A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Naenae College as head boy. In attendance at the reunion were many of the founding students of Naenae College all the way back from 1953.
What struck me at the reunion was the notion of how far reaching the family of Naenae College really is, well beyond teachers and students. I saw living proof that the experiences, friendships and true Te Whanau Tahi spirit of Naenae College never leaves you. Looking out at the past students I was filled with a sense of pride in that over the past five years I have played a small part in continuing the journey that they had started 60 years ago.
Because during my five years here at Naenae, this place has been on a journey. I have been witness to so much change in the culture and environment of our school so that I am confident to say to anyone that Naenae College is going places. I know that there is absolutely nothing second rate about the educational opportunities at Naenae for any student who walks into the school gates with an open mind, enthusiasm and the determination to push their frontiers.
I am so proud of the change the college has so far achieved and my chest swells with pride whenever I think of the Te Whanau Tahi kapa haka group singing their waiata on the regional stage; or our XV making the top four of premier one; or our Special Needs Unit putting on their own Royal Wedding. Because it is all these little things that makes the Naenae College that I know and that I love. But what makes me most proud is that I know that this change so far achieved is just the beginning.
So whether you are reading this as a student of Naenae College in 2013, 2014, or 2026. Always remember that you are part of the most amazing community that I know cannot be found anywhere else in New Zealand. But also remember that you are a leader of Naenae College in everything that you do and that you have the honor, the privilege and the responsibility of continuing the journey for the school and continuing the success.