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Bishop Lyons’ Shield 2021

After having to cancel the 2020 Bishop Lyons’ Shield competition at the last minute, it was with a great sense of relief and anticipation that last Friday we welcomed Catholic Cathedral College, John Paul II High School (Greymouth), Marian College, Roncalli College (Timaru), St Bede’s College and Villa Maria College with a Mihi Whakatau, followed by a light supper which established instantly that one of the themes of the weekend was going to be the provision and consumption of large quantities of delicious food!

The competition properly started with the Impromptu Speech where competitors each had 2 minutes to prepare a 3-4 minute speech on the topic ‘3 things I’d like to tell my parents’. The always sympathetic audience (most thinking I’m glad I don’t have to do this!) were treated to an interesting and often humorous set of messages from the speakers. The Adjudicator, Joe Bennett, was highly impressed with all the speeches that he heard. We congratulate Aaron Brighton on his first placing.

The competition continued with Debating – as there are 7 schools we had 2 teams one of which was not officially in the competition. Over the weekend all teams debated twice with topics related to the theme of technology – first was that cellphones should be banned in schools and the second that parents should have access to children’s social media accounts until the age of 18. Our First 3 (Alex McCorkindale, Joseph Costas. Xavier Anisy) won both of these preliminary debates and the non- competitive team (Tristan Reiha, Josh Castro, Eli Muir) had a win and a loss. The success of the First 3 put them in the final against Catholic Cathedral College debating that technology has improved our quality of life. It was an interesting and close debate with the three judges unable to agree so in a split decision the debate was awarded to Catholic Cathedral College.

On Saturday afternoon the Prepared Speech Competitions were held. All speakers had chosen their own topics and all spoke with passion and conviction. Representing STC, Seamus Gallagher in the Junior competition challenged the audience to think about the concept of heroism and to be heroes in their everyday life – he was placed 4th in the competition. Megan Wood, the Senior Speech Adjudicator, reminisced that 30 years ago she was in our Hall competing in the Bishop Lyons Debating competition for Catholic Cathedral College. Our representative, Oliver Wong, spoke about teenagers and what is important to them; he challenged teenagers to care about and help each other. He was placed 4th.

The real highlight highlight of the weekend was Saturday night which started with a peaceful and reflective Mass in Our Lady of Victory Church. Archbishop Paul Martin was the chief celebrant assisted by Fathers Michael Therese Scheerger and Philip Bennenbroek. In his sermon Archbishop Paul spoke to the students on the true meanings of the Thomas story and how they could apply the messages in their everyday lives. The peaceful atmosphere was enhanced by the music led by the Catholic Youth Team. After the stresses and excitement of the competitions this was a welcome chance to reflect and appreciate the weekend and what it was offering to the students and staff.

We then moved back to the Hall which had been transformed by the 1st XV into a magical dining area with tables decorated with strings of LED lights. The banquet of food was amazing with ham, chicken a wide variety of salads and, everyone’s favourite, fantastic cheesy, sliced potatoes baked in the oven. Even the most hearty of appetites were unable to empty the plates. Brendan Biggs offered his “different” ice creams and there were also delicious sweet bits which everyone enjoyed.

After the meal we were entertained by Matthew Pelenato performing a dramatic Siva Manaia. Then the music started – a Marian College band, 2 rock bands from St Thomas, and the STC Jazz band all of whom got the masses up, dancing clapping and singing along. Once we went to streamed music the first up was the STC anthem of Sweet Caroline, with songs like Lean On Me and other oldies but goodies following on. It was great to see all the schools mingling together and having such a great time with each other. This was the true spirit of the Bishop Lyons’ Shield.

On Sunday morning it was the time for the Scripture Readers to take to the stage. The prepared readings were read in Te Reo and then readers were asked two questions about the reading and its meaning in their lives. Jake Harding represented St Thomas’ and the judge commented favourably on the accuracy of his pronunciation and his understanding of the reading but he was unplaced.

The last competition was the Religious Questions. In this event teams of 3 students from each school were questioned on 2 Papal documents chosen by the Adjudicator. Our team comprised Max Sergel-Stringer, Jarrod Gali and Vincent Kennedy who impressed the crowd with their knowledge and ability to relate the ideas to their own lives but they also were unplaced.

After more food – pizzas this time – there was just time for the Prizegiving and presentation of the Shield to the worthy winners, Marian College, and to wish our travellers a safe journey home. We look forward to meeting again in 2022 in Greymouth.

With such an event there is always a large team that must be thanked for their work: –

– Jane and Sam Corry for the amazing food on Friday and Saturday night

– Ben Crosson and Aidan Baker for their work in organizing the music on Saturday night

– Wilson House (2021 Culture Captain) for his organization of the student helpers for the events, the music and for his presence all weekend

– Dan Fogarty for working with the Debating team and Aaron for the Impromptu and being there ready to help all weekend

– The 1st XV and their coaches for setting up the Hall for the dinner

– Angela Smith, Andy Jones and Julia Winton for helping run events

– Bernie Lee for the organization of the Mass

– All the students and staff who helped to prepare the school for the events

– The student helpers who were there all weekend making sure that rooms were prepared, debates and events chaired and speeches timed

– Marcelle Leo’o, Daniel Kahura, TK McGregor and Keri Campbell for their organization of and contribution to the Mihi Whakatau

– Graeme Pearson, Ngaire Lester, Roger Haynes, Keith Barclay and Michael McGregor for their help

– The STC Senior Leadership team for their support

– Marg Walcott for her constant support and advice

We offer our sincere thanks to everyone who supported the weekend.

Steve Kennedy, Yvonne Shields, Maureen Gaffaney and Margaret Guerin – Organising Committee