The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas.
Kia ora e te whānau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
This will be our last newsletter for the year. As we’ve seen most recently from the cancellations of our Middle School EOTC programmes and how we had to rethink the Senior and Middle School Prizegiving events, the back half of 2021 and the emergence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has presented some considerable logistical challenges for schools. Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We hope 2022 will see us return to greater levels of normality.
Advent is upon us
Beginning the Church’s liturgical year, Advent (from “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays leading up to the celebration of Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas.
Like Lent, the liturgical colour for Advent is purple since both are seasons that prepare us for great feast days. Advent also includes an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting, and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas. During Advent, we’re invited to enter more frequently into silence, into prayer and reflection, into Scripture, and into the sacramental life of the Church, all to prepare for celebrating Christmas.
God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF)
The COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Lights) is leading to significant changes for schools, as it is for the business sector. The following is a summary of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) guidance for schools (as of 2 December):
– If you are sick, you must stay home and get tested.
– Good ventilation.
The importance of student vaccination for access to opportunities outside of the classroom
We know that students who are not vaccinated will have limited access to opportunities outside of school from the beginning of next year. This much has already been signalled, and it will have implications for any student eligible for vaccination who does not have a vaccine pass (or similar evidence of vaccination).
We know that some offsite providers we may use for education outside the classroom activities (or for other events and activities not relating to the curriculum) may choose to implement the use of vaccination certificates. If we are faced with a situation where some students will not be able to participate in offsite curriculum-related activities, we will seek to provide equivalent learning outcomes on-site.
I can also share that School Sport NZ has confirmed that all School Sport NZ sanctioned events in Term 1 2022 (including the term one holidays) will be restricted to fully vaccinated participants aged 12 and over only. Where practicable, this mandate will extend to spectators attending also. This decision will be reviewed post Summer Tournament Week 2022 and take into account the latest Government advice.
While I am concerned about the equity of access these decisions will have for our students, it is the reality we are facing. If your child who is eligible to receive the vaccine is not currently vaccinated, please reflect on how this may impact their opportunities next year if they remain unvaccinated.
In addition to the staff members, I have already advised will be leaving Aquinas College at the end of 2021, I can also share the following staff will be moving on due to promotion, relocation or retirement:
Mrs Bev Wills
Mrs Wills has given 19 years of service to Aquinas College as a foundation staff member. She has been the Librarian for all of this time, setting up and managing the systems for our students to access books and resources to assist their studies. Thank you, Mrs Wills, for your service and commitment to Aquinas College for many years. We wish you well in the next part of your journey.
Mrs Mary Walton
Mrs Walton has been the College’s Accounts Administrator since 2007. A strength of Mrs Walton’s service to the College has been her relationships with our families to support them in their times of need. Mrs Walton’s passion for Catholic education has been steadfast. We wish Mrs Walton well as she moves into her retirement.
Mrs Karin Small
After 15 years of service and two years of voluntary work prior, Mrs Small is retiring from her position in the Library. Mrs Small has been a valuable member of our staff team and a reliable resource in the library and the English faculty in earlier years.
Mr Richard Cameron
Mr Cameron has been appointed to the position of Head of Faculty for Social Sciences at Mount Maunganui College starting in 2022. In the past three years, Mr Cameron has added great value to our Social Sciences faculty, offering skills particularly in the digital field that have provided learning and critical thinking to many staff members. While we will sorely miss him, we congratulate Mr Cameron on his promotion.
Ms Hannah Hobbs
Ms Hobbs has secured a position that oversees Gifted and Talented (GATE) learners at St Peter’s, Cambridge. Ms Hobbs has been Head of Learning Support at Aquinas College for 2 ½ years and has done an outstanding job leading her team and supporting our learners. We will miss her expertise but wish her every blessing for this new appointment.
Ms Anita Boros
This year, Ms Boros has taught in the Mathematics Faculty and is returning to Auckland to be nearer family. We are grateful to Ms Boros for her service this year.
I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to unite and guide each of us in our daily lives. May we always remember to press into the richness and fullness of the gift that is our faith. May the peace of Christ be with you all this Christmas Season.
To Him be the glory.
Mā te Atua tātou e manaaki – May God’s Blessings be upon us all
The College Uniform Shop second-hand uniform sale is on Tuesday January 18, 2022 and opening hours are from 10:00am – 2:00pm. The Sale will operate cashless using either use Eftpos or on account. Numbers may be restricted into the room at any one time.
Stationery can be purchased from Stationery Warehouse, or in-store and online at Bay Office Products & Office Max.