Celebrating 10 Years of Girls at the College

February 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

In the year that we celebrate 60 years as a College, we also mark another milestone. It is now 10 years since the first brave girls took those tentative steps through the College gates of a former all boys’ school.

At the start of 2013, we have 633 girls on the College roll, having grown in numbers from the 135 who started in 2003. On Friday 22 February, we held an all girls’ assembly with our current girls to mark the 10 year anniversary. This was the first time that the College has ever had a girls-only assembly. The speaker was our first Head Girl, Jessie Jarvie (nee Emerson) who is now a lawyer and married to an Old Collegian, Paul Jarvie. They are expecting a baby this year which will be the first child born to two Saint Kentigern Old Collegians. Another interesting fact is that before Jessie finished her law degree, she began working for Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central. Nikki was Head Girl at Corran School which is now Saint Kentigern Girls’ School.

Jessie made a superb address to the girls that was both funny and poignant as she remembered her first nervous days as one of the first girls in what was still largely a male bastion. Our girls were given some real insight into the path that these first brave girls forged for them.

During the assembly, a group of girls from our Premier Choir Kentoris performed, accompanied by an all-girl string quartet. As dance was first introduced as a subject in the year that the girls started, a film clip from last year’s dance showcase was shown.

It was a thrill to welcome back one of our first two Year 7 teachers of girls, Mr Heath McNeil, who is currently the Principal at Ramarama School. At the assembly we also recognised and thanked Mrs Dawn Wilton who has served Saint Kentigern for 28 years, 18 of which were as Personal Assistant to three Headmasters. In 2003, she agreed to be the receptionist in the then Girls Block (EMC) and did a wonderful job of keeping a close eye on the girls during their first three years at the College. We also welcomed Mrs Sandra Hastie, Head of Primary and the Girls’ School and the Head Girl from the Girls’ School, Anna Lowther.

In 2003, 48 girls started in Year 7 and 56 in Year 9. The bravest girls had to be the 31 who joined the co-educational Year 11 classes for the first time and ventured into the Senior School Goodfellow Quad with 500 boys. We have come a long way since then! We now enjoy seeing fully co-educational classrooms in Year 11-13 and boys and girls sharing Quads in both the Middle School and Senior School.

In the last three years, girls have also found a home at Bruce House and have also settled quickly as boarders in another previously male domain. With the passage of time girls at the College have become just as much a part of Saint Kentigern as the boys were for the previous 50 years. Ten years pass quickly and today’s students have only ever known a College for both boys and girls.

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