Intra-school competitions great for school spirit

St Hilda’s Collegiate pupils Bridget Sinclair (left) and Quilla Cashel-Smith show their support...
St Hilda’s Collegiate pupils Bridget Sinclair (left) and Quilla Cashel-Smith show their support for Nelson house at a sports day. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
School sport does not always have to be competition against other schools. Intra-school sport and house competitions are just as hotly contested. 

Intra-school sport plays an important part in creating school culture and a sense of belonging.

Many schools in Otago have longstanding traditions when it comes to houses and whanau groups. In some cases, the value of intra-school activities is deemed more important and meaningful than any other.

St Hilda’s pupils get into the spirit of an inter-house event.
St Hilda’s pupils get into the spirit of an inter-house event.

St Hilda’s Collegiate

Interhouse competitions are hotly contested at St Hilda’s. The biggest competition is the school athletics day. This is held in the first month of the new school year and provides a great opportunity for new pupils to meet their house peers and get into the school house spirit. The school has four houses: Nelson, Wellington, Havelock and Lawrence. Pupils dress up in their house colours, and at the start of each athletics day, there is a house cheerleading competition which the Year 12s organise and practise continuously in the lead-up to the big day.

Over the course of the year, house points are gained from a number of other events: cross-country, swimming sports and house singing to name a few. In the last term, the house trophy — the Mumford Cup — is awarded to the winning house captains. The Mr A. Mumford Cup was first presented in 1933 and was won by Wellington house. Over the past 10 years, Havelock has won eight times.

The St Hilda’s sport prefects and liaisons also run interhouse lunch time competitions to encourage physical activity at lunch time, and have introduced a queen of the court house challenge, where houses can challenge another house in dodgeball. During whanau and PE classes, many activities involve getting into house groups and playing against each other.

Cheering and supporting your school house is a fantastic way for every level to interact and compete with each other. It enables positive house and school spirit and creates special memories that students take with them forever.

East Otago High School

House sports are a big part of school life at East Otago High School, with each of the four houses, McKenzie, Clark, School and Muir, vying for points towards the House Shield at the end of the year.

Basketball is the current competition, and it is split into two sections, juniors (years 7-9) and seniors (years 10-13). The whole school (staff and pupils) gather in the gym at sixth period every Friday to battle it out, with music, an MC and a great atmosphere. Pupils dress in house colours to support their teams.

One of the highlights is the staff vs Year 13s at the end of each competition, where bragging rights and the Staff vs Students Shield are up for grabs.

Various activities are part of the competition throughout the year, with volleyball, dodgeball, multisport, hockey, netball, turbo touch, kahoot (an online quiz), quidditch, swimming sports, school athletics, school cross country, extravaganza and many more adding to the points tally.

The activities are decided at the start of each year by a pupil survey. This gives pupils a voice and makes sure the house competition includes relevant activities.

The house competition has a long-standing history in some form at East Otago High School, with the first competition held in 1969. Since 2015, a big emphasis has been put on weekly engaging competitions.

Blue Mountain College

Friday sport, or hauora time as it’s now known, has been running at Blue Mountain College for well over 20 years. The name changed during Covid while trying to find a range of sports or activities to engage all pupils and look after their hauora (wellbeing).

It’s one hour a week, last period on a Friday, where pupils get to pick from a list of various activities. This also means pupils are mixing across the different year levels while participating in the activities.

The range of activities includes squash, indoor games, chess, art, quiet activities, touch, table tennis, clay target, indoor games and outdoor games, e-sport and handcrafts. The options change from term to term and everything is considered.

This a nice way to end a learning week with some fun, fresh-air and well-being for staff and pupils.

Herron house prefects and dean Oliver Surline after winning the Bayfield High School House Cup...
Herron house prefects and dean Oliver Surline after winning the Bayfield High School House Cup last year.

Bayfield High School

Bayfield High School has five houses. Anderson, Begg, Ross and Somerville are all named after the founding fathers of the district, and Herron after the first principal, Jack Herron.

All houses vie for the coveted House Cup, which is awarded at the end of every year after multiple house activities. Athletics day, cross-country, house chant, house day activities, Octacan Appeal, house quiz and inter-house sports are some of the many things that contribute to the cup points.

All sports and activities are well contested, and inter-house sports always garner a large crowd in the gym. Deans and tutor teachers from each house ensure they’re onsite to provide encouragement to their team, and at the end of each round, the highly anticipated ‘‘Staff vs Year 13’’ match is played and a smaller, although just as sought after, trophy is awarded for these games.

A fan favourite of multisport was played in term one, along with interhouse dodgeball, and getting under way next week is interhouse netball. These interhouse sports have been a long-standing tradition over many years and provide a great outlet for pupils to get in some extra sports during their week. It also helps to foster great house spirit and provides an excellent platform for students to show their RISE values (respect, integrity, service and excellence).

John McGlashan College and Otago Girls’ High School pupils gather after their netball game.
John McGlashan College and Otago Girls’ High School pupils gather after their netball game.

John McGlashan College

At John McGlashan, there are four houses: Balmacewen, Burns, Gilray and Ross.

Throughout the year, the houses compete for the Elvidge Cup. This cup was first won by Burns house in 1946.

The major sports and activities that the houses compete for points in are athletics, cross-country, swimming, haka and singing. Minor sports also contribute towards points, and these include a range of lunchtime competitions such as touch, basketball and other team sports.

After athletics and cross-country, Balmacewen is leading Burns and Ross by a point with Gilray a further point behind. However, with the haka competition fast approaching, these placings could change.

John McGlashan school prefects also like to take on other schools’ prefects and recently showed off a wide range of skills as they took on their counterparts at Otago Girls’ High School in netball. In a tight encounter, they eventually lost 23-19. These games always put on a good show and turn out large crowds of supporters.

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