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A Note from Mr Bray - 5 May 2017

Last week I wrote my Principal’s NCS Bytes article on Anzac Day. I stated that I was looking forward to visiting our Years 5 & 6 students who were heading to their Canberra Camp and then our secondary students who were about to participate in the secondary camp, held at Port Hacking. Having returned from both of these events I can assure all parents and carers that your children have had a wonderful time of shared learning, involving a huge variety of activities and some incredible locations. It was a genuine privilege to spend time with our teams, comprising students, staff and parents/carers. I was greatly impressed by our students' excellent behaviour and enthusiasm as they engaged in all the activities. I am sure you will enjoy reading reports from each of these events and viewing the range of photographs provided.

This week, life at NCS has included many significant programs and events. On Tuesday we were delighted to host our local Federal Member for Gilmore, Ms Ann Sudmalis, for a visit to our school. Ms Sudmalis briefly met with staff before being taken on a tour of our school by primary and secondary student leaders. This was followed by a meeting with all of our Years 5-6 students who were very keen to ask her probing questions about her experiences as a parliamentarian in Canberra. Ms Sudmalis spoke very highly of her time with us, commenting on the politeness of our students and our school's delightful setting.

This week also saw the culmination of a full term of preparation as several student teams, ranging from Years 5-10, participated in the Da Vinci Challenge. This academic ‘gala’ day, held in Wollongong, sees student teams from many schools throughout our region involved in a challenging competition requiring them to demonstrate high level thinking skills in ten academic disciplines. These ‘disciplines’ include science, mathematics, English, engineering, map reading, code-breaking and many more. I have already received some advance information, indicating that our first teams to compete on the Wednesday have achieved some very pleasing results. More details will follow in the near future.

On Friday, our school was privileged to host My School, My Responsibility. This wonderful program brings together 120 students from eight schools across the Shoalhaven and Illawarra. I attended the opening and was very impressed, particularly with the school band from Shellharbour Anglican College. This promises to be a fantastic day of sharing, learning, fellowship and encouragement. These events don’t just happen. Thank you to all involved in bringing this event together.

Several other important activities have also occurred that haven’t directly involved NCS students but were designed to support them in many vital ways. One of these was a combined staff meeting where Mrs Meek provided a summary of a conference that her and I attended last term on the vital topic of child protection. We are determined to ensure NCS is a safe place for all students and this training for staff is one very important component of this process. Our faithful school board also met this week and one of the events they are preparing for is a forthcoming strategic planning weekend where they will carefully consider the refining a strategic plan and developing a 10 year master plan. One important part of this process involves extensive surveying of key NCS community members including parents/carers, students from Years 5-12 and staff members.

(Please carefully read the further information about these surveys, which is located elsewhere in this edition of NCS Bytes.)

This week's focus verse comes from John 10:10. These are the very words of Jesus and He says, ‘The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ I was challenged by this verse which was presented by one of our staff members during our morning devotions. These words clearly remind us there are many ‘voices’ in this world that are presenting us with unhealthy messages that point us away from a God-honoring lifestyle. At NCS, it is our central aim to provide an educational program based on sound Biblical principles, presented by committed Christian teachers. We desire to encourage our students to cultivate a way of living and thinking that will indeed allow them to ‘live life to the full’ as Jesus intended us to live!

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