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

As we finish Term 1, it is a great opportunity to reflect and evaluate how we have performed as a community throughout the last 12 weeks. I have been very proud of the academic performance during Term 1. As we communicated early in the term, we have set a very high standard of Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 achievement – our 2020 results are amongst the best in the country. It is our experience that by educating the heart and connecting our young men to each other and our community we are able to open their minds. This very important work with teenagers takes time and patience, I am proud to work alongside our many teachers that work everyday in hope that we are doing much more than just educating the mind. As a Catholic school we are more interested in the heart and soul of our students. In a world that is increasingly disconnected and isolated, alongside our parent community, we have a role to grow our young men so that they are the next leaders, partners and fathers that will leave our world in a better place than they have found it.

We have advertised our Term 2 open morning, 9am-12pm on the 19th May. If you know of friends or family who are hoping to enrol for 2022 I would strongly recommend having all enrolment documentation in as early as possible, as we will once again have many more applicants than places available.

Last weekend our school site was a hive of activity. It felt full of life and connection – the combination of a rugby gala day, our PFA cheese roll sale and Bishop Lyons Shield created a wonderful feel on site. 

We hosted the Bishop Lyons Shield speech competition which is held every year and brings together the seven Catholic secondary schools within our Diocese. While there are winners, the real victory is in the relationships and sense of community that is formed and fostered throughout the weekend. I would like to acknowledge the wonderful leadership and work to organise such a large undertaking from Mr Stephen Kennedy, Mrs Yvonne Shields, Mrs Maureen Gaffaney and Ms Margaret Guerin. Your work and commitment in organising such a wonderful event ensured our rangatahi experienced all that is special about Bishop Lyons.

On Monday we held our annual “Shave for a Cure” which raised over 30K and involved over 70 students. It was an amazing experience to be in the hall amongst our students as we witnessed and celebrated the generosity of so many. At assembly we spoke of how Shave for a Cure is so much more than fundraising and shaving heads, it is about remembrance and acknowledgement of so many people in our community that have been affected by cancer. When I speak to our students most of them have a connection and story associated with cancer – it affects so many in our community. For those who are still impacted by the effects of cancer, we are in it together as a community, we are all here to support each other. I spoke to the boys of how important it is to know your body, to understand when you are not feeling 100% physically or mentally and to be comfortable talking a doctor or friends. One of the major stereotypes we are continually trying to debunk with young men (and older men!) is it’s OK to seek help. The adage of “it will be alright” is not OK. I am pleased to write, that on a daily basis, I hear of boys speaking up about physical and mental wellbeing. You will be the leaders in this area, the much-needed change makers.

I wish all of our students, parents and staff a restful break. Try to spend time together as families, disconnected from technology and reconnected as Whanau. I look forward to seeing you all in the many Term 2 activities.