Flaxmere Col­lege is 25

Hastings Leader - - Front Page - BY BRENDA VOWDEN brenda.vowden@nzme.co.nz

Flaxmere Col­lege is hold­ing a rugby match with a dif­fer­ence when it cel­e­brates its 25th birth­day in a cou­ple of weeks.

Former stu­dents and staff will play present stu­dents and staff, with the col­lege’s sec­ond prin­ci­pal Richard Schu­macher as ref­eree.

The col­lege started life as an in­ter­me­di­ate, cater­ing for around 300 Years 7-9 (Form 1-3) stu­dents and 27 staff. Found­ing prin­ci­pal John Parkin­son re­tired in May, 1995 and was re­placed by Richard. The col­lege has grown up and out from hum­ble be­gin­nings and is now in cel­e­bra­tion mode — get­ting ready to mark the mile­stone since its of­fi­cial open­ing on June 3, 1993. Each sub­se­quent year an­other year level was added, with the first co­hort of Form 7 stu­dents (Year 13) begin­ning in 1997. In 1994 the then Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced he was con­sid­er­ing halt­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Flaxmere Col­lege at fourth form (Year 10) level.

“This was met with a mas­sive re­ac­tion from the com­mu­nity which re­sulted in protest ac­tion and marches. The de­ci­sion was sub­se­quently re­viewed and the school con­tin­ued through to Form 7 (Year 13),” says ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­ec­u­tive Kathryn Sim­mons.

As an ini­tial in­ter­me­di­ate, the col­lege Board of Trustees, man­age­ment and staff had to cre­ate poli­cies and pro­ce­dures as each new level was added, which bought dif­fer­ent chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties. Other chal­lenges have come in the form of out­side per­cep­tions, Kathryn says.

“When peo­ple visit the school they com­ment on the pos­i­tive wha¯ nau at­mos­phere and the cul­ture of suc­cess through­out the school. We’ve built this cul­ture through­out the school where ev­ery stu­dent is en­joy­ing and achiev­ing ed­u­ca­tional suc­cess.”

That ed­u­ca­tional suc­cess was re­warded when Flaxmere Col­lege won the 2018 Supreme Award and Teach­ing and Learn­ing Award at the Prime Min­is­ter’s Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­cel­lence Awards this year.

“This suc­cess didn’t hap­pen in iso­la­tion. It hap­pened through mean­ing­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion and hav­ing a shared goal to en­sure eq­uity and ex­cel­lence for all stu­dents so they can achieve their as­pi­ra­tions.”

Suc­cess isn’t lim­ited to the school grounds — past pupils in­clude those now work­ing as lawyers, ac­tors, busi­ness own­ers, teach­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers, mil­i­tary per­son­nel, coun­cil mem­bers, youth and com­mu­nity work­ers.

“We are proud of all of our stu­dents.”

Kathryn says the new chal­lenge is to pre­pare each learner for fu­ture ed­u­ca­tion and the ever-chang­ing dig­i­tal world. She says tech­nol­ogy has sup­ported ef­fec­tive teach­ing and learn­ing prac­tises across the school.

“We are for­tu­nate to have the sup­port of the Flaxmere Li­cens­ing Trust who has funded the bulk of our ICT re­sources.”

Sport and cul­ture are also very im­por­tant to staff and stu­dents.

“We of­fer a wide range of ex­tra cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties — from bas­ket­ball, net­ball, bad­minton and volleyball to Out­ward Bound schol­ar­ships, horse polo and pool.”

Kathryn be­lieves Flaxmere Col­lege has cre­ated a wha¯ nau en­vi­ron­ment where ev­ery stu­dent is gen­uinely cared about, with high ex­pec­ta­tions for their learn­ing and suc­cess. The school has be­come a com­mu­nity hub where wha¯ nau and com­mu­nity groups of­ten base them­selves.

“Past stu­dents of­ten visit and let us know what they are do­ing. We love cel­e­brat­ing their on­go­ing suc­cess. We are re­ally ex­cited about the cel­e­bra­tion and it’s been great hear­ing from past stu­dents and staff and what they have been do­ing.”

■ Flaxmere Col­lege 25th school re­union, Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 20. The day starts with a powhiri at the school, morn­ing tea, photos and tours of the school. Fol­low­ing this, there are two past stu­dent/staff vs cur­rent stu­dent staff sports matches — rugby at 12.30pm and net­ball at 1.30pm at the school. Din­ner is at 6.30pm at the HB Rac­ing Cen­tre with en­ter­tain­ment and guest speak­ers (past stu­dents and staff). Reg­is­ter to at­tend on the school web­site, or at the col­lege of­fice. Reg­is­tra­tions close Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 10, 2018.

Gear­ing up for their 25th re­union are Flaxmere Col­lege past and present staff and stu­dents (from left) Cherie Heeney (nee Po­hatu - cur­rent staff mem­ber and past stu­dent), Jane Goodacre (past staff mem­ber), Kevin Gill (cur­rent staff mem­ber), Joann Waitoa (cur­rent staff mem­ber), Kathryn Sim­mons (cur­rent staff mem­ber).

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