St Paul's Collegiate School, Hamilton held a ceremony to recognise teachers Robert Aldridge, Ian Campbell, Peter Gilbert, Michael Groom, Garth Littlejohn, Craig Morton, Neil Muirhead and Paul Wilson, who between them have given over 200 years of service to the school.
Peter Gilbert joined the staff of St Paul’s Collegiate School in 1979 as a Physical Education teacher. Within 12 months he was promoted to Head of Department Physical Education, a position he held until 2011. He has also held the title of Sports Coordinator, been a member of the SLG, a Liaison Coordinator for the School of Education and became the DECA (Director of Extra Curricular Activities) in February 2005 – a role he holds to this day. Mr Gilbert has ‘dabbled’ in the management of the school, having taken on the role of Acting Deputy Headmaster and has many times very capably stepped up into the Acting Assistant Headmaster role. In 2018 he was officially promoted to a full time Assistant Headmaster status.
Peter has also been an amazingly committed and passionate member of the pastoral care team. Over a 25-year period, Peter has been affiliated with the Day House community; firstly in 1984 he was an Assistant Housemaster in Hamilton House; then he had ten years as Housemaster of Hall House; then in 1999 he became the founding Housemaster of Fitchett House (until 2005).
Peter has had a huge involvement in both the sporting and cultural cornerstones over the duration of his tenure. A keen rugby man, Peter was the coach of the 1st XV rugby side from 1980 – 1984. He has also organised and coordinated events such as the July 2010 NZSS Regional Rugby Tournament. Peter has also been the Master-in-Charge of Tennis. He has organised students in the Stage Challenge events and most memorably has organised, produced and ran auditions for the highly acclaimed Celebration of Music events that have been held since 2003.
Peter is the master of ‘reinvention’ and over his 40-year tenure, he has taken on a large number of roles. St Paul’s salutes Peter Gilbert and thanks him for his outstanding service.
Paul Wilson joined the staff of St Paul’s Collegiate School in January 1988 as a teacher of Physical Education and also the minor subjects of Social Studies and Geography. Upon his arrival at the school, Paul took on the coaching of the 1st XV and continued in this role for six years. He was also an extremely skilful athletics coach and still trains the school's athletes. He also did a stint at coaching the ski team. Due to his passion for sport in general, he was assigned the role of Master-in-Charge of the Gymnasium Complex in 1992.
In his first year at the school, Paul was an Assistant Housemaster in Hamilton House and in 1993, for one year only, he was the Housemaster of School House when it was still a boarding house before moving on to take on Sargood Boarding House in 1994. In 1999 he held the title of Senior Housemaster and was also made the Director of Sports. Paul took on the position of Hall House Day Housemaster in 2002, giving up his reign in 2015.
Paul moved into the area of Careers Advisor in 2016. This is an extremely important role in any secondary school, especially given the complexity and ever-changing nature of careers.
Paul has also been the staff member who holds responsibility for the organisation of the annual Leavers’ Dinner since 2007. This is a special event on the school calendar for Year 13 students and all those who attend feel that they have been “sent off in style”. He has also been involved in the organisation of the annual social highlight, the School Ball, for a number of years and as with the Leavers’ Dinner, he works alongside our seniors to ensure the night is a huge success.
St Paul’s thanks Paul for his efforts on behalf of our students over the past 31 years and looks forward to the next decade.
Craig Morton was employed by St Paul’s Collegiate School as the HOD Geography and Social Studies commencing in Term 1, 1995. He is an innovative and enthusiastic teacher who puts strong emphasis on field work. He brings to life the subject of Geography for his students and through his passion for the subject he has lifted the results in this subject area in NCEA and his Scholarship results have been impressive.
Craig is a first-class rugby coach, who from 2001 produced winning teams. He coached the 1st XV from 2001-2005 and again in 2007. Since moving away from the top team, Craig has continued to be heavily involved in this code, taking a number of more junior teams over the years and sharing the benefit of his knowledge to draw out the hidden talents in our smaller boys who aspire to be in the 1st XV. He has also been the manager and a coach of boys’ tennis over a number of years.
Craig was the Assistant Housemaster of Williams Boarding House from 2001 – 2004 and of Sargood House for the first six months of 2010, before taking over as Housemaster mid-year when the incumbent, Geoff Dell left for a job offshore. Craig held the Housemaster role until the end of 2011 when he and his family decided that living onsite was no longer for them.
Craig has always given every facet of his time at St Paul’s, whether it be in the classroom, on the sports field or in the pastoral care arena his utmost devotion and his gregarious sense of humour and positive outlook on life have seem him forge close working relationships with his students and strong friendships with his fellow staff. St Paul’s are indebted to him for his contribution over the past 24 years.
Michael Groom was employed as an English teacher in 1996 and is described as a wonderful “story-teller” who inspires students through his positive and uplifting style of teaching. He communicates his feeling for language and especially for literature and is a rarity in that he can bring the most reluctant young man on board with what he is trying to teach and make it sound so exciting and visual through his teaching style, that they really don’t know they are in fact learning.
Michael has, in a previous life, played professional soccer in the United Kingdom, and later for New Zealand, which was a secondary attraction when he was brought onto the St Paul’s staff. He took over the coaching of the school’s 1st XI and in 2007, he produced the best ever team, which played in the national tournament. He has been the mentor for a number of young men who have gone on to greatness on the professional football stage, playing for overseas teams. Michael puts great emphasis on flair and enjoyment of the game of soccer and this is reflected in his coaching style.
Michael has also nurtured the sport of futsal within the school and through his personal training schools, held on the St Paul’s grounds and within our gymnasium, he has showcased St Paul’s to huge numbers of families, many of whom have gone on to enrol their sons in the school.
Michael is a mesmerising man who can make the most mundane scenario seem like something that you can’t miss being a part of – the way in which he uses descriptive prose to describe a game of soccer can make it seem like it was something that should have been televised, even when in reality, it was a washout! His enthusiasm for English, soccer and life in general are infectious and a delight to behold. St Paul’s have been extremely fortunate to have someone of Michael’s calibre on staff for such a long tenure and look forward to continuing to see his face in the staffroom for many more years to come.
Ian Campbell joined the staff of St Paul’s Collegiate School in 1998 as a teacher of Geography and Social Studies. During his tenure, he helped St Paul’s gain accreditation to offer a Tourism course and more recently undertook research during his sabbatical to look at re-contextualising Tourism to an Achievement Standards course.
Ian has been the Master-in-Charge of Clay Target Shooting since 2006 and has worked alongside our students over a number of years as they perfect their aim and improve their skills in this demanding sport. He has taken groups of St Paul’s shooters to many competitions, including travelling to Australia in 2009 with a group of young men. Prior to moving his attention to this sport, Ian was an effective coach of both cricket and rugby.
However, it is Ian’s outstanding and enduring contribution to the pastoral care of the boys in Hamilton House that is most amazing. Taking on the role of Housemaster of this day house in 1999, he has cajoled, motivated, comiserated and empathised with a large number of young men who have passed through the House. For the past 20 years he has been a mentor, role model and sometimes a father figure to the boys in his care, and he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon!
St Paul’s are extremely grateful to Ian for his contribution and commitment to the welfare of our students and in particular the boys of Hamilton House. His persistence, dedication and genuine desire to grow these boys into good men is something that is inspiring to those who are coming up through the ranks and who aspire to enter the pastoral care arena.
Robert Aldridge first came to St Paul’s Collegiate School in 1999, when he was employed as HOD Languages, firstly teaching Japanese and in more recent years French. Robert applied for and gained a MOE Language Immersion Award that saw him spend the period from September 2015 through to February 2016 living in France and immersing himself in all things French. He has taken groups of our students who are studying French to New Caledonia to experience the French lifestyle and language in person, to further inspire them to continue with their studies. Robert has been coordinating the annual Joso Gakuin School visit, which is a demanding logistical exercise. He has also been the school’s liaison with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (or Correspondence School), assisting students with their distance learning in a variety of subjects not covered in our own curriculum.
Robert has been aligned with Fitchett House over a number of years and stepped up to the role of Acting Assistant Housemaster for two terms in 2011, when Dr McGrath had a leave of absence.
Robert is a very fit, active and athletic gentleman who enjoys pushing his own body to the very limits of endurance. It is therefore unsurprising that he spends many hours working alongside our multisport athletes and assists them with their training for participation in multisport disciplines such as Triathlons and Duathlons. He has also coached squash and table tennis.
Robert is a valued member of the St Paul’s staff and we are very grateful to him for the way he is prepared to step up when the need arises. He has been a reliable member of our teaching team, who seeks no fanfare or glory for himself, but delights in seeing the students he works with being rewarded for their efforts.
Neil Muirhead was welcomed onto the staff of St Paul’s Collegiate School in 1999 when he joined the hard-working staff within the Mathematics department. For a period of time, he took on the role of Acting HOD Mathematics, which he shared with Gary Judkins.
Neil was a member of the timetabling team from 2003 – 2012 and performed this task as he does most everything – with a smile and good humour. Timetabling is a mystery to many, as it is effectively like putting together a large jigsaw puzzle, but for someone with his mathematical talents, this logistical nightmare was ‘just another day at the office’.
Neil has coached both boys and girls hockey for a number of years and also took a turn at managing the girls’ tennis team.
Neil has earned his stripes in the pastoral care arena with a three-year tenure as Housemaster of Williams House from 2004 – 2006, followed by a slower pace of life as Assistant Housemaster of Clark House from 2009 – 2011. Despite stepping away from the boarding lifestyle briefly, he was beckoned back when the staff member who replaced him as Assistant in Clark House, left unexpectedly at Easter 2013 and he returned to the role which he then held until the end of 2014. Having decided that living onsite was something he enjoyed, Neil then stepped up as Housemaster of Clark House, a position he retained for the next three years. He has recently been appointed School Housemaster.
Working with young people, whether as a teacher, a sport coach, a mentor or a Housemaster, Neil is ‘in his happy place’. He has a good sense of humour and gains great satisfaction from seeing his students growing into well-rounded members of society and knowing that he has played a pivotal role in their development. St Paul’s thanks Neil for his considerable contribution over the past 20 years and looks forward to enjoying his company for many more years to come.
Garth Littlejohn joined the staff of St Paul’s in 2000 as a teacher of Commerce and Mathematics. But prior to that time, he worked part-time for 18 contact hours per week from the beginning of October 1999 to cover the classes of the teacher he was hired to replace. He has been teaching our young people the intricacies of Accounting and Economics and encouraging their entrepreneurial talents through his Enterprise Studies classes.
After a year in the school, Garth stepped into the role of Assistant Housemaster of Fitchett House and was Deputy to Mr Gilbert from 2000-2002. Having experienced pastoral care in a day house environment, Garth was lured into the boarding environment to take on the position of Deputy Headmaster from 2015-2017, where he teamed up with Neil Muirhead to provide a formidable duo to lead Clark House.
Garth loves all things cricket – so much so that at one time as well as coaching the sport, he also took on the role of groundsman responsible for preparation and maintenance of the school cricket wickets. Garth coached the 1st XI cricket team for six years straight, has been Master-in-Charge of cricket and also coached various other teams as and when required.
Garth has also been Master-in-Charge of Squash and Teacher-in-Charge of Rowing in recent years. Garth is a natural sportsman and is very competitive.
St Paul’s are most grateful to Garth for being happy to step-up when asked, to cover areas that have needed plugged. He does so with good grace, good humour and a ‘can do’ attitude. Garth is a real team player and can be relied upon to give of his best in all he undertakes.