May God’s Blessings be upon you all during this holy season.
Kia ora whānau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
2020 has clearly presented some unforeseen challenges, but it has also given us a tremendous opportunity to slow down, pause, and do some deep thinking around our lives, our commitment to things we care deeply about, and our core values. In 2020, We’ve learned how to surrender with grace, whether we wanted to or not. As COVID-19 unfurled, our plans, aspirations and securities were compromised. We had to respond, pivot and innovate. I am immensely proud of our students, staff and community for the way we have collectively responded to these challenges, set-backs, surprises and opportunities that surfaced throughout this year.
I wholeheartedly thank all of our parents and whānau for continuing to support us in our mission to accompany our young people in their academic pursuits, personal growth journeys and faith formation.
Advent comes from the Latin word meaning “coming.” Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. While we typically regard Advent as a joyous season, it is also intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we can become so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity: the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us. Christians are urged to preserve the spiritual focus of Christmas amidst the prevailingly secular and commercialised Christmas season.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, let us strive to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and hope, meditating often on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on flesh of the Virgin Mary. In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase and prepare something for the poor. When we clean our homes, let us distribute some of our possessions to those who lack many necessities. While we are decking the halls of our homes, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts where our Saviour may come to dwell.
The College will be purchasing a new fleet of loan devices in 2021. These devices will continue to be available to any student to loan from the library to ensure no one misses out on learning opportunities as we increasingly leverage technology to support learning and engagement at the College within a BYOD environment.
In purchasing new devices, the College will be offering our community the opportunity to purchase a used Lenovo Yoga laptop for $50. The intention of this initiative is to provide our community with an affordable alternative to purchasing a new device, ensuring equity of access to all. These laptops are between 3-4 years old and were purchased for $750. While the factory warranty on the laptops has expired, they are in good working condition. The laptops have an 11” screen and function as a 2-in-1 device (touch screen with a fold-out function that enables them to be used as a tablet.
There will be 100 devices available for purchase from the beginning of 2021. If you would like to secure one, please contact our IT Manager, Jonathon Persson on email@example.com. Mr Persson will be working until Friday 11th December before taking leave for the summer.
In 2021, we will have three new Deans to support our student’s holistic learning journey at the College. We welcome Mr Myles Reid, Mr Richard Parker and Mrs Maria Rogerson into their new roles and wish them well in their mission to support our students. In wishing these new members of staff well, I must acknowledge the excellent work of Ms. Burrell as Dean to our Year 10 cohort. Ms. Burrell made the decision to not continue in this role from next year, but we are grateful for her contributions to the hearts and minds of our Year 10 students over the last two years. The details of our seven Deans for 2021 are included below for your reference:
Year 7 – Mrs Kate Krauts (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Year 8 – Mr Peter Braid (email@example.com)
Year 9 – Mr Myles Reid (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Year 10 – Mrs Rebecca Holmes (email@example.com)
Year 11 – Mr Richard Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Year 12 – Mrs Maria Rogerson (email@example.com)
Year 13 – Mrs Marlize Greyling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As this newsletter will be our final publication for the year, I share with you some key dates for your planning:
Our Junior Prize-Giving will acknowledge sports, cultural, performing arts, academic and Special Character award winners and is being held on Wednesday 9th December in the College Gymnasium, beginning at 10:00am. Parents, whāuau and community members are warmly invited. We ask that all attendees are seated by 9:45am. Immediately following prize-giving, students will assist in clearing the gymnasium and then attend a final Tutor group meeting for the year. The school day will conclude after this. Buses will leave at this earlier time. Supervision will be available in the library for any students who require it until 3:15pm
26th – 27th January – Student Executive Leadership Retreat
27th – 29th January – Staff only days
29th January – Course confirmation for senior students
2nd February – All Students present (College pōwhiri and Liturgy for new students and families)
2nd April – 6th April – Easter break
16th April – Term 1 Ends
3rd May – Term 2 Starts
18th May – STCA Accord Teacher Only Day
9th July – Kahui Ako Staff Only Day
9th July – Term 2 Ends
26th July – Term 3 Starts
11th August – STCA Accord Teacher Only Day
1st October – Term 3 Ends
18th October – Term 4 Starts
2nd December – STCA Accord Teacher Only Day
14th December – Term 4 Ends
Thank you for your continued support of our College and may God’s Blessings be upon you all during this holy season.
To Him be the glory.
Please fill out your Aquinas College Cookbook ‘From Our Kitchen’ containing an order form to pre-purchase three of the cookbooks at $30 each (pay online or at the office). You can sell to friends, neighbours or relatives. $15 automatically goes into the Aquinas Ampitheatre fund. The remaining $15 provides you with a ‘commission’ which you may allocate to credit your school account, sport/cultural fees or to the Aquinas Ampitheatre fund. It’s a win, win!
The College has been this given a wonderful opportunity by the 2019 PTA and all proceeds from the sale will go towards the ‘Amphitheatre Fund’.