WHANGAPARAOA COLLEGE New Zealand

International Director's Message

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What a term it has been!

The autumn term in NZ is always amazing; the weather gets a bit colder, there are some clear and windless days and the it is a last chance to access all the amazing beaches and coastlines without wetsuits. It’s also the in between time for our students. For some it is the last 10 weeks of their stay at our school, for others there is an increase in intensity around assessments that are due for NCEA. For the ones who are here for the whole year and not doing NCEA, things are changing. Activities are different and you see a different part of our beautiful country, maybe accessing the mountains and snow regions rather than the beaches and coastlines you have been around for the first part of the year.
 
It has been great to go and watch many of our international students participate in school life whether it be on the sports field in things such as Hockey, Rugby, Football, Badminton, Basketball and x-country running; or in the cultural part of our school in Stage challenge, J-rock, Choirs and orchestra. We know that involvement in these sort of groups really enhances the experience a student has whilst at our school. I personally went with the year 8 students to compete in the annual Tough guy and Gal challenge, which is a 3km mud/obstacle run which takes some students up to 2 hours. To see the students persevere and challenge themselves to finish the event was great and I think one student I would love to identify is Fern Wang one of our international students from China. Fern completed the course and was confronted with many things that she had not seen before and were not common to her. It was great to see her big smile at the end and be so satisfied with her accomplishment.
 
Term 2 is important for all students that attend Whangaparaoa College because it is the time learner led conferences take place. Probably the most important discussion about student progress we have at our school. It is a chance for students to share with their whanau (parents/caregivers/homestay) how successful they have been around their learning and the areas of difficulties they have. Then together as a group they create a strategy for continued improvement. Many of the conferences were with Debbie Culliford (International Dean) and she was glowing of the student’s preparation and confidence in sharing their progress.
 
As you read this I will be in Japan with Debbie Culliford and Josh Fox (HoD Maori) we are visiting our sister schools there. It is always such an enjoyable time and one of the only places which results in us visiting schools mainly. Visiting long term friends is one of the fantastic perks of my job.
 
Lastly I would love you to have a look at a video which was taken of one of our year 13 students presenting his speech for year 13 English. The student (Marlow Guttman) is half way through his last year with us and achieved an excellence grade for the speech. The speech was themed “A life less ordinary” and talks about the difference between his school/life in Germany and what he has experienced so far in his time in New Zealand. For me it was quite emotional, you always hope that the students that come to New Zealand have an amazing experience and grow as people from their time here. Listening to this speech I can honestly say Marlow has experienced a lot and had an amazing time. I know there are a lot more students like that in our school and other schools around the world.
 
I look forward to catching up with you all in the near future
 
Jason

Please click here to watch Marlow's speech
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