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

As I sit here to write this week’s newsletter, it is very difficult to write words that can describe the last 7 days. As a faith community I have been overwhelmed by the leadership of our students, watching our students pray, and remember the victims of Friday’s atrocities has filled me with hope. It is difficult to start to think of a way forward in these circumstances. The message we have passed to our students is to live a life of love. I have seen so many examples of this throughout the week that it has filled my heart with hope of a better future led by our young people.

We have remembered as a community our old boy, Hussein Al Umari, who tragically lost his life last Friday, through prayer and remembrance. We keep him and his family in our prayers. Rest in Peace, our Brother.

Last Friday we followed our procedures for lockdown in the correct way. Our students and staff demonstrated a fantastic understanding of how to react during that emergency. During the last three years we have been working with Harrison Tew consultants and NZ Police on how to run safe and effective lockdowns. We had completed full drills in 2017 and 2018 and reviewed these each time with both Police and our consultants. The preparation we had done certainly made the process of lockdown in a real life situation go very smoothly.

We will review our process again in consultation with staff, students and parents. I would like to thank the hundreds of parents who have sent in messages of thanks this week, for the way our staffed cared for our young people. Our staff were very thankful.

Moving forward, one of the most important tasks is to have open lines of communication so we can support our young men over the next weeks, and months. If you notice any changes in your young people, please pass that information onto us here at school so we can continue offer care and support. We have an excellent counselling team available for our students.

I would encourage us all to monitor the use of social media throughout this time as this can have a negative impact on our young people moving forward. We have seen some very tired boys this week, which is not surprising as we all begin to understand the events of last Friday, I would encourage guidance for our young men in ensuring they are in healthy sleep patterns throughout next week.

I would like to personally offer my thanks to our staff for the way they conducted our lockdown last week, but also in the way they have led and cared for our young men throughout this week.

I hope we are all able to spend time in rest and reflection with our families over the weekend. If you have anything you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

God Bless