At Matahui School we emphasise the importance of our commonly held school values and at the same time endeavor to highlight the importance of service in terms of providing support to others who need our help or assistance.
It is of great benefit therefore, for the students to see our parent community model service to the community. One such example is the Matahui School fishing competition. There are three elements that underscore this event. Firstly there is the focus on bringing our school community together as families to share the experience of fishing our local harbour, after which we come together to swap stories, socialize and hand out prizes. Secondly there is a huge emphasis on having fun, whether catching fish or not. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is the fund raising component whereby we seek to provide some financial support for local organisations who give so much to the community.
In the last three years the school has generated funds for the Coastguard, Search and Rescue and this year, the St Johns Ambulance service. In each case these are organisations that might in extreme circumstances be there for us. As a consequence our students learn why it is important for us to give back.
Another tangible example of parental service is evident in terms of refurbishing the relocatable building. A number of Matahui males have willingly given their time to help with the project. What the dads have modelled for their children is a high level of commitment and cooperation – attributes we aim to develop in our students.
I recently received a letter from our Year 5/6 students requesting time for them to coordinate a working bee centred on our native bush area. This initiative demonstrates how the students are able to recognize their responsibilities around service to their school community.
We have chosen to become part of an exciting “Weka Community Project” designed to reintroduce weka to the Aongatete forest. This project will give our students the chance to be actively involved in re-establishing weka in our local area and potentially assume some guardianship of the section of forest where they are to be released. What a great opportunity for the students to engage in an important service project in our “backyard.” I shall focus on this wonderful initiative more in future posting.
The Returned Services Association of New Zealand sent us materials for a very poignant display which we erected at the base of our flagpole. The names on the crosses are people who came from our region and the memorial was established to acknowledge, recognize and remember what ANZAC Day means to us all, something we focused upon as part of our values assembly. It symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice New Zealanders made during the First World War – an extreme act of service.