Friday, 17 February 2017

Our year 9 sustainability day!!

On Wednesday 15th February, our year 9's took part in a 'Sustainability Day' a day that students would take part in workshops and discussions over the importance of sustainability!

Before the day could happen, there was a little bit of planning behind the scenes, which I will detail below.

My initial thoughts were that it would be a day that our kids could be immersed in and essentially we could hook them into wanting to learn about sustainability and why it is important in our community, starting with why it was important to our school.

I invited our year 13 leaders, prefects and house captains to be part of the day as I felt they could help our year 9's feel more comfortable in the big wide world of high school and to remind our year 9's who our leaders were.  I briefed them last week about the day and asked them to remember how they felt when they started at our school.  The prefects were excited to be part of the day and I assigned to them to specific tutor classes.

Coming to a new school with new faces is always hard and I felt that a way to make them feel like they belonged to our school was to plant their 'seeds' into the ground, our school ground.  I asked our principal Soana if we could buy seeds that they could symbolically plant so they felt part of the school.  So last week, off I went with Wally, our school kaumatua to Bunnings to buy seeds so that each of our year 9's could plant something on our sustainability day.  Then I wondered how could we distribute all these seeds to our kids and Karen Ferguson came up with a great idea to wrap a few seeds up into tissue paper then tuck them into the back of lanyards that I'd created for each year 9 student (a mean production line was created 2 nights ago whereby staff stayed behind after school to wrap and tuck seeds for our kids!)

The sustainability day began with our year 13's being briefed on their roles and responsibilities as leaders of a year 9 class.  They were given the lanyards, then told of the days programme.  When the bell went for the beginning of the day and as year 9 students arrived into the auditorium, the prefects took them to their allocated tutor class seats.

Our principal explained the importance of being part of the Tamaki family followed by our head girl Jarna Parsons and our head boy Saia Tukuafu encouraging our year 9's to give everything a go.

Principal Soana talks to our year 9's

Our head boy Saia Tukuafu and head girl Jarna Parsons address our year 9's.
Our kaumatua Wally Noble began the journey at the marae and described the importance of the marae  to the school and how our kids are part of the tangata whenua and to respect the marae and all of its mana.

Kaumatua Wally Noble explaining the meaning of our marae

Nanny Barb showed the students the garden with all of its herbs and vegetables and Russell Dunn took the kids for a tour of our school rain garden and looked at the housing developments across our school fields.  These were other aspects of sustainability that were topics that students could choose a projects in their social studies classes.

Alby Tu'uga Stevenson who is one of our English teachers slash year 9 dean slash tutor for the Samoan group, used his multiple hats to teach all of the year 9's a simple Samoan sasa - this was a mean feat and definitely a highlight for the day.  A number of teachers became judges and our year 9's saw them in a different light too!
Mr Tu'uga Stevenson teaching the year 9's a sasa.

At the end of the day, we invited our kids to blog about their experiences, their fears and their thoughts.  They were then treated to a speech by one of our success stories Alvina Pau'uvale who shared her journey from a young year 9 student sitting in the auditorium, wondering how to solve the about problems around her to a recognised academic in her chosen field of Science and how she overcame her fear of starting at Tamaki.

This day for me was a huge challenge in having to think about all the different groups involved and especially the planning behind it.   I hoped that the students could learn about the importance of sustainability and in a sense use the school and what was around them, to experience it first hand.

Here's the link to the sustainability day site.

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