HBHS Headmaster's Message Monday, 18 May

Dear Parents and caregivers,

I write to you, as we begin lunch on our first day back at school, on a perfect Autumn day in the Waikato. After eight weeks away, I feel very excited, and very grateful, to have this opportunity to write, from our world, where, today, students and staff are all unquestionably happy, settled, and enthusiastic about their return to face to face teaching.

This morning, we welcomed well over 90% of our students back to school. In fact, we have more students onsite today, than is normal in May - a testament to lockdown preventing the spread of normal colds and flus, as well as Covid-19. Thank you for making the transition back to face to face learning so smooth, and so successful.

I spoke to the school this morning about the significance, and the symbolism of today, and the reality that today marks a unique moment in the history of education in New Zealand. As we return to school, we must feel grateful, as a community, both to live in New Zealand, and to have been blessed by having no cases of this terrible virus in our wider school community. I also spoke of the pride we should feel, in the response which has allowed this success, through a country working together, a world in which each individual recognises his responsibility to do the right thing, for the benefit of all.

And also, I spoke of the need to maintain this momentum, to ensure that we can stay safe and well. We must also be a community working together, in which each individual is aware of his responsibility to do the right thing, all of the time. We have put strict guidelines and protocols in place, and the young men in our world have shown their willingness to adhere to these very real guidelines from the first moment of their return. They should be proud of themselves, and you should feel even more proud of them than you already are! Good hygiene practice, safety measures and insistence on good habits will ensure that we can all remain well. 

We are working very hard to make the return to school positive and affirming for your son, as well as safe and happy. Our focus through this week is to establish new routines, and to review the academic progress of each young man. Then, we can begin to move forward to ensure that your son is able to succeed this year, in realising his academic goals. 

I spoke also, this morning, of the commitment which is essential, from all parts of the “triangle of success”: the home, the school, and the young man himself. We remain grateful to you for your continuing support, and we, the school, are working very hard to ameliorate any gaps left by the distance learning environment. The third part of the triangle is your son. He also needs to make the critical decision to make use of every moment of the rest of the year. 

As I moved around the school this morning, classes were focussed, engaged and keen to return to the new normal. So, we have had a wonderful start. The challenge I have given our young men is to sustain that sense of purpose, and use all of the support which is available, through the weeks ahead. 

Today, we begin Week 6 of a 12 week term. In the seven weeks which remain,every day counts. We are here to help, and to maintain the progress we have achieved during lockdown. I have absolute faith that the special family of Hamilton Boys’ High School will continue to show strength and resilience, and that our students will achieve the success they deserve.

This morning, I thanked the staff, on behalf of the students, and their families. In difficult, stressful, circumstances, where the future seemed unknown and unsettled, we have remained calm and caring. And that will continue, because this is who we are, as a school, and as a family. I am very proud of the boys, of the staff, and of the world we all share. 

Thank you, too, for your support and care over the past eight weeks. I offer my very best wishes to you, for the weeks ahead, in your own wider world of work and home. May your transitions back to your ‘new normal’ be as successful, and as optimistic, as ours has been. 

Susan Hassall