Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hagen International Primary School

I miss the idea of school "houses", as captured in Harry Potter (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin) and Kid Nation (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green).

I attended Hagen International Primary School (HIPS) in Papua New Guinea, from 1980 - 1985. So from Prep to Year 5. All contract workers sent their kids to the International School. After Year 6, kids would then go to nearby Bamboo Heights, which was the international high school. So I went to school with kids who were from different parts of the world: United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Africa, India, United States, Canada, China, Burma, etc. and of course there were also native Papua New Guinean kids. Basically our parents were hired by the Papua New Guinean government as teachers, bankers, engineers, construction workers, etc. to help build up the main towns like Port Moresby (which is the capital), Mt. Hagen, Goroka, Lae, etc.

So in HIPS, we had three "houses" named after native birds of Papua New Guinea: the Eagle (Blue), the Hornbill (Red), and the Cassowary (Green). I was a Cassowary. My friends were scattered Eagles, Hornbills, and Cassowaries. So Houses didn't "pick" friends. But when we had to divide into our Houses for inter-school and intra-school events, friendships are on pause *hehehe*. How we were assigned to the colors were actually quite random, when you enrolled as a new student, you were just placed in the color that was next in line after the last enrollee. I don't recall being given a choice, otherwise I would have asked to be an "Eagle". That's because during my time there, the Eagles were the most balanced in scholastics & athletics :)

Every week during Assembly, the House Captains would go around each classroom together and tally up the points. Then in Assembly, the Head Master would update the bar graph and we would see which House was ahead. Points were earned in different ways. You did something commendable in the classroom, the teacher would award points. You had the cleanest section during School Clean-Up Day, then your House would get points. You win points for your House during Sports competitions. Etc. Bad behavior could also earn negative points.

So there was plenty of motivation to excel in school activities. And plenty of motivation NOT to screw up. Houses can encourage, but also open up opportunities for bullying. I unfortunately went through a phase of being a hotheaded bully who could bring scrawnier scaredy-cat kids to tears. How sad. Thank goodness it was short-lived :)

19 comments:

Erik said...

hmm... I don't think you've lost your bully phase yet.. ;)

emma said...

hehehehe, well at least I don't beat up people anymore.. wait.. who gave you that scar just above your eye ~15 years ago?

sircharlycharl said...

hi my name is charlie. i went to hips from 1980-1984. i do recall a classmate named emma but we went to bamboo heights high school after graduating from hips. she always had a boyish haircut. i guess back in the 80s in hagen that was the trend? yes, i was a cassowary. i wore green. my brother carlo was a year younger than me, maybe hes your classmate. do you remember our headmistress ms crawford? do you remember the very strict mrs oconnor? she actually became friendlier when her primary students all graduated and went to high school. i do miss png/hagen. and its a shame that the town i onced called home is falling apart. lukim yu, wantok.

emma said...

Charlie! Yes I remember you and your bro, Carlo :) The Emma you remember isn't me though, plus my family left PNG when I was Year 5 at HIPS (so I never got to go Bamboo Heights). I never went by my formal name, everyone called me by my nickname Malen :) I definitely remember all those teachers, too! Yeah, I agree, it's a shame that Mt. Hagen went downhill since our childhood days there...

Bridgitte said...

hey was just doing a search and came across your blog. Interesting stuff. I was HIPS during the same time span as yourself. I was in Mrs O'Conner's class and got a rap across the hand with a ruler for talking (even though it was the guy next to me!) and then I was in Mrs Grant's class in Grade 3. I was a hornbill and also Bridgitte Davidson back then and was 9 in 1984. Other people I remember from that time....Dale Schilling, Michael Lockwood, Karen & Gillian Lloyd. Any chance we were in the same class?

Bridgitte said...

hi Emma...I was also at HIPS during the early 80's. Obviously not married at the time so was Bridgitte Davidson my sister was Tanya. Was in Mrs O'Conner's class and then Mrs Grant in Grade 3. Other people in my class from then...Dale Schilling, Michael Lockwood, Gillian Lloyd.....I have a class photo! I was a hornbill.

emma said...

Hi Bridgitte, yes I remember your sister Tanya! I went by my nickname Malen, so maybe it might ring a bell with her :) I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Grant as a teacher as well -- she was very cool! I only had Mrs. O'Connor for a subject (never had her as a homeroom teacher)... and yes she did like that ruler... I think I might have been on the receiving end once, too *hehe* Also remember the Schillings, Dale was a sweet boy, preferred to hang with the quieter gals than with the obnoxious boys. Dale's dad was awesome, he gave me my first ever tennis lesson, and I remember he carried me on his shoulders a few times :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, wow never thought I'd find you guys here. Hello charlie, eric, brigette and Malen. It was a good thing you made this rave. I accidentally came across it. There is only one Malen I know and she used to live with us; you are that malen I hope. My sisters are Jhoane and Michele, we all went to HIPS. Hey Charlie how's Carlo? Brigette and Tanya I think we were classmates. Man it's great to come across childhood friends. Erik are you Eric Glasgow? Umm Malen remember Dean Stawbridge...hehee weren't you guys always talking behind the art room...just kidding! My regards to everyone from HIPS...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the last name of 'Fraser'? I went to HIPS in the late 80's... Jason Fraser was a friend of mine. My name is Brian Glassco.

emma said...

Nope, the name Fraser doesn't ring a bell.. but Eric Glassco was my classmate... were you his little brother? If so, tell Eric that Malen says hi! (hopefully he remembers me)

Anonymous said...

Hi Malen. Do you remember Michael, Jhoane and Michele? I remember you stayed with them back in Hagen

emma said...

yup, I remember the Bernals, I stayed with them while my mom had to be stationed in Bena-Bena for a bit

Michael Angelo said...

Hey Malen, it's me Michael. Good thing you started this rave, I accidentally came across it while looking for some old friends. Looks like all of us had fond memories of Hagen.
I remember you beating me at an arm wrestling match back in grade 3... you owe me a rematch! Our regards to your family.

emma said...

You still remember the arm wresting match, eh? Ok, will have a rematch next time I visit the Philippines :) Regards to your family as well!

Anonymous said...

hi Brian, I was in the same class as you at HIPS. My name is Annina Perdacher. I definitly remember Jason Fraser and his brother Nathan. what have you been up to?

Melanie said...

Hi my name is Melanie Clarke(Schwass). I attended HIPS from 1981-1987. My most memeorable moment was when we had international day. We all got dressed in our traditional dress from the country we had come from. I am sure we had nearly every country in the world. Once we had finished parading around the oval performed a song or dance we would all then go to the assembly hall and enjoy eating food from around the world. Another memorable moment was when we had the biggest earthquake that crushed water tanks and cracked paths around the school. That was the day i thought the world was coming to the end. There are alot more moments that are worth a mention but i would love to hear other stories. I thinks HIPS was the best Primary school in the world. I look forward to accessing this page on a regular basis. All the best to you all for 2009

Anonymous said...

hey Emma, just to say there is a HIPS group on Facebook for anyone who stops by here and is interested in connecting with old friends. There's a few class photos from the early 80's too which is kind of funny. Sports days and International day photos too.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Stuart Hunter, and I attended hips in the 80's with my brother Gavin. International day was the best and funny as well. I remember Rosie Freeman, Melaine Pitt, Melaine Buzzer, and a few teachers from that time.

Is there a facebook page up and does anyone have any contact details for Melaine Buzzer, Melaine Pitt or Rosie Freeman.

Well take care and look forward to hearing from you. Email hunter.stuart@gmail.com

Cheers
Stuart

Michael Angelo said...

Hey guys check out the groups Mt. Hagen International and I used to live in Papua New Guinea (PNG) at www.facebook.com. You'll enjoy looking at familiar faces, it's like a blast from the past. Hehe