Welcome to another year at St Bernadette’s School. The first school day of Term 1 is Monday the 3rd of February. We look forward to seeing those returning and we welcome new families to the school. There are seven classes again in 2014.   Stationery packs have arrived and will be ready for students during week one. If you wish to contact the school this week please  phone the office at 4557 408. Leave a message if the office  is unattended.

You will see below a calendar for the first term giving you an indication of dates and events up until  Easter. The highlight of the term looks set to be the School Fair scheduled for Saturday the 29th of March. Next Thursday is Waitangi Day, Athletics’ Day is March the 12th, Term 1 swimming block takes place in weeks 7 and 8.

The opening school Mass is a combined service with St Brigids School and will be held on Sunday the 16th of February at St Patrick’s Basilica. Friday the 21st of March is a Teacher Only Day when teachers will be attending a Gathering of all teachers in Catholic Schools in the Dunedin Diocese. Otago Anniversary Day will be observed on Monday the 25th of March.


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blue and gold

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St Bernadette’s School is fortunate to be participating in the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme.  Fonterra is offering a carton of free milk to every student in Years 1–6 every day at school. Many parishioners in the Dunedin South Pastoral Area will have vivid memories of another ‘free milk for schools’ programme some years ago. Free milk was given to New Zealand schoolchildren from 1937. The scheme was a world first. Each day, milk monitors supplied a half-pint (284 ml) of milk to each pupil. By 1940, the milk was available to over 80% of schoolchildren. For a few years during the Second World War, pupils also received an apple a day. The scheme lasted until 1967.
The new initiative, which commenced at St Bernadette’s on Tuesday, has been met with enthusiasm.  The milk is delivered to the school in boxes containing small cartons of milk with straws. Every school has been given a fridge specifically for this purpose. Senior students become milk monitors and are charged with delivering the milk to the classes.  The children have their drink while continuing with their school work, a bit different from the ‘old days’ sitting outside in the cold drinking cold milk from the bottle, or outside in the warm drinking warm milk!  In 2013 once the milk is drunk the containers are folded carefully and put into bins ready for recycling. Thank you Fonterra. It is a very encouraging sign to see big companies putting something back into New Zealand education.

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Over the last few weeks the ‘Get Set Go’ programme has been being introduced to St Bernadette’s  through Sport Otago. At the commencement of the programme, teachers in the junior classes went to a day workshop to learn about Get Set Go. Since then Katie Menzies has visited the school on six separate occasions taking, each time working with each of the four junior classes. Katie has endeared herself to the children with her lovely affirming and supportive manner. She has impressed us all with her enthusiasm and commitment to the programme. At the completion of the final session with Room 7 the children thanked Katie and posed for a group photo. Next term the teachers will continue the programme with their own classes.

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After our Easter Liturgy this morning, the whole school came together on the court for the annual Lenten Trail. Mrs Eathorne had written ‘Caritas’, which the children covered with their coins. The $415.00 raised will help Caritas in their partnerships in Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Thank you for your generosity and support for this event.


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This week, the children have completed their six swimming lessons. In this short time we have been very pleased to see the progress made in the children’s water confidence and swimming skills. They have all enjoyed the opportunity to be in the water, and are looking forward to next week’s sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Our thanks to the Jill Clark Swim School for their excellent work with the children.

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At the end of last year the Board of Trustees was pleased to inform parents and caregivers that this year there would be an additional classroom at St Bernadette’s. We welcome Keith Wilcox will be teaching the Year 4 children. In 2013 there will be four junior classes and three senior classes. This is a  very positive development for the school and we are very pleased to welcome back Keith to St Bernadette’s.

There are a number of new children to the school this year, younger siblings as well as new families to the community. We are also fortunate to have four 3rd Year Trainees from the University College of Education working in classrooms for much of the year. We are always impressed with the calibre of these young teachers, as well as  their enthusiasm and commitment to the school.

We encourage all families to make a special effort to attend the opening schools’ Mass at St Patrick’s Basilica on Sunday the 17th of February. This will be a Pastoral Area joint Mass with St Brigid’s School and we’d love to see you there.


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One hundred and forty children from St Bernadette’s on stage at the same time. The culmination of many weeks of rehearsals and we all agree that the result was well worth the effort. It is also very important at this point to identify and quantify the learning and the benefits from participating in the Maori and Pacific Island Festival 2012. Yes, it was music and movement, it was time, precision and teamwork. It was an appreciation and an increased understanding in the Maori and Samoan language and culture. But it also gave the children the realisation that weeks of hard work can have amazing benefits. It was about giving each other the understanding that we all rely on one another in order to achieve. It was about older children being given the chance to lead and direct, it was about giving younger children the opportunity to be an integral part of a bigger picture.

The performance took a smidgen more than the allotted ten minutes, but when these children leave St Bernadette’s in years to come and look back on their memories of primary school, the Polyfest will be something they instantly remember with fondness and with pride.


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(we give thanks and glory)

Over the past two weeks Sefo Kelekolio, father of Caleb and Samuel, has been visiting the school twice a week to teach the senior children a Samoan hymn which they will perform at the Maori and Pacific Festival in late August.  It is amazing how quickly young people are able to pick up the words and the tune to a previously unknown song. Sefo was very pleased to be asked to assist with this project and we are very grateful to him for sharing his time and his skill with the children. He will continue to work with the whole school in preparation for the festival. This week was Samoan Language week and the children have been able to appreciate aspects of the language by learning this lovely hymn.



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Six of our senior students attended the annual Young Leaders’ Conference  at the Regent Theatre on Monday the 14th of May . They  gained a lot from the experience  and they are happy to share their reflection on the day with their school mates and the school community.

Here is a report on the day from Millie, Zakk, Niko, Amelia, Laura and Sofiana. We congratulate the children and thank them for the report.

There were 5 speakers who had stories or experiences to tell. We enjoyed them all. Nick Tuatasi is an ex policeman and his main points were as follows. Uncover your abilities and spark others. This is what spark means. Shaken, Pushed, Anger, Risk and Kickstart. He was very inspiring.

Our next speaker was Josh Emett, Master Chef judge. His main point was to follow your dreams, work hard, be passionate about what you do.

Third speaker was James Beck/Motivational speaker.  If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it badly until you get it right. Use what you’ve got, do what you love, and leave the world a better place than you found it. He wowed us with his sense of humour and stories of his journey through life.  He also wrote a song about the Christchurch earthquake just to cheer up some people who were finding it hard to cope with all the earthquakes.

Next we had Sheryl Scanlan, ex Silver Fern and current Southern Steel player.  Her main point was: ‘If it was meant to be, it’s up to me.’ She talked about her years playing netball.  Our last speaker was James Blake, Ocean Rower, son of Sir Peter Blake.  His achievement was to row 2500 km with three other guys from Sydney to Auckland.  It was supposed to take 30 days.  Food was packed for 40 days but it had to be rationed for the next 2 weeks as it took them 55 days.

All in all every speaker was really inspirational and the speeches were delivered with good humour for young leaders.  We all enjoyed the Young Leaders Day at the Regent Theatre.


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