Dear Parents and Carers,
Firstly, I would like to farewell Mrs Sonja Mingay, our Defence School Mentor and School Chaplain. Sonja is moving on to something different next year and will be setting a new career path for herself. Words cannot explain how much our community has been blessed to have Sonja working with us. Her dedication and commitment to her roles has been inspiring. She will be greatly missed and leaves behind a huge legacy at STM.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the School Community Council for all their work this year. Margaret Deerain, Fr Josh Scott, Fr Emil Milat, Lee Kormany, Sonia Skinn, Daniel Johnston, Michael Castrission, Bek Richardson, Nicole Mikkonen and Pam Sixsmith have shown such dedication to our community and our students. Each member is a strong advocate for continuous improvement in student learning and in the community engagement at STM.
I would also like to thank all the parent volunteers throughout 2019. Without your assistance, we could not function as we do. We are blessed at St Thomas More’s with a most generous parent community. Helpers have assisted with classroom reading and writing, covering library books, cooking BBQs, handing out pizza, cleaning up after morning teas, sporting carnivals and so on! Thank you for your generosity and continued support.
The Home Reading Program will finish up this week to allow our Learning Support Assistants to complete a stocktake and prepare for 2020. I encourage all families to maintain a reading regime during the holidays.
We are fast approaching the season of candy canes. I would like to ask that you support a candy cane exclusion for several reasons. Firstly, health, extra sugar, preservatives and colouring. Secondly, the sticky fingers on everything and thirdly, the rubbish that ends up on our playground, not to mention running with sharp sticks in mouths. Thank you.
Staffing will be announced in next week’s More Reminders. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Katherine Morris on her new employment next year. Katherine will be moving to Holy Spirit in Nicholls next year. Also, Sophie Brown has decided to stay at Ss Peter and Paul in Goulburn, while her and her husband await the birth of their second child next year. Caitlin Brown has also secured employment in the public service and so will not be returning to STM. Sophie, Caitlin and Katherine will be missed at STM and I wish them all the very best for their future.
Yr 6 Graduation
This Friday we have our Yr 6 Graduation and Liturgy. It will start at 1:30pm. The school community looks forward to farewelling our Yr 6 cohort.
Coloured Clothes and Pizza Day
The students are invited to wear coloured clothes on Monday to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Drought Relief. Please ensure your child is wearing sun-safe clothing and enclosed shoes. Please send in a gold coin donation with your child. It’s also our Pizza Lunch Day on the same day. No need to organise lunch on Monday!
Next Wednesday afternoon, the students will have their “Step-Up Afternoon”. It will start after lunch once children have packed their bags. Children will spend the afternoon with their new teacher and classmates for 2020. This will benefit many students, but particularly our students who become anxious about change.
One Community in God's Love
Welcome to Week 9.
The year is almost over and there seems to be many things to do before Christmas arrives, yet not enough time to complete the ‘to do’ list.
The lead up to Christmas can become quite frantic and we can lose sight of the true meaning of this special season. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ into our homes. If we allow ourselves to be caught up with material things, then we often cannot appreciate what we already have ~ family.
I thought I would share this special reading, a parallel story to 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13 – A Christmas Version
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I am just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing
gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I am just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love does not envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way. Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.
May you all enjoy a truly blessed Christmas with your loved ones and safe travels.
Thank you for your continued support in my Religious Education and classroom teacher roles at St Thomas More’s School. I look forward to working with you all next year. I wish all departing families an exciting 2020 in their new location.
Religious Education Coordinator
On Wednesday November 27th, our Year 2 and 3 Tiny Tommies visited the seniors at
Southern Cross Care Apartments. We read some stories to them which they were most excited about.
Our last visit was on December 4th . This time the Tiny Tommies read to the seniors, asked them questions about Christmas for them as a child and told them some Christmas jokes. It is a great community service experience for these children.
I hope to continue this initiative in 2020. Our current Year 1 and Year 2 students may like to think about joining and becoming a Tiny Tommie in the new year.
You may have read the Schoolzine or Facebook messages earlier this week that I am finishing my time at St Thomas More’s at the end of this school year. What an excellent experience I have had at St Thomas More’s since I first arrived in May 2013!
It has been my privilege to share time with children whether it be Monday Craft, Relaxation Sessions or Deployment Groups or even a quick hello and update on the playground.
I have often marvelled at the resilience and adaptability of children of Defence Families. When new to St Thomas More’s, they put so much energy into learning new faces, new routines and trying to find their own rightful place in the community. When their parent/s are away, they can ride the rollercoaster of feelings: sad, dejected, angry, excited, proud and happy at the various stages of the absence, sometimes without necessarily being able to recognise or articulate these feelings. When posting away from St Thomas More’s, I have heard children describe their emotions as exited, happy, sad, nervous, angry, lost – and most often a combination of these feelings at the same time. No surprise that different children have different capacities to deal with these sometimes challenging circumstances. I believe the Defence School Mentor position is so important for supporting these children and their families and it has been an honour for me to be in this role.
Over and over again, two things stand out to me – relationships and communication. I feel St Thomas More’s is a particularly special community (including children, parents and staff) because generally we really try our best to nurture good relationships and communication through our ethos of Respect More, Encourage More and Think More. I feel so proud of our children when I observe them looking out for others.
My special farewell and best wishes to the families who are relocating. Thank you for your participation and contribution to St Thomas More’s. All the best for a safe and happy trip and settling into your new homes, school and workplaces.
To one and all, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and safe and happy holidays. All the best to you!
Annual Mini Vinnies Social Justice Day
The Annual Mini Vinnies Social Justice Day was held on Friday 22 November at the Australian Catholic University. It was the biggest yet to be held In our Archdiocese with over 200 students from 13 primary schools. This year, students rotated through workshops where they learnt about Vinnies services such as the shops, Night Patrol, Family Services and Street to Home. Students were challenged to consider how they might personally engage to address poverty and injustice in our society. Sophie Neighbour, Annabelle Graham and Lachlan Jaensch were all excellent spokespeople in a television interview for WIN News Canberra. All STM students who participated in the day were great ambassadors for our school. Thank you to Mrs Bramanathan for her supervision on the day.
Mini Vinnies Christmas Show at Southern Cross Care
STM Mini Vinnies visited Southern Cross Care on Friday 29 November to put on a Christmas Show for the residents. The comedies brought smiles to faces, the energetic dances kept everyone captivated and the songs and Christmas Carols created a lovely festive spirit. Isabella Gibb’s Christmas Quiz was a great activity for the children to interact with the residents. We had some laughs making Christmas decorations with pipe-cleaners. The residents appeared to really enjoy our visit. Well done Mini Vinnies for your efforts to share Christmas joy with others. Thank you to Mrs Poole who accompanied and provided supervision.
Mini Vinnies Christmas Hampers for St Vincent de Paul
Thank you very much to everyone who donated items towards the Mini Vinnies Christmas Hampers. The hampers were presented to Kym Duggan and Monica Phelan from our parish St Vincent de Paul Conference after the Kinder Nativity last Friday, 6 December. These hampers are distributed to families in our local area who are in need. Often these families are living in hardship due to disability, sickness or old age or because of circumstances such as single parenting, loss of work or low income. Before assembling the Christmas Hampers, Mini Vinnies prayed that the recipients would feel our good will and best wishes for them and have a joyful Christmas Day.
Donation to SVdP Night Patrol Van
Fundraising from Hot Chocolates in Term 3 amounted to $99.70. We learnt at the Mini Vinnies Social Justice Day that the Night Patrol Van were in need of water and toothpaste. These were purchased and donated to the Night Patrol Van this week.
Thank you to everyone for all your support and contributions throughout the year.
It has been my privilege and pleasure to work for and be part of the St Thomas More’s community. Wishing everyone all the best for Christmas, the New Year and beyond. One of my first memories of coming into St Thomas More’s was being addressed by classes with “Good morning Mrs Mingay and may God be with you.” The first time it happened, and each time afterwards, I have felt I was receiving a special blessing to help me in my work at St Thomas More’s. So, on leaving, I finish with “Goodbye the Community of St Thomas More’s and may God be with you.”
Dear Parents and Carers
This is my last update as Chair of the STM School Council. Three new parents are coming on Council next year which is great with the first meeting for 2020 in week 3 of term 1. Thank you to everyone who I have worked with over the past 5 years on the STM Council – it has been a privilege. Here are a few final things to let you know about:
Chilada at Majura Park shopping centre are now stocking STM uniforms.
- Parent Information booklet
The School has a parent information booklet. It provides really useful information so definitely worth downloading a copy.
- School website
Just a reminder to look at the School website from time to time – especially the calendar and for copies of school notes.
- Class contacts in 2020
It would be great to have class contacts set up and ready to go early in the new year. The role is not demanding – usually organising volunteers for one class event for the year and circulating family contact details (put together by the school) and if inspired organising a social event for class families during the year.
- Community Events 2020
Planning has already commenced for some community events in 2020. The first one to mark in your diaries is a welcome event on the evening of Thursday 12 March 2020.
Finally, just a short wrap-up about some of the key activities of the Council this year:
- A welcome BBQ/movie night on 21 March 2019;
- Two “cuppa at the gate” mornings to introduce parent Council members to other parents and provide an opportunity to raise issues;
- Overseeing the parental contact network which enables community events during the year (eg Mother’s Day breakfast, Father’s Day breakfast, Annual Dance Concert BBQ) and other social activities organised by classes;
- An evening social event for fathers (around Father’s Day) with a Mothers night out planned for 2020;
- Buying new coding resources for the school .
Don’t forget if you have any ideas for consideration by the School Council, you can always send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those leaving the school in 2019, all the very best for life’s next adventures and to others, looking forward to seeing you again at the school next year!