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

10 November 2022

What an incredible last two weeks we have had here at St Thomas’ – farewells, celebrations, camps and end of year exams. We had a wonderful series of farewells for our Year 13’s starting with a graduation mass celebrated by Bishop Michael, a fantastic prizegiving, and in what was the probably the most moving event, a farewell performed amongst our student body whereby there wasn’t a dry eye in the school. I would to acknowledge our Year 13 group, the way they have led our community, the way they studied and achieved to such high levels, their amazing achievements across extra-curricular activities, but most evident was the phenomenal resilience this year group has shown. This current Year 13 group have gone through their senior NCEA years with the shadow of covid, in the face of lockdowns, mandates, masks and illness enforced absences. They have performed to the highest possible standards. This year we are on track to achieve at the highest possible levels at Year 13. We are all so proud of our Year 13 leavers.

It was been wonderful to see our senior students engaging in the many tutorial opportunities, working hard to prepare for their external exams, we wish them all the best. 

This week we farewelled our Year 10’s off on their Rite Journey camp, we know how challenging this experience is. This major rite of passage is a very important stage in our young men experiencing challenging situations and overcoming adverse situations. Our belief is this builds resilience in our young men, a trait that we see evident in our senior students. 

It has been wonderful to see our Year 7 students have a camp opportunity after their one was cancelled earlier in the year due to covid. A massive thank you to our staff who make these camps possible – I would like to thank you for your willingness to spend time away from your own families to make sure our young men have these wonderful opportunities.

I would like to congratulate our evolocity team who participated in competitions over the weekend, coming away with innovation awards and a national award. A massive well done for your commitment throughout the year preparing for this event.

On the sports front we have our summer sports well under way, with pleasing performances in cricket and rowing. A huge congratulations to our athletes on qualifying for Nationals later in the year, and our 7-a-side rugby team who also qualified for the National Condor 7’s in December.

As our school site quietens with less students on site, it gives us opportunity to plan for 2023 and also to reflect on the success of 2022. It is a year that was full of so much success at St Thomas’, in and outside of the classroom, a year that will go down in history as one of our best. It is ironic that this was achieved in the most difficult of circumstance. I believe our strong sense of community, our brotherhood and the resilience of our students are the key factors that have been at play this year. At the centre of all of these wonderful traits is the importance of relationships – relationships between staff, students and our families. I know when relationships are strong at St Thomas’, the outcomes we see are phenomenal. This is how I would describe this year – absolutely phenomenal.