Monday, August 22, 2011

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

Welcome back to week four and what a special week this week promises to be with St Mary’s making it’s first appearance on ‘Stars on Stage” since 2003. I have had a sneak preview of our school performance and it is stunning.

I wish to thank here all of the people who have been involved in making it happen, especially Miss Victoria Cooper for the hours of work and effort above and beyond that she has put in, also for the energy and enthusiasm that she has brought to our item. It is easy to see that all of the participants are having fun and that is what makes it such a success.

I would also like to congratulate the pupils from our school who have achieved representative honours for this year. The demands on young people to achieve in sport has increased exponentially over the last decade. In the ‘old days’ I played for the Otago Primary Rugby team and we had one game a season, I think that I would have played a total of about eight or nine games in a year. Consider how many games children play now days, and they often play a number of sports.

I am a great advocate for sport but I think we need to ensure a balance or we will finish up with pupils of late primary school or early secondary age ‘burning out’ from too much competitive sport. How much is too much? That is the 30 billion dollar question? But I think one aspect of the answer is in the first part of my writing, enjoyment. If the child is enjoying the sport it isn’t too much, if they are asking not to attend a game or a practice then maybe it is.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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

Winter has hit with a vengeance and many of us have seen more snow over the past couple of days then we have for a long time. Because I live up in the hills when the weather looks like getting snowy, we try to leave a car parked at the bottom of the road on which we live because often our road and our drive became impassable.

This morning our family took a 15 minute walk to get our car before heading off. This was a small challenge though compared to Alaska where children are expected to play outside until the temperature reaches minus 12degrees!

This term is going very quickly and shows little chance of slowing down. I would like to mention a big thanks to all of the parents from our school who have acted as coach, manager or helped in anyway with our sports teams over the winter months. Also a big congratulations to all of our pupils who have been selected for representative teams over the past months.

Sport is one of those events in life that it is always important to challenge yourself in or you will never know just what you can really achieve, but the other factor to remember is the ‘rule of 10,000’ it is believed that to achieve success of a high standard in anything it requires 10,000 hours of application, all successful people have put this amount of practice in.

So just because you don’t make teams when young don’t get upset, if you really want to be good at something—keep working on it.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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

School is a very busy place at the moment with pupils preparing for our cross country, choir festival and ‘Stars on Stage’. Miss Cooper and the ’Stars on Stage’ cast have been working very hard often in their own time to put together a top level presentation.

The arts have long been a forgotten area of our education system in New Zealand and I am very pleased that, driven by a group of motivated teachers, their importance is again being recognised.

As a society we must strive to cater for the skill, interest, needs and talents of all of our citizens and while we in New Zealand focus a lot of our interests on sports and sporting prowess, I assure you that this is not the case throughout the world.

The key for any successful society is to have balanced education of learning: the academic, the artistic and the physical equally.

Often you will find pupils who struggle in other areas come to life with enthusiasm and energy when performing. Pupils who are quiet in class speak forcefully and with much motivation in a debate setting, they beam confidence in a choir, their artwork tells a story.

We as a society must remember that while the basics in all areas are very important the parable of the talents tells us that all talents are God given and should be used. How easy would it have been for van Gogh to stay with his family in Holland or Beethoven to say I can’t hear anymore.

So please encourage your child to have a go at the arts we offer at school: choir, Stars on Stage, public speaking, guitar and piano lessons, a school production, and of course in class learning drama, dance, music and the visual arts.

I will leave for final word for this week to William Bennett the former US Secretary of Education who said “The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing and arithmetic. Music, dance, painting, and theatre are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment”

Have a great week, Mike Brosnahan.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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

Welcome back to Term Three for 2011, and what an exciting term it looks to be.

We all welcome Mrs Anne Simmons back to Room Two after her terms leave.

One of the saddest aspects of my position is saying good bye to someone, especially someone who has been a huge part of our school over a long period of time.

So it was with heavy hearts we fare-welled long time, friend and colleague Bridget West, along with her family and friends in a Mass to celebrate her life during the holidays.

Bridget West attended St Mary’s School for her primary school education. She then began working at the school, when her own children began here. She started as a parent help but was soon employed as a full time teachers aid. Bridget loved books and Reading, she would spend hours working in the library or helping children with their reading.

I went on two school camps with Bridget and she was always prepared to give things a go, skiing, tramping, canoeing, anything.

Bridget loved the social aspects of our school, she was always involved in our outings and ‘shouts’, her baking was a highlight especially her shortbread.

We as a school will be holding a liturgy to remember Bridget and to celebrate her contribution to our school on Friday in the Hall at 2.30pm, please join us if this possible.

We remember Bridget and her family in our thoughts and prayers.

Mike Brosnahan