Farewell to our Dean, David Leavy
Goodbye, farewell, haere rā and all our best wishes go to our much-loved Dean - David Leavy - who retires this Friday (14 November) after nine years of stalwart service to College House.
We've taken this opportunity to talk with the Dean about his experiences, and the highlights and challenges of working with a highly intelligent, motivated, noisy and fun group of young women and men.
"I've loved working with the remarkable young people who come through our doors each year. After teaching high school students all my life, my ambition was to spend more time with older students who have survived high school and are embarking on a new phase of their lives," says the Dean.
"Working with 150 or so students each year, it never ceases to amaze me how talented, energetic and diverse they are, and how bullet-proof they think they are. I suspect I was like that when I was that age too!"
The Dean's responsibilities are for the day-to-day administration of the College and to assist BM. He is also responsible for enrolments, student welfare, academic assistance for students and leadership training.
"One of the most satisfying parts of my role has been helping students academically. Money can't buy the moment when the light goes on for a student who has been struggling with a particular concept.
"I also work closely with our tutor teams. They have always astounded me with their maturity and ability to deal with whatever situation is thrown at them. And there certainly are many challenging situations they have to deal with – not only on the academic front but also in their after-hour and weekend responsibilities," the Dean adds. "They care about our students and they do their jobs with such panache and style."
"What has particularly struck me over the last four years has been the resilience and determination of our kitchen staff and our 'House mums'. They have been just fantastic, working in unbelievably trying conditions. It's been a tough few years but the quality of work, the pride they take in it, always amazes me. I admire them hugely, because it's never the easiest of work but they are always cheerful and good humoured, and everything they do is focussed on the students and preserving excellence."
Looking ahead, the Dean says he'd like to see the establishment of more Fresher scholarships. He says he's concerned that living in a top-end residential hall such as College House is a privilege that could become out of reach for many high school students. Over the coming years he would like to see alumni provide more support for first year scholarships.
The Dean also says that he would like to see more change at College House in the way we hold some of our events and the way we think about ceremony and tradition. "I believe we need to move forward more quickly, preserving good and meaningful traditions, improving and updating others and, dare I say it, abandoning those that have served their time."
When we asked him to look back on his nine years at CH, the Dean says the calibre of each year's intake of students has been outstanding. "We have wonderful young people here. You can tell that many of them are going to be unique – their contributions will never be ordinary and their influence and good decisions will change all our futures."
Dean, we're sad to see you go. We wish you and Veronica all the best in your new 'retired' life in Tauranga. Enjoy yourselves and don't work too hard.
Love from us all, College House