St Mary's School

Thursday 23rd February 2023

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' - John 8:12

Dear whānau,

'We must strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well' is one of Catherine McAuley's most famous quotes and the kids in Room Tui did a fantastic job of sharing the ordinary, everyday things they are going to strive to do extraordinarily well this year. The ideas they shared, portraits of Catherine McAuley they had created and the fact that they could all say the word 'extraordinarily' was super impressive.

Athletics Day on Tuesday was a raging success with no rain and no injuries sustained (not even in the dad's race). Last year we were unable to have supporters join us due to Covid so it was cool to have a really good turn out of whānau and hear all the kids being cheered on. Our kids always do us proud on days like this, showing bucket loads of faith, hope and love. They put lots of effort into doing their best in each event, have another go if the first one didn't go quite as well as they wanted and they show sportsmanship and kindness to each other too. Information for kids who qualified for Eastern Southland Athletics on Tuesday 7th March will have a timetable etc sent home tomorrow after our long distance races at SPC (9am).

On Wednesday morning we joined the parish and Father Elie for Ash Wednesday Mass at the Church. Our teachers had the special job of anointing the children with ashes to mark the beginning of Lent (more below). My day was well and truly made when a lovely parishioner made a special point of coming over and telling me how beautifully behaved and reverent our children were throughout the Mass.

On Thursday the kids got together at the Church with Caritas leader Justine to learn more about the Catholic social teaching principle of solidarity - whakawhanaungatanga. The Catholic social teaching principle of solidarity is about recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good. In our connected humanity, we are invited to build relationships - whakawhanaungatanga - to understand what life is like for others who are different from us. Caritas + me = love and action. The staff are off to Invercargill after school today to get some more gems from Justine and her team.

If you've got something exciting to share, feel free to email me a photo(s) and a short blurb by Thursday 9am each week and I'll pop in the newsletter for us all to celebrate together -

God bless.



Acting Principal

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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Marks the beginning of Lent. Our school will be following the Lenten programme. The theme for Lent 2023 – “I am the Light of the World” – reminds us that Jesus brings light to a world often darkened by disease, disaster, violence, lies and hypocrisy. Jesus’ life, and his proclamation of the truth, is a challenge to each of us to lead our lives following His example.

Ash Wednesday is the first day in the season of Lent. Lent can be observed by all Christians, and it is a beautiful way to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us and prepare us for the Easter season. We pray extra prayers, fast, and give to charity during this season of Lent. Ash Wednesday has many traditions for Catholic families and ways to observe this day, and also, anything you are doing for the length of Lent will start on this day.

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Shrove Tuesday

This week some of our classes learnt about Shrove Tuesday and celebrated the occasion by cooking pancakes!

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent - the 40 days leading up to Easter - was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Christians went to confession and were "shriven" (absolved from their sins). Traditionally on Shrove Tuesday people would use up their eggs and fats before embarking on the lentern fast and pancakes are the perfect way to use these ingredients.

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Principal Appointment

Tēnā koutou St Mary’s whānau

As you will be aware at the end of last year our principal, Mrs Annie Nelson, resigned. For the best part of a decade, St Mary’s has been blessed by Mrs Nelson’s leadership. We are grateful for Annie’s dedication and service to St Mary’s and wish her all the best with her future endeavours with the Ministry of Education.

The Board is now beginning the process of finding a new principal who will continue to lead and uphold the vision of St Mary's School. To ensure a thorough and fair process, we will have engaged with the New Zealand School Trustees Association and the Dunedin Diocese Catholic Education Office to help guide us with the appointment process.

We believe it is important to involve the wider school community in this process, and as such, the Board will shortly be consulting with a range of groups such as parents, teachers, and students. Your input will be essential in helping us to identify the skills and attributes we should be looking for in appointing our next principal.

In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and senior leadership team for ensuring the smooth running of St Mary’s during this transition period. We deeply admire the ongoing māhi and aroha you generously provide to all our students

We will provide further updates as the process unfolds, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

On behalf of the St Mary’s Board

Brendan Terry

Presiding Member

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No - they're not playing 'Where's Wally'

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine, Frank Lynch, dropped a special school photo into school for me that was taken in 1946, on this site. The photo works in well with our topic of Turangawaewae - the place where we stand as lots of our staff (and our families too I bet) will know someone in this photo.

My Nana (Dawn Hood nee Holland) and several of my great aunties and uncles (Charlie and Marie O'Brien nee Holland; and Ray Holland to name a few) are in this photo, I found them hard to find at first but once Frank pointed them out, I could tell straight away they were my people. He pointed out family members of some other staff too and it's started something ...

Frank has kindly put together a task force of ex St Mary's students to try and put names to all the faces. After an impressive start on Tuesday, they're about a third of the way through and there are already plenty more names of significance coming to the forefront.

Huge thank you to Judy, Frank, Barbara and Eddie for all their hard work. It was great to have you join us at school and we hope you know you are welcome any time, even if it's just for a cuppa. We've framed the photo and it's now hanging proudly in the Principal's office.

From left to right: Judy Dickie, Frank Lynch, Barbara Craig and Eddie Kelly

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Athletics Day Results

Click the link below to take you to this years St Mary's School athletics results (I will update it with the 200m, 800m and 1500m results when I have them). Info for Eastern should be out on Friday after we have run our long distance events.
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Structured Literacy at St Mary's

You may have heard the buzz about Structured Literacy, a research based approach to teaching literacy skills. As a staff we spent 2021 and 2022 doing our homework to figure out which PLD provider we thought worked best for our kids and our staff. Ashleigh Butterfield and Liz Volp are our Literacy lead teachers and they will have a regular segment in the newsletter to give you updates on where we are at with the implementation of this programme. Through our work with 'Schools That Deliver' (where our vision came from), we have learnt that 'slower is faster' when it comes to trying making change so bare with us.

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We want to hear more Te Reo Māori around our place...

Miss S is going to be at the front gate every Wednesday morning and is listening out for your best greetings in Te Reo Māori. There will even be a few prizes for your efforts!

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Church Cleaning and Ministry Rosters

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Upcoming Events Calendar

Week 4 (20th - 24th Feb)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss Sutherland and Room Tui

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

All week - Healthy Active Living in to work with senior students

Tuesday - Whole School Athletics Day

Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - Mass to celebrate with the parish

Thursday - Caritas in to visit school, staff Caritas in Invercargill after school

Friday - long distance running - 9am St Peter's College

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Week 5 (27th - 3rd March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Christie and Room Piwakawaka

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Tuesday - Paid Union Meeting - school will remain open

Thursday - Commissioning Mass for Teachers - 4pm

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Sunday - Whole School Beginning of year Mass - kids in quad at 9.45am

Week 6 (6th - 10th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Knowler and Room Kereru

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Tuesday - Eastern Athletics

Thursday - Eastern Athletics Postponement Date

Postponement Thursday 9th

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Week 7 (13th - 17th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss McRae and Room Ruru

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Friday - St Patrick's Day - games and activities

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Week 8 (20th - 24th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss Bond and Room Takahe

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Monday - Friday - Swimming for Pukeko, Kereru, Tui and Kea (more info to come)

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Week 9 (27th - 31st March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Cruickshank and Mrs Thacker and Room Pukeko

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Monday - Friday - Swimming for Ruru, Piwakawaka, Moa, Takahe and Kiwi (more info to come)

Friday - Assembly - 2.20pm in the Church

Week 10 (3rd - 7th April)

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church - Miss Hood and Room Moa

Thursday 2pm - Holy Week Liturgy in the Church

Thursday - last day for term 1

Friday - Good Friday, the beginning of Easter

Confirmed Teacher Only Day - Friday 5th May