• Karamu High School reconnects with former staff and students

Karamu High School reconnects with former staff and students

Karamu High School is calling on all former students and staff to join their newly formed alumni group to keep the strong bonds between the school and its community going.

Tira Ora Karamu Alumni Association will have at least 12 members, with staff and principal Dionne Thomas, all former students of the school.

Creating Tira Ora has been something close to Mrs Thomas’ heart because the school has always been an important part of her life. Not only was she the school's deputy head girl,
but she has had a long association with the school as both a teacher and Deputy Principal, before being appointed as the first woman Principal last year.

Mrs Thomas says Tira Ora is for everyone that has had an association with Karamu in the past – students, staff, and community members.

Together with June Clark – long-serving teacher and former Deputy Principal who retired in 2017 - they have spent more than a year working on making what former principal Michael Leitch started a reality.

Named after the branchlets of the Karamu Tree, Tira Ora is the same name used for the school’s magazine. Mrs Thomas says this is particularly apt, given that while students and staff may leave the school and go on their own journey, they are all connected by one branch – Karamu High School.

Not only is it beneficial for staff and students, but for current students as well, as seeing their forebears being successful has “so much worth”.

“If you can see someone out there, whether they are a sports person or successful in their business, or successful in an area that you want to pursue, then that's really valuable. They can see: ‘they've walked the same pathway as me, so I can do that too’.”

It is something that has not really been tapped into before. “And I guess me being an ex-student myself, who better to come and lead that because I'm sitting in their seat and I'm looking through their eyes.”

Mrs Thomas says it demonstrates what it means to be “Proudly Karamu” and “Proudly Hastings”.

“We want our vision to actually be alive so that when people leave Karamu, they don’t leave forever. So, I think it’s time for us to get those people who have fantastic memories of their time at Karamu to come back and have fantastic memories again.”

Their school boasts a rich history of former students and staff who have been successful in their chosen areas.

Food and Hospitality teacher Hannah Horrocks (née Braybrook) was appointed this year - 18 years after graduating as a student in 2003.

Although she had left, Mrs Horrocks says she was “always interested” in what was going on at the school.

She believes keeping the link alive between the school and its community is important. “I am proud of going to Karamu High School, but there was not that connection when you left to still be a part of it so it’s great that we now can.”

Already, more than 200 people have registered since it launched late last month.

“So please join us by completing the registration form so we can collect some further details about the ways you want to contribute to Karamu High School so we can get you involved in the future of your school,” Mrs Thomas said.

To register, visit https://www.karamu.school.nz

PROUDLY KARAMU: Some of Karamu High School’s staff contingent of former students; Nigel Field (left), Matt Strickland, Hannah Glenny, Kerry Baker, Hannah Horrocks, Katrina
Treneman, Tash Crawford, Maiken Calkoen and principal Dionne Thomas. Absent: Ashley Blake, Claire Woodhall and Phoebe Hinton.