15 Jul Festival’s muddy wallow dispels winter blues

The last Thursday of Term 2 saw a bunch of brave Nayland College students and teachers strip down to shorts and tees and get wet and muddy on the school’s annual Winter Festival Mud Run.  

Running through the muddy course was just one of the activities on offer for students across the school to choose from.  Others included gym-antics, a quiz, or gaming in the computer rooms.  Students took full advantage of the opportunity to earn participation points for their houses by taking part in their chosen activities.

This year was the first time on the mud run for Janine Wood from year 9,  who went all out on her costume.  Dressed in a swim cap, batman vest and with a flower lei around her neck, Janine  was wondering how she was going to manage to scrub up and get to ballet after school.  For Cheyenne Mitchell from year 10, the motivation was to repeat the experience she had last year before the field gets developed for new housing.  “You fall over and get mud on your face” she said.  International student, Mo Gammell, had never experienced anything like it at school in his home country, Germany.  “I’m so glad I did it” he said afterwards.  “It was so cool!”

The mud run was a community affair with members of Stoke’s Voluntary Fire Brigade supporting the event.  The group, including Nayland College Student Support Assistant, Andrea Gardiner, made sure the water slide at the beginning of the course had maximum slip with the help of their fire hoses and foaming soap. Volunteer fireman Allan Smith described the participants as “daft kids”, while fellow fireman Derek Smith spoke of the benefit for the service as it gets them out into the community.

It wasn’t just “daft kids” who attempted the course though.  A few intrepid teachers could also be seen water sliding and running around the muddy trenches of the paddock adjacent to the school’s back field.  Chemistry teacher John Cubanski has  now completed the event twice.  He described the experience as having “a certain element of mud.” First-time mud runner Mark Lewers, who teaches science and PE was “still a bit tingly” after showering and drying off.

Those who favoured staying dry and warm could be found in the blue gym, taking part in the Winter Festival Quiz which, like the Mud Run, was largely organised by house captains.

Teams had to answer seven rounds of ten questions.  Categories ranged from cartoon characters to pop culture to te reo Maori in acknowledgement of Maori Language Week.  Year 12 Dean Alice Scott was one of a team of teachers marking the answers.  “I’m learning something” she said.

The promise of prizes of chocolate created an atmosphere of intense competition with some teams pulling out all stops to make themselves stand out.   Tuxedo-clad and seated at a table complete with a carafe of sparkling grape juice and a roast chicken, a group of Year 13 boys including head students Kyohei Nyoguchi and Cullen Riley, went all out to celebrate their last Winter Festival at the college.  They participated in the quiz last year but wanted to take it to “another level” this year.

Those opting for games in the gym had the option of playing table tennis or taking part in the slam dunk competition where PE teacher Brendan Geddes was trying his best to dominate against fierce competition from talented students.

The gaming option was a student-driven initiative run by organisers Ruben Roberts (Year 10), Cameron Mayes (Year 11) and Campbell Suter (Year 12).  They were thrilled by the success of the afternoon and said the game Halo: Combat Evolved saw as many as 60 people playing at one time.  For Digital Technologies teacher Edward Pattillo, participation was short-lived though as he “jumped into games and got destroyed” by the students.