Wet welcome for new principal
Witherlea School’s new principal is looking forward to her unofficial inauguration – soggy sponges launched at her at the school’s popular gala.
Andrea Harnett took over from Murray Hewson who served 27 years as head of the school before retiring.
Now, fresh from Palmerston North, she’s picking up where Hewson left off, with plans to develop collaborative teaching and new learning methods.
Harnett was previously the principal of a small country school before becoming a deputy principal in a very big school where there were no single cell classrooms.
‘‘I’ve been sort of developing that in conjunction with my principal, we’re firm believers that if it’s done right ... it can work magic for kids.
‘‘It may be the next step here.’’
Harnett said they were already trying out collaborative teaching at new entrant level.
‘‘That will probably be the first building we change.’’
Witherlea School is aiming to move towards an innovative teaching and learning practice, and the gala is set to help fund that.
Organiser and parent Tash Stewart is involved in her third school gala this year.
‘‘It’s a huge community event. The atmosphere’s cool, the school just buzzes, it’s really cool.’’
One stall in particular is a real drawcard for the adults, Stewart said.
‘‘When you see them all lined up at the gate at 10.50am it’s like ‘Oh my God!’. They want to get in to trash and treasure so they want to get in first.’’
Amongst the market stalls, entertainment includes mini golf, a bouncy castle, toilet roll toss and soggy sponge which encourages gala-goers to throw a wet sponge at Harnett and teachers.
Stewart said Harnett asked the assembly who was going to throw a sponge at her ‘‘and 400 hands went in the air’’.
She said last year $34,000 was raised and she hoped that could be equalled this year.
The money raised will go towards shade structures for students to take their learning outside the classroom.
Harnett said the school couldn’t do these things without the help of the community.
‘‘It’s a huge gala, very popular. The community’s been amazing. The whole community – business, families. It’s incredible how they’ve got behind it so we’re very lucky.’’