Term 1 this year has been quite a memorable one.
To begin the school year, we had our Leadership Mass, welcoming the Year 9s into our college and acknowledging and celebrating our Year 13s as leaders for 2016. Following the mass, our Yr 13s performed the St Mary’s College Haka, gifted to the school by former HOD of Science, Mrs Paula Hay, at the end of 2015. Performing the Haka to the rest of the school, teachers and guests was a sign of the Yr 13s service and leadership to the school and a challenge for the younger students to stand up and be women of Hato Maria.
At the Mass, the Leadership Team (Keva Ready, Emma Botha, Indyah Tavae, Elani Leuniauvau, Laura Gianotti and myself) announced the school theme of the year: ‘Be the face of Mercy’. Pope Francis announced 2016 as the year of Mercy. What a better occasion to celebrate a value that is already at the heart of our College. To reflect the theme, the Leadership Team also introduced a new initiative: ‘Map to Mercy’. Every two weeks in the daily notices we put a small and simple act of mercy that we encourage the girls to achieve in their school, social or personal life. These little ways of mercy will be our road map to become the face of mercy in our environment.
In order to come up with an artistic image for our 2016 school theme, the leadership Team set the school the challenge of ‘Be the Face of Mercy’ art contest. This was open to any student in the school and their task was to come up with an image that represented our theme. Many girls entered and I congratulate all of them for taking the challenge and putting their ideas out there. The amount of pride that was put into each entry was really inspiring and unique! This art pieces will be displayed in the foyer.
Next, we kicked the year off with a bang as our girls dressed up in house colours and embraced our powerful school spirit on Athletics Day. The spirit, sisterhood and energy present was engulfing and brought everyone from the year 9s to 13s together as we witnessed together great athletes as well as supported our own Houses with great joy and laughter.
In Term 1, the school launched our PB4L (Positive Behaviour for Learning) initiative, directed by Ms Coltman and Ms Hurst. They introduced to the school our STAR acronym. S – strive to achieve, T – take the challenge, A – ako in action, R – respect our values. STAR lays out achievable, motivational and healthy goals to encourage students to thrive for and achieve excellence in all aspects of their lives. Each term we will focus on a specific aspect of STAR. In Term 1, we focused on R – respect our values. The schools response to this initiative has been fantastic and inspiring.
Summer sports began with many girls getting involved and participating in the many sports activities of the School. Our girls have made us more than proud with some astounding results, nationally and inter-collegiately namely our Rugby 7s Team (who came first in New Zealand), our senior touch team, our senior A Volleyball team, our Yr 13 dragon boating team, and our Waka Ama teams. These are only a few of the sporting achievements that Term 1 brought.
Stage challenge, Poly club, music lessons, Prima and Schola choirs, Vinnies, Environmental club and many other of our school’s cultural, arts and academic groups have already started up with a great enthusiasm displayed by the students. Many of our senior girls took part in Relay for Life and represented the school with pride for a good cause. Donations of money (and hair) is always a sign of our girls’ great generosity of heart.
To conclude this amazing term, we had a whole school inter-house Haka competition on the last day of school where each House took the time to learn and perform the Haka. The day concluded with the whole school performing the Haka together. The school spirit that day was breath-taking and spine tingling.
It was such a powerful way to end the term and it was empowering and humbling to witness my St Mary’s sisters making history.
Term 1 has been a blast and I can’t wait for the blessings that await in Term 2!!