Happy me­mories for prin­ci­pal Jungersen

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Porirua Col­lege prin­ci­pal Su­sanne Jungersen would have loved the re­build to have fin­ished ear­lier.

The prin­ci­pal since 1997, Jungersen has over­seen an im­prove­ment in aca­demic achieve­ment at the school, along with the $18.5 mil­lion up­grade to build­ings that be­gan in 2010. She re­tires in July. ‘‘I’ve been here 20 years [start­ing as as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal in 1996] and it’s a good time to go,’’ she said.

‘‘The school has re­spectable NCEA re­sults, a good learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, fan­tas­tic staff and won­der­ful stu­dents, but it’s time for some­one else to take the next steps as prin­ci­pal. It wasn’t a hard de­ci­sion in the end. The time is right.’’

The up­grades to the school’s in­fras­truc­ture, the first ma­jor changes since it was founded in 1968 – award-win­ning de­signs fea­tur­ing air con­di­tion­ing and bet­ter heat­ing, open plan teach­ing spa­ces and wire­less in­ter­net – could have been fin­ished ear­lier, Jungersen said.

‘‘There has been a lit­tle drag­ging of feet but what we got even­tu­ally is a mod­ern school to meet mod­ern needs.

‘‘I don’t think the school would’ve sur­vived with­out it.’’

The 1990s was a pe­riod of great change in ed­u­ca­tion in New Zealand, Jungersen said, as zones were abol­ished, on the grounds of in­creas­ing parental choice.

Ed­u­ca­tion be­came a com­mod­ity, she said.

Go­ing to your lo­cal school was just one op­tion, as op­posed to the norm, and it had huge ram­i­fi­ca­tions in Porirua.

‘‘It trans­lated to par­ents shop­ping around for the best ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren. It was a painful time for Porirua and we’re still feel­ing it to­day. The re­build has been a great gift in help­ing turn things around.’’

Jungersen said the aca­demic achieve­ment had been one thing, but see­ing young peo­ple build re­la­tion­ships with teach­ers, one another and their com­mu­nity has been the most sat­is­fy­ing part of her 20 years.

Com­ing from teach­ing at Welling­ton East Girls’ and Pe­tone col­leges to Porirua was a big learn­ing curve, she said. She still finds it hard to be­lieve it’s 20 years later.

Once re­tired, Jungersen has plans to ‘‘give voice to the sto­ries of the school’’, putting to­gether a book or other re­source.

Porirua Col­lege prin­ci­pal Su­sanne Jungersen and stu­dent Olouta Faraimo.

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