Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Well winter has struck, the change in conditions from Saturday morning and early afternoon, to late after-noon was amazing.
As I write this I am at home as the conditions of many of the roads in the hill suburbs are still marginal for safe travel.
When you live in the temperate climate zones winter weather is a factor that you expect.
Ensuring that all of the events that we timetable are completed becomes a balancing act. Ground transfers, postponements, cancellations, late starts and school closures are all realities of life and to ensure that we achieve the best outcomes we always rely on the whole school community working as a team.
We are lucky to have so many people who are prepared to put up their hands to help and it is due to this good will that St Mary’s pupils have such a range of options open to them.
The winter terms have a large number of events: The Taieri Schools Music Festival, The Year Seven and Eight camp, The Year Seven and Eight interchange with St Joseph’s (Oamaru), the South Taieri Schools Cross Country, The Haddon Shield Public Speaking competition, The school Musical and numerous inter and intra school sporting events. With all of these activities on top of the already very busy everyday life of our school, inclement weather can be an annoyance but when we look at the big picture in the end our
pupils get an amazing range of opportunities, thanks to you!
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
During the holidays my family spent a little time in Nelson. It seemed a good idea to drive up, spend a
couple of days and then drive back, but nine hour car trips, even when it is through country that you haven’t visited before can be tiring.
During our time there we managed to see a lot of the sights—one highlight for ‘some’ of our family being a visit to the Lord Rutherford of Nelson memorial. Two points about Rutherford that I didn’t know before hand stuck with me; one was his total pride in being a New Zealander. Given that he was a man who spent by far the greater part of his life outside the country and was resident in either Canada or England when he achieved his greatest feats, he always remembered where he came from.
But he was a man who given the conditions of the world in which he lived, rose far above what were the logical expectations that people had of him.
Often we as kiwis focus our adulation on what people are achieving today, such as the young singer
“Lorde”. What she has done are feats that she should be justifiably proud of. But what Rutherford did will be remembered forever. Remember he died nearly eighty years ago but he is on our highest denominated note, he has an element (Rutherfordium) and a crater on the moon, named for him. But I think we should remember Ernest Lord Rutherford of Nelson not for what he did but rather for the attributes he showed that enabled him to complete those feats—courage, perseverance, tenacity and self belief.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Over the holidays I read a book entitled ‘Outliers’ by a man named Malcolm Gladwell. The book looks at
people who succeed in life and the reasons for their success. The main conclusions that he comes to,
and he supports these points with very well reasoned arguments are:
That there is no such thing as a ‘natural’ all success comes from effort. I think myself back to an occasion
while attending a course at the university watching a first year student during lunch time, endlessly doing
chip and chases with a rugby ball by himself, up and down Logan Park. This wasn’t a one off thing, it
happened on a daily bases, so I was told. The only thing that changed were the skills that he practiced.
This young man left university soon after to focus on his sporting career. His name I found out later was
Jeff Wilson. Often over the years as I watched the ‘golden one’ win games for Otago, the Highlanders
and the All Blacks I would hear people say—that guy is a natural. But what Jeff Wilson has was a great
work ethic from a young age.
How does this apply to education? The same way as it applies to life. Anyone who says my formal
practice or my game is over, I have nothing to do until next practice/game will not achieve great things.
Anyone who you talk to who appears to be naturally talented will have developed the requisite skills
through hard work.
Schooling is just the same. The approximately 10-15% of pupils who gain NCEA with excellence work
hard, full stop! A balanced life is of course important and know how far you want to go in life is a very
personal decision. Each year about 700 people enroll in pre-law at Otago University and only 200 make
it. Those 200 will have worked the hardest.
We support our children’s education not by driving them incessantly on but by ensuring we support them
and acknowledge that the learning they do at school is only a part of the learning that they undertake on a
daily basis.
Have a great term
Mike Brosnahan
Easter Liturgy