Project Hotspot By Sharyn Smart

 

Reef Heron by Sharyn Smart
Little Blue Penguins 30-08-15 Port
Little Blue Penguins by Sharyn Smart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Hotspot calls Taranaki its home

All over its ocean and beaches citizens roam.

They report sightings of threatened species in their back yard

Catching little blue penguin, NZ fur seal, reef heron, and orca off guard.

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Explore the outdoors during Conservation Week

Mt Egmont / Mt Taranaki peeking out from cloud with DOC Ranger Denise Goodman and Tasman Toyota Customer Relationship Manager in New Plymouth Vanessa Sumpter.
Mt Egmont / Mt Taranaki peeking out from cloud with DOC Ranger Denise Goodman and Tasman Toyota Customer Relationship Manager in New Plymouth Vanessa Sumpter.

Taranaki was privileged to host two great Toyota Kiwi Guardians Adventures as part of Conservation Week.

The programme is a joint venture with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Toyota New Zealand designed to get children off the couch and out into nature.

DOC Ranger Denise Goodman explained there are four Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites around Taranaki for kids to earn medals at.  The other two places are Dawson falls and Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve.

“The Kiwi Guardians programme is designed to encourage families with kids to get out and explore nature. DOC is working with Toyota to make this programme a success in Taranaki,” said Denise.

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Spotswood College celebrates a busy and successful year

At the recent Senior Prizegiving expectant senior students along with their parents and families packed the school’s hall to celebrate a great night of awards for a busy and eventful year. 

Staff wore their black formal gowns with a blaze of colour showcasing their individual academic achievements, as they were welcomed to the stage by a rousing karanga.

Principal Mark Bowden opened the ceremony by summarizing 2013 in a formal speech with some of his comments in italics below.

Spotswood College began the year encouraged by the NCEA results our students gained in 2012.  Average Level 1, 2 and 3 results for our school all increased representing a significant improvement on 2011 outcomes. 

 However, in the list of things that make me proud to be the Principal of Spotswood College, academic achievement is but a part of the interrelated attributes that contribute to developing good people, or as our vision statement says “Developing young people of good character with the skills and knowledge to contribute to our 21st Century Global Village.”

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Visual and Performing Arts at Spotswood College

Spotswood College has a vibrant and highly successful visual and performing arts programme operating in the school.

The teachers in charge give a brief overview of recent events and areas of current focus within the arts at Spotswood College.

Spotty Idol with Mr Hill

Abby Christodoulou - Spotty Idol Winner
Abby Christodoulou – Spotty Idol Winner

Spotswood College’s annual talent show, ‘Spotty Idol,’ was held on the 26th of September.

For the last nine years ‘Idol’ has showcased the abundant talent of Spotswood’s performing artists and ‘Idol’ 2013 was no exception.

The acts this year ranged from Hayley Mapley’s soulful rendition of an Amanda Palmer piano ballad to Matt Everest’s soaring Steve Vai guitar solo.

The performer crowned ‘Spotty Idol’ was Abby Christodoulou, whose beautiful voice and ability to tell a story through song really impressed the judges.

According to judge Mat Benton, Abby’s performance of Lady Antebellum’s You’re Never Alone was “outstanding”.

“She’s a natural born performer who oozes charisma. Definitely one to watch in the future,” Mr Benton said.

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Holiday spruce up at Vogeltown School

OFFICE UPGRADE: Vogeltown School pupils Finn Heard,10, Megan Schwank, 9, and Germaine Grewel, 9, approve of the recent renovations to the school’s office block. Photo: Sharyn Smart
OFFICE UPGRADE: Vogeltown School pupils Finn Heard,10, Megan Schwank, 9, and Germaine Grewel, 9, approve of the recent renovations to the school’s office block.
Photo: Sharyn Smart

A steady increase in the school roll over the last five years has meant Vogeltown School‘s office block needed an update.

The office block is currently undergoing a $35,000 interior and exterior upgrade which was started in the school holidays.

Principal Mark Luff said the roll used to be around 230 and currently sits at 270.

“Just today we’ve had six enrolments,” he said.

The “hub” of the school was last revamped in 1998 and Mr Luff said it was now being brought in line with other school developments.

“We also have the centenary coming up in 2015 so we want to make sure the school is looking all tidy,” he said.

Work on the office interior is half done but work on the outside of the building was scheduled for a later date.

Pupils Megan Schwank, 9, Germaine Grewel,9, and Finn Heard,10, got a surprise as they came into the new office area yesterday.

“It looks awesome,” said Finn.

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Dream job for Moturoa’s new Principal

Safety Concious: Moturoa School’s new principal, Delwyn Riding, with road safety patroller Naiani Renau,9.
Photo by Sharyn Smart

Delwyn Riding left Moturoa Primary School in 1985 looking to expand her career opportunities – now she has returned in the top job.

“I worked here some years back and I vowed then to make it my dream to return,” said Ms Riding, who will combine teaching with her new role as principal.

“Principals are the leaders of learning.  Unless we know what is happening, how can we actually lead the learning?”

Born and raised in New Plymouth, Ms Riding has more than 30 years teaching experience but this is her first job as principal.

The 51-year-ol was only a week into a job as assistant principal at Waihi Central School when she was offered the position at Moturoa.

“I never thought I would get a job here, so I moved away making a career choice.  I was on top of the word [when told she had the job].  It’s been a dream of mine.”

Ms Riding, who holds a master’s in education, said her strengths were “in the area of special needs, mathematics, physical education, Maori education and outdoor education.”

She succeeds Martin Jordan, who retired in April after nine years as principal, and has plans to keep the school moving forward.

One initiative is to personally visit the home of every child attending the school and meet their families.

“People come first and are important.  Education is about people and interacting with the environment in a positive way to make a difference.”

Ms Riding said she was proud to become involved with the Trees for Survival and enviro-schools programmes, which were unique to Moturoa School.

This article was published in the North Taranaki MidWeek on June 12, 2013