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

This week, we celebrated our special character with a special character focus at assembly. We welcomed representatives from St Vincent de Paul to accept a cheque from money raised during Special Character Week. We were very fortunate to hear from Clodagh Ward on behalf of St Vincent de Paul, she explained to our students the impact of their generosity. During our Special Character Week, our community donated 100 rubbish bags full of clothing. Each rubbish bag equates to a month’s worth of food for a family in need. Our students were overwhelmed by how far their generosity spread.

Today, we suspended classes to ensure we had rich and meaningful mentoring meetings. It has been fantastic observing and hearing of all the conversations that have occurred today. Lifting achievement in young people most definitely involves an active relationship between the learner, parents and school. If any questions came out of your meeting today that you would like further information about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either your son’s Dean or a member of our Senior Leadership team.

On Wednesday night, we held the Inaugural Justice and Mercy Dinner at the Hornby Working Men’s Club. It was an event co-hosted by St Thomas of Canterbury College and Villa Maria. The two guest speakers were, Chris Harris, from the New Zealand Holocaust Centre and, Phil Glendenning, from the Edmund Rice Centre in Australia. Both speakers spoke with passion and experience with a central theme around social justice and encouraging us all to be “upstanders not bystanders”. I would like to thank Stephen Kennedy and Thomas Newton for their leadership in organising a fantastic evening.

As a staff, we have all been discussing possible changes as part of the NCEA review. While our education system has to develop and innovate to prepare our young people for a fast changing world, I believe it is still important to value the past and the elements that have developed young people well through education. While there is a need to assess and measure our young people, learning is still the main objective at the centre of educating our students, and combining the two is a balancing act. Too much assessment reduces the amount of teaching and learning available, and too little assessment reduces the ability to measure the learning. The current conversations and feedback around the country on NCEA is very valuable. I strongly encourage you to have your voice heard via