Thank you from all of us

Date: 26 Nov 2023

School Counsellor Sandra Griffin, best known to staff and students alike as simply ‘Sas’, is retiring after 25 years. She has significantly added value to our community through her dedicated support and she has greatly enriched the overall wellbeing of students, their whānau and staff.

Sas joined Dilworth from a counselling role at Youthline and was the first Counsellor to join the Dilworth staff, a trailblazer back then. She says she has always loved her role.

“The work has been such a privilege working with not only students but also their whānau”.

Sas takes a pragmatic outlook, viewing challenges and difficult phases as part of life – inevitable for all of us. As part of this approach, she believes counselling shouldn’t be seen as something separate but woven into school life. She describes the role of school counsellor as “Walking alongside students, reconnecting them to their own courage and perseverance, empowering them”.

Over her years at Dilworth, Sas has seen students and staff navigate all sorts of adversities - coming back from an injury or surgery, living with anxiety and depression, struggling with homesickness and facing grief. Recalling a novel approach to help some students who were facing grief through the death of a loved one “We started a chocolate group at the Junior Campus where we could work through grief together in a safe and supportive environment”. She also recalled numerous occasions where she worked with families and was part of a holistic approach at times to supporting students.

But ultimately says Sas, “The work of a counsellor should be invisible as it is not for anyone else but for each individual student”. And the biggest takeaway for her after many years in her role.

“ Counselling gives students a chance to be fully seen and heard”.

Sas is looking forward to her new chapter. She’s moving to Ōtautahi, Christchurch to be with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchild.

And the final word from her Manager Claudine Nathan, Director of Student Services

“We thank Sas for her unwavering dedication, compassionate guidance, and tireless commitment to our school community; her exceptional efforts have made a profound and positive impact on the lives of students, their whānau and staff. As we say goodbye to Sas, we do so with a mixture of gratitude and sadness. Gratitude for her 25 years of dedicated service to our school, and sadness because we will miss her counsel, wisdom, laughter, and support”.