Sophia Butler (centre) with her graduate collection, ‘Un-Broken’ inspired by kintsugi, the art of repair.
We like to hear about milestones of our alumni whether they are personal, academic or professional. It would be hard to beat the social media reach for one of our alumni earlier this year. Were you one of the 19 million plus who viewed the Wedding haka that went viral? If you missed it, the haka at the wedding of Aaliyah Armstrong (née Hall)
Class of 2012, and Benjamin Armstrong earlier this year was very moving.
Congratulations to Georgia Cassidy
(2012) on achieving her goal, completing a 12 day trek to Everest Base Camp. At least 10 girls in Sierra Leone will benefit from her fundraising effort, receiving scholarships of $320 each for a year’s secondary education.
Congratulations to Emma Scotter (Daniel)
Class of 1999, on being awarded 2 prestigious awards for her continuing research into motor neurone disease. She has received a 2015 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to cover 5 years of research, as well as receiving a Marsden Grant. She will take up both later in 2016 after maternity leave.
(2009) is goalkeeper in the NZ Football Ferns. They played against Brazil in a recent tournament in Portugal.
Well done to Sophia Butler
, WGHS 2010, who is one of a small group of Whitecliffe Masters of Fine Arts, Fashion &Sustainability students to attend The Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit, an international fashion sustainability event this month. Sophia completed her BFA at Whitecliffe and is now studying for her Master of Fine Arts there, in a new stream focusing on Fashion and Sustainability. It follows a successful year in which she travelled to India with a small group who received The Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia, to present ‘Project Matatika’, a sustainable fashion project, and also received The Frost Textiles Award for Textile Experimentation and Development.
Photo credit: Melanie Nieuwoudt
Congratulations to a new alumna, Lina Kim (2015) on being awarded an AIMES Emerging Talent Award. She is studying a Bachelor’s degree, conjoint law and political science/international relations at University of Auckland this year.
Visitors to Westlake
Thanks to Abbey Suyker, Class of 2014, who visited her old school recently, talking to senior Social Studies classes. Abbey took 2015 as a gap year, working as a teacher aide at Willow Park Primary, and also spent a month in Kolkata, India, where she worked alongside women being liberated from the slavery industry.
She was a volunteer with Freeset, a New Zealand initiated Fairtrade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. This year she has started a Bachelor in Social Work at the University of Auckland.
Jo Aleh, Olympic Champion 2012, visited Westlake at the end of 2015 to speak to students involved in the CYGNET programme. Jo became the first Westlake student to win an Olympic Gold Medal when along with her partner Polly Powrie she won the 470 sailing class at the 2012 London games and is now preparing for Rio.
|| Jo Aleh with CYGNET students
The CYGNET (Challenging Youth to Grow through Nuturing Emerging Talent) Programme started at Westlake in 2014 to build on Westlake’s tradition of sporting participation and excellence. The codes involved are football, hockey, netball, rowing and tennis. Selected Year 9 and 10 students receive specialised coaching and mentoring as part of their curriculum.
Students in the CYGNET programme
Sarah’s musical passion was clear from an early age and was expressed during her years at Westlake (1997-2001) through the choir (Key Cygnetures), playing oboe in the Orchestra, being a national finalist in the 1999 Rockquest, and composition and academic music awards. She was the top scholar in music in NZ for her year.
Sarah Belkner, 2001 singer, songwriter, arranger, producer
Sarah Belkner (née McCallum), now based in Sydney, returned to New Zealand in November for three NZ shows and as a guest performer at the 2015 AIMES Awards, the North Harbour Club’s annual recognition of young talent on the North Shore.
She left Westlake to study Classical Composition and Contemporary Music at Auckland University.
Following graduation she continued to compose and perform in New Zealand, appearing twice at ‘Christmas in the Park’ and being a member of the Tower NZ Youth Choir. Sarah moved to Australia in 2008 where she has been regularly playing and touring with well-known musicians, arranging and producing in studios and composing and arranging with her own band.
In 2010 she won the Crowded House International song writing competition and was invited to perform with the band at a concert in Sydney.
Neil Finn praised her work for its “unusual lyrics and interesting melody” and her “very strong distinctive voice”.
The last 6 months have seen her perform with an array of artists including Chet Faker, Alex Lloyd and Sarah Blasko to large audiences including the famous Sydney Opera House Forecourt.
Sarah's 2015 EP 'Humans' deals with themes of human nature such as questioning, truth, realisation and loss. She is currently finishing an album to be released this year.
Sarah has a strong interest in her old school and follows Westlake music keenly through alumni music groups and a fortunate Westlake connection - her mother, Linley McCallum is a music teacher at Westlake Girls.
The link below is to 'Susanne' - a song from the Humans EP, the video directed by Rachael Brown was premiered by the Sydney Morning Herald. It features Sarah and incredible 100-year- old Australian dancer and choreographer Eileen Kramer.
Lisa Wallbutton, Class of 2003
Tall Fern NZ National Basketball team
Lisa is a member of the Tall Ferns trial squad that gathering in Auckland in May as the team builds up for a June Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France.
Photo - zimbio.com
Lisa was a talented basketballer during her years at Westlake, playing in age group national representative teams from 2001. In 2002, in Year 12, she led the successful Westlake Open team that won regional competitions and finished 4th in the National Championship. In addition she played in the top netball team and achieved at a high level in national secondary schools mountain bike championships.
She joined Harbour Breeze in 2004 and was named Outstanding Young Player for the Women’s National Basketball League in 2004 and 2005.
She combined her playing with a degree in Sport and Recreation from AUT and while based in Auckland she helped coach Westlake basketball teams. In 2013 she was able to come to the Westlake Basketball training, talk with the girls and also see the new sports facilities.
She debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2005 and competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where the team won Silver, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other career highlights are the FIBA Oceania Championships in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Lisa has played in the national leagues on both sides of the Tasman. In Australia she played for teams in the South Eastern Australian League and completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation) at Charles Sturt University before moving to Western Australia.
She is currently an Exercise Physiologist at Active Life Rehabilitation in Perth and plays for the Perth Red Blacks,
Lisa reflects on her Westlake days.
“I have really good memories of my time playing basketball at Westlake, Friday night was game night and easily the highlight of my week. Looking back I think the best thing about playing basketball at school was the friends I made and the people I met along the way.
I now live in Perth and a few weeks ago I caught up with three old team mates from school over here. We reminisced about our time playing together at Westlake and on and off court antics at tournament week and shared a few good laughs. I think the bonds you make with people through sport are really special and different to anything else I have experienced in life.
High school years are important years in terms of player development and I was lucky enough to be exposed to some really passionate coaches early on that definitely inspired me to stick with the sport. Looking back I could have been a better athlete in return.
I used to be late for everything and some days if my school bag was too full I would leave my basketball shoes at home and train in bare feet!
Overall I look back with very fond memories of my time playing basketball at Westlake”