I have had the privilege of visiting a number of rural Catholic Primary schools in our Diocese during the last week. Jon McDowall (Director of Boarding) and I have been meeting families who are interested in enrolling their children at St Peter’s College next year and in the future. Our visits, which have taken us from St Joseph’s Primary School in Balclutha through to Holy Family School in Wanaka, have reinforced for me the unique position we have in belonging to a committed and supportive Catholic community. In each case we have been warmly welcomed with wonderful hospitality and the knowledge that we are part of a whole. Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, would be pleased to know that hospitality and ‘a good cup of tea’ is still alive and well in the Catholic education system in New Zealand!
Our Catholic schools throughout New Zealand have an excellent reputation and one that has been recognised by the media during the last few years. I was reminded during the week that recently of the top ten schools in the Auckland area showing value-added, overall educational success, eight of these were Catholic. Catholic schools value their academic results and set high expectations of their students in all areas of their school life. These expectations are underpinned by the goals of the Catholic Education Office for equity, quality and excellence in educational outcomes for each individual. We thank our parent community for the support we receive as we strive for this goal.
Our wider Catholic school community comes together again this Wednesday as our Year 7 – 10 students attend the Junior Catholic Sports’ Tournament in Dunedin, where they will compete against students from Verdon, Kavanagh and St Kevin’s Colleges. Many of these students will come across one another again during the Bishop’s Shield (Public Speaking) competition which St Peter’s is hosting this year from the 8th -10th August. These events are wonderful opportunities for our students to make connections and form friendships with our wider Catholic family throughout Otago and Southland.
Commitment to Community at St Peter’s will be well practised and demonstrated at our upcoming Eisteddfod in Week 8. Parents and community members are most welcome to attend the eliminations which are always marvellous entertainment.
I would like to remind you of another opportunity to show commitment to our community. For the next three Sundays, there will be Mass in the College Chapel at 5.15pm. This is a great chance to celebrate together as a community and reflect on the week that has been and the week that is to come. I encourage all of our students and families to attend these Masses.
Nga mihi nui