Zest for Learning

"Te Ihi ki te Ako"


What a pleasure it is to be looking back on and celebrating a very eventful 2014 with you.

I am very proud of the way our Whanaus very effectively promotes and engenders our whanau values of Whakapapa (Connection), Ahuatanga (Character), Tu Maia (Confidence) and Maatau (Competence), the 4Cs. It is the reason most of our learners interact well with their Learning Leaders, as well as with each other. We must keep on doing this and aim to do even better.

It is a privilege to be working with a very able, dedicated and passionate staff. The impressive and innovative way our learners and whanau are helped to Belong, Learn and Succeed is because of what you all do every day. The learning community, not just here in New Zealand but overseas recognises this too and has called on some of our Learning Leaders this year to share their expertise. To mention just one: Elinor Davie, Lynda Shanks and Karyn White, at the invitation and recommendation of renowned Educationalist John Hattie, attended and presented at the San Diego Visible Learning Conference in June. Noteworthy too would be the Health and Physical Education Learning Area receiving the PENZ 2014 Outstanding Physical Education Award and Nicole Greensides receiving a scholarship by Holocaust New Zealand to attend the Yad Vashem Seminar in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the year we celebrated the continued upward trend of our NCEA results. Pasifika achievement across all three levels was especially pleasing. Our EME Awards Evening in February boasted the largest number of recipients so far; and, to add to our already commendable list of scholarship passes, was our first ever Physical Education scholarship pass. As the year draws to a close, what a pleasure it is to see this years current cohort of NCEA learners maintaining this upward trend. A high number of Level 2 learners achieved their NCEA before even sitting external exams. Congratulations to all our winners in the Maori, Pasifika, Senior and Junior Prizegiving celebrations. A special congratulation to Daniel Ward our Dux for 2014. Congratulations too to all our scholarship winners and especially, Holly Tito, who has been awarded a highly-sought after First Foundation Scholarship. Last but not least, just this week, Kaitoro Senior, Lauraina Funaki, was awarded the 2014 $7000 Prime Ministers Learning and Teaching Award. Well done!

One learning highlight this year would have to be the recreation of Gallipoli by learners in the Minecraft classes. Their story of endeavour, innovation, enthusiasm and toil made national news in June, even appearing on TV3. What many do not see however, is this innovation and future-focused learning occurring daily in many of our learning spaces. What a pleasure it has been to witness this.

This years learning highlights in the cultural arena would have to include the March ASB Polyfest Competition where six ethnic cultures: Maori, Niuean, Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan and Indian represented AC. And, of course, Bradas, that talented group of AC musos, who continue to win accolades on the Music stage; this year winning titles at the Smokefree Pasifika Beats and Rockquest competitions. Their video for making the Rockquest National Finals that aired on national TV in early November is a real tribute to Alfriston College and the Music programme our College has. It most probably is the reason TV3 selected Alfriston College as the South Auckland venue for their X Factor auditions.

A contribution to our successes in this arena would have to be our Inter-whanau competitions and so, congratulations to all our winners in the 2014 Inter-whanau Speech, Choir and Chant competitions.

It is safe to say that the Inter-whanau competitions have also contributed to our sporting successes this year. The October Sports Awards Evening certainly acknowledged an impressive group of sports people. The Premier Mixed Touch Rugby team deservedly won their AC Team of the Year award as well as the Counties Manukau Sports Junior Team of the Year. They are current National champions and are the first ever non-Australian winners of the Queensland All Schools Premier Mixed Touch Championship. It is not a surprise that Rory Marshall Barton made the NZ Under19 Touch Team and has now been called into the Counties-Manukau Mens team. Teresa Tuhi made national representation for the first time when she joined Rory in the NZSS Turbo Touch team. Also for the first time, the 1st XV were semi-finalists in the Counties Manukau Secondary Schools Premier Rugby competition. Congratulations to Captain, Chris Cunningham, who has signed an NRL contract with Sydney side, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Rugby League Club. Another first this year was the Premier Boys Basketball team winning the Wider Auckland Basketball competition to secure a spot in the highly competitive Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Basketball competition next year. We wish them the very best as we all venture into this new territory for Alfriston College.

Our Colleges contribution to the wider community is well known. I am pleased that this year has added to this reputation again. Thank you to the 300+ learners and whanau who participated in the Sunrise Walk for Totara Hospice. Hospice has presented the College with a commendation certificate and the trophy for the school with the largest turnout of learners. To Auaha and Kaitoro, thank you all for the 1200+ cans collected for the Salvation Army Can Drive charity. What a pleasure it is to hear of the large army of AC learners willingly serving and contributing to a wide variety of community organisations, services, projects and events. Like, Hinekiri Bennet representing AC at the Lions Young Ambassador Awards and doing the public reading at the Manurewa Armistice Day. AC was also well represented at the Manurewa ANZAC Memorial service; Tatiana Tataurangi-Ruru and Brandon Ulfsby presented while Nicholas Henderson and Veejal Mistry laid a wreath on behalf of the College.

Well-spoken off too is the way we welcome and treat visitors to our college. A number of Principals and school leaders have visited us during the course of the year to glean ideas they could use in their own schools and, they always leave, with glowing reports of how well our learners have interacted with them. Hieizan High Schools visit in May was no exception. And most important, this was the common feedback received from the 250+ people who attended the Year 8 Family Experience Evenings in August. This caring and welcoming spirit must surely have contributed to the very successful 2015 Year 8 Home School Partnership evenings that more than 170 Year 8 families attended. Well done and long may this continue.

I certainly look forward to 2015 and wish you all the very best for it. For now,may you all have a safe and happy holiday.

Robert Solomone, Principal

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