Viard prin­ci­pal feel­ing wel­come

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Rose Sawaya-Bax­ter says she has al­ready be­come aware of the gen­er­ous spirit that ex­ists at Bishop Viard Col­lege.

The school’s new prin­ci­pal of­fi­cially be­gan her ten­ure at the be­gin­ning of term one, but spent time in Porirua in the school hol­i­days, at­tend­ing an event with stu­dents and talk­ing to staff.

‘‘The stu­dents are won­der­ful – so open and hon­est,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m ex­cited to be here and about the chal­lenges be­fore me.’’

The chal­lenges, she said, in­cluded in­creas­ing the roll and con­tin­u­ing the up­wards trend in NCEA achieve­ment.

Staff were hard-work­ing and had the in­ter­ests of their stu­dents at heart, she said.

Mov­ing from Sa­cred Heart Girls’ Col­lege, a fi­nan­cially sta­ble, sin­gle-sex decile 8 school in New Ply­mouth, to decile 1 Bishop Viard was a big change in set­ting, Sawaya-Bax­ter said.

Porirua was part of a larger re­gion, whereas New Ply­mouth had more of a small town feel.

‘‘There’s dif­fer­ences on many lev­els and I’ve felt re­ally wel­come since I ar­rived,’’ she said. ‘‘I have six broth­ers and my grand­son lives with me, so I think I’m aware of the great sense of hu­mour boys have, and the way they work.’’

Af­ter the sur­prise de­par­ture of prin­ci­pal Teresa Cargo last year, for­mer Welling­ton High School prin­ci­pal Prue Kelly took the reins tem­po­rar­ily.

Sawaya-Bax­ter said she hoped to con­tinue on the pos­i­tive track Kelly had put in place.

Sawaya- Bax­ter grew up in Is­land Bay and Mi­ra­mar and was happy to be living in Porirua af­ter 20 years away from fam­ily.

She was deputy prin­ci­pal at Sa­cred Heart Girls’ Col­lege in Hamil­ton for five years be­fore mov­ing to New Ply­mouth in 2007.

She is ex­cited to be tak­ing over the school, which im­pressed her at the O’Shea Shield speech com­pe­ti­tion in Hast­ings last year.

‘‘ I saw the way the ju­nior stu­dents were speak­ing,’’ she said. ‘‘The pas­sion and joy they were show­ing, along with the sup­port, was im­pres­sive. It won me over.’’

She has joined the school at a time when a new gym­na­sium is about to be built – the as­sem­bly hall is the tem­po­rary gym at present – along with up­grades to many of the school’s build­ings.

Sawaya-Bax­ter said she hoped the new gym could even­tu­ally be used by the wider com­mu­nity.

New teach­ing chal­lenge: Rose SawayaBax­ter, Bishop Viard Col­lege’s new prin­ci­pal.

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