I have been amazed at how many events/activities/opportunities our students have been involved in over the last two weeks. Of all the many different facets of the role as a Principal in a school my favourite is when I am able to support our many student activities. This week has really highlighted the amount of different opportunities our students have. In the last two weeks we have had Year 9 camps, Tausala/Fiafia night, regional debating tournament, school photos, Sacramental Programme launch, traditional cricket exchange, Year 7/8 summer tournaments, Board of Trustee meetings, Polyfest, Year 12 Outdoor Ed tramp, Year 10 calling and departure, Noho Marae, Maadi Cup rowers farewell, Filipino celebration dinner, Kapahaka and the inaugural Brad Milne Cup basketball game vs Rolleston College. All of these opportunities are “outside of the classroom” and outside of traditional school hours, all of these events require a significant staff and parent commitment.
Our vision is “Educated Hearts, Educated Minds.” We know to educate the whole person we have to unlock the heart first. All of the events mentioned are about educating hearts, they are about building relationships, building a sense of belonging, and celebrating our diversity. Our knowledge of young men is that if we focus on educating the heart we are able to open the mind. You can’t do one without the other.
At the Year 10 “calling” at the top of the Port Hills at 7.00am, 250 staff students and parents stood in unity to watch the sun rise and celebrate the rite of passage our Year 10 students are embarking on. I spoke to our Whanau by asking our Year 10 students to open their hearts throughout the year, to truly use the year to first understand themselves, who they are, what makes up their character, both positive and negative character traits. I challenged our students to stay true to themselves, to not be influenced by society, media or friends to be someone they are not. It is a major focus for our Year 10 students, as before they can understand others, they have to fully understand themselves.
On Saturday, I was able to witness a phenomenal Polyfest performance our Pasifika students performed in a true St Thomas’ manner – lots of energy, lots of interaction and lots of passion. Our young men were able to express themselves due to hundreds of hours of practice and fantastic mentorship from our tutors (who are all old boys), staff and family. I was so proud of our students.
As we start to come to the end of Term 1, I would like to bring our Open Morning to your attention. This year we will host our prospective parents on Wednesday 19 May. If you have any siblings or extended whanau to enrol for 2022, I would advise enrolling as early as possible. Once again we are anticipating large enrolments and due to our current maximum roll, few places are available. Once we have collated all enrolments and filtered through the priority students, enrolment is on a first in first served basis – the simple message to all prospective families is enrol as early as possible.
Good luck to all of our sportsmen competing at national events throughout New Zealand, use our special ingredient (Manawa) and you will achieve your dreams!