Friday, 9 November 2018

Joy Drayton

This story by Peg Cummins was taken from an interview with Joy Drayton conducted about ten years ago. Joy was Prinicpal of Tauranga Girls’ College from 1959 until about 1981. She was the recipient of many honours the last being when she was made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. Joy added Te Reo to the College curriculum, the first state school in New Zealand to do so. At various times she was on the executives of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the National Council of Women, Chairperson of the BOP Women’s Refuge and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato. Joy Drayton died in Tauranga in 2012 aged 96.

Joy Drayton, 1986
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-1236
Joy Drayton came to Tauranga to be the second principal of Tauranga Girls’ College. Mrs Wakelin (later Mrs Allo), the first principal resigned after a year and Mrs Drayton was appointed in her place.  In those days the Boys’ and Girls’ College shared a Board of Governors with Otumoetai College but when Otumoetai College opted for a separate Board the other two colleges did the same. At first pupils came from Mount Maunganui as well, until a college was built there. The Girls’ College began in 1957 (on the site of Mowatts’ farm) with about 600 pupils but this number grew rapidly until numbers settled at about 8-900. When Mrs Drayton left the college in 1982 the roll stood at 1162. Now (in 2008) they are around 1600. When the Girls’ College was built it was on the periphery of the town but that did not last for very long. At first Mrs Drayton did not have a car so she would catch the school bus in the mornings but because the school buses left at about 3.30 in the afternoon she had to walk back to town to catch a bus later on. Cameron Road was still in its formative stages in those days and negotiating it was often like walking down a rocky stream bed. There was no trouble in attracting suitable staff to the Girl’s College. Staff was appointed on the basis of “building a good team.” One teacher who stands out in Mrs Drayton’s memory is Mrs Claudia Jarman, the art teacher. She was not an artist herself but was a brilliant art teacher, who believed that everyone had artistic ability and encouraged her pupils to exercise their talents by instilling that feeling in every child. Maths and physics teachers were always difficult to find and for some time girls requiring physics had to go to the Boys’ College for that subject.  The Boys’ College was the first secondary school in the country to have a guidance counsellor and the Girls’ College was the second. There was always a friendly relationship between the Girls’ and Boys’ Colleges.

In the early days Mrs Drayton remembers girls as being provided with an education to make them good wives and mothers. Later, women accessed education because they deserved to be educated, just as men did. The third formers in the early days seemed more like children whereas those from a later generation were more like young people, older in their years. The curriculum was carefully divided into “academic” for the brighter pupils, “commercial” for the less academic and “homecraft” for the rest. These decisions were based on the records that come from the primary schools. Mrs Drayton preferred the girls to have greater choice in what they were able to do and in the early seventies, introduced an “options” scheme. As an example, girls from the academic stream were able to opt for some homecraft if they wished. Some of the more unusual options for the 6th Form girls were golf and horse riding.  And at one time the girls wanted to paint a frieze on the top of the library building. Having given permission the staff then had to take out insurance for those who took part. "Options" was an innovative scheme but, in pre-computer days it was a logistical nightmare which tested the timetabling team to the utmost. Of course, there were basic curriculum requirements to be covered and girls’ wishes were not always able to be catered for but in the main the scheme worked very well. In the early sixties some of the girls did a survey which took in a mile’s circumference of the college to find out what the parents thought about thing and how many children there were at home. They were appalled to find that in a number of cases children as young as two years were being left at home alone. This prompted the college to set up first a play-group and later a fully fledged childcare centre to cater to the needs of the area. This provided the girls with the opportunity to observe the children through one-way glass and also to be involved in their care. There was no problem attracting children to the facility.

Dr Drayton’s efforts in the local community were not confined to the college. At various times she took her place on City and Regional Councils and as Deputy Mayor. She was also a Trustee and is now a director of the Elms Trust. Her doctorate from Waikato University was awarded for her work on behalf of the university and for her services to the community. For a time she was Vice Chancellor of Waikato University. One of her proudest achievements is the city library. In the early days the collection was housed in the old town hall and during heavy rain the building leaked, which was disastrous for the books. Getting proper library built was one of the reasons she sought election to the Council and she had to work hard for it because not all councillors thought a library was important. Traditional sporting fixtures were followed but under her leadership the college branched out on some of their own.  Academic standards of the school were very important and Mrs Drayton was also involved in singing and in dramatic productions. Attending the Girls’ High School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations were a highlight and Mrs Drayton is also invited to all important occasions at the school. One of the pleasures of life now is the contact she has with former staff and ex-pupils. Many of these people keep in touch and no doubt Mrs Drayton finds it gratifying to see what her pupils have done with their education.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mrs Drayton, I remember my last day at college when we had our final debrief, you shared with me, "Susan, achievement comes from giving a hundred percent of yourself." I know, i wasn't a bright student, however I went from there to gain a bachelors degree in Social Work and am currently employed as a Mental Health Professional. Again, thank you, Mrs Drayton