Could Westlake Boys be the only school in the world to have four students selected to take part in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games?
Connor Bell, Matthew Lucente, Oscar Guo and Murdoch McIntyre hold a raft of titles and records between them across four sports and they are excited to be young ambassadors for New Zealand at the Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in early October.
Connor Bell, 17, is the U18 and U20 New Zealand Men’s Discus Champion and was a gold medallist at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2017. He says he’s ‘always liked throwing things’ and has had success at shot put as well. Connor currently holds the national discus records for U19, U18 and U17.
Matthew Lucente, just turned 18, is captain of our Premier Squash team, who recently became National Secondary Schools Champions for the fourth consecutive year. He is U19 New Zealand Junior Champion and U17 Oceania Junior Champion and was flag-bearer for team NZ at the recent Junior World Championships in India.
Oscar Guo, also 17, has been playing badminton since the age of four and became the youngest ever New Zealand player to win a national singles senior title at age 14. He won his first senior international title earlier this year and climbed to a personal best 13th place world junior ranking.
Murdoch McIntyre will compete in the 2000m steeplechase and cross country. Still only 16, he has been taking titles at different distances for several years. He was part of the Westlake Boys team that took second place in the world, representing New Zealand at the ISF World Cross Country Championships in Paris this April. He has been named captain of the NZSS Athletics Association Cross Country team at the upcoming Australian Championships.
The vision of the Youth Olympic Games is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic values. The boys are very proud to be representing their country and school and are looking forward to the atmosphere of the Olympic village and all the great food!
Dan Carter and Sir John Key Visit
We had two very special visitors at school recently when Dan Carter was announced as an ambassador for ISPS Handa. ISPS, (International Sports Promotion Society), is a charitable organisation that donates sports balls to the community to encourage young people to get involved with sport and also promotes golf for the visually impaired. Dan was joined by Sir John Key, who is a golf ambassador for ISPS, and the pair held a challenge on the Westlake number one rugby field: Dan to kick a rugby ball and Sir John to hit a golf ball over the rugby posts. Both made some very impressive shots! After the challenge, Dan handed over bags of rugby and basket balls to a group of our Academy of Sport students, who were thrilled to meet one of their sporting heroes and the former Prime Minister.
Golden Sounds at KBB Music Festival
Westlake had another successful year at the KBB Music Festival, with an impressive haul of gold awards for premier ensembles Westlake Symphony Orchestra, Westlake Concert Band and Westlake Big Band. The week-long festival celebrates the remarkable talents of secondary school music students across the whole of Auckland and beyond. This year, one ensemble travelled all the way from Kaitaia to take part.
In addition to their gold award, Concert Band received the awards for Best Pre-1950s Work, for their outstanding performance of ‘The 9th of January’, from Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony, and Best Arranged Work for ‘Nimrod’, from Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations'. Symphony Orchestra won Best Performance of a Romantic Work for the Overture to ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. Cellist Daniel Ai from Westlake Boys Camerata was presented with the Tour Time Award for Outstanding Soloist with a Chamber Orchestra for his serene performance of ‘The Swan’ by Saint-Saens.
Chamber Orchestra, Camerata and Symphonic Band all won Silver Awards and Concordia, Taharoto Orchestra and Stage Band all made improvements on their 2017 awards by winning bronze. The students put in many hours of rehearsals at school and at home to reach their peak at the festival and they are fortunate to have skilled and dedicated music directors who consistently get the very best from them.
International Case Competition
After becoming New Zealand Champions at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Case Competition in 2017, Alex Tai (Year 12), Zach Sutich (Year 12), Hai Hong Yang (Year 13) and William Price (Year 12) were invited to take part in the international round of the Tiger Global Case Competition. This was held on-campus at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia in early August.
With hundreds of students competing from New Zealand, Australia, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany and the US, it was a great experience for our boys to participate. The competition is considered the most prestigious of its kind, with a focus on solving corporate issues in today’s society – a first taste of the world of consulting. The Westlake students were faced with an difficult and complex case about the global smartphone industry, with an emphasis on the Chinese market. In a highly competitive process, they were delighted to be placed in the top 10 in the world.