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Photo by Kim Wheeler

Staff farewells

Chris Comeau —

Sadly we farewell two long serving staff members. The following is taken from Mr Comeau's address at Prize giving.

Adele Churchman

Adele Churchman is retiring from teaching after 37 years of service to Roncalli College. I’m sure many of you in the audience are former students of Mrs Churchman. Her accomplishments are far too many to comment on tonight, and we will formally farewell her on Tuesday at a special function.

What I can say is that Mrs Churchman began teaching at Roncalli in 1983 and during her time at the College she has held various roles and positions of responsibility including (Head of Geography, Head of Outdoor Education, Director of Religious Studies, Principal’s Nominee, and Acting Assistant and Deputy Principal to name a few).

She has also helped lead two major overseas social justice trips – one to Cambodia in 2005 and One to Nepal in 2013. And in 1999, she travelled to Zambia with a group of Principal’s for a social justice exposure trip.

While employed at the College Mrs Churchman has continued with her professional studies and development – She travelled and studied in Israel 1991, gained her Masters in Educational Leadership through the Australian Catholic University in 2001, completed a Masters in Christianity from the University of London in 2009, and studied at Yad VaShem in Israel in 2015.

Those of you who know Mrs Churchman will know of her love and passion for the outdoors and the environment. She is affectionally know by staff as Mother Earth and has been involved in a variety of outdoor activities during her time at Roncalli. She recently told me about the time she was stranded at Big Bay at the end of the school holidays because low cloud cover prevented the pick-up plane from landing and also the time she was avalanched in at Mt Olympus on a long weekend ski trip.

We will miss Mrs Churchman’s wisdom, experience, laughter, and compassion. And I will particularly miss her tremendous educational and spiritual knowledge.

We thank her for her service to the College and we wish her all the best for her


Sheila Thomas

Sheila Thomas started teaching French at Roncalli in 2006 after immigrating with her family from Zimbabwe. It was the Robert Mugabe era. During her time at the College she built a very reputable French language and culture programme that produced some exceptional students with exceptional results. I can tell you from experience that Madamme Thomas has high standards for her students as well as for herself. One of the highlights of her French Programme were the trips to New Caledonia and Tahiti, where the students were billeted with local families and immersed in authentic French-speaking culture. I’m disappointed that I never managed to get myself on one of those island trips.

My lasting memory of Mrs Thomas will be the year she organised her French class to attend the French Film Festival down at Movie Max. Unfortunately, the movies were not rated by the NZ Film Commission so the student’s came away with far more than just exposure to the French language. I’m told that after that, her French numbers increased dramatically. I’m not sure if it was ignorance or just clever marketing.