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A huge thank you to the team at Fonterra who kindly donated an AED to the School. Pictured from left: Head Boy, Fraser Ditchfield, Head Girl, Dakoda Conroy with Grass Roots Co-ordinator, Fiona Murphy from Fonterra. A massive thank you to Fonterra for such a generous gift.
Kia ora tatou
A few things have happened lately in curricular and extra-curricular events where the generosity of our parent and wider community has been very evident. Community and commitment are two of our core gospel values at St Peter’s and, time and time again, these values are lived on a daily basis by our parent community and we are very fortunate to be the recipients. From PTFA involvement to netball and rugby coaching to driving vans for sports events to following through worthwhile fundraising options, we are incredibly grateful to our parent community and whanau who are generous with time, energy and resources to continue to support our wonderful college. This is not new of course, with parents and parishioners raising the money to build St Peter’s College in the 1960’s. There were certainly no government funding mechanisms in those days and the enormity of seeing that project through to fruition is still hard to imagine. Thank you to everyone who contributes to our successes – your generosity is truly appreciated.
Teacher Only Day
Next Friday, June 1, is a Teacher Only Day. I hope that, as families, you might have the opportunity for a mid-winter break and make the most of a four-day weekend with your children. At school on Friday, our staff have a training day with a provider who is coming to train us in a new appraisal system. We are also looking forward to having a change of pace that day.
Of course, Friday is the beginning of NZ Gold Guitars competition. As always, we have a number of students involved in this competition. There are many, great skills learned through the performing arts, and we wish you all the best for your performances next weekend.
ATLs and Year 7 & 8 Conferencing
Please remember to check your child’s ATL grades and comments every fortnight on the parent portal. It is easy to get there through the Parent Dashboard ‘button’ on the website now, or use the portal button on the school app. If you have any concerns or questions about the reports that you receive, please contact your child’s teacher. We want you to use the home-school partnership to the fullest because it will benefit your child’s learning. We look forward to seeing our year 7 & 8 students and their parents in school next week for their homeroom conferencing sessions.
Looking for another Ray
Our property manager, Ray Shanks, is away overseas during Term Three. Before we advertise further afield, I know there may be someone in our wider school community who may be interested in a few weeks work at this time of the year. Hours and duties are negotiable. Please let us know if you or someone you know might be interested in this opportunity.
Thanks to everyone who came along last Friday night to the Rugby Quiz. It was a great way to end the week and there was a significant amount of money made to support rugby in the school. A big thank you to the parents, students and staff who worked on the night to make it a successful evening.
We will be sad to say goodbye to Talia Andrews, our Executive Officer, at the end of next week. Talia has been with us since 2011 and we have truly enjoyed her immaculate and thorough systems and processes along with her wonderful sense of fun. Talia has accepted a new position at Women’s Refuge and will be training in Social Work, and we wish her all the very best for this new and very important direction.
Kate Pavitt begins maternity leave on Friday too. Kate and her partner Simon McGowan, are expecting their first child and we wish them many blessings at this exciting and very special time of their lives. As a result of Kate’s leave, there will be some staffing changes for Kate’s English classes. Parents of these students will be emailed next week with details of any change affecting them.
Finally, we also farewell Boarding Manager, Tim Chatfield, who has been in this role since 2015. We thank Tim for all his work at Rosmini House and wish him well in his new job working for the New Zealand arm of the Camp America programme.
As the days get shorter and the weather colder, let us reflect on the unique experiences that winter can bring – inside family time, winter sports, meals with family and friends, and of course the upcoming ski season! We are fortunate to live in a climate where the seasons give us opportunities to fully experience life.
God of creation, thank you for the beauty of winter - for snow, icy window panes, evergreen trees, warm coats, skiing and sledding, and hot food and drink. Let us enjoy Your creation in all its glory, this winter and always. Amen
Kate Nicholson - Principal
(Please note - there won’t be a newsletter next week due to teacher only day)
On Monday 15, Level 3 Biology students headed to Portobello, leaving the rain behind and arriving at the Marine Studies Centre in the sunshine. This good weather lasted into the afternoon for the beach survey. The pupils learnt about crab structure and behaviour on the first day and then designed their own experiments which they carried out during the next two days.
They stayed on Quarantine Island but due to the rather windy weather which arrived on in the early hours of Tuesday, there was not much exploring done!
Thank you to the Gap students from Rosmini House, Jonah and Kirsty, for accompanying the trip, and Kirsty for the excellent chocolate pudding on Tuesday night.
Louise Grogan - Teacher of Science
On Friday 11th May a group of students were able to travel to Menzies College in order to sit in on two presentations by New Zealand/ Australian Author, Ella West. During her first presentation she outlined how to write an interesting story and how the characters should progress through it. Ella West also gave us the tools to create and define our own hero or protagonist that we could put into our own stories. During the second presentation she answered questions from the students about how she became an award winning author, how long it takes to write a novel, how to find out which genre you are most suited to and how to find the motivation to keep writing large amounts. I would encourage any student wondering about becoming a writer to take advantage of any opportunity similar to this one as it was an incredibly informative, interactive and interesting experience.
Kerrin Bone - Year 13
Thank you to everyone who attended our Whanau Conferencing yesterday to discuss your child’s learning. We were very pleased with the number of parents and students who came along to meet with teachers and discuss how the learning is going so far this year, in a real three-way conversation. Many of the conversations weren’t only about academic achievement, but very much about wellbeing and the skills and attributes that, as parents, we want to see in our children – resilience, willingness to be open-minded, critical thinkers, secure in their own identity and well engaged in life. Unfortunately for some young people, gaining these skills is difficult and mental health issues can undermine all the previous gains they have made in this area of development. With that in mind, I am very pleased that the Student Council have promoted today’s Anti-Bullying Pink Shirt Day and are contributing all donations to the Mental Health Foundation.
This week the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost at masses around the world. The Pentecost happened after Jesus’ death and resurrection when his believers were feeling lost and unsure about the next steps for them, having lost their leader. The Holy Spirit then became present in their lives and gave them the strength, commitment and wisdom to know exactly what those next steps were; and the rest is history – or actually, the history of the Church! We are all lost at times with not knowing our next steps, and, like the early Christians, faith can make the difference.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your guidance. Forgive me for getting ahead of Your plans, and help me know when to stop and listen for Your direction. Your ways are perfect, Lord. Thank You for offering gentle grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This Sunday at the 10am Mass, people are encouraged to wear a symbol or item to show their heritage or ethnicity, to imitate the large number of different nationalities present at Pentecost, or in place of this, wear the colour red to symbolize the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Eisteddfod season is underway. House singing practices begin today and entry forms have been given to students this week. Please encourage the notion of committed participation with your children at home. This is an opportunity to develop some of those attributes you have just been reading about! McAuley just edged ahead of Finlay, Rosmini and Pompallier after the Cross Country last week. The house points are close, and I am sure the Eisteddfod will be a hard fought race for the houses this year.
Congratulations to the students who opted to continue through to the Southland Cross Country event in Te Anau on Wednesday and they all gained some very good placings. A big congratulations to Sophie Shallard who was 1st in the U16 girls, and Abby Hailes who was 2nd in the U13 girls and (only 36 seconds behind the 1st placegetter who broke the Southland record). These are great results, girls.
Remember the Rugby Quiz at the Gore Town and Country Club tonight. Come along and make up a team for a good night out.
Have a wonderful week,
On Thursday, March 29th, 15 students and two teachers left Invercargill on the fifth biennial Ratcliffe Exchange. Excitement mixed with parental anxiety was the mood in the terminal as farewells were made.
First stop – seven hours in Singapore airport (more precisely, two hours in the rooftop swimming pool) before touching down in Rome, Italy – about 30 hours after leaving New Zealand. Three action packed days followed as sights were ‘ticked off’: the Colosseum, Santa Maria Church, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Vatican Museum and many more wonderful sights.
Unfortunately, with Easter we were unable to get an audience with the Pope, however when we did ‘pop into’ St Peter’s Square we managed to be there at the right time for the Papal blessing on Easter Monday. Though being some distance away we still managed to see the Pope.
From Rome we made our way to Domodossola via Milan. Arriving in Domodossola to a cool and showery evening, high in the Italian Alps. This unfortunately was typical of weather for the next few days. For many students, having the opportunity to stay at Calvario was one of the highlights of the trip. Here we walked past Antonio Rosmini’s room every day on the way to the dining room. A day in Stresa, beside Lake Maggiore, was filled with learning more of the history of this humble and forward thinking man. We toured the first Rosmini College and inside its beautiful chapel viewed the tomb of Rosmini. Along the foreshore, we toured Villa Bolongaro where Rosmini spent his final years and where many of his writings are stored. His writings were so extensive that they are still being translated. We also went into the room where he worked and eventually died.
From Domodossola we travelled by train to the Milam Malpensa airport where we stayed the night before making our way to Dublin, Ireland. The next day was a long days travel to Ireland via Luton, but finally arriving at the Hostel round 11pm.
Ireland was an added addition to this trip compared to previous exchanges, as we wanted to include the Mercy Sisters as part of this exchange. After visiting McAuley House and getting a comprehensive history of Catherine McAuley’s life and an understanding of what the Sisters of Mercy do around the world, this was definitely a worthy inclusion. The delicious tea and scones did help. We also managed to fit in quite a few sights in our time in Dublin. These included, Natural History Museum, a walking tour chronicling the fables and folklore of Dublin, Epic Museum – the migration story of the Irish ancestors.
On Monday 9th April we travelled to London for the rest of the week. This allowed us a good snapshot of such a large city. During this time we were able to visit the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, the London Zoo, Kensington Palace, some of St James’ and Hyde Parks and see the “Lion King’ stage show. The visit to Windsor Castle will be remembered for our meeting up with past teacher Susan Winters. Riding the underground and counting the stations before getting off became the norm for the students.
Come Friday 13th, it was off to the long anticipated reunion at Ratcliffe College with the host families and the students who had visited SPC in 2017. During the 14 day stay here, besides attending classes, students visited Warwick Castle and the theme park, Alton Towers, along with other activities organised by the individual host families. Tears flowed as farewells were said – some of these ‘connections’ will continue for years to come, I am sure.
Returning to London for the last few days meant a few more sights were ‘ticked off’; visiting the New Zealand War Memorial, the Imperial War Museum, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Madam Tussauds, the Natural History Museum as well as the all-important shopping.
Finally it was time to board the plane for home – the complete spectrum of emotions from the group were felt, with some students ready to return to family while others wanted longer!! However, there was definitely an air of excitement as parents greeted their children back in Invercargill on April 30.
What an action packed four weeks. Thousands of kilometres travelled, hundreds of photos taken and many, many stories to be told.
Written by Ronnie Kotkamp
Kia ora whanau
This week I would like to reflect on the value of teachers. The next few months are going to be an interesting and possibly disrupted time in education as the NZEI and the PPTA bargain with the government in their respective collective agreement contract rounds.
The staffing shortage is not only further north. In the south too, there is a significant lack of applicants for vacant positions and many principals are having to find very creative ways to staff classes. It makes me very happy to hear students say that they would like to enter a teaching career because, although it can be very challenging and many work very long hours into the evening and weekends, the personal rewards are enormous. Teaching is a vocation; and rather than criticising and undermining teachers, it is important to value those who choose to spend their lives in this profession working hard for your children and their futures. I would like to acknowledge five of our local teaching colleagues who have passed away in the last few months – Murray Cooper, Neil and Ginny Winefield, Brent Crawford, and Glenis Gray. Each of these people have shaped the lives of the young people of Eastern Southland and have been special colleagues and valued members of our profession. Please pray for their families as they come to terms with their passing.
Some principals and community members from our area attended the government’s Education Summit held in Christchurch last weekend. Those of us who have been in the game for a while know that constant change in education is inevitable and that can be a good thing if it contributes to schools having a culture of continual improvement for its students’ learning. No doubt you will have seen plenty in the media about potential changes to education. As parents of the recipients of this education, please take time to comment via the online survey which can be found at https://conversation.education.govt.nz/
Last year we sent all families a pastoral newsletter that discussed our concerns over the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. This week we received the following information from the Ministry of Education and I would like to share this important information with you:
“You may recall the public discussion generated by last year’s Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Season two will be released worldwide on Friday 18 May. This show was widely watched by teenagers last year. Themes of suicide, sexual assault, consent, bullying and other issues made some viewers feel distressed and in need of support. Similar and equally confronting themes will be present in season two. In the lead-up to the release, some young people may re-watch the first season, or watch it for the first time.
Young people feel the show represents the issues they face. Banning or recommending a ban on viewing it can be harmful, as young people will still watch it but feel they have to hide that from adults. The issues raised in the series are significant and offer a good opportunity to talk to our young people about these difficult life events – but it is important that those conversations are safe ones. We are working with other agencies to ensure information is available to support and encourage safe conversations between young people and their parents, or another trusted adult, if they view this series. Some of this information is already available on the resource hub on the Mental Health Foundation website. Additional support material will be added to this hub prior to 18 May.”
We have a strong pastoral network at St Peter’s College and we are very willing to talk with families and individuals who may need support at any time. Please feel free at any time to contact school and discuss any concerns. We have attached some suggested conversation starters for you to have at home with your teenager about this series if they are watching it, and a list of people to contact should you have any concerns.
May the mystery of God enfold us, May the wisdom of God uphold us,
May the fragrance of God be around us and may the brightness of God surround us.
Joy Cowley (Psalms Down-Under)
Finally, I wish all our mothers a very happy day on Sunday. You are all doing a wonderful job!
Nga mihi nui
Please note that on Thursday, 17 May we will be having our Year 7 – 13 Parent Whanau Conferencing and School will close at lunchtime. The School Library will be open until 3:15pm for the children catching a bus home.
A reminder that this year each teacher is in direct contact with you fortnightly about your student using the Musac Edge Attitude to Learning reporting system.
It is important that you do book an appointment to meet your student’s teachers for one on one conversations about progress.
Please note Year 7 and 8 interviews are with their option teachers only and their student led conferences with Form Teachers are being held on 30th and 31st May. More information about these will be sent at a later date.
Please go to www.schoolinterviews.co.nz
The booking code for the interviews is cc2cb
Bridget Ryan - Assistant Principal