A very warm welcome back to you all. It’s been a very long break, and I’m very happy to be back. And I know you are too! I’d like to extend a welcome to those new students joining us today, and extend the offer from all of us here that we are all here to help you settle into the Newlands way as quickly as possible. This is my fourth opportunity to welcome you to a school year, but another way of looking at it, is this is my second to last time. Time is flying, and in my words today I want to capture some of the big picture and what we are working towards.
One of the biggest challenge of 2015 was getting our heads round NCEA, and ultimately finding success within the system. Now that results are out, I’d like to congratulate you on the performance of the Year Group as a whole.
If you remember back to last year our Year Level Goals were:
- To match or exceed the highest pass rate for Level One at Newlands College
- To match or exceed the highest Merit/Excellent endorsements for Level One at Newlands College
It is early to be talking statistics as there are more formal stats to be released by NZQA – but roughly 4 out of every 5 students in the year group passed NCEA Level One. In addition over half of the Year group gained either a Merit or an Excellence endorsement. These are results we can be very proud of. But watch this space as I’ll report back to you a more formal account of how well we did in due course.
Everyone in this room will fit into one of two camps. You will either be someone who met or exceeded your goal for 2015. Or you will have not achieved your goal.
For those of you who met your goal – congratulations! Well done on your achievement, and if you haven’t already, take the time to reflect on your success and give yourself that high five. You will now need to think about the next step in the staircase, what is your goal for this year? Did you make it too easy for yourself to succeed in 2015 and need a more challenging target this year? Do you want more credits, a higher endorsement?
For those of you that didn’t meet your goal, it’s also time for reflection. It’s time to think about what didn’t go to plan and put in place strategies to overcome these barriers. What were those barriers? Was it just exams or was it the early part of the year where you took a while to get going? Did you make the right choices throughout the year? How did those choices affect your outcomes?
Regardless of why you are reflecting, once again I’d like to affirm that myself as your Dean and the guidance team of Ms Mills, your Form Teachers and mentors are here to help. We continue to have a great deal of continuity with our team; however, there have been a couple of changes. 12CJ has become 12CO, because over the holidays Ms Conjin got married! She is now Ms Coorey. Also we have farewelled Whaea Oriana who has moved up to the East Coast to live closer to her family. As a result 11NP will now be 12MK for now and we welcome Ms McKay to the team. She is only joining us for a short time and later in the year we will welcome a new Form Teacher to our year group and a new te reo teacher to the school. Watch this space.
The other key person to draw attention to is after Ms Montgomery left at the end of last year we have welcomed Mr Mulholland as our new Guidance Counsellor. He is housed in the new admin building in the same place as the old Guidance Counselor office. He is on camp now with all the new Year 9s, but you will get to know his face very soon.
So while I have earlier made mention of results today is not all about achievements, but instead to look forward to possibilities in 2016. This is a year with so many opportunities, many more in fact than you might have had earlier given you are now well and truly in the senior school. Make the most of these opportunities, whether they be in the classroom, on the sports field, on this stage when it is transformed into 1962 for this year’s musical Hairspray, or in another arts pursuit, whether it be the opportunity to excel in something outside of school, or in a leadership position, or in the opportunity to open a door for someone else, or thank the person that did it for you.
A word I used then was leadership. Many of us I know have leadership aspirations, and 2016 is a key year. At the end of this year you’ll have the opportunity to sign up to be a peer support leader and I know for many of you this is one of your goals. To get into Peer Support it’s important you put your hand up and make a positive impact. It’s not too late for anyone here – so I urge you to start putting your increasing maturity to good use.
In a few minutes you will go to your Form Class, and hear some important information from your Form Teachers. Listen to the information they give you – there are some important things to go over. But most of all, enjoy being back at school. We are very excited to have you back with us – so join us in looking forward to a brilliant 2016.