CUSHEN John Arthur James
1984 – 2000 (Term 3)
Assistant Principal (administration) 1994
Old Boy of the School 1963 – 1967
From the 2000 School Magazine
When Mr Cushen resigned his position as Associate Principal at King’s High School at the end of Term 3 he ended an association which had begun in 1963.
As a third former he was in the same class as Stuart Melville, present Board Chairman and Bill Somerville assistant coach of this year’s lstXV
The young John Cushen was a diligent student who passed his School Certificate and University Entrance examinations. By his own admission he found it necessary to work for school success and he did so.
At an early age cricket had become a consuming interest and it remains so to this day. As a 5th former he was selected in the 1st XI and performed with credit in interschools. As a sixth and seventh former John Cushen’s bowling helped to keep King’s in the forefront of interschool cricket.
In his final year at King’s John Cushen was a member of the 1st Rugby XV, in charge of A Company in the Army Cadet system and a School Prefect.
From King’s he went to Dunedin Teachers’ Training College and began a degree in Geography at Otago University. This was partly because of the inspirational teaching of King’s teacher John Hugget who had created a love of the subject in many of his students. After graduating from Teachers College and Otago University Mr Cushen taught at Mosgiel Intermediate for three years before accepting a position at Waiheke Area School.
In September 1984 Mr Cushen accepted a teaching position at his old school, King’s. In 1988 he was appointed to a position of responsibility in Geography, became head of Social Sciences in 1993, Assistant Principal in 1994 and Associate Principal in 1997.
John Cushen’s contribution to King’s High School has been exceptional. Those fortunate to have been taught by him during his sixteen years here will be aware of his overall talent, his ability to inspire senior students in Geography and to interest younger students in Social Studies. His classes were never dull but rather a constant entertainment, exhortation to work for improvement, attention to detail and always a search for variety. This was expressed in visiting speakers and all manner of field trips. The “Geo Skiing” ofF6 to Mount Cook and F7 to Queenstown were not-to-be missed experiences. His classroom was never just a place for academic improvement but also a place where life’s experiences were discussed. Doubtless all of his students departed richer for their understanding of themselves and the wider world.
Excellent classroom practice, detailed department planning, school administration and a long period as Stuart House Dean highlighted Mr Cushen’s suitability for school management. As an Associate Principal he shared the day to day running of the school room from 1994 until his recent departure. This was an onerous task requiring Yery long hours and involving the allocation of replacement staff and classrooms, organising school events and deputising for the Rector. Associated with these tasks was the responsibility for two hundred students – their learning and their behaviour – meetings with them and their parents. These activities made only one side of John Cushen. A large part of the service he gave to King’s and the enjoyment he experienced himself, occurred outside the classroom. He was able to continue his own first class cricket career for Otago for several years, was instrumental in reviving the fortunes of the Carisbrook Dunedin Club by returning them to senior status and to championship winning successes.·
Within King’s these cricket successes were repeated as he established a long sequence of 2nd grade championships for the First XI and extensive development of junior cricketers. Expert teaching, serious hard work, observance of standards and determination to succeed were engendered into King’s cricketers.
John Cushen is a strong charismatic person who enjoys the company of others. Possessing joie de vivre he has a positive effect on students and colleagues and life is never dull for those around him.
Those he has had responsibility for, will recognise him as a hard task master with high expectations and high standards. He rook delight in seeing his students obtain success in class work, in their examinations and on the sports field. Many students +er the years have appreciated his support on the boundary or on the sidelines, John Cushen brought a huge work ethic to King’s but also a powerful social outlook. After the hard work was over life was to be enjoyed, the view was to be admired and the flowers appreciated.
In recognising John Cushen’s contribution to King’s a few written words do not suffice. His contribution and passion for King’s will live on in the successes and maturity of those he taught and those he taught with.
The entire King’s community is very grateful to John Cushen. They thank him for his dedication to and passion for our school.