News from the Middle School

What an incredibly positive year we’ve had. We kicked things off with our Middle School swimming carnival followed by Year 8 camp at Totara Springs in February. These events bring our students, parents and staff together in a challenging and very enjoyable environment where girls set personal goals and push themselves to see what they can achieve. We launched the Athletes Pathway Programme in Y8 this year, and we look forward to some great refinements to the programme in 2018 as we work with Anna Stanley, former Silver Fern captain.

We had to cancel our Y7 camp at Motutapu because of bad weather, but the Y7 team sprang into action and a new camp was organised at Camp Adair in August. Our girls now know what it is like to survive a midwinter mud fest and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In mid-June, our Y7 girls entertained their families and teachers with their performance of Mr Fox. Ms Angie Tipping and the science team also took our girls to Auckland Zoo for a safari experience. There was much excitement about this adventure. Our girls took part in the annual Southwell sports exchange in July, and many of our Y8 girls enjoyed the brain stretching experience of attending the Philosophy Conference where they engaged with topics such as, “Does a snail have consciousness?” and, “Is self-sacrifice ever reasonable?”

Our Future Problem Solving teams have grappled all year with issues around topics such as space junk, genetics, and 3D printing, and one of our Y7 teams received a semi-finalist’s award, not bad after just three terms in the programme. All of our girls competed in the College cross country in July. This year parents were able to attend seminars with Dr Cordelia Fine and with psychologist Andrew Fuller. The Parents and Friends’ group works with us to ensure there are many and varied opportunities for parents to connect with the Middle School both socially and for learning more about adolescence. The Y7 and 8 class coordinators hosted parent soirees in Remuera in Term 1 and then in Ponsonby in Term 3, providing valuable opportunities to catch up and connect.

Our Y7 girls went to Orakei Marae at the end of August. This was a powerful experience and it began with a pōwhiri as the girls were called on to the marae. The very same week, our musicians took part in the Honours Band Festival and for the first time this year, the concert was held at the Town Hall. This is an incredible opportunity for our musicians, not only do they get to perform with students from across New Zealand, but we also had the privilege of billeting fellow musicians from St Margaret’s College. We have welcomed parents into our classrooms for Grandparents’ Day and our many celebrations of learning in Y7 and Y8, and we very much appreciate all of the parents in our community who gave their time and expertise to be guest speakers at our careers expo in the Middle School.

Our sporting endeavours have been something to shout about in 2017 too. Among our sporting achievements, we became the North Island skiing champions for the first time, and we were the NZAIMS hockey champions again. It is not all about winning though, and this year we sent our biggest ever team of athletes to NZAIMS. We know this experience grows the girls as athletes in so many ways, both on and off the field. The NZAIMS football team had a tiring tournament playing three games a day but never gave up.

As the year draws to a close, we are looking forward to welcoming our new Y7 cohort in February. We have already met most of the girls and many parents, and our House Leaders are ready to welcome the new Y7 girls. The current Y7 girls are already planning what they are going to do in terms of leadership and service next year as they play a vital role in ensuring the Middle School is a vibrant, happy, connected and buzzing place to be. The staff always look forward to meeting their new tutor groups and blasting off into their learning. Our girls will experience a full immersion day in Y7 and in Y8 as they jump head first into their inquiry learning. In Y7 and 8 next year, we will once again be taking a team approach as we seek to ensure our girls are looked after socially, emotionally and academically. Our pastoral team of Deans, the Personalised Learning Support team and counsellors will work with teachers and parents to make sure our girls are happy, connected, learning and growing as individuals as they journey with us through their Middle School years. The Middle School Team wish you a very restful break and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Margaret Talbot, Head of Middle School