Sunday 20th May 2018

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui (Be strong, be brave, be steadfast).

On the first Saturday of the April holidays, McGlashan lost a young man who held a special place in the heart of our school community. Toby Hope, a 2017 Leaver, died after his car inexplicably left the road near Middlemarch, not far from his family farm. Toby was heading to play rugby in Lawrence and was the sole occupant of the vehicle. At school and on the sideline, Toby never missed an opportunity to have a chat. He was incredibly optimistic and was tackling his building apprenticeship with typical energy and enthusiasm. Toby strove for personal excellence and made time to connect with people, but most of all, his humble manner left an indelible imprint on all those who had the privilege of meeting him. The boys can learn from Toby’s approach to his time at John McGlashan College. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Tory, Preston, George and Fergus in the loss of a remarkable son and brother who will be remembered very fondly by everyone in the McGlashan community. 

To add to our recent loss, Pipe Band Director Mark McNoe died unexpectedly at home two weeks ago. Mark and his wife Victoria also ran the Otago School of Piping and Drumming. Many McGlashan parents and students would have experienced the growing strength of the Pipe Band under Mark’s directorship. The band was thriving in our centenary year, and the McGlashan sound was alive and well when greeting people at functions and on ceremonial occasions. The McGlashan community mourns the loss of a highly skilled and passionate staff member who made a difference in the lives of many of our boys. Mark leaves behind three young boys; Isaac, Nathaniel and Reuben and our condolences go to Victoria and the extended McNoe family. Mark’s dulcet tones and passion for piping will be sadly missed. 

During some recent leave, I visited a number of secondary schools in the North and South Island, and I feel reassured that we continue to offer exceptional opportunities at John McGlashan College. What is clear to me is that we have a unique and healthy school culture, one which must be protected and promoted by all stakeholders. Many schools run highly rigid systems for conduct and discipline, but at McGlashan, the relationship between student and teacher is grounded on rapport and respect. We have high expectations that the boys will use and develop their own common sense both inside and outside the classroom. We want them to take charge of their own behaviour and learning, and make a strong contribution to the benefit of others. This attitude is at the core of who we are as a school and is especially obvious in times of adversity.

Kia kaha,
Neil Garry