Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A Golden Career

We note the recent news of Greg Child's retirement. An old boy of FDMC (mid 1970s) Greg did his apprenticeship in Taranaki before moving on to be a major figure in the ranks of jockeys, both in NZ and across the ditch. He is most famous for his association with the great Sunline but has ridden many great horses over the last 30 years.

It is always a pleasure to see an old boy make it at the highest level in his chosen career and we wish Greg well for what is sure to be a fairly active retirement.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas One And All

We have reached the end of another hectic year with the prospect of one at least as busy to come. May you and yours have a Christmas of peace and refreshment, in every sense.

We will continue to post a couple of times a week over the next month so don't forget to look us up from time to time.

Get some rest, we are all going to need it in the Jubilee Year 2009!

God bless.

Monday, 22 December 2008

A Page In History II

This page is from a mid 1990's magazine. We note Br Tim and Br Mark feature in some of the photos. Both brothers are currently based in the Sydney area doing what they do best - working with young people.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Full Circle

We posted a photo of Margaret Milne and son Jono a week or two ago. We recently came across this photo of Margaret which appeared in the 1990 magazine, her first full year at FDMC.

Things have come full circle for Margaret as she has resigned as AP of the college and will be a part time staff member in 2009. She will be working on literacy and extension programmes for individual students and groups, which is not dissimilar to the work she was undertaking back in 1990. The intervening years have seen Margaret contribute in many ways and many roles to FDMC, in and outside of the classroom. There will be very few students from her era who did not fully understand that Mrs Milne "said what she meant, and meant what she said" and that she always had their best interests at heart.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

'03 Reunion

Sunday saw the class of '03 get together for a BBQ, a look around the old school and some intensive games of handball and "kill the cone". Great to see plenty of old boys there and to hear how well they are doing in the big wide world.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Junior Prizegiving 2008 - The List

While young George Grainger took out a lot of prizes at this year's junior prizegiving he was not the only one to be rewarded for his efforts.

You can view the extended prize list by clicking on Junior Prizegiving.

This was Br Peter Ryan's last official task as Principal and we wish him all the best in his new appointment in Sydney.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Junior Prizegiving 2008

Yesterday's prize giving went very smoothly with a lot of parents and grand parents in attendance. Many people remarked on the quality of the musical items which, as some of the older old boys will recall, was not always the case.

Star of the show was Year 10 student George Grainger, seen here with some of the many awards he received. George also gave a solo cello performance as a musical item. He is very talented young man.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Last Day and a Reminder

Today is the last day of the year for students at FDMC. The Junior Prizegiving brings the curtain down on a very busy school year that has seen a great many successes and a few sad times. We will have some photos of the event in due course.

We have also been asked to remind recent old boys of the gathering on Sunday. To refresh peoples memories here is part of Sam Barrett's communique.

"14th of December 2008 almost 5 years to the day the class of '03 graduated from FDMC, we shall reunite on the College grounds for the first annual Five Years On Reunion, a tradition starting here that will surely continue for years to come. All College Old Boys who were in our year group at one time or another are welcome to attend. The day kicks off at 4.30pm and will include BBQ, beers, a College tour and the possibility of some favourites like rob the nest and kill the cones. The day will also serve as a chance to say goodbye to Brother Peter Ryan, the College's final De La Salle Brother to be Principal. Teachers are also invited and encouraged to attend if they can. Will be good to see some the Year 7 and 8 homeroom teachers 10 years on. Spread the word lads."

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Page In History

The first in a series of postings where we take a page of photos from an old college magazine.

This page is from 1979 and caught our eye as all our juniors have been out and about this week involved in lots of different activities.

As always you can get a better look at the image by clicking on it and having it enlarge.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Balgo Hills - A Description

We ran into Chas Carroll and Nick Siffleet on Saturday. They have returned from their year at Balgo Hills and are both off to University next year. We thought we would give our loyal readers a bit of background on what it means to be in a place like Balgo Hills. The following is taken from the De La Salle site.

Balgo Hills (Wirrimanu), is a remote Aboriginal community located in the Southeast Kimberely region of Western Australia, eleven hours by road from Alice Springs. The summers are very hot, often reaching forty-five degrees, and the winters cool right down to an icy five degrees. The population total is 490 people, and traditional Aboriginal Art is the major source of employment, besides working as a Teacher’s Aide at the local school.

The De La Salle Brothers, a Catholic religious order of men whose core mission is to provide
a human and Christian education to young people, especially the poor and the marginalized,
were asked to work in Balgo Hills because there were difficulties finding willing administrators and teachers for the school.

In Balgo Hills, education is vital in giving local youths’ employment opportunities and lifestyle
options. Here, the Brothers are highly valued members of the community providing hope and
guidance to young people. Most of the children are of non-English speaking backgrounds
with limited educational opportunities. The Brothers oversee the integration of traditional
indigenous values and customs with the education required to survive in the 21st century.

In many remote communities such as Balgo Hills in outback Australia, the quality of life for
Aboriginal people is limited by their access to education, health, employment and recreation

Since 1983, the Brothers have been working to improve the quality of education serving as
Principals or teachers at the local school Luurnpa Catholic, the Adult Education Centre or
the Language Centre.

There are currently four brothers along with a dozen teachers who run the school which
educates 100 students from pre-school to Year 10. The school is regularly chosen by
government authorities to pilot innovations in indigenous education such as the National
Acceleration Literacy Program.

Aboriginal communities often face instability in so many areas of their lives because of
changing Government policies. The Brothers provide stability in teaching staff and
education, and a stable curriculum that goes beyond the short term.

There are numerous challenges to education faced daily at Balgo Hills:

School attendance is an issue due to a variety of reasons. With a nomadic tradition, this
often means that the population is transient. Family issues and attitudes towards education
can also present obstacles to school attendance, often depending on whether the parents want their children to come to school and if the children are interested in what they are

Secondary School attendance rate is lower than Primary, as students tend to drop out after
Year Eight. Over the years, the Brothers have improved attendance levels significantly,
which is now at 67%.

Health care, particularly hearing loss, is a major problem for Aboriginal children, often
caused by chronic infections and runny noses which affect their eardrums. The De La Salle
Brothers have improved the acoustics in the classrooms, assisting greatly with concentration
and comfort levels.

Nutrition can be lacking with many children coming to school having had no breakfast or
very little to eat. The Brothers have offered practical assistance, providing breakfast and
lunch to help sustain them throughout the school day. Children sometimes leave school
directly after lunch and Brothers continue to work with their families to ensure that they
return to their education for a full day.

Boredom is a major community problem. Being remotely situated, there is little to do in the
community. To help eradicate this, the Brothers run activity programs for children and an
Adult Education Program throughout the whole year. Volunteers come from metro areas to
keep children occupied so that they don’t resort to mischief in order to entertain themselves.

Obtaining the right staff who can work effectively with the Aboriginal Teacher’s Aides, is
also quite challenging. Although many wonderful volunteers come to assist, often they don’t
stay for an extended period. Teachers who come to work at the community need an
induction program so they can understand and connect with Aboriginal culture. The Brothers
have managed to secure a number of high quality teachers who have now stayed for a few
years at a time.

A tremendous achievement and testament to the Brother’s hard work is the team of
Indigenous Teacher’s Aides who have overcome adversity to become dedicated and highly
reliable members of staff, who assist daily in developing a brighter future for the settlement.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

A Bit Spooky

In all of the awards bustle over the last few weeks we forgot to mention that Year 12 student Dylan Dunlop-Barrett was named Taranaki Junior Sportsman of the Year. Dylan and his sister Ayla, pictured here, are the subject of an article in today's Daily News.

Having talked about Miles Benton on Thursday who should turn up for a visit to FDMC on Friday but the man himself. Miles had not seen the blog, it was just one of those coincidences. He tells us he is working on his Masters thesis at present looking at genetic links in type 2 diabetes. We sense a PhD in the future there somewhere.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

We Are Watching!

We are always on the look out for information on our old boys and have developed a fairly efficient network of spotters. This image of recent old boy Miles Benton was spotted in the latest Victoria University Science Faculty publication. Miles is studying hard at Vic and following in the illustrious footsteps of many past FDMC scientists.

If you spot an old boy you think warrants a mention don't be shy about letting us know.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Apprentice Of The Year

Congratulations to old boy Reece Stieller (pictured) who recently won the Apprentice of the Year award at the Engineering Taranaki Apprenticeship Award Evening.

Reece, who works for Greaves, had won the Senior Excellence Award in Electrical before taking out the main prize.

Other old boys honoured on the night were
  • Gareth Tai - finalist, senior electrical
  • Jacob Dent - finalist, junior electrical
  • Tony Stewert - finalist, senior fabrication & welding
  • James Morwood - winner, junior excellence in fabrication & welding
  • Dion Breur - finalist, junior maintenance & diagnostic
It is great to see so many of our old boys making a mark in their chosen careers.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Keeping A Straight Bat

Congratulations to Ryan Fleming on being named as the captain of the Taranaki cricket team. It has been a big couple of weeks for Ryan as he has just been appointed to his first teaching position at Frankley School.

Other members of the cricket team with FDMC connections are Daniel Bolstad (old boy), Mark Wales (current teacher) and Debu Banik (current FDMC player and coach).

Click on the Daily News for the full article.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Support Your Local Magazine

As regular vsitors to this blog will know the school magazine is an invaluble source of information and historical data. The 2008 edition of the magazine is now being produced and we noticed the following piece in the latest college newsletter.

The College magazine – the “Cardinal, Blue and Gold” – is the official record of our College year. The magazine is a reflection of all the events and activities of the College year. So as to be able to include all the significant activities of the year, up to and including the Junior prizegiving held in early December, the magazine is published in February of each year. It is made available to all current families and is mailed home to Year 13 and other students who finished at the College the previous year.

As I am sure you are aware, the magazine is a costly production and in an attempt to subsidise the cost of and to produce a magazine of the highest possible quality, the College would like to offer families and businesses the opportunity to sponsor a page.

We have 140 pages available for sponsorship at $25.00 per page for family sponsorship and $50.00 per page for business sponsorship. This would allow for your family name or business name and details to be typeset in the bottom margin as the sponsor of that page.

Your support will be much appreciated.

Should you be interested in supporting the magazine you can contact Jane Connolly the editor at jac@fdmc.school.nz .