International Newsletter Term 2 2016


 

8 July 2016

Dear Parents, Guardians and Homestay Families

While Term 2 has been a busy time with the Korean Night, the Chinese Night, the trip to a Marae, the focus of Term 2 has no doubt been the Mid Year Exams. For some of our students, this was their first experience of sitting formal exams in New Zealand.

I wish to congratulate these students in particular, on their diligent and mature approach to these exams. I hope everyone has gained something valuable from the exam process.

To our students:

Remember, the most important thing about exams is not the marks they generate, but your own reflections afterwards. It is important that you go over all your exam papers, identify gaps in your learning, and develop strategies to close those gaps. This may mean that you need to revise certain sections of the content, clarify your understanding with your teachers and attempt those exam questions again.  A reminder that the following tutorials are held afterschool to support your learning:

  • Monday  –  Yr11, 12 and 13 Business Studies and Economics
  • Wednesday – Yr11 Science
  • Thursday – Yr12 and 13 Calculus and Statistics
  • Friday- Yr12 and 13 Physics

I also wish to congratulate the following senior students who came first in subjects:

Year 11

  • Issac An  – 1st in IGCSE Japanese
  • Bohan Dong  –  – 1st in Foundation English
  • Hoojun Lee  – 1st in Food Technology for Beginners
  • Hongchen Lin  – 1st in ELP Writing
  • Xiaoqiao Liu  – 1st in ELP Reading
  • Yixin Liu – 1st in Mathematics
  • Bingzheng Yan  – 1st in Science

Year 12

  • Naphat Amornmanus – 1st in ELP Writing, 1st in Travel and Tourism
  • Haodong Bai  – 1st in Foundation English
  • Zhangbo Huang  – 1st in Food Technology for Beginners,1st in Travel and Tourism
  • Nam Hun Kim  – 1st in Mathematics with Algebra
  • Jinming Liang  – 1st in ESOL Foundation
  • Jacky Lin  – 1st in Japanese
  • Wichayut Vicheansil  – 1st in Physics
  • Roykhien Wanglert  – 1st in Travel and Tourism
  • Ruobing Yang  – 1st in ELP Reading
  • Vincent Zheng – 1st in Art Design

Year 13

  •  Joshua Arnott  – 1st in Sports Leadership Programme
  • Yu Chen  – 1st in Photography,  1st in Sculpture
  • Hengshuo Duan  – 1st in Accounting,  1st in Economics
  • Silei Huang  – 1st in Painting
  • Yekang Kwon  – 1st in Art Design, 1st in Tourism
  • Bo Peng  – 1st in Physics
  • David Qiu  – 1st in AS Business Studies
  • Mark Sumadi  – 1st in Calculus

Finally, a reminder to all students that in Term 3 we will be looking at your option selections for 2017. You will need to reflect on your Mid Year exam results and think about your interests and future career aspirations.

We will make sure that your 2017 subjects reflect your personal strengths and keep your options open for the future.

Ms Tina Kwok,
Director of the International Department

International Student School Leaders

    This year we have two international students who are school prefects. This is in recognition of the effort and contribution made to Westlake life by our boys. In the following article, the newly appointed prefect Blair Duan talks about how he feels after being appointed a prefect.

Being a School Prefect

I am Blair Duan, an international student who has been at Westlake for three and a half years. It was very honorable for me to be chosen as one of the prefects for Westlake in 2016.

Before I become a prefect, I was really looking forward to being one, for the reason that prefects have a different style of uniform compared to other students. I thought it would be kind of cool wearing it, walking around the school in a blazer which would make me look distinctive and special. After being appointed as a prefect, I realized that the cost of wearing cool uniform is way more than what it looks like.

I knew that prefects would have a lot of things to do so I was prepared to be busy after becoming a prefect. It is really busy to be honest. I’ve got duty every day. This means that I take some students to pick up rubbish. Apart from this, prefects help the school organize different school events such as Parents’ Evening, Korean night, Chinese night, quiz night and more.

After one month of adapting to the new situation, I’m now getting used to all the busy stuff that a prefect needs to face. I know that I represent Westlake like everyone else. I feel good helping and serving the school. I feel a sense of responsibility when putting on the blazer. More importantly, as one of the International Student prefects, I should take care of all international students and this is also my responsibility.

I will try my best, no matter how tired I am, in order to make Westlake better.

 Image1

Visitors from Thailand

Over the past two terms we have welcomed some young Thai international students for four week visits. In addition we have also enjoyed hosting some Thai educationalists in our school.Mr. Thammanoon Rattanamung, Head of Foreign Language Division, Head of Public & Exchange Program and Head of Foreign Language Curriculum Development & Promotion, from Kasetsart University Laboratory School Multilingual Program undertook class observations for three weeks.

He also took this opportunity to visit his students who are enrolled in a one year program at Westlake.

 image2
We also welcomed Dr. Salit Butnain, President of Saimit Group and Mr. Goragot Butnain Director of Foreign office.  image3  image4  Two of the Saimit Group teachers, Mrs. Premsuda Maneerin and Mrs Sareeya Ngamijaruchoktawee, participated in a Teacher Development Program where they observed classes for four weeks. They were hosted locally and loved their opportunity to experience time in Auckland and at a NZ school

  Korean Night 2016

image5 Westlake Korean Night 2016 was a night of record highs, new performances, and multicultural participation. The line of people waiting outside before the even got underway was huge, seeming to stretch almost all the way down to Westlake Girls!

The auditorium was full, with around 2000 people present on the night; a record number of attendees for this amazing evening. With such a huge turnout, there was a record amount of money raised for donation to charity as well as for the development of the Westlake Korean Community.

image7 The night was packed with exceptional performances, with the students celebrating Korean culture through dance, music, performance and song.

One of the highlights was the Boys and Girls Combined Mask Dance Group, a new performance that brought freshness to the event.

 

 

image6 Traditional dance infused with modern music made the performance very unique and will be certain to become a regular item for future Korean Nights.

Year by year, we are pleased to see a growing number of other ethnicities taking part in the Korean Night. The support of the Korean community and the love for Korean culture shown by all has us already looking forward to next year’s Korean Night.

Celebrating Maori Culture

Last month fourteen senior students had the opportunity to learn more about Maori culture on a trip to Ngatai Whakarongorua marae. This is an ancestral marae of Te Uri O Hau whose tribal lands are the northern Kaipara Harbour. The students learnt about Maori tikanga (cultural practices and beliefs) around kai (food).

Students were welcomed onto the marae with a traditional powhiri. Once everyone was settled they went to a local beach to gather pipi which were enjoyed for lunch the following day. Students then spent time gathering scientific data for NIWA about the health of the estuary. This included habitat mapping and measuring the changing contour of the land.

Late afternoon was spent learning about the cultural heritage and ancestry of Te Uri O Hau. Students stayed on the marae overnight and prepared food for everyone to share.

image8
image9 In the morning students explored the ngahere (forest) and learnt about how Maori use plants as medicine and a food source.

Everyone returned to Westlake with a deeper understanding of Maori culture and full stomachs from all the delicious kai.

 Food Technology Opportunities for International Students

Our boys really enjoy their Food Technology Class as they learn:

  • About safe food handling
  • How to design a menu and work out what food to present
  • How to cook and display food beautifully so it looks delicious to eat

Last month, the boys invited the International Department staff to their Food Technology classes to sample their cooking and give feedback about the quality and presentation of the food.

I was very honored to visit the Year 11 class where twenty two boys stood proudly with their work on the table. The food was set out on separate dishes, with much attention given to making the food look inviting and healthy. We sampled items such as Chinese fried rice, chocolate pancake, pizza, stir fried vegetables and meat, and lamb and mint burgers.

All were just delicious! We gave feedback about each dish to help the boys reflect on their learning.

We were very proud of the boys’ efforts and hope that they will share their skills with their homestays and families at home. We certainly have some great chefs in the making! Well done boys. Ka pai! –

Jasmine Tang, Chinese Advisor

Spotlight on Sports and Academic Achievement

image10

Tupou Afungia

It was great to see Tupou back on the rugby field after suffering a serious hand injury in a preseason game back in April.

His enthusiasm was terrific and he was rewarded with his first try for Westlake’s 1stXV team.

Tupou is our first international student from Tonga relishing the chance to complete his secondary education in New Zealand and develop his rugby talent.

He has settled in well, living with a host family who understands the importance of his academic opportunity.

The Brewis family, whose eldest son Finlay is in Year 12, are providing wonderful care to Tupou. Their farming environment is close to Tupou’s up-bringing, so his daily family living combined with schooling in the urban surroundings, gives balance to a young man on a new path.

 Taylor Ugava

Another first for the International Department is Taylor Ugava, a student from Papua New Guinea.

This is Taylor’s second year at Westlake.

He arrived as a young Year 9 student and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow and develop into a fine young man, gaining confidence and working hard in the classroom with his studies as well as enjoying his great passion for football.

He is a member of a school team which competes in the weekly competition and he also plays club football on the weekends.

Taylor would like to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pilot when he leaves school.

 image11

Thank You to our Host Families

We are very grateful to our host families who do so much for our students. We have over 120 boys in homestays and know that they are supported in so many ways to help them achieve and live in NZ. We really appreciate all the assistance that our special families give to the boys.We would like to thank each and every one of our host families for the care and commitment that you show our boys.
image12 image13 image14 Thanks to the Rachmadi host family, who shared these photos with us, showing Sicheng and Yifei on their recent family holiday to Rotorua.

 

International Newsletter Term 1 2016


15 April 2016

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Homestay Families

Tēnā koutou!

I would like to congratulate all international students on a fantastic Term One.

We started the term off by celebrating a set of very pleasing external exam results. Our 2015 cohort has done us proud by producing a 88% pass rate at Level 3, a 25% endorsement rate at Level 1, a 28% endorsement rate at Level 2 and an astonishing 48% endorsement rate at Level 3. These outstanding results are testament of all the hard work and persistence of our students and teachers.

In order to repeat, or even exceed, our 2015 results, I wish to remind all students that it is important to establish a good study habit early and start your preparation now. The school provides after school tutorials in the following subjects and it is my recommendation that students take advantage of these: Yr11 Science, Yr12 Business Studies, Yr13 Calculus and Yr13 Statistics. Please also be reminded that the ESOL Department runs after school Homework Centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Term One has always been full of exciting activities and this year has been no exception. So far, international students have had opportunities to participate in the Whole School Powhiri, the Haka Competition, the Swimming Sports, Cross Country, the School Ball and the Cultural Week. I believe these activities not only provided wonderful experiences and memories for our international students, but also enabled them to develop important key competencies such as Relating to Others, Participating and Contributing and Managing Self.

A special mention to our Year 13 students who took the initiative to organize the International New Year BBQ function and several activities during the Cultural Week. Our school is a much richer place because of your contribution. Thank you!

Year 9 and Year 10 students enjoyed two wonderful trips to Rangitoto Island and Kelly Tarltons with their ESOL classes. The trips focused on eco-sustainability and gave students some authentic learning experiences. I must commend the ESOL Department for their effort to provide this holistic and experiential learning opportunity for our international students.

An increasing number of international students have become more involved in the co-curricular programme of our school. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being a part of the whole school life.

To our students:

Being a part of a team, be it sports, music or cultural, will not only sharpen your skills in a wide range of areas, but also help you develop a good work ethic, people skills and resilience.
Make the most of what is available to you and make 2016 your year.

Virtute experiamur!

Ms Tina Kwok,
Director of the International Department

International New Year BBQ

new-year-bbq-1 We celebrated the Spring Festival with a BBQ after school.

A group of senior boys planned and catered this event, providing an opportunity for our students to celebrate this very important time of year.

It also offered a chance for these senior boys to plan and run a large school event and enhance their leadership skills.  Well done to these boys!

The boys enjoyed sausages and chicken on the BBQ and also some very delicious dumplings.

Many staff members also attended this function and together they shared food and conversation in an informal setting.

It was great to see so many boys relaxing and enjoying a beautiful summer’s afternoon at school.

 new-year-bbq-2

Visits overseas

Westlake Boys High School began its 2016 marketing with a two week trip to Germany and Austria in April. We have been very pleased to have increased the number of German students over recent years and wish to continue to do so. As a new initiative, we held a parents’ evening of ex-Westlake boys in Cologne. We also visited one of our current international student’s school in Bonn, establishing ties and hoping to see more students spend some time in NZ in the future.

On the homeward journey we made a brief stop in Thailand, visiting a school to expand our connections with the Kingdom of Thailand.

The rest of the year’s programme will see us make three trips to China, with one of these extending to Hong Kong and Taiwan, Korea and Japan with a further trip to Thailand later in the year.

 Presently Ms Tina Kwok, our Director, is hosting a tour of China for Westlake students studying Chinese and while there, will be taking the opportunity to meet with families of our students.

Cultural Week

cultural-week-1 Westlake boys had a wonderful cultural week in April.

Cultural week is an important activity in our school.  It not only promotes a NZ multi-cultural tradition, but it also gives the boys chances to organize various activities and enhance their social skills.

They experienced food, music, art and fun activities from many cultures including China, Korea, India, the Middle East and South Africa.

cultural-week-2 There were lunchtime theatre and music performances including a very special evening concert.
cultural-week-3 On China Day, boys learned to play Chinese music, try calligraphy and taste delicious dumplings.

On Korea day, boys enjoyed traditional Korean food and even had a competition eating spicy food.  It was indeed a challenge to keep smiling after eating a mouthful of spicy kimchi.

Many international boys played important roles during this week.

They really feel a part of the school, and the country now.

cultural-week-4

Visitors from Thailand

Satit Pattana boys with Mr Ferguson, Headmaster, and their Westlake buddies

Satit Pattana boys with Mr Ferguson, Headmaster, and their Westlake buddies

Term one was very busy one for our International Department. We hosted a short term group for one month from Satit Pattana School, a private co-ed school from Bangkok, as well as students from Vajiravudh College, one of the top private boarding boys school in Thailand.  The Vajiravudh boys participated in a special rugby training program here at school.
  visitors-from-thailand-1   visitors-from-thailand-2

Vajiravudh College boys with Westlake fitness and coaching staff

The students mentioned what a good time they had had at Westlake with some planning to come back as full time students in the future. Our thanks to those families who looked after these boys for these memorable visits.

Cycling

Photo:  James Ahn, Siwei Peng, Yufei Liu

Photo: James Ahn, Siwei Peng, Yufei Liu

This term we were pleased to see six international students join the school cycling team.

This could not be possible without the support of Mr Andrew Clarke, teacher in charge of cycling and the parents of the cycling club who have committed to providing extra support to our students whose parents live overseas so cannot be involved. James Ahn is fortunate to have his mother live here in NZ with him.

Good luck for the season to Yufei Liu, Bingzheng Yan, Marcel Yang, Puhan Yang, James Ahn and Siwei.

Musical Students

Brian, Opas, Otto, Roykhien, and Yunjae are passionately involved in Music at Westlake.

Their dedicated group includes the Taharoto Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Band and Big Band.

Students are placed in a group according to their ability and they are challenged to improve not only their performance, but also their musicianship, leadership, ensemble and social skills.

They should take pride in being a part of the very successful music groups at Westlake. We are also very proud of the dedication and musical skills that they have shared with us at school.

musical-students

Westlake High School Ball

school-ball-1 On Friday 1st of April, the combined Westlake High Schools Ball was held in the Sky City Convention Centre.

This is a very special occasion in our school’s calendar and one very much enjoyed by students and staff alike.

Our year 13 boys dressed to impress and were welcomed by both schools’ Principals.

Throughout the night, they enjoyed food and dancing and their enjoyment showed on their smiling faces.

It was pleasing to see these senior students experience such a special night: looking smart, making Kiwi friends and enjoying a formal night out.

school-ball-2

International Team:

Our International Department are here to help. Our school phone number is + 64 9 410 8667 and we are available on email as below. We also have a WeChat number which is available 9am to 3pm (school days, school term time only):  WBHS-INTL
international-team
Pictured (left to right):

Jennifer Fan,               Chinese Advisor                                  [email protected]

Lou Borok,                  Marketing Manager                             [email protected]

Helen Martin,               Homestay Manager                             [email protected]

Jasmine Tang,             Chinese Advisor                                  [email protected]

Julia McGahan,            International Department Manager      [email protected]

Tina Kwok,                  Director, International Department     [email protected]

Sara Limpapath           Thai Advisor                                       [email protected]

Absent

Kevin Ahn                   Korean Advisor                                   [email protected]

 

International Newsletter Term 4 2015


Dear Parents, Guardians and Homestay Families

End of Year Message from Ms Tina Kwok,

Head of the International Department and Languages:

At the start of the year, all international students were encouraged to contemplate what it meant to be a Westlake student and consider their own holistic development. I am now pleased to see a large number of international students participating in a wide range of co-curricular activities and representing our school in many different areas. These experiences not only improve students’ sporting or musical abilities, but also give them skills to manage their time and learn the importance of team work. get_involved
IMG_5010 IMG_9121 IMG_5983
International students were also heavily involved in the organisation of the Korean Night, the Chinese Night and several activities during the Cultural Week. I am delighted that our international students are proud of who they are and where they come from, and are eager and confident to share their cultures with us.
thank_you

Homestay Families

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all our very wonderful homestay families. Not only do they make sure the students have a warm and comfortable room, with good space to study, and of course provide good, healthy food each day, they do many other things to support the students in their care, including helping with transport, attending parent interviews, helping with homework, providing advice for problems, doctor visits when unwell, celebrating birthdays, watching school sport, or even taking a student travelling on holiday.

To our homestay families:

Thank you for giving our students a place that they can call home in New Zealand.

Academic Success

2015 saw a huge improvement in international students’ academic performance.
I have included in this report a list of international students who were prize winners at the annual Senior Prizegiving. I am proud of the outstanding results these students have achieved and would like to acknowledge the work my team have put in to make this happen.
_MG_7857

2015 Senior Prize Winners

Nate Virapriya             Distinction in Level 1 Design & Visual Communication

Wenxu Yao                 Distinction in Level 1 English Literacy Programme – Reading

Jacky Lin                     1st in Level 1 Japanese

Yitau Gu                     1st in Level 1 Foundation English

Zixi Wang                             1st in Level 1 English Literacy Programme – Writing

Pengyu Chen              1st in Level 1 Food Technology for Beginners

Haudong Bai               Distinction in Level 1 Foundation English, 1st in Level 1 Accounting

Nam Hun Kim              Distinction in Level 1 Mathematics with Algebra, 1st in Level 1 Science

Jingxin Yu                   Distinction in Level 1 English Literacy Programme – Writing 1st in Level 1 English Literacy Programme –Reading

Jin Han                       Distinction in Level 2 English for University Entrance – Writing

Yidong Wu                  Distinction in Level 2 English for University Entrance – Reading

Yiwei Song                  Distinction in Level 2 Food Technology

Kazaf Tse                    1st in Level 2 English for University Entrance – Reading

Changsheng Sun        1st in Level 2 English for University Entrance – Writing

Jinda Dong                 1st in Level 2 Mathematics with Algebra

Kusuga Komolong       1st in Level 2 German

Sipu Liu                      1st in Level 2 Accounting for Beginners

Yu Chen                      1st in Level 2 Art Design

Steven Kim                 1st in Level 2 Food Technology for Beginners

Shuo Cao                    Distinction in Level 2 Mathematics with Algebra, 1st in Level 2 Physics

Blair Duan                   Distinction in Level 2 Accounting,      Distinction in Level 2 Physics,      1st in Level 2 Economics, 1st in Level 2 Chemistry

Akito Hirata                 Distinction in Level 3 Physics

Junbin Choi                 Distinction in Level 3 Calculus

Andrew Hsu                1st in Level 3 Technology (Power Tool Shop North Shore Award)

Vincent Yang              1st in Level 3 Science

junior_prizegiving

In addition we have just held our Junior Prizegiving where we celebrated the success of our junior international students. Well done to all our students for their effort and academic success. Pictured far right: Martin Shen

International Team

A huge thank you to all the staff of the International Department.
Their hard work and commitment to our boys are inspirational and I am very lucky to be working with such talented and dedicated people.
Pictured (left to right: Jennifer Fan, Lou Borok, Helen Martin, Jasmine Tang, Julia McGahan, Tina Kwok, Sara Limpapath- Absent:  Kevin Ahn).

international_team

Message to the Boys

To all the boys who leave us: I hope you have enjoyed your time with us and that we have prepared you well for your life beyond Westlake.
To all the boys who are returning next year: Have a wonderful and safe summer with your family
Warm regards
Tina Kwok
Head of International and Languages

2015 Westlake on Show:

Mr Borok, Director of the International Department

on_show

Meeting up with former students in Germany

 Westlake Boys High School was presented to new and existing friends in many countries in 2015.

This year, for the first time, we visited many new cities and regions in China. For me, the most exciting city was Urumqi, way out in the north west of China. Although I have visited China on many occasions, I am always amazed about the depth and breadth of what China has to offer.

This year I was lucky enough to be in Europe at the same time as our Hockey team and I accompanied them for 1 week while they toured Holland and Germany.

Afterwards I had the real pleasure of meeting some of our prospective students and their parents – Severin and Mats- as well as Robin Fricke a Westlake old boy studying at university in Holland.

Westlake is building up the number of brother schools we have in Thailand.

We visited Satit Pattana School in Bangkok. Mr Ferguson, Headmaster Westlake Boys High School, and Ms Mexted, Principal, Westlake Girls High School, were both present to sign the agreement for cooperation between our schools.

From Thailand we visited Indonesia and were invited to speak to three schools about Westlake Boys and Girls High Schools.

Lastly we visited a De la Salle College in Singapore. Being an all-boys school, I immediately saw the many similarities between this College and us and we hope to build on this initial contact.

Westlake International students now come from many countries. This year we had for only the second time, students from Vietnam. We also had our first students from Holland and Indonesia.

While these countries are new to the International Department they are not new to Westlake Boys where, I am proud to say, we have students from over 74 different countries.

Diversity is to be cherished.

sumatra_school_music

Sumatra School music

Korean Visit

 korea_visit

Korean Advisor, Kevin Ahn, pictured far left.

In September this year, Kevin Ahn, our Korean Advisor was away on a school marketing trip to Korea and Japan with Westlake Girls High School.

They visited numerous schools and met parents of our current students to update them on their child’s progress.

The clean, green, safe and peaceful image of New Zealand did its part to attract future students, but being the nation’s top performing school for scholarship certainly got their ears tingling.

Our achievements in music, sports and the school facilities we provide also contributed towards students’/parents’ decision to enrol at Westlake.

We look forward to seeing the new students next year and helping them to achieve their goals.

Kevin Ahn, Korean Advisor

Celebrating Music: Two Thai Students Excel

Starting school at Westlake in 2013, two of our Thai students showed their flair for music and quickly joined our school music programme.

Otto Anukarnsakulchularp and Roykhien Wanglert took up the opportunity to travel with our Music Department to perform at the 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival in Austria.

The boys got 2 Gold awards as part of the Westlake Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band and one Bronze award as part of the Westlake Chamber Orchestra. During their music tour, they joined all our Westlake musicians to give a two outdoor concert performance at the Town Centre in Hungary. Otto and Roykhien said they had a great time and gained a lot of experience on this school musical tour.

A82A0920

The boys continue to perform and be part of the fabulous musical groups here at Westlake.

To the left is a photo from their recent performance at the KBB Music Festival.

Well done boys!

Sara Limpapath, Thai Advisor

End of Year Activities

 end_of_year_activities As the busy school year draws to a close our junior students have had the opportunity to have some fun and enjoy some activities outside the classroom participating in a swimming day and an athletics day. end_of_year_activities_2
 end_of_year_activities_1 Congratulations to one of our international students Marcel Yang who recently competed in the Lake Taupo cycle challenge, finishing the ride in a time of 3:29:05.
Marcel only arrived at our school in term 4 and already he has become involved in a great outdoor pursuit and visited a beautiful part of the country.

Goodbye to our Year 13: Leavers Lunch 17 November 2016

We recently held our 2015 Year 13 Leavers Lunch to farewell and wish our leavers all the very best with their adventures ahead.

Mr Reed, our Associate Headmaster, thanked the boys for the valuable contribution that they had made to our school and for the enrichment that they had brought to our school. He praised their successes in all forms of school life: academic, sporting and personal and wished them all the best as they left school to head to university. He asked them to keep in touch via our Westlakers Group and that they would always be welcome back at Westlake. Once a Westlaker, always a Westlaker!

Mr Reed, together with Mr Lou Borok, Director of International Students, presented the boys with their Leavers Certificates, testimonials, attendance records and a disc containing a video presentation of our school and of NZ – a momento of their time at Westlake.

2015_year_13_gradThe 2015 Year 13 Graduates
A more formal Graduation Evening was also held on 28 November where the boys dressed formally and enjoyed an evening of food, music, speeches and fun, celebrating their time at Westlake. grad_dinner

Cultural Corner: Christmas in China and New Zealand

Holidays in NZ and China

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in New Zealand.  Unlike the normal White Christmas images that many people are familiar with, Christmas in New Zealand is hot.  In this beautiful summer holiday season, people take time to enjoy the sunshine on the beach and barbecue in their backyards.

Early seamen and settlers started to celebrate this holiday in the 17th century.  Now Santa or Christmas parades take place throughout New Zealand in November or December each year.

Christmas is becoming more and more popular in China during the past decade.  People celebrate it as it is another perfect reason to gather with friends, buy nice gifts and have great food.

However, the most popular holiday in China is still the Chinese New Year Holiday (CNY), i.e. Spring Festival.

Although there is no official holiday for CNY in New Zealand, the holiday is widely celebrated in this culturally diverse country now.  For example, the Auckland Lantern Festival lights up the whole city sending best wishes to all for joy and prosperity.

At our school, boys need to study during the CNY holiday.  However, the school will arrange celebrations for our international boys so they can still enjoy the happiness of the festival while they are away from their home countries.

Jennifer Fan

Chinese Advisor

holidayes_in_NZ_and_China

 

 

International Newsletter Term 3, 2015


23 September 2015

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Homestay Families

Term Three has been busy, busy, busy, especially for those who participated in winter sports, the sports tournament and the music competitions.

Getting Involved at Westlake:

 At the start of the year, we talked about the importance and benefits of getting involved in school activities, and I am now pleased to see a large number of international students participating in a wide range of co-curricular activities and representing our school in many different areas.

These experiences will not only improve students’ sporting or musical abilities, but also give them skills to manage their time and work as a team player.

goals2016 Option Selection:

 Also in Term Three, all students have been interviewed for option selection. These are important conversations where students reflect on their own learning and progress, identify their academic and career goals and plan their courses accordingly.

Study strategies were discussed in these interviews as well. I would like to remind all students to keep focused on their goals and make sure they continue to develop the study strategies discussed to achieve them.

Exams:

 External exams start in October for senior students. It is imperative that senior students use the upcoming holidays effectively and revise for these very important exams.

Year 13 students, in particular, should make exam preparation their top priority for the next two months and make sure they do everything in their power to gain a qualification they can be proud to leave the school with.

Revision Tips for Students:

 I have included some revision tips for all students as you get ready to sit your exams. Don’t forget to enrol in the Holiday Revision Programmes run at school these holidays and make use of the Homework Centre in P3 at lunchtimes.

I wish you great success in these very important external exams.

Tina Kwok

Head of the International Department

10 Important REvision Tips

  1. Draw up a revision timetable

Your revision timetable must be realistic and specific, outlining the times and subjects you want to revise each day. It should also contain frequent, short breaks.

  1. Exercise

 Physical activity is very important, particularly during intense study time. Exercise accelerates blood circulation which allows your brain to get more oxygen and increase its productivity.

  1. Create a good study space

Find a place where you can be uninterrupted for a few hours. Your bedroom and library are good choices. Starbucks is not! Make sure your study space is well lit and ventilated.

  1. Morning is better than evening

Research shows that you are more likely to do all the planned work if you start early. Your brain also works better in the morning as it is well rested and ready to work.

  1. Use colours

Drawing colourful learning maps / notes will help you memorise faster. Research shows that colourful notes are easier to memorise than plain black and white ones.

  1. Do lots of past papers

You can download past papers from NZQA website. They come with assessment schedules and exemplars. You can also buy revision guides and workbooks from bookshops. When doing past papers, pay attention to both content and exam skills.

  1. Make summary notes

When you read a textbook, you should highlight the key information, then summarise this information in your own words in your revision workbook. You can test yourself by twinking out the key words in your own notes. The best way to memorise information is by making notes repeatedly.

  1. Reward yourself

Treat yourself to something nice after a productive day. This will give you the right balance between study and leisure and make sure that you don’t burn out.

  1. Use your family and friends

Ask your family to test you and give you feedback. Form a study group with your friends and help each other stick to the revision plan.

  1. Think positive

Your revision plan may seem daunting at the start, but each day you are making progress and each day you are one step closer to your goals. Keep a positive attitude and revision will be a lot more enjoyable.

Visit from our Sister School in China

In July, Dong Guan No 6 School, our sister school in China, visited our school for four weeks. We have had the pleasure of welcoming students from this school for visits since 2011 and have also been able to send some of the students who study Chinese at our school to China to see what school and life is like in another culture.

image3This year we welcomed 23 boys and their teachers and hosted them with our homestay families.

image1 (2)They spent time in our classrooms seeing what Westlake school life is like and making new friends. They learnt to make scones, do the haka, play rugby, sing a waiata (song), and much more. They toured parts of Auckland as well as Rotorua and Taupo.

We enjoyed having the boys visit with us and for the many opportunities we had, sharing each other’s cultures. The photos below were taken when the boys were learning how to make scones.

Sports at Westlake

We have many talented sports international students and this term congratulate all the boys who participate in our school sports programmes.

With over 30 sports to choose from there is something for every student to try.

It is an important way to meet new friends, keep fit and learn about working in a team. Popular amongst our boys are the sports of basketball, table tennis, rowing, hockey, swimming, football and rugby. We encourage all students to try a sport and proudly represent our school.

image1Pictured here are some of the boys who play sports for Westlake:  David Qiu from China who plays badminton, table tennis and basketball, Tim Rohrbach from Germany who plays hockey,  Luke Li from China who is a rower, David Minsch from Germany who plays table tennis, and Bongwon Seo from Korea who plays rugby.  Warakorn Jetlohasiri from Thailand has really got into the spirit of the school sports programmes, playing badminton, table tennis, squash, tennis and now he is learning to row!

 

Mats Radeck: Dedicated to Swimming

Mats Radeck joined Westlake at the beginning of this term and is already swimming for our school. We interviewed Mats to find out more about why he came to NZ as an international student and to learn more about his interest in swimming…

Mats is 15 years old and arrived in July 2015 to study at Westlake for this year. He is from Trier, the oldest city in Germany. He loves swimming and has been swimming since he was 5 years old. In Germany he represented his school, his local club, and his region at swimming events. All of his family swim so they share a mutual love of this sport.

Mats came to WBHS to experience life in a NZ school and to learn all about kiwi culture. He has already represented WBHS and has received top placings at two recent school swimming meetings.

His day is impressive. Six days a week he gets up at 4.30am and arrives at the pool by 5.15am. He swims until 7.30am and then comes to school, grabbing breakfast on the way.     He also swims three afternoons a week for 2 hours each session. In between he attends a full school day and does his homework! Well done Mats!

Our thanks to his host family who support Mats with his school and sport and also to our swimming community who help Mats get to all his trainings and events.

Music at Westlake

Big Sing 1

image1 (1)In August, Voicemale, the school’s 61 member choir conducted by Mr David Squire, spent a successful five days in Wellington for The Big Sing National Finale.

Voicemale were awarded a Gold Award, putting them amongst the top 6 choirs in the country.

Yekang Kwon, one of our international students, sings baritone in Voicemail. Yekang is from Yang Pyeong, a beautiful city in Korea, popular for cycling. He has been singing for three years and joined Westlake two years ago. Congratulations to Yekang and the Voicemale choir!

Host Families:

We would like to thank the wonderful host families who look after the boys in their homes. Not only do they make sure the boys have a warm and comfortable room, with good space to study and do homework, and of course provide good, healthy food each day, they do many other things to support the boys in their care.

This can include such things as helping with transport, organising bus, phone and bank cards, attending parent interviews about the student’s progress, helping with homework, providing advice for problems, taking to the doctors when unwell, celebrating birthdays, watching school sport, showing off Auckland or maybe even taking a student travelling on holiday.

Yes, these are very special people and we value the immense contribution they make.

To our students, please make sure you show your gratitude regularly to your host families– they are a big part of why you are able to do well in NZ and at school. We truly appreciate the wonderful homestay families we have who care for our international students.

_MG_2875What a great photo of Pamela with ‘her boys’ at the Mother Son Breakfast

homestayHere is Chao who had a great day out fishing on the family boat with his host family. What a catch! Chao and another student David live with host Chris and his family.

Chris has also introduced the boys to rugby, and has taken the boys to watch our national game live at the stadium. We are sure they will be eagerly watching the progress of The All Blacks at the current World Cup!

Thank you to all our host families!

Cultural Corner: Chuseok

Chuseok is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea.

Family members from near and far come together to share food and give thanks to their ancestors for an abundant harvest. In 2015, Chuseok falls on September 27, but the holiday is observed for a total of four days (September 26–29).

811650_1_171On the morning of Chuseok, food prepared with the year’s fresh harvest are set out to give thanks to ancestors through Charye (ancestor memorial service).

After Charye, families visit their ancestors’ graves and engage in Beolcho, a ritual of clearing weeds that may have grown up over the burial mound.

After dusk, families and friends take walks and gaze at the beauty of the full harvest moon or play folk games such as Ganggangsullae (Korean circle dance).

811650_1_174

Wearing Korean traditional dress (Hanbok) and eating delicious traditional rice cake (Songpyeon) is always the most enjoyable part for kids.

811650_1_175811650_1_176

 

 

 

 

 

By Kevin Ahn, WBHS Korean Advisor.

 Kevin is currently in Korea visiting with the families and agents of our students. He will enjoy the Chuseok holiday period whilst in Korea.

International Newsletter Term 2 2015


1 July 2015

Dear parents, guardians, host families and students,

Welcome to our second newsletter of 2015. Term 2 has been another busy term.

Exams

With Mid-Year Exams taking place in May, the focus of the term has been exam preparation and post exam reflection. I am pleased to report that most of our international students performed well in the Mid-Year Exams. 37 students (22%) have been ranked in the top 3 places in their subjects. More importantly, most students worked hard. 29 students (17%) have gained 4 or more As for Effort. Remember, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration! Hard work pays off every time.

Parent Evenings

Four parent evenings followed the Mid-Year Exams. It is important that students and parents attend these evenings as they provide an opportunity for in depth discussions on student progress. Teachers often have additional data to inform student performance and progress at these evenings, and are able to offer personalized study tips. I urge all international students, parents and homestay parents to capitalize on these events. Those who did not perform so well or did not try so hard were given a one-on-one conference in which an intervention programme was drawn up for each individual student. I look forward to seeing an improved attitude and subsequently improved results in the near future with this group of students.

Cultural Week, Korean Night, Chinese Night and the School Ball

image

Pictured some students and teachers at the School Ball (Ms Tina Kwok, centre)

Our social calendar was full and colourful in Term 2 as well. In one term, we managed to squeeze in the Cultural Week, the Korean Night, the Chinese Night and the School Ball. All of these are highlights of our school social calendar.

We had an unprecedentedly high number of international students running activities during the Chinese Night. These boys collectively ran six lunchtime activities. The Korean boys cooked a lovely Korean BBQ to raise funds for the Korean Night. Well done to those who either organized or participated in these cultural events. Congratulations also to those who were involved in the Korean and Chinese Nights. Both events were a huge success, bringing the Korean and the Chinese communities into our school to celebrate their cultural heritages.

I was most pleased to see non-Korean and non-Chinese performers, helpers and audiences.  It was testimony that our school really is a culturally responsive school and our community is embracing our wonderful cultural diversity.

I was also delighted to see some of our Year 13 students turning up to the School Ball looking smart and grown up. I hope the boys will have fond memories of the evening.

Homestay Evening

This term, we hosted a gathering with our homestay families. It was lovely to see so many homestay families supporting our school event and advocating for our students. Our homestay families are our very important and valued partners. We can never thank them enough for the love and care they give our students every day. We will continue to strive to do our best to support our homestay families.

Cybersafety and Personal Health

Another initiative this term included a special assembly on 24th June on Cybersafety and Personal Health.

It is of prime importance that our students understand which online activities are considered inappropriate and illegal in New Zealand, and how they can protect themselves. Unfortunately, two international students recently left our school to return to their home countries due to gross misconduct. Please note that Westlake Boys High School upholds the highest expectations for student behaviour. If an international student breaks a school rule outlined in the Policy Document, breaches any condition in the Cybersafety agreement or conducts himself in an inappropriate manner to other students and staff, he risks having his contract cancelled and being sent home, usually within 24 hours.

Holidays

The July holidays are fast approaching. While I do want our students to get some R&R, I also have some homework for our international students to do over the July holidays:

  • Year 9 to Year 12 students will be selecting their 2016 options in Term 3. I would like these students to think carefully about their option choices for next year. Their choices must be guided by their interest, their ability and their future career pathway, with their interest being the most important and influential factor.
  • Year 13 boys will be applying for university courses next term. Please have a think about what courses you are interested in and research the entry criteria. You should use the information you gathered on the Auckland University Open Day, the Canterbury University Presentation, the Auckland University Presentation and the Careers Evening to help you form some ideas.
  • The second piece of homework is to be safe and sensible in the holidays.

Open Day Scholarships

Finally, congratulations to Steven Yan, Kazaf Tse and Cheng Zhong on winning the Canterbury University Scholarships to attend their Open Day in Christchurch during the holidays. I hope you have fun and look forward to hearing about your experience next term.

Happy holidays!

Ms Kwok

Head of the International Department

Korean Night

IMG_2851The 6th Annual Korean Night certainly was one of the highlights of this term, exceeding the energy of last year. Longer preparation time, more teachers involved and a better sound system all contributed to making the night better than ever before. Doors opened at 6.30pm as almost 1500 people rushed in to get the best seats and the show started with the Westlake Haka at 7.00pm. There were acts ranging from a Rap group, K-pop dance group, Singing group, Rock Band and Barbershop to more traditional performances like Tae Kwon Do, Fan dance and Nanta drums.

Some of the lucky audience won raffle prizes such as restaurant vouchers, a jewellery voucher, a new iPad and a sack of 25kg rice which was the most exciting prize of the night. The Korean committee leaders from both the Boys and Girls school did an amazing job organising the event.

IMG_1742The quality of the each performance was second to none and the thunderous response from the crowd reflected all the hard work and effort that has been put in over the last term and a half. All profits made from The Westlake Korean Night has been donated to World Vision this year.

Kevin Ahn, Korean Advisor

 

 

Chinese Night

IMG_4927On the evening of June 12, the curtain was drawn open on “Chinese Night”.  With excited clapping from the nearly thousand strong audience, boys and girls from WBHS and WGHS presented something really marvelous.

At the very beginning, beautiful girls in Chinese traditional costumes performed “Fan dancing”, and the gentle subtlety reminded us of the spring of the Jiangnan (South of Yangtze River).

Over the next two hours, boys and girls sang songs and even gave a rock and roll show with their own bands.  Their enthusiasm was infectious!IMG_5295

Besides singing and dancing, there were also guessing games and lucky draws arranged to enable audiences to be better involved in the show.

IMG_5013“Chinese Night” was not just an annual gala night where students of Chinese origin presented their performing talents, but it was also a great chance to show the schools and local communities how colorful the Chinese culture can be.  Given the great commitment and diligent preparation from the boys and girls, and the wonderful support from their teachers and parents, this year’s show was another great success and a warm memory for all.

Jennifer Fan, Chinese Advisor

FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015

image1INAKL is a great Auckland program, designed exclusively for international students to help ensure  that they have an unbeatable time in Auckland. INAKL provided 10 free tickets to our international boys and encouraged them to be part of this truly global event.

Some of our staff and boys attended the very exciting Quarter-Final: USA against Serbia on Sunday 14 June at North Harbour Stadium Auckland. Though it was cold and raining, they very much enjoyed being part of the 10,826 strong crowd to watch the game live.

Jasmine Tang, Chinese Advisor

It’s a Small World

fhfghgffIn January we welcomed Sean Goodburn a fine young man from County Kildare in Ireland, who would be with us till the end of term 2.

Sean’s in his gap year and took the opportunity to spend this time engrossed in the New Zealand way of life and experiencing a season of rugby playing in the 2nd XV team.

Prior to his departure from Ireland a chance meeting with a young man at Sean’s local rugby club “NUIM Barnhall” was to leave an impression on him. This young man was Westlake old boy Chris Winks who was in Ireland for a year playing for the local team. Chris was very informative and spoke highly of the school.

After such a recommendation the Irishman looked forward to heading to the Land of the Long White Cloud. In a twist of fate now 12 months on and Chris Winks is now the teacher of the student.

Hope you have enjoyed your time here Sean, safe travels home.

Julia McGahan, Manager, International Department

000000963Drama:

Some of our Year 10 students recently entertained us, presenting scenes from the Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet.  They acted with enthusiasm and flair.

Well done to the boys and their teacher, Mrs Margie Cachopa.

 


From our cultural corner……

5464646CHICKEN GREEN CURRY (GAENG KEOW WAN GAI)

Ingredients:

100 g chicken breast sliced into small pieces                                         2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon red curry paste                                                                      ¼ cup sweet peas

Red or green chilies cut lengthwise                                                          Kaffir lime leaves

1 cup coconut milk                                                                                           ½ teaspoon fish sauce

½ teaspoon sugar                                                                                            Fresh Thai basil leaves

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, briefly stir-fry curry paste in oil over medium, then, add half of coconut milk.
  2. When coconut milk begins to bubble, add chicken. Once chicken is cooked add the rest of coconut milk, turn down heat and simmer to reduce sauce. If it becomes too thick, add a little water.
  3. When the sauce is desired consistency, add red chili or red capsicum, add Kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar. Removed from heat and stir in Thai basil leaves. Serve with rice.

Miss Sara Limpapath, Thai Advisor

International Newsletter – Term 1, 2015


Dear Parents, guardians and host families,

Tēna koe! Haere mai! Welcome to Westlake Boys High School.

For over fifty years, we have been committed to providing an outstanding learning environment for boys on Auckland’s North Shore. We are proud of our school. We have high expectations of everyone in our community and we know, by providing an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for our students, and ensuring the very best teaching and learning experiences, everyone has the chance not only to succeed but to exceed both our and their own expectations.

Congratulations to our returning Year 12 and 13 international students for achieving outstanding exam results in 2014.  These are academic results of which the students, their parents and our school can be very proud of.

A Westlake man, though, also respects others as well as himself: good manners matter, as does an open, reflective attitude to the world. I commend our students for the way that they take pride in and have respect for themselves, their environment and the people around them.

I wish to acknowledge our international students for making our school a culturally responsive and responsible environment. Our entire school community benefits from having international connections, enabling us all to have a much wider world view.  We are proud at Westlake to be part of our international students’ NZ experience and we will work hard this year, and every year, to make sure that this is the best it can be.

To our international boys: I hope you enjoy your experience at Westlake.  I urge you to fully immerse yourselves in our school and seize all of the opportunities available.

Mr David Ferguson

Headmaster

Prefect Prefect2 International Prefect:Congratulations to Annan Chen, one of our Year 13 Chinese students, who was selected as a school prefect this year. Annan has been at Westlake two years and is a great role model for the boys.

Term One 2015

 This term we have welcomed 62 new students to our school.  These students have come from Germany, China, Korea, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, South Africa and Bolivia.  We extend a very warm welcome to you and your families and wish you great success for your time in NZ and at our school.

We also warmly welcome back all our returning students for another great year at Westlake.

All of our new boys have received an Orientation Programme that included goal setting, English testing, course placement and a school tour.

All the boys belong to one of our six school Houses and, as part of their House group, join in various activities throughout the year.  Our first House activity, the Haka Competition, was a great way to introduce our new boys to something uniquely Kiwi. The boys worked hard to prepare for the big day and did us proud. Congratulations to all the boys in Ururoto House who won this competition.

haka Here is Ivan Yang, from Ururoto House, ready for the haka.Athletics Day and Cross Country were also well attended by our international students. We continue to encourage all our international students to get involved in as many school activities as possible. It is a great way to meet new friends and be integrated into the wider aspects of the school life.
Currently we have boys competing in a range of extra activities for Westlake – rowing, football, hockey, rugby, choir, orchestra, ultimate frisbee, dragon boating, chess, basketball, tennis, to name just a few of the school activities.
Dragonboating

One of the school’s dragon boating teams

Chinese New Year Celebrations

NewYear

We had a very successful BBQ in February to celebrate this special time of year.The BBQ was organized by a group of our students and was held after school in the International courtyard.Staff and students had the chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company whilst sharing in a BBQ meal.

Homework Centre:

Our Homework Centre has been up and running since Week 4. We have a group of talented and keen senior tutors to work in the Homework Centre to help younger students with their school work. The Homework Centre is operating Monday to Thursday at lunchtime in P3. Boys, please come along, bring your homework, lunch and friends!

 Welfare Interviews:

We have just completed the welfare interviews which we conduct once a term.  Our questions are thorough, covering a wide range of student interests. The feedback on homestay families has been overwhelmingly positive. Boys have commented how caring and inclusive their homestay families are.Thank you to all the homestay families for the care and support you show our boys every day. It is a huge responsibility to take someone else’s child under your wing and we really appreciate it. WelfareInterviews

Home Visits:

 We have been out visiting our homestay families at home and will continue these visits throughout the year.  These are valuable opportunities as they enable us to see how the boys are doing in their homes and help us provide the best support for the boys, both at school and home.

 Overseas Visits:

Every year we travel overseas to meet with new student families or their agents and to also meet with the families of the boys currently attending school.   We also love to catch up with past students who are living overseas to find out where their journey has taken them after leaving school.

We really value these opportunities to meet families and students.  By visiting we can help families understand as much as possible about a Westlake education.   We can reassure them that their son is being well cared for both academically and in their NZ homes.  This year our staff will travel to China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Taiwan.

visit-to-china

Welcome:We are delighted to welcome Mrs Jennifer Fan to our team on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Jennifer is also able to speak Mandarin.

Visit to China March 2015

 During school trips to China, we always provide opportunities to meet our parents. We appreciate the trust that they give us when they decide to send their sons to our school. A copy of each student’s report, timetable and homestay information are presented at each family meeting.

We love to hear about their feedback about our school as well. We believe communication between school and parents is a very important part of our job, so that we can ensure the boys’ happiness and academic attainment are well achieved.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, when our Associate Headmaster, Mr. Reed, was talking with a parent in Kunming.

 Miss Jasmine, Chinese Advisor

  Academic:

The Scholars Assembly in February will have certainly given all our students a model to look up to as current and past students were acknowledged for their outstanding successes and commitment to learning.

This week, every student has received a Progress Report and is a good opportunity to see how well they are doing at school.

Although term 1 break starts 3rd of April, students should not forget the Mid-Year exams set for 11th to 15th of May.

Next term we will have the school wide Parents Evening.  This is a good opportunity for  parents, caregivers

and agents concerned about their son/student to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. Our first language advisors are also available to talk to on this night.

Wichayut-vichensil

Wichayut Vichensil (Year 10 Thai Student), GJE Carpenter Cup for Special Endeavour

Warakorn-Jetlohasiri

Warakorn Jetlohasiri (Year 11 Thai Student)
NCEA Level 1 endorsement with Excellence

Culture Week:

Soon our school will be celebrating Culture Week: 28th April to 1st May.  Students will have the opportunity to share their culture through food and performances at school.

Following on, Korean Night will be held 22nd of May where Korean students can be proud of their heritage and celebrate together in the auditorium. We welcome all families to come along and share in this evening.

Here are some photos from last year’s Korean Night.

We are looking forward to this year’s performances.

culture-week
food-tech-class

Year 12 Food Technology Class

Rowing:

 International student Shaoshuai (Luke) Li from China has immersed himself in the rowing program this season and was a valued member of two crews. Luke also took the opportunity to represent the affiliated North Shore rowing club in the recent National Club championship regatta in Twizel. All students are encouraged to take part in co-curricular activities – for ESOL students this is so valuable as they gain confidence, meet new people and improve their English. Well done Luke.

Two of our German students Leon Joost and Malte Engelbracht are also members of the rowing society. Leon is an integral member of the senior 8 crew as the stroke. It’s assured both boys will take home fond memories and valuable experience from their time here.

Luke Li

Luke Li

Leon Joost

Leon Joost

From our cultural corner….

Songkran Festival (Thai New Year)

 Songkran Festival is also known as the water festival which starts on April 13 every year. The traditional greeting is “Sawadee Pi Mai” which means “Happy New Year!” Although the Thai people officially changed the New Year to January 1 in 1940 to coincide with the Western business world, the traditional Songkran Festival is still celebrated as a national holiday in Thailand.

 The traditional way of celebrating Songkran follows a three day pattern. The first day involves cleaning of all household items and the houses themselves. The second day is spent preparing Thai food, which will then be offered to the Thai monks. The third day signifies the actual ‘New Year’s Day’ and on this day Thai people visit their temples and present the monks with food and clothes. They bathe the statue of Buddha with scented water which they believe will bring them good luck for the forthcoming year. Sometimes people have pagoda building competitions in the ceremonial grounds of the Thai temples as a meeting place for the community during religious or festive occasions.

One custom is the releasing of small fish back into the rivers. Small birds may be released from cages as part of the festival. The festival lasts for 4 days.

Thai-faestival

Miss Sara, Thai Advisor

As we conclude our first newsletter for the year, Ms Kwok, our Head of International has these words for our boys….

Becoming a Westlake student

I wish to welcome all the new international students who joined us this year, and welcome back all the returning students.

This year, I want all of us to think long and hard about what it really means to be a “Westlake student”. All of you chose to come to Westlake for the best education you could possibly get.

Nevertheless, have you really thought about what “education” means to Westlake. Yes, academic success is our core business and we will do all we can to help you achieve your academic goals. But that’s only one part of our job. As a school, we value each student’s holistic development. To us, your emotional and social wellbeing is just as important.

As someone who has worked closely with you for a year, I’d like to share the aspirations I have for you:

  • I want you to be happy
  • I want you to be proud of who you are and where you come from
  • I want you to feel that you are valued
  • I want you to look forward to coming to school each day
  • I want you to feel confident that when you encounter problems, you can always come to us and trust us to do our outmost to find the best solution for you
  • I want you to experience a sense of belonging and a sense of achievement
  • I want you to know that we care

I cannot claim success in any of these things. All I can do is to outline the initiatives that the whole school has put in place in Term One and hope that you have taken advantage of these activities:

  • Chinese New Year BBQ
  • Peer Tutoring Programme
  • ESOL Writing Workshop
  • Wednesday Assemblies
  • Haka Competition
  • Athletics Day and Swimming Sport
  • Co-curriculum Activities
  • Monthly Birthday Celebration

We all have one life. It is up to us to make the most of it. Westlake provides plenty of opportunities to make you part of us.

It’s your call now whether you want to give yourself a chance and make your time at Westlake worthwhile and positive.

Virtute Experiamur!

Ms Tina Kwok

Head of the International Department