On 3rd November Westlake Boys held its annual celebration of sporting achievements at the Sports Awards Dinner.
Students and their families joined with staff and other volunteer coaches and team managers to reflect on all that is good about Westlake Boys sport. The speaker for the evening was Joe Sullivan, the only person ever to win both an America’s Cup and an Olympic gold medal not in sailing. He related his remarkable journey as “rower-turned-sailor-turned-cyclor” and gave some fascinating insights into life behind the scenes in the Emirates Team New Zealand camp during the America’s Cup campaign. He also gave the students sage advice about the attributes and traits he believes are essential to success.
The first group of students to be recognised were those who have represented New Zealand in 2017, and those who have competed at Junior World Championships received Jubilee Awards. Awards were presented to top students in every sport for their commitment and achievement and 64 students were presented with colours for outstanding service to their sport over two or more years. Nine of these received all-round colours for achievement in more than one sport.
In addition to the student achievers, several members of staff were acknowledged for their outstanding and ongoing commitment to Westlake Boys sport: Ryan Scivier for cricket, Andrew Clarke for cycling, Ashley James for rugby and Christel Labuschagne for touch. Marilyn Thorpe received special recognition for 16 years involvement as a coach and manager in badminton, during which time the Premier team has won 11 National titles.
Team of the Year was the remarkably successful Senior Cross Country Team, consisting of Joe Clark, Murdoch McIntyre, David Moore, Stuart Hofmeyr, Zach Keenan and Daniel Robertson, who have had a sensational season. As a team and as individuals, they have won 15 National titles, and have been chosen by NZSS Athletics to represent New Zealand at the ISF World Cross Country Championships in Paris next year.
The Alf Butt Trophy for True Sportsmanship was awarded to Reuben Fitzgerald, who has played in the Premier basketball, cricket and football teams and is described as the ultimate team-mate. The Colin Pascoe Trophy for Outstanding Attitude and Sportsmanship went to Jason Churches, an accomplished swimmer, who exemplifies the values and high standards Westlake expects. The Simon Bryan Award for Outstanding Achievement was shared by our two gold medal winners at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Bermuda this year, Finn Kennard-Campbell in the 50m backstroke and Connor Bell in discus.
There were 10 nominees for the top accolade, the Arblaster Cup for Sportsman of the Year; all outstanding students who have achieved at a high level in their sport this year. The worthy winner was Oscar Guo, who has accumulated an astonishing list of titles and accomplishments in badminton. Despite being only 16, he currently holds the U19 New Zealand singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, the Oceania Junior singles and doubles titles and the senior men’s NZ doubles title. Ranked #2 in the senior New Zealand rankings, Oscar is close to amassing the necessary points to qualify for the Youth Olympics in 2018.
The iTicket Showdown Awards on 26th October saw casts and technical crews from secondary school productions across Auckland don their glad-rags and gather at Sky City for an evening of glamour and excitement. Four Westlake Boys picked up nominations for their performances in ‘The Government Inspector’ and the combined Westlake High Schools' production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ was nominated for a further nine awards, from props, set design and lighting to choreographer, director and musical director.
The ‘Sweeney Todd’ cast was honoured to be invited to perform a number to open the second half of the show. Tension rose as the major awards approached and a huge cheer went up when Connor Charlesworth was announced as ‘Best Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical’ for his mature and spine-chilling portrayal of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The full ensemble was recognised, with the award for Best Performance by a Chorus, and the production received the People’s Choice Award. The evening culminated with ‘Sweeney Todd’ taking the Award for Outstanding Musical. Nick Brown, Head of Drama and the production’s Director, said, “The Sweeney team is one big family and the show was only this successful because every member of the family did their very best. Winning Outstanding Musical means we can all share in the success of the show.”
There’s a very special new member of the Westlake Boys' science department.
She’s quite small and she’s very old – more than 3 million years old, in fact – and her name is Lucy. Probably the world’s most famous early human ancestor, Lucy is a collection of fossilised bones that make up 40% of a skeleton of the species Australopithecus afarensis. While the original bones remain in Addis Ababa, a generous donation by Walter and Adrianne Titchener, whose grandson is in Year 9, has made it possible for the school to acquire a replica.
Head of Biology, Dr. Tim Holden, says: “We are very grateful for the Titcheners’ generous donation, which will have a significant impact for students studying evolution. Lucy’s skeleton shows that she walked upright on two feet and had a brain about the size of a chimpanzee’s, which changed scientists’ knowledge about when man split from his ape ancestors. Students will be able to touch and move the skeleton and see for themselves how she fits into the story of human evolution, making it so much more real than just reading about the subject in a book or online.”
For anyone wondering about her name, the scientists who found her were playing the Beatles’ song ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ on repeat at a celebratory party the night she was discovered. Someone suggested she should be called ‘Lucy’, so that’s who she became.