Newsletter (March 2011)
Just a brief epistle as we reflect on the Canterbury earthquake. Like so many people, we feel helpless but we can however do our best to offer spiritual and some tangible assistance from the Rosmini family.
Firstly, I am sure some of you will have lost friends, or even family, and to those of you goes our deepest sympathy. The images and heart rending stories we are seeing and hearing in the media
have affected us all. Christchurch is indeed a city utterly decimated. More importantly, the people are the city and although they have all been crushed in so many ways, they maintain that fighting spirit.
Our humble response has been to hold two prayerful assemblies where the reverence and compassion of the boys was evident. We followed this with a voluntary Mass, celebrated by Father Craig, which was fully attended by staff and boys. Father’s theme was that this is the kind of tragedy that we usually associate with other countries – now the disaster is on our doorstep, and is, accordingly, much more devastating.
The senior boys are keen to hold a mufti day to help victims in a tangible way. We will do this as soon as is feasible and I am sure that our Board will also offer some practical help for the relief fund. Our Catholic schools in Christchurch will be feeling the pain and I have endeavoured to make contact with my fellow principals to assure them of our prayers and support.
Doubtless this disaster is the greatest challenge New Zealand has ever had to face, but I have no doubt that we will cope. I must pay a tribute to people like Prime Minister, John Key, and Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker, for their calm and supportive approach, and the multitude of rescuers and media personnel who put themselves at risk to keep us informed, and who have avoided the kind of insensitive intrusion that often follows such disasters.
One final reflection, when we were offered international aid, our government accepted it immediately, which was very wise. Sadly we have witnessed other countries who allowed the suffering to go on when help had been generously offered. However, even in this fair land we have seen looters taking advantage of the situation and plying their despicable trade.
My last newsletter made mention of expected scholarship results, which we now have. Our boys obtained 17 scholarships and narrowly missed 3 others, in one case by only 1 mark. This is a very fine result and both teachers and boys worked very hard for these results. However, we now have a fairly structured approach to scholarship and the future looks bright in this area.
The school has settled down well and most sports are underway. There is always the tension between winter and summer sports as zealots in various codes want an early start. Nevertheless this is a healthy sign and I am always delighted when teachers give up their time to devote it to extra curricular activities which are so important to the boys.
The Northern Zone Secondary Schools Swimming competition was held on 21 February.
• Hauwai McGahan won the individual under 13 Butterfly, Backstroke and Breaststroke, and came 2nd in the Freestyle.
• Daniel Houzet won both the under 15 Butterfly and Freestyle.
• Elliot Crene placed 2nd in the senior boys Butterfly, Backstroke and Freestyle.
• Mitchell Worthington placed 3rd in the under 13 Backstroke.
In the relays, Rosmini teams were outstanding, with the senior boys winning the Freestyle, Butterfly and Medley events. The under 15 relay team placed 2nd in the Medley. The relay teams consisted of Elliot Crene, Daniel Houzet, Nick Prendergast, Nathan Kinney, Hauwai McGahan, Matthew Clode, Mitchell Worthington and Bruno Gentile.
Congratulations to all of these boys, and good luck in the Auckland Champion of Champions to be held later this term.
Finn Mason, James Slessor-White and Grover Brick recently competed in the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Aquathon. The Aquathon consisted of a 500m swim and 4 km run. Against some very stiff competition, Finn won the junior boys section, Grover came 13th and James also did well, coming in mid-pack. Well done, boys!
• We have an ERO Review starting on 15 March;
• Visiting experts from the Ministry on Maori and Pacific education;
• Rugby weigh-ins.
Soccer, hockey, basketball and rugby are already geared up for the new season. I reiterate my appreciation to those devoted parents who are always willing to help.
One of the important aspects that our boys should concentrate on is setting their personal goals for 2011. Parents can encourage, teachers can be positive, but if students are not listening, the result will count for nothing. However, if the boys set their own goals, with a clear action plan, then parents and teachers can concentrate on helping them achieve those goals.
There is a great deal of difference between discipline imposed from outside, and self discipline. The boys who set their own goals, work out an action plan and then adhere to it faithfully have a much better chance of success.
As I write this brief epistle, more and more people in Christchurch are trying to cope with the massive disruption in their lives. At Rosmini we have had some earnest pleas to enroll a number of students from that devastated city. We will do all in our power to help. Rosmini will be sending a contribution of $10,000 – $5000 from the Board of Trustees and $5000 raised by the school - to the NZ Catholic Education Office who will ensure it goes to the schools in most need.
Finally, could I share these sentiments (taken from a prayer) with you.
Lord, grant eternal peace to those who have lost their lives. Help those who are hurt and cure those who are sick. Encourage those who have suffered the destruction of their homes and properties to once again stand up and rebuild their future. Bless all those who extend helping hands to those in need of food, shelter and clothing and who share their time, talents and resources with others. Inspire more people to care for their neighbours, remembering that a cup of water given in your name will not go unrewarded. Amen.
And to the people of Christchurch
Ma te Atua koe e tiaki May God take care of you
E Manaaki I nga wa katoa And keep you at all times
Kia manawanui Be stouthearted
Kia Kaha Be strong
T J GERRARD