Talofa lava tagata uma.
As we are nearing the end of Samoan language week, it is appropriate to extend my greetings to you in Samoan. We have made a busy and successful start to Term 2. My focus for this newsletter is to bring a number key matters in to focus for our College community.
Collaboration between teachers and families is fundamental to achieving the best possible learning outcomes for all our students. We appreciate your support in encouraging students to wear their uniform with pride, follow school policies and model behaviour in line with our Touchstones. A perfect example of this was Service Day which saw groups representing the College out in our community, sharing their love and care with others through faith and action. When our students are present in the lives of others like this, we truly celebrate our Special Character.
Pentecost Sunday (June 9th): “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit!”
Sunday June 9th is Pentecost. Essentially the celebration of the birthday of the Catholic Church.
The gift of Pentecost – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual gifts and blessings of God – are made possible through the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The word Pentecost is Greek and it means “50th day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers, and the beginning of their earthly ministry.
After his death and resurrection Jesus promised to give his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. He said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit! (John 20:22) Jesus knew that his disciples would need the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to them.
After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples did not stay in the room basking in God’s glory but burst out to tell the world. This was the beginning of the Church as we know it.
Pope Francis’s offers this relative to mission: The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. Pope Francis challenges us to ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? As members of this faith community we are called to this mission.
Catholic Schools’ Day
Catholic Schools’ Day is fast approaching, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate and be proud of who we are to our communities. We are celebrating Catholic Schools’ Day on June 12th with St. Mary’s School and St. Thomas More School. This year’s theme is “Extending Christ’s Call to love, to be, to do”. We are very much looking forward to hosting our two Catholic primary schools so we can celebrate as a faith community alongside our Parish Priests and Bishop Steve. A Mihi Whakatau will be held in the College gymnasium at 9:40am followed by the Mass of the Spirit where we will also celebrate our 17 students who through our Sacramental Programme will receive the blessed sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion. Parents and whānau are warmly invited to attend.
Parish School Mass
Thanks to those families who supported our Parish School Mass at St Thomas More this past weekend. It is a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate the Mass, which is at the centre of our faith. It is here where we pray as a community and experience Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist.
We are expecting a large turnout to the Mass on 23rd June at St Mary Immaculate Church from our families who live on this side of town. These Masses are an opportunity for us all to be authentic to the core of what we are about as a College. It continues to be my expectation that all of our students (in full school uniform), with their families, attend one of these Masses. This is a commitment you all made through enrolment and is an important part of supporting the Special Character of the College.
Fiddler on the Roof
I offer my unconditional thanks and praise to the staff, students, whānau and sponsors who contributed and supported our wonderful College production – Fiddler on the Roof. The commitment required to deliver a show on this scale is significant and takes a toll on all involved. I thank everyone for this commitment which provided our students with a wonderful platform to shine and receive consistently glowing reviews in the process. Read more about Fiddler in the newsletter.
NCEA Change Package
The Government has recently announced the NCEA change package. The significant decisions announced that will impact NCEA going forward are:
I had the opportunity to represent Aquinas College at the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand Conference this week. Opinion about these proposed changes amongst Principals are varying and this largely depends on the micro view leaders have about the implications for their learners in their schools or our own individual values we hold about education. I believe we have a responsibility as leaders of this sector to take a wider view of whether these changes will work toward addressing the equity issue in our country. I worry from what has been announced so far that we are at risk of losing flexibility in our assessment framework and that these changes will not support our aspirations to deliver more equitable outcomes for all learners. The Ministry of Education has advised they plan a series of engagements over the next few months throughout the regions. I will be engaging in this space to seek clarification in the areas that are left somewhat vague currently.
NZQA Fees Refund
The Minister of Education has announced that families of secondary students will no longer have to pay fees to enter NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship. While unanticipated, we welcome this announcement as this change removes financial barriers and ensure all the credits received towards NCEA will be visible in a student’s Record of Achievement. For all payments already made to the College this year towards NZQA fees, we will be transferring this back into credit on your child(ren)’s account. This credit will go towards any outstanding fees or be applied as a credit if there is nothing outstanding. If you however prefer a refund of this amount, a request can be made to Mrs Walton in the office – (email@example.com).
Teacher Industrial Action
Following on from my email earlier this week, I wanted to offer some perspective on the ongoing PPTA negotiations with the Government. As Principal, I am not covered by the Secondary Teacher’s Collective Agreement, so can comment objectively on this situation. I have to say from the outset that I support what the teachers’ union (PPTA) is trying to achieve through their negotiations with the Government. To have experienced what was the largest scale teaching industrial action in New Zealand’s history on Wednesday demonstrates that our country’s educators are united and resolute in their commitment to achieving improved pay, time and support for learning needs. One of the major issues facing our profession is the significantly declining numbers of young people entering the profession (from 1200 to 700 a year). I listened to the Minister of Education speak at conference this week and he detailed that currently 20% of those entering teacher training decide to leave the profession before even entering a classroom. Couple this with the fact that the PPTA has reported “nearly half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years”, we have a recipe for disaster.
Teaching has become an increasingly complex and time consuming profession. I can assure you that teaching is not the 9am-3pm profession which benefits from 12 weeks holiday per year as it has sometimes been positioned as. Our teachers today are tasked with preparing and delivering lessons that are differentiated to meet the needs of diverse learners within authentic and responsive contexts for learning. They are tasked with remaining current in terms of educational research to ensure they provide the best possible outcomes for all of their learners. Teachers today also face increasingly complex social, behavioural and learning needs from the young people in our country.
We have wonderful teachers here at Aquinas College who work extremely hard within the classroom and for many, contribute a significant amount of goodwill outside the classroom to deliver the best opportunities to our students. They are hard-working professionals, conscientious and focused on growing your children into good young men and women committed to the service of others, and ensuring they are equipped with the competencies to contribute and achieve in society along with the academic qualifications to access the workforce, a career, or tertiary education. They need our support at this time.
In the coming weeks we will be seeking student and whanau feedback in a range of areas. We will be sending links to surveys via email. While I appreciate these surveys can take time to complete, it is important for you to have the opportunity to be consulted in these areas to enable us to make informed, measured decisions which serve our community best.
Ia soifua ma ia manuia. tōfā soifūa
Board of Trustee elections are upon us. Please take the time to read the statements from the 8 nominees: Nominee Statements
The Board of Trustees is the group responsible for the governance of the school. It oversees matters relating to personnel, curriculum, property, finance, employment of staff, and the College’s strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students.
Nominations for the Board of Trustee elections have now closed and you will soon see voting papers turning up in your mailboxes.
Please take the time to read each nominee statement and vote accordingly. You can vote for up to 5 parent trustees.
Voting papers (whether postal or hand-delivered) need to be received at the College by noon on Friday 7th June 2019 to be counted as valid.
Please make sure there is only one voting form in the envelope and that it is sealed.
Voting closes Noon Friday 7th June.
Any questions to the Returning Officer: Awanga McGeady on firstname.lastname@example.org
2020 enrolment applications opened 29th May 2019 and will close on Friday 5th July. The process begins with an online registration which can be accessed from the College website https://www.aquinas.school.nz/information/enrolments/
If you or whanau/friends are considering applying for enrolment at Aquinas College in 2020 they are encouraged to submit an application during this timeframe. Enrolment numbers continue to be a challenge at the College and after 5th July there we are anticipating there will be limited places available.
Please do not hesitate to contact Moira Ramsbottom at the College email email@example.com or DDI: 543 9032 if at any time you have any queries or need help with the enrolment process.
Our annual Service Day was held on Thursday, the 23rd of May. This year all students, from Year 7 to 13, were encouraged to go out into our local community and to seek opportunities for service. Students were actively engaged in a range of activities from helping the elderly, preparing meals, to planting trees and participating in environmental clean-ups. This is a unique day in the Aquinas College calendar and allows students to take on another’s perspective and to act as Christ to others. We are blessed as a Catholic community to be able to set this time aside to inspire others through small acts of kindness and to share the gifts of the Holy Spirit with our local community. This is what we are called to do, service is central to our mission as Christians and is a Touchstone of our College. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see many examples of the compassion and care he showed to the poor and vulnerable. We hear how Jesus upheld the human dignity of others and sought to live in a community, which focused on the common good of all.
Today, we need to follow Jesus’ example of caring for others and taking up his cross as a humble and faithful servant. In the words of St Theresa of Avila, “Christ has no body now but yours, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”
Shoes are something that most of us take for granted and we don’t know the struggle that other people have going without shoes. At Aquinas College we are fortunate enough to have shoes to keep our feet warm, but there are children in Tauranga going to school in bare feet, on cold frosty mornings.
On the 10th of April 20 students, four members of staff from Aquinas College, and Father Prakash participated in the annual Cross Walk, covering 18 kilometres on foot from St Thomas More to Aquinas in preparation for Holy Week. In pairs, we took it in turns to carry the cross making our way down Matapihi and through town to Saint Mary’s school then on to Aquinas College, stopping 14 times along the way to pray the Stations of the Cross.
We currently have a group of Year 7-9 students participating in our Sacramental Programme. Mr Hesqua is leading these young people on a journey through our Catholic faith in all its richness and vitality. Through the Sacramental Programme they are coming to see how the sacraments, prayer, and discipleship are the keys to a happy life. Please keep this group of students in your prayers.
Incredibly, we are almost one third of the way through the senior academic year. All students should be well underway with internal assessments and have a number of results from standards already completed.
Remember that a student needs to gain 50 credits at Excellence for a certificate endorsed with Excellence. If a student gains 50 credits at Merit (or Excellence) then they are awarded their certificate with a merit endorsement. Students can also gain subject endorsements by gaining 14 credits (of which at least 3 must be external and at least 3 must be internal) at Merit or Excellence. Information on endorsements can be found on the NZQA website at:
Do check up on your child’s progress.
SCHOOL ANNUAL CHESS TOURNAMENT
The annual school chess tournament was well supported, with around 80 students competing during lunchtimes in Term One. Some games were short and others were tense and exciting, taking several sessions to reach a conclusion. It was great to see students come and have a go, gaining points for their house. This year we also had a record number of girls entering which was pleasing to see.
International students are learning that being part of Aquinas College means having a whole lot of fun at school! This Term they have taken part in lots of events including Fiddler on the Roof, Funky Tie / Wacky Hair Day, Pink Shirt Day, Cross Country and Service Day.
The whole department travelled into Bay Court to support the school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Our talented Yr. 12 musician, Madoka was part of the Orchestra.
London International Science Forum and CERN Discovery Programme.
Four Year 13 students are heading to Europe at the end of the July school holidays to take part in the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF). Amy Bewsher, Issie Dekker, Georgia Jones, and Jessica Thomas will spend two weeks based at Imperial College London. They will join 500, 16 – 21 year old students from 70 countries around the world and have opportunities to gain a deeper insight into Science and its applications for the benefit of mankind through participation in lectures, workshops and field trips in and around London.
Over the past couple of months, a group of year 11 and 12 Business and Digital Tech students have begun a huge fundraising campaign for their upcoming trip to the United States in April school holidays in 2020. Check out the website here for more info. (https://sites.google.com/view/aquinasusatour/)
During the trip we will visit multi-million-dollar businesses such as Apple, Google and Facebook to further our knowledge on the aspects of business and digital technology.
Year 10 Humanities Hangi
The Social Studies Department is excited to announce that Year 10 students will participate in the inaugural Humanities Hangi on Friday 14th June. At the conclusion of Matariki week and marking the end of the Year 10 investigation into the Treaty of Waitangi and the Battles for Tauranga, this communal celebration of learning represents an exciting cultural and social opportunity for students and whanau alike.
We are pleased to have a number of guests joining us from our extended community and would like to extend this invitation to all Year 10 parents and grandparents.
By Phoebe Watson and Molly Flynn
Aquinas College 1 – Phoebe Watson, Molly Flynn (Year 8), Monique Faire and Beth Mosley (Year 7).
Aquinas enters the Kids Lit Quiz every year, just for fun. We have never won not until now. Us, Aquinas College 1 were the first Aquinas team to win the regional heat of the Lit Quiz.
There were 10 rounds of 10 questions. No team knew the categories of each round before they arrived at Tauranga Intermediate for the Quiz.
Our production for 2019 was Fiddler on the Roof and was on stage at Baycourt Theatre from May 9 – 11.
A cast of 50 plus students, staff and a crew of many more, presented a professional show which was enjoyed by all. The talent of students involved was exceptional and the memories will be treasured for many years to come.
Special thanks to all who were involved in making this incredible experience available for the students of Aquinas.
A big thank you to our sponsors
Cast and Crew
The success of Fiddler on the Roof performances involved many hours of practice and preparation from a dedicated team. Thanks to the expertise of production personnel.
Behind the Scenes
The success of any stage show relies on an equal amount of expertise behind the scenes. While the cast, crew and musicians were meeting for their hours of practices and rehearsals there were other groups filling the additional criteria.
Welcome to Winter Sports Season!
Now our Summer Sports have come to an end, we get into all of our winter codes. Term 2 and 3 are always busy with majority of our students participating in Winter Sports. Check out how our teams have all started below.
We also had many students who have achieved some awesome things over the Holidays and the start of Term 2.
The AIMS GAMES are always a highlight for our Y7/8 Students. Over the next few weeks we will be starting to organise our teams. Trials may be held if necessary, so please ensure your children are listening out to the notices. Teams will be organised by the end of Week 6. So watch this space if you registered your child.
Have a great Term and we look forward to seeing you out on the field or on the court this winter.
Over the holidays we had many students achieving some great sporting results in Canoe Slalom, Swimming, Wrestling and Squash. Please do share with us your child’s sporting achievements as we do not always hear about everything. Details and photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday 17 May saw a large cohort of students running the Annual Aquinas Cross Country Championships. Have a look here for all the results and photos of the day.
It has been a busy start to the season for all of our Winter Sports teams. There are many sports teams playing most nights of the week if you want to head down and support any of our teams. Monday you can watch Y7/8 Basketball and Girls 2nd XI Hockey. Tuesday is when you will see our Boys 2nd XI Hockey Team. Wednesday is a busy day with Girls 1st Hockey and all Year 9-13 basketball teams playing. a break on Thursday to come back Friday evening to check out all Year 7/8 hockey teams and our year 9-13 Netball girls down at the Harbourside Courts. Round out the week with Saturday morning Netball, Football and Rugby on around the Bay.
Aquinas College PTA – Beats by Bingo Evening – Saturday June 29th
This year our main mid-year event will be a Bingo Beats night of music from your favourite genre. We have been lucky to secure the best musical bingo show around! Instead of numbers on your bingo card, its song titles with different genres like Rock, Kiwi, 80s, 90’s and more. You can win great prizes and dance the night away to your old favourites.
• Mark Saturday 29 June in your diary, 7pm-12
• Look out for our promotion of ticket sales soon
• Tables of 8-10 on sale and individual tickets
• Opportunity for corporate tables
• Plenty of opportunity for clubs and codes to fundraise
If you have prizes to donate for our bingo night auctions please let us know, these would be much appreciated to help us or clubs to fundraise. If we have many people giving a little we can achieve a lot. For all enquiries email: email@example.com
Recent PTA Support
We were proud to sponsor the Fiddler on the Roof show which involved 75+ students. The production was an amazing showcase of creative talent in the school and congratulations to all involved.
PTA supported the Zumba on Pink Shirt Day. The initiative to stop bullying and to be a kind and inclusive school community is one that closely aligns with what the PTA is all about. We were pleased to be able to fund some fun for everyone to join in on.
Congrats to all who completed the cross country – we hope you enjoyed the Juicies we supplied.
Please support this fundraiser by buying the book that comes home in the schoolbag or returning the book and signing up online. Details are included in the pack that will have recently arrived home with your eldest child.
Next PTA Meeting
The next PTA next meeting is being held on Tuesday 4th June at 5pm in the staffroom.
Join our PTA Committee or become a Friend of the PTA
We are looking for new committee members and ‘PTA Friends’. We have our regular meetings that committee members attend around twice per term and our ‘friends’ help us out with our events. We’d love to have you join us so come along or email us to find out more.
We have a new Food Truck, selling sandwiches, sushi and Thai street food.
Follow this LINK to view the menu for the new food truck, effective from the start of term 2.
Please follow this LINK for the 2019 Term Dates and holidays.
Aquinas College will be welcoming fifteen Year 7 and 8 International Students from China for a stay of 4 weeks this July. If you have a spare room and would be interested in hosting one of these students, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be paid a weekly board to cover the provision of 3 meals a day, accommodation and expenses.
Every Wednesday lunchtime in Room 13.
Come and get one-on-one support from a Science Teacher ?
Your Physio is
Appointments available @ school for your injury rehab and injury prevention education
See the school office for appointment requests
Or phone 07 5779798
Twisted ankle? Out of plaster? Pulled muscle?
Sore shoulder? Injured Back?
Your first appointment is at no charge. No referral necessary
Your School Physiotherapist can help you
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 email@example.com
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, 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
Other instruments may be available upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of hours beginner Keyboard lessons are also available Year 7 and 8 students.
Private lessons are also available where fees are paid directly to the tutor for voice, Upton Drum School and guitar.
Guitar Sean Bodley 021 02489460 email@example.com
Voice Glenese Blake 027 4913386 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact the above tutors directly re lessons. Fees are paid directly to them.