Laudato Si (the title taken from a St Francis of Assisi prayer) is an encyclical letter written by Pope Francis with the subtitle ‘On Care for our Common Home’. Our staff at school have been spending time in professional learning sessions discussing the Catholic Social Teachings and how these can be considered an excellent set of guidelines on how to live a good Christian life, and therefore should also be integrated into all of our classroom teaching and learning. One of the teachings we looked at is Stewardship - care for God’s creation - and Jenny Mitchell, Head Girl, presented her winning Bishops’ Shield speech on ‘Laudato Si’ to the staff last week. As we are surrounded by spring growth, new life on farms, and the promise of summer, it is timely to consider our own role in the care for God’s creation. Paul Ferris (CEO of the Catholic Education Office) recently wrote to integrated schools reminding them that ‘the moral imperative for 2016 and beyond requires us to lead our young people in the care of the planet to ensure its survival and more importantly to show we respect the gifts we have in it’. Something to think about while in the garden this Spring! I encourage you to look at the very readable ‘Laudato Si’; there is plenty of information about it online and you may wish to read Jenny’s speech for yourself in the upcoming edition of the ‘Tui Motu’ publication.
We welcomed Russell Newton into our college on Tuesday to speak at our annual Sports and Cultural Blues Ceremony. Russell spoke about his sporting story as a competitor in a number of sports which included winning the NZ Middleweight Boxing Title and winning the silver medal at the Oceania Games while representing NZ in boxing. Russell has gone on to serve the sporting community of Eastern Southland and beyond for 37 years, including attending the 2014 Commonwealth Games as Assistant Coach to the New Zealand Boxing Team. Russell spoke to the students about determination, dedication and hard work – behaviours that are applicable far beyond sport. Congratulations to our hard-working, determined and dedicated senior students who were awarded a Blue for their respective achievements of excellence.
Our Year 10 -13 girls were treated to pancakes for breakfast as they spent some time with Detective Constable Leigh Waddell on Wednesday morning. Leigh talked with the girls about career changes, following your passion and being prepared to give new opportunities your absolute commitment. Our ‘Breakfast Speaker’ initiative is proving to be very worthwhile and we intend to continue with two a year for our boys and girls. Thank you to the PTFA who have committed to funding these breakfasts.
It is that time of the year when the Board of Trustees and the senior leadership team is looking hard at the Strategic Plan and annual planning for 2017. We are very interested in hearing from our parent community and members of our wider community about the current direction of the college and their thoughts on the Strategic Plan. Two main drivers for our staff and students at present are a move towards more student-centred, self-managed learning and blended learning using IT devices. I would welcome any comments about these and other elements of the Strategic Plan which can be found on our website. Year 7 and 8 parents will be emailed separately requesting specific feedback on the BYOD programme that began in 2015 and continues into Year 9 next year so we can be sure systems and processes are also working well for you as parents.
Please feel welcome to attend our Leavers Mass on Thursday morning, 10.45am. We have really enjoyed our year working with this great group of young men and women and the celebration of Mass together is a wonderful way to wish them well for the next stage of their life and learning journey.
Back row: Mackenzie Nicholson, Finn Callaghan, Brodie McIntosh, Kate Cummings, Ella Brown, Dan Waqa, Phillippe Cirikiwai, Ryan Nicholson and Caleb Henry.
Front row: Isaac Borgman, Libby Young, Esperanza Stuart, Russell Newton (Guest Speaker) Erica den Hertog, Jenny Mitchell, Michelle Hendriks, Millie MacGibbon, Chelsea McPhail and Epeli Sigatagitagi.