Earlier in the year, we shared with you an exciting initiative called Shine – a professional place and an experiential programme that helps our girls connect with character strengths such as maturity, resilience, adaptability and collaboration, giving them an edge as they navigate our ever changing world.
The past few days has been uniquely challenging. Closing the school, finding homes for international boarders, transitioning to online learning and producing a virtual open day in just three days. Despite the upheavals, our staff and girls continued to show a deep love of learning and demonstrated resilience, adaptability and collaboration.
These are what we call Shine Strengths and this is exactly what Shine is all about.
The current situation we are in is exactly the sort of unpredictable future that demands we connect our girls with their inherent character strengths. While we have pressed pause on constructing the physical space, we are continuing to build the Shine programme. Now is the time and I am more sure of this than ever.
The story so far.
It has been 18 months since I was inspired was inspired by Bond University’s transformer hub and subsequently set out to provide our girls an educational opportunity that is an addition to the exceptional education already offered here at Woodford House.
A lot has happened since then …
We created a Founders Circle and held our first event in December.
Start-ups like Shine are only possible with support from the wider community. In December, we launched a new Foundation initiative called the Founders Circle for our most ardent supporters. When Mabel Annie Hodge came to Hawke’s Bay with the dream of giving girls an excellent education, the community got behind her. Those families, including some who did not have daughters to immediately benefit from its creation, believed that the best education could be transformative to girls and to their community. Since 1894, Hawke’s Bay families have been joined by others from around the world in making sure that Woodford House stays at the forefront and offers girls the most effective tools to prepare for their individual journeys.
The purpose of the Founders Circle event in December was to connect our supporters with the strategic vision of Shine and invite them to join us in making it a reality.
The contagious energy that radiated from that gathering was telling and we are so grateful that every person who has heard about Shine understands what it can do for our girls, and wants to be part of it.
A Steering Committee was formed in December.
We are so fortunate to have a group of incredibly passionate volunteers driving this initiative forward. The Shine Steering Committee is:
- Mike Brougham, Board of Proprietors
- Benita Douglas, Board of Trustees
- Malcolm Jackson, Board of Trustees
- Judy Johnston, Friend of Woodford House
We have also appointed Hannah Coltart as Shine Project Manager.
A Shine Staff Advisory Team was formed in January.
Just before the start of the school year, a dynamic group of educators, including teachers and our specialists from health, wellbeing, communications, global community and careers, joined the Steering Committee to begin the journey of integrating Shine into Woodford House.
A Shine Girls Advisory Team was formed in February.
This photo was taken during a meeting where Holly, Maia, Ella, Alia and Annabelle first learned about Shine. Their first reaction said it all: Wow, you are going to help us uncover strengths we did not know we had? And they LOVED the idea of Shine Mentors and the programme’s focus on practise.
Within a week the girls unveiled shine to their peers with a bold move during assembly. They announced that they needed girls who wanted to learn more and help them shape Shine. Within a few days, 80 girls signed up to share their thoughts.
The Communications Team tracked it all and produced a stunning launch booklet.
The Communications Department distilled the entire Shine journey into a beautiful booklet which features a group of girls who are shining. This booklet explains:
- Why we are building Shine
- What Shine is going to deliver
- Exploring Shine Strengths
- Developing the Programme
- Turning a space into the Shine Place
Please spend some time viewing this booklet to gain an even greater sense of what Shine is all about. View the Shine booklet here.
We had planned to take tours of girls and staff into the Shine Space and give you a sneak peak of the interior design plans. We had also planned an unveiling of the four spectacular, museum-quality artworks that have been anonymously donated for our Shine Space. Our goal is not to create a common room or a classroom environment, but a special space that mirrors the professional world.
Although the Shine Space is important and exciting, we have pressed the pause button on construction and the Fundraising Campaign due to the economic uncertainty of Covid19.
We are poised and ready to push go again once we have come out the other side of this unprecedented time.
Shine has started.
On Monday 6 April, we launched our very first Shine Workshop for Year 12 and 13 students. The theme of the workshop was What Went Wrong. What Happened Next? – a timely topic given the disruption that Covid19 has caused globally.
What was meant to be a conference style setting in the School Hall turned into a mass Zoom meeting with mini virtual discussion rooms.
Around 70 people came together for the workshop including Mentors from the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. Incredible stories were shared and rich discussions took place that developed our resilience.
The workshop, led by best-selling author and regular RadioNZ guest Catherine Robertson, provided our girls with a new learning experience and a deeper insight into the Shine initiative.
Head Prefect Ella Ruddle said she felt inspired after the workshop.
That was such an incredible experience that ran so smoothly. I’m feeling very inspired and grateful for our beautiful school. I can’t wait for more to come as this is only the beginning” – Ella Ruddle, Head Prefect
Future workshops include:
- Wait. What? Keep Calm. — Using communication and equanimity to navigate unnerving confrontations
- Why Not? — Letting creativity and optimism lead the way to opportunities.
- Step Up. Step Out. — Using empathy, global citizenship and perseverance to deliver social justice.
- Stronger Together. — The magic of collaboration to go further and have more fun.
- Think Different. — How creativity contributes to achievement no matter what you are doing.
- Just Say No. — Using confidence to draw boundaries and keep focus.
- All of the Above. — Adaptability + goal-setting = the art of making time for your family AND your dreams.
I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to our staff, the volunteers and our most ardent supporters. We could not do this without you. It really is a unique learning community. I’m so proud that alongside the outstanding educational opportunities we offer our girls, we are also pioneering innovative learning. This is not the work of one, it’s the work of many.
This is our Woodford House story.
Mrs Julie Peterson, Principal