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From the Alumni Co-ordinator

Cathy Roughan

Hi to all our Westlake alumni
A particular welcome to a further 150 new Westlake Graduates from 2015. We hope you are well settled into your course of study or work options for your first year post-Westlake.
The closure of the ‘Old Friends’ site earlier this year means  that is no longer a source of information in searching for former school mates, particularly those who attended before 2004  - the founding year for Facebook!  I have copied many of the photos from the site that were uploaded by ex-pupils of WGHS but nothing replaces the quality of an original. If you come across photos of your school days it would be great to have a copy sent through to build up our archives.   

A recent shot of Westlake Girls
Linked In - Please request a Connection.
Our LinkedIn professional and business network is growing steadily. I regularly request Connections with our alumni through this network, where over 1900 ex-students have listed Westlake Girls in their Education profile. It would be great to build up these links and I welcome requests from you to become connected.

What’s new?
These Facebook Groups are newly set up so we hope you will join to keep in touch with each other and Westlake and invite all your former Westlake classmates to join too.
(The class is your Form 7/Year 13 year at WGHS including all those in that cohort who left any time before Year 13)  .
Westlake Girls Class of 1980
Westlake Girls Class of 2001
Westlake Girls Class of 1983
Westlake Girls Class of 1993
Westlake Girls Class of 1996

Upcoming Events

Former Staff Afternoon Tea 
Former staff are invited back for a catch up at Westlake.

Date: Thursday 16th June, 3.30 - 5.00pm
Venue: WGHS staff room
(upstairs in the Gernhoefer Administration Centre)
This is near the main entrance adjacent to Smales Farm Bus Station.
Come along to meet up with others from Westlake, past and present.

Please bring a small plate for a shared afternoon tea.

You are welcome to have a look around the school if you would like. There have been a number of changes in the school environment, including the extended and re-furbished library, since the last get-together.

RSVP to Cathy Roughan
or Ph 021 151 5613
Class of 1991 – 25 years on
Get-together at Westlake, Saturday 17th September 3.30-5.30pm (TBC)

A small group of ex-students from the Class of 1991 (Form 7 1991 and those who started in 1987 and left before Form 7) have been active in contacting as many of their former classmates as possible about having a 25th celebration. There are now 120 in the 1991 Facebook Group and this will be the main form of communication as plans firm up. Join the group to find out more about their plans for a fun catch up at Westlake. WGHS Class of 1991 alumni
You can also email Meredith McIlroy with any queries.

Staff who taught over that period (1987-1991) will also be most welcome to come along. Staff interested in keeping in the loop for information should contact
Westlake High School Founders (1957-1961) Looking ahead to 2017
A small group from the Westlake High School Founders are looking ahead to 2017 which will mark 60 years since the school was founded as a co-ed school in 1957. Many of you celebrated your 50th at WBHS in 2007 and since 2014, WGHS and WBHS have co-hosted annual get-togethers.
The group are wanting to gauge interest in having a 60th celebration, possibly in March 2017.  To help with early planning could our WHS alumni (1957-61) - students who attended anytime during those co-ed years, and staff who taught as well - please email Jan Franklin  or Geoff Bonham   A quick email, with Yes, No thanks, or Maybe, would be helpful at this stage, and would also help us confirm that we have your current email address.

Recent Alumni Events 
A group of around 20  ex-students  from the WGHS Class of 1985, met up at ‘The Commons’ in Takapuna for a wine and a catchup 30 years after Westlake. Thanks to Gayle Coplestone for her time in contacting former students and organizing the gathering. There are 28 already in the 1985 Facebook Group so join up to keep in touch with this group.

Class of 1985 Gathering
Another group, the WGHS Class of 1980, also held a reunion get-together in Auckland recently. Thanks to Lisa Finucane and others in the group who have kept in touch over the years and meet from time to time. Former students came from Australia and Christchurch to catch up.

Class of 1980 reunion


Alumni Updates 

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. (Westone Productions)  

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.

Erin Naylor (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.
Sophia Butler (centre) with her graduate collection, ‘Un-Broken’ inspired by kintsugi, the art of repair.    
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

Alumna Profile  
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 -
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”

20 years ago - A look back at 1996

1996 was the first year that Westlake held a Cultural Mosaic International Evening.  An ‘Asian Association’ had been formed in 1994 and supported by ESOL staff and Deans, they organized Orientation Dinners and a range of cultural activities. In 1996, much of the enthusiasm and hard work for the international night came from a small core of 7th Formers - Lovinia Chapman, Yvonne Lin, Erana Le Heron, Christabell Siakisini and Elizabeth Ewing  who ‘hoped that such a performance would contribute to racial harmony at Westlake’ (1996 yearbook).

 An item from the 1996 Cultural Mosaic
Since then it has been an annual event, becoming part of a Cultural Week of events in 1998 and expanding each year as the school population has grown and become increasingly diverse. There is now a Chinese Night and a Korean Night, combined with Westlake Boys, as well as a week of international and cultural events and activities at Westlake Girls organized largely by the prefects.
It is fitting that, since 1998, an award has been made annually at the Westlake prize-giving to a student who is 'the most passionate in encouraging the Promotion of Cultural Harmony at Westlake'. This is the Elizabeth Ewing Cultural Mosaic Award and is named in the memory of Elizabeth Jane Ewing who was one of the instigators of the Mosaic and its aim. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 in her first year of university, having battled a serious illness through her 7th Form year.

Some of the Form 7 students in 1996 - Form Seniors

1996 Prefects

Westlake News

Westlake Girls made a significant contribution to the Fiji  Cyclone Winston Humanitarian effort in April. Spearheaded by service prefects and a staff member Pravina Ali, the WGHS  initiative  extended to Westlake Boys High School and the whole Westlake community. .They focused on providing support for the day-to-day learning needs of students in affected areas and sent a large container with 1000s of textbooks, a variety of stationery items including calculators and books as well as building products, furniture and clothing for students.

The Westlake Premier Tennis Team retained their national title as NZ Secondary School Champions.


Alumni Association Update


Westlake Girls High School

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