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Education: Westlake Girls High School

Westlake Claims Prestige Tennis Shield

The Westlake Girls High School Premier Tennis team dominated the Auckland Secondary Schools Tennis Champion of Champions Tournament.
The team claimed the James Aitkenhead Shield for the second time in three years with a one point win over St Kent’s in the girls section.
Westlake students were represented in five out of the six finals with juniors Paige Alter and Brooke Kenny both making the girls’ singles and doubles finals. Paige won the singles title and then teamed with Brooke to win the doubles. Both these students are part of the Year 9 CYGNET tennis programme at Westlake.
Katie Antsupova and Claudia Maddren were runners-up in the senior girls’ doubles, Stella Cliffe and Lauren Alter were runners-up in the intermediate girls’ doubles and Stella was runner-up in the intermediate girls’ singles.
The tennis team now turn their attention to the National Secondary Schools Tennis Teams Finals at the end of March where they will be aiming to continue their current success.

Westlake Students Excel at Korean Talent Quest
The ‘Youth Arts Festival’ (Talent Quest) for Korean teenagers in New Zealand was held recently. There were seven categories with more than 60 students involved from Auckland with Westlake students winning numerous awards.  The following Westlake Girls High School students won awards: Sally Shin, Instrument Silver Award, Sally Choi, Dance Gold Award, Jane Hur, Hailey Lee, Jinny Min & Jenny Park, Dance Silver Award and Drama Gold Award.

Young Enterprise Up and Running
The Young Enterprise Scheme, in conjunction with ATEED held the Regional E-Day for all students in the Auckland-North region. With well over 300 students from over 15 schools the energy demonstrated at the AUT venue was contagious.
Westlake Girls was represented by over half of our total directors and we anticipate that the positive energy and knowledge gained on the day will influence all five companies that we are running this year. The highlight for our students was to be able to pitch their ideas to local business leaders and gain advice about product development and the marketability of their dream products.

Triple Gold for Westlake Rowers
Westlake Girls High School won three gold medals at the recent North Island Secondary School Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro. The squad of 50 rowers competed over three days claiming five medals in total  –  three gold, one silver and one bronze.

Health Education Empowering Women in the Community
In an ideal world we want the individuals in our community to have the knowledge, information, skills and support to make health enhancing decisions for themselves and others. The overarching theme in Year 13 Health this year is ‘Looking out for, and empowering women in the community’.
As part of the girls' studies focusing on NZ Health practices for the treatment of Breast Cancer, they have been lucky to have their learning enriched through interactive sessions and talks with both Breast Cancer survivors and Therapists.
Sharon from ‘The Sanctuary’ and a team of Complementary and Alternative medicine therapists provided a series of interactive and engaging workshops for the girls. The sessions involved Reiki, Yoga/Meditation, Osteopathy and Physio-breathing techniques/ pressure points and helped to enhance understanding around how these practices can be effectively used to complement Western Medicine.
Sue Thomas, a registered clinical hypnotherapist, also gave up her time to come and talk to all three classes about the benefits of hypnotherapy to alleviate things like stress and anxiety in women with Breast Cancer.
The input from home and the community is a really valued way to make learning in Health Education meaningful and relevant to the lives of our students. Thank you to all of those who contributed.

Students Visit Waitomo Caves
Year 11 Geography students went on a two day trip to the Waitomo caves. They were educated on the area’s environmental and economic sustainability, and the history of Waitomo village and its caves. The group went on walks through the caves which were up to 65 metres underground and had temperatures of 12 degrees, as well as taking a boat ride through a glow worm cave. On day two some of the students went black water rafting through freezing waters in the caves and saw glow-worms and other natural cave features; the hot showers afterwards were extremely welcome. Overall it was a very enjoyable trip.

Auckland Museum Hosts Westlake Art Students
Year 11 Art students have enjoyed a visit to the Auckland museum to complete their NCEA drawing assessment. Students listened to an introduction by an educator about some of the beautiful garments they were to draw from the Encounters and Landmarks galleries, which feature clothes and objects from the days of the early settlers to the 20th century decorative arts in New Zealand. The drawings will be used as a part of an internal assessment and later become the preparatory work for their external portfolio submission.

International Women's Day
On Friday 7 March, twelve prefects from Westlake Girls High School were privileged enough to attend an event in honour of International Women’s Day. Although the actual International Women’s Day was to occur the following day on 8 March, a celebratory breakfast was held at the Milford Cruising Club the day before. At the event, prefects from Takapuna Grammar School, Birkenhead College and Northcote College were also present.

In the morning, we were informed that different regions in the world commemorate International Women’s Day slightly differently. However, International Women’s Day in New Zealand is a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women as well as celebrating women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Additionally, the day often involves the promotion of social and political struggles of women worldwide. Thus, the event held information about important women-orientated organisations such as Days for Girls New Zealand and also the United Nations and the ways they support women.
 Furthermore, we heard from guest speaker Jan Nichols – an exceptional woman, wife, mother and Chief Executive Officer of Hospice North Shore. She spoke about coming from a low decile school, jumping from varying careers, running a marathon and her current role as the CEO at a facility providing care for people with life limiting illnesses. Her story was thought-provoking and truly inspirational. One thing I personally took away from her speech was the concept of following passion and interest in life, even if it deviates from the path you may currently be taking. She taught me to be undaunted when striving for goals larger than myself, encouraging the idea that all dreams can be achieved with hard work and resilience.
 Overall, celebrating International Women’s Day was incredibly empowering, as we young women witnessed the sorts of goals and dreams we could potentially look forward to achieving in the near future. The event caused us to reflect on how far women have progressed historically, as well as how bright and prosperous the future for women is in all areas of life. The morning shared with outstanding ladies within the community and fellow female school leaders certainly made us all feel proud to be a woman.
Dayeon Lee, Deputy Head Prefect

Politicians Visit Westlake Girls
Students completing their 3.5 Assessment in Year 13 Social Studies enthusiastically attended two separate lectures given by Louisa Wall, MP for Manurewa (accompanied by lawyer Prue Kapua) and Colin Craig, Leader of the Conservative Party.  The lectures were focused on each of the speakers’ viewpoints, values and perspectives, providing a valuable and positive adjunct to our teaching programme.
The students are looking at a Campaign of Social Action(s) surrounding the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill that passed into law last year and the often polarised views held by people with an interest in this issue. The girls asked very mature and in-depth questions while also gaining valuable knowledge of how our law-making process actually works. The students understand why Bills are read several times; how the Select Committee works; and found humour in the fact that the ballot box is in fact an old cake tin!

by Channel Editorial