"Take your place in the world"
To 2000 students, together on the field last Friday, our principal of the past six years expressed his gratitude for what they’d given to him and his family. “You’ve shaped the rest of my life. Anything I’ve done for you is minimal compared with what you have done for me and my family.”
Mr Gargiulo was referring to the special way that our community cares for each other, and their concern for fairness for all.
“Your attitude for life is the way the world can be saved.”
He says it is time for our students to take their place in the world. “Use your qualifications to represent your people in politics, the professions and business. You are good enough, and the world needs you.”
The most special dimension of his time as principal – surpassing many sporting, academic and arts successes – has been getting to understand our students. “Your families’ lives are far more important than cars and houses. Your attitude has woken me up – and it’s woken up my friends too. You are very special. Thank You for enriching our lives.”
The next step for the Gargiulo family involves more time with each other, and a home base in Nelson. Likely there will be a visit to Italy, his ancestral home, where there is the same great love for food and family that he has enjoyed in Manurewa.
“This will be the first time in 60 years that I have not got up and gone to school. It’s going to be different. I don’t really know what I will do but there will be some travel and spending time with the people I love.”
The Gargiulos have been a family at MHS, with wife Trish and daughter Anna both teaching here. Among many things, they have brought Italian culture to our school including quality coffee at Salvatore’s café, spaghetti bolognaise at sports after-matches, and pizza from wood-fired ovens for school functions. They even brought over their friend and an opera-singing chef, Carlo, to prepare prima feasts for farewell events.
The next step for Manurewa High School is to welcome our next Principal, Pete Jones, on the first day of Term 2.
“Mr Jones has the aim to lift this school and take it from good to great. He’s a special man and I’m delighted he’s taking over.”
An “amazing day”
Salvatore Gargiulo’s last day was perfectly timed as it was also the end of International Week, when our cultural groups perform for whanau. Repeating their Polyfest performances four times to four whanau, the Samoan, Niuean, Tongan and Cook Island groups earned a good lunch, and huge applause.
After lunch, there was a whole-school assembly on the field, where the Kapa Haka group performed and led a 2000-strong haka that must have shook the whole of Manurewa.
As students headed off for the term break, staff gathered for a farewell, sharing insights of the progress that’s been made under Salvi’s principalship, and a few tears.
Sarah and Aleesha’s towering Italian cake cheered us up.
Staff also performed a haka and presented gifts of pounamu to Salvi and Trish. The sports co’s, Mel and Maggie, gave a showcase of waka ama, rugby and volleyball shirts. There was also a Liverpool scarf, presented by Pete Jones, perhaps to be worn when Salvi returns on his promised visits.
Salvi told staff: “The school is in good shape, and that’s not done without a whole team effort. It has never been difficult to energise this staff, and I’d really like to acknowledge your hard work.”
He also acknowledged the value of supporters from outside the school, including John and Leonie Hynds.
“There’s a lot of goodwill towards this school from people who realise that education is the way to eliminating poverty.”