Kia ora whanau
It was in last week’s newsletter that I stated that we could do with a dollop of rain. Someone was listening because we certainly got the dollop and even had the heating turned on at school this week!
This has been our first full, uninterrupted week at school and the first full week of routine for our students. Our Hokonui Tertiary High School students have begun their Friday programmes at SIT or Telford, and a number of curriculum areas are coming towards the end of their first units of work; associated with this are the first assessments of the students’ learning. Please ask questions of your young people about homework. While Year 7 – 10 students have a log book, trust is put in our seniors that they have their own method for recording homework and due dates. The organisational systems they practise at school will help them once they are in the workplace. None of our students are too young to learn the responsibility of being prepared for class, being on time and meeting deadlines. Encourage these attributes at home and please remember the difference between supporting and rescuing – our young people need to build resilience in coping with expectations and the demands of school, extra-curricular activities and part time jobs, if they are to be fully prepared for life after school.
Speaking of the demands of busy lives, our Year 13 group have had a very strong start to the year. The year for them began with a leadership retreat followed by the organisation of the Opening Mass and the Ash Wednesday Liturgy. Our House Leaders have been proactive in promoting house spirit and gathering house points through the Tug-of-War lunchtime competition and preparation for Athletics Day, and the Junior Support Leaders are enjoying organising activities with our Year 7 classes. On Wednesday, I accompanied three of our leaders, Dakoda Conroy, Luke Roughan and Marion Frei to the Catholic Women’s League meeting where they articulately spoke about attending the inaugural Catholic Youth Festival in Auckland last December. As part of a tradition at St Peter’s during Lent, our Year 13s, accompanied by Mr Brendan Terry and Mrs Jacqui Thompson, slept overnight outside at school last night with just the basics of cardboard as mattresses and lentils as food. The aim of this was to experience a small glimpse of the lives of so many in the world. Well done to all of you. With the help of mentoring by Mr Terry and Mrs Perniskie, you have set the leadership bar high and set the tone for the year – Thank you.
Work Day is on Wednesday, March 7th. All students are expected to take part in this day and, as part of who we are as a school, some of the money earned is given to deserving charities. The rest will stay in the school and contribute towards the chapel refurbishment. Please get behind this day to ensure it is successful.
Wishing you all the best for a blessed family weekend.
Southland Secondary Schools’ Tennis Championships
Congratulations to Morgan Lawton, Bethany Nicholson, Pirmin Frei and Kiera Davis who recently competed at the Southland Secondary Schools’ Tennis Champs. They placed an impressive 3rd overall in the mixed section. Well done!
Congratulations to the following boys who have been selected in the Under 17 Eastern Basketball team: Pictured from left: Nicholas Heanue, Taylor Peterson, Ethan Mitchell, Harry Babe, Phillip Chisholm.
Due to the weather the Cultural Festival to be held in Mataura is cancelled.
What another great week of weather and while it is wonderful to be in the sun simply enjoying summer, let’s remember our farming families who need a good dollop of rain about now!
It was good to see some of you at the Field Days this week. We enjoyed speaking to many ex-students, young families enquiring about future enrolments, and of course our current families and students. I would particularly like to thank the boarding staff and senior students who helped out over this time. Our Year 13 students who helped were certainly a credit to our College – thank you.
Many of you will have already discovered our brand new website. It looks fantastic and a big thanks must go to George Arthur-Amohau (ex-Head of Arts) who has worked hard to make this a true reflection of our school. If you haven’t yet had a look, please take time to do so. There is more information further in this newsletter about what you will find within it.
We are very pleased to share with you another good set of NCEA achievement data from the 2017 year. Again, the provisional data shows that we are ahead of decile 8-10 schools nationally in all three levels of NCEA, as well as UE! This doesn’t happen accidentally but instead is the culmination of hard work by students, staff and parents, along with the thorough and individual academic counselling that occurs throughout the year. A couple of highlights I would like to share with you are:
74% of our Year 11 students received a Merit or Excellence endorsement compared with national data of 55%.
100% of our Maori students who completed a full NCEA year achieved their NCEA level. This needs to be highly celebrated because nationally this is still an area of concern. This achievement speaks volumes about our school culture of belonging and care for each individual.
Tuesday lunchtime at school certainly had a good sense of energy and competitive spirit as the four houses competed in a Tug-of-War Competition organized by the Year 13’s. The year 7 & 8’s, and then the year 9 & 10’s had a great battle and we await the outcome of the senior battle next week. Thank you to our new Art teacher, Mr Tafa, who took some great photos of the action. You can see them on our Facebook page and later in this newsletter.
Lent has begun. We had a very reflective Ash Wednesday Liturgy this week to begin the six weeks of Lent. Compassion is one of our gospel values, and we are encouraging students to show this at school particularly during this time of fasting, prayer and giving. At assembly on Monday, we also talked about Shrove Tuesday or, what is often known as Pancake Tuesday. I did encourage our young people to make their parents pancakes for breakfast on Tuesday – I hope it worked for some of you!!
Nga mihi nui
What a fantastic day the students had with our first House Competition. The Junior and Intermediate students put in a great 'Tug or War' fight! Our wonderful Year 13 Leaders came up with this new event and it was well received.
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The first few days of term one have been special in many ways. I was privileged to spend time in the company of our Year 13 students and staff at the Year 13 Retreat in Edendale. I am certainly confident that these young men and women are going to be very good ambassadors for our college and wonderful role models for our youngest students. These same students received their leadership badges on Wednesday at our Opening Mass, celebrated by Bishop Colin Campbell. We were very pleased to have Fr Damian, Fr Aidan Cunningham and Fr Liam (visiting from Ireland) assisting Bishop Colin on the altar. Thank you to all the parents who attended this Mass; it is always a very special one for us as we welcome our new students and their families, and our leaders are commissioned for the new school year. Thank you to Brendan Terry (DRS) and his team who coordinated this special occasion.
Waimumu Field Days
Next week, St Peter’s College and Rosmini Boarding House will have a site at the Waimumu Field Days. Please encourage any families you may know who are considering St Peter’s as a secondary school option for their children, to visit us for a chat. Because the field days are an important event on the Southland calendar, we will be closing next Thursday at 12:50pm (end of period 4). Any children who need to remain behind to wait for buses may stay in the library where they will be supervised (please inform the office if you need this to happen). Our staff work hard to prepare effective lessons for a full class of students and therefore we ask that parents take their children to the Field Days in the time we have set aside on Thursday afternoon and ensure that your children are at school for the rest of the three days.
Next week sees the Lenten season begin. We will be having a Liturgy on Wednesday morning in the school hall to commemorate Ash Wednesday, the first day of the forty days of Lent. As always parents are welcome to join us for this at 8:45am. Lent is forty-six days long but generally we don’t count the Sundays, which brings it back to forty days that represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
50th Anniversary Celebrations
We are looking forward to St Peter’s 50th next January, 2019. Organisation is well underway, but we would love to hear from anyone who would like to lend a hand – big or small - to make this a fantastic reunion weekend. If this sounds like you and you can spare a few hours during the coming year, please let the office know and someone from the committee will contact you.
Dates for Your Calendar
This year we have changed the timing of our annual Work Day. Please note that this will be held on the 7th March. All students are expected to contribute to this day, so this is advanced notice to start thinking about this.
Our Year 7-10 Whanau Evening will be held on Monday evening March 12th, 6:30 – 8:30pm. We are pleased to let you know that John Parsons (cybersafety and internet expert) will be part of this evening which also includes an information session and a meet and greet with your child’s learning tutor and form teacher. I encourage everyone with children in years 7-10 to attend this important evening.
Enjoy your weekend,