Last Thursday we had our first ‘drop in’ event for the college. We were all hoping for a steady stream of people popping in during the evening for a chat and a look at the uniform options, video and site plans, we didn’t expect that stream to be more like a river.
We were all overwhelmed and overjoyed at the number of keen and interested members of the community who took this opportunity to engage with their new school. There would have been at least 300 people who came through during the evening and all of them seemed very excited about the imminent arrival of Rolleston’s long awaited secondary school. Thank you all for taking the time.
What made me happy was the sheer energy present. When you get a group of excited and enthusiastic youngsters together the energy is palpable and infectious. Our job is to work with that energy and zest to create a learning environment at the College that is positive, vibrant and fun to be part of.
During the evening I met future journalists, and rugby stars, I met young people with a passion for biology [well dissecting things], swimming, maths and drumming. I met a diverse and vibrant group of future Rolleston College students bursting with hope and ambition and that was very exciting.
We were very deliberate in our desire to keep this first meeting a casual and informal event. We could have started with speeches and PowerPoints and there possibly will be a time when that is needed. Initially though we wanted to make it quite clear that this is our College and we will build it together. We wanted to talk, to listen, to discuss and to be inclusive.
When I did get a chance to look around I couldn’t help but think that in many respects what took place was a good example of a learning environment. It was inclusive, with the learners and their families fully involved, it allowed people to follow their particular interest [uniform, school design or specific questions], it used technology as part of the experience but it also provided for small group large group and individual interactions. Sure we could have spread the numbers a bit more evenly but hopefully everyone got something from the evening.
The ‘we’ I am talking about here is the Establishment Board of Trustees, our friends at the Ministry and the senior leadership team. Hopefully those of you who attended did get a sense of a strong and unified team and hopefully you now feel part of that team.
So thanks to the Board for their continued organisation and work, thanks to he Ministry for their support on our journey, thanks to Lynda and Rachel, the two other members of the senior leadership team who were also present. Thanks also to all adults who came along. My biggest thanks though goes to the future learners of Rolleston College who were there. They are the ones who will give life to the buildings and if Thursday evening was any indication then our school buildings are certainly going to be full of life.