We began our day with a whole school assembly, where the Board Chair, Shane Watson, Principal Jeff Smith and Head Boy Nikhil Prakash addressed the staff and students. The words of their speeches are attached. We have also attached the information that we read out to students at Form Time outlining how they can seek help if they need it.
School is very important for establishing routines and structures for our students. Behind the scenes we have a crisis team operating to action and co-ordinate all of the support our staff and students may need. This team includes external expertise provided by the Ministry of Education.
Our Student Support and Pastoral teams have worked hard today to check in on students and ensure that those who may be vulnerable are followed up. We have also tried to check in with families of students who are not here today. We have valued the information you have provided us about the welfare of your sons and daughters; please continue to provide this to the Deans who are working with our Counsellors to ensure that we see students as needed.
Below are the two speeches and the information read out to students in form-time.
Jeff Smith’s Speech.
Tena koutou katoa
As I look at you all today, it is with great sadness but more so, it is with great pride. This community has gone through so much in recent years; you all went through so much on Friday. But each and every one of you got to go home. There are families of this school who have suffered great loss. There are students here today who will need every ounce of aroha we can give. And give we will. That is how we do it here at Papanui High. We ignore the ignorant.
This will be a moment in time for us as Cantabrians, Kiwis and as a school. There is just not a word that can adequately describe Friday. It is a tragedy. It is terrible. It was our darkest day.
There has been loss of a scale that is almost too great to be believed. Today is about standing tall, standing strong, standing proud and putting our arms around our friends and colleagues and community.
We can take comfort from the leadership shown by Muslim communities around the world; we can take comfort in the leadership shown by those first responders; were they put their lives on the line. For some of you, Friday was immensely challenging and complex. This is an event unprecedented in the history of this country. There will be many investigations, learnings and community conversations. But today for us here at Papanui High it is about three things:
Settling our school
Keeping everyone safe
And supporting each other.
Settling, Safety, Support
You all know Ms Davis, head of student support. There is a word she has been using constantly – kindness. That is one of the greatest ways in which you can have a voice – kind words, kind actions, kind thoughts.
We will have a voice of inclusiveness and aroha. We are doing this together. Look at those standing around you here and now. These are the people who need you just as you need them.
Staff and Board have been here most of the weekend working through planning for this week. We won’t get it all right. We might be surprised at how we react to different situations or conversations. It is a moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.
What will be consistent though is our belief system:
This is a school built on 5 pride values:
- Be positive
- Show respect
- Show integrity
- Dare to excel
- Engage in learning
That terrible act of destruction and death was caused by a small few. The response though will come from millions around the world who know what was done is wrong.
We will do what is right.
Speech from Head Boy- Nikhil Prakash
On behalf of our head student team, I wanted to express the sorrow we feel for our city and country, following the events on Friday. It's now time to stand together, stand strong and support one another.
To express our care, love and support to all people affected by this very dark day, we will be joining with our wider community to create a paper chain of loving messages. This morning teachers are holding strips of coloured paper which we would appreciate you taking and writing a message for those who need our support right now. These paper strips will also be available during interval and lunch for you to add your comments here in the quad. We’re going to make a paper chain out of all the supportive messages from our school, and deliver them to several memorial sites around Christchurch. This is just one of the initiatives we are taking part in, and in the coming days, we’re going to be thinking of several ways we can help the community.
I just want to finish off by reflecting on the words of Nelson Mandela: Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future”. Our school is really connected, and our sense of togetherness is incredible. We will continue to display that compassion to each other, and the rest of the community.
Let’s stand together as students and show our support.
Love conquers all.
Please look after yourselves, and each other. Thank you.
Message read out to students at formtime
This will be a moment in time for us as Cantabrians, Kiwis and as a school. As the principal said, there is just not a word that can adequately describe Friday. It is a tragedy. It is terrible. It was our darkest day.
Many have said, how can we help. Kindness to each other and reflecting on our schools Pride values are ways we can move forward. Further to this, is not so much what can we do but rather what we don’t do – social media is a powerful tool and this is a way you can have your voice – by ignoring the ignorant and not contributing to unnecessary conversation.
Support are our priorities.
It is moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day; there are support services in place to support you.
If any student wishes to speak with someone, or seek support please ask your teacher.