Newsletter (September 2010)
I was quite taken by a recent article in the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ titled:
‘THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR THE STATE OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM’
Although the article was in reference to the education system in Britain, some of the sentiments are very relevant to New Zealand. The writer, Neil O’Brien (must be Catholic!) claims that, “British schools are a disaster zone, churning out too many pupils lacking even the most basic skills.”
He goes on – “Last week, we learned that more than a third of children are leaving primary school unable to read, write and add up.”
Doubtless the introduction of National Standards in New Zealand is an attempt to ensure that our young students are able to read and write and add up, and if this is successful I am all for it. In fact I am firmly of the view that our students should be able to master the basics regardless of the introduction of National Standards. If primary students can’t read or write, what are they spending their time at school doing?
O’Brien touches on grade inflation (which masks reality) but goes on to discuss bigger issues which, to my mind, are really important. He says, “Essentially, our schools are dominated by an anti-work, anti-achievement culture, which crushes pupils’ aspirations and opportunities. And those that fight their way through it find themselves enmeshed in a university system whose output is completely mismatched to the country’s needs.” Add to this the fact that every New Zealand teacher who does a ‘stint’ overseas in the U.K., especially in non-private schools, describes the schools as urban jungles.
O’Brien goes on to underline one of the key philosophies of Rosmini College - without discipline there is no learning. “For a lack of order is not just a problem in America. The average teacher (in the U.K.) loses 50 minutes every day to delinquent behaviour, which makes many of their lives an utter hell. Efforts to resolve this are undermined by a thicket of restrictive rules and laws: one teacher I met was disciplined for standing between a pupil and the door when she was telling him off. (Apparently, children must have a route out of the room.) If you can’t keep order in schools, it is impossible to create a culture of hard work and achievement.”
It is a great article which echoes some of the problems experienced in some of our own schools. Fortunately the boys that are educated at Rosmini, and many of our schools in New Zealand, are given every opportunity to learn – they must avail themselves of the opportunity and work hard.
TEACHER ONLY DAY
Rosmini College will be closed to students on Monday 8th November as staff undertake training linked to the New Zealand curriculum.
On Thursday 23rd September, the senior school will be addressed by three speakers who will endeavour to give our boys a snapshot of the world of work.
- Simon Gundry will talk about trades and apprenticeships, the ‘school of hard knocks’ maybe, but mainly the front line of the work force;
- Andy Coupe will outline some of the challenges in the business world, and what his company is looking for in the young men that they employ;
- Professor Peter O’Connor (PhD) will update the boys on the challenges of university life, especially the new competitive edge that they will face in vying for places in the various courses.
The afternoon promises to be a very constructive and useful session for our young men. Peter O’Connor is an Old Boy of the college, as is Andy Coupe, and Simon Gundry has a long history with Rosmini, having had his five sons educated here. From my viewpoint I am hoping that it will motivate some of our more complacent young men to realise their potential.
The school’s jazz band performed at the Town Hall on Tuesday 24th August for the Secondary S chools’ Band and Orchestra Competiti on. Over 140 groups from Auckland performed at the KBB festival. The band, lead by Dr Ju Wang, performed a varied programme of pieces which was entertaining and well received by the large audience.
Rosmini rugby teams had another successful year in the North Harbour competition. The second to last weekend of the season saw Rosmini represented in six of the seven semi-finals of the ‘A’ grade divisions. Four teams eventually made the finals, which were all played at North Harbour Stadium or its adjoining grounds.
The 1st XV played Westlake in a curtain raiser to the NPL fixture, but one would be forgiven for thinking that this was the main event as the crowd seemed far larger for the secondary schools encounter. Unfortunately, after a good first half, the size and power of Westlake took its toll and they ran out deserved 28-15 winners.
The 2nd XV suffered much the same fate, leading at half time before the physicality of their opponents wore them down and resulted in a 15-6 loss.
The 4A and 6A teams however both won their grades against Westlake and Rangitoto respectively. Remarkably they were both unbeaten throughout the season, and with a points difference of 323 and 450 I doubt anyone could call their victories anything other than deserved and conclusive. Special mention should also be made of the 6B’s who strung together a number of victories towards the end of the season to win their respective grade.
Well done to all teams, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and parents who helped with rugby in some way this year. Your hard work, dedication and expertise has provided an opportunity for the boys that is often not available at other colleges.
Congratulations to the Rosmini senior badminton teams which participated in the Badminton North Harbour Senior Secondary Schools’ League. The Senior ‘A’ team was placed 2nd in the ‘A’ grade league; the Senior C1 team was placed 1st in the ‘C’ grade league and the Senior B1 and B2 teams were placed 2nd and 4th respectively. Xavier Choi was runner-up in the recent Auckland Junior Secondary Schools’ Individual Badminton Championship.
The Rosmini 1st XI hockey team has enjoyed their most successful ever season, establishing Rosmini as one of the top hockey schools in the Auckland region. In the North Harbour 1st division the team finished 3rd, losing only 2 games. This qualified the team for the Inter City Grade 2 Competition where they won every game, culminating in a 4-0 win in the final over Macleans College. Captain George Muir has had an outstanding year, gaining selection to North Harbour U18A, Northern Region U21 and the senior North Harbour National Hockey League team. Luke Hawley and Michael Rogers were selected into the national championship-winning North Harbour U18B team and Donovan Kerr-Phillips and Trent Mackie made North Harbour U15A. The 1st XI have just returned victorious from the New Zealand hockey national Founders Cup tournament in Carterton where the team won all its games, comprehensively beating Karamu High 4-0 in the final. In the course of the tournament the team scored 58 goals and conceded 2.
The 2nd XI has had a positive season, finishing as runners up in the North Harbour 2a competition. Playing mainly against 1st XI from other schools the team has only lost 3 games all season, creating numerous chances and pressuring opposition teams into mistakes. Stand out players have been Luke Reiche, Marlon Nacario, goalkeeper Nat Larmer and captain Matthew Corbett.
The Rosmini 3rd XI has battled bravely in the grade 4 North Harbour competition. The team did exceptionally well to make the semi finals of the first round of the competition. Players Jacob Corbett, Jonty Scott and Fraser Conway look to have good futures in the game.
The football season has been a year of tremendous improvements and results - the Academy side is competing well against boys who are much older and will be a group to watch in the future. The 1st XI team is evolving well too, having made 2nd position, which allows them the opportunity for promotion next year, so all in all a good season.
- 13A team finished 2nd in their competition
- 13C team finished 4th in their competition
- 2nd XI won their competition
- 1st XI finished 2nd in their league, with a promotion game to play next year.
- 1st XI finished 2nd in the recent tournament at Papamoa, consisting of 23 secondary school teams from across the country. They went down to St Kentigern 2-1 in the final.
The Senior Basketball squad, coached by Kevin Goodwin, had a much more extensive agenda of games this season in the hope of getting the team promoted to the Premier grade in the next two years. With the introduction of a number of young players, the team has continued to improve throughout the season and a number of talented players have emerged as the future of Rosmini College basketball. Although the team finished fourth in the North Harbour competition, and 15th in the BBNZ Premier tournament, these results did not truly reflect the abilities of the squad members, or what they were capable of achieving. The future, however, looks extremely bright and should see Rosmini College basketball excelling even further in the years to come.
- North Harbour Open Grade Competition - 4th
- BBNZ Premier Tournament – 15th
Rosmini had three teams competing at the U17 level in the North Harbour competition, with a number of young players having their first taste of team basketball at this level. All players did well and showed their commitment to their teams. The U17 team, depleted by a number of players being promoted to the Senior squad, still managed to play some quality basketball, and both League Two U17 teams performed admirably.
- North Harbour U17 League One Competition – U17A – 9th
- North Harbour U17 League Two Competition – U17 Blue – 10th : U17 White – 12th.
Rosmini also had three teams competing at the U15 level in the North Harbour Competition, and again we discovered a group of young talented players. With a mixed bag of results throughout the season the boys were inconsistent, but have shown that with a little time they could develop into very good basketball players.
- North Harbour U15 League One competition – U15 Red – 9th: U15 White – 12th
- North Harbour U15 League One Competition – U15 – 14th.
‘DONATE A BOOK’ DRIVE
Rosmini College, as you are aware, is part of a network of Rosminian schools throughout the world. These schools are very diverse, in terms of location, size, ethnicity, gender, pupil age range, etc. They also cover the spectrum economically. Last year our school committed itself to supporting one of our poorer schools in Tanzania. This school is called the Holy Family Pre-Primary and Primary, situated in Tanga.
We have been in correspondence with the Head Teacher, Sister Gwynneth, regarding how Rosmini could contribute to the needs of her school. She is very happy about this and tells us that they have recently built a library, although they have very few books to fill it at present! Consequently we have committed ourselves to sending books that would be suitable for her students, who range in age from 3-15 years of age.
Sr Gwynneth would love any story books or information books on a variety of subjects, if we have any to spare. Therefore, we thought we would have a ‘Donate a Book’ drive over the next few weeks. For this we are asking each Rosmini family to donate one book (new or pre-loved, as long as it is in reasonable condition) that would suite the age range mentioned. If you are able to help out with this very worthwhile appeal, please send in a book with your son and we will do the rest. Many thanks, in anticipation of your generosity.
You may be interested to know that the term dates for next year vary from the usual because of the World Cup being held here.
- Term 1: Tuesday 1st February – Friday 15th April (11 weeks)
- Term 2: Monday 2nd May – Friday 15th July (11 weeks)
- Term 3: Monday 1st August – Friday 7th October (10 weeks)
- Term 4: Tuesday 25th October – Wednesday 7th December (7 weeks)
As you can see, Terms 1, 2 and 3 are long terms, whilst Term 4 is very short.
T J GERRARD