break. In many respects this year has been as challenging as the previous two years, particularly in the first two terms as we had to juggle the effects of covid on our students wellbeing and engagement, not to mention the huge challenges faced by staff. However, we have been able to resume some sense of normality as many of our usual school based activities have been able to proceed. It would seem that we will need to learn to live with covid, and possibly other occurrences that are becoming more frequent in this day and age.

During the last couple of weeks, we have had two staff resignations. Ms Mary Raleigh has been appointed to a Deputy Principal position at Te Aroha College. Ms Raleigh has taught English at Hillcrest for 17 years, and has been a Dean for a number of those years. She has also immersed herself in many aspects of school life throughout that time. Mr Tai Te Rito is also leaving us to take a role as Head of Careers at Napier Boys’ High School. Mr Te Rito has taught Physical Education at Hillcrest for the last 6 years as well as his role as Dean. He has been involved in our rugby programme as well as supporting our Maaori students and as a key member of Whakaruruhau, our Maaori committee at school. We wish Ms Raleigh and Mr Te Rito all the best in their new roles.

In the final week of the term, we hosted Pakuranga College in our annual junior sports exchange. The exchange had been disrupted in the last two years due to covid, so it was nice to see the full exchange take place. Hillcrest had a successful day winning the exchange by 8 games to 6. It is wonderful to see the amount of talent in our junior school and the positive effects that our new sports strategy “Raising Our Game” is beginning to have on our sports programmes. Thank you to Mr Grant Bradburn, our Director of Sports and Mr Bruce Fleming, our Sports Coordinator for their organisation of the day.

Over the last couple of weeks our junior students have been involved in Project Based Learning. Students worked in groups to design and present a concept or idea that could be developed in the real world. Although the ideas varied, themes such as sustainability, mental health and wellbeing, and dealing with some of the issues we currently face were common. Presentations took place on Thursday 8th December, with staff and students from Silverdale School as well as a number of parents and members of the community attending. The presentations concluded with  prize giving involving awards presented by the Beca Group, which included former student and Engineering Graduate, William Kingsbury, the Head Students and a Principal’s Prize. 

Our final act of the year concluded with Junior Prizegiving. It was most gratifying to see a number of our junior students acknowledged for their hard work, commitment and success  throughout the year. Thank you to the parents who attended.

Finally a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the achievement and wellbeing of our students this year. To our staff, many of whom go above and beyond to support our students and to our parents and community for your ongoing support. It takes a village to raise a child and school is no different.

Have a safe and relaxing Christmas break. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2023.

Ngaa mihi

Kelvin Whiting