Garin head reflects on unity

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 12:30 08/12/2012

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Garin College made a highlight of the school's religious heritage this year by introducing prizegiving with a nativity-themed liturgical dance.

The dance was set to music by reggae group Salmonella Dub. It featured students acting as Mary and Joseph, an appearance from the three wise men and dancers Hannah Robinson, Lily Warner, Amy Newman, Claire Graham and Elizabeth Mitchell twirling ribbons through the air.

Singers Maria Schryvers, Holly Tippler and Georgia Nott also performed at the prizegiving on Thursday.

Principal John Boyce addressed more serious matters when he gave his speech. Speaking about the impact of the recent death of a student, Mr Boyce said for the first time in 22 years of teaching, he had been driven to question whether he should carry on at the school.

A 17-year-old student died suddenly in September.

Mr Boyce described a "loss of peace" among the student body and the staff, but said the crisis had forced him to examine Garin's identity more closely.

"I became much more deeply aware that we are people united by this place," said Mr Boyce.

He said the school had been brought closer by their collective grief, saying they had become a stronger unit.

Guest speaker and chairman of the board at Garin, Alan Hinton, farewelled Mr Boyce's wife Suellen from teaching at the school.

In response, Mrs Boyce acknowledged the school's "amazing sense of social justice", saying she would stay on as a reliever.

"I'm retiring from teaching but not really retiring from Garin," said Mrs Boyce.

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- The Nelson Mail

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