With a bumpy start to the year, the Kaipara College PSSP (Peer Sexuality Support Programme) team felt it was important to spread a little love during this tough time. The PSSP team focuses largely on spreading knowledge about healthy relationships, whether it be relationships between friends, partners or with oneself. The team also focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community and education around sexuality and sexual health. All of which is crucial to high school aged students. The 2023 PSSP team consists of students Scarlet Payn, Kingston Dean, Ella Fournier, Kate Larsen, Chanté Penetana, Madi Kensington, Jesse Webster, and Echo Kruger.
These wonderful people spent countless hours planning, organising and putting together this year’s celebration of love for the school.
On Tuesday the 28th of February, the PSSP team put together our first ever “Love Day”. With Cyclone Gabrielle forcing many Aucklanders to be isolated from their friends, partners, and families on Valentine’s Day, the PSSP team did not want this international day of love to simply be ignored. So instead, they decided to host a “Love Day.” This involved students being able to write letters to their future selves with the idea of talking about goals, dreams and personal progress; These will be returned to them at the end of term. The main attraction of the day, however, was the chocolate hearts. On Monday the 27th, students lined the school quad, patiently waiting to place a secret order so their loved ones could be surprised the next day.
On Tuesday, during our “whanau class” time, the PSSP team made their way into every class, sporting red balloons and little woven baskets full of chocolates. Many students, and a few teachers, received chocolate hearts from their partners, friends or even themselves - because a little self love is important too!! Small, personalised notes were given out with these chocolates as well. I can personally say that it is so special to watch the faces of my friends and classmates light up after receiving such a simple gift.
One member of the PSSP team, Scarlet Payn, said that the legacy of Valentine’s Day at Kaipara College was a key factor in keeping this tradition alive despite the interruptions at the time. She has personally been observing the significance of celebrating love at Kaipara College since about 6 years ago, when her older brother was also a member of our PSSP team. When I asked her what the purpose of this year’s “Love Day” was, she said that “through staying home from school because of Cyclone Gabrielle, it kind of morphed into wanting to celebrate the love we have in the community.” With the chocolates being sold for two dollars each, the PSSP team wound up raising just shy of $150, which will now be put towards their future projects and making positive change around the school.