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Nau mai, haere mai, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, kia orana, warm greetings

A warm welcome back to the new 2019 school year. I trust you all had a wonderful holiday period. It has been fantastic to welcome our young men back to our St Thomas Community.

We started our first week with an Orientation Day for our new students and parents on Wednesday, in the lead up to our official Powhiri on Thursday. I reflected on the power and spirituality of our Powhiri. I can’t imagine a more moving and appropriate way to welcome our new students to our community. I was also very proud to see two of our previous College Captains, Delane Luke and Tana Luke, attend the Powhiri. Tana spoke on behalf of the Manuhiri. He made specific comment on watching our staff join our students for the first time in performing our school haka….he made the comment of how powerful it was to see both staff and students on the same path. This is very symbolic of school life at St Thomas, our education here is very much relationship based. It is focused on a partnership between students, staff and parents/caregivers. Our staff completed two days professional development working with Marg Thorsborne prior to our students starting, focusing on restorative practices which is deeply embedded in relationships.

Thursday was a busy day. We also opened our new administration building which brings an eight year building programme to a close. During this time we have constructed, in consultation with IKON architects and Apollo, Mt Sion (classroom block) Waterford High performance centre (Gymnasium), Te Whanaketanga (STEM classrooms) and finally our administration which we have aptly named Te Mataaho, which translates to the shining face/eyes. We were blessed to have Bishop Paul Martin bless the building and Br Bernie Gartland, from the Christian Brothers Oceania team, cut the ribbon.

In 2018, we focused unashamedly on increasing our academic performance. I am pleased to announce and congratulate our students and staff on excellent NCEA results. This year NCEA results have been presented as an “enrolment based figure” we have achieved the following:

                                          STC                                 National Average Decile 8-10 Boys Schools

NCEA Level 1            83%                                 74.3%                                      

NCEA Level 2           91%                                  78%

NCEA Level 3           63%                                   67%

It is very pleasing to note that we are performing above national averages at Level 1 and Level 2 for Decile 8-10 schools and at the national average for Level 3. Our Level 2 result is the highest we have achieved as a school. We look forward to celebrating these results with our students at our first academic assembly.

We have had a number of new staff join us, due to staff members on study leave, roll growth, new internal positions and retirements.

Mrs June Chey (Leader of Learning Maths)

Ms Jeanne Gagnon (Graphics)

Ms Billie Gulliver (Yr 7-9 STEM)

Mr Aidan Baker (Religious Education)

Mrs Marcelle Leo’o (Te Reo Maori)

Mr Alex Coulthard (Sports Co-Ordinator)

We warmly welcome all of our new staff and look forward to their contribution to our wonderful community.

It has been an energetic and positive start to the year. It has been fantastic watching our young men settle into their routines and get into the business of learning.