Kia Ora Koutou Katoa

These past few weeks the reality of climate change and increasing severe weather events have hit the North Island hard. I have been speaking to colleagues in Auckland who have had to deal with the cleanup from the flooding, and have been hit with the cyclone. Many communities are doing it tough, and the scale of devastation in the Coromandel and Hawkes Bay is truly frightening. On Monday, the Mission Team (formerly Catholic Character hub) are running an own clothes day and sausage sizzle with proceeds going to the Red Cross to support those impacted by the cyclone. We ask for a gold coin donation (don’t be shy to offer more if you can!) Please keep our communities doing it hard in your prayers.

I would like to thank and congratulate our students (and many staff members) for the gusto with which they approached our first schoolwide boot camp session! It was intense, it was fun, and many of us are still feeling the burn even today! Juniors were trained by PT Lisa Thom and joined by Mrs Francis, Mr Mulcahy, Ms Campbell, and me. We also had local police officers in with us to keep up the motivation. Students absolutely gave it their all and were so enthusiastic about the activities which were a combination of fitness and strength challenges, some individual and some in groups. Over in the gym, PT Marty Greaney drilled our senior students in some intense strength and fitness combos with the help of police to guide and motivate students. Many thanks to Mr Baker, Mr Steggles, and Mr McNish for their work with students there, too. I know I did half a session with the seniors and I’m still feeling it!

We will keep building this programme, and we are delighted to have the support of the warehouse in sponsoring the purchase of boxing gloves and punch pads to add another workout to this bootcamp time. I would also like to thank Senior Constable Terri Middleton for being the driving force in making this happen for our students. We are so grateful to you and your team, Terri, and I know our students are keen to be challenged again next week! A big reminder to all students to ensure they have breakfast before training and a good snack for after training. No need for energy drinks or electrolytes – water and fruit with a nutbar will do the trick.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Joanie Roberson to the role of Director of Religious Studies at JPII. Joanie is an experienced DRS and is currently Assistant Principal and Director of Mission at Marcellin College in Auckland. Joanie brings a wealth of experience to this role, a deep and lived Catholic faith, and a firm grounding in our dual Marist and Mercy charisms. She starts with us on 24 April (day one term two) and will be welcomed with a mihi whakatau. We will send out details if you wish to join us in welcoming this taonga to our school.

Next week Jude Smith starts her new role with us as Learning Support Coordinator. She will be based at JPII and serve St Patrick’s School, Barrytown School, and Runanga School. She will have a very busy start to the role and is contactable at Jude is the first port of call for parents with students with additional learning needs. Jude is an experienced educator across both primary and secondary schools in NZ, Australia and the UK and is a dogged advocate for students with need extra support to achieve to their potential.

Next week we begin the liturgical season of Lent with a liturgy on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. We encourage everyone to reflect on their many blessings and think of something to sacrifice or do better during this 40-day period.

Many thanks to all in our JPII whānau for the fantastic start to the year.

Ngā mihi

Renée Hutchinson