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St Hilda's

Get to know the students within our school

Perri Hore - Head Girl

The small rural setting of Patearoa in Central Otago is where I will always call home. Growing up in a 5th generation sheep and beef farming family in the beautiful Maniototo. Prior to coming to St Hilda’s I attended Maniototo Area School in Ranfurly from Year 1 through my intermediate schooling in Year 8. While I loved my small school and life on a farm, I was keen to embark on the new opportunity of boarding school. Soon 30-minute rural school bus rides would be traded for the 5-minute bush track walk. Mum’s home-cooked meals were saved for school holidays, and my class of 15 grew to a class of 90. And in 2020 I officially became a St Hilda’s student.

Like everyone I was extremely nervous to be away from home for the first time especially at a school five times the size of my last. As a shy and quiet 12 year old it was a very daunting experience. Fortunately, Tolcarne provided the home away from home - a nurturing environment to help support me and bring me out of my shell. After first adapting to living with 150 other girls and having roommates, I was able to appreciate all that Tolcarne had to offer and have (most of the time) loved living at Tolcarne. However after only a few months at St Hilda’s and finally beginning to find a routine, everything was turned upside down with Covid-19 and I found myself back in Patearoa doing online learning.

Like everyone facing this uncertain time, it challenged me to be resilient towards the unknown and independently responsible while navigating my learning and adapting to my new school. Through the disruption of Covid-19 it would have been easy to become unmotivated and off track, but St Hilda's taught me to look at the best in every situation, to be positive and push through focusing on one step at a time. Even on returning to a strange new world post-lockdown, we learnt to adapt and be open to changes - even if it meant eating dinner socially distanced from our friends.

As for school, I have always loved learning and challenging myself and found that St Hilda’s was the perfect fit. The teachers have had a huge impact on my time at St Hilda's, whether it be supporting me if I was struggling with internals or answering hundreds of my questions, by making learning interesting and fun. I have felt their support in caring for me personally to help me achieve my full potential in my studies.

Sport has also been a big part of my life and at St Hilda’s I was eager to try out as many new sports as possible. Volleyball, basketball, rowing and netball filled my schedule. Netball being my main sport I was keen to trade the frosty courts of Central Otago for the Edgar Centre (although you could argue that it is just as cold). St Hilda’s sport has given me so many awesome opportunities, firstly being able to try new sports, but also to compete in tournaments and exchanges. It has taught me about resilience, determination and how to push myself to be the best I can be. It has also allowed me to be surrounded by amazing groups of people and build lasting friendships. While I am a very competitive person some of the best memories have been in the van rides to tournaments, messing around before games and training camp shenanigans.

At the end of last year I was given the huge honour of being named Head Girl for 2024. While I was very excited at the opportunity to give back to our school community it also came with a lot of nerves about what the year would hold. Over the summer I was able to reflect upon my time at St Hilda’s and came to the realisation that what I have loved most about St Hilda's is the people and that I am just one of them. An important aspect of St Hilda's is “Be You” which is something that I want to emphasise in my last year at St Hilda’s. As a Prefect group we have also decided to emphasise a togetherness in our school and create a positive and energetic environment where everyone is able to be themselves and look forward to coming to school. That it is ok to make mistakes and learn from them and know that we have a whole community behind us to support us.

As I am now nearing the end of my St Hilda’s journey, it’s pretty crazy to see how far I’ve come but exciting to see how much further I can go. Although I’m not yet sure what direction that will be, I know that everything St Hilda’s has taught me will stick with me and guide me through the many challenges and adventures ahead.

Māia Koni

Hi, my name is Māia Koni and I’m in Year 8. I was born and live in Dunedin, and before coming to St Hilda’s Collegiate, I went to St Bernadette's Primary School.

My parents wanted me to come to St Hilda’s because of the opportunities and the high level of education I would receive, but I was nowhere near as sure as they were to begin with! The scary thing for me about coming to St Hilda’s was that I didn't know anyone else who was going. All of my friends from primary school were heading to other schools.

On orientation day I was very nervous, but the teachers and older girls were very welcoming.  When you arrive at St Hilda’s you get a buddy to help with settling in. When I met my Year 8 buddy, Evie, I felt so much better because she was very kind and helpful.

By the end of the orientation afternoon, I was feeling more confident about starting St Hilda’s and was looking forward to some of the subjects and activities on offer.

I was a little worried again on the first day at the start of the year, but it didn’t take long for these feelings to fade away as I settled into life as a St Hilda’s girl. In Year 7 we have a large classroom right in the middle of the school, and we share this with the Year 8s. It is really cool because it means you get to meet lots of different people and make new friends easily.

I always feel like I have people to support me if I need it, and school is so much fun! I love Physical Education with Mrs Oliver-Cowie, and I love baking with my friends in Food Tech and learning how to use the equipment in the Science lab.

There are so many sports and activities that you can get involved with at St Hilda’s, which you find out about on Club Day early in the year. You will be amazed at all of the things you can take part in! So far I have signed up for volleyball, touch, hip hop, kapa haka, the Shakespeare Group, basketball and hockey. I have been really enjoying getting to know other students who also do these activities. I think getting involved in activities outside of the classroom is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and have lots of fun - so I would definitely recommend this to anyone new!

I wouldn’t usually want to admit that Mum and Dad are right, but they were. St Hilda’s is an awesome school and it was the right choice for me. I know I am going to have the best opportunities and experiences to learn and grow here, and always have help from my friends, classmates, older girls and my teachers when I need it.  I feel really proud to be a student here and can’t wait to experience the next seven years at St Hilda’s!

Tessa Steele

Hi, my name is Tessa Steele and I am a Year 10 boarder. I was super excited to come to St Hilda’s and so far I have enjoyed every second of it. When I first came, I was looking forward to meeting everyone, making new friends and trying a whole lot of new things. Now that I have been here for almost a term, I have settled into the routines and am finding my way around school a lot easier.

At the beginning it was hard, because there were other students struggling with being homesick and sometimes you just didn’t know how to help them. But all the staff at Tolcarne and school, along with the older students were really helpful and they always knew exactly what to do.

Something that made starting so much easier, was having a Year 13 buddy. They help you settle in at the start of the year and are always around to talk to when you need them. I also have an older sister and she has been a big help, even when I just have simple questions to ask her.

When I came to the Open Day in Year 8 and went for a look around, at first, I was really overwhelmed and certain that I would get lost. But with the help of my classmates, day girls (that had been there since Year 7) and the teachers, I found my way and now know where most of the classes are!

Currently at school I am really enjoying math and performing arts. Coming to St Hilda’s I was excited for all of the new subjects I’d get to try, such as digital technology, performing arts and P.E. The teachers are all so nice and easy to talk to if you are ever unsure about something or have a question.

The sports I’m playing this year are cricket, touch and social volleyball in the summer, with rugby, netball and hockey in the winter. Another thing that I was super excited about when moving here, was the new opportunities I’d get and different sports I could try. Back home, there were not as many options for sport and we often had to play in the boys’ teams.

So far, my St Hilda’s experience has been so much fun and I can’t wait for all the new activities and opportunities I’ll get to experience in my next 4 years here!

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