Re­mem­ber­ing old school days

CHB Mail - - News -

There are only two weeks to go un­til reg­is­tra­tions close for Otane School’s 150th ju­bilee, and only four weeks be­fore the cel­e­bra­tions be­gin.

Past Otane School prin­ci­pal Forbes New­ton has writ­ten a me­moir of his time at the school and is en­cour­ag­ing past stu­dents, teach­ers and fam­ily mem­bers to reg­is­ter be­fore the cut-off date of Septem­ber 30.

Peo­ple can reg­is­ter at­bilee-Reg­is­tra­tions. Hard copy regis­tra­tion forms are avail­able from the school by call­ing 06 85 68 009. Costs are $25 regis­tra­tion, $25 Fri­day night Chat­ter & Plat­ter, and $50 Satur­day night din­ner and dance. Ex-pupils, teach­ers, and wha¯ nau are en­cour­aged to reg­is­ter to­day. of the front door and the school of­fice and sick bay were to­gether.

The first school assem­bly was a bit daunt­ing for me. The roll was 107 and I was only used to 32 chil­dren. I had come from a ‘role-charge’ po­si­tion. As time went on I soon got to know the chil­dren, par­ents, and the Otane com­mu­nity at large. I of­ten think of the chil­dren I have had the priv­i­lege of teach­ing, as I have a soft-spot for each and ev­ery­one of them as they were all unique in many ways.

Re­mem­ber the pet days? We tried to give every pet a prize. There were some un­usual pets that came to school. Then there were the sports days and in­ter­school sports and swim­ming sports with ev­ery­one tak­ing part. Ath­let­ics for some chil­dren was a chal­lenge and for oth­ers it was a night­mare. At most of the in­ter-school sports, Otane held their own against com­pet­ing schools.

Cross coun­try prac­tices around the sur­round­ing pad­docks and town streets kept one on their toes, es­pe­cially a group of chil­dren who took a short-cut and ended up be­ing chased by a pet ram and hav­ing to climb a tree and wait to be res­cued. Rugby and net­ball and soc­cer had a good fol­low­ing. There was never a short­age of coaches as par­ents al­ways gave up their time. Over the years the teams per­formed ex­tremely well and we never re­ally had a short­age of trans­port.

Who can for­get school camps and the fundrais­ing that went into these? The ‘Pig in a Bar­row’ raf­fle, push­ing a bath with two adults in it around Otane, spon­sor­ing walk­ers around the five-mile block, and many oth­ers. The school camps to Wakarara and the nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with that! The climb up to Sun­rise Hut. The Welling­ton camps and across to Pic­ton camp. Tu­rangi and across to the Chateau, and Ro­torua camp too!

Who can for­get the fancy dress balls and the prac­tices each class had? The ‘Paw Paw Patch’ and ‘Red River Val­ley’ and so on. Learn­ing the ‘Grand March’ and go­ing to the Town Hall for re­hearsals. Over the years the school has been for­tu­nate with the school com­mit­tees, boards of trustees, and PTA. The par­ents and teach­ers gave up a con­sid­er­able amount of their time en­sur­ing the smooth run­ning of the school.

All par­ents, staff and board of trustees were fully chal­lenged with the of­fi­cial open­ing of the bi-lin­gual unit. There were over 1200 vis­i­tors from around Hawke’s Bay that at­tended the open­ing.

I re­mem­ber staff who I worked with over the years as prin­ci­pal. I re­mem­ber them with af­fec­tion for their sup­port and friend­ship that was ex­tended by them. They were happy years.

To all those stu­dents, teach­ers, com­mit­tee mem­bers, par­ents and friends of the school who have passed on, we re­mem­ber them in our thoughts and con­ver­sa­tions as we gather and “share the joys and smile at the tears of those of our yesteryears”. Fi­nally, never for­get a school is only a build­ing — those who study, work and care bring it to life. He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tan­gata, he tan­gata, he tan­gata. (What is the most im­por­tant thing of life? It is peo­ple, it is peo­ple, it is peo­ple).

Cur­rent Otane School prin­ci­pal Rachel Kingi and past prin­ci­pal Forbes New­ton.

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