Congratulations to the Chang brothers

At our Prizegiving last year, and more recently during Arts Week you may have had the privilege to hear Pilgyu Chang play the piano.  Pilgyu recently competed at the Tauranga Performing Arts Competition held at Baycourt during the school holidays.

Pilgyu won all the prizes for his age and above. He won 5 scholarships, 4 cups, 2 trophies along with four first prizes. Below is the outstanding list of accomplishment Pilgu received.  

First in Piano Scholarship own selection
First in Piano Scholarship Classical
First in Piano Scholarship Baroque
First in Piano Pop, Rock and Blues

Mrs P Macdonald Scholarship
TPACS (age 9-12years) Own Selection Scholarship
TPACS (all classes) Classical Classes Scholarship
N Guy (age 9-12years) Baroque Classes Scholarship
D Hull (age 9-18years) Pop, Rock and Blues scholarship

President Cycle Works Cup
Hull Trophy
Leica Studios Cup
Kidd Cup
Knight Trophy
Katherine Hart Cup

What a gifted pianist you are Pilgyu. Congratulations!

Pilgyu’s brother, Peter also competed in the competition.  Peter received 3 second places and one third place and received a young classical scholarship as well.  Congratulations Peter!


Classroom Writing from Room 13 and 16

Room 13, Year 1

Today we were writing independently about going to space, stretching out all our words!  This is Dominic’s fantastic writing and drawing:

I am going around Earth and I stopped on Earth and I put on the flag to tell people the astronauts have been here.  
      by Dominic Leitch 

Room 16, Year 2

Inspired by the recent frosty weather Room 16 have written acrostic poems about Winter. An acrostic poem uses the first letters in a topic word to begin each line. They did an awesome job!

Winter is really cold
In freezing winter we play
Nice cold snow
Try to get warm
Eat warm foods
Read books by the fire.
      by Matthew Rogers

Winter is windy
I love to ski on the mountain
No going beyond the mountain
Talking frost freezing the world
Evil ice emerges
Ravaging ice takes over the world
      by Sam Lock

Wild waving winds
Icy cold snow glistening in the sunlight
New freezing cold snow falls out from the blue sky
Time for going ice skating - cold and fun
Everyone outside playing with the shiny snow
Resting after a big freezing cold icy day
      by Lotte Jones

Catholic Character 11 August 2017

The Assumption
New Zealand Catholic Patronal Feast - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

The Feast of the Assumption on 15 August celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary’s assumption into heaven body and soul. It is also the patronal feast of the Catholic people in New Zealand. It is one of two Holy Days of Obligation for New Zealand Catholics. The other is Christmas Day. 

Pompallier Madonna
The depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary is called the Pompallier Madonna and is of special significance to Catholics in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

On 13 September 2004 the New Zealand bishops on their ad limina visit to Rome met with Pope John Paul II. Bishop Denis Browne... presented the Holy Father with a copy of the “Pompallier Madonna”. In his address to the Holy Father Bishop Browne said the following: 

“Dear Holy Father,

We come as bishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand to visit you from that far distant land. We come to offer you our affection and love as well as our loyalty and appreciation for your dynamic leadership of the Church. ... we wish to present to you a gift of a Madonna which has become an important expression of the links between the Holy See and the Church in New Zealand. This Madonna was presented to Pius IX in the 1840s by the Benedictine Nuns of Campus Martius. In turn, this Madonna was given to Bishop Pompallier by Pope Pius IX on Pompallier’s visit to Rome in April 1847. He brought the Madonna back to Aotearoa New Zealand and had copies distributed widely. This work has now become known in New Zealand as “the Pompallier Madonna”.

Visit the site to read the full article and about the art mystery!!!

First Holy Communion
Congratulations to our many students who made their First Holy Communion in the last few weeks. It was a very special occasion for all the students and their families. We give thanks to the teachers who prepared the students and to those who ran practises and attended the very special occasion. 

“May they always know the peace of Jesus, the light of His love and the joy of His life within them.”

It was very special this week during class mass where two student were able to receive communion for their first time. 

New Families Liturgy
This week during our welcome liturgy we welcomed 25 new students and their families. We were also able to officially welcome Father Danny to our school family. During the liturgy the Cluny Postulants Ana Maria and Vaviola were welcomed as well. 

Cluny Sisters
This coming week the Cluny Sisters are hosting their official Chapter, where worldwide appointed Sisters gather and discuss the direction the Cluny order is going to take in the future. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel, pray and plan.

School Song - Be love, Be love, Be aroha
Last year the school commissioned Andrew Chinn to write a hymn for our school. At the New families Liturgy students sang it for the first time, we look forward to making this part of our school. It reflects our values and charism. 

Bishop Steves Visit

On Friday 25 August at 9.30am we look forward to welcoming Bishop Steve to bless our new Innovative Learning Environment. Blessing buildings is an important part of our Catholic faith and is a sacramental. 

“A constitutive blessing, invoked by a bishop, priest or deacon, signifies the permanent sanctification and dedication of a person or thing for some sacred purpose….dedicated solely to sacred usage.” (

Teresa Rush 

From the Principal - 11 August 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our new students Flynn Gardiner, Lucy Hertnon, John Clarke, Brayden Nix, Ella Madams, Mitchell Parry, Jessica Cha, Clover Palairet, Hunter Signal, Olivia Lilly, Samantha Bint, Coen Bint, Kale Bint and Thomas Woo. 

First Holy Communion
On behalf of our school community I would like to congratulate all students who received their first Holy Communion over the last two weeks.  This completes your recent sacramental journey and significant step in your young lives as Catholic.  I must also thank and congratulate all who prepared our candidates from when the programme began last year through until now.  As a school we had many teachers involved in the preparation of students for the receipt of the three sacraments but key leadership came in the form of Mrs Donna Vincent, Mrs Elizabeth Driver and Mrs Teresa Rush.

Personalised Learning at St Mary’s
Like many educators I sat eagerly waiting to watch Seven Sharp’s story on Modern Learning Environments.  I won’t say I was disappointed in the story but it was a shame that the focus was on the physical environment as opposed to the pedagogy (way of learning) that is the feature of an effective innovative learning environment.

The key area of focus that I would encourage you as parents to continue to connect with is that change from a structured, teacher dominated, industrial model (factory) to a less formal student led or centred environment.  This approach brings aspects of learning that sit alongside the traditional content based approach.  A key goal for us at St Mary’s is ‘skilling’ the students to be independent and self managing learners.  For this to occur it is paramount that students understand their role and responsibilities as the learner and also the learning process.  This is of course not an ‘overnight’ process, it requires a process of learning to learn integrated into the classroom programme.

I am sure you will agree that everything is hard before it gets easy.  We therefore want our students to develop skills to cope with the ‘hard’.  They need to be able to persist, think flexibly, be creative, and take responsible risks.  The space does have a role in enabling students to test new ideas, make mistakes and use what they know.  Hence the flexible nature of our developing learning environments where students can adapt to a setting that gives them confidence.  This is why you will find many settings within the setting of an innovative learning environment … including desks!

Community Information Evening
We are delighted to host a Community Evening with Andrew Jones (Melbourne University).  Andrew will talk about what the very best learning organisations are focussing on; the skills and competencies learners will need for the future and how this fits with our focus on collaboration. 

When:  Monday 14 August 2017; 6:00pm

Where:  Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Centre

Come along and enjoy some light refreshments, and hear the future direction of education. 
So we can gauge numbers for catering please indicate your attendance via this link to the online form

Student Led Conferences
It was great to see so many parents embrace the opportunity to share in their children’s learning journey through our Student Led Conferences last week.  As a form of student led reporting, our student led conferences are now an integral part of our reporting to parents process as they provide authentic examples of progress in learning through the sharing of and interaction with actual examples of learning.  As always, should you have anything you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher in relation to the conference, examples of learning shared or current achievement information please do not hesitate to make contact with them.

New Learning Environment
Our new learning environment is now ready for final council internal inspections and sign off, however, there are a few external areas needing to be completed before it can be effectively occupied by students.  

Prior to this we will be blessing the building (Kawanga Whare) in conjunction with local iwi at 6.15am on Tuesday morning (15 August) before holding the official opening on Friday 25 August at 9.30am.  You are all welcome to attend both events. 

The liturgy on Friday 25 August will be led by Bishop Steven Lowe who will be dedicating the building to a significant member of our school community.  As with an event of such a nature we welcome all current and former members of our school community.

75th Jubilee Reunion of our School 
You will be aware our school is celebrating its 75th Jubilee on the 22 - 24 September his year.
This is a very significant milestone in our school’s history and we are marking the occasion with various activities over the weekend.

Friday 22 September 2017

4.30pm:   Registrations
              Tours of the school

6.00pm:  ‘Mix and Mingle
              Kapa Haka 
              School Students Performance
6.30pm:  Bar Open and light nibbles will be served 

Saturday 23 September 2017 - St Mary's School

On Saturday there will be various activities in the school grounds (bouncy castle for the children) with the day finishing with a jubilee dinner at the ASB Arena BayPark.

11.00am:  Roll Call
                Decade photographs
                Tours of the school

1.00pm:  Picnic lunch (you can supply your own lunch or use the option available on the registration form)

Saturday (Evening) 23 September 2017 – Baypark ASB Arena Stadium Lounge

6.30pm:  Drinks
7.00pm:  Dinner

Our MC for the evening is ex pupil Sam Kelway. You may know him as the popular TVNZ news reporter. Sam was born in Tauranga and moved to Wellington before being lured by the bright lights of Auckland.

Sam’s a passionate story teller, with immaculate hair, who doesn’t mind getting his suit dirty for a good story.  A TVNZ-er since 2012, he’s game for anything and will stop at almost nothing in telling the stories that matter.  We look forward to hearing some of Sam’s stories.

Sunday 24 September 2017

The celebrations will conclude with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve Lowe at St Mary Immaculate at 10.30am on the Sunday.  Full details of all activities are available on the school’s website, facebook and a hard copy of the registration form is available from the school’s office.

We are encouraging ALL members of our past and present community (pupils, parents, teachers, anyone who has had a connection to St Mary's) to join us in the celebrations of this weekend.

We look forward to a wonderful and memorable celebration.

New Gold Group Sponsor - Harveys Rural Property

Richard Greaves offers a focused, results - based real estate service across theBay of Plenty and in particular Tauranga Central and Rural Bay of Plenty.

A proven property deal maker, Richard easily forms trusted working relationships with his clients and leverage off the market advantages that the respected

Harveys brand offers to streamline the sale of your property. With strong family values, a well-developed sense of community spirit and extensive networks,

Richard is making his mark in the Bay.

Through Harveys in Schools, we can offer a range of skill sets and resources to extend the reach you have in your community and to bolster fundraising initiatives.

• The Harveys Photo Booth – a great attraction at school galas, fun days, quiz night, school dances/ socials (subject to availability)

• A Harveys Master of Ceremonies

• Our charity Auctions bring fun and a touch of theatre to your school event; we know what works, how to source items for the auction and how to coordinate a memorable experience.

• Individual agents with specialist sports knowledge/ interest could sponsor school teams and assist with branded gear.

• We pledge to donate $1000 from each successful sale of a property referred to us via the schools parents, neighbours and supporters network.

A little about myself..... I moved to Tauranga at the beginning of 2017 with my wife Joanna and our three children who attend St Mary’s School, Hannah, Jack and Lucy.  We have enjoyed our first six months at St Mary’s and look forward to getting to know the St Mary’s School Community better.

Ben Fuller

Student Led Conferences Wednesday 2 August

We warmly invite and encourage you to actively participate in your child’s learning journey at our ‘Student Led Conferences’ on Wednesday 2nd August.

Student Led Conferences are:

  • A celebration of Individual Learning
  • A dialogue about learning
  • 40 minutes long (max.)
  • Student driven shared learning with /Parent/Family
  • 6-7 going on at the same time in one classroom

Student Led Conferences differ from traditional Teacher Parent Interviews and Three Way Conferences by empowering the child to talk about their own learning. Our ‘Student Led Conferences’ are designed to promote learning autonomy so that students can reflect on where they are and where they need to go.
Parents will be supported by the class teacher as they inquire further into their child’s learning through dialogue with their child.

Times have been set to cater for parents with multiple students at school and are able to be booked online by following this link: and enter code yxdgd

Session 1: 1:00 - 1:40 pm
Session 2: 1:40 - 2:20 pm
Session 3: 2:20 - 3:00pm
Session 4: 3:30 - 4:10 pm
Session 5: 4:10 - 4:50 pm
Session 6: 4:50 - 5.30 pm

We appreciate that the format and objectives of a Student Led Conference do not make provision for individual parent discussions with the teacher. Therefore if there is a relevant need please make contact with your child’s teacher for a suitable time.

To protect the integrity of the Student Led Conference and ensure its value as a key reporting process, we ask that, if able, siblings not accompany students.

School Closure
School will close at 12:30pm on Wednesday 2nd August for our Student Led Conferences and students are required to be picked up at that time.  After School Care will not be running and there will be no afternoon bus service available. 

We look forward to you continuing to be a part of your child’s learning at St Mary’s Catholic School.

Kind regards

Ben Fuller

Special Character - 7 July 2017

School Feast Day - Feast of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey

This Friday as a school we will celebrate the feast of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey.

We will start the day with a Liturgy with our special Cluny Sisters joining us. Students will then learn more about the needs in Fiji. The middle block students will be doing a variety of service activities, followed by fun games in the afternoon.

We would love whanau to join us for the day or part of the day. 

Mufti day to raise funds for the Cluny Sisters work in Fiji. Gold coin donation please.

Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Feast day 15 July

In 1800... One night she heard a voice say, “You will accomplish great things for me.” A few nights later, St. Teresa of Ávila with black, brown, and bronze children appeared to her. “God wants you to found a congregation to care for these children,” said the saint.

In 1801, Nanette and her three natural sisters opened a school for poor children near Chamblanc. During the next decade she ran two day schools and an orphanage. In 1812 she founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. In 1817, Mother Javouhey sent sisters to the African island of Reunion to open her first missionary outpost.

Anne-Marie Javouhey spent the last years of her life in France directing the work of her burgeoning congregation. When she died in 1851, her sisters were in thirty-two countries and colonies

We start next term with some key dates on our calendar:

Week 2 - Tuesday 1st August: Grandparents/Grandfriends Liturgy 10am - phone the Grandparents and Grandfriends now to invite them along.

Week 3 - Tuesday 8 August: New Families Liturgy  10am.

Week 4 - Friday 18 August:  Assumption Mass at St Mary’s Immaculate Church 9.30am.

Catholic Character Review
During week three we welcome our Catholic Character Reviewers who will be at school for three days.  

Sacramental Program

Please keep our students in your prayers as they prepare for the sacrament of Eucharist.

Teresa Rush 

Information Sharing that informs Students Learning Across the Curriculum

On Thursday 6 July you will receive your child’s Interim National Standard Report.

This Interim Report is student driven and shares your child’s current strengths and next steps.  

Your child’s teacher will identify how your child is tracking to meet the End of Year National Standard in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. 

There are different National requirements for reporting depending on Year level:

In Years 1 to 3, a judgement is made on your child’s birthday (anniversary) and a judgement is made between each birthday (interim).  These judgements are reported to you mid year and end of year.  

In Years 4 to 6, a judgement is made mid year (interim) and end of Year and reported at the same time.   

Our teachers continue to use many different ways to find out where your child is at and how your child is tracking, according to meet the National Standard, in Reading, Writing and Maths. This is called an Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ).  

This includes:

  • using a range of formal tests/assessments 
  • watching your child working in the classroom
  • talking with them about their learning
  • your child assessing their own and each other’s work. 

At St Mary’s we have been focusing heavily on learner agency, learners being actively involved in the decisions about their learning.  This year, our interim report will reflect learner agency, with your child personally sharing the information about their learning - what they are doing well and their next steps.  Your child will have been involved in discussions with their teacher/s to co-construct their successes and next steps.  It is important to let your child share their report with you and talk to you about their learning as we move from a ‘One-way reporting of achievement’ to ‘Information sharing that informs learning’.   

Student Led Conferences will then be held at school on Wednesday 2 August.

We look forward to working together with you and your child in Term 3 and 4 to help them achieve their learning goals.  

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal

Art Week 2017

St Mary’s Art Week focused on various aspects of the Arts Curriculum and was a great success.  All students enjoyed participating in the activities, and many talents were discovered.  

 In the BAMJC there was a display of masterpieces from every student in the school.  This was the result of our teachers being creative and teaching various art skills in the class, to produce a magnificent schoolwide exhibit.  

We had two visiting Drama teachers; Dee Ellwood and Eunice Driller, who instigated opportunities for each student to be creative and have a lot of fun improvising and truly stepping beyond their comfort zone.

It was wonderful to welcome back Tauranga artist, Rob McGregor, who sure made painting look really easy!  He shared the inspiration behind many of his pieces on display and helped us understand perspective, colour blending and assured us that everyone is an artist - all it takes a creative mind and plenty of practise.

Mrs McIntosh set out on a mission to teach the Year 0-2 students how to ‘Shake It Off’ just like Taylor Swift.  The end result was a well choreographed, energetic display of rhythm, co-ordination and a whole lot of fun.  

Rosie McMahon is a 16 year old film maker who is on her way to becoming extremely famous!  She showed us what to look for when taking amazing photographs, and shared her short film, explaining the role of a director.  Some students were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop, and armed with an iPad were taking extraordinary photos of ordinary things around the school.

In the Junior classes, an army of Sock Puppets were created with Mrs Strange.  What a great way to instigate a dynamic display of impromptu performances! There was much delight amongst the students as their own puppet was brought to life sporting scraggly hair, googly eyes, talking tongues and personality plus.

Thursday evening brought in fabulous support from our St Mary’s community, viewing the school wide art on display in the BAMJC, and enjoying the outstanding performances from some of our extracurricular groups.  Students from the KapaHaka extension group, our own St Mary’s School Band, the Jump Jam teams, Ned Shaw on trumpet, Pilgyu Chang on piano, and Sursum Corda, all put on an amazing display of their passion and talents.  Many thanks to those students involved in this performance, and to our friends and families for supporting this event.

Pip Berquist
Teacher in charge of Art

EPro8 Challenge

Recently some St Mary’s School students took part in the EPro8 Challenge - the engineering and problem solving competition. Our EPro8 students came second at the regional competition. They will now compete at the final for Year 5 and 6 students next Friday 7 July in Rotorua.

So now it’s the adults turn.  On Wednesday 23 August your workplace or organisation can compete against others in the Bay of Plenty region.  You will work as a team to solve a range of fun engineering based challenges.  This is a fantastic team building opportunity.

For details and to register see