Kia ora e te whanau
Unity is strength is a common thought that always rings true. We know that when we are united great things happen. This is the case in the natural or spiritual world. Romans 12:16-18 says “Be of the same mind towards one another. Do not set your mind on high things but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peacefully with all.”
This in some ways seems to sum up the term we have had. All our staff, students, parents, caregivers, and wider community have rallied to come together to support everything that has happened at St Peter’s College, and we have stood united for the greater cause of our students. The outcomes thus far have been a testament to this unity and now we look for this unity to be built strongly upon not only for the coming term, but for the years ahead.
This unity allows our St Peter’s Community to be recognised for its humble but firm approach across all spheres of school life. It ensures that we continue to have strong belief in the abilities of our young men and encourage them to go forward with confidence always. Your increased support and encouragement at this time of the year would enable our young people to work with a huge sense of purpose as they prepare for their end of year examinations, and for our Year 13 students, seek to perform at levels that will establish gains towards tertiary study or careers of their choice.
As we make big strides towards Term 4 and the business end of the year, it is essential that we thank you for your unconditional support over the past three terms. We have been able to bring back some sort of normalcy this term and host a number of events including the Girls Breakfast, Tournament week and in week one of term four our annual Eisteddfod competition. This has allowed us to come together and stand united in ensuring that we foster strong relationships that can be taken into the future. The Eisteddfod concert featuring the best of the best from the 3 day event will be on at the St James Theatre on the evening of Tuesday the 25th of October, straight after Labour weekend and tickets will be on sale through iTicket from Monday the 17th of October.
Recently, we have had some issues with some of our students getting hurt playing rugby or bullrush tag at break times. We want our students to be able to burn off their energy while playing games they enjoy but not to the detriment of people’s health and safety. Therefore, we have brought in some rules for these contact games. Bullrush or games like it are not allowed during school time. Any tackling must be part of an actual game with a ball and can only involve one tackler at a time (i.e. no joining tackles if you are not the first tackler). Also, year levels are not to mix when playing these games so only year 9s may play other year 9s etc. Just like in the real thing, lifting of any sort will mean you are banned from continuing to play. Please play responsibly and look after each other.
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau
A research study in the States on graduates of Catholic schools, found that the educational outcomes were similar to many other schools except in one area of life. Graduates of a Catholic school with a sense of community and purpose had a significant higher “Hope” factor in its graduates.
“Hope” that life is ok, and we can get through the struggles and pain.
“Hope” that we can be grateful for the gifts of this world and life in general.
This factor is reinforced to me every day when I see and experience our students and family members participating and supporting each other in school activities and events. Our rugby prize giving this week was an example of this. Selflessly organised by Mrs Julie Watkins and the Rugby Committee of parents we had an evening of abundant food, speeches about gratefulness and sportsmanship and we recognised the commitment and achievement of all of our players, both boys and girls. Gratitude was expressed for what our small school has achieved this year despite the many barriers and reasons to do less. How true.
Hope is the quality of seeing in the dark and getting on with life. Day after day despite all that has happened. It is the opposite of optimism which is often a mask for depression.
The last three years have been the ideal place to practice “Hope”. Nothing has gone well in terms of health, livelihood or planned events. So can a College practice Hope like one would practice rugby, reading or rhythm in music? Yes we can.
At St Peter’s College we practice Hope by normalising routines and with courage as a foundation.
We practice Hope by expecting all students will achieve to something beyond them.
We practice Hope by expecting all activities have a quality of depth and excellence.
Congratulations to seven of our year 7 and 8 students this week who qualified for the finals in the Otago Problem Solving competition, many with Excellence. These students are Max McGregor, Lachlan Gray, Oliver Gray, Eli Puna, Jack Wilkins, Harry Hoyle and Anthony Lambert. Our head of year 7 & 8 Mrs Julie Burrows is extremely proud of the boys hard work and shared with us yesterday that the last student to qualify in this competition was Connor Watkins who is now in year 13!
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau
You will be aware that New Zealand will move to a new, long-term approach to COVID-19. These changes have been made based on public health advice and reflect high levels of immunity and declining case numbers across New Zealand. This new approach will only result in minor changes to the way we operate. The very positive news is that household contacts of a person with COVID-19 do not need to isolate, but instead are asked to complete a RAT test each day, for five days. Therefore, students who are household contacts but test negative and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, should continue to attend. It is the best place for them to be so they can be engaged in their learning, and connected with their teachers, classmates and friends.
Information on how to get RAT kits can be found here: Request a RAT– Ministry of Health We also have a supply here at school for all students and staff. Mask wearing is also no longer required.
All the other recommended public health measures will stay in place as we know they reduce the spread of infectious illnesses including COVID-19. These include ensuring our indoor spaces are well-ventilated, maintaining good hand hygiene, encouraging everyone to cough or sneeze into elbows and, most importantly, staying home and getting tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Now that the restrictions have dropped, we have many more opportunities for our students to be engaged, active and involved in different activities, both in and outside of the College. It is through these opportunities that students develop and make new friendships and connections with others that may last a lifetime and it is through these connections that we will continue to develop and grow as a community. As our wider Catholic community grows stronger, we are in our best position to support our young people and empower them to shape and challenge their future.
Recently we farewelled our Accounts Administrator, Adele Horne, who is leaving to work more hours in her family business. Adele worked here with us for three years and her expertise and friendly and helpful personality will be great missed. We warmly welcome Lisamarie Harvey who comes to us with many years of medical accounts administration experience.
Today we had our first Girls Breakfast, after a hiatus of a few years, with the wonderful Monica Moore. It was a very special event where female empowerment was at the forefront. Our Catholic faith is at the heart of our school community, and it is through our Mercy teachings that we have the desire for our girls to be empowered Mercy women of spirit and character who will shape their future. Wonderfully, our community extends beyond just our students’ years here at the College and we are excited to have past pupil Tori Peeters coming for a special visit early next term.
In the early beginnings of the College, when the Mercy Sisters were invited to come and help staff St Peter’s College, the vision of our school was highlighted with regards to the importance of ensuring that our young women are empowered, and that this comes from providing opportunities where students can develop a connection and commitment to our faith and to our school community.
You will be aware that the Government has announced Monday, 26 September 2022, as the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day. This will mean that all schools will be closed for instruction that day.
A reminder that the senior NZQA derived grade examinations are coming up and due to the public holiday the first day of exams will now be Friday, September 23rd ending on Friday, 30th September. If you have students preparing for end-of-year exams in NCEA Levels 1 to 3 English, Maths or Science, let them know that StudyIt forums have reopened:
NCEA help from real students and teachers – StudyIt
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau,
Today the world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. As many tributes flow and our governments flags fly at half mast, we can reflect on the words of Cardinal Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He recalled the Queen's promise, on her 21st birthday to devote her life to the service of her people. "Now, seventy-five years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration," stated the Cardinal.
He expressed his sorrow and his gratitude "for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II." He continued, "Our prayer is that she is now received into the merciful presence of God, there to be reunited with her beloved Prince Philip," before concluding his message with a prayer for His Majesty the King, "as he assumes his new office even as he mourns his mother."
"God save the King", concluded the Cardinal.
We are nearing the end of Term 3 and our young people have endured the many hurdles to get to where they are in their academic, cultural or sporting achievements. Over the latter part of this term, it is absolutely essential that all students take stock of what they have achieved and look to work on what needs to be achieved in the very short time left to them. There is no opportunity for delays, but the strong need to show their endurance to reach the goals they have set for themselves.
We have seen many sporting achievements over tournament week and beyond, and it has been great to have the Netball and Rugby prize giving’s back on the agenda this year. All sporting participants have shown endurance and a strong belief in themselves. They have practised hard and reaped the rewards for the efforts they have put into all sporting codes.
They have been guided by expert coaches who have believed in their abilities and strengths and who have given them the opportunity to pursue their goals of reaching the top.
I would put before our young people the challenge of working with the same passion and enthusiasm for their academic achievement so that they can attain the prize of academic success that will open doors for their future careers. It is my desire that every young person who leaves St Peter’s College at Year 13 has obtained University Entrance and has the ability to choose a pathway through Tertiary Study if they so wish. This is to enable them to prepare themselves for a career of their choice well into the future. Our teachers are working tirelessly to ensure that all students have the right guidance, skills and tools to enable them to reach their potential. I urge our parents and caregivers to take the time to speak to your young people about their future and the pathway they are going to choose for themselves. Your advice and guidance is as important for these young boys and girls as they traverse through their secondary education here at St Peter’s College. We are working with you to enable the best outcome for them.
We acknowledge that the paths may not be easy, that there will be obstacles, there will be disappointments, but also know that only through endurance can positive outcomes be possible. We believe in the abilities of our young people and will work alongside you to encourage them to succeed in everything they undertake. We want them to run the race with confidence knowing that all their efforts focused on the goals they set themselves, will see them reach the podium of a successful future.
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau
Tournament week has given over a 100 of our students the opportunity to travel and play teams from other regions around the South Island. We have been very lucky to have had Football, Rugby, Netball and Hockey all being played this week and we are so very thankful for all the parent and staff support who have helped make these events happen. Being a part of a school sports team is an effective way to build a sense of community as it enhances relationships between students, teachers, the school and supporting families. And as a Catholic community, sport helps students to grow in maturity and attitude, such as caring for the opponent, playing honestly, and smiling under pressure. Sport teams provide a controlled, supervised environment in which to monitor and encourage these Christian attitudes. Being a part of a sports team enables students to learn the art of losing gracefully (not trying to place blame on others, not making excuses) as well as winning gracefully (congratulating the other team, giving praise to God, not boasting). So the fun continues with a girls rugby tournament in Dunedin today, the year 7 & 8 rugby boys to Queenstown for the weekend and the year 7 & 8 basketball boys are off to Tauranga on Sunday for the AIM’s games. I am very privileged to be going along with them so will be away for all of next week but will be contactable by phone and email if needed.
Over the next few weeks our senior students will be working towards their school exams. These are critical, and every student should attend their exam, and try their very best to complete each one. The results for these exams may have to be used for a derived grade if the NZQA exams at the end of the year cannot be attended due to injury, illness or a sudden event. As students work towards the school exams, stress and anxiety levels can rise. The New Zealand Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ https://mentalhealth.org.nz/five-ways-to-wellbeing is a great resource and has some simple tips for supporting yourself and whānau.
We pray for our seminarian, Joseph Nguyen, who will be ordained as a Priest tomorrow in Auckland at Sacred Heart Church. A small contingent from Gore will be there in support and we are blessed to be able to attend this very special and spiritual ceremony.
As we celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate that it is the parents who are the first teachers of their children and that parents will continue to teach and guide their children long after they have left our school grounds. So, to our parent community, thank you. Thank you for being the base and an integral part of our community. Thank you for supporting the staff at St Peter’s College who work with and alongside your children to ensure that they develop the skills and attributes to be equipped and empowered to pursue personal excellence. So that they will be prepared to challenge and shape the future, whilst being a young person of Mercy and Charity who acts justly, loves tenderly and walks humbly with our God.
God our Father,
We give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.
We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation;
may they find courage and perseverance
to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for fathers around the world
whose children are lost or suffering;
may they know that the God of compassion
walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers
but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.
We remember fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers
who are no longer with us
but who live forever in our memory
and nourish us with their love.
Charity Fulfils the Law