Prize Giving Address by Mrs Rosemarie Costar

- Chair of the OAS Board of Trustees

I stood here before you last year talking about the challenges 2015 would hold for us, with the building project taking place in A block. Unfortunately due to funding constraints the project was delayed a year, but the good news is that building will start next week and we will be getting all the improvements we requested.

The building project will accommodate our continued role growth in the senior school, plus give us an additional two modern learning spaces. We will also have three fully equipped science labs plus the return of our library. Our current role is 530 students, we have a staff of 52.

Student achievement continues to be the Board’s largest focus and this year has seen some fantastic results. We are on target to reach a 98% Level 2 pass rate, with excellent results in Levels 1 & 3 also.

The Board has also embarked on special projects, such as raising Māori achievement and with Ms Shaw and Mr Tau’s knowledge and experience we are in the process of implementing specific actions and targets around this.

Other key focus areas include strengthening our induction programme for new students and forming a community of schools in partnership with other local education providers and area schools from the greater region. The benefits of having a community of schools with be the sharing of resources, both physical and intellectual.

It is with great sadness that we must farewell four of our valued staff members:

Ms Emily Ratcliffe, who leaves all of Room 3, and their parents broken hearted but with some wonderful memories. Ms Ratcliffe’s only downfall in her time with us was wearing an Australian rugby jersey to school on the day of the world cup finals, but I believe some staff have begun to forgive her.

Mr Andy Scott who is off on an exciting overseas experience.

Ms Molly North who is relocating to Northland with her family.

Mr John Provo who is retiring and looking forward to a life filled with game hunting and restoring minis!

We thank you all for your amazing contribution to our school and wish you all the very best with your new endeavours. It has been our pleasure to have you teach at our school and you all leave very big shoes to fill.

We welcome back Mrs Ashley Pillow from maternity leave.

To our senior students who leave us this year – congratulations on your achievements and we wish you the very best of luck for your futures. Alesha Guard, our 2015 student representative – thank you for your contribution. I can assure you that Alesha will become a first class lawyer, after watching her singlehandedly convince the local Community Board to part with $3200 for the purchase of a defibrillator for our school, while Mr Fenton did nothing but sit beside her and smile proudly.

The Board would also acknowledges our Principal, Mr Greg Fenton and our Senior Leadership Team of Mrs Koren Hopoi, Mr Darren Mann and Mrs Judy Pryor. Thank you for ensuring Onewhero Area School remains a school of choice.

A special mention to Mr Hemi Aldworth who works quietly and tirelessly for us. Your creations around the school like the human size chess set and the new sandpit and seating area in Junior School are fantastic and your efforts are very much appreciated by the Board, staff and students. We are very proud to say that we feel we have the best teachers and facilities we could ask for.

To all our fantastic staff, thank you for your diligence and hard work over the past year, and for making our school the special place that it is. A place where we not only focus on our key values – Respect, Participation, Integrity and Excellence, but demonstrate them in our every day activities. Our school is also a place where we celebrate achievement and community spirit. Finally, on behalf of the Board we wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to seeing you back in 2016.

Mrs Rosemarie Costar

Chair of the OAS Board of Trustees