Greetings from St Bede’s
We end a long term well conscious that this time last year we were in lockdown.
I cannot help but think how fortunate our country is. Many schools overseas have had long periods of disruption to their studies. We on the other hand, have had minimal disruptions in comparison.
Following are some thoughts that I shared in the final assembly of the term:
By my count this is only the third assembly of the year, so it is good to get together and acknowledge some of the happenings and events of this first term in this last week. First though, I want to make a couple of observations.
Much of the term coincided with the season of Lent, which as we know, is the preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. In this last week since Easter Sunday, we begin a period of hope. The readings of the Church reflect this as they recount the times when the risen Jesus appears and mixes with the people he was amongst during his ministry. One of the most well-known stories is about the doubting apostle, Thomas, who only believed that Christ was alive when he physically touched the hands of Christ that had been nailed to the cross the week before. This week 2000 years ago, sets up what we believe in as well as a Catholic school and community. Namely that Christ died for us and rose from the dead to save us and redeem us for our sins. In each mass at the consecration, the priest prays these words, “do this in memory of me”. We go to mass to remind ourselves of what Christ did for each and everyone of us 2000 years ago.
So I hear you saying, this is assembly not an RE class!
The death and life story is relevant to us in our daily lives. Life is a series of losses and renewal, of disappointments and happy times, of sacrifice and victory and even as one described, of mini deaths and resurrections. Striving, sacrificing and failing are all parts of succeeding and achieving anything.
And no matter what year level you are, your term probably would have had some setbacks or difficulties. Some may have been resolved, some may not have. The key thing is to remain hopeful and in time things will get better.
For a year 9 there may have been a number of times as you have come to know our place, that you may have made some mistakes or got things wrong that made you feel uncomfortable. For a year 11, you may have realized that all of a sudden, things are ramping up in the classroom in you first year of NCEA. For a year 13, there may be similar realities and pressures as you move up the school and perhaps begin thinking what are the next steps after you leave. This is natural.
There may be others whose plans and dreams for the year have been shattered by illness or injury, and we feel for those boys as well.
Realise that these setbacks can happen to any of us, but the great thing about a strong community is how we rally round in support, either in prayer or in other practical ways.
What the College has instituted this year is a pastoral support network as in the Mana Tāne programme, where far more staff in smaller groups play the part of advocate or coach to help you navigate through the tough times. This is a significant change to our College. Change is challenging for all of us, staff (me included) and students alike, and as with all change, that pattern I talked about earlier of trial and error is very much in play. However, we can see signs already that the new system is beginning to add value, so well done to Mr McMahon who, with all the staff, are taking the leap of faith and getting into it, knowing that this is a programme that will take more than one term to get it to a place that we think it could be.
I want to acknowledge all the really good things happening round the College this term. The first Variety Concert occurred last week, the excellent ambassadors our boys were at the Bishop Lyons, our Pasifika boys in the festival earlier in the term, who acquitted themselves so well, and in a minute we will have a report of a most successful summer sports season.
As an assistant coach of one of those teams, once again I cannot help but think of the Easter message as well, namely that element of failing, or missing out on a team selection, disappointment, sacrifice and working hard which is as much a part of sport as the victories, the medals or the cups.
One of the joys of coaching or directing teenagers is the high probability that most will achieve their personal bests in whatever activity they are involved in. I am sure Mr Gamblin will attest to this as a long serving Athletics coach. I know Mr Sullivan saw this at Maadi this year when all the rowers not only achieved PBs they also happened to bring home plenty of gold medals. They were all hard-earned.
The second placed speaker in the impromptu speech in the BLS achieved his PB because it was the first time he had ever competed in it!! For the drama boys who performed the Easter Liturgy, I would suggest that would have likewise been a personal best, performing in front of the whole school, and the same could be said about most of the Pasifika boys in the Polynesian Festivals. No medals but a leap of faith in having a go, then heaps of work prior and their medal is the satisfaction of performing so well in front of a huge crowd over in Shirley last month.
So there’s only a snapshot of the term, and as I have said a snapshot of the Easter message……the cycle of disappointments, sacrifices as well as victories and achievements. Let’s acknowledge those achievements and support those particularly who are experiencing the tough times. Hope you all have a good final week and then a well-earned holiday.
Hope the boys have a good break, and to those of you going further afield, safe travels.
Until next term,
J. G. Boyle