English and Media Studies Department Report

By Kristan Mouat | Posted: Friday November 22, 2013

Weve had another exciting and rewarding year in English and Media Studies classes and in all the related extra-curricular areas. We were really proud of students achievements in NCEA and especially the 5 national NCEA scholarships awarded. Katrina Lamont, Pieta Ferens and Rhian Gaffney won scholarships in English and Gareth McMullen and Emelia Mixter in Media Studies.

Highlights include:

Visiting authors, David Hill, Tania Roxborogh, and Apirana Taylor speaking to students and staff about the art of writing.

Helen Prime and Charlie Hilton winning top prizes in the Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics’ Institute writing competition.  Helen wrote about ex-Head of Drama, Denise Walsh and her amazing contribution to Otago and New Zealand theatre, and Charlie wrote about ex-student and artist, Simon Kaan.  They won $500 each, and $1,000 for the school.  And our enthusiastic writers enjoyed our weekly Writers’ Group organised by Mrs MacTaggart.

Lots of juniors and seniors appreciated regularly competing in the newly established Dunedin Interschool Debating competition, tirelessly coached and supported by Ms Robins and Ms Ashby.   Our senior team; Matthew Scadden, Connor Seddon, Charlie Ruffman and Meran Campbell-Hood were the champion team in Otago.  In the Russell McVeigh competition, Conor was selected for the Otago team, and Jacobi Kohu-Morris was awarded Most Promising Speaker.  And it was lovely to see four ex-students, Keiran Bunn, Alec Dawson, John Brinsley-Pirie and Patrick Dawson selected for the Otago University teams to debate in the 2014 World Debating Champs in India.  They were featured on the front page of the Otago Daily Times, thanking Ms Robins and Logan Park High School for giving them such a good grounding in critical thinking and debating.

Our Library programme with Mrs Millar continues to breed success.  For the 6th year, we won the NZ Post Book Award Otago competition with an impressive performance by Oscar McGuire, Taren Loughran, Clair Caird and Ben Clayton.  Students also enjoyed the Fiction Presentations, Biography Parties, and the University Book Shop sponsored Reading Challenge, as well as the focus on personal reading.  Our Peer Reading Programme matching up juniors with seniors was again a worthwhile experience for all concerned and we all appreciated Mrs Cameron’s positivity about reading with a buddy. 

Three junior teams competed in the Otago Daily Times Extra Spelling Bee Competition supported by Ms Liesbeth.   And in the ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools) students continue to achieve outstanding results.  Rachel Molteno Year 9 was placed in the top 1% in New Zealand, Katherine Woolrych Year 10 was in the top 1%, Oscar McGuire Year 9 was in the top 2%, Meran Campbell-Hood Year 11, was placed in the top 2% in New Zealand,  Connor Seddon Year 12, top 5%  and Jenna McNaughton and Desiree Heinz-Farrington Year 9 were placed in the top 9% in New Zealand.

On the Public Speaking front, Jacobi Kohu-Morris and Connor Seddon spoke persuasively in the Otago final of the Race Unity Speech Competition, with Jake winning and going on to the national final in Auckland.  He spoke convincingly and was runner up in the NZ final against 20 other Year 13 students from around the country.  An impressive result given Jake is only in Year 11.  Charlie Ruffman won the Dunedin final of the Rotary Club 4 Way Speech competition.   And Jake won the English section of the Otago Southland Nga Manu Korero Speech Competition with Flayme Wharerau coming third in the Maori section. Jake competed in the national final in Hamilton with wonderful support from the Kapa Haka group.  Oscar LaDell won Best Junior Speaker in the Otago Junior Secondary Schools' Competition, beating 11 other schools with his entertaining speech on acts of heroism. 

In the Media and Film area, our Film Club run by film-maker Craig Storey continues to be a source of inspiration and is always well attended.  “Hobo Pictures” won Best School Film in the V48 Hours Otago Southland Competition for their “Violin’T Crime,” and the “Oscar the Walrus” and “Can’t Remember” crews were in the top 12.  Oscar McNoe won Best Editor and Naomi Ashby-Ryan won Best Director.   Our  Media Studies Film night featured 27 short films and documentaries, appreciated by a packed out auditorium of supportive friends, parents and whanau.  Thanks to Ms Hazelwood who spent many weekends and week nights helping students edit their films. Robbie Motion and Matthew Scadden’s films were placed second equal in the Otago Schools’ Film competition.    The Animation and 3-D Modelling Club is also proving popular with regular Sunday afternoon workshops with animator Greg White. 

Thanks to the really committed teaching team of Suzanne Robins, Morag MacTaggart, Jennifer Ashby, Lara Liesbeth, Arnika Hazelwood, Christine Colbert, and Marcelle Nader-Turner for all their efforts both in the classroom and supporting students outside the classroom.  Thanks also to our wonderful students and whanau who continue to inspire, delight and challenge us all. 

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