Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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

As we approach the season of Advent it is a very good time to reflect on what Advent is and what it means to us. Advent is a time of preparing or getting ready. It begins on the Sunday closest to St Andrew’s Day (the fourth Sunday before Christmas). The beginning of advent would once, I suspect, have tied in with the time when we generally begun to prepare for Christmas; decorations would have gone up in shops, Christmas music would have begun to be played on the radio, advertisements would have begun to appear on television, people would have begun to plan the day, thought about what presents that they were going to buy and then select a tree.

Sadly today most of those activities began long ago, and our preparation for Christmas has become a

competitive race. "I’ve bought all my presents", "I’ve just finished putting the lights up". Sadly

commercialism has slowly but surely eroded the real meaning of Christmas.

The Churches focus at Advent is on preparing for the second coming but remembering the first coming of Christ at Christmas.

While we prepare for Christmas this year let us remember the values that Christ taught us especially the value of compassion. We become compassionate people by being able to put ourselves on someone else's situation, to walk in their shoes as it were. This is a skill that we can learn and that we can teach. When we see a refugee on television think "how hard it must be to have to live their life": Jesus’ greatest gift was that he taught us to think about others—not only about ourselves.

So as we prepare for Christmas in this season of advent, talk to your children about how Christmas can be the beginning of a better time for all, leading to true happiness.

Have a great week, Mike Brosnahan

Year 6—Camp last

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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

Well here we are in Week Six of 2015, where has the year gone?

Today is a day of celebration as with (A.J. Kilpatrick) starting at school we have reached our highest

maximum roll since 2010. It is great to see all of the happy young faces of a morning!

Over the next month school will be a very busy place with: the Year Six camp, Otago Championship

athletic sports, our end of the year Production and our end of the year Graduation Mass.

The end of the year is often a stressful time for all, everybody thinks that they should be doing everything. I think that it is an important time as we move into the period of advent to focus on what is important and to ensure a positive end to the year by: acknowledging how fortunate we are to live in such a peaceful and safe place, to be thankful of the opportunities that we and our children have access to and by focusing on the important aspects of the Christmas message—especially that of hope.

Think about this, Christmas is poised at the end of one year and the beginning of the next—at a crossroads of the past and the future. A previous year with all of it’s blessings and trials is gone. A New Year looms ahead full of uncertainty. Yet, here it is approaching fast, Christmas! The celebration of a birth that took place 2000 years ago. A birth is always a time of hope - what will this new life bring to the world?

Christmas is a perennial bright spot on the calendar because God has given us hope.

So have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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

What a great day Sunday was. Yes it rained but it didn’t matter. It was an excellent example of what a brilliant supportive and motivated community we have. A huge thank you to Jacqui Hyde and her team on the PTA, the amount of effort that they put in was very hard to believe and the success of the day was mostly down to the planning and thought that they put in.

Thank you also to all of the people who helped on the day and to those who supported us simply by being there. To see all of the young and the not so young enjoying a family focused day filled me with a huge sense of pride, so to all of you well done. I didn’t even mind getting wet, although I hate cold water, to see the smile on the faces of the children at my dumping.

The rest of the term is also going to be very busy with the year six camp coming up and of course the end of year concert.

A final congratulations to Pyper Johnson on winning the Dillon cup for the third year in a row! Nobody else has won it twice so great effort—well done Pyper.

Have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan


Monday, November 2, 2015

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

As I mentioned in last weeks newsletter, last week I was lucky enough to attend the senior camp at Pukerau.

As always this is a real highlight as we see our senior pupils attempt and achieve a huge range of personal challenges. Seeing someone look up the climbing wall or down the abseiling face and show doubt but then climb to the top or abseil to the bottom is a common occurrence. Then once they have achieved this goal you see that person walking 30cm taller, full of confidence and self belief.

Our school vision states that we want our students to be "confident, reflective, risk taking, life long

learners in a Catholic School."

Camp is an excellent way of ensuring that the first three goals are under lined and because of the success that the students achieve this understanding of setting a challenge and achieving will be life-long.

Camp could not happen without a huge amount of support from the parents who go on camp with us; so a huge thank you to John Hyde, Paul Anderton, Charlie Harrex, Bridget Dougherty, and Luanna Clough. And of course a huge thank you to Mrs Judy Baines for the huge amount of planning, effort and the time she puts in to make the camp such a huge success.

Our next two big events are the South Taieri Schools Athletics sports tomorrow, and the school fair on Sunday. We are praying for good weather on both days and I look forward to seeing you at these events.

Have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan


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

A question that comes up a lot in schools and indeed when dealing with young people is what is success? What denotes success? Is it having a high educational qualification? Is it having a lot of money? Is it be-ing in a top sports team? Is it having a lot of good friends? A happy family? Is it good health?

The answer I suppose is all of these or none of these. Working hard to achieve a high qualification is fine but not if it causes you a huge amount of stress. All of these accomplishments that I have mentioned are very worthy but only if the achieving of them causes you real happiness.

There is a saying "be careful about what you wish for as you might get it". The inference being that it won’t necessarily cause you happiness or contentment.

My son is at present in the midst of university exams and he is trying to gain access into a school that has a firm and academically rigid criteria of admittance. To say that it has caused him angst would be a huge understatement. Last week when we were talking and he was explaining his fears I said to him "is being a Lawyer what you really want?" Yes. "Have you worked hard" Yes. "Could you have realistically done any more to pass?" No! Well I said now do the best that you can in your exam and if you don’t make it into Law school you will make a really good accountant or economist or what ever.

The point is that if you really work to your maximum to achieve something and you don’t quite make it, it’s a time to reflect and say "was it really meant to be?"

As Denis Waitley said "happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude".

Have a great week.

Mike Brosnahan