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A note from Mr Bray - 15 September 2017

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4: 10 (NIV)

As NCS Principal I have many wonderful opportunities to represent our school at various community events. One such ‘opportunity’ occurred on Friday evening of last week when my wife Sharon and I were invited to attend the Shoalhaven Superheroes Volunteer ‘Service & Beyond’ Awards Gala Dinner, held at the Bomaderry Bowling Club. The specific reason for this invitation was because four of our nominated NCS students had been shortlisted in the School Youth Awards category. Charlie Giddings and Oliver (Ollie) Ellery were in the 5 – 12 years category and Courtney Nielsen and Will Grootenboer were nominated in the 13 – 18 years category.

Our students were an important part of a much bigger event that recognised community volunteers in a wide range of categories including Health and Aged Care, Business, Sports, Emergency Services, Education, Entertainment, Higher Learning and Defence. It was most encouraging to realise that there are many people and groups in our society who still have a desire to assist others in a voluntary capacity without seeking payment for their services.

I am delighted to inform you that all four of our NCS nominees received a trophy for being amongst the top three nominees within each of their categories. (Please see photograph.) Our students were recognised because of their willingness to assist others both within the school context and beyond. On behalf of our NCS community, I would wish to warmly congratulate these students on their excellent achievement. We are greatly encouraged as a result of the wonderful volunteer service example that they have demonstrated.

Another event that I attended that also provided me with great encouragement was the Senior Student Leadership Training Day held at NCS on Monday of this week. This training program saw some 11 senior students participating (with another student unable to attend due to other important commitments). All of these students had expressed a desire to seek nomination as school prefects for the 2018 school year. This is both a very important and a very demanding role that is vital for the healthy functioning of our student group. Each one of these students are fully aware that their HSC years will be academically demanding ones but they are still prepared to apply for a role that will add even further demands and responsibilities.

I was able to participate in some of the training sessions and I was inspired by the understanding that these young leaders displayed of the key concept of servant leadership as exemplified through the perfect example of Jesus. It was abundantly clear that each of these senior students desired to assist others as a result of their leadership role rather than seeking their own sense of self-importance. I was also encouraged by their recognition of the importance of working as part of a team and their understanding that leaders must also be good listeners as this is the only way to fully understand the needs of others.

The final voting for our 2018 prefects will occur next Monday and I am confident that the important area of student leadership at NCS will rest in the hands of a very capable leadership team. I wish all candidates well and thank them for their desire to use their gifts and talents in such a positive way. I would encourage all of us to continue to pray for our student leaders as they undertake this vital responsibility.

As always, the world of NCS in any given week is a hive of activity and I could refer to numerous other events that have taken place this week. Some of these have seen groups of students travelling well beyond the school as they have engaged in challenging learning activities within our wider community. However, I would wish to share some information about another very significant event that occurred this week that has important strategic significance for the future of our school.

This ‘event’ saw the arrival of two representatives from a major architectural firm to begin the process of assisting the NCS Board to develop a new Building and Grounds Master Plan. I have previously mentioned that the NCS Board have been working hard to develop a new school Strategic Plan. This plan is nearing completion and it will provide a blueprint that will assist these architects to create a master plan that will enable NCS to deliver an excellent Christ-centred educational program well into the future.

On Wednesday our architectural experts spent 4 hours at NCS. During this time they met with a range of school leaders including the Board Chair, our Media and Communications Manager, the Heads of Primary and Secondary and a consultant that the Board have engaged as part of the strategic planning process. I also had the privilege of joining with this group as we walked around the school to examine our current buildings and as we began the process of contemplating what future facilities might be required to ensure that we provide the best educational opportunities for all students well into the future. This is certainly an exciting time to be a member of the NCS community and it will be my desire to keep you updated in relation to this very important program. Once again, I would encourage you to uphold our NCS Board in prayer as they seek to make wise and Godly decisions in relation to key future strategic directions for our school.

The focus verse this week comes from 1 Peter 4: 10 and it states ‘Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.’ I trust that NCS will continue to be a school community where all members exhibit this genuine desire to ‘serve others’. The three examples that I have referred to in this article exemplify such a desire. When we put the needs of others before our own, and value service above being served, we are well on the way to developing a school community where compassion, love and respect are clearly evident on a daily basis.

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