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Trials and rewards at Rathkeale

Rathkeale College principal Martin O’Grady says students have developed a greater awareness of wellbeing through the challenges of covid-19. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

The Times-Age wants to celebrate the success of Wairarapa’s secondary school students in a year where covid-19 threw learners yet more curveballs. Today, Rathkeale College provides TOM TAYLOR with a breakdown of its students’ triumphs in 2021.
Kian Jones.

Rathkeale College principal Martin O’Grady says he has nothing but admiration for the school’s staff, students, and supportive whanau for the way they coped with the trials of last year.

“The Year 13 students of the Senior College had their last two years at high school severely disrupted, and I particularly feel for them,” O’Grady said.

Students had to put up with constant postponement or cancellation of calendared events. However, they had been prepared for the possibility of disruption.

Guest speakers, including Massey University lecturer Farah Palmer and award-winning mental health advocate Jase Te Patu, visited the school to talk about well-being.

O’Grady said the speakers’ advice on resilience in the face of adversity was valuable as the year progressed.

“Students have certainly developed a greater awareness of well-being throughout these challenging times,” he said.

“The awareness they have for the community, and everyone in it, is certainly one of the positives to have come out of the year.”

However, O’Grady was hopeful that no other year group would face such challenges in the future, with the community taking steps to combat covid-19 and return schooling to a more settled format.

Many extra-curricular events, such as national sports tournaments and performing arts competitions, were disrupted throughout the year.

However, Rathkeale students demonstrated their ingenuity to plough ahead with school-based events such as interhouse haka and house music competitions.

“To ensure safety, these events were held outdoors in some of our unique campus facilities, which added an extra dimension to the performances,” O’Grady said.

Daniel Hill.

“Although parents and caregivers were unable to attend these events and our final prizegivings, the level of understanding and support displayed by our whanau was outstanding.”

O’Grady said the students at Rathkeale and Senior College had excelled academically despite covid-19.

“The transition from the classroom to online learning and back again after the August lockdown is testament to their skills and the commitment of all the staff who support them.

“The fact that there was no significant impact on their learning and achievement after the lockdown was so heartening for our community.”

Among the success stories was dux Kian Jones, who not only achieved the school’s highest academic award but also took home Te Rangitumau Award, given to the student who best epitomised the qualities of a good Rathkeale man.

O’Grady said that Rathkeale acknowledged the achievement of all its students and looked forward to the new year with optimism.

“This will be a strong guiding force for the next few years in these uncertain times.”

Rathkeale College Award Winners

Dux and Te Rangitumau Award: Kian Jones

Brett Service Award: Daniel Hill

Best all-round senior sportsman: Jake Jonas

Top Scholar Year 11: Liam Gale

Top Scholar Year 10: Jasper Kokx

Top Scholar Year 9: Charles Lynn

Head boy 2022: Andrew Taylor

Deputy head boy [dayboys] 2022: Jack Sorrell

Deputy head boy [boarders] 2022: Hamish Shaw

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