Sister Leona Garchow (1978-9)
Sister Leona Garchow made a welcome return visit to St Peter's College recently with a group of seminarians from the Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland, where she is the Director of Pastoral Formation. She took the opportunity to reminisce on her time at SPC.
Sister Leona had been excited to come and teach at St Peter’s from 1978-9 as it was a co-educational school and considered very forward thinking at the time. She was particularly impressed with the large number of extra-curricular activities that the pupils were involved in. The other highlight for her was that she was to be teaching some PE, taking charge of the Senior A and B and Junior A netball teams. She loved netball, sports days and swimming sports and regrets that she didn’t have the opportunity to be more involved with them.
She recalled a South Island Netball Tournament in Dunedin, where the boys went along to cheer the girls’ teams on – something that she felt indicated how socially well adapted the pupils were. The co-educational setting produced well adjusted youngsters who were supportive of each other and good friends.
After leaving St Peter’s, Sister Leona moved on to teach at Waikiwi in Invercargill, then to W. Samoa and Wellington and spent 20 years as Chaplain at Otago Polytechnic. From 1995 to 1997 she studied for a Masters in Pastoral Counselling in the USA and she took up her present position in pastoral care and spiritual direction in Auckland in 2008.
Returning south in 2014, she noticed changes in the layout of St Peter’s, but discovered that the founding spirit was still evident in school through the students. It was heartening to feel that ex-staff were welcomed and included when they returned. The Rosminians and Mercies who taught here continue to maintain the connections established in those early days and it was good to know that there was a tangible appreciation of the school’s history.
Sister Leona at SPC - Feb 2014