Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Snakey On Education

The following questions and answers have been lifted from a Dominion Post feature on education. These questions were asked of old boy Conrad Smith.

Favourite subject: History. A wise man once told me you understand more about the present when you learn about the past.

Teacher who changed my life and why: Lindsay McMorran, who taught me there is more to life than sport.

What was your educational turning point? Attending Francis Douglas, leaving behind all the girls that used to annoy me at primary school.

Best lesson learnt: If you want something done, ask the busiest person.

Why I took the educational path I did ...  I studied law with the plan to study journalism at the post-graduate stage, but law proved to be more enjoyable than I anticipated.

If I could change anything about my education: I wish I had learnt a foreign language ... it's very hard to start learning at 30.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Letters From Balgo

Alejandro Barrientos, who completed Year 13 last year, is currently in Balgo, Australia working with the Brothers in their school there. We can all feel very
proud of his selflessness and dedication. The following are excerpts from his recent emails:
Howʼs the College holding up? Great to hear Benildus finally won a major sporting event! Everything in Balgo is going great! The children are awesome! I'm having a real good time out here. 

The kids can go out of control for a bit, but are mainly good. Some days are on the verge of living nightmares! Which makes me wonder how would all the past
teachers I had cope in some of the situations the teachers here go through. Would Mr. Kochʼs point system work? Would Mr. Simpsonʼs firm but fair
teaching work? Mr. Stuckʼs cool yet relaxed manner work? Heck, would even Mr. Mustchinʼs wise words of wisdom help? Are all the questions I raise when the studentsare so sure that the world revolves around them! 

I even wonder how you would tackle some situations if you were principal! Br Rick, the principal, does an amazing job as principal and is clearly here for the
children which is great to see, but heʼs been a little stressed out lately I think. Itʼs mainly only the older students that really act out. Just watching how they develop their skills is amazing and gives a sense of actually getting through to them and making me want to stay here more and more.

I also do work in the Pre-Primary/Kindy who are all the young kids of the school. They are awesome as well, but like in every kindergarden and children around the ages of 4 they can be quite a handful at times! The days may be good, but boy are they loooonnnng. After school I'm so exhausted! However its awesome and I wouldn't change it!

The experience out here has been great and every day something new happens which makes it more challenging, which I love!

All the best - Alejandro Barrientos - Go Benildus!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thank God It's Friday!

We couldn't resist publishing this photo of old boy Kevin Murphy as it appeared on the front page of today's Daily News.

Kevin, the current CEO of the TSB Bank, was celebrating a bit more than just the end of the week. A $60 million annual profit is worth a little jig, especially in the current economic climate.

We hope the rest of you find something to be happy about today, even if it doesn't end up on the front page.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A Trip To St Bernard's

Yesterday saw a large contingent of FDMC students representing the College at St Bernard's in Lower Hutt. This has become an annual fixture over the last decade and has proved a valuable social and sporting exchange. The results went something like this;

The 1st XV lost by a score of 15 to 3, with St Bernard's playing very well while our guys did not match the recent standards they have set for themselves. One talking point was the FDMC hooker being sin-binned for persistently not throwing the ball in straight - a ref's call that few had ever witnessed before.

The 1st XI Soccer played well and dominated play for long periods of time, but conceded a late penalty goal to end up drawing 2 all.

The 1st V Basketball team played on the Tuesday night and did well to control the play and the game, finally winning by a 20 point margin.

We also sent a badminton team, which battled manfully for three hours but ended up loosing a few more games than we won.

In all not the best results we have had, but as the old adage goes "if you want to dish it out, you have got to be prepared to take it".

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Waka Ama - Paddling Our Own Canoe

There are so many sports that students at FDMC are now able to compete in. Waka Ama has been a growth sport over the last decade with our level of competitiveness increasing every year, thanks to the work of Taare Ruakere and Mike Crow. Taare's article from the recent newsletter highlights two common aspects of sport at FDMC, the great support we receive from parents and old boys and the fact that we can rely on our student's behaviour when they are representing the college.

Late last term our school along with Sacred Heart competed in the Waka Ama sprints at Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lakes) Rotorua. We had four teams competing
in the four-day event in which over 90 schools race in 250m straight races and 500m turn races. The teams trained very well leading up to the regatta,
committing to early morning trainings and fundraising events. 

The commitment to training and teamwork paid off for one of our J19 crews as they placed 2nd in the 500m turn race Plate final. This was particularly
pleasing as for a number of them it was their last year. Also one of our J16 crews just missed out on a placing in the bowl 250m final by .4 of a second.

We were very fortunate to stay at Whakarewarewa marae and be able to soak in the hot pools after a long day up at the lake. Everyone really enjoyed their
time together at this year’s regatta and the boys gained valuable life experience from staying and working together both on the water and at the marae. 

Our students did our school and province proud in the way they cooperated and stepped up to the challenges. I’m really looking forward to what will be another exciting Waka Ama season starting in term three this year.

Special mention must be made of the great parental support we had in Judy Hau , Carolyn Penn, Leanne Perham, Gill Miles, Claire Quin and Peter Jones; a big thank-you to you all. Your efforts in the organising of our meals and the kitchen helped make the trip the great success it was. I would also like to acknowledge Tony Penn and the parents who supported us in our Hangi fundraiser. Tony’s company ‘Cast Iron Services’ sponsored the vegetables.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Like A Fine Wine ...

... some teachers just keep improving with age.

Last Friday we celebrated Graeme Mustchin's 68th birthday with a big cake. Graeme will be well known to many old boys as he has been a "Master Teacher" at FDMC over many years.

He continues to use his enthusiasm and experience to inspire students and is showing every sign of maintaining his efforts well into the future. A lesson to us all on how important it is to love what you are doing.

Friday, 20 May 2011

It's All A Matter Of Leadership

We have had a lot of fun with some of the photos that present themselves as the Magazines are being scanned and uploaded.

Here is a collection of college leaders from 1994. It is interesting in hindsight to reflect on what a wide group of different personalities could be found in this small group of leaders.

There is a tendency to think of our students as all fairly similar in nature and outlook - you certainly couldn't say that about these guys, although they were all very outgoing!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

More Magazines

Karen Gray, office lady extraordinaire, has been doing a great job of scanning and digitising our old magazines. We are now into the 1990's and you can download copies at the FDMC Foundation web site.

The 1990 magazine cover pictured was a very colourful effort but we don't have a record of who the student artists were. If you have any ideas leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

O'Shea Shield 2011

After the excitement of hosting the O'Shea Shield in 2010 this year's event presented new challenges as it took place in a whole other island. Thanks to Richard Marris for his report on proceedings.

O'Shea Shield was held in Nelson at Garin College which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

A team of 15 students accompanied by Mr and Mrs Marris and Mrs Blair travelled to Nelson on Friday and returned on Monday.

The debating team of Scott Busing, Rhodri Williams and Anthony Finnerty won their debate against St Joseph's College, Napier. The team was coached by old boy Sam Barrett and ex staff member, Christine Alexander.

The Religious Questions team of Jarrod Bakker, Jonathan Carey and Jonathan Ritchie performed very well and achieved a distinction grade.

Much pressure was on George Grainger who had won the Impromptu Speaking cup for the last two years to try and make it three in a row. This George was able to do successfully with his wonderful flair for impromptu speaking.

The Junior Speech this year was presented by Tanaka Utete who spoke on racism with great passion.

One of the highlights is always the Saturday night drama. Our team coached by Pascale Joines was right up with the top group this year. We had the most audience appeal and gained one of the four top distinction grades awarded that night. This would certainly rate as one of our best ever drama performances. We are yet to win the drama.

Sunday morning was devoted to Scripture Reading which earned a distinction grade for Chris Pearce and the senior oratory in which Tyler Fleming participated.

Monday, 16 May 2011

From The Principal

Director of Religious Studies (DRS) is an important position in a Catholic school because the person holding it has responsibilities for Special Character activities
and Religious Education programmes that are so pivotal to what Catholic schools are all about.

Graeme Mustchin has capably served in this role for 16 years and it is comforting to know that when he relinquishes it on 1 June, he will remain on our staff and return next year in a part-time role. DRS is a challenging position to fill so I am grateful that Sjaane Simpson will apply her considerable talents of diligence and organisation, as well as her intimate knowledge and love of the school and its hostel, towards it. 

Sjanne will retain all of her present roles including Dean of Boarding,for this year; but from next year she will return to being a full time teaching staff member and the hostel will have appointed a new Dean of Boarding.

Martin Chamberlain

Friday, 13 May 2011

Close, But ...

Thanks to Steve Simpson for the following report on the 1st XV game with PNBHS.

On Wednesday 11 May the FDMC 1st XV played Palmerston North Boys’ High School at home. The College team began well playing in to the breeze, with the forwards working hard to gain good field position. Unfortunately two errors in the opposition 22 led to two breakaway tries down the left wing, both converted. FDMC again gained some good field position through the intelligent kicking of first five Daniel Crowley and good use of the blindside by half back Ryan Bishop. This time the pressure was turned in to points with two successful penalties just before half time, to Caleb Ritai.
Half time score:  6 – 14.

The second half started badly for the College side, with a well worked try off a scrum by Palmerston, cutting through the midfield. This was again converted taken the score out to: 6 – 21. Another penalty from Ritai narrowed the gap. Then with five minutes to go the College forwards gained some momentum and Blake Barrett finished off to score a well deserved try, converted from out wide by Ritai. FDMC finished strongly, but PNBHS held them out to win 16 – 21.

The whole forward pack worked hard all game, with the loose forward trio of Jade Fleming, Liam Doherty and Blake Barrett outstanding. Lock Scott Barrett continues to impress with his all round game. In the backs captain Teihorangi Walden was immense in defence, Daniel Crowley controlled play intelligently and Nick Arnold on the right wing worked hard on both attack and defence. 

Next college fixture: St Bernard’s (Away)  Wednesday 25 May

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Welcome Home Troy

We are always on the look out for Old Boy's news so we were delighted with the excellent feature on Troy Wano in last Saturday's Daily News. We can not find a link to the actual article but can tell you that Troy has returned after a number of years in the UK where he has been working as a Lawyer in several prestigious international firms. He has now joined local firm Govett Quilliam who will benefit from his global perspective.

Like many Old Boys of his generation Troy has returned to Taranaki with a family, in his case a wife and four children. The lure of Taranaki as a place "to grow up" seems as strong as ever. As Brother Bill Firman used to say "it is one of the world's best kept secrets".

Monday, 9 May 2011

Game Day Wednesday

The 1st XV is well into it's playing season now and is currently leading the TRFU U20 competition, a comp they have won for the last 7 years. Because we are always looking for more challenge and competition the 1st XV have been building their college game programme over the last few years.

This Wednesday at 12 o'clock at FDMC the team will play Palmerston North Boys High School - certainly a good challenge and worth a look if you have the time to pop in and watch.

The 1st XI soccer are also underway with their regular season competition and had a solid 1 all draw with NPBHS 1st XI on the weekend.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Mark Of Arabia

We received an email this week from old boy, and past staff member, Mark Chamberlain. Mark will be visiting schools in NZ during August, including his old school of course. If you have an affiliation with a school and would like to have Mark pay a visit we include his letter of introduction below - just get in touch with him.

I am a New Zealander and have been working at an American school in the Middle East for the past ten years. I have made numerous author presentations both in the Middle East and Europe. I am looking forward to making a tour of schools in my own country.

I have had five books published. They are printed in America through SHIH Village Publications and can be viewed online as part of the Amazon Books collection. (If you google Amazon Books and type in SHIH Village Publications you will find all the specifics.) Three of the books form a trilogy and relate to boys’ adventures. They are set in New Zealand where I grew up. The fourth book is entitled Lawrence of Arabia: Desert Wolf and relates the life of T.E. Lawrence, the only book on his life accepted by the Saudi Government for distribution in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fifth book is a manual for teachers of writing called, Releasing Reluctant Writers.

You may have reservations about accepting an unknown author. I can therefore supply you with references from principals of schools I have visited offshore at your request. As a journalist, while working in New Zealand in 1998, I won an international award for a feature article and can send a copy of that as well. My book on Lawrence was also runner-up in an international competition promoted by Writers’ Digest.

The trilogy of adventure books appeal to readers in the 9-12 year old age group and my work on Lawrence best suits those in the 13-17 year age group. Depending on the ages of your students I can, therefore, run one or two presentations.

My presentations last an hour and involve selections from my work as well as reflections on writing and the life of an author. I do not charge a fee for my presentations. I will accept a koha to defray travel expenses though that of course is not a requirement. I do, however, ask for support in promoting the sale of my books. All my books are available online though I will be bringing copies of Lawrence and one of my boys’ adventure books. I am happy to take the time to personally sign any books purchased.

I will be traveling through the North Island between August 1st and August 10th.

If you would like me to visit your school just let me know the date and time that would best suit and I will hand it on to my wife who will get back to you with the details. One last thing: when promoting Lawrence of Arabia: Desert Wolf I usually come dressed as an Arab. If that will cause any difficulty let me know and that can easily be changed.

Yours Sincerely

Mark Chamberlain.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Just For Comparison

The College Staff of 1970 will bring back memories for some but it also makes a great contrast to the present day staff photo posted the other day. We willleave you to draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Present Staff

We had quite a bit of feedback on the 1979 staff list we posted last week, especially from those who are still to be found on staff. Below is our latest staff photo - it should not be too difficult to spot the "old timers" - click on the image to enlarge it.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Sad News

Thanks to Br Declan for keeping us informed concerning the doings of the Brothers. His latest communique is sadly bad news.

On Monday last at Southport in Queensland, after more than seven years of prolonged illness, Br Fabian Clark died, aged only 69.

He was at New Plymouth in 2001 and 2002. He was in Mangere East the next year when his health began to fail seriously.

Br Dec also maintains the Brothers@fdmc on line spreedsheet and he tells us he has made some recent updates.

Since this initial post we have received the following information from Br Ambrose Payne.

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of

Brother Fabian Clark
(Ronald Humphrey)
Aged 69 years

Brothers will be aware of the long illness borne with amazing patience and outstanding fortitude by Fabian for much of his life.  He suffered several serious asthma attacks in his early years and in November 2004 was taken seriously ill whilst a member of the Mangere East Community and transferred to Villa La Salle at Southport.

His final years became a long period of suffering.  He was soon diagnosed with CREST syndrome (limited scleroderma) a condition which affects the connective tissues of the body.  Connective tissue is a kind of cellular glue.  It supports and gives form to tissues and organs throughout the body.

Because it is so pervasive and varied, problems with the connective tissue gives rise to a multitude of disorders.  The initial symptoms affect skin and blood vessels; it also affects the digestive tract and can cause serious heart and lung disorders.  There is no known cure and treatment is designed to assist in the management of the condition.  Brothers familiar with Fabian’s condition over the past years will recognise that he suffered all these complications.

From around November 2010, Fabian’s condition began to deteriorate.  The medical staff at St Charles Hospital, for whom he had great appreciation, advised him that the medications had run the course of their effectiveness.  His physical condition deteriorated and he suffered considerable weight loss.

On Easter Sunday, coincidentally the 51st anniversary of his robe-taking he joined the community for lunch and quite unusually enjoyed a hearty meal.  On Monday he suffered serious digestive complications and was quarantined as a precaution.  His door on Monday afternoon asked that he be not disturbed and last night at around 8:30 p.m. the carers made a visit to his room and found that he had passed away.

In some sense Fabian had a premonition that his time was limited.  In response to a question of whether he was ready for death he answered with characteristic feistiness “I have been ready for fifty years”.  In response to another he replied that he was resigned to God’s will.

Fabian is survived by a brother and cousin.  There will be a Mass of Thanksgiving for his life at Southport and funeral details will be published as soon as they are finalised. 

Ambrose Payne