Buildings and infrastructure have absorbed many volunteer hours. Classrooms have been built and renovated, plumbing repaired and a wayward electrical system has been tamed and made safer. Sixty computers have replaced the original eight, and the school grounds have been flood-proofed by a 100 metre drain.
But that’s the easy part, say the Tippings, especially when over 150 volunteers have visited for at least a week each. The more difficult task now is to help the school’s leadership and teaching staff to raise academic standards and to run the school efficiently on its shoestring budget.
Photo: refurbished laptops, St Andrew's Tonga donated by St Vincent de Paul, Christchurch
This is where Dr Kay Hawk of the St Andrew’s, Epsom parish comes in. Dr Hawk is a specialist in developing skills among school teachers and administrators, and she volunteers time twice a year to work at St Andrew’s. With her help, the school has become recognised as a leader in curriculum development and teacher support amongst other schools in Tonga. The Hornsby Trust sponsors two teachers each year to undertake professional development in a New Zealand secondary school.
The St Andrew’s Epsom parish has committed to support St Andrew’s High School for the long haul, and have sent volunteers and financial assistance over many years. St Michael’s, Newlands was first off the block with two visits when the volunteer programme started, and the school has since had volunteers from Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches from around NZ, and several wonderful teams from the Christchurch Reformed Church.” Students from King’s College and Onslow College have also visited and formed close relationships with the school.
Photo: Rod Oram, a volunteer from St Andrew’s Epsom, working with students
“God has given us all time, health and skills,” say the Tippings, “and it’s a real blessing to be able to use them in Tonga. After all, it’s our neighbour. You’ll find us at www.hornsbytrust.org.nz”
See also information on OM-TP (Overseas Mission - Tikanga Pakeha) short term missions grants & Short term missions