Friday, December 9, 2011

2011 - An "Eventful Trip"



This has been a memorable year at St Dominic's Convent and College. To close the school year - Sr Madeleine gave an overview of the happenings at our end-of-year prizegiving.


"As they say, traveling is the most important form of education for it broadens and matures a man. One of my assignments whilst studying for my Graduate Diploma in Secondary teaching was to choose a metaphor for teaching. With this saying in mind I chose a flight overseas for my metaphor and I feel that this year was one eventful trip. Mother often reminds me of how I used to complain about being bored as a postulant and I can promise you that there was never a dull or boring moment at St Dominic’s this year. Let us board Dominican Airlines and embark on the journey of 2011 at St Dominic’s Girls’ College.

I have gone from an air hostess, which represents the teacher to a co-pilot which for me is like the Head of School. Our principal, Fr Cranshaw, is the pilot who directs and flies the plane –
our school. The passengers represent the students. They are not alone on the journey, there are many others heading in the same direction but with different reasons for taking this particular flight and perhaps with different destinations in mind. No matter what, each will experience the same services but each one at the end of the flight will have been affected differently. You will have to ask each student what their experience has been this year. I am sure that each teacher will have their own flight stories to tell too.

Along the way the plane may meet with bad weather and turbulence. Yes, we at St Dominic’s Girls’ College did experience that this year but this is typical for a girls’ school with all of its emotional dramas. I think there would be a problem if there were was no turbulence. It makes for a more exciting trip!!! As I said previously the pilot is the principal and he appears from time to time when the need arises. He calms the passengers and the co-pilot when problems are experienced. Fortunately our pilot came to the rescue during our turbulence.
Thank you, Fr Cranshaw!!!

The air hostesses are the teachers. They equip the passengers with everything they need for the flight and ensure that everything is to their liking. What has been our equipment this year? We applied for and received 4 grants for the school. The first one was to transform the tennis club into a home economics room for the girls. We were able to purchase a new oven, a new and bigger work bench and a new working unit with four cupboards and 4 sets of drawers. We are thankful to Mr and Mrs Smith for designing and purchasing the equipment and to both Mr Doug and Mr Brendan Piper for their help with the electrics down at the home economics room. We are now able to have sewing and cooking running at the same time in the same building. We were able to timetable sewing classes for the Form 7 girls this year and next year both Forms 6 and 7 will have sewing classes. The girls have made some lovely projects and it was always interesting to watch the flock of vultures descend on a Tuesday afternoon when the cooking class returned with their unconsumed goodies – not always to share!!

We also received a grant for new desks for the junior girls, a grant for microscopes and lab equipment for the Science department and in the last month we received money for new netball
uniforms for next year. Speaking of netball, we also won some money for new equipment thanks to Farmlands. We congratulate the intermediate team on winning their division and the
senior team for coming third.
We were very impressed with the overall sportsmanship of our girls because there was definitely some biased umpiring sometimes and our girls continued to play well. We extend a special thank you to their coach Mr Foster for his time and dedication to the teams. I would just like to say
at this point that it is unfortunate that more parents do not come to support their girls. Other teams have people all around the courts. Our girls are fortunate to have a few Sisters, their coach and the odd parent. This may be an area that could be improved on in future. We sent a parcel of netball equipment to India for the orphanage as one of our ex pupils was over there trying
to teach the orphans how to play netball properly. She seemed to have interested the boys more
than the girls! Thank you to all who donated to the cause.

Each passenger brings with them their own talents and personalities with which the hostess works. This year we have had quite some interesting characters. There are different classes of passenger but each gets the attention they require. The trip will of course suit some passengers more than others. Some will experience jet lag, others will recline their seat and sleep most of the way, some will suffer from travel sickness and others will take advantage of the in-flight entertainment. I think I can safely say that we have some from every class – wouldn’t I
be right girls?

Entries for the Art Competition - the theme was "The Four Seasons"




Of what did our inflight entertainment consist this year? Well during the first couple of weeks we of course had our three student teachers and their Sr cook absent for studies in Tauranga. The girls dealt well with the constant change of teachers as these 4 had to spend 6 weeks away from school at different intervals. There was also the 5 week practicum at Collegiate for Srs Lucia and Jacinta. The girls are to be commended for their patience in this regard. The students also had the changeover of teachers when new postulants arrived in the middle of the year.
In March we received the news that our Form 7 student, Nicola, was in the top 5% for Cambridge IGCSE Latin. Nicola, Mr Hays and Nicola’s parents had a nice trip to Auckland for the ceremony. It was the fourth year in a row that our school has received a Top School or Top Centre Award. The certificates take pride of place in the staff room.
Choral Speaking
Students participating in the music competition

As in previous years we had our interhouse competitions. This year we had our usual music, drama, art, netball, poetry and tabloid sports competitions. We introduced choral speaking this year and the girls performed very well. There is real talent among them. The judge was very impressed considering that it was the first time that the girls had done it. It is such a joy to see the girls working together as a team and building good relationships with each other. Even at lunchtimes the prefects have done a great job organising games and it is lovely to see them all playing and laughing together. Chester Burrows and the quintet from the NZ Symphony Orchestra also remarked how lovely it was to see the joyful expressions on the students from all three schools.

We also introduced points for the best book work and neatest diaries. It is amazing what a bit of competition can do. The girls work has vastly improved since the beginning of the year and
we hope it will continue. Well done girls! Then of course there was the unforgettable roll-a-thon. The girls spent time and energy going out door knocking and finding many sponsors.
There was a lot of competition among the classes and their form teachers with forms for sponsorship being sent far and wide in order to be the class to raise the most money as we all wanted to win that class trip. It was very close. The girls raised the most for all three schools. Meagan Foster raised the most over all and Form 7 had the highest average, thus winning the class trip.



The event itself was one we will never forget – 3 casualties within 5 mins. Firstly, accident prone Cerese on her bike ran into the back of Sr Lucia on rollerblades and sent her airborne and left a tyre mark on the back of Sr’s habit. Both ended up in emergency and under observation. Soon afterwards as Sr Raymond was coming round for her 16th lap on rollerblades she fell and ended up in hospital for a few days due to a broken arm from which she is still recovering. Four
days in hospital and an operation followed by constant physiotherapy – all for 80 cents per lap in order to raise money for the school. The St Anthony Parish roll-a-thon was the main topic discussed in the hospital for the following week. Fortunately along the way there are stopovers for refueling and technical checks - mid term breaks and holidays to rest from the normal school routine.

Everyone gets off for a change of scene and to refresh themselves. Ultimately the journey must come to an end. As the plane begins its descent there are cards to fill in for customs likened to the tests that one takes at the end of the year. At this point I should mention the excellent results received by the Form 6 girls on their French examinations which they sat at the Alliance Francaise in Wellington last month. Each of them passed their diploma in French language studies. Congratulations girls!

Once the plane comes to a halt, everyone gets up, collects their luggage, like students collecting all of the knowledge they now possess and as they exit the hostess is there at the door to
farewell her passengers and wish them the best in the next stage of their journey like the teacher at the graduation ceremony. Tonight we farewell a lovely group of girls – Nicola, Samantha, Kelly-Marie, Meagan and Madeleine. It has been a great joy to have these girls who have been excellent role models to the younger students. They tried their very best to obey all rules
and to help the teachers as best as they could and we will dearly miss them. They had a very positive outlook and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours. They have now cleared customs and the metal detectors namely, the Cambridge Examinations and are now safe to meet their connecting flights. We also farewell Alex who has been a ray of sunshine around the school over the past few years. We must also farewell Mother, the foundress of the school, Sister Catherine, our Cambridge examinations officer and Sister Raymond – our administrator.
They will all be dearly missed. And we must not forget our dear postulants.
We also farewell Mr Griffiths who taught AS Mathematics to the girls this year.
To these teachers, to Father Cranshaw, our Pilot, and to all of our crew who remain next year I extend a heartfelt thanks for their support and encouragement over this past year.


We must remember that it is God Who directs our flight and it is only on the reliance of prayer that each one of us will reach the goal which God wills and destines for us. We assure each and everyone of our students, past and present of our continued prayers.
Prayer can be likened to the wings of the plane because even when difficulties are encountered the wings continue to support and carry the plane and all on board in order to reach the destination which has been scheduled. May we all reach that destination!!
This year was a trip that will never be forgotten or regretted and will be relished for life. May 2012 be just as bright and eventful. Thank you."

The girls at the end-of-year prizegiving
St Augustine boys at prizegiving

Even though the school year has finished, the sisters are nontheless still keeping busy. The growing gardens on the grounds, as well as the miniature orchard are all thriving with the Spring rains, and are keeping the gardening sisters busy!





Please keep the sisters in your prayers during this holy season of Advent. In addition to preparing for Christmas and for our annual retreat leading up to Epiphany, there are also preparations concerning the furnishing of the future convent in Australia, needing to be completed - as the Novitiate is moving there in January. Yes, this is a very busy - but very happy time of year. We are all looking forward to the grand feast of Epiphany, when there will be the triple blessing of a sister making perpetual profession, several sisters making their first vows, and several postulants receiving the holy habit. St Dominic, ora pro nobis!