Dear members of the Aquinas College community,
The last few weeks have seen many activities such as Service Day, Aquinas Day and the Performing Arts Night which have shown the spirit that exists among the students, staff & wider community.
Our thanks to all of the families who supported our parish/college masses at St Thomas More and St Mary’s. These are wonderful opportunities for college families to come together to share in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Late in the term our Health Committee have arranged for blood donors to be able to give blood. Most of us have experienced the need for blood, either directly or indirectly, through illness or accident and recognise the importance of this service to our wider community.
During the July break a group of 24 Year 13 students, together with staff, parents and other supporters will travel to Vanuakula, a village inland from Suva in Fiji. The group works on different projects including maintenance and building work needed in the village. All those going have fund-raised to buy the materials needed for the project. All those participating pay their own way. It is a tremendous experience for all those involved and is a great example of ‘in giving you will receive’. Students in the past have returned with quite a different outlook and fresh view on the future. We wish them well.
The following staff changes will occur at the beginning of Term 3: Alison Fitzpatrick will return from her leave in Scotland to her teaching programme. We thank Lis Hannah for the wonderful work she has done over the past year to cover for Alison in the music area. Lis will continue with her Arts Co-ordination work at the college.
Traffic entering and leaving the school continues to be at a high level. Our current system involves holding the car traffic inside the school for a few minutes while the buses leave around 3.25 – 3.30pm. We appreciate the patience people show who are picking up their children at that time. Students bringing their cars have access to parking in the college grounds. However, as part of our safety plan for both traffic and students at the end of the day, we ask that students also wait until buses and parents have left. Again our thanks go to everybody for your patience.
As we come towards the end of the term our congratulations go to the students for their classroom focus during the term and for their level of engagement in the large number of activities outside the classroom. It is impressive to see the range of activities from winter sports to Aquinas Day, to the range of service activities mentioned above. We have a vibrant college community and my thanks also go to the staff and parents for the level of support you are all able to give.
I trust that the July break provides an opportunity for all students and staff to take a well earned break after such a busy term.
Next month we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Holy Mass for the whole school. It is the patronal feast for New Zealand, celebrated on 15th August and is one of only two remaining Holy Days of Obligation in the Church’s calendar (the other is Christmas Day).
On the 18th and 19th of August we are hosting the Chanel Shield Competition. Teams of 15 students from four Catholic secondary school in the Hamilton Diocese meet up for two days of cultural competition and friendship. If you are good at speeches, debating or poetry reading let your teacher know. We also need welcoming families who are willing to billet our visiting students. Please e-mail Mr Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can help in this way.
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
As part of our Special Catholic Character, Aquinas College prides itself on caring for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of our students.
The Ministry of Education has asked all schools to let parents know where to find information to support the mental health and wellbeing of their children and to let you know that the Ministry has recently updated their parents’ website with information about where parents can go to for support and advice if they are concerned about their child’s mental health. Parents are encouraged to regularly check in with their child about how they are doing and the things going on in their lives.
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
Aquinas Day on Monday 26th June was a great celebration of creativity, talent and performance of our students in the college. The day commemorates the Feast Day of the school’s patron Saint, Thomas Aquinas.
The inter-House spirit was very evident in the rotation of activities (including Zumba, House banner creation, tug of war) and the singing and haka competition later in the day. The performance of the haka by the boys in each house on the day (& a combined haka by all the boys) shows the growth in this new tradition in the college, one that we want to continue to encourage and strengthen in the future.
Thanks to the PTA for their support of different activities.
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
To you and me, we’d probably call these ‘retreats’ but the newspeak is all about encountering God in our lives and not necessarily retreating from the world in order to do so!
In Term 2 we held Encounter Days for our Year 11 and 12 students. The Year 11’s took part in a presentation by the Real Talk team. One of the presenters was an ex-student of Aquinas, Sam Brebner. The focus of the day was on relationships, especially in the context of faithful, loving relationships.
The Church’s teaching was presented in an informative, thought-provoking and engaging way.
On 15th August as part of the Options Evening, parents will be invited to a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) presentation to outline the implementation of this for Year 11 students from 2018.
Currently at Aquinas College, there are a number of laptops available for classes to book and also there are three computer labs. We plan to increase the number of school owned devices to allow 1:2 for Years 7-10 by 2020. From 2018 we are introducing a BYOD programme from Year 11 which will result in the majority of Year 11-13 students bringing a device to school by 2020.
Year 13 Business Studies students have been busy running their businesses. As part of the course, students are required to participate in a Dragons Den competition.
The competition is held at the Polytechnic, with 22 student companies from across Bay of Plenty schools competing. Students were required to present a five minute ‘sale pitch’ of their business idea, with an accompanying power point presentation. This was followed by an intense five minutes of questioning from the Dragons (Judges.)
The EPro8 Challenge is an engineering and problem-solving race and competition. Teams compete to build large sized structures, solve practical problems and use pulleys, motors, gears, wheels and axles to invent machines that can complete simple tasks.
Each team of four is based at a workstation with a huge array of equipment and parts to use to solve challenges. There isn’t enough time to solve all the challenges – so strategy is required to know which ones to go for. The harder the challenge, the more points on offer.
Year 13 Economic students recently conducted a field trip to Oceana’s gold and silver mine in Waihi.
As part of their economics course, students are required to study market failure. Students gained realistic insights into a contentious issue. They were able to analyse the positive and negative effects of the mine’s production (e.g dust, noise, water, explosion vibrations). They explored policies and solutions to understand the effects on third parties such as the local residents.
Congratulations to all that took part in the Aquinas College Yr 7 and 8 speech finals. Year 7’s were required to present a demonstration speech where they had to use props and actions to explain how to do something. The winners were Mia Thomas 1st, Poppy Hill 2nd and Anna Tustin 3rd.
Year 8’s presented a persuasive speech where they were required to present an argument and convince the audience of their point of view. The winners were Jacob Sheridan 1st, Riley Elliot-Lowe 2nd and India Mahy 3rd. Thanks to Mrs Guise who assisted with the judging of this tough competition.
Mia and Jacob will now represent the school at the Regional Bay of Plenty finals in September.
Last month, Aquinas College language students competed in the annual Language Perfect World Championships. Competitors from more than 1,300 schools around the world answered more than 200 million questions in just 10 days, creating a huge buzz around language learning.
From the 15th to the 25th of May 2017, students were tested on their language skills, including reading, writing, listening, dictation and cultural knowledge.
They gained points by answering questions and as they reached certain thresholds they earned certificates and went into the draw to win great prizes.
At the end of Term 2 we will sadly farewell seven international students who will be returning to resume schooling in their home countries.
Johanna Willenbrink from Germany, Felipe and Rafael Ferraz and Renan Saab from Brazil, and Minjae Kim, Jimin Lim and Eunvin Oh from Korea.
We wish them well for their return home and thank them for the contribution they have made to the Aquinas community.
60 students wowed an audience of parents, friends and supporters at last week’s Performing Arts Night. Held at Otumoetai Baptist Church, the event showcased the talents of the school choir Voci Celesti, the Concert Band, the Jazz Band and senior drama classes. The event was coordinated by Mrs. Cooney, the Head of Music, who also conducted the two bands. Mrs. Livingstone managed the door entries, Mrs. Fitzpatrick conducted the choir and Mrs Marriner organised the drama item.
ART AND CULTURE
Mau rākau is a form of traditional Māori martial arts and involves a series of skilful moves put to verbal commands and disciplines.
Next Friday, our students have a wonderful opportunity to experience mau rākau with a talented group of young people who are experts in this field, known as ‘Ahorangi Next Generation’.
The programme involves up to a maximum of 50 students from each of the Intermediate, Junior and Senior levels. At the end of the day, students will perform the skills they have learned.
ART AND CULTURE
On Friday 9 June, Voci Celesti travelled to St Peter’s College Cambridge, to compete in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Big Sing Choral Competition. They presented songs from the following categories: New Zealand Composition/Arrangement, Classical Composition and one of their own choosing. Judges’ comments included “You managed good dynamic contrasts, vowel sounds and diction was clear”, “Lovely opening with well blended sound in both parts”, and “an ideal choice for this group. Very effective.” Congratulations to all choir members on a wonderful performance and a very enjoyable day.
ART AND CULTURE
Do you all remember the story of the boy and the starfish? The chaos after the storm. The hopelessness of feeling like we can never make a difference to the thousands of the starfish stranded on the shore. This past month the media has been filled with chaos and we too may feel like we cannot make a difference to the storm.
It’s the power of the ripple effect. Call me a naive optimist but I believe in the power of an individual and the impact of one good deed. A problem that many of us face is that no one appreciates our desire to make a difference and throw the starfish back into the ocean.
The Board of Trustees have a key focus on the appointment process for a new principal of Aquinas College. This will be potentially the single most important Board decision during the term of many current members. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide information on the process currently underway.
PTA is delighted to have been involved in supporting this year’s Aquinas Day celebrations. PTA sponsored the Zumba instructor who provided a huge amount of fun and joy on the day. PTA also provided a sausage sizzle at lunchtime which was the most successful one we have run to date so thank you to the students who supported both the Zumba and the sausage sizzle. Thank you also to Taylor Brothers who sponsored 700 pebbles that were painted by the students on the day.
Term 3 is looking to be another busy term of sport. Teams and individuals have been announced for the 2017 AIMS Games which will be held 10 – 15 September 2017. Once again a good number of students will represent the college at this major sporting event and we wish them all the very best in their efforts to win medals. We are very fortunate that our students have this opportunity thanks to our volunteer coaches and managers who take time off work in order to make this possible. We are very appreciative of your generosity.
Congratulations to Blair Bromwich who placed 3rd at the North Island Wrestling Championships in Katikati last weekend.
Blair won a bronze meal in the 47kg weight group.
In Term 3, Blair will compete in the New Zealand Nationals. Good luck!
There were some impressive results from the Western Bay Of Plenty Schools Gymsport Festival held at Argos on June 9th, 2017.
Congratulations to the following students who represented Aquinas College in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampolining.
Recently Aquinas College student Ella Akkerman travelled to Wellington to represent the Bay of Plenty by competing in the Volleyball NZ National Inter-Provincial Championships (IPC).
Ella was awarded a Bronze Medal from Volleyball NZ in the Under 17 Development Women Division.
We also wish Ella all the best for her upcoming trip to the Youth Commonwealth Games.
Mindful of the increased importance employers and the government are placing on Health and Safety in the workplace, Gateway held two OSH (Occupational Health and Safety) courses for students during June, with students gaining a total of 23 NCEA credits by taking part.
Now is the time to be applying for scholarships and accommodation for next year.
2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga. The school began in September 1942, managed and staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came from Ireland. To celebrate this significant event a reunion weekend is planned for 22 – 24 September 2017. If you know of someone who attended, or had an association with St Mary’s School during these 75 years please let them know about the reunion. Visit www.stmarystga.school.nz to register your interest.
Congratulations to former student Jemma Bridge who has attained her Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Linguistics at Waikato University.
She is currently working on her Masters of Speech Language Therapy Pathology at Canterbury University.
Awesome achievement Jemma – your Aquinas family are very proud of you.
If a student is going to be away from school, or needs to leave the school grounds, a message can be left on the absence line 24 hours a day.
This is cleared each morning by the attendance officer. Please leave your child’s name, year level and a brief reason for the absence.
If your child is going to be away for 3 days or more please email or write to the Principal. This is a Ministry of Education requirement.
Earlier in the term, we contacted parents to comment on proposed changes to the School Hopper bus network. The changes potentially would have a large negative impact on transport options for students.
The response from our Aquinas College Community has been fantastic. We had over 100 submissions to the ‘Drive Change’ Consultation, Christina Nicolaas contributed to Council meetings with her Year 13 Sociology Class, Lee-Ann Taylor, Chair of the PTA spoke on behalf of the school and a number of members of the school community added their signatures to the petition submitted to the council.
Under the ‘Bins for Better Schools’ initiative, Waste Management will give Aquinas College $2 per month if families sign up for a 12-month waste management subscription.
The school will use this money to fund trips and equipment for the benefit of students.
For more info or to sign up call 0800 10 10 10.