Kia ora whānau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
Welcome to the 2020 school year, it has been a positive start, and there’s a real feeling that 2020 will be another great year for our College. Already we have celebrated outstanding sporting events where our athletes competed strongly at Athletics Day and Year 7/8 Swimming Sports. Our faith was nourished at the Diocesan Commissioning Mass, Year 11 Discipleship Class Retreat, and at the recent Parish College Mass. It was terrific to share hospitality with families of our new students at the Welcome Morning Tea as well as at the Year 7/8 BBQ.
Relationships and friendships have been nurtured through the Peer Support programme and at a Pasifika Fono. Much joy was evident at the illustrious Staff vs Year 13 students cricket match, and this week we honoured our 2019 highest performing academic students at Academic Honours Assembly.
In celebrating the start of the new year, I would like to welcome all of our new students and families. I am pleased also to welcome our new staff members for 2020:
Kelly Saunders has been appointed to the position of Leader of Learning Arts. Mrs Saunders comes to us from St Paul’s Collegiate Hamilton, where she successfully taught for 17 years. Mrs Saunders was previously the St Paul’s Collegiate Leader of Curriculum (Arts).
Karen Roche has been appointed as a teacher of Digital Technology and Junior Mathematics. Ms Roche comes to us from Whakatane High School where she was previously a Technology and Mathematics teacher. Ms Roche brings extensive experience and expert programming technical knowledge.
Andrew Duncanson has been appointed as a teacher of Religious Education. Andrew is well known to us as he completed his final teaching practicum with us last year. Andrew graduated from Bethlehem Teaching Institute in 2019 with a B.Ed.
Maree Peterson has been appointed as the Marketing and Communications Manager for the College. Maree has extensive experience and skills around Communications and will work primarily on the College’s website and social media to disburse information to our community.
At the start of the school year, there is always staff who take up new responsibilities, and in this regard, I would particularly like to acknowledge:
Mrs Monique Harris: Permanent Leader of Learning – Religious Education
Mr Leon Roberson: Permanent Assistant Leader of Learning – Religious Education
Mr Mikaere Smith: Head of Future Pathways.
Mrs Natasha Kahle: Future Pathways Assistant
Mrs Kate Krauts: Year 7 Dean
Mrs Rebecca Holmes: Year 9 Dean
Heather Ashton: Teacher of ESOL and Drama.
We have appointed a strong group of Year 13 student leaders again in 2020. The Student Executive supported by the Committee Leaders have begun their year strongly, providing opportunities and leadership for our student body. These groups are profiled in more detail in the Newsletter.
Board of Trustees 2020:
The school this year is pleased to have once again a stable and capable Board made up of the following trustees:
Mr Scott Kahle (Chair)
Mrs Clare Sokimi (Deputy Chair and Proprietor’s Representative)
Fr. Philip Billing (Parish Priest)
Ms Therese Ford-Cartwright (Proprietor’s Representative)
Mrs Amy Rogers (Proprietor’s Representative)
Mrs Cecilia Winters (Proprietor’s Representative)
Ms Colleen Lowe (Elected Parent Representative)
Mr Steve McGregor (Elected Parent Representative)
Mr Chris Phayer (Elected Parent Representative)
Dr Rod Way (Elected Parent Representative)
Mr Matt Dalton (Principal)
Mrs Paula Skelton (Staff Representative)
Mr Zackary McKay (Student Representative)
Mrs Moira Ramsbottom (Board Secretary)
Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting: The Three Pillars of Lent
‘Give alms…Pray to your Father…Fast without a gloomy face…’ (Matthew 6:1-18)
Lent is a special time of giving alms (doing good works), prayer and fasting in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Giving alms, Jesus teaches, means making the needs of others our own, especially the needy of our world. Whatever we offer should be something of ourselves, something that costs us. We will receive blessings from God in return. What shall we give to the needy this lent? In deciding, decide generously. After all, before us is the great alms Jesus gave: He loved us, and gave himself up for us.
Pope Francis said in his Ash Wednesday homily, ‘Lent is also a privileged time for prayer’, He quoted St. Augustine, who described fasting and almsgiving as “the two wings of prayer,” because they are signs of humility and charity.
Prayer offers us all an extraordinary opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism.
In our busy world, Prayer provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns and sins. We should pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do and to be generous to those in need. Fasting is tied closely to almsgiving. Pope Francis says “Fasting makes sense if it chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else if it helps us cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.” During Lent do you think God needs the chocolate, candy, and other trivial things we give up? No. He needs us to look deep within ourselves and reflect. He wants our hearts.
Throughout Lent, as a College, we pray the Angelus every day at 12:00pm. The Angelus reminds us of the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with great (if somewhat startling) news! As we read in Chapter One of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38), God wished Mary, truly a model of humility, to be the mother of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus loved us enough to die for us so that we might live with Him eternally. When we pray the Angelus with humility and love, we are emulating Mary’s faith in His goodness. We are blessed in that we can ask both our Lord God and His Blessed Mother for their assistance on our journey towards Eternal Life!.
NCEA Achievement 2019
As is detailed in this Newsletter, the results that our students achieved in NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship in 2019 were once again outstanding!
Your role as parents in our College community is essential in providing the support to our teachers and obviously, our students in achieving these incredible outcomes.
I strongly encourage you to read through these results, which are disaggregated by gender and ethnicity. While we will continue to be relentless in reducing achievement disparities within gender and ethnicity cohorts, it is pleasing to see significant gains made in this regard. Ultimately, the students from our College, that is ALL cohorts – male, female, Māori, Pacific Peoples, European and Asian continue to outperform local and national groups and we are very proud of them!
Ensuring our students maintain a healthy balance of academic achievement with holistic development, grounded in our Catholic faith continues to be our key focus. We mustn’t lose sight of this in the pursuit of academic achievement.
Thank you to our students and whanau who supported the College-Parish Mass celebrated at St Mary Immaculate church this past Sunday. A special part of this Mass was the blessings bestowed upon the Student Executive. Father Philip prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide their leadership of the College in support of all our students and community.
While we had a good attendance for the Mass, it was considerably less than full school attendance. Every family committed to support and uphold the Special Character of our College during the enrolment of your child(ren). We come together at Mass to celebrate the Eucharist, the source and summit in the Life and Mission of our Church. These opportunities to celebrate together are essential in the life of our College and I ask for your support in this regard.
Term 1 Report Afternoon
We will be holding our Term 1 report afternoon on Monday 6 April. The report afternoon will run from 1:30pm-5:30pm. Bookings are essential and will be made through the School Interviews website. It is essential to come in and connect with your child(ren) ’s teachers to develop strategies so we can work together to ensure your child(ren) reach their full potential. Further booking details will be provided with Term 1 interim reports which will be emailed out in Week 8.
Please note that classes will cease at 12:45pm on this day. Aquinas buses will run at the earlier time of 1:00pm. However, Bus 6 (Omokoroa/Katikati/Waihi) will only travel as far as Bethlehem College and Bus 7 (Matamata) will only travel as far as The Lakes. Bus 10 (Te Puke) is shared with Bethlehem College and as such will need to run as per the normal time, leaving Aquinas College at 3:45pm. Students who travel on Bus 1 will need to catch the bus on Pyes Pa Road and there will be a cost of $1.60 per person.
If your child(ren) require supervision from 12:45pm – 3:15pm on this day, please indicate this by email to Moira Ramsbottom – firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests MUST be made by Wednesday 1st April, to enable appropriate supervision arrangements to be made.
It has been a busy and exciting start to the year, and I encourage you to read all about it in this Newsletter. I extend best wishes to all students, staff and the wider College community for continued success in 2020.
At this year’s Academic Honours Assembly, we were fortunate to have as Guest Speaker, former Aquinas College Head Girl, Olivia Burn [Class of 2011]. Olivia spoke to the students about her journey as a scientist, including her work at the Malaghan Institute researching breast cancer vaccines. Having recently wrapped up her PhD, Olivia also talked about the next stages of her career, including taking up an exciting research position at one of London’s top cancer research institutes. Students were inspired with her down-to-earth approach to the challenges she has faced, her drive and her sense of humour!
Teacher Leon Roberson returned to Aquinas College last week with a refreshed Spirit and a renewed vision for our role in Catholic Education.
The Year 11 Discipleship Religious Education Class has had a great start to the year, experiencing an Encounter Day
This is the theme for Lent 2020. Pope Francis challenges us all to be transformed and renewed by the spirit so that we can…
An initial look at the NCEA results for 2019 indicates that the senior students at Aquinas College have once again performed exceptionally well and have had outstanding success in their studies.
Our students experience leadership opportunities during their schooling, learn to build relationships within teams
The Senior Visual Art classes visited the Tauranga Art Gallery to view the exhibition of leading contemporary artist Kelcy Taratoa.
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ became ‘Much Ado about So Much…! and no-one was disappointed.
The Aquinas College Jazz Band will be performing at the Youth Jazz Festival this Easter!
Aquinas Level 2 Biology students visited the Tauranga Moana and investigating the ecology of the organisms…
Work experience is crucial to many of our students potential and future pathways. If you are a business owner or part of a company
Welcome to everyone in the Aquinas College community. A special welcome to those new families who are just beginning their sporting experience here at the college. We are expecting another busy and rewarding year in 2020 and look forward to continued growth and success over the coming months.
Our year always starts well with the annual school Athletics Day and congratulations to Cluny House for taking top honours with a massive total of 2,413 points!
Competitions for Summer codes are underway, and we’ll bring you full results in the end-of-Term Newsletter.
In Terms 2 & 3 we offer Badminton, Basketball, Football, Gym Sport, Hockey, Netball, Rugby Sport Climbing, Multi-Sport, Squash, Table Tennis – if you haven’t already registered, please go online to do so now.
The School Swimming Sports across all age levels are almost complete for the term, and they too are an excellent opportunity for students to earn valuable House points.
As families, you are all most welcome at the major school-wide events or on the sidelines supporting our students.
Our year always starts well with the annual school Athletics Day and this year was no exception with some vey good performances last Friday.
Mid Term Team sport is well underway and early indications are there will be several teams reaching the podiums by the end of the year.
As we move into mid Term 1 we have a number of students who have gain Regional Representation in their particular sport
Aquinas College is holding a parent information evening around the use of Family Zone. We encourage both students and parents to come to this meeting and learn about this valuable tool. With Family Zone, children won’t miss out on the online fun and learning that’s so much a part of their lives. They’ll simply be shielded from risks and potential harms, with Family Zone strong and flexible parental controls.
We’re excited to release the new 2020 Entertainment Book – with easy digital sign-up this year. Enjoy thousands of exclusive deals and quality offers on dining, shopping, travel, hotels, and activities.
Click here to view the fabulous offers in 2020
Adolescence is a time of growth and development and can be challenging for some.
Our school nurse Ana McFarlane will be conducting health checks on students over the next two terms using the Ministry of Health’s HEEADSSS Assessment tool.
This includes a range of questions relating to home, school, eating, drugs/alcohol, depression, sexuality and safety.
Any health risks identified will have the appropriate support offered to student and family.
If you wish to opt out from having the check done please contact the Nurse on 543 2400 -Ext 241 or email email@example.com
Your Physio is Marijke Sonneveld
Appointments available @ school for your injury rehab and injury prevention education
See the school office for appt requests or phone 07 5779798
Twisted ankle? Out of plaster? Pulled muscle? Sore shoulder? Injured Back?
First appointment no charge. No referral necessary
Your School Physiotherapist can help you www.bayphysiotherapy.co.nz
The 2020 term dates:
Ends Thursday 9th April
Starts Tuesday 28 April
Ends Friday 3 July
Starts Monday 20 July
Ends Friday 25 September
Starts Monday 12 October
Ends Wednesday 9 December* *Dependent on Staff only days
The Aquinas College International Department is seeking new host families for 2020. Host families receive a weekly payment of $265 in return for providing students with 3 meals per day, their own room and pastoral care. For more information please email
We’d love to hear from anyone interested in being a volunteer during the day time as a reader or writer or reader & writer for students sitting assessments. Click here to sign up.
We’re also still accepting donations of Lego. Please leave bag/box at Reception for ‘Learning Centre’.
At Aquinas College we are extremely fortunate to be able to offer the following Itinerant Music Lessons in school time.
There is no cost for the actual lessons but there will be a $15.00 charge to cover folders and music that students receive and may keep. We do have a small number of instruments available to hire. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If your son/daughter would like to take up this fantastic opportunity they can collect an enrolment form from the school office or from Mrs Cooney
Instruments available include;
Strings: Mrs Gardiner Violin, Viola, Cello and Double bass
Woodwind and Saxophone: Ms Martin, Mrs Jones Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Brass: Mr Thomas Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, French Horn, Baritone Horn, Euphonium
Drums and Bass: Mr Barlow
Out of hours beginner Keyboard lessons are also available for Year 7 and 8
Private lessons are also available where fees are paid directly to the tutor for voice and guitar.