The Committee

Meet the team running the 50th Jubilee!

In mid 2020, the call went out to find ex Hillcrest High students or staff who would be willing to help plan and deliver one the most important events in the history of Hillcrest High School.

Below are the leaders of the Hillcrest High School Alumni and Community Society, who are all working together to deliver the 50th Jubilee Weekend in 2022.

Brian Winter

Brian was a student at Hillcrest High School from 2005-2009. A member of the Senior Council during his time, he was the Senior Council Chairperson in 2009. Brian studied History and Political Science at Massey University which included six months of study in New Orleans. He completed his Honours Degree in 2014 which included a research report on the founding of Massey University.


Leaving Massey to settle back in Hamilton, he completed his Diploma in Secondary Teaching at Waikato University in 2015. Brian has been employed as a History and Social Sciences teacher at Hamilton Girls' High for six years. Despite this, he still has a close connection to Hillcrest and the relationships he formed there. 

He has relished the opportunity to be involved once again with the school and contribute to the organisation of the School Reunion. Brian is currently working on the 50 year history of Hillcrest High School. 

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Trish Bowell
Deputy Chairperson

Trish was a student at Hillcrest High School from 2001 - 2005, and her favourite subjects were English and Drama. She went on to complete a Communications Degree from the University of Waikato where she majored in Marketing and Public Relations.

In 2010 she moved to Auckland and worked as a marketer for six years before switching to Event Management in 2016. As an Event Manager she worked on large scale business conferences, festivals, gala dinners and graduations.

She became involved in the reunion committee when she temporarily relocated to Hamilton in 2020. Her main tasks include the overall event management and she shares the marketing responsibility with Brian Winter. 

Trish moved to Christchurch in 2021 and assists with the reunion remotely!

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Sue Radford
Secretary/Interim Treasurer

Sue Radford started teaching at Hillcrest High School in 1976 as a Music and English teacher. Over a period of time she became Head of the Music Department and when Jill Tucker resigned from her position as Senior Mistress , Sue assumed the role now more aptly named Assistant Principal where she remained until her retirement from this role in at the end of 2020.


She has a deep connection to the school and has served under all of  subsequent Principals,  Des Morrison, Jon Leitch, Kevin Hessell and finally Kelvin Whiting.

For over 35 years Sue has directed the Scat Choir and over this period has toured to many countries of the world with them , connecting with families and learning the ‘art of travel’ so that they will have the confidence to continue to perform and see the world after they leave school.

Sue is very involved with the Inclusive Education Facility and continues to work as a Music Therapist in the ILC, the PAC and at the Kauri Centre. 

Kelvin Whiting
Principal/Principal’s Nominee

Kelvin was appointed Principal of Hillcrest High School in 2003, and last year completed 40 years in the teaching service.

Gaining a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours from the University of Waikato, Kelvin attended Christchurch Teachers College, before beginning his teaching career at Hillcrest High School in 1981 teaching Geography, History and Social Studies. He then spent time at Matamata College as HOD History and Social Studies, followed by Howick College as HOF Social Sciences and then Assistant Principal, and Pakuranga College as Deputy Principal prior to returning to Hillcrest High School.

Kelvin has been a member of the Secondary School Principals Association (SPANZ) Executive on two occasions and has recently resigned after 15 years as a Board Member of School Sport NZ, as well as Chair of the Waikato Secondary Schools Sports Association. He is also a member of the Management Advisory Group for beginning Principals and a member of the University of Waikato Management School Advisory Board. This year Kelvin was appointed to a role as a Leadership Partner with the Education Review Office.


One of the highlights of Kelvin’s career to date has been the awarding of a Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 2009 acknowledging his leadership. Kelvin spent 11 weeks touring the UK, Europe and the USA visiting schools and attending Harvard University’s Principals’ Leadership Programme. Kelvin is married to Karen and they have three adult children, all of whom were educated at Hillcrest High School.

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Sue Bethell née Grant
Committee Member and Foundation Pupil

I was a Foundation pupil at Hillcrest High School staring in 1972, after a year at the new Berkley Intermediate; so I and my friends were now used to everything being new. The downside was there were  some pretty major infrastructure items missing like a pool and gym but that was just par for the course and we didn't seem to miss them.

It was a rather surreal time as there were only 230 pupils and we all knew each other to some degree and were all from the wider Hillcrest/Silverdale area.

Our relationship with the staff was probably closer than normal for a high school environment due to the small number of both pupils and staff. This had both advantages and disadvantages depending on ones behavior and more than likely lead to that group of students becoming pretty precocious as the years went by as there was no older students around to put us in our place.

I was on the original Student Council and remember as one of the highlights of my time on that council was getting approval from the then Board of Governors ( this was before BOTs) for girls to wear a jersey rather than the button up cardigan that had been chosen for our uniform. I'm very pleased to see that the dreadful brown/cream combination girls uniform that we were given was soon replaced by something more easy on the eye!

I didn't stay for my 7th form year as I had decided to leave home and go nursing in Christchurch, but over the years have maintained some close family links attending the school from younger brother Martin Grant, to nieces ( Sarah and Alicia Grant) and nephew Elliot Grant. 

Now it is great to be able to be involved with the school again for the Reunion organisation and the Alumni establishment as it was a very special place in my life growing up in Hillcrest, and is now an outstanding school that I'm proud to be associated with from it's early days.

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Noeline Ashby née Silvester
Committee Member and Foundation Pupil

Noeline grew up on a farm in Tauwhare and, after two years at Peachgrove Intermediate, started Hillcrest High School as a foundation pupil in 1972. She has vivid memories of biking to the corner, leaving her bike against the bank on the side of the road (unlocked!), and travelling on the bus to and from school.  She remembers fondly her five years at Hillcrest – special teachers, involvement in lots of different sports, and being Chairperson of the Student Council in her Form 7 year. 

Following school, Noeline trained as a secondary school teacher. She has been a staff member of seven different New Zealand high school, plus two schools overseas.  Overseas, she has lived in Hawaii (where her 29-year-old twins were born), Guam, Dubai and London. In 2018, after twenty years living in Auckland, she moved back to the Waikato, now living in Tamahere, and teaching at HBHS!  

Noeline has maintained her contact with Hillcrest High School through her cousins, nephews and nieces and through her friendship with Kelvin Whiting and his family - Kelvin and Noeline did their teacher training at the University of Waikato and in Christchurch at the same time. For Noeline, it is a pleasure to be back involved with Hillcrest High School. It is a special school.

Ruth Rhodes
Committee Member
Peter Thomas
Committee Member

After completing his Auckland University BA in History & Political Studies, Peter spent two years on his OE in England, first as a waiter at a gentlemen’s club, then shift work as a trimmer at Courtauld’s textile mill, in Norwich. During this time he attended a further education course at Norwich City College; on his return to New Zealand this led to training as a secondary school teacher at Auckland Teachers’ College.


Peter started teaching History & Social Studies at Hillcrest High in 1974. As well as classroom teaching, he took part in extra-curricular activities such as leading fourth form camps to the Kauaeranga Valley. He coached junior rugby and cricket, taking a young women’s cricket team (which included the late Dr Catherine Silverstone) to Australia.


Later, as part of a year’s teaching fellowship, he designed and taught a Sixth Form Legal & Political studies course, subsequently taking a field trip to Wellington, where the class was complimented on their questions by the  head of the Consumer Institute.


Eventually Peter became Head of History & Classical Studies and enjoyed being a seventh form dean for a number of years. During a trip to Italy and France (with the support of the John Leitch Trust) he designed and recorded  a video for use in his classical studies teaching, entitled “Augustus: A Legacy in Ruins”. It was sought after by, and sold to, several other schools.


By now having some experience in leading school trips in Aotearoa, in 2003 Peter and HHS librarian Connie Sproule led a Sixth Form History class trip to Vietnam, to study the impact of the Vietnam War. This trip may be remembered by them (and some participants) for reasons best consigned to history! Undeterred, he and fellow teacher Jenny Brown led a Classical Studies trip to England, Italy and Greece, followed by another Classical Studies trip to Greece and Italy with teachers Katrina Stevenson and Sue Radford.


In 2013, after 40 years’ teaching at HHS (attended by his three children) Peter retired. He enjoys continuing links with former colleagues and students and is looking forward to celebrating the 50th Jubilee with them!