Kia ora e te whanau
Term one done and dusted! What an amazing number of events we have been able to fit into term one- from sports trials, tournaments, production try outs and practices to NCEA internal assessments, PAT testing, athletics competitions, retreats, the senior ball and Masses to name just a few. Term one is often our busiest time of the year and it sets the scene for how we go forward. A huge thank you goes out to all our staff, parents and volunteers who make these events so successful and smooth running.
With great beginnings there also comes sad endings and farewells. Today we farewell two very special teachers, Mrs Janine Heads who has been here for eight and a half years, and Mrs Jan Bridgman who has served for an outstanding 44 years. Last night staff had the opportunity to attend a dinner in honour of them both and hearing their journeys one last time was a privilege for us all. Janine will be sadly missed by us all but in particular by her Science teachers and students. Her leadership, knowledge and qualities have enabled eight years of strong senior Physics, Science and Chemistry results and a long list of students who have continued on in life with a passion for Science and learning. Jan’s commitment to Catholic education for 44 years is almost unheard of in educational institutions and is a testament to her dedication, wisdom, abilities and kindness to the teaching profession. This lengthy service has meant that Jan has taught three generations of some of our families. We also farewell our school chaplain today, Fr Damian Wynn-Williams, who is retiring from the Gore Parish. Fr Damian has been a leader, model and servant to us all. We give thanks to God for you and wish you well in your retirement.
Recently we had our senior ball, and it was a magical evening for our students and families who attended but it is time to re-evaluate how this is run, in particular who attends. Please click on the link below if you would like to have a say in how our ball is run in future years:
Term one has had many highlights but most of all I would like to recognise the individuals who received Excellence endorsements at our Blue’s Assembly this term (see below). These students worked hard and set goals to achieve their very best. Academic excellence is our core business, and these students epitomise all our efforts:
With $70,000 in scholarships being given out to our year 13’s of 2020 just from Otago University, it is well worth the effort!
Kia ora e te whanau
It is with sadness that we as a community share in the grief and sorrow of the Hargest family whose beloved husband, father, uncle, and friend passed away last week. Father of two boys, one of them being our student Ben. With a community like ours we are comforted in knowing you are not alone, and we pray to God to be with you and the wider Hargest family at this time.
Easter is the most important season in our Church’s calendar and has a long Judaic/Christian tradition. It is an important time for us as Catholic’s to attend the Masses of the weekend, take time to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice for all of humanity, and spend time with our families. I hope I am not the only one saddened by the growing pressure from community groups, politicians and business owners looking to “rub out” our heritage. Whether it be through language, institutions, or cultural practices, there is a growing change in how we treat these seasons. Changing “Merry Christmas” into “Happy Holidays” is just one of many examples we see on cards and in shops.
I feel uneasy when I hear and read in the news the push to have alcohol sold and businesses open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Can we not have just two days to stay home with our families? Must we always be indulged and entertained? It is becoming harder to argue against and I find myself almost apologising for my faith. If we look at this globally, it is even more depressing, the destruction of our Christian churches around the world and the growing consumerism of developed countries. Back here in our educational system it is also obvious in our government withholding funds for maintenance and resources in state-integrated schools that our state schools receive. The political agenda of removing life constraints for the unborn and elderly is only the beginning to a downward trend in society as to what we are no longer supposed to value.
Easter is about our Christian tradition. Jesus, who died on Good Friday, proved he was God on Easter Sunday. We remove that tradition at our own peril and at huge cost. Let us remember that the common good of society, the dignity of the individual, the quest for truth, the notion that law is always about context, the consistent ethic of life, our intellectual tradition....these are the fruits of our Christian/Judaic tradition.
I think there is a reason why Catholic schools have the full up signs. There is a reason why parish churches are making a comeback in faith numbers. There is a reason why parents of school-aged children want an education which is as much about heritage and character as it is about achievement and accolades.
I wish our many players luck this weekend as we go into the Catholic school’s quad tournament hosted here in Gore. A wonderful opportunity to have the young people of four Catholic secondary schools come together as one family in Christ. We begin this celebration at the community Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Church at 9am on Sunday, all welcome. Please see Facebook and the school app for the draws if you would like to come along and support any of the games.