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A productive end of term

'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28

Can it be possible that today sees the conclusion of Term 2?

Well, it is hard to argue with the calendar which is stating that our students can now look forward to a three week mid-year break from their school studies. Term 2 at NCS has seen our students and staff engaging in 10 weeks of productive teaching and learning activities. As I have briefly reviewed the Bytes articles across this term, I can see that your children have been involved in a wide variety of programs occurring both at school and well beyond the classroom. And our final week of term has again been brimming with a range of stimulating programs.

On Monday, I was delighted to accompany a group of talented secondary students as we walked across the road to visit residents at the Anglicare Chesalon Nursing Home. All of these students had recently participated in the local Eisteddfod competitions in either the vocal ensemble or a number of musical ensembles. What a pleasure it was to join the appreciative audience as we were treated to some wonderful musical and vocal presentations! The enthusiasm with which our students performed was most encouraging – their gifts and talents were clearly evident as were the cheerful smiles on their faces! At the conclusion of these performances, our students took the time to personally meet and greet the residents and it was heartening to see the young and the elderly mixing together in this way.

Tuesday was another busy day (and evening) for both students and parents. During the day we held our first Kindergarten Open Morning. This event is designed to provide opportunities for parents, who are considering joining our NCS Kindergarten next year, to come along with their children to participate in some Kinder activities and to have a guided tour of our school. I had the opportunity to meet with these families at the conclusion of this program and it was pleasing to hear their very positive comments about the friendliness of our NCS community.

The ‘action’ on Tuesday continued well beyond the conclusion of the final afternoon class. In fact NCS was a hive of activity throughout the afternoon and well into the evening as three separate school-related programs were held. The second of two Primary Parent/Carer Teacher Interview sessions occurred from 3.00pm – 6.00pm. I briefly visited this event and was encouraged to see the many parents and carers in attendance and to observe the productive conversations that were occurring all around me. As these interviews were concluding, two other important activities were getting underway. One of these involved our dedicated Board members who had come together for a scheduled Board meeting to discuss significant matters relating to the sound governance of our school. The other important meeting was the Secondary Senior Subject Information Night. This saw many parents, carers, students and staff coming together to learn about HSC courses being offered next year and to begin the process of making well informed course decisions.

Wednesday saw all of our students from Years 2 -12 gathering together at the athletics field at the back of Shoalhaven High to participate in the school athletics carnival. Due to inclement weather, we had reluctantly been required to cancel our first attempt to hold this event but, on this occasion, we were greeted by fine weather which assisted our students to participate with great enthusiasm. I had the privilege of attending the carnival for much of the morning and I was very pleased to meet with the many parents, carers and other family members who had come along to support our students.

On Thursday we held a special farewell morning tea to honour the 16.5 years of faithful service to our NCS community on the part of Mrs Linda Staples. Linda has made wonderful contributions to our school in roles as a classroom teacher, casual relief teacher and, more recently, as a teacher’s aide. Mrs Staples has also had a long association with NCS as a parent with two children, Sarah and Terry, being students at NCS. This Thursday was Linda’s final day at school and, whilst we will miss her very much, we were pleased to wish her well as she leaves us to begin an exciting new stage in her life.

Friday brought our NCS community through to the conclusion of Semester 2 and what an amazing semester it has been! Fittingly, we held a K-12 ‘Eisteddfod Showcase’ Assembly that, as the name suggests, highlighted a range of drama, instrumental and choral items that our students had presented as part of the recent Eisteddfod program. I was delighted that many of our parents, carers and extended family members were present to enjoy the incredible variety of gifts and talents that were shared with us. Audience members were generous in their applause as groups of students from Primary through to Senior Secondary presented their items. This rich program included offerings from the Primary Choir and an amazing solo rendition from Year 5 student, Aleah Gooding. Two polished drama performances were presented by students in Stages 2 and 5. We concluded our feast of talent with a jazz instrumental number delivered by senior students Matt Becker, Michael Beavan and Josh Davey.

At the beginning of this article, I stated that our students are about to have the opportunity to enjoy a three week holiday period. However, whilst our NCS staff will enjoy a well-earned two week break, they will return to school after this to participate in our staff conference week. This runs from 17 – 21 July and will see all staff, teaching and non-teaching, involved in a range of professional development programs. It will provide invaluable opportunities for staff to meet together to discuss many important topics including curriculum models, classroom practice and what it means to teach from a sound Christian worldview perspective.

On behalf of our NCS staff team, I trust that students, parents and carers will enjoy special ‘family’ times together. May these holidays provide opportunities for rest and relaxation after a busy 10 weeks of Term 2. However, I have been reminded that true rest, rest that renews the spirit and refreshes the soul, cannot be found simply as a result of having a holiday and taking the time to sleep in a few hours longer. Our focus verse for this week comes from Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 11:28) where Jesus provides a wonderful invitation for all of us to participate in a ‘rest’ that only He can provide. I would also encourage you to read the next two verses of this chapter where Jesus further extends His invitation to us and reassures us that we can learn from Him and that He will, indeed, provide ‘rest for our souls’. I trust that this will be your personal experience during this holiday period as you actively seek this ‘rest’ that only Jesus can offer.

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