Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Great to write to you at this time of celebration for our school.  The planning and preparation for our Jubilee provided a time to reflect on the very special place our school holds within the wider community of Tauranga Moana.  We are not just a Catholic School, we are one of the first schools established in our area.  However, the fact that we are indeed a Catholic School, commissioned by Bishop Liston and established by our Cluny Sisters richens this.  The place we hold in Tauranga Moana is significant for the growth of our Church and our city.  It is therefore fitting that we celebrated it as we have.

A very big thank you to all those who attended our Jubilee and a special thank you to all those who worked so hard and assisted in making it such a memorable weekend.

We had many past pupils return to the school from all parts of New Zealand and from overseas. All attendees appreciated the school’s hospitality, especially the students participation in the Kapa Haka welcome, the performances on Saturday and the Sursum Corda and Pasfika Group at Sunday’s Jubilee Mass. Our Year 6 students who offered to conduct tours of the school did an amazing job.

It was great to see so many of our families and pupils taking part in the peformances and old fashioned games at the Saturday picnic. 

One of the highlights at the Saturday night dinner was having two past pupils Kevin Farrelly and Jeremy Redmore entertain us with their singing. Jeremy, a former member of the band Midnight Youth.

Michael Cooney spoke about the origins of the school paying tribute to the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and proposed a toast of thanks to the Sisters for establishing the school.

In her reply Sister Allison said how the Sisters were delighted that the charism of their foundress Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey is still being kept alive and how all members of the school community strive to live by her motto “To do a little good each day”.

The Jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve, Fathers Mark and Danny and Father John Joliffe was a wonderful and very fitting conclusion to our weekend.

In the words of Pope John Paul the second our Jubilee did express our gratitude for the past, our enthusiasm for the present and we pray that God will continue to abundantly bless St Mary’s School community in the future.

This week I have been visiting the Cluny Mother House in Paris.  A trip I have been looking forward to and anticipating for a long time.  When I first started at St Mary’s I was introduced to the history of our school and quickly made a connection with our origins and the success of today.  One of the key ingredients of this is our Cluny Charism.  

I had initially thought of Charism as a gift, and it is, but it is a gift that we need to develop, enhance and in turn pass on to those that will follow into our community.  We have an obligation to add to the amazing work of those who have made St Mary’s what it is today.  To contribute to the many qualities our school is so proud of and for whom our students benefit. 

It is my intention to therefore better understand the Cluny Charism on which our school was built and has prospered and hopefully return with an enhanced ability to continue the work our Cluny Sisters started so passionately 75 years ago.

Start of Term 4
In starting the new term the expectation is to see a major focus on personal uniform standards. A slight transition to summer footwear and the retirement of any visible under garments should take place by Monday 16 October. 

If your child is absent from school, please notify the school office by phone or text before 9.00am on the morning of the absence. The school absentee mobile number is:  021 2969437.  When a child returns to school after an absence please give a written explanation to his/her classroom teacher.

Late arrivals to school
We have noticed a growth in the number of students who are arriving late to school.  I realise that, on occasion, this cannot be avoided but unfortunately we have a number of students who arrive regularly after 9.00am.  The start of the school day is 8.50am.  It is important that students are here before this to ensure that they are ready for learning and do not disrupt a functioning class on their arrival.  

An alarming statistic at St Mary’s is that of all students who are late or absent for more than 15% of the school year, over 50% have achievement concerns.  Something that I believe is easily addressed.  Please make a big commitment next term to be at school on time.

Ben Fuller