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Modern learning space gets full formal opening

Pupils of Fernridge School performing the haka Ko Wairarapa as the new pupils enter the school grounds. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

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Fernridge School started its year off right on Tuesday with a formal opening for its new modern learning environment.

Principal Janine Devenport said it was a long time coming.

The new building has been in use since Term 4 last year and boasts separate soundproof break-out areas, while comfortably fitting 75 Year 1 and 2 children.

The new school year started with a powhiri for the families of the new pupils – something the school does every term.

This was followed by a performance of the haka Ko Wairarapa by existing pupils, which the families responded to by singing Te Aroha.

All 189 pupils then stayed for the formal opening of the new building, which was attended by Rangitane o Wairarapa iwi representative Mike Kawana, who acknowledged Ngati Kahungunu in his speech, before taking part in a hongi with staff and families of the school.

The building was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting by Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, and third-generation Fernridge School pupil Olivia Weir.

The school board chairman Mark Davies thanked Devenport for her years of “hard work” planning the new building for the school.

“I’m sure the students are going to love their fantastic new classrooms,” he said.

Devenport thanked parents for their patience during the process, calling it a “long, long journey”, but saying the building reflected her vision for the school.

“The staff and students are really excited and really overwhelmed to be in this new building,” she said.

“We got used to conditions which were pretty dark and cold and shared them with livestock of the tiny variety.”

The school also revealed plans to further develop the playground to “benefit all the children”, and to upgrade existing classrooms.

Devenport said she was looking forward to this year where she could hopefully “focus on teaching and learning and not property”.

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