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SCC Newsletter - 31st May 2019

31st May 2019

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

On Tuesday of this week we celebrated Catholic Schools’ Day.

The first Catholic schools in New Zealand opened in the 1840s in different parts of the country on the back of early missionaries like Bishop Pompallier in the far north, and Father Garin in Nelson. The first religious teachers to reach New Zealand were the Sisters of Mercy in 1850. At St Catherine’s we are privileged to share in the Mercy charism which celebrates 100 years of Catholic education on our site here with celebrations on June 22. These are being organised by our very own Sister Stephanie, who is such a treasure at St Catherine’s College. You may register at

Cultural performances and practices are full on in the lives of students and staff. At our combined concert with St Patrick’s our students performed beautifully in a range of groups: guitar ensemble, chamber music trio, jazz trio, choir and barbershop group. The latter two groups are also performing in The Big Sing and Young Singers in Harmony competitions. Thank you to Ms Fiona Bell our music teacher for her dedication and support of the performing arts at St Catherine’s. Thanks also to Mrs Bernadette Takacs for her passionate leadership of our barbershop group, and all our itinerant music teachers for their service to our students.

Our combined Kapa Kaka group, Ngā Maioha o Te Rangikauia, is committed to weekend-long practices for their competition on Friday 5 July at the TSB Arena. A full rehearsal can be viewed at our school assembly on Wednesday 26 June. Thank you to Matua Whetu Henry and Ms Mandy Page for their leadership and support of our students.

Our Polyclub boasts 25% of the school roll and is practising for the Tu Tagata festival in the Michael Fowler Centre on Tuesday 30 July. Thank you to Mrs Halina McDonald for her generous commitment to our Poly group.

Another round of debating next week challenges the thinking and argument structure of our debaters and their coaches; how would you fare affirming or negating one of these: ‘this house would not send people to prison for non-violent crimes’ or ‘that robots should replace humans in the workplace’ or the O’Shea Shield moot ‘that morals demand the existence of God’

I mentioned in an earlier newsletter of a learning innovation some senior students were involved in. Congratulations to Tiffany Chung and Fernanda Caramto for their achievement; here is their latest report,

We participated, with 2 other girls from another school, in Technovation this year which is basically a global technology entrepreneurship competition for girls. We spent 2 months, starting from March, creating an app along with a business plan and demo + pitch videos. The aim of this competition was to create an app that solves a problem in the community so we created a mental health app called MindScape.

MindScape is a virtual garden that lets the user write what they are grateful for. The more gratitude posts they make, the more their flowers grow, and they can also reflect on their posts by clicking on the leaves on the stem.

I was the CEO and Finance Manager of MindScape and was partly in charge of writing up the business plan. On Sunday 26 May, my team flew to Auckland in the morning to attend Technovation’s national event where we pitched our app to a panel of judges and an audience with a PowerPoint. There were awards given to the top junior team and the top senior team from those who attended the pitch that day; my team was Senior. Shockingly, we won the top senior team!! We won an Artificial Intelligence Half-day workshop with Saba Tavakolinejad from Microsoft.

One of the judges on the panel was an inventor and he reached out to us and was excited to know how would we expand our app in the future and said he’ll get back to us which is amazing! There are more rounds coming with the judging based on our online submissions, and the last round is the World Pitch which is held in Silicon Valley, California for the top 12 scoring teams.

Overall, this experience was very invaluable and we couldn't have won without having an amazing team and two mentors who guided us along the way.

Congratulations also to Rachel Price for being selected in the Wellington U15 Black representative netball team.

On Wednesday 12 June senior students will receive an achievement tracking sheet and on Monday 17 June junior students will receive full reports. These reports will be the catalyst for conversations at our Home-School Meetings.

Home-School Meetings will be held on Wednesday 19th June and Thursday 20th June from 4.00pm -6.30pm in Te Atawhai Building. To book the 5 minute appointments go to:

Enter an email address and name details.

Select the subject from the drop down box.

Select the Teacher's name from the next drop down box. You can make up to 7 appointments.

Choose suitable times from either Wednesday 19th or Thursday 20th June.

We really encourage all parents/caregivers to attend these meetings with their daughter; over 80% of guardians met with teachers for the Learning Conversations a while back, and here is another opportunity to share in the special partnership of home-school for your daughter’s learning and development. Make your bookings now.

Mrs Kathy Ryan, Head of English, has won a Teachers’ Sabbatical and will be away for the next term. She is enrolled in courses in France and Ireland; we wish her safe and rewarding times. In her absence Ms Deirdre Walsh assumes the role of Head of English, Ms Phoebe Wright will teach her English classes, and Mrs Ilana de Vos will act as Dean of Years 12-13.

This morning we hosted a Prospective Parents’ Morning Tea; Studio 1 was overflowing with mums and dads new to St Catherine’s, listening to students sharing their journeys and taking tours of the school.

Our Open Night is on Monday 10 June at 6.30pm; spread the word to neighbours and friends who might have daughters destined for secondary school, we would love to host them.

When visiting one of our contributing schools and talking with Yr 7-8 students about enrolments for 2020, a student asked, ‘Who was St Catherine?’ Great question.

Catherine of Siena, in Italy, was a laywoman associated with the Dominican Order, she was a mystic, activist and author who had a great influence on Italian literature and the Catholic Church. She is one of the patron saints of Italy.

Catholic Schools’ Day was an opportunity to reflect on who we are and what we aspire to achieve with our young people…….

Regards and God’s blessings

Steve Bryan


PS. I have just received notice of PPTA industrial action which means different year levels will not be taught on specific days. The first of these is Year 9 on Tuesday 4 June. As St Catherine’s is closed for a Mid Term Break on this day there will be no impact upon us. I will keep you informed of implications for the following week.


Wednesday 19th June and Thursday 20th June

4.00pm -6.30pm

To book the 5 minute appointments go to:

Year 11 Careers Expo trip – 21st June

The planned trip to the Careers Expo at the Queen's Wharf Event Centre has been cancelled due to the proposed PPTA Regional Strike on that day.

The event is open to the public on June 21st and June 22nd and students and caregivers are welcome to attend.

Here is a link to the event.

International homestays needed

Homestay Family needed in Term 3

1. We need two homes for four Hong Kong girls who are visiting us from 23rd or 24th July till 12th August. Two girls should be placed into one home, sharing a room with two single beds or bunk beds.

2. We also need a home for a Japanese girl from Ikubunkan School for 6 weeks during term 3.

3. We need two homes for two Chinese girls form 28th July till 9th August.

Please contact Megan on 021 1279 537 or if you are interested.

Help wanted to build garden boxes for the community garden

Does anybody have themselves or any friends or relatives with building skills who can donate their time to help us build planter boxes for the community garden?

If so can, please contact ‘’.

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