Kia ora e te whanau
This weekend gone was Pentecost. The Advocate promised by Christ enters the believing community to guide and protect it until the second coming. Apart from being a very beautiful feast, the day of Pentecost is a celebration of God's hand guiding the Christian community through the trials and decisions that are presented to it. The Education and Training Act 2020 now requires us to consult with students, staff and our parent community around any major changes we make to our rules and policies. Recently we included a survey in the newsletter about student attendance at the School Ball; this decision is currently going through consultation with the staff and students and today we include a survey on our Uniform Policy around tattoos and, in particular, Ta Moko. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your discernments at all times, and we look forward to receiving your feedback. I will let you know the decision on Ball attendance in due course.
It has come to our attention that there is increased vaping use among students here at school. We know it is happening in the toilets at break times and several students have been caught with vapes in their bag or in their pockets at school, already this year. We know that the main users are boys, and we know that it is the vapers who are breaking the toilet seats in the boy’s toilets causing the school hundreds of dollars in damage each time, due to boys standing on them to keep watch. These hundreds of dollars could be spent on better things around the school like sports equipment. As of November 11th last year, it became illegal for anyone to vape on our school grounds, either during school hours or after. It is also illegal, as I am sure you are aware, for anyone under the age of 18, to vape.
We know the consequences of smoking cigarettes and today for a young person to take up that habit, they do that knowing it can lead to lung cancer etc, later in life. Vaping and e-cigarettes were originally invented to help addicted smokers give up, not to give people a healthier alternative. At assembly this week I focussed on educating students around the health risks, but as a further deterrent I need all parents and caregivers to understand the consequences if a student is caught vaping or caught with a vape in their bag or on their person. In the first instance, parents will be called and students will receive an internal stand down where they will be removed from classes and given different break times from their peers. If students are honest and hand in their vaping equipment before being caught, they will receive a warning and home contacted. Further instances could lead to external stand downs and/or suspension to the Board of Trustees. All vaping equipment will be destroyed and not returned to the student or parent.
I apologise for the negative tone in this week’s newsletter but I feel I need to draw attention to all of our community to this growing concern.
Lastly, I would like to thank the St Peter’s College Rugby Committee and Mrs Julie Watkins, our Rugby Administrator on staff, for organising an outstanding Quiz Night last Friday at the Town and Country Club. We could also not have envisioned the huge support we received from all of our community in attending, spending and quizzing! Thank you all for helping us raise over $21,000 for our rugby students.
Link to the uniform policy survey:
Kia ora e te whanau
I am still smiling from ear to ear after watching the school performance of “Grease” last Thursday night, what an absolutely stunning performance from our students. There were many laughs and the audience showed their appreciation throughout. So much time, preparation and commitment goes into putting on a show like this from both the students and the staff involved. They gave up their weekends, nights and school holidays and from all accounts the students never once complained or became precious about their roles. Most school shows are never this stress free, and this comes down to the leadership, passion and enthusiasm of three very special staff members: Mrs Victoria Kelly, Mrs Liza Wilson and Mrs Lee-Anne Kortbaoui. While there was also a lot of fantastic support from many staff members, the show would not have been possible without their vision and ability to see through to the end product the whole journey through. The talent amongst the student body was also phenomenal and I have a feeling we will be seeing many of their names in lights in the very near future. I was lucky to see the Dunedin show of Les Miserables just two nights later where past St Peter’s College student, Anna Langford was performing as Eponine, so it just goes to show what our students can achieve and it starts right here! While standing in the refreshment line at the St James Theatre in Gore for our show, I witnessed every single St Peter’s student who went up, say thank you. Gratitude is often shared by our students in and out of school and it is always a pleasure to witness. Staff and visitors to the school regularly report on the helpfulness of our students in opening doors, picking up rubbish and asking if assistance is required. These are all great examples of goodness in action. Such attitudes, firstly come from the student’s family upbringings. Children who are loved and cared for in the home return gratitude. It also comes from our schools’ traditions where students are expected to be well dressed, well-mannered and turn up every day to do their very best. There are no short cuts at St Peter’s College where the preparation for life approach begins on day one, even when the rewards may not be felt or seen until long after they have left our school. I acknowledge the expertise and effort of all our staff. Those who teach on the frontline. Those in the back story helping. Genuine men and women who really care for the future of our young tamariki.
Gratitude also comes from the service ethic being encouraged in every one of our students and this week the servant leaders at each year level were announced at assembly. I congratulate these students for putting themselves forward and stepping up to serve their school community. We will meet fortnightly on Monday lunchtimes in the chapel to plan and prepare acts of service around the school. These are our future head boys and girls.
Ben de Jong
Kia ora e te whanau
This week as part of our Teachers Only Day we are being challenged to become more culturally responsive in our thinking, our speaking, our listening and our doing. It is a FACT that Maori and Pasifika learners do not perform well in our current educational system. For too long we have avoided this TRUTH and said over and over, “I treat everyone the same no matter what their culture.” Well, the uncomfortable truth is that treating everyone the same is not equitable. If we focus on equity, recognising that not all individuals have the same opportunities and that not all systems are fit for all cultural backgrounds we can begin to right the past wrongs in education.
This year we have all been working on our Pepeha, how we introduce ourselves and share our background connections with each other. Most of you will be familiar with this and many of you can probably share your own. When I practice my Pepeha the idea of the place you are from, the Maunga/Mountain and Awa/river you were brought up alongside is really special and I often think about the Takitimu’s and the Aparima river as my grounding, calm place that I connect to.
Mountains are like school culture, they take time to form and to stay on course. That takes patience.
Mountains have a view on life and its direction. It looks great from the top. But we know avalanches happen.
Mountains are as much about engagement as perspective. The swirling west coast Haast River started in a mountain.
Mountains protect. They are unfazed by the fickle clouds.
Mountains cast aside the urgency of the now, the 24 hour news cycle, the roller-coaster stock market and trivial gossip over coffee cups!
If a mountain denies the river its water the river soon goes out of existence.
Parents and caregivers, we need, for the sake of our children, to think like a mountain.
We are called to see the big picture:
I have a new found respect through my learning journey for our Maori Brothers and Sisters who refer to their ancestors, their Whakapapa and especially their mountains.
We are nearly halfway through 2021 already, getting through to the end is just like climbing a mountain.
Kia ora e te whanau
Welcome back to Term 2! We were able to pack in a huge amount of extra curricula activities in term one and term two is looking to be just as busy with our School Production coming up next week and the beginning of our weekly winter sports codes. Fast forward 9 weeks and our annual Eisteddfod competition will round up what I know will be a fun, challenging and successful term for all. It is important that our students balance their extra curricula activities with their academic studies. At St Peter’s College we expect all students to give their very best to achieve their goals in all aspects of life. For our seniors, the learning challenge is not to collect credits like a lolly scramble but to aim for excellence in the areas they are capable of. For our juniors the learning challenge is to set goals and work tirelessly towards them. For all students, the learning challenge is to commit every day to learning deeply - excellence is a consequence of this commitment.
I have been particularly impressed with our Year 10 students for setting SMART goals in Term One and focussing hard on achieving these. Their teachers are in partnership with them in co-constructing these goals and we are seeing some awesome examples of improvement and success. Year 10 Learning Tutor, Ms Louise Grogan and Learning Support Coordinator, Ms Liza Wilson have been central to leading this initiative and we acknowledge and thank them for their commitment and hard work.
I wish all cast members of “Grease” all the best for their last week of rehearsals and for their performances next Thursday and Friday nights. Please come along and support our students, I promise you, you will not be disappointed!
Congratulations to Ms Jo Carter who has been appointed acting Head of Learning Area for Science until the end of the year. We are in the middle of recruiting for a new Physics and Chemistry teacher but are lucky to have Mr Brad Lamb and Ms Ann Callahan filling in for the next few weeks.
Message for our students from their teachers:
Dear students, always believe in yourself. You have the ability to do any kind of work whether it is easy or tough. So be confident and work hard to achieve your dreams.
Be a good human who helps everyone. Be a good partner, a good friend, a good soul who is honest, trustworthy and responsible. Happiness will find you.
You are the person who can change the world. You have a big responsibility to make the world better. We know you can do this very well.
True success will be seeing you in a better position. That will be the best gift for us. So work hard and achieve your success.
In your life, you will face many hard times. Never lose hope in the bad times. After the heavy rain, we can see the sunshine. Always be positive.
We are proud that we got the chance to teach you. You all are very brave and active. Always keep this spirit up.
Failure means you have been given another opportunity to do the task but with more experience and knowledge. Ace the situations and achieve your goals.
If you have willpower, courage, and determination- no one can stop you from becoming the person you aspire to be. Start believing your ability and success will come along.