Progress and Improvements at St Andrew's High School

Rachel and Simon Tipping share stories of the improvements made at St Andrew's High School, Tonga

8 November 2012

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60 volunteers worked tirelessly from June to September to improve St Andrew’s High School's (Nuku'alofa, Tonga) resources and buildings. Volunteers came from Culverden, Christchurch, Wellington, Levin, Auckland, and Picton. They spent their days painting, cleaning, building, sanding, sorting, teaching and more.

The team worked on the following things...

  • The Principal’s House, infested with cockroaches, was cleaned from top to bottom and re-painted
  • The school’s old kitchen was dismantled and a new kitchen built from scratch, complete with benches, work tables, store cupboard, stoves, plumbing, drains and an attached dining-room
  • Classrooms and storerooms were repainted, equipped with whiteboards and display boards, and classroom furniture sanded down and repainted
  • The school laboratories were cleaned and repainted, and every single piece of equipment in them, including innumerable test tubes and microscopes, was scrubbed and cleaned. Expired and potentially dangerous chemicals were disposed of and replaced
  • Wiring and plumbing in various other parts of the school properties were also checked and renewed
  • The school toilets were thoroughly cleaned (a dreadful job!) and partially repainted
  • The exteriors of some classroom blocks were repainted and steel kickboards attached to doors
  • The piggery at the school plantation was re-roofed
  • The school’s house in Railway Road was cleaned, renovated and painted throughout, a new kitchen was installed, plumbing and electrics were checked and renewed
  • Many boxes of donated library books, school journals and stationery were sorted and re-allocated, as well as catalogued
  • Much time was spent with the school librarian, encouraging and guiding her
  • Volunteers taught a wide range of subjects including English, Geography, Biology, Animal Health and Divinity, and assessed student teachers
  • Groups of students were helped with their English in the library, individual students were helped with assignments, and even ukulele group lessons were held!
  • Staff members benefitted from the wisdom of experienced teachers
  • Clergy from the Ohariu Archdeaconry preached at five different church services
  • Wifi was installed in the school office
  • Six new computer workstations were installed in the school’s computer room
  • All the school photos were taken by one of the volunteers who just happened to be a Press photographer!
  • Volunteers did several jobs for the Sisters at the Community (who accommodated many of the volunteers over six weeks), including general repairs, gardening and pruning their roses
  • Volunteers helped with the school’s annual English week, administering the Spelling Bee and judging songs and drama skits