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Solway head to leave

Solway College principal Elizabeth Rogerson is retiring at the end of term two after 20 years in her role. PHOTO/ELI HILL

20 years at helm to end

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After 20 years at the helm of Solway College, it’s no surprise that principal Elizabeth Rogerson said she’d find it difficult to leave.

Rogerson will step down at the end of term two in July, handing over the reins to a yet-to-be appointed successor.

While the decision to leave was not taken lightly Rogerson said it was time for someone new to set the school’s direction.

The school’s role is 161, the highest it’s been since the 1960s.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why now is a good time, the school is growing, there’s some challenges ahead. Obviously we’ve got some challenges with tomorrow’s schools changing the way we do things.

“We’re looking to do some hostel expansion and we can’t grow any more until we do.

“We’ve also got the equestrian centre up and running. It’s buzzing so it just feels like a good time to let a new person take over.”

Before taking up the principal position at Solway, Rogerson had been deputy principal at Taumarunui High School.

“We were looking for a family-move and I was attracted to Solway because it was different.

“I didn’t intend to stay 20 years, but certain circumstance meant I did – the special character of the school, the nature of the community and because Masterton is a fantastic place to live and to work.”

Her highlights had been “undoubtedly” the achievements of pupils who have passed through the school.

“This school’s quite special. It’s got a real focus on doing the best job it can for each student, so the achievement of individual students is the highlight.

“These kids come in and they achieve, quite often beyond their own expectations which is really special.”

The fact that many pupils stayed in touch with the school and kept coming back even after graduating was proof, Rogerson said, that it had been meaningful in their lives.

“Some of the things that I have been proudest of in the school is some of the students who have had struggles and who have come through that and done wonderfully well in terms of their own personal achievement rather than being a statistic.

“We’ve got wonderful kids, and a fantastic community and that makes it work.”

Rogerson said that after the final bell rings she’s going to take a break, have a rest and spend time with family, as well as doing things she hasn’t had time for.

After that?

“Well, we’ll see where we go from there.

“I’ll find it really hard to leave. I will, because I’ve been here a long time. But also, because I really enjoy the school, working with the kids and their families, and the staff. It’s a very supportive environment.

“It’s been a real privilege to work with so many wonderful people.”

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