Hundreds of young girls about to embark on their next stage of life have been welcomed to school with a pōwhiri.
New entrants at Marlborough Girls’ College were greeted at the college’s auditorium on Wednesday afternoon, as Ko Te Waipounamu reverberated around the hall.
Although most of the girls were about to start year 9, some of the new entrants were international students and staff members.
Year 9 student Gemma Stagg, formerly of Bohally Intermediate School, was looking forward to starting at her new school, but with a little trepidation.
“I am looking forward to meeting a whole bunch of new people, but not looking forward to all the homework I am going to get,” Gemma said.
Austrian international student Elisa Starlinger said she chose Marlborough because she wanted to learn a new culture and experience new things.
“I want to improve my English and to experience playing sports which New Zealand is popular for, like kayaking and rafting,” she said.
German student Caja Meincke, who arrived in New Zealand last week, said she was looking forward to good weather, making new friends, learning new sports, travelling the country and improving her musical skills.
“Winters in my part of Germany are really rainy, so I like summer here,” Meincke said.
“I am looking forward to school and learning a new school system because in Germany it’s completely different … and [to] see the natural beauty of New Zealand,” she said.
She chose Marlborough Girls’ College because it gave her the “feathers to fly” within her passion for musical performance, “drama, singing and dancing”.
Marlborough Girls’ College principal Mary-Jeanne Lynch said she was pleased to have the students here, saying they had lots to look forward to this year.
“It’s a real privilege to be the principal of Marlborough Girls’ College, my very great privilege to welcome you, our new students, whānau and staff, to our wonderful kura,” Lynch said.
“I am really pleased and delighted that you are here.”
In 2020, the school was focused on things like improving NCEA results, leadership programmes for seniors and integrated learning for year 9 students, Lynch said.
In the junior school, some classes and teachers would be working and learning together, either on the same subject or by combining two subjects, to make learning “engaging and relevant for all students”.
This year, Marlborough Girls’ College was also implementing its STARS mentoring programme for all year 9 students, working alongside the Graeme Dingle Foundation and the Outward Bound programme.
“Senior year 12 and 13 students will mentor and support all year 9 students once a week … and the purpose of the STARS programme is to support building strong relationships and a sense of belonging at school and supporting all students’ wellbeing,” Lynch said.
The Marlborough Girls’ College roll for 2020 is 950 students.