South Otago High School News

2023 Newsletter

View web version

18 August 2023 Newsletter

Kia Ora Tatou
This week has been a second week of numerous after school meetings where I have had the opportunity to meet parents and other members of our community to talk about the work of South Otago High School, the opportunities that we can offer both students and also how we can work with our local community. It has also been an opportunity to discuss with some how we can improve the school and ensure that we are meeting the needs of students, whanau and our community.
This has lead to some reflections on what we have achieved and also the destinations of our students. I remarked to one parent, after describing what one student was doing after leaving South Otago High School, that; ‘If a young person is prepared to continue to learn beyond high school then the world is their oyster’. On a regular basis I hear of past students who now work locally, nationally and internationally. These past students work in a wide variety of fields from trades, to law, commerce and the creative industries.
I truly believe that students who graduate from South Otago High School have the same opportunities to achieve at the highest level if that is their passion. I wonder where our future graduates will go?
Samoan community meeting
At the start of this week it was a pleasure to meet a number of parents of our Samoan students and to hear of their aspirations for their children. This was the first time that we have been able to meet a group of our Samoan families and I really appreciated the opportunity to have a great discussion and share kai with you all.
NCEA Option evening
On Wednesday it was good to see so many parents of our Year 10 students attend to hear about NCEA, what South Otago High School can do to support students to achieve and also to start the conversations about the pathways to student goals.  In the next couple of weeks we anticipate receiving the first round of option selections for students from Year 10 to 12 so that we can start to create the 2024 school timetable and prepare courses for next year.
Community Consultation
The board of Trustees are preparing the strategic plan for 2024-25. As part of the development of the plan the Board do need to engage in consultation with the community. In the past this has been done through a series of community meetings throughout the district. This year the Board is keen to hear from as many individuals as possible so will be circulating a link to an online survey. This will be sent to all whanau prior to the end of the term. The Board also anticipate that there will be some ‘focus group’ meetings to gather further detailed information and feedback. Information regarding the gathering of information will be shared in this newsletter and is letters to our parent community. I hope that as many parents and whanau will contribute towards setting the direction of the school for the next two years.
Cell phones in school
In the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of publicity with regard to banning cell phones in school. Each school has their own context and some have stated that students are banned from having cell phones in school. As a school we are aware that there are a wide variety of opinions and have worked to develop our own system which suits the needs of our community. A complete ban would not suit our community where so many students have practices after school or may be driving late in an evening from after school work to home on rural roads. In addition there are times when cell phones are a critical tool for recording work. As examples in some of our practical classes students are required to photograph their work for NCEA assessment or record their voice/ or video as evidence of progress.
Therefore, our expectation is to educate young people to use cell phones in a responsible and appropriate manner. This means that:
At the start of each lesson a student’s cell phone is to be placed in a holder as they enter the classroom or be placed out of sight in their bag. This is to remove the distraction for students of their cell phone
Students who need to use or access a function on their cell phone as part of their learning are expected to request permission to access their cell phone
Students who do not follow these guidelines are required to surrender their device until the end of the school day when they can collect their phone from the school office.
Since initiating this process we see fewer students ‘glued’ to their screen at lunchtime and interval and have also recorded fewer instances of inappropriate behaviour using devices.
We will continue to monitor and evaluate our position with cell phones and be reviewing evidence on a regular basis. It helps when whanau support the school in our processes and understand our efforts to reduce distractions to learning.
Past student success
We have recently been informed of the following past students who have graduated this year. The details are:

Massey University

  • Sara Perana -- Bachelor of Health Science, postgraduate certificate in nursing
  • Larissa Barnett -- Bachelor of Health Science, postgraduate certificate in nursing

Lincoln University

  • Jamie Hunter -- Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture

Canterbury University

  • Alissa Quinn -- Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning

Otago University

  • Jacqueline Bowden-Tucker -- Post graduate Certificate in Health Science
  • Caitlin Cook -- Post graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation
  • Reese Martin -- Masters in International Development and Planning
  • Erin Munro -- Post graduate Certificate in Health Science
  • Paris Skipper -- Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Jessary Garcia -- Bachelor of Commerce
  • Lessleen Makoni -- Bachelor of Commerce
  • Briar Mills -- Bachelor of Science
  • Alice Murray -- Bachelor of Science
  • Virginia Sanders -- Bachelor of Arts
  • Lucas Thomson -- Bachelor of Arts
  • Olivia Van Asperan -- Bachelor of Science
  • Chrystal Wrigley -- Bachelor of Physiotherapy
  • Jarvis Penn -- Bachelor of Arts

Congratulations to all of our graduates. On behalf of South Otago High School we wish you well in your future careers. We look forward to hearing about the next steps that you make whether it be to continue to study or into the world of work.
As I prepare this above list of graduates I am enormously proud of what these students have achieved and also those that have moved from school to further study or employment. This week I have been talking to former students who are part way through or have recently completed apprenticeship as well as past pupils who have completed other certificates and training courses. All are so proud of their own achievements, as they should be! All have a strong connection to the school and talked fondly about different members of staff. Wherever I go and I meet past students they all have nothing but positive memories of their time at South Otago High School. Our aim is to continue to grow the achievement of young people so that graduates from ‘little old Balclutha’ can continue to take their place in the world and make a difference and to make our world a better place.
Ka kite ano

Recent News


Reminders re: Cups, Trophies and Blue Nominations

It is time for 2022 Cups and Trophy recipients to dust off and polish the awarded cup or trophy and return to the school office by the end of the month.

View More

Fundraiser for Girl’s Basketball with Mamas Donuts!

Donuts are $3.50 each. Original Glazed donuts ONLY.

View More

Thanks for Attending the RYDA Workshop

Thank you for organising your students to attend the RYDA Workshop on Aug 15, 2023.

View More

Year 13 Biology Trip to Otago Museum

Year 13 Biology went to Otago Museum today as part of the Human Evolution unit, to build on what they have been studying in class.

View More

Links for Year 8 Parents to Book Enrolment Interviews

Links for Year 8 Parents to Book Enrolment Interviews

View More

BOT Student Election Notice

Would YOU like to represent your school as STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE on the Board of Trustees?

View More

Daffodil Day

We are holding our daffodil day next Wednesday 23rd August.

View More