Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Prize giving at Awatapu College, December 2014

It wasn't just the trumpet fanfare and the odd Oxford Don getup from the staff; it wasn't just the pomposity of the way they walked somberly onto the stage, it was our feelings of disconnection at going to an event celebrating our daughter with a large group of people(including the teachers) we did not know.My local people call this 'normal'. It felt abnormal. And weird because we were celebrating our daughter's honours at this prize giving-which conspired to make it a mixture of happiness, sadness, loneliness, frustration and confusion,
The upside is that it was like watching vaudeville. Every minute or so I could perceive the seat shaking-either me or Alice suppressing guffaws. A few tidbits for voyeurisms sake.
The 'head boy' gives the Wikipedia head boy's speech. His grandest moments were 3 years in the first fifteen and a camp somewhere. Nothing mentioned of the core purpose of schools-educational achievement.Switch to my memories of the Waiopehu College principal Barry Petherick saying, at the end of year prize giving, the yearly camp-(which as I have mentioned before, sorted out the privileged from the not) was likely to be the biggest event and memory of your school experience! I'm sure the head boy's a nice guy- but more than likely a puppet and a product of the system. Sadness as I know he will more than likely have a family and succumb and subject them to this same system.
Then the awards: Now I'm not cynical about showing appreciation, being acknowledged for your effort, talent and so on but.............Excellence in rugby? Merit in rugby? I spose, why not? Everyone wins a prize at this prize giving. Here was I thinking that it was NCEA and these students got Merit in rugby! No, it was the school's prize-giving, I found out later.They had just borrowed the Eduspeak vernacular.
And the singing of the National Anthem, crap lyrics and all! Why are schools singing the National Anthem? Are we kind of grouping ourselves here, identifying with 'National Pride' and equating doing well at school to being a good patriot? And if you don't do well, or you abhor the fervour of flag waving? What then? You aren't a good citizen, dummy! As always, I sat in my seat; refusing to kowtow to pressure or shame. I'll not call anyone sir (except by choice) and I'll not join any Nationalistic or Religious sentiment, lest I wind up thinking I'm right and good and you're wrong and bad.

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