Friday 13th September 2019

As we head into the end of the year, the focus for all year levels is on finishing strong.

Happy boys on a sunny Dunedin day
Happy boys on a sunny Dunedin day

Year 7 and 8:

The focus in the Junior school of late has been celebrating the many successes of late that have come our pupils' way. In sport, our boys recently completed an impressive victory over Balmacewen Intermediate in the Winter Interchange. Wins in both the Year 7 and 8 Basketball, Football, Badminton and Hockey saw us take the annual inter-school 5-2 in the end. All the participants showed exceptional skill and a very pleasing level of sportsmanship to record a comprehensive victory. Our B team earned fourth place in the Development League.

Congratulations have also been extended of late to our Year 8 As mini-ballers who won their league and our Year 7 and 8 A Hockey team who won a dramatic penalty shoot-out to take out the final of the Intermediate Hockey League. This is a back to back to back title victory for our hockey boys and was richly deserved after a long season.

On a more cerebral note, our Tournament of Minds team was honoured for winning South Island’s. The team of Wei Hun Loh, Oliver McIver, Ewan Beadell, Skylar Peters, Caleb Ung, Ollie Colling and Daniel O’Brien nailed their long term challenge of tweaking the Wizard of Oz storyline to reflect a more local flavour to blitz the field and qualify for Nationals later in the term.

Our three-band entries in Band Quest literally rocked the house out at the Taieri College a few weeks back. Positive reviews were gained by ‘SOS’, ‘The Diamonds’ and ‘Say Something’ for their performances and behaviour backstage. Brad Martin was very proud of the boys' efforts and of the level of musicianship shown. Maita Madambi managed to pick up best keyboardist to round out a very successful night for our future rock-stars.

Finally, we acknowledged the exemplary behaviour of the Year 8 boys on camp held over the first week of September. To a man, our students were fully engaged, polite and well behaved in all that they did during their stay in Queenstown. They were fine ambassadors for the College, their families and of course themselves. A great effort!

As a Dean, it has been great to see so many successes but more importantly, the hard work and effort that all our boys have put into things.

Year 9:

In the later part of this term, we have been focusing on gratitude and meeting teacher expectations around homework and classwork.

As part of the focus on gratitude, I ‘Big Box of Thank Yous’ is circulating through a form class each week and the boys can write personalised thank-you notes to anyone they like. So far, it has been a lovely mix of notes to teachers, senior students, outside coaches, and parents. The reactions from these people as they get their notes have been wonderful to see, and I have made sure this has been reported back to the boys.

One of the key areas we focus on in Year 9 is the boys' increasing ability to manage their workload. The form teachers signalled to me earlier this term that there seemed to be a bit of trend of boys not completing homework, so a real emphasis has been put on this lately. From a parent perspective, it would be great if you could have a conversation about how they are managing their time and recording what needs to be done when. We do have a homework diary available to them but are also happy for them to find their own system using their device; as long as they have a system. We have suggested to the boys that witing it on their hand or hoping they can message someone else in the class who has remembered, is not a sustainable system!

I have also spoken to the boys about finish the term well and gave them some suggestions such as; think about what you perhaps have not done well this term and make it a focus for the remaining weeks and make sure you are on-time and work-ready for class.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the form teacher if you have any queries or concerns.

Year 10 and 11:

At this time of year, Year 10 and 11s are turning their attention to next year and which direction they want to head ( and there are many who do not know this). Open conversations at home are a great way to start this by asking, ‘What type of person do you want to be?’ rather than ‘What job do you want to do?’. Do they like engaging with people? Are they problem solvers, ‘doers’, have creativity seeping out of them, team players, or leaders? Alongside this, boys need to reflect on what subject areas they enjoy and are challenged by, not which subjects their mates are doing. We are having Year 10 and 11 one - on - one student interviews very soon, prompting boys to think about next year and the future, and the pathway that would best suit them here at John McGlashan College.

For Year 10’s, exams are on the horizon in Week 4 Term 4, which gives them a taste of what they will be doing next year. Camp groups have also been selected, and so boys have the opportunity to have a fantastic outdoor experience in Week 6 of Term 4. Here they will develop self-management, navigation skills and awareness of things such as hypothermia and river crossings.

For Year 11’s final internal assessments are being completed and focus is moving towards exams; remembering that the first week back in Term 4 Year 11’s will be sitting practice exams. The challenge with these is ensuring that boys prepare well, so they have had the practice before the main event. By doing a decent amount of preparation for practice exams, boys will understand where their weaknesses lie and then have time to work on these.

Year 12 and 13:

Finish well. A simple message but an important one for the Seniors as the end of the year, approaches and exams are almost upon us.

My most recent message to Senior boys and advice on how to finish well is ‘work hard’ and to find motivation intrinsically, especially if they are tired and the last thing they may want to do at the end of a long term is study for school exams in Week 1 of Term 4. Ultimately only THEY have control over their success… many may be tired, a bit ‘over it’ but that is when they need to push themselves most and not reach for the ever easy excuses.

Hard work brings success. Success feels good. Success builds momentum and then more success, and thus the students that work the hardest are often those that enjoy school most. So for those students a bit tired and ‘over it’ and finding it hard to get motivated for the last few weeks of the year I say “get stuck in, work harder”. Put aside the distractions and the excuses and get the job done and I promise it will feel good later when they can celebrate and say “I earned that”.

In a recent impromptu survey, I was really impressed to see how many seniors this year have been involved in service of some sort - coaching, volunteering, giving blood, mentoring, community work etc. - Well over 2/3rds. It has been something I have pushed as an expectation, particularly community involvement, to help build leadership and giving back where so much has been given.

Recently we had a BBQ for the Year 12 and 13 mentors, who have been paired up with junior lads, to mingle, chat, have a sausage and play some games. I was really impressed to see how naturally the seniors and juniors seemed to connect, in most cases, and believe it hugely beneficial for both.

A huge ‘thank you’ to Max Walker for doing much of the cooking and set up for this event and also to Tim Scott, who has taken on the role of ‘Leadership Development’ Prefect and has been a huge help and an amazing driving force. He has also set up a McGlashan Service Hub which is a ‘database’ of service opportunities available to boys who want to get involved somewhere. We are always looking for ideas and things the lads can do, especially in our community, so do get in touch if you need a lad to help or have an opportunity and we can add it to our hub.

I look forward to the last part of the year, particularly seeing the many successes that the boys earn. Many already have gained apprenticeships and scholarships, and I hope to see many more endorsements, awards and prizes and other rewards for all their hard work.


 The boys have just completed their speech exams with Speech New Zealand. We had 23 out for our 31 international boys participate in OCESOL (Oral Communication for English Speaker of Other Languages) this year. They performed very well, giving a number of presentations on the Sustainable Development Goals, a United Nations initiative. The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. Each country has set its own targets for 17 goals, which it would like to achieve by the year 2030. This is a way for boys to think about the 'big picture' and look at issues of interest within their own countries. It also gives them the opportunity to learn about each other's cultures and raises awareness about global issues which today's youth will be facing when they inherit our planet. A big congratulations to Li Yanhao from China, who just came third in the nationals swimming competition. He achieved third in the country for his age group with the breaststroke 50 meters race. Kai Schiersmann, from Germany, will be leaving us at the end of this term. He is a great hockey player who has been playing for our school. Kai has been here since Term 1 and has been in Year 11. We wish him all the best for the future.