Dear Parents, caregivers, students & supporters of the college,
Welcome back to Term 2. I trust that the students have had a restful break, enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather and returned refreshed, ready for the challenges of the new term. Students should now be in winter uniform & we ask that they continue to wear their uniform with pride and in the correct manner.
During the break we were very well represented at the ANZAC Day Memorial Park Service in Tauranga by several of our Year 12 & 13 students and staff. ANZAC Day on April 25th provides us with an opportunity to remember those New Zealand men & women who have given their lives in the service of their country, to protect and continue our way of life. Their sacrifice leaves us with the responsibility to live our lives fully, to strive to give our best in all things & to live out the Christian message of hope and love.
We step back into a very busy Term 2 with our musical production of Bugsy Malone occurring in Week 2 of the term (11 – 13 May). I encourage all in our community to support what will be an excellent production at Baycourt.
NCEA results from 2016: At the first assembly this term I congratulated the students and staff on the excellent results that we gained in NCEA last year. During the break the NZ Herald picked up on the release of the final NCEA results for 2016. Aquinas College was placed second in terms of pass rates for NCEA Level 2 (second to St Mary’s in Auckland) for Decile 8 schools, so we were the leading co-education school in the country for this group of schools. The Level 2 NCEA is seen as the minimum qualification needed for a student leaving secondary school. While it is only a single piece of data it is still an indication of the excellent work being done by all involved in the school community – students, staff and families. We can also be very proud of the level of student results at all levels of NCEA, both in terms of pass rates and the Merit & Excellence endorsements of their NCEA qualifications. The touchstone of “Scholarship” is certainly a strong point in the college.
I also reminded students that as a Catholic College we are keen to foster a holistic education for our students, We aim to encourage the development of the whole person – spiritual, academic, sporting, cultural and social. In that regard the touchstone of “Service” is one that will be an important focus for us this term as we prepare for our “Service Day” on Thursday 25th May. All Year 9 – 13 students have been asked to involve themselves in significant acts of service on that day. Staff will also be involved and assisting with different groups. Year 7 & 8 students, as we did last year, will be at school doing activities with a service focus.
Staff Changes: We welcomed back at the start of the term Mrs Kate Krauts who has returned from her maternity leave. She takes over the class from Mr Simon Finnimore who has taken up his new role at Katikati College.
Winter Sports Programme: Sport is an important aspect of college life for a large percentage of our students. Teams are beginning their winter sports programme from the start of the term. They should have registered for their sport by now but if there are some who still wish to be included in an activity please contact Dannaka Dorrington, firstname.lastname@example.org, our Sports Co-ordinator, to get the necessary information. I have reminded all students of the Fairplay Sports Charter. This is a set of simple rules for players, coaches, managers and supporters that focus on respect for all involved, sensible behaviour and enjoyment of their involvement in these activities.
The key points of the Charter are that we should enjoy ourselves, play within the rules, respect the referees and umpires, respect the opposition and their supporters, be gracious winners and dignified losers and play hard but play fair. I also ask all parents and supporters to follow this charter which allows our students to “play hard but play fair”.
We concluded Term 1 with a whole-school liturgy, held in the Aquinas Action Centre. Mr Scott and Mr Kennedy modeled servant leadership by carrying out the ‘washing of feet’ of twelve students, just as Jesus had done.
We heard the story of the passion and death of Jesus and students spent time venerating the cross. It is so important that we recall the events of Holy Week each year in preparation for the great feast of Easter.
Of course, it’s also important to rejoice in the Resurrection! Christ is risen, Alleluia!
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
One of our touchstones is Service. Each year we set aside a special day so that we can all be of service to those in need. This year it is on 25th May. All of our Year 9 – 13 students are asked to find an organisation or individual that needs their help and to spend at least 4 hours helping out in the community. We get so much positive feedback each year about our willing, caring and giving students. Some people express surprise at teenagers helping out, but it’s no surprise to us. We know that our students are blessed with generous hearts. If you know of someone in need, or are part of a charitable organisation, please get in touch with Mr Shaw (email@example.com).
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
Reflecting on that other journey that Christ made to his Passion and Death some two thousand years ago, 24 intrepid senior students made our annual Cross Walk on the Tuesday of Holy Week.
Our students took turns carrying a large wooden cross from St Thomas More Church at Mount Maunganui, across the Matapihi rail bridge to the centre of Tauranga.
They then proceeded out to Aquinas College, stopping at St Mary’s Primary School.
Along the way, the students prayed the Stations of the Cross and gave witness to their faith.
SPECIAL CATHOLIC CHARACTER
Pentecost is the celebration of the birthday of the Catholic Church. To mark this special day on the Church calendar, there will be a Mass held at Aquinas College. All our community and whanau are welcome to attend at 10.15am on Thursday 1st June in the Aquinas Action Centre.
The feast of Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter to mark the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. This was the start of their ministry to go forth and make disciples of all nations.
At Pentecost the Apostles and their followers were gathered in a room. A great wind blew and a flame appeared like a tongue of fire upon the heads of those present. The people began to speak the word of God in many languages and everyone was able to understand each other.
After three months of rehearsals, the 83 cast and crew of Aquinas College’s Bugsy Malone production are rearing to go. The show, based on the hugely popular 1970’s musical gangster film starring Scott Biao/Jodie Foster, opens at Tauranga’s Baycourt Theatre this Thursday.
Busgy Malone is a triple treat; an all singing, all dancing, all acting extravaganza. Bugsy, played by Year 11 student Michael Graham, is supported by Aquinas College Head Girl Millie Elliott as Blousy and Jessica Robinson in the role of Tallulah.
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.
All Year 9 and 10 students are part of the REACH (Recognising Achievement at Aquinas College) academic programme at Aquinas College. This operates like a junior diploma where each subject contributes points towards a grand REACH total. The type of certificate awarded at the end of the year depends on the total number of REACH points that have been earned through assessments during the year. Certificate of Excellence requires 160 points, Certificate of Merit requires 120 points, Certificate of Achievement requires 80 points, Certificate of Completion requires 40 points.
Each REACH assessment is worth a maximum of 4 points. Points are awarded as follows: 4 points – Achieved with Excellence, 3 points – Achieved with Merit, 2 points – Achieved
1 point – Working towards Achieved, 0 points – Insufficient evidence of achievement
All students will receive an update of their REACH points to date at year level assemblies in week 4.
My goggles have been a new addition to my school uniform this year. The scandal at Wellington Boys’ College and the Trump Protests juxtaposed with the celebration of International Women’s Day had them super-glued to my face. You may not have heard of the concept, feminist goggles? Once you put them on, they don’t come off, you’ll see the world through the bell jar.
Sadly due to the current stigma around feminism, people are wary to identify with it as it seems to have aggressive connotations. On a simplistic level, it’s the belief that men and women should be equal, not the same, equal. Although I am but a secondary school student with little life experience I cannot attest to enduring any of these gender issues in the ‘real world’. However, I do know how these issues exist in the daily lives of teenagers and the impact it has.
To help parents and students monitor their progress, NZQA have developed two apps for mobiles. The Student App helps students plan their NCEA study programme, set goals and track their progress.
Students were involved in the design of the App from the beginning and chose the functions that were of most value to them.
Functionality provides students with the ability to select and set their NCEA credit goals and targets, see how they are tracking towards NCEA Levels and to set reminders for each standard such as when assignments are due.
There is also an app for parents and caregivers. Information about this app is available by clicking the link below. Student results may also be accessed via the school portal.
The Aquinas Sport Board are hosting an information-sharing presentation on Wednesday 24 May from 6.30 – 7.30pm in the school library. Following the Sports Review conducted last year by Sport Bay of Plenty, the Aquinas Sport Board invite all those interested in knowing about the future direction of sport at Aquinas College to come along. Representatives from sporting codes, Teachers-in-Charge of sporting codes, members of the Aquinas Sport Board, members of the Aquinas Board of Trustees, representatives from Sport Bay of Plenty have all been invited to attend this evening. Interested parents are welcome to attend the evening – it would be great to welcome you there.
For students attending outdoor adventure activities over the winter, Kathmandu is offering an exclusive promotion to Aquinas families on Thursday 18 May. Click here for more information or to to print off the voucher.
For information about all the different sports that students can take part in, please click the link below.
Ella Akkerman, a Year 13 student from Aquinas College, has been selected into the New Zealand Youth Commonwealth Games Team to compete in the Bahamas this July.
Ella and her partner Jasmine will represent New Zealand playing Beach Volleyball.
We wish them all the very best.
Congratulations to Max van der Zalm (Year 13) on his incredible results in windsurfing this year.
All Max’s hard work and training has resulted in his selection to the Pathway to Podium programme by Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand and Yachting New Zealand.
Max’s aim this year is being selected for the Youth Worlds in China 2017 and the Youth Olympics in Argentina 2018. Well done Max!
Congratulations to the Senior A Boys Water polo team who were awarded second place at the recent New Zealand Secondary Schools Water Polo Nationals held in Wellington.
Josef Schuler and Gabriel Orchard were named in the New Zealand Tournament team.
The team is coached by Joe Bensley and Kellie Low is manager. Great work boys. This is an outstanding result.
This is an opportunity for our school community to take a stand together and speak up to stop bullying. Pink shirt day is a whole lot of fun where we strongly encourage every student, parent and staff member to wear a pink shirt and support the nationwide cause to promote young people’s mental health and wellbeing and celebrate diversity, acceptance and inclusion. The PTA are backing ‘pink shirt day’ at Aquinas and there will be a treat for each student who wears a pink shirt, plus some other fun activities and giveaways on the Friday. If you don’t have a pink shirt hopefully you have time to borrow one or head to an op shop for a great 2nd hand purchase. Click here to purchase the official ‘pink shirt’ available for $25 from Mr Vintage with 25% off the cost going back to the mental health foundation.
There’s lots happening in the Careers Department in May:
9th May Tertiary Awareness Day
12th May WINTEC Open Day
19th May Waikato University Open Day
26th May Toi Ohomai Open Day
To get the most out of their time at school, students need to set goals and work towards achieving them. For some this is relatively easy; they might have a good idea of what they want to once they leave school.
You’re invited to the Aquinas College PTA Comedy Bingo Night on Saturday June 10th. This is our main mid-year event.
We have been lucky to secure New Zealand’s original comedy bingo show – It’s bingo but not as your Nana knows it!
If you have auctions prizes to donate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Yr 10 students Baxter Blair, Charles Prosser, Samuel Cowan and William Vincent on winning Runner-up in the Mash Up Innovation Competition this weekend. The boys worked on a project to launch an app called ‘Bus-y’ that allows students to manage their use of the bus by checking delays, ETA’s and even buy tickets. The original idea was developed as part of the school’s GATE (Gifted and Talented Extension) programme together with Danielle Symes and Hannah McGreggor.
The Second-Hand Uniform shop is open every Tuesday from 1:00 to 3.30pm during term time. Now that winter has arrived, we are in need of school ties, girls’ winter blouses, girls’ cardigans, girls’ junior skirts, boys’ junior winter shirts (sizes large and medium) and boys’ senior winter shirts (all sizes except XS and S). To sell your old uniforms, visit the school website and complete the online forms, prior to handing in items for sale. We ask that items are washed, ironed and without rips or stains. We no longer accept the old style PE uniforms. Please e-mail Pamdemello2002@yahoo.com.au with any questions.
Congratulations to former student, Marion D’Cruz who has achieved a First Class Honours in her Bachelor of Management Studies degree.
Marion is very grateful for all we did for her here at Aquinas College. Staff and students all wish her every success in her working career.
Following recent flooding in the Bay of Plenty town of Edgecumbe, student executive coordinated a Mufti Day last Friday.
The event was well supported with $1,000 raised.
The funds have been donated to Edgecumbe College for distribution to families in need, enabling them to feel Christ’s love in action.