Year 9 First Day OTHC 2022February 3, 2022
This year’s Orientation Day marked the starting point of a new journey for over 200 Year 9 students. It set a tone for their thigh school experience for next five years. Due to the students entering their very first year of high school (and especially after experiencing a difficult year under the Covid lockdown restrictions), it was doubly important that One Tree Hill College worked hard to make certain that our new students experienced a warm and encouraging welcome. Setting this year’s Year 9 Orientation Day apart from the past, was altering the programme to align with the new Covid framework - students maintaining social distancing, the wearing of mandatory face masks and them being organized into their respective school classroom bubbles for the year. Although this meant parents could not be with their children on the school grounds during this important occasion, the school strove to ensure the students were well prepared and less nervous for the upcoming school term. And, for the very first time, the powhiri was held outside rather than in the auditorium.
The day began with an introduction and speeches from Principal Mr Coughlan, Mr Kimi and the Board of Trustees Chairman Mr Guptill. After the ceremony, they were led to their respective homeroom classes, where they met their whanau teacher and their room’s appointed Prefects. For the rest of the morning, the students were taken to the auditorium to have their ID photos taken, taken on a tour of the school grounds and played various games and icebreakers under the Prefects’ leadership. During the second half of the day, the students were brought to their corresponding learning hubs for the year. Learning hubs are new to the school system in which Year 9’s can branch out their friendships with students across different whanau classes. Students in each learning hub will be mixed with students from various whanau classes in their core subjects – Science, English, Math, Health/Physical Education, Citizenship and Social Studies.
By the end of the day, the students were ready to transition into their first proper school day, following the school’s timetable and learning in their new learning environment. New student Nang Timoteo said of his experience, “During Orientation Day, I enjoyed meeting my whanau teacher and my compulsory subject's teachers. Also, the prefects that led my whanau class around school helped me to get to know more of the school - without them I would have probably been so lost.” “Orientation Day has helped me to get a better understanding of how the school works, where the different classes are and meeting new students and teachers. The part of Orientation that I enjoyed the most would probably be getting to know the students and different teachers around the school, added Pipiena Ahokava enthusiastically.
Assistant Principal Mr Kimi who had spent many hours organizing the day said, “This year our planning was hampered by the Covid Framework and as a school we had to adjust how we normally do things. Without parents being able to be present with their children on their first day, we knew the students were going to be a little anxious and excited. The Year 9 Powhiri is a special occasion on our calendar and one we look forward to every year. It is a time when our whanau grows, and the school becomes more vibrant and richer because of our new students.” All in all, the first day of One Tree Hill College was a special day for the new Year 9’s. Special thanks to the Principal, Deputy Principal, Board of Trustees and the Prefect Team in creating a warm and enjoyable welcome for the new students!
MARY ABIAD - NEWS MEDIA TEAM