Over 200 people gathered at St Mary’s Immaculate Church on Wednesday 22 November 2017 to celebrate the career of Mr Ray Scott, retiring Principal of Aquinas College.
“I’ve always called it a vocation, rather than a career” reflected Ray in his farewell speech, thanking his wife Kris, and his family for their support over the past 7 years at Aquinas, and prior, as Principal at St. John’s College in Hamilton.
Mass was presided over by Bishop Steve Lowe, assisted by Rev Mark Field, Rev Danny Fraser-Jones, Rev Darren McFarlane and Deacon Vince Shaw. Students and staff of the college took part in the service by reading, offering the gifts and as Eucharistic ministers. The school choir, Voci Celesti, sang an anthem to Mary as a reflection after communion.
During his homily, Bishop Steve drew a parallel with the readings in the way that Ray has given of himself in a lifetime of service to education, while always remaining humble.
“Students describe you as a friend who takes a genuine interest in them – you have never hidden behind the title of Principal.”
At the end of Mass, several speakers gave testimony to the life of service Ray has given to Catholic education in the Hamilton Diocese.
Paul Shannon, the Religious Education Advisor to Secondary Schools, thanked Ray on behalf of the Hamilton Catholic Diocese, noting their delight when he took up the challenge of the role of Principal at St John’s in 1999.
“He embraced the Marist charism of the school and this very much shaped the spiritual foundations of Aquinas when he moved there in 2010”.
Brian Sparrow, a colleague representing the St John’s community called Ray’s leadership ‘inspired’. “You brought an anchored, realistic but accepting and friendly style”.
Terry Consedine, the former Deputy Principal of Aquinas College, thanked God for the many gifts Ray has brought, noting that from their very first meeting, Ray’s quiet, genuine and kind manner which enabled him to connect with students and staff so easily. He outlined his career, including his journey from Linwood High School in Christchurch, to Reporoa College and then Te Puke High School as Head of Department for Science before taking on his first management role at Hamilton Boys’ High School as Assistant Principal. He noted the way Ray has assisted the college to flourish academically after taking over from founding Principal, Mr Brendan Schollum (RIP).
“This is in no small way due to the support and encouragement you have given our Senior Leadership Team and the leaders of our curriculum whose task it is to bring out the best in the teachers who in turn go the extra mile for our students”.
Having played rugby for Canterbury and later being part of the winning New Zealand University Team against the Lions in 1977, Ray maintained a keen interest in both the sporting and cultural development of the college, often showing up ‘on the sideline’ to show his support. He noted in his final address the privilege he felt as Principal in being able to lend his support in this way.
During a shared supper many of the parents, past and current students, staff and members of the wider Catholic community took the opportunity to wish Ray and Kris God’s blessings on their future plans for a long and happy retirement.