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 few 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 of others through faith and action. When our students are present in the lives of others like this, we truly celebrate our Special Character.
Aquinas College Student Mass Times
You are warmly invited to attend our Term Two Aquinas College Student Masses. This is a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate 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.
St Thomas More Church Mass at 9.30 am, Sunday 10th of June
St Mary’s Immaculate Church Mass at 10.30 am, Sunday 17th of June
In line with the College’s Annual Plan, we are undertaking a Curriculum Review for Yrs. 7 – 10. The removal of National Standards has given us the opportunity to reconsider our curriculum with a view to developing a coherent and vibrant learning journey for our students in the junior school. We have a curriculum review working group who have initiated this process alongside our Director of Curriculum, Mr Fraser Graham. As we seek to develop connected, creative, discerning and resilient life-long learners, we invite parents, students, staff and our wider community to take the time to share their views on what areas we should be focusing on. The survey link is below, and I strongly encourage you to contribute before Friday the 8th of June. Your feedback is valued.
Amendment to Uniform Rules
Recently I updated our College community of the adjustments made to the appearance guidelines and the option for girls to wear the school jersey. I can now advise that after considerable consultation and feedback, the Board of Trustees has approved a change to the uniform list which reflects girls being offered the opportunity to wear navy shorts (Yrs. 7-11) and navy trousers (Yrs. 12-13) as part of the winter uniform. In summer, girls from Yrs. 7-13 will have the option to wear shorts. Female shorts and trousers will be in stock at New Zealand Uniforms from Monday June 11th. Only these approved garments are permitted. At this time, the Uniform Policy will be updated to reflect these changes.
I am pleased to announce that we are adding a new digital communication channel via a dedicated College App. Under development and nearing completion, the App will offer users the option of receiving updates for school communication, provide an avenue to track your child(ren)’s progress and offer a mobile alternative for staying in touch with upcoming events and activities. Further details will follow about how to download, register and use the App.
This mid-term newsletter is full of the rich and varied ways in which our students are achieving. Our philosophy of holistic education is celebrated in their sporting, cultural and special character achievements together with a continued emphasis on every student working to their academic potential.
Thanks for your continued support of our College,
Ia soifua ma ia manuia. tōfā soifūa
Mr. Matt Dalton
During the Mass of the Spirit we celebrated Pentecost and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We recalled the feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter and prayed that the Holy Spirit be with us, to strengthen us, just as the disciples had done at Pentecost. Bishop Steve reminded us of the importance of going out and sharing our faith with others. We are called to spend time, to listen, to love, and to be present in the life of others. We put our faith into action during our recent Service Day where we were given the opportunity to go out and share our gifts of the Holy Spirit with others in our local community.
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me fruitful in your love, mercy, kindness, and compassion.”
A group of 13 students participated in the Caritas ‘Live It’ Challenge on Friday, 11th of May.
They braved the rain and stayed overnight in the Technology Block in cardboard boxes in support and solidarity for those who are poor and vulnerable.
The focus for this year’s challenge was on the women of Timor-Leste and the funds were being raised to help them sell their products at the local co-operative.
The Mass of the Spirit was celebrated on Wednesday 16th May, with Bishop Steve and con-celebrants Father Mark and Father Darren. During the Mass, seven students received the Sacraments of Confirmation and 1st Holy Communion. This was the culmination of 15 weeks of preparation. The highlight was to see the joy on the faces of our students. It was a powerful witness to Christ, to see these young people, standing alongside their sponsors, in front of the student body, proclaiming that they had made the decision to bring God into their lives.
Our special Catholic character came alive at this year’s Service Day when staff and students put into practice this very important Touchstone of our College. We served in a wide variety of community clubs and organisations by helping the elderly, cleaning up our environment and baking for those in need. We received wonderful feedback from the community about the work done on this day.
Students in Yr. 7 and 8 were involved in their own programme at school, focused on what it means to serve in our community.
This year Aquinas College will undergo two external reviews of our teaching, special character, and curriculum: Special Character Review and ERO Review. Considering these reviews, and in response to recent policy changes (such as the removal of National Standards at Yr. 7 and 8), the school is conducting its own review of the teaching and learning.
We would love to hear your ideas and opinions on the curriculum at our school. Please click here to complete a short, confidential survey.
Please note that the survey closes Friday 8 June.
It was also great to see the Yr. 7/8 students embrace Mental Health Awareness Week and get involved in the activities on offer. The Pink Shirt mufti day was an opportunity for students to take a stance against bullying. Special thanks to the Yr. 12 and 13 students who came into each of the Yr. 7 classes and taught lessons on this subject.
On May 9th, our talented team of Yr. 13 mooters – Jess Treanor, Emma McDonnell and Teri Dawson – faced off in a court of law with their esteemed colleagues from St John’s College in Hamilton.
This mooting competition, which emulates a real court case, is run by the Law Faculty at the University of Waikato. Teams from all round New Zealand compete to claim bragging rights as top mooters.
Yr. 10 French students enjoyed the annual crepe making competition last week. Taste, presentation and originality were put to the test, impressing the guest judge Mr Webb. Competition was fierce as students presented a sweet and savoury option.
Some of the finalists included an Italian inspired calzone savoury crepe, a ‘Queen of Hearts’ crepe with berries and a cinnamon & apple crepe served with cream.
Congratulations to the Aquinas College students that took part in the Lit Quiz 2018 Regional Final at Tauranga Intermediate. The team included Chloe Davison (Yr. 8), Dawn Villegas (Yr. 8), Mia Knowles (Yr. 7) and Phoebe Watson (Yr.7).
Overall the team came 6th out of 28th teams, top scoring in 4 of the rounds. Due to winning so many rounds, each team member was awarded a special book prize.
This term we have over 40 keen debaters, in teams of three, pitting their verbal skills against each other. Two separate competitions are running: Yr. 10-13 teams and Yr. 7-9 teams. All students get the chance to refine their skills in explaining, challenging, rebutting, arguing and convincing the judges on a variety of topics. Members of our parent community are welcome to attend the weekly Tuesday lunchtime debates.
Imagine winning an all-expenses paid trip to the USA and Canada, JUST because you speak well…wow! This is exactly what a dozen Yr. 12 and 13 Aquinas students will be competing for when they take the stand at the annual Lion’s Young Speechmaker competition in the next few weeks. With some students competing at Greenpark school on Saturday 26th May, and others travelling to Cambridge on 17th June, the competition is bound to be fierce. Watch this space for results…and good luck to all contestants!
It has been a busy and successful start to the Winter Sports Season at Aquinas College. We have an abundance of winter sports teams this year who would love your support on the sidelines. With 18 Netball , 11 Basketball , 7 Hockey , 5 Football and 3 Rugby Teams, 2018 is one of the biggest winter seasons Aquinas College has seen.
A special congratulations to Antony Death (Yr. 9) and Kieran Death (Yr. 7) who represented New Zealand in the Australian National Youth Climbing Championships on the 11 -13 May 2018 in New South Wales. Both boys competed in all three disciplines offered – Lead, Speed and Boulder.
It was a huge championship attended by over 250 climbers from all over Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Both students competed really well with the competition on offer and some really hard problems to solve. Kieran placed 1st in Lead, 2nd Bouldering, 2nd Speed and First Overall Champion in Youth D. Antony placed 10th in Lead, 7th Bouldering and 13th Speed. He also placed tenth overall in Youth C.
Congratulations to Yr. 9 student Avalee Donovan, a member of Tauranga Synchro, Tauranga’s synchronised swimming club. Tauranga Synchro competed in the North Island Synchronised Swimming Championships that were held in Wellington on May 18-20. The competition attracted over 80 athletes from six different clubs from around the North Island.
Avalee achieved the following results:
13/14/15 Team (member of team of 5) – 2nd place
Open Free Combo (member of team of 9) – 1st place
It was a fantastic day on Friday 18 May at the Aquinas College Cross Country. The day kicked off with our Yr. 7 and 8 students competing and then flowed through to the U14, U16 and U19 Athletes.
There were several close finishes over the day with students cheering on their peers all the way to the finish. The Yr. 8 Boy’s race was one of the most exciting with Hugo McCarroll managing to hold the lead in the sprint finish with Brayden Stowers. The U16 Boys race was also hotly contended with the lead pack changing positions several times over the course of the race. Connor Farrell managed to take out first place even with his freshly broken thumb.
We would firstly like to warmly welcome Ms. Ashleen Fahy to the Department who will be covering Mrs. Alison Fitzpatrick’s classroom teaching while she is on maternity leave and we welcome back Ms. Lucy Gardiner who will be teaching Strings. A big welcome to Mr. Joe Thomas who has taken the position of our Brass instrument teacher as part of the Western Bay of Plenty Itinerant Music Scheme. He joins us with a wealth of knowledge after 6 years playing in the New Zealand Army Band. Pictured here is Sam Eastergaard Yr. 9, trying out a new saxophone we received this month thanks to funding from Pub Charity.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Our congratulations go to Yr. 13 students Duncan and Ronan Hendry who recently sat their Advanced Diploma in Highland Dancing. They were awarded a Merit Plus. This is an outstanding achievement for them both as they are now part of only 5 other young people qualified to teach Highland Dancing in New Zealand. Well Done!
ARTS AND CULTURE
The New Zealand Chamber Music Competition encourages young musicians, regardless of standard or experience, to compose and perform chamber music. This iconic secondary school musical event is held annually throughout the New Zealand in June. Our Aquinas College Ensemble comprising of Tiziana Hawkes (Yr. 12), Anais Magner (Yr. 13), Isaac Jarden (Yr. 10) and Ella Svendsen (Yr. 10) will be competing at Bethlehem College Performing Arts Centre. We wish them all the best!
ARTS AND CULTURE
This is a dynamic annual national group singing competition for secondary school students from all around New Zealand. Our Voci Celesti and Acafellas choirs will be performing on Friday 8th June with other choirs from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. This year is the first year the event will host a Gala Concert! This is a chance for all the choirs to showcase their songs for parents and supporters at Holy Trinity Church, 215 Devonport Rd, in Tauranga. It would be wonderful to have you there to support our students. For tickets click here or cash sales are available on the day.
The PTA mid-winter fundraiser event this year is the Aquinas Cup Race Night. This is an opportunity to dress for an evening at the races, have a flutter on the horses and to enjoy auctions, socialising and dancing. Get in early to secure your tickets:
|Venue:||Aquinas College Gym|
|Date & Time:||Saturday 30th June from 6.30pm|
|Dress Code:||A night at the races – fascinators for the ladies, ties for the gents. There will be an awesome fashion in the field prize up for grabs!|
|Details:||Light supper and complimentary drink provided on arrival, Race Caller Marty Lee, full bar operating, fashion in the field, silent auctions, the chance to have a flutter on the horses and to dance the night away!|
|Ticket Price:||$30 per person|
|Tickets:||You will soon hear from clubs who are fundraising by selling tickets or you can purchase them at the school office from Monday 28th May or pay direct to the PTA.|
Did you know there are vibrant, fun and inspiring parish Youth Groups open to all Aquinas College students.
Click here for the details.
Interested in winning a $500 Pressy Card? Want o promote kindness within our school community.
Check out how to enter the Kindness Video Competition here.
For all you need to know about scholarships, school visits, Tertiary Open Days, Information Evenings and how to choose the right career, all Yr. 12 & 13 students and their families are invited to visit our new careers portal at www.aquinas.careerwise.nz