Who are you? 

Patrick Gale, Principal, Rangitoto College.

What do you love about our library?

Our Library is the beating heart of the school, staffed by lovely people who care deeply about our students and staff. They work hard to keep the Library a vibrant and welcoming place that has something for everyone. The books and resources are kept up to date and displays are engaging and relevant.

What were you doing before this role?

Prior to working at Rangitoto College, I was Principal at Kaipara College, and before that Associate Headmaster at Rosmini College.

What was on the family bookshelf growing up?

I was lucky to grow up in a family of readers so books were always available. We used to regularly go to the local library to stock up on books and therefore had a wide range of books to read. Coming from the United Kingdom, I read classic children’s books like Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

Do you remember reading/loving any books at school? Tell us about them. 

I remember reading Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed when I was about 12 after getting it from the school library and this sparked my interest in thrillers. I took English Literature at A level and remember struggling with the dark and destructive poetry by Sylvia Plath.

What are you currently reading? 

The Girl who lived Twice by David Lagercrantz—the latest in the Steig Larsson Millennium series. I’ve just finished Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz.

Where do you seek inspiration? 

Generally from people I respect, trust, and admire. Students and staff at Rangitoto often meet all of those criteria.

What’s your favourite book?

My favourite book is I Am Pilgrim by former journalist, Terry Hayes. It is a fantastic thriller that is a mixture of crime, suspense, and political tension. I have been waiting for his second novel which was due out in 2016 and is finally due to be published in September this year.

Describe your perfect weekend.

I am often at school over the weekends, supporting the extra-curricular activities that take place. Outside of this, going to Slipper Island for fishing and beach time in the Coromandel, then spending time with family and friends, hopefully with fresh fish and lots of laughter.

Who would your ideal lunch companion(s) be

Someone who has done something heroic, an English comedian, an Olympic gold medallist or world champion, and friends who I don’t see often enough.

What advice do you have for teenagers today? 

Surround yourself with good people who see the positive in life. Be brave enough to make the right decisions and have the confidence to know that you will be successful in whatever you commit to.

Leanne Odoom and Sean Hwangbo

Who are you? 

Hello, my name is Leanne Odoom. I’m one of the 2023 Culture and Globalisation Leaders. Ghana is where I was born. I was three years old when my family relocated to New Zealand, where I’ve since grown up alongside my two other brothers. I’m thankful for being raised with younger and older brothers because I can always rely on them and trust that they will always support me.

When you’re not reading, what do you love doing?

Netball is a sport that I enjoy playing in my free time. When I was five years old, my mother enrolled me in netball. I immediately fell in love with the game and have been playing ever since. I like to bake because I can create yummy foods to eat and share with my family. I like to unwind by watching Netflix shows. Derry Girls is currently one of my favourite shows to watch on Netflix. 

Tell us a brilliant book memory.

I’ve always enjoyed reading. My father would take my brothers and me to the Albany Library every Saturday afternoon, and we could choose as many books as we wanted to read throughout the week. This is where my love for reading first began. I used to pack a backpack full of novels that I was interested in reading, and by the end of the week, I would’ve finished reading them all. 

What are some books you’ve encountered (and enjoyed) at school? 

The Outsiders, a book by S.E. Hinton, was a book I enjoyed reading in school. I had to read it for English in Year 10. In sum, Ponyboy Curtis, the protagonist, recalls one summer in the story. Ponyboy is the youngest of three orphaned brothers; after their parents passed away, the oldest brother became his guardian. The Curtis brothers and their friends make up the Greasers, a gang. The Socs are the rival “gang” from the more wealthy part of town. Ponyboy and his group of greasers frequently clash with the Socs, which has led to an increase in the level of hostility and violence between the gangs. Ponyboy is driven to mature quickly and put his youthful naivety behind him as a result of these circumstances. Ponyboy faces moral dilemmas in a society that he perceives as being hostile to him; Ponyboy feels he is an outsider. This novel has made me realise just how easily peers can shape young people’s opinions, thus making it crucial to surround ourselves with positive influences.

What do you love about our Library?

The atmosphere in the Library is wonderful. The Librarians are friendly and inviting. The Librarians are always incredibly helpful, whether it is finding a book to read that I would enjoy or one to use for research for an assignment. The Silent Study Room is wonderfully serene. It is a place where I can focus entirely on my current task without becoming sidetracked. 

What’s a book that’s changed your mind about something?

I no longer try to fit in, thanks to R.J. Palacio’s book Wonder. The norm is sometimes considered as the appropriate way to act by the community. However, there are occasions when it is wise not to follow the crowd. The primary character of Wonder, August (Auggie) Pullman, was born with a serious facial difference that kept him out of normal school until now. Auggie is entering the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and wants to be treated like any other person, but his new classmates are put off by his facial features. The author highlights a social problem as how society unfairly discriminates against people who have physical differences. Auggie encounters bullying at his new school as a result of his appearance. On the other side, despite all of the bad things that happen to him, Auggie constantly strives to stay optimistic. Throughout the narrative, Auggie demonstrates that it is acceptable to be different when you were born to be just like everyone else.

Why do you think people should read?

I believe reading is good for you because it exposes you to new concepts and encourages analytical thought, both of which help with problem-solving. 

Reading is a great way to unwind while letting your mind wander to new thoughts and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You imagine yourself in the character’s position as you read. Your mind goes beyond the words on a page and creates images of people’s faces, feelings, and environments. I believe reading is good for you because it exposes you to new concepts and encourages analytical thought, both of which help with problem-solving. 

Reading is a great way to unwind while letting your mind wander to new thoughts and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You imagine yourself in the character’s position as you read. Reading will help you learn new things and broaden your horizons. One day, I’d like to travel, but in the meanwhile, I’m exploring through books. Reading about the current history of other nations and their old civilisations has helped me comprehend different cultures better. Although I haven’t visited these civilisations yet, reading has helped me better understand them.  

Who would you love to have lunch with (dead or alive)?

I would love to have lunch with Martin Luther King Jr. I want to learn from his optimistic outlook on life and his viewpoint on equality as he continued to peacefully advocate for African-Americans’ rights despite the opposition he encountered at the time. I’d like to hear about the struggles he faced in the real world during the civil rights movement. I’m interested in learning about his challenges and what it was like to live in a culture where you went to school or where you got a bus seat was determined by the colour of your skin. 

What are some mottos you live by?

Everything important in life takes time. This motto reminds me to keep working hard towards my life goals and dreams, and not give up.

I can do everything in my power to affect the outcome of a situation and expect to see results when I think I should see results. In reality, I only have so much in my immediate control. Sure, I can influence how certain things turn out by the choices I make and the things I do today, but the best things in life aren’t always as foreseeable. They need to be nurtured, fostered, planned for, and put into action in order to grow from a string of modest achievements into something truly remarkable.

Who are you? 

Sean Hwangbo. 황보승. شون هوانغبو. I was born and raised half my life in New Zealand and I have also lived in Korea and the U.A.E. I am a Year 13 student, a Student Leader, a friend, a pupil, and just another person who has stood in the same spot you are reading this. I like going to the beach, hanging out with friends, playing the piano, travelling, and learning from new people that I meet. 

What’s a book you always recommend and why?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic novel that gives me new insights every time I read it. The compelling characters, timeless themes, and masterful prose captivate the reader while exploring the dark vulnerabilities of ambition, love, and wealth. Through the elegant and vivid writing style, it creates an immersive experience, painting an explicit portrait of the Jazz Age while exposing the hollowness of wealth and material success. The book gives a phenomenal understanding of the human condition.

What’s your favourite book?

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho became a favourite because it has given me profound insights into life and timeless wisdom that have thoroughly changed my viewpoint on a lot of things including my personal life. The novel tells a beautifully woven narrative of a young shepherd who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and fulfilling his dream and purpose. Together with the boy, you begin to understand the meanings of life, continuously being inspired throughout the process.

Where do you seek inspiration?

I seek inspiration from people who hold the values and skills that I wish to achieve. This includes my mentors, my father, and my friends, but this also is expanded to the numerous authors and leaders around the world that publicly make their works available. The current world allows for endless resources and mentors for inspiration.

What are some mottos you live by?

  • There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure
  • Place yourself in the other person’s shoes before acting or talking out
  • Just do it. Every failure and rejection is a step towards success: you have not as you ask not

What are some of your hopes and dreams for the future?

Currently, one of my goals is to go to the University of Sydney for a law or architecture major. My hopes and dreams include gaining new experiences constantly, creating closer relationships with family and friends, travelling across the world, and finding new things that might become my direction in life.

Why do you think people should read?

Books are a direct path you can take towards success. From my personal experience with all the success-filled people around the world, reading will inevitably force you up and grow your mind. Books are an endless source of knowledge and growth so if there is one thing to take away from this, it’s to keep reading.

Who are you?

Kia ora, my name is Ye Sul Kim. I am an English teacher and a Kahui Ako In School Leader. This is my third year of teaching at Rangitoto College. I was born in South Korea and immigrated to New Zealand at a young age. Reading, whether it be fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels or manga, has always been a big part of my life. In many ways, from a young age, I understood that reading was a window of opportunity to see, learn, and experience new things that were beyond my scope of being. 

What’s your claim to fame?

I hope this comes across as a humble brag, but I was awarded Best Teacher Dancer 2022 during the Year 12 Ball and the Most Supportive Tutor Teacher on Kotahitanga Day 2022.

When you’re not reading, what do you love doing?

When I am not reading, I am either watching something new on Disney+ and Netflix or going for a stroll around the bay area with my husband. I love rewatching movie classics such as When in Rome, Star Wars, or Parasite. My favourite after-meal activity is to go for a walk at the beach. It is always wonderful to see the sunset after a long day of work. It is amazing how beautiful our sceneries are—so picturesque and great for an Instagram post.

What do you love about working at Rangitoto College?

There are many things that I love about working at Rangitoto College. First, my colleagues and students who I work with or teach enrich my day and help me realise that I have chosen the right occupation. Second, I love seeing all the opportunities that the school offers. Students and teachers have an abundance of opportunities that they can work with to suit their own interests and needs.

What were you doing before this role?

Before working at Rangitoto College, I spent my years studying at the University of Auckland and AUT. For a year, while I lived in Korea, I worked at an after-school academy teaching English writing and speaking. It was during that time that I fell in love with teaching and working with students and formulating friendships with my colleagues. 

What was on the family bookshelf growing up?

A book that was on my family bookshelf growing up was a Korean and English version of Sherlock Holmes. My mum had fallen in love with the book when she was young, so she made sure that I read it as well. 

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading a book called I May Be Wrong. Although I am in the process of finishing the book, I am thoroughly enjoying the gentleness and eloquence of the writing of the incredible wisdom by Lindeblad. It is definitely a light read but I am loving the wisdom that I can take away from the book.