What is important?

Kia ora.

In my office I have a short piece of vine that a friend of mine gave to me when I was appointed to a deputy principal position here at Lytton High School in 2007.  He had carved some etchings into this thick and well preserved piece of aka, vine and I use it on a daily basis to remind me of the whakataukī that I had shared with him several years earlier. The piece of wisdom said;

Kei hopu tōu ringa ki te aka tāepa,
engari kia mau ki te aka matua.
Grasp not the vine that hangs loosely
but that which is firmly anchored.

While I think this aphorism is self explanatory, the concept and holding to it is quite another thing altogether.  Seeing it everyday helps to remind me, that like Tāwhaki to whom this advice was originally given, I too need  to grasp onto that which is firmly anchored. So in a job that can be so busy I must hold true to the course. I must act with conviction, integrity and honesty; all tempered by our collective passion and vision for our young people.

We accept the challenge!
With that thought in mind, what does really matter?

The answer to this question has been a central theme to the challenges that a group of students have been seeking in the past seven weeks as participants in the CACTUS programme here at Lytton High School. And as the days of this term are rapidly disapearing they are approaching their final week before "The Longest Day", their graduation day on Saturday 15 September.

These young people are here at school by 5.45am (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) getting themselves ready for the morning's physical and mental challenges and they've just started selecting among themselves their squad leaders for these morning sessions. It is absolutely amazing, and I've enjoyed arriving to observe some of these sessions that challenge them on a physical level and definitely on their character and resolve to overcome the challenges placed before them.

On Friday morning, apart from the amazing obstacles and challenges setup for them, I couldn't help but notice the camaraderie that has built up amongst them.  That which is borne out of a collective sharing of these challenges.  Our key staff member involved with CACTUS is Tania Bartlett, Kōkā Beanie, who trains with them and still finds time to teach and raise a young family.  Thank you Kōkā Beanie.  Thank you to Nick Landers, Lincoln Sycamore and the team that they have assembled including the regular appearance of the Gisborne Police Area Commander Sam Aperahama.  Our tamariki are that more richer for the support you have been showing them.

Break through all obstacles!
The lessons being learnt by these young people and, dare I say it, the adults, cannot be captured in these few words.  However, let me say that during the past few weeks they have done things that they would never have previously attempted because of the fear or belief of failure.  Instead, they have found meaning in the words of Paulo Coelho "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure", and together begun to battle and conquer this self doubt.

Our community is a richer place for these experiences for these young people. They have been pushing their physical and mental boundaries, and they have strengthened their personal character due to the collective and deliberate acts of overcoming challenges and obstacles. Well done! These would seem to me to be very important accomplishments which are firmly anchored.

Finally, I'd like to invite everyone to come along during the week to support these young people as they face their hardest week leading up to next Saturday.  If you're interested, just give us a call at school 06 868 5193.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a safe weekend with friends and family.

Video of the week - Flight of the Conchords (official Cure Kids)

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