Viva Strathallan – a trip to Spain

On the 12th April, 29 students and 3 teachers set off for 30 hours of travel to Madrid, Spain. As soon as we arrived we went to the hotel and then did a walking city tour of the beautiful city, stopping for chocolate con churros. On the second day, we went to the Warner Bros theme park, which definitely fixed our jetlag! On the 15th we visited the Real Madrid F.C Stadium and El Prado museum to admire the beautiful art and massive stadium! We then headed to the Retiro Park and did a bike tour around it. The next day we ventured to the tiny, yet magical, city of Segovia. We learned about the history as we walked from one side of the city to the other, where we climbed to the top of the Alcazar.

The next day we left Madrid and arrived in Valencia after a 2-hour high-speed train ride. We visited a tiger nut farm, drunk horchata and got a lesson on how to make it. We then met our host families and went back to their houses. The next day we had a 3-hour Spanish lesson to develop our skills, and then went to the historical center and cathedral, followed by some free time to explore and shop. The next day we were supposed to visit a Spanish orchard but because of the weather we were redirected to an art and science museum, and then went to an Aquarium for the afternoon. The next day we were supposed to go to the beach, but the weather was still not looking good so instead, we went to an indoor trampoline park, played some laser tag and did indoor beach volleyball. That night we had our last dinner with our host families in Valencia.

The next morning we said our goodbyes and got on a bus for a 6-hour ride to Granada. As soon as we arrived we met our new host families and went back to theirs for dinner. The next day we visited the beautiful cathedral and royal chapel and then we had some free time. On the 23rd – everyone’s favourite day – we headed to a high school! We got to meet our buddies that we had been talking to. We danced with them and then we had some time to just hangout with them and make new friends! Definitely a highlight of the trip. After the school visit, we went to the Arab and Gypsy neighbourhoods and then we learned how to dance flamenco, then watched a flamenco dance performance after a tapas dinner. We ended our stay in Granada the next day by visiting the stunning La Alhambra.

The next day began with a 2-hour bus ride to Cordoba. Once in Cordoba, we had a tour guide show us around the Mosque-Cathedral and then had lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant. After our short stay in Cordoba we hopped on a high-speed train back to Madrid and then had our last dinner in Spain. The next day we had a hip-hop dance lesson in the morning, and then headed to a mall for lunch and some free time before going to the airport. Finally, after a long 25 hours of flying our families welcomed us back home.

– Written by Abbie Webb

World Vision Youth Conference 2019

Recently, some of our student leadership group attended the World Vision Youth Conference, which focused on empowering and encouraging students to be our future leaders for justice and equality.

Millions of young people around the world face injustice and inequality every day of their lives. While many see news of war and disaster almost daily, few feel empowered enough to step up and challenge the status quo. The World Vision Youth Conference focused on changing this by encouraging students to challenge what it means to be a leader and to lead for humanity.

The conference had a number of speaker sessions, collaborative exercises and interactive workshops available to provide students the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills. The speakers at the event inspired our leadership group to act and encourage others to stand up for young people experiencing injustice and inequality and be leaders of global change.

Key speaker Julia Zhu discussed how we as leaders could use our platform for young minds to come together to build our social awareness and learn how our actions can help put a stop to global injustice. Another speaker, Chris Jupp, also shed light on global inequality and how leadership with purpose can make a real difference. Listening to these speakers sparked a passion for justice, and really gave us as students an opportunity to channel our potential for leadership.

A special and sincere moment was experienced between all students when speaker Abe Nouk shared with us a poem he wrote after hearing about the devastating Christchurch shootings. His poem was as follows – “Signs we are flowers to blossom; the sun is shining. As we wake aware some flowers will not blossom by no fault of their own, we will accept the responsibility to water ourselves with compassion and grow in loving unity.” Listening to his heartfelt words inspired me, and other students, to open our hearts and minds to really see the people around us in this world.

The World Vision Youth Conference had a great impact, empowering us as students to advocate for and lead social change in our local and global communities. The influence this conference has left ensures that we use our position as leaders to leave a profound effect on others for years to come.

– Kelda Elborough

9A social science trip

On Thursday 27th of February, 9A went to Mangere Mountain to witness an actual volcano. For the last 6 weeks, we had been focusing on volcanoes and other natural disasters. We arrived at 9:30 in the morning we were met by our guides at the entrance to the mountain. We walked for a short period before coming upon a plastic red box. Our guide got us into groups of four and gave us a sponge with a bottle with vinegar in it and a spoon of baking powder. We had to pour the baking powder into the vinegar which reacted with a splash of white foamy liquid.

Once we had all tried the experiment we went for a brisk walk to a depression in the land. Our guide explained that this was once a storage place for food used by the Maori people that lived on this mountain. We walked back to where we created our first experiment and prepared for our second. We were each given a plastic bottle filled with a brown chunky liquid and placed it through a hole in a plastic sack. Then we opened the lid and watched it slowly wind its way down the sides of the sack.

After the experiment, she explained its significance. “In each of the bottles was a cheap soft drink mixed with glue to make a chunky texture, the carbon dioxide bubbles in the soft drink represent the highly pressured gases inside the lava”, our guide told us.

Soon afterwards we climbed to the highest point on the mountain and circled the rim of the dual craters before walking down into the second crater to inspect some ‘lava bombs’. She showed us the different types of lava bombs and how they formed. We then ventured to Ambury Farm Park where we were each given a helmet as it was time to explore the lava cave underneath one of the fields. The entrance was covered with a hollow grilled piece of steel so you could not access it without a key. Our guide opened it and we descended into the cave, it was a gloomy area illuminated by one stream of light coming through the hole we just climbed through. It was about ten meters wide and 1.5 meters tall. Our guide explained that caves like this were made when lava cools on the outside but the lava remains warm and keeps moving, creating a sort of tunnel. She proved it by showing the igneous rock on the ceiling and walls.

Finally we had a civil defence unit; it would be the last activity we did. We learnt about what would happen if a new volcano erupted in Auckland. We found out about pyroclastic flows and lahars and their devastating effects. Our guide gave us an idea of what happens in an evacuation and what we needed to take should we ever need to be evacuated. At last it was time to leave. We wished our guide well and left.

– By Thomas McCulloch 9A

A record-breaking athletics day


An amazing ten records were broken at our College Athletics Day on Wednesday, 21 February, highlighting the tremendous sporting talent of so many of our students.

New Athletic records 2019:

  • Maverick Hayes Senior boys 800m  2m 9.68sec
  • George Kozlov Senior Boys 400m      53.48 sec.
  • Daniel Tilsley senior boys high jump( 2.00m), senior boys discus(38.42m)
  • Matthew Swales  Intermediate boys 400m  55.58 sec.
  • Siobhan Balle: Intermediate girls 400m  (1m 2.94sec),800m (2m 23.31) 3000m(11m 16.00sec)
  • Neo Kuy Junior boys high jump( 1m 56cm)
  • Abby Englebrecht Y8 girls high jump.(1.53m)

Congratulations to these students who not only broke school records but who also created new PBs for themselves.

Our year 9 students recently spent two days at Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges.

Year 9 Camp was a great experience for all the students and teachers who were involved. We stayed at the camp for two days and did activities such as team building, a trapeze, and a confidence course.

The confidence course is an obstacle course that goes through many different challenges such as: going over and under logs, going over a swing and climbing a wall as a team. The confidence course was divided into two parts, a wet part, which was full of mud and a dry part. Our group did the wet part first and nearly everyone in our team got covered in mud from head to toe.

Another activity that I really enjoyed doing was the teamwork course as we had to work together as a team to overcome challenges. This really helped us become closer as a team, and improved problem-solving skills. My favourite challenge was getting between platforms using two wooden planks (both of which were shorter than the distance between the platforms). We thought of a strategy together and everyone cooperated with each other so we got through the challenges very quickly.

At camp, we also socialised and made new friends with our teammates and with the people in our cabin. We ate at a table together and had a large amount of time to socialise with each other. We made new friendships and strengthened our old ones. The new students integrated with the old students very well.

Overall, year 9 camp was an amazing experience for everyone involved and It was filled with great activities. I, and everyone else involved, would definitely go to year 9 camp again.

by Mitchell Faint, Year 9

High Distinctions at the AMC Awards

Congratulations to Zac Perkin (year 10) and Kevin Fan (year 9) who received High Distinction awards at the 2018 Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) Awards Night held at Selwyn College.

A High Distinction award is given to students who achieve in the top 3% of participants in their region, in this case, New Zealand so this is an outstanding achievement for Zac and Kevin.

Thousands of students participate annually in the AMC from over 30 countries and success in this competition is very highly regarded globally. Often top students in this competition are invited to participate in development camps and training sessions for national competitions.

Speakers at the ceremony highlighted how important skill in mathematics is in today’s world. We heard from Dr Tanya Evans from the University of Auckland who stressed that we are in the Era of Mathematics and showed us the how mathematics is behind every key development. We were reminded that in today’s world it is not necessarily what you are qualified to do that is most important but how you think. And behind those thinkers is mathematics.

Congratulations to our great thinkers and budding mathematicians Kevin and Zac!

Boys on Tour: AIMS Games Football Tournament

The first day of the tournament was very tough. The boys playing extremely well in their three games, including playing two of the tops seeds in our pool. Although coming away with three losses (Maeroa 3-2, Tauranga Intermediate 4-0, and Albany Junior High 2-1) the boys have shown that they are willing and able to battle with anybody and put in a tremendous effort both on and off the field.

They ended the day some sore and tired bodies but enjoyed some sumptuous burgers and dessert for dinner prepared by our two camp mothers, Bonnie and Sally, and guest Master Chef, Mr O’Connor – good fuel to prepare them for day 2. The boys are representing the College, their families and themselves well.

Strathallan Sporting Achievements

Shaayan Sarker year 9
Qualified for the New Zealand Under 14 Indoor Cricket Team
My team and I train for about 2 hours every Sunday and we’re training really hard right now for Tournament which is coming up in 33 days. We’re going to Christchurch to play against a few other teams. I was firstly selected for the Auckland under 14 team and then from there, I went to Christchurch to qualify for the national team in front of professional New Zealand selectors and players. My main goal is to become an outdoor cricket player so indoor cricket is just step one for me. To achieve a place in a higher team I just worked really hard and trained heaps for the position.

Leevy Wells year 10
Qualified for the New Zealand Under 16 Touch Development Team
Training right now consists of lots of fitness tests and play because we go to camp in a few weeks for trials to get into the official national team. Professional New Zealand players will select the final team of 18 out of 30 and then that team gets to go to Australia to play against Australian teams. My main goal is to play Sevens Rugby next year so Touch is a good start. In order to get into the development team I stay focused on Touch Rugby and don’t get distracted by other sports.

Benjamin Morgan year 7
Qualified for the Counties Under 13 Hockey Development Team
We train every Wednesday and Sunday for an hour and a quarter and practice things like fitness, tackling and passing. We also go to Tournaments and play other teams. Soon we’re going to the Bay of Plenty to play. I started playing for local teams and then went to trials where spotters were selecting people for the development team. I went to Auckland to get the final decision for the team I’m in now. Improving my hockey skills is my main goal for now. I got into the development team by training a lot and keeping on trying.

Tom O’Sullivan year 8
Qualified for the Counties Hatch Hockey Team
Training happens every Sunday morning at 8:30 and we do drills and passing skills like ‘follow your pass’. I did three trials to get into the team, one of them was drills and two of them were games. At the first tournament, there were 20 players and a few were dropped. I play hockey for enjoyment and I hope to be doing it even as I get older. I trained a lot with my siblings and in a lot in my free time to get into the Hatch Team.

Netball Premier team season ends well

The Girls Premier Netball team have had an incredible season, making history by defeating teams they have never defeated before. They came away with 8 wins and 2 losses, moving into the Premier Final against a very strong Pukekohe High School Premier team. After a hard-fought match, they trailed by 4, placing second in the Counties Manukau Secondary School Competition but heads were certainly held high. Our new coach Kim told us at the beginning of the season ‘a happy team is a successful team’ and we are most certainly a happy and passionate team, excited for UNISS held at the Mount in early September, with the desire to continue striving for success whilst maintaining a gratifying netball environment.

2018 Talent Quest

Our three days of Talent Quest heats culminated in a final that really showcased the tremendous talents of our students.

First up was year 8 student, Minh Ho, with an electrifying guitar performance followed by year 7 Maddie Walker whose vocal performance of a classic musical was beautiful and vivacious. Bommi in year 13 with her hip hop choreography lit up the whole gym – she was very focused and is a super talented dancer! Following Bommi was Saara in year 8 who performed a very special traditional Indian dance. Her connection to the music was very moving and was felt through her whole performance. Next was ‘Washington Heights’ a group of students from year 10 to year 13 who performed a rap-style musical song about what they would do if they won the lottery. It was extremely entertaining! After that act was a trio of musicians who played their version of 21 Savages ‘Bank Account’. It was superbly unique and they are all very talented! Next up was Kaide who’s hip hop dancing was entertaining and full of enthusiasm, followed by Gianni with a touching and emotional song that she wrote herself. The last performance was Kyle in year 13 who played the electric guitar – another amazing performance.

While the judges deliberated we were treated to a very special guest performance from a few members of the teaching staff who entertained us with dancing, singing and a whole lot of laughing. It was a difficult decision, but the judges finally decided on their top four.

Congratulations go to the:
1st Place : Washington Heights
2nd Place Equal : Gianni-Mia Attrill-Dowling and Kyle Mahadevan
3rd Place : Kaide Toia

Well done to everyone who took part and a special thank you to the Student Council for organising the event and to the judges for their time.