Classmate: End of an era

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Wakatipu High farewells its junior school’s “special character” with an event that signals the end of an era. 

At the finish of this school year, about 120 Year 8 students will no longer be taught at the resort’s secondary school – following a Ministry of Education decision last year to cut the 12 and 13-year-olds and younger Year 7s. 

To mark the occasion, the PTA, teacher Wendy Perkins and a group of students have organised a disco next Friday for Year 8 kids from all the resort’s schools. Year 11 students Jonty Norton and Andrew Benington will DJ the music. 

“It’s for students from all the schools to have fun and it will hopefully bring kids in Year 8 closer together,” Perkins says. 

The disco, with an Alice in Wonderland theme, will be held at Wakatipu High’s auditorium from 7-10pm. 

For 2011, Year 7 and 8 will be shipped off to the Wakatipu’s four primary schools while the high school reconfigures itself to a Year 9-13 school. 

Board of trustees chairman Alistair Nicholson says there’re “plusses and minuses” with the change.
Roll-based operational 

funding has been cut with the junior exodus but the continual arrival of pupils has balanced the books. No teachers have been made redundant in the process. 

Nicholson feels Year 7 and 8s could miss out on the “specialist structure” of some subjects like science, plus the social dynamics of the school will change. But it’ll make things slightly easier from an administration perspective. 

“I think there’s a sadness about it. It gives some special character to the school.”