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Friday Letter - Issue 31

DEAR PARENTS

A PRAYER FOR OUR EXAMINATION STUDENTS

Lord, today we say goodbye to our most senior students in Year 13 as they prepare for their examinations. When we return we will be doing likewise with Year 11. We ask you to bless both year groups as they face important examinations and prepare for the next chapter of their lives. Amen.

YEAR 11 MASS OF CELEBRATION LAST NIGHT

What an evening we had! The Sports Hall was packed with Year 11 students and their proud parents as we gathered to celebrate a special group of people. We began in the perfect way with a memorable Mass celebrated by Fr Stefan and Mr Smith as Deacon. There was a wonderful mixture of joy and reverence as we thanked God for the many blessings this year group have brought our school. And following the Mass we moved into entertainment mode interspersed with commentary from Miss Lay and Mr Perry (who were widely compared with Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles from Good Morning) and lots of video footage starting in 2006 when Year 11 joined us from their various primary schools. As always, there was great hilarity comparing the looks of Year 6 with the maturity of Year 11. And it was great that Tom Darby and Callum Gittings thanked everyone involved for making the evening so special. I was privileged to be able to thank Miss Lay and Mr Perry for all their work and also each and every student in Year 11. Miss Lay reminded us that there are 201 of them and I was able to say that I was sure 200 did not mind me mentioning one student in particular. Billie-Jayne continues to be an inspiration to us all facing huge challenges with incredible courage and good humour. It was wonderful that Billie-Jayne was one of the team who shared their reflections on the past five years. Whatever the future holds I have no doubt that the great majority of this year group have formed friendships that will continue for the rest of their lives. In the next few weeks they will be in our thoughts and prayers. Well done everyone on an incredible evening.

ST JOHN FISHER PARISH MASS - 6.00PM SATURDAY 18 JUNE

A reminder that our next and final parish Mass of the school year will take place at St John Fisher, West Heath on Saturday 18 June. We are very much looking forward to joining Fr George and his parishioners for what is always a very special celebration. We have countless former St John Fisher pupils in school so we are looking for an excellent turnout. As always, everyone is most welcome to join us.

GET WELL SOON EDWARD!

By now, most people will be aware of the dreadful incident that took place last Saturday evening in West Heath. One of our Year 13 students, Edward Thompson, was the victim of a stabbing incident in his own home. Edward, who is a gentle giant ran to the aid of his dad, Martin who was being assaulted as a result of responding to the doorbell and acting as a Good Samaritan. A young boy's life was under threat and Martin and Edward simply responded as good citizens. For their trouble they were both stabbed and Martin needed hospital treatment. Edward was in intensive care as a result of a punctured lung but, thankfully, is now on the road to recovery. It is characteristic of both Martin and Edward that they responded in the courageous way they did and ever since they have been in our thoughts and prayers. I can tell you that the school chapel was absolutely packed with Year 13 students on Monday in a special service led by Head of Year, Miss Samuel. And of course, today in our Year 13 Leavers' Mass Edward featured prominently throughout. Get well soon Edward.

AND SO TO THE YEAR 13 LEAVERS' MASS

It is one of the great traditions in our school and today was no different. The vast majority of Year 13 students joined us as young boys and girls in 2004 and today they formally depart as the fine young men and women that they have become. At the time of writing we were looking forward to joining Year 13 and Fr Stefan for their special Leavers' Mass. I know that Miss O'Reilly, the Year 13 tutors and lots of the students have been preparing for this final Mass together which is always an amazing mixture of joy and sadness. Above all, a huge thank you to Head of Year 13, Miss Samuel for her amazing work with the very last year group to pass through our school. Afterwards, despite the uncertain weather we were gathering for the traditional Year 13 photograph followed by refreshments. Full report shortly.

WELL DONE TO MRS LOCKYEAR AND JOHN PAUL HOUSE

Congratulations to Mrs Lockyear, Head of John Paul House and her team of students who presented their work this year to the Governors at their meeting last week. The overwhelming factor was the clear pride that the students had developed in their House this year. Thank you to the students involved - Laura McEntee (Head Girl), Laura Cremin Year 12, Jon Espinoza Year 7, Daniel Knight Year 11, Katrina Walker Year 12

EXCELLENT PARENTS' FORUM MEETING ON MONDAY EVENING

It's always good to meet parents to discuss the progress their sons and daughters are making and to hear what information is most valuable to parents in supporting their children's education. On Monday evening we were privileged to be part of a special Maths workshop provided by Miss Catherine Jones, Head of Faculty and Ms Sophie Wiggins, our numeracy tutor. By common consent it was absolutely fantastic and showed parents various techniques for multiplication and division which were so much better than most of us remember from our own school days. The only pity was that 10 parents rather than 200 benefited from the session. I do encourage as many parents as possible to come along because you will gain so much to enable you to support your children even more in the future. A huge thank you to Miss Jones and Ms Wiggins for their outstanding work.

YEAR 6 INTRODUCTORY EVENING ON MONDAY 13 JUNE

The next and final Parents' Forum Evening of the year will take place at 7.00 pm on Monday 13 June. Over the past few years this has proved to be exceptionally popular with our new parents and, in particular, the opportunity to hear from current Year 7 students and experienced parents about the day to day experience of life at St Thomas Aquinas. Watch this space.

AN INVITATION FROM ST JOHN FISHER PARISH

Students from the ages of 10 to 16 are invited to St John Fisher Church Hall every Thursday evening from 7.00pm to 9.00 pm. It's "Back 2Basics" Youth Club and it sounds great fun. Entrance is 1 - do try to get along.

A REPORT FROM MR SMYLLIE

Year 9 Football Tournament

On Wednesday 25 May our year 9 students entered a Police football 7 aside tournament at the University of Birmingham. Ten schools took part in this event with St Thomas Aquinas entering both a girls and boys team. Unfortunately only one other girls' team took part which meant that they had to compete against the boys. Both teams played very well the boys finished second in their league with the girls coming fourth. Well done to all who took part and a special mention to Ella Stephenson who was awarded girls' player of the tournament.

Athletics Trials

The following students, following the South Birmingham Athletics trials, have been selected for the squad.
Liam Daly, Ursula Hardy, Hayley Hunter, Moniquie Joseph, Jacob O'Rourke, Tre'rail Peters, Brendon Pooni
Congratulations for all their hard work in making the squad.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ QUESTION

I was inundated at 6.00 pm last Sunday evening as the final whistles blew at the end of the Premier League season. Sadly and remarkably it was very bad news for Birmingham City as well as Blackpool who joined West Ham as the 3 relegated clubs. Hopefully, Blues will make a quick return next season. Congratulations to Gemma Baker of More House 1A who wins 5.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ QUESTION

My good friend Mr Toal has been telling me all week what Barcelona are going to do to Manchester United tomorrow evening. Apparently, United's best hope was that the ash cloud would keep Barcelona in Spain. I seriously hope he is much mistaken. For 5 who scored the first goal (and in the unlikely event of it remaining scoreless the first penalty)?

Have a lovely break next week.

Yours sincerely

JIM FOLEY

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