2015 has been a busy year for this faculty in the College. Boys continued their SPEC course in Food and Hospitality – with Monday afternoon pancakes becoming a regular treat. The Learning Support garden was green and lush and Tuesday mornings became a great day for swimming at Jellie Park.
The ST Thomas Learning Support team encourage the development of the whole person and aim to produce young men who are ready, willing and able to assume useful roles contributing in society. SPEC is an alternative education programme aiming to develop key competencies from The New Zealand curriculum. It focuses on improving life skills. Cooking sessions, using the kitchen in the staff room and off site experiences are all key elements in the boys learning new skills and confidence. Lathym and Connor quickly became our very own Master Chefs with a different afternoon tea every Monday! The STEPS programme continued to be a key player in literacy development for many of our boys from year 7 – 13, with friendly competition always making things fun.
This year the boys got to enjoy a trip to the Antarctic Centre where the Little Blue Penguins stole all the attention. Jellie Park was a regular on a Tuesday for Connor and Sam with lengths been swum, but mainly a game that involved escaping invisible sharks. Where ever the boys went they always represented their College proudly. Thank you to the numerous volunteers, reader/writers for examinations and the staff who go beyond the call of duty. The teachers who take the time and not only teach a subject but teach a student, we say thank you. Some of the year 13 group contributed significantly to our school, and in particular to Learning Support, Issac Roberston. Every Thursday Issac would patiently help our boys with their Maths and any other concerns they had. This gesture from Issac not only epitomizes and demonstrates all the Edmund Rice values and morals men of STC strive for, but makes all the different to the young men Issac helps. The role of learning support is to be involved with the whole school community to enable better engagement for students with learning differences. When the men from within the College jump on board with that notion the impact can be huge.
The thing that really makes us a great school is the special character within the college. The characters, friendships and journeys that have been shaped and moulded in 2015 are ones that we can look back on fondly. At St Thomas’s we encourage our students to recognise and develop their individual potential and gain pride and satisfaction by setting personal goals and striving to attain them. The Learning Support team worked with our men to ensure goals were met, achievements were reached, and good memories were made.
By Sam Vincent