Nga Tawa's courageous Birch House and Year 11 Dean, Mrs Tracy Quirk received some unfortunate news a few months ago. She went along to her first mammogram and the news wasn't good. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Given it was picked up early, she was able to take action quickly. Tracy underwent surgery at the beginning of term and is having radiation at the end of the term.
There are other members of the Nga Tawa school community that have been through this journey and have been awesome support for Tracy. She's shared her story to create awareness among the girls and start the conversation - talking about cancer can be hard.
"It's not just me. This could happen to anyone", she says. "It's the number one cancer in New Zealand for women with one in eight women diagnosed and it's the third highest overall cancer in New Zealand. I've been blown away by the support and it's amazing that our girls are so willing to do something to help."
In staff morning meetings, a different staff member is on reflection each week. One morning, as part of her reflection, Tracy told her colleagues that 3600 kiwis hosted a pink ribbon breakfast last year and raised $1.8 million. Not one to sit still, her attention had turned to what she could do to help the cause. The school and girls have rallied and she has inspired her Year 11 group and her House to get behind the cause.
The Nga Tawa community have been busy supporting the cause. Their Year 11 students made and decorated an amazing number of cupcakes in aid of breast cancer awareness. The whole school turned out at their Pink Ribbon Cake Sale on Wednesday 30 May to buy from the fantastic selection of pink creations. The girls made nearly $800 which was an amazing achievement.
Instead of asking for cans of food for the food bank, Birch House girls and parents were asked to bring a gold coin donation to their annual House Dinner and Chapel Service. There was also a delicious drip cake raffled.
The school kitchen has got behind the cause as well. They put on a Pink Dinner with pink mashed potato, pink dessert and the girls all dressed in pink!