External Catholic Special Character Review
In the previous College Newsletter, I outlined the External Catholic Special Character Character Review led by Mrs. Mary Cook and Mr. Terry Consedine that had just been completed. We have now received our completed report which is included in this newsletter and I encourage you to read it. Overall, this was a pleasing report that has supported many of the good initiatives we have undertaken recently and affirmed the embedded aspects of our Special Character that have been developed over time at the College.
Education Review Office (ERO) External Evaluation
During the first two weeks of this term, we hosted the Education Review Office as they undertook their scheduled external evaluation of our College. The feedback we received throughout the review was largely very positive and we now look forward to a finalised report in the New Year. I give thanks to our staff, students and members of the community who contributed to this review.
I would like to advise of the following staff appointments for 2019:
We welcome Mrs. Katy Thorne as the Assistant Head of Faculty for Mathematics. Mrs. Thorne is a graduate of the University of Bristol, UK and is currently a teacher at Papamoa College.
We welcome Mr. Richard Cameron as the Assistant Head of Faculty for Social Sciences. Mr. Cameron is a graduate of the University of Sydney and is currently teaching at Loretto Kiribilli, a Catholic school for girls in Sydney, Australia.
We welcome Mr. Alan Syme as a second Guidance Counsellor. Mr. Syme has completed his Master of Guidance Counselling this year and as part of this, worked in our college while completing his practicum hours. Mr. Syme brings with him a wealth of educational experience through his many years of secondary teaching both in New Zealand and abroad.
We welcome Matua Tuwharetoa Hapi as a teacher of Te Reo Māori. Matua Hapi is a beginning teacher and a graduate of the University of Waikato. Matua Hapi holds an undergraduate degree in Te Reo Māori and English. He has spent 2018 completing his Master of Teaching and Learning.
The following staff members have advised the College they will be leaving at the end of the year:
Mrs. Christine (Chris) Inder is a foundation staff member, starting at Aquinas College in January 2003. Mrs. Inder has taught Year 7 classes for the 16 years she has been at Aquinas College as a Tagged teacher. Through her strengths in Literacy and Numeracy, Mrs. Inder has provided specialist understanding and pathways within the Year 7/8 Faculty.
Whaea Bernadette Egan’s teaching career at Aquinas College began as a relief teacher in October 2003, before taking up a fixed-term contract position in the Year 7/8 faculty in January 2004. In May 2006 Whaea Bernadette was appointed to a permanent position of TiC Te Reo. She had significant input into the formation of the College’s early traditions, many of which are still in place today.
A Farewell Mass to recognize Mrs. Inder’s and Whaea Bernadette Egan’s years of dedicated service to Catholic Education will take place on Friday 7th December outside Te Taumata, the College’s wharenui, starting at 5pm. Parents and community members are warmly invited to join this celebration of two respected, long-serving staff members.
Final Prize Giving – Wednesday 12 December, 10am
The final Prize Giving to acknowledge 2018 academic prize winners is to be held on Wednesday 12 December in the College Gymnasium, beginning at 10am. Parents and community members are welcome to attend this main event. Students will be free to leave for summer break after they have been to their final tutor group meeting following the final Prize Giving.
Senior Exam Leave
This time of the year can prove to be a difficult and anxious time for our senior students. It has been wonderful to see the volume of students coming into school and engaging with our teachers for collaborative study. These efforts will be rewarded! There is a piece of scripture from Peter’s Gospel that I love and is appropriate at this time:
Peter 5:6–7 Bow down, then, before the power of God now, so that he may raise you up in due time; unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you.
During this season our students may feel like they are all alone and overwhelmed, but as this scripture reminds us, we aren’t, and God cares for us. Before the exam stress, during the exam stress and even after it’s all done, his love and care for us will always remain the same. I ask that we all keep our senior students in our prayers at this time.
Student Executive 2019
Aquinas College aims to provide students with opportunities to gain the skills and experience to become leaders while maintaining a strong faith and commitment to our Catholic values. The Student Executive positions offered are seen as a chance for our students to provide service to their peers, staff and the wider community. Our student leaders will assume responsibility for serving others in order to achieve the mission of the team, lead by example and encourage other team members to develop positively as individuals and embrace the highest standards of loyalty, service and integrity. They will act in a manner consistent with the values and ethos of our community. We look for leaders who will be authentic, who will listen to people and who are imbued with a pervading drive to serve others before themselves.
The Student Executive is made up of up to 17 students appointed by the Principal following a robust selection process. I am enclosing an overview of this process for your reference:
|Timing||Aquinas College Student Executive Selection Procedure|
|T3 Week 5
|Year 12 students are informed about the Student Executive portfolio leadership structure and selection process.|
|T3 Week 8
|Year 12 students make an application to the Principal for a position on the Student Executive outlining their contributions to the College and their leadership qualities (maximum 2 pages).
Students to rank their three preferred positions on the Executive they wish to hold using the handout provided. NB: This does not include Head Students.
|T4 Week 10
|All Year 12 students and staff vote for all Year 12 students who have submitted applications.
Students and staff will be able to vote for up to 17 candidates.
Students and staff to identify one male and female for the position of Head Boy and Head Girl as part of this process.
Student and staff vote will carry equal weighting.
|T3 Break||Voting results are collated and presented to the leadership selection panel for Student Executive shortlisting. Shortlisting will be on the basis of:
The quality of each student’s application
The combined voting by Year 12 students and staff
School data e.g. College Involvement, Service, Academic and Pastoral records
The leadership selection panel is chaired by the Principal and comprises the Senior Leadership Team and the Year 12 Dean.
|T4 Week 1
|Staff meeting to discuss Student Executive shortlist.
Heads of Houses and teachers in charge of committees will be consulted on House Captain and Committee Leader positions.
|T4 Week 1||Shortlisting for the positions of Head Students by the leadership selection panel is based on;
The quality of each student’s application
The combined voting by Year 12 students and staff
School data e.g. College Involvement, Service, Academic and Pastoral records
Feedback from College Staff
|T4 Week 2||Shortlisted students for positions of Head Students deliver a three minute speech to their year group outlining their credentials for the position of Head Boy/Girl.
Students will then have the opportunity to cast a new vote for the Head Students.
|T4 Week 3||Shortlisted students for positions of Head Students are interviewed by the leadership selection panel.
The final decision of the students appointed is based on this selection process, and is made by the Principal with the advice of the leadership selection panel.
|T4 Week 9||The Student Executive will be announced at the end of year prize-giving.|
Thank you for your continued support of our College and may God’s Blessings be upon you all.
To Him be the glory.
Catholic Character is the very core of all that we do at Aquinas College, symbolised by the monstrance in our crest, to remind us that Christ is at the centre. The Touchstones of truth, scholarship, joy, family, service, and prayer are our founding principles.
The Catholic Character External Review took place at the end of Term Three. The reviewers were impressed that there is a clear direction and future vision for Catholic Character at Aquinas College. They also noted how service and outreach are part of the daily life of the College.
Read the full report here: Final Copy Aquinas College External review 25 and 26 Sept 2018
The First of November was the Feast of All Saints. A very special feast-day in the calendar of the church, at which we call to mind all the holy men and women who have followed God’s will throughout the ages: they are all saints.
November, which is the month of the Holy Souls, is a time where we especially pray for all those in our families who have passed from this life.
Our school’s Books of Remembrance were brought forward at the start of the Mass and these books remain in the Chapel for students and staff to write the names of friends and loved ones who have died. We remember them in a special way and pray for them, that they too may join the Communion of Saints in heaven.
AC Army is one of Aquinas College’s extracurricular service projects. In line with the Touchstones, being part of the AC Army is a great opportunity to help others. Yr. 11 student, Stella Leenders reflects on what it has been like taking part this year…
“AC Army has been a great part of my journey at Aquinas College and is one of the best experiences I’ve had because it has impacted my college life in a joyful way. One of the service projects we had worked on earlier in this year is the Aquinas College veggie patch. It had grown a lot of weeds and thankfully we brought a great team to work hard together and get through this challenge of weeding the garden, so the junior students could plant some vegetables for their science projects. We’ve had great help from the teachers who put in their time and were able to supply us with the needs of the veggie patch. This reflects well on the Aquinas College moto “kia mau kit e Pono” (hold fast to truth) as students have done a spectacular job with participating with the college’s service project and have been very compassionate throughout the year”.
Throughout 2018, year groups have taken part in Retreats as part of their Religious Education. The Year 13 Retreat was held out at Tui Ridge where the students stayed overnight. The theme for the Retreat was living life to the full and students reflected on their journey through Aquinas College and looked to their future. They made their own Touchstone to remind them of their time at Aquinas College and of their roots. After completing team building and sport activities, students participated in Adoration and Reconciliation. Father Mark joined us to celebrate Mass on the Friday morning and many tears were shed when the students opened the letters from their parents. Overall, it was a very positive Retreat and students had a wonderful spiritual experience.
The NCEA examination period for this year runs until Friday 30 November. Senior students (Yr. 11 – 13) have already been released for study leave. Yr. 10 students involved in NCEA Examinations will be informed of any study arrangements before their examinations in week 5.
When NCEA releases results in January there is invariably a massive delay in accessing the website. To avoid this, all students who are entered for NCEA this year should ensure that they have registered on the NZQA website before results are released.
Attitude and Effort, Junior Excellence Awards (single subject) and REACH Awards will be presented at the Junior Prize Giving ion Tuesday 11 December. Students who are receiving an award will be alerted by 30 November, 2018. Parents are warmly invited to attend this assembly.
The final prize giving for the year is scheduled for Wednesday 12 December. The ceremony starts at 10am.
Following on from a successful implementation of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) at Yr.11 in 2018, Aquinas College will move to Yr.11-13 BYOD from 2019. Students from other year levels are also encouraged to bring devices if they have them. It is envisaged that from 2020, we will have BYOD from Yr.9-13. Staff are being supported in their use of teaching and learning with digital technologies through professional development with Cyclone Computers and a number of staff are upskilling by completing a Post Graduate Course in Digital and Collaborative Learning. Minimum device specifications can be found on the school website (http://www.aquinas.school.nz/information/bring-your-own-device/|) along with information about BYOD. If your child is considering courses in Digital Technology, Photography or Design please esnure they consult with their teacher around specific courses requirements.
Two of the College’s long-serving staff members, Mrs Chris Inder and Mrs Bernadette Egan, will be leaving the College at the end of the 2018 academic year.
Chris is a Foundation Staff member, and Whaea Bernadette joined the College not long after.
As a staff and Catholic community, we would like to honour these teachers for their long-service and commitment to Aquinas College. Many students and families will know of the expertise and aroha shown by Chris and Bernadette during their time at Aquinas.
You and your family are warmly invited to a Farewell Mass for Chris and Bernadette at Aquinas College outside the wharenui, Te Taumata, on Friday 7th December 2018, beginning at 5pm.
Hospitality will follow the Mass for you to stay and catch up with past and present Aquinas family.
Please RSVP by Friday 30th November 2018:
Ph (07) 543 9032, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Term Four has been busy for our Yr. 7 and 8 students.
LUNCHTIME SPORT – Over the last few weeks our lunchtime sporting activities have stepped up. Run by Mr Finlayson, classes are currently fighting for the coveted title of top basketball and touch classes. It has been great to see so many students taking up this opportunity and get active at lunch time.
LITERATURE QUIZ – Last week we had two teams represent us at the Inter-school Literature Quiz at Tauranga Intermediate. Both our Yr.7 and Yr.8 teams did well in a very tough competition. The Yr. 7 team are now looking forward to the regional final of the Kid Lit Quiz in Term 2 2019. A big thanks to Mrs Swanepoel for organising this and preparing the students so well.
TENNIS – With the summer weather upon us it has been great to see increased numbers of students playing tennis. Two weeks ago Mr Braid dusted off the white stubbies and his old Dunlop racquet to take the team to the Western Bay of Plenty Inter-school Tennis Championships for 2018. In total, twenty students represented Aquinas with some fantastic tennis throughout the day. We dominated the doubles and were unlucky not to come away with more medals. However in the Girls Open Grade, Sophie Rogers placed a well deserved Second overall. Well done Sophie.
BIG SING – Late last month our Junior choir performed a programme of 3 pieces at the Big Sing Competition. The performance was outstanding and Aquinas College was awarded the prize for Best Performance of a Popular Song!! With 13 choirs from around the BOP/Waikato region it was a big event. Many thanks to Mrs. Cooney & team for the hours spent putting this team together.
CRICKET – Our team had an excellent win against Taurnaga Intermediate. Read more here:
On Thursday 1 November we celebrated those students who have excelled in Sport at Aquinas College this year. 79 students crossed the stage to receive awards, including five New Zealand Representatives. See a list of all of our Award Winners below:
Y7/8 Team of the Year: Water Polo AIMS Girls
Y9/10 Team of the Year: Water Polo Junior Girls 2017
Senior Team of the Year: Water Polo Senior Boys
Y7/8 Sportsman of the Year: Hugo McCarroll
Y7/8 Sportswoman of the Year: Sarah Edwards
Y9/10 Sportsman of the Year: Jordan Smith
Y9/10 Sportswoman of the Year: Charlotte Watson
Senior Male Sports Performance of the Year: Lochlainn O’Connor
Senior Female Sports Performance of the Year: Briarley Rogers
Senior Sportsman of the Year: Leon Castle
Senior Sportswoman of the Year: Charlotte Mackinnon
The Aquinas Junior Choir travelled to Hamilton on Thursday 25 October to take part in the Kids Sing Event. Thirteen choirs from around the Bay of Plenty performed at the event and the Junior Choir managed to win an award for the best performance of a popular song. They were well received by the audience and did us very proud. A big thank you to Ms. Fahy and Mrs. Cooney for all of their work with the Junior Choir.
Both the Junior Choir and the Kapa Haka represented our College with pride when they performed at the recent St. Mary’s Fireworks Gala. We have held auditions for our 2019 school production, Fiddler on the Roof. The talent was of a very high calibre and we are looking forward to this cast following in the tradition of performing a high quality show. Check out the cast list here: Copy of Cast List
Looking ofr some fun and entertainment these summer holidays? Check out this Christian Adventure Camp for Girls, running from January 19-21, 2019. For more information, visit – www.fernhall.org/summer-camp-2019
The Noel Leeming ‘Friends and Family’ offer runs from 26th November to 2nd December and is open to anyone associated with Catholic schools. The offer is cost plus 7.5% store-wide (excludes IT accessories, PC Software, AV Accessories and PC Consumables). To redeem simply print and present this FLYER (or show it on your device) in store. Open to all staff, students and parents.