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Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Darryl Paterson is determined to see the school become a great one under his watch.

A former deputy rector at Dunedin’s King’s High School, he began his new role on January 28, taking over from acting rector Clive Rennie, who replaced Paul Jackson at the end of 2015.

Mr Paterson described his first days in the rector’s chair as “awesome” and looked forward to the 2017 school year.

His first task was to address the school at its first assembly of the year last Wednesday.

He said as an old boy of the school, it was a moving experience.

“It was big. Standing up at the front of the Hall of Memories was daunting, but I felt proud as well, I suppose. I had actually prepared pretty well because one of the interview scenarios during my appointment was to actually to prepare my first assembly speech, so I had some pretty good notes to go with. It was actually quite inspiring when I was standing up in front of the school. I was very humbled.”

Mr Paterson spoke about his vision for the school, which was based on the philosophy of “being your best”, and also about academic, sporting and cultural goals he wanted to achieve.

He said he was also “very big” on character development.

“I outlined to them what our goals should be around that . . . and how we’re going to do it.”

He had been reassured by what he had seen at the school so far and believed its pupils would embrace his vision.

“I’ve been really encouraged from what I’ve seen .. the boys have been just great. I can empathise what it’s like to be a teenage boy in Oamaru, and I don’t think too much has changed, to be honest.

“I can see that my expectations and theirs aren’t quite parallel at the moment, but already there’s been some buy-in to the new standards we’re setting at the school. I think the boys are going to buy into that and we’re going to achieve some amazing things together, so it’s very exciting. The boys have really blown me away really.”

A big focus for Mr Paterson was school culture and pride.

He has made his expectations about presentation and behaviour, both at school and in the community, very clear.

“It’s about them plainly understanding what standards I want them to aspire to and really developing a culture foundation we can build on.”

Mr Paterson believed there were some similarities between Waitaki Boys’ and King’s High School.

However, the biggest difference was in the pupils themselves.

“It’s very similar .. but there’s far more rural intake here at Waitaki Boys’. You can certainly see that in the nature of the boys’ behaviour. I think they’re very humble and down-to-earth.”

Issues at the school have been well-documented in the past and as a result, the school’s reputation took a hit.

Mr Paterson was not interested in dwelling on the past and was determined to move on and make Waitaki Boys’ great again.

“I don’t want to reflect on the past .. I know the school’s had some problems in the past, but we’re not here to look back. We’re only here to look forward.

“We’re not a great school yet, but we’re going to get there.”

School talk . . . Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Darryl Paterson chats with head boy Lance Schaffer. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD