Kuranui students celebrated the end of another successful year during the Junior Graduation and Prizegiving ceremony held at the college last Friday.
The Year 9 and 10 students were presented with junior graduation certificates in front of whānau, parents, grandparents and staff. There was special recognition of the individual achievements of some of the college’s young mathematicians in recent national and international mathematics competitions.
Jonty Ariell, Jessica Davidson, Jared Dudson, Caelum Greaves, Samuel Hunter, Andrew Hyman, Rhys Kill and Corban van Manen had been placed in the top 15% of students who took part in an Australian Mathematics competition. “This is an outstanding achievement, given that the competition involved students from over 300 countries,” explained Deputy Principal Maree Patten to a packed auditorium.
Harvey Morison was also placed in the top 100 Year 10 students in a recent University of Otago Junior Mathematics Competition, Rhys Kill placed in the top 200 in Year 9 and Corban van Manen gained a Merit placing. Harvey has also passed Level 2 mathematics with excellence.
Kuranui College Principal Geoff Shepherd was delighted with the support given by the students’ family and friends. “It’s great to see a full house celebrating the achievements and successes of our young people,” he said.
“2015 has been a good year for Kuranui College. Not only have our junior mathematicians done extremely well this year, but our junior students have excelled across all areas of school life.
Gay Butler began a two-year teaching stint at Kuranui College in 1971, and 44 years later she is finally preparing to leave.
Having previously taught at Arunui High and Lynwood High in Christchurch, she fully intended to return to the Garden City and build a house, but the lure of the Wairarapa region put paid to that idea.
“We stayed in the Wairarapa and it was just such a revelation that a place could be so welcoming, have such lovely weather and have so much to do,” she explained. “Bringing up children in the Wairarapa is excellent. We’re so close to Wellington, so we’ve had the best of both worlds.
Gay and her Husband Bryan, who at the time also taught at the College, originally moved into a school house in Grey Street, Martinborough. “The rent was $2 a week, arranged for us by the Principal. I honestly wondered if it had a roof! It was a lovely old house built in 1893. It had such a lot of history and was the old District High School Principal’s house. We lived there until 1984 when we moved to Greytown.
“I was really impressed by the friendliness of everybody when I started, students as well. Friendliness and a strong desire to learn were really paramount. It didn’t matter that so many students went back onto family farms and not so many went on to university. It didn’t matter as education was really important to everybody,” added Gay.
Gay has fond members of founding Principal Sam Meads and was extremely impressed by his ability to remember the names of all his 900 students. “I must say that when he died I really missed him. He used to ring me on my birthday even when I wasn’t teaching full time.
“His most endearing quality was his gardening. He was known to come to school in the summer around 5am to begin weeding the gardens and tending to them. I believe he got mistaken on a number of occasions for the gardener rather than the Principal. He was a very kindly man to his staff.”
Although there have been many changes, Gay is quick to point out that there’s the same friendly atmosphere at the college that first impressed her. “The students are still friendly and still treat you as one of the community. This is a good thing about Kuranui. It is a neighbourhood school which means that we have people from all socio-economic groups, all walks of life, and all ages living side by side.
“The biggest change is that we don’t have to have children sitting in rows facing the front, folding their arms and repressed. Classrooms are set up in lively ways so that people can interact and students learn best from each other, so they need to be in flexible groups where they can talk to each other.”
“I really got the job at Kuranui on my husband’s coat tails. There were two jobs going, one in Geography and one in Physics and Mathematics, so I rang Mr Meads and said well there’s no job advertised for me, but my husband would like to apply for one of the jobs. He replied that he didn’t think there were any jobs in English or French, which I had taught up to then. He then asked ‘Which job is your husband applying for?’ I said Physics and Mathematics and he said ‘Oh I think there’ll be a job for you!’ So I ended up teaching social studies.
“Since then I’ve taught in ‘Base’. It doesn’t exist as such now. It was an integrated programme, integrating English, social studies and science. It used enquiry learning methods and was very much computer-based and student centred. Now all those are the things that we want to happen in classrooms today. All classes now in fact teach that way, using both cooperative and collaborative learning,” she said.
Gay was also the Head of the Futures Department, helping students on the transition to work programme and was also responsible for provisionally registered teachers, as well as being the SDT teacher who advised and worked with teachers to improve their practice.
Gay and Bryan’s son Paul and daughter Rachel both went to Kuranui. Rachel has returned and is now an English and drama teacher at the college. “It was so strange at first, because I was seeing her in a different setting. It’s been wonderful working with Rachel. She’s a very good teacher and it’s been a joy to work with her in the English department. It’s been very useful as we could catch up on Mondays on family things when we did duty together.”
Having given more than four decades of service to Kuranui, moving on to the next chapter in her life won’t be all plain sailing for this multi-talented teacher. “I will miss the people. I’m going to miss the students and the amazing staff who are so friendly, so cooperative and supportive. It’s going to be quite difficult really I think.”
Just when we thought cricket was finished for the season, there was news that the boys were to play the Wairarapa College Girls in the T20 final.
Played on a wonderfully prepared pitch at Wairarapa College, Kuranui batted first. Armed with their recent good form and the knowledge that the girls will be out to make amends for the last time these two teams met, Kuranui posted a challenging target of 133 for 3 from their 20 overs.
Openers Jonty Ariel and Caleb Freeman went after the bowlers straight away but we lost Caleb for 10, bowled in the 3rd over. With a splendid knock by opener Jonty Ariel (73 n/o), Kuranui were able to create significant partnerships that saw them through to their total. Mack Regnault scored 13 partnership of 33, Michael Hyman 7 partnership 29 and Gracyn Evans 13 n/o unbeaten partnership of 60.
The Wairarapa College Girls innings suffered a major setback losing both Openers for 0, the first to a well-taken caught and bowled by Andrew Hyman’s very 1st ball.
WaiCol’s Tahlia and Anissa then set about rebuilding the innings before Tahlia fell on 5 (after a partnership of 27) to the first of the Jonty and Samson Dell’s double act. Anissa then shared a stand of 18 with Billie.
The run rate required was building and the pressure to score runs told as wickets started to fall regularly. Anissa was the stand-out, finally being bowled by Jonty on 28. At the end of the 20 overs Wairarapa College finished 66/8.
All-rounder Jonty Ariel finished with 3 wickets for 8 runs from 4 overs (2 catches) while Samson Dell 2 wickets for 13 runs from 2 overs (3 catches).
Gracyn Evans and Ben Oakly claimed the other wickets while Kadin Hart bowled 4 overs for 13 runs.
A huge thanks to Graham Brown (Coach) Greg Ariel (Managers) and our supporters for making this a successful season. WELL DONE TEAM!