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Principal's Message

By Kate Nicholson | Posted: Monday May 2, 2022

Welcome to Term Two.

I trust that the holidays provided a welcome reprieve from the on-again, off-again nature that seemed to make up Term One.

We have been blessed with a beautiful week of weather which has made break times extremely pleasant and created a good opportunity for students to get outside, run around and get plenty of fresh air. Next week’s weather is looking less encouraging and we will go back to using lunchrooms as needed, but there will still be plenty of encouragement to spend time outside where viable.

Today is Blessed Edmund Rice’s Feast Day – two of our College Houses, Bodkin and Rice, are directly linked to Edmund Rice. When Kavanagh College began, three charisms were brought together as examples of how to live out the Gospels, using the examples set by influential people from Catholic history – Edmund Rice (founder of the Christian Brothers Order and the Presentation Brothers), Catherine McAuley (founder of the Mercy Order) and St Dominic (founder of the Dominican Order). Our four college values came together from the values that these orders professed. Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers in Ireland in the early 1800s. Early in his adult life Edmund Rice was a very successful businessman. However, after the tragic death of his wife, Edmund became more interested in serving the needs of the poor. After a long period of reflection, he moved to an impoverished section of the Irish city of Waterford and set up a school. The values by which he asked his people to live by were Compassion and Justice. In New Zealand there are five colleges who are part of the Edmund Rice Network – Liston College and St Peter’s College in Auckland; St Thomas of Canterbury College in Christchurch and St Kevin’s College, Oamaru, along with Kavanagh College. We still meet regularly together with the other four schools to ensure that the foundations of this charism are not lost within everyday education direction and pressures.

Compassion and Justice were actions that Jesus Christ lived by. They are as relevant today as the were thousands of years ago. As part of the pastoral review and work that has been happening in our college, we are strengthening our commitment to restorative practices. I do not believe in detentions as the backbone of a discipline system. If they worked, then they wouldn’t be needed anymore! And yet, so often when this is the primary way of dealing with behaviour, more detention rooms and more timeslots to run detentions need to be found. Some students become very regular attendees with no real and sustainable change happening outside of the detention room. Instead, teaching behaviour rather than reacting to it, and role modelling respect, empathy and forgiveness, should be the remit of any Catholic school living the gospels. Restorative ways of dealing with poor behaviour - learning to take ownership of the problem and then fix it, how to restore relationships and teaching what respectful behaviour looks like – will have more sustainable change than a lunchtime detention ever will. We look forward to having more professional development as a staff in this important area as the year goes on.

Thank you to the House Prefects who have led the first of our House Celebration Days, and to Fr Hook who came in to lead a lunchtime liturgy for these two Houses. We look forward to St Dominic’s Day in August and Mercy Day in September, to celebrate the legacy left by our other two founding orders.

Ngā manaakitanga.

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