Simon spent the first 18 years of his life living on Gloria Ave. Simon was in our top junior class. He is remembered by staff who taught him as “hard working and very competitive. He enjoyed himself in Science and was always ready to play practical jokes on his friends. Never liked coming second!”
In his sixth form year he joined the advanced debating team lead by Mr Bates and he was the lead speaker. He was part of a wonderful team who won the West Auckland Competition in that year.
A former student at the same time, and now Head of Health and Physical Education at Rutherford, Jenny Wilson remembers “Simon being an excellent speaker and motivator. She also recalls him being very calm and approachable and he seemed to be a part of everything going on in the school.”
In his final year at Rutherford, Simon Bridges was recognised with the office of Head Boy. He remained lead speaker of the advanced debating group, he was part of the school production of Oliver, and competed in rock quest. He was also a member of the boys singing group and achieved academic awards in Economics, English and History.
A quote from Simon’s article from the 1994 Yearbook in his role as Head Boy. “Being Head Boy at Rutherford has been a challenging experience, but never-the-less one where the pros have far outweighed the cons.”
We can only trust that Simon feels the same way about his time as the leader of the National party.
He went on to say that “Rutherford is a first class school. Whether your interests lie in cultural, sporting and/or academic areas, there are teachers who are experts in nearly every area and who are supportive and encouraging of your endeavours.”
Simon was invited back to Rutherford in 2002 to be the guest speaker at the 40th anniversary of the annual Rutherford Memorial Day Celebration. He reminded students, staff and fellow friends of Rutherford of three guidelines that he tries to live by;
– firstly, to set goals and work toward them;
– second to try and improve yourself whenever you can;
– third to live life to the full and love it with all that you’ve got.
As a school and wider Te Atatu Community we congratulate Simon on becoming the leader of the National Party. We wish him well and trust that he can find a way to take good care of himself as he undertakes this challenging role. I look forward to seeing his stance on Education, particularly future teacher shortages, the environment and housing among others.