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Education: Takapuna Grammar School

TGS Celebrating Teachers

While it is always great to celebrate student endeavours and achievements, sometimes it is good to know about the contributions of teachers as well. This page acknowledges four TGS staff and their various endeavours during 2012.

The H.C. Hulme Memorial Prize

The award grants $1000.00 to its recipient and recognises a staff member who contributes most significantly to the co-curricular programmes of the school.  This is a new award has been donated by the family of Harold Charles Hulme a pupil of the school in 1929.  He died of his wounds, in the Second World War, aged 27, and is buried in the NZ cemetery at Souda Bay, on Crete. Although only a student for one year before the family moved to Nelson, his connections with the school continue through two of his great nephews who are current students.

The inaugural recipient was Mr David Stent, HOD Music. David is a busy man. He leads and or manages the Jazz Band, Leonessa, choirs, the barbershop quartets, the Concert Band, the String Orchestra, the Harlequin Trio, and the Jazz Combo. This includes preparing them for outside competitions such as The Big Sing, the Young Singers in Harmony and KBB Music festival. In 2012, both the Jazz Band and Leonessa won their respective competitions. In addition he was the Musical Director for the 2012 major production of West Side Story. He has taken the Concert Band on an international tour, organised a national tour with the Jazz Band and taken various choirs and bands to perform at charity events and to play at places such as The Wilson Home, the Bruce Mason Centre, local primary and intermediate schools, and of course at Prize Giving. He recently instituted a programme of concert performances for junior students (which is partly curriculum related) where they are coached in event and personnel management, in order to produce their own concert at the end of each term on a smaller scale. A talented pianist himself, he is also a great conductor. He is always keen to mentor his students into new and challenging roles – evidenced by his tutelage of Gemma Price as a fledgling conductor while still in Year 13.  David’s contribution to music at Takapuna Grammar is immense and he is a worthy recipient of this award.

Jane Evans: HOD Social Sciences

Jane won a Distinguished Service Award for services to Geography education in New Zealand, at the end of 2012. This is a national award by the New Zealand Geographic Society, a branch of the Royal Society. Each year they give only one award at tertiary level, one to the most promising graduate and one to a teacher at the secondary level. Jane will receive her award in person this month, at a ceremony at the University of Auckland.

She has many years of teaching experience, and has been at TGS since 1994, moving into an HOD position in 2003.
She has been responsible for writing achievement standards for NZQA and sample assessment tasks for teachers at national level. She has been the Chair of the Auckland geography teachers’ Association for seven years, facilitated workshops for Geography teachers in Auckland and Northland, presented at national and international conferences and written a text book used in most schools in the country.

The Staff Study Awards

This annual award is one that teachers may apply for. Once all applications are in, committee makes a decision that is then announced at senior Prize Giving.

This study award enables a staff member to travel to investigate an aspect of their subject area, or to observe good practice in another school, in New Zealand or overseas. It has been available since the mid-1990s and more than 15 staff have won the award. People have travelled to the UK, Australia, United States of America, and other destinations. The 2012 - 13 recipient is Mrs Mary Hutton, English teacher, who plans to go to England, to visit all things Shakespearean, including the Globe Theatre, and Shakespeare’s birth place. She also has an interest in Dickens, so is including a diversion to Portsmouth and Kent.

The Staff Achievement Award

Students make nominations through an electronic voting system in Term 3. A judging panel that includes students, Principal and Board representatives, review the top ten nominations, along with the endorsements from HODs, with supporting information and data. This can include the nature of student achievement ‘above the norm’, contribution to the improvement of student outcomes, and to best practice.

This year’s award went to Mr Nick Whiting, of the Social Sciences department. His students appreciate his huge enthusiasm for, and his extensive knowledge of, Classical Studies. He was delighted to know that he has had such a positive effect on his students – the ones he calls “great kids” - and was proud to accept the award. 

Mr Keith Knewstubb, Mathematics teacher 1978-2012

After 34 years, we said farewell to Mr Keith Knewstubb. He was an inspiring, supportive and creative teacher of Mathematics, weaving complete understanding of his subject into everyday life. He was a wonderful form teacher, his gruff and business-like outer manner masking a caring and diligent carer of his charges.

Keith’s contribution to the school extended over the full range of activities. On the sports fields he was heavily involved in cricket and soccer, as well as organising table tennis. His work involved not only coaching or managing teams but also organising the leagues for all soccer teams in Auckland. He went on school camps, was in school musical shows, and co-edited the school Year Book. There were two school trips to India and a soccer trip to Australia. However, what people will remember most is Keith’s contribution to the mathematical education of thousands of students, and his colleagues. Among the Maths staff, he was known as a highly intelligent, sharp and creative mathematician with a wicked mental arithmetic ability; the one to go to for wise advice about what something means or how to teach a tricky concept. He seemed to always find a way to help with a lucid explanation or practical resources. Mr. Lamb acknowledged his contribution at Senior Prize Giving, addressing him directly as “one of the most dynamic, enthusiastic and highly regarded staff at this school and outside of this school. Keith you are a career teacher, one of the Golds in New Zealand’s teaching profession and deserving of every accolade and acknowledgment”. Keith Knewstubb was a giant among teachers at TGS and will be sorely missed.

by Channel Editorial