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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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

Each week as I prepare to write the newsletter I do a lot of back ground reading and reflect on current events before putting pen or pencil to paper.

This week I was talking to a friend and he used the old phrase, ‘the acorn hasn’t fallen far from the tree’.

Moving away from the brilliant imagery that this phrase evokes the meaning is simple; be it nurture or nature we as parents affect how our children will turn out.

If it’s nurture then as parents, especially when our children are very young, all of our actions our values and our beliefs shape the people our children become.

We see this by the number of children who work in the same or a related field to their parents. We see it when we see the number of sportsmen and women whose parents played the same sport as them and we see it in the behaviour of children which is a mirror of their parents behaviour.

A number of years ago I had to call a father into school to tell him that his son was using a number of swear words at school and that we needed the parents to support us to ensure that this stopped. The dad looked me in the eye and said that he didn’t know where he got the swearing from but that when he got home he would be told in no uncertain terms to stop it. The shame was that every second word that the dad said was a swear word and he didn’t see his speaking like this was role modelling for his son exactly what not to do!

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Yesterday was Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s National day. It is a day in which we acknowledge our history and the part that our past plays in our present and indeed our future.

Marcus Garvey wrote "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."

To know where you come from individually is a powerful way of ensuring a sense of belonging and self worth. But it is also important to know where we as a nation came from and how we were formed.

My father’s siblings and he were the first of our family to be born in New Zealand. His parents and siblings had left their home to ensure a better future for their families. But for many of them home remained in the country they had left.

My children see themselves as only New Zealanders, for them home is here.

That is good, but it is also important to know how home came to be.

History never changes, but how it is recorded and presented do. So it is important for us as ‘Kiwis" to keep learning about our past while we sail into the future.
Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

Monday, January 30, 2017

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

Welcome back to the 2017 school year. I hope that everybody had a restful and enjoyable holiday.

While the weather has been inclement, to say the least, the summer holidays always give a chance for

families to spend quality time together.

The demands of modern living are huge and the focus that seems to exist now is on always being first or

biggest or best are stressful for all.

Over the break I have been away with a couple of sports teams, and I watched a number of young sports people compete. The ones who enjoyed themselves were the ones who were there because they loved the game. Correspondingly these were usually the players who achieved the best results.

As the great American golfer Ray Floyd said "if you love what you do then you never work a day in your life".

During the holidays our family (or parts of it) undertook some substantial road trips. One was from

Dunedin to Whanganui. During this time when my passenger slept I got to listen to a number of my

favourite artists. The words of one song I think give a message that we all should aim to live by is Glen Campbell’s "Try a little Kindness".

"If you see your brother standing by the road with a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed.

And if you see your sister falling by the way, just stop and say, your going the wrong way.

You got to try a little kindness."

Powerful words to live by.

Have a great year,

Mike Brosnahan

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

Well this is the final newsletter for the year and what a busy and successful year it has been. Academically artistically and in the sporting field our pupils have achieved some excellent results. Brilliant results in the ICAS exams and excellent achievement in our National Standards data show just how well our pupils are achieving academically. The number of our pupils who placed at our regular interschool athletics and cross country events was amazing. Two of our pupils Sophie Galliven and Ella MacKenzie placed in Otago Championships (Athletics and Cross Country respectively). A huge number of pupils gained

representative honours in a range of sports.

Our Choir, Kapa Haka group and school performance were all of the very highest standard and were

highly acclaimed.

I would also like to thank the huge range of people who work hard to make our school the success that it is: Our Board of Trustees, our PTA, the fair organising committee, all of the sport coaches and managers, the Parents who accompany sports groups on outing and camp, the people who helped at working bees, the Parish members who take reading with our pupils and of course Fr Michael and the teachers.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child and if that is indeed the case we are very lucky to have a big supportive ‘village’.

Schools more than any other institution are under constant scrutiny. We are audited by three separate independent bodies. This year we were reviewed by the Catholic Education office review team. They

completed an in-depth and comprehensive review earlier this term.

The first comment on their summary page: "St Mary’s is a successful school delivering high quality

Catholic Education to a supportive and responsive community", is a glowing tribute to what our school achieves. The full report is available at the school office.

I would like to finish this final newsletter of the year by wishing you all a happy, healthy and holy

Christmas and thank you for your continued support of our school.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

Swimming Lessons

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

Well here we are in week nine of the year and the run into the end of the year and Christmas.

This is always a very busy time for everyone as they ensure that the current year finishes on a positive note while preparing for the next (yes 2017).

To this end, to help with school wide planning for 2017 I would be most grateful if people let me know of any enrolments at whatever level for next year. We have a large number of new entrant enrolments start-ing and to enable us to manage our resources to best level that we are able to. It is always best to know all of our enrolments as early as possible.

To enable everyone to enjoy the preparations for and indeed Christmas itself we should reflect on the Christmas story. Christmas is a time for hope and looking to a bright future. It is a time for family and enjoying positive relationships. Most of all it is a time when we think of others and of giving and not


Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan