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With the horrific events in Christchurch dominating school life this week I thought it appropriate to share with community some of the things we have done so far to commemorate the lives lost in this act of terrorism.
On Monday morning we gathered as a school on the village green, where students delivered karakia, mihi and himene to the assembled crowd of students and staff.
I noted our Mission Statement and its absolute relevance to the times in challenging students to share in the building of a just society.
I shared my career long journey as a social studies teacher, noting how social action brings about change and here I referenced icons of history such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Tohu and Te Whiti at Parihaka to illustrate what I meant. I remonstrated, too, with those students who took part in the Strike for Climate and how their social action was lost in the glare and horror of Christchurch.
I reminded students and staff of the College’s magnificent response to fundraising for victims of the Christchurch earthquake back in 2011 and challenged them again to take a lead in relation to Christchurch 2019. You can bet they will!!! And indeed they have!
I challenged students when they see wrong and injustice – to call it out, in whatever forum they witness it.
I was moved by the receptiveness of the audience (which fills the whole village green courtyard by the way) and the appropriateness of student behavior throughout.
This was repeated again today, as we gathered for the national 2 minutes of silence. We were joined by our Downers construction team colleagues, one of whom Louai was able to deliver the call to prayer – in person and from the heart, rather than us having to relay the national radio broadcast of the speaker system. Some staff were reduced to tears.
Following the 2 minutes of silence I shared with our students some comments from the young people of New Zealand:
“Aotearoa/New Zealand weeps as one for our lost Muslim brothers and sisters.”
“We mourn as a family.”
“We are strong, we are undivided in our strength, compassion and aroha. We are one.”
“This should not have happened and we stand as one to ensure that it will never happen again.”
“Kia kaha…stay strong.”