Boys’ School Graduation Dinner 2017

November 23, 2017 at 3:15 PM

In a change of venue this year, over 400 students, parents, staff, Trust Board members and invited guests gathered at Eden Park Function Centre last night, to reflect back on the Year 8 boys’ last eight years of friendship and learning, as they prepare to move on to the next stage in their education. The boys were excited to find themselves high above the hallowed rugby grounds!

The Dean of the Senior School, Mr Richard Kirk, opened the formalities saying that the boys could be proud of themselves for the contribution they have made to the life of the School, particularly this year, when so many have stepped up to show leadership. As the boys move on in life, Mr Kirk said he hoped they will always think back with fondness and a sense of connection to the Boys’ School. They will always be sons of Kentigern. 

The School is grateful to the Old Collegians for sponsoring the dinner each year and welcomed the president, Mr Hayden Butler to speak. He said he was pleased to see the boys wearing their Old Collegians ties and encouraged them to value the friendships they had made during their time at the School. Following on from Mr Butler, Chapel prefect, Isaac Wong was called on to say grace before dinner. 

This year’s special after-dinner guest was a former student of both the Boys’ School and the College. Fresh from Emirates Team New Zealand’s (ETNZ) America’s Cup win in Bermuda, and in the midst of negotiating the logistics for the next challenge, we were pleased to welcome back ETNZ CEO, Grant Dalton. Rightfully full of pride for all his team had achieved, Grant was ‘on fire’ last night. In his own dry, laconic, ‘Kiwi’ way, he kept interest high and the laughter coming as he explained some of the behind the scenes secrets that few could know – like having their own French agents spying on Oracle, the incredible lengths they went to keep the cyclors secret and deliberately delaying the delivery of vital boat parts until 24 hours before racing began so there was no risk of other teams ‘cloning’ their ideas. He also gave us a glimpse of the future, sharing the fantastic new boat design for the next challenge; leaving no doubt that the new 75 foot mono-hulls might appear traditional but in fact carried incredible design innovations that would take racing to the next level in 2021. 

Graduating Year 8 student, Jackson Horton was a frequent visitor to ETNZ’s team base in Bermuda, as his father, Greg was on the ETNZ Board. Jackson had clearly built up an easy bond with Grant. Last night, Jackson proved he was almost as media savvy as the ETNZ boss as he lined him up for an interview! Not pulling any punches, he introduced Grant as a ‘hard boss’ but tempered it by saying that the feeling of family and ‘kiwiness’ on base was incredible. Jackson said, ‘Grant demonstrated that despite ETNZ being the ‘underdogs,’ their innovation, being brave and resilient, and working extremely hard, led to great things.’ 

Throughout the interview, Grant reiterated that the drive, ethics and innovation behind ETNZ was Kiwi through and through. ‘When resources are limited, you have to make the most of what you’ve got.’ He acknowledged Jackson’s searching question about the decisive loss in 2013 to Oracle in San Francisco, saying that the positive to come from that experience is that they ‘had to think and do things differently. Adversity can create advantage.’ And what did it feel like to win in Bermuda? Sheer relief! Relief they didn’t lose! 

Deputy Head Boy, Archie Nightingale gave thanks to Grant. Speaking ‘off the cuff,’ Archie spoke confidently, referring back to key points in Grant’s speech; a reminder how well our boys are prepared for public speaking. 

Old Collegians’ ambassador at the Boys’ School, Peter Nelson then presented Grant with an Old Collegians’ Honours Tie, given to a select few former students of the School who have gone on to make a significant contribution to the community. 

In his address, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie, made mention of the ‘generational involvement present, with the Beca, Rowntree, Joyce, Vaughan, Poole, Chaytor and Fenton families each having a dad and son/s through the School creating a lasting association. 

In closing, Mr Cassie told the boys, ‘Always remember who you are and what it means to be a son of Kentigern. During your life you will encounter change, challenges or pressure: make sure the decisions you make, your actions and  words reflect our core values of respect, integrity, service, excellence and love.’ 

A final set of ‘reflections,’ a video prepared by Kirsty Beca, mother of Head Boy, George Beca, looked back on the boys time together, provoking many memories as images scrolled across the screen, dating back to when some were new entrants! The evening finally concluded with one last Haka from the boys, led by Tetauru Cuthers. 

Our boys have been well prepared in their primary years and we wish them well as they now move on to new challenges, knowing they will always be a part of the Boys’ School. As Mr Kirk concluded, ‘Go out and make the people around you proud, but mainly, make yourself proud!’


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