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Principal's Welcome 

Friday, 3rd February 2017

 

Kia ora,

Dear Parents,

Congratulations to our rowers who came 2nd across all schools competing in the “Head of the Harbour” regatta last weekend.  This is a fantastic result as the regatta also acts as the Auckland championship.

Under the guidance of our head coach, Josh Schmidt, and the support of many volunteers, our rowers have been training and competing through the summer and are now working towards the North Island regatta and then the MAADI Cup.

Well done to everyone who involved in this programme.

Also congratulations to our boys’ First XI cricket team who have kicked off this half of the season with two wins over Papatoetoe High School and Orewa College, and to our girls’ First XI team who beat Mount Albert Grammar School on Wednesday.

School has settled into a regular routine with students in class and working hard.  I am aware that there have been one or two changes to classes due to unexpected student numbers.  This has affected a small number of students in years 11 and 12.  These have been addressed as quickly as possible.

Thanks to everyone who involved in swimming sports on Monday and congratulations to the winning house – Europe.  Go to our Facebook and Flickr pages (follow the links on our website) to see the photos of the day.

Enrolments for summer and winter sports teams are now open.  They are being done online this year.  If your child is unsure of how to enrol, please send him or her to the sports office (at the end of the old gymnasium) during interval or lunchtime, or email our sports staff (Jeremy Adams – adm@gdc.school.nz; Nicki Beattie – sports@gdc.school.nz) and they will help you get your child enrolled in a sport.

Alternative Facts?

It has been curious to follow US politics over the last few weeks.  It has been quite a brutal and polarising time. Much of the debate is not new.  Nationalism has been on the rise in Europe and was seen in the Brexit vote.  ‘Fake news’ (i.e. propaganda) precedes the US election … arguably by several hundred years. 

What concerns me as an educator and parent, is how some public figures seem to play with values such as truth, respect and community to push their agenda or self-interest, and the example this sets for our young people.  Often what is published in the media can seep into what our students/children believe and say.

None of us hold an absolute authority on values, but they are very important and we need to discuss them with our children.

At Glendowie College we commit to truth.  A few years ago, the famous statistician, Hans Rosling, said “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own facts.”  We teach various historical and scientific facts to our students.  Some facts are quite black and white (e.g. there was a war) and others are overlaid with opinion (e.g. it was good that we won the war).  We need to be clear about both.  Truth must be based on objective reality, not just asserting an opinion loudly.

At Glendowie College we commit to respect.  It is not okay to make a point or win an argument by belittling someone else.

At Glendowie College we commit to community.  In our DNA we say that ‘we are family’.  Being in an immediate or extended family means supporting others and their opinions, even when we do not necessarily agree.  Sometimes family is great and sometimes it is not, but we stick together.

Thankfully politics in New Zealand is not so polarised, but as Benjamin Franklin warned, we must not take this liberty for granted.

In our first staff meeting of the year, I raised this with staff and said that we need to be open and transparent about our values as teachers.  It is important that we articulate our DNA – our values, why we hold them and that we have a positive process for discussing them with our students.

Richard Dykes

Principal

 

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