Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Well as hard as it is to believe here we are in week eleven of term one, Holy Week.
As is always the case, this has been a very busy term: Mr Yipatty, St John’s (first aid), yachting, rafting, tennis, camp, triathlons and all the numerous other activities that have happened this term.
Thank you to all of the parents who have helped out in
making these activities happen
we are very grateful.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to watch the Year five and six flippa ball final. The team effort from our team was brilliant to witness. Congratulations to the team thanks to all the flippa ball coaches Amy Monaghan, Jo Stafford and Brad Gilmour.
As everybody prepares for the end of the term and many of you will be travelling then, please be careful but also have a great time.
Wishing you a happy and holy Easter.

-Mike Brosnahan 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

As we move through the period of Lent it is a very good time to reflect on the things that are important in life. We live in a world where bigger is better, where money is very important and where everything is

always a rush.

Lent in the secular world appears like any other period of time but for Christians we can reflect on the

sacrifices that Jesus made. We can strive to be a better person by reflecting on what is really important to us. Family; friends; health; happiness.

I read somewhere recently that the commodity that the very rich covet the most is time. They want to make the most of their time. They have a driver so that they don’t waste time in traffic, they hire people to do all the little tasks enabling them to focus on what is really important. Spending time with people they care about.

We all become guilty of trying to cram more and more into our days but in lent try to take a little time to reflect on what is really important.

Have a great week, -Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Resilience, what is resilience? When we are talking about the human spirit it means to have hardiness of spirit, toughness, strength and is an ability to recover from hardships.

Much research shows that it is the key component in people successful in any field of endeavour, be it sporting, be it academic, be it artistic or be it just in life in general.

Life has many twists and turns in it. We never know what lies around the corner. Resilience is the ability to meet the challenges that life throws at us and to move on as a better person for the experience.

Possibly the greatest basketballer (and one of the greatest athletes ever) Michael Jordan has this famous quote about resilience "I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career, I lost more than 300 games; on 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team as not being good enough. But he believed in himself and never stopped trying.

There will only ever be one Michael Jordan. But self belief and having resilience to keep trying when others tell you that you won’t succeed are what enable people to have a good life.

Phoebe Steel a former Columba College hockey player and now a member of the Black Sticks remains to those who know her a model of resilience. Phoebe’s Christchurch school was damaged in the earth quakes and her mother and step father decided to move to Dunedin to escape the carnage. In her first year in the hockey First Eleven the team had an interschool against national champions St Margaret's. The previous year St Margaret's had won the inter-school 15-0 (the equivalent of about 90-0 in rugby). The rest of the team were nervous, anxious and even afraid. But Phoebe spoke up saying the only way that you find out in life what you can do is to challenge yourself, play against the best. Take the knocks, suffer the abuse and taunting, smile and try harder. The team listened—the girls still lost 3-1. But at the end they had gained the respect of St Margaret's and more importantly they had developed a higher level of self belief.

A danger that we face as parents is to be a "Curler Parent". That is a parent who sweeps in front of their child, cleans a smooth path for them to follow. No bumps or challenges when young. The danger with this is that few parents can keep sweeping when they have teenagers and I would suggest not at all when the child leaves school.

My daughter Grace has been selected in a number of representative teams but we all agree she learned more when she failed to be selected in one. She stopped refocused and set goals and has then gone from strength to strength. She learnt to be resilient.

Resilience is about not letting anyone make you feel unworthy.

Have a great week, -Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Over the weekend, mainly owing to the excellent weather, I spent a lot of time watching sport. From fully

professional athletes to teenagers in a preseason warm up match and most levels in between.

All in all I watched six sports and there were obviously a number of similarities in the attitudes shown. In all cases the athletes played to win. In all cases their approach showed respect, in all cases a large amount of preparation had obviously gone in and in all cases the participants were enjoying the contest.

My daughters 12th grade football team (they are an all girls team) won their ‘B’ section of the competition last year and they played a friendly against the ‘A’ section winners. The girls competed hard but the others an all boys team was just a little too skilful. But at the end of the game the girls chanted loudest, happily shook hands and posed for team photos. They enjoyed the contest.

At the other end of the spectrum I don’t really think the Warriors enjoyed their visit to Dunedin. The Warriors are fully professional athletes. Sport is their occupation. It’s what they do.

The girls mostly all play other sports and for most football is only a small part of what they do. That doesn’t mean they don’t train and play hard. They want to win, but they know that in sport sometimes you lose!

The real strength of the ‘Silver Streaks’ is the range of abilities in the team. They have a hard core ten or eleven

serious players. Some are probably the best in their position in the grade, girl or boy. But the other four or five

players are not quite at the same standard. But they are a part of the team and they contribute the best they can. They always show up, they always play their best and because of good supportive coaching they improve. They have improved to the degree that on most days it’s difficult to ascertain who are the rep players and who are not.

But the key thing is they are a team, they play as a team, they take their results as a team, they are coached as a team.

Studies show that overwhelmingly girls play sport to be a part of a team, so the most important way to measure the success of a coach for children is how many of their team play the following year. If the number is high, they are

enjoying the experience and want to continue in the sport. That is the most important success.

Have a great week

-Mike Brosnahan

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Life is about change, the style of clothes that we wear, the way sports are played the types of car we drive. They all change overtime. Change is not bad, it is a necessary part of life.

The rate of change gets faster and faster with new technology, in the old Star Trek TV series Captain Kirk and his fellow travellers communicated with a device that is exactly like a cell phone. When the

programme came out everybody thought that this idea was very far-fetched!

To go forward we need to change and we need to embrace and not fear change. Our student’s live in a world where the way that they can access up to date information changes very quickly.

The skill that never changes is our ability to problem solve. How you solve the problem doesn’t matter it’s the solving that counts. Some people talk, or write out the problem, some draw or build it. Some use maths algorithms—the how is irrelevant. But problem solving is a skill that is vital to success in all fields. The greatest generals, scientists, sports stars and artists were all great problem solvers, and the irony is that problem solving is learned by doing, by trial and error, by resilience and by accepting a failure and learning from it. So when you watch your child attempt a task and fail you don’t rush in to help but rather let them try again in their own way. They are learning a skill that will be with them for life.

Have a great week

-Mike Brosnahan

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Well here we are in week five already. The sun is shining and it feels like summer although its nearly


Next week the junior school begin their swimming programme and once again we are most grateful to all of the generous people who have given up their time to walk the children to and from the pool and also to help supervise them at the pool.

The opening of the new supermarket on the old school site promises to present some challenges in

ensuring the safety of our students and carers when walking to and from school. We have made the DCC aware of our concerns about the lack of footpath on the Brooklands Park (rec) side of the road, the poor siting of the crossing and the lack of yellow "no parking" lines close to the school entrance. As late as

yesterday afternoon I was able to elicit no definite answer of what changes would be made to ensure the safety of our children. We will continue to work with the council and the Police to ensure that road

crossings are able to be done safely by our community. To this end over the next few weeks the Police will be watching closely especially during the key end of day time frame.

We would ask parents where possible to park either on the school side of Church Street or in the top car park and to please not park too close to the school entrance.

I hope we continue with this lovely weather, have a great week,

-Mike Brosnahan


Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

"Life becomes easier and more beautiful when we see the good in other people". Roy T Bennett

I read this quote the other day and when you think about it if you see the good in people around you, you surround yourself with goodness. If you see only the bad you surround yourself with badness.

People who see the good in people make great coaches—they see a talent, they eliminate the negative they accentuate the positive and produce a champion.

I have coached many teams in a number of sports over a number of years, I coached a St Mary’s rugby team that lost one game in two years and won both the finals we played by more than 30 points.

But most people would have had success with that team—they were two classes better that the opposition.

I also coached a girls cricket team where only a couple of players had played before. To misquote a fa-mous Australian cricketer they could not bowl and could not field. But I saw strengths in each player. Our one good player, an Otago under 21 rep was also a great leader and a good person who really encouraged the team. We progressed and eventually won a couple of games. But the best thing about that team is that now (and remember a lot of the originals have left school) we have five who still play and now they really enjoy playing.

We saw the good in the people, not the fact that they couldn’t hold a bat. You can teach someone to hold a bat but you can’t teach a positive attitude and a will to learn.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan