On Thursday 22 August, in the WBHS Staffroom, the inaugural Pupuke Alumni Afternoon Tea was held, attracting around 100 senior students from WBHS and WGHS. The event was an opportunity for these students to hear from a wide range of past and recent WBHS and WGHS graduates who, since leaving school, have gone on to experience success in a variety of disciplines of study and work, with the aim to support and inform our leavers as they prepare to make the transition beyond school at the end of this year.
Our invited alumni came from a range of fields spanning medicine to law, technology to commerce, education to property, journalism to engineering and environmental science to industrial painting, among others.
Over the course of the afternoon, alumni spoke about their career journeys, the insights they have gained along the way, before responding, as a panel, to a range of questions generated from our student body about life after school. The afternoon commenced with a mix and mingle session where our students were able to seek out those alumni who they wished to quiz and connect with further.
Gareth Edwards (year 13)
“I think one of the strengths of the night was the plethora of alumni that attended, as such a large range gave students access to a variety of different pathways, perspectives and overall guidance. The representation of a large number of fields, pathways and subjects gave everyone an opportunity to discuss with the alumni that benefitted them most. Personally, I got to talk to Caitlin who works in television production which closely relates to the careers I’m considering, and her insight was of great value to me.”
Manaal Mehamood (year 12)
I found the alumni evening extremely useful. The phrase “in hindsight it was 20/20” summarizes the evening for me in the sense that, the alumni had already experienced the education system and so they had the invaluable hindsight only gained over time which I did not have. For example, the lessons about time management, course planning and gap years. I personally would only be able to guess how it would pan out but the alumni had experienced all these parts of education and so it was like attending a researched presentation. Talking to individuals like Andrew and Penny was probably the best experience for me as rather than reading around about the generic outline of the career path, talking-to individuals who have actually experienced it and are continuing with it was by far the best way of answering my questions. Overall the evening was extremely eye opening.
Sam Turner O’Keefe (year 13)
I really enjoyed the alumni evening – given that I have no idea what I want to do after school, being able to hear the stories of past Westlakers was definitely a big helping hand for me as I begin applying to universities and sorting out my other options for the years ahead. I chatted quite a bit with Penny about applying to American universities, and asked Jordan Bond, the journalist, about his work, which was interesting. In particular, the prospect of a gap year was something that I hadn’t considered beforehand, but after hearing about how beneficial it can be, I will definitely look into it.
Simon Lai (year 13)
Through this experience, I have gained more clarity in the pathway that I wanted to pursue in university. With the help of Andrew Han, I now have a much better understanding of what medical school involves and have become more aware of the opportunities that it provides. I am now even more determined in my choice.
Joon Soo Pyo (year 12)
I think it was a great opportunity for students to get a bit of guidance/insight from those who have just experienced what high schoolers are about to. I particularly liked the last part of the evening where we had the choice to go speak to each alumni about their respective fields of study. It was overall a great evening and of course, free food is always good.
Dave Smale – Pupuke Across School Lead