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Masterplanning, milking and other musings

In our last edition of NCS Bytes, I referred to the excitement surrounding our newly arrived secondary classrooms. At our well-attended Twilight Family Picnic, we took the opportunity to provide a number of guided tours for parents and carers to inspect these very impressive new facilities. I am pleased to say that, during the past fortnight, these classrooms have been used extensively by our staff and students and they are certainly proving to be a welcome addition to the teaching and learning facilities at NCS. Our School Board are continuing to carefully plan for the future growth and development of Nowra Christian School. One component of this planning that has been previously shared with our school community relates to the development of the NCS 10 Year Building Master Plan. During this past fortnight, I have had the opportunity to accompany a small group of staff as we have visited a number of schools in the local area and as far afield as Sydney. (We were also accompanied by our Board Chairman on one of these visits.) The express purpose of these school inspections was to examine some very impressive facilities that had been designed by Stanton Dahl Architects who are the company that we have partnered with in the development of our Master Plan. These inspections have proven to be invaluable as we work towards finalising a proposal for stage 1 of an NCS building program. We will certainly keep our school community updated as we continue this planning process.

This past fortnight at NCS has, as always, contained an amazing array of learning opportunities for our students to engage in. Just some of these have included continuing rehearsals for Bye Bye Birdie, our school production that is scheduled for performance from 23-26 May; the holding of the Zone Primary and Secondary Swimming Sports at the Nowra Outdoor Pool and an informative visit by some of our Year 10 English students to a local dairy farm that is run by the Chittick family, who are part of our NCS school community, to view the operation of their robotic milking machine system.

I also had the pleasure of receiving two separate visits from our Kindergarten classes during this past fortnight. What a great privilege it was to have a conversation with them as they sat on the floor of the principal’s office and shared with me some of the exciting things that they had been learning during the first few weeks of their educational journey at NCS. The time spent in my office was just one of many visits that our Kindergarten children have paid to various locations throughout our school as they become more familiar with the world of NCS which for many will be their school ‘home’ for the next 13 years .

Another key event that has taken place during this past week has been the holding of Primary School Parent/Carer/Teacher Interviews spread across two separate days. Given that our school year has only been underway for just over a month, these interviews provided our staff with an opportunity to listen carefully to your stories and thus to learn more about your children as we aim to tailor our educational programs to the individual needs of each child. I had the opportunity to briefly visit the Church Hall where the interviews were being held and I was greatly encouraged to observe the earnest conversations that were occurring between classroom teachers and many of our parents and carers. We were very pleased that so many of our school families were able to participate in this very important activity. (If, for some reason, you were unable to attend on either of these occasions, I would encourage you to contact your respective classroom teachers to arrange an alternative meeting time.)

On Saturday, 24 February, I joined with a number of NCS staff, students and parents as we represented our school at the Defence Families Expo, held at HMAS Albatross. The weather was very warm but we were delighted to meet with many Defence families, a number of whom had recently arrived in the Nowra area. We had the opportunity to share information about our school with parents whilst many of their children participated in face-painting and hair colouring activities. Thank you to NCS students, Elizabeth Curline, Rachel Curline, Daniel Curline and Olivia Condon, who gave up their time and provided their artistic talents to ensure the success of this event.

I have also noticed something else that is new at NCS and that appears to have proven to be very popular during the past two Tuesday mornings. Perhaps you already know what I am referring to but, if not, I will provide a few clues. Firstly, you can locate this activity by breathing in deeply and following the aroma that will prove to be most enticing. Secondly, you will observe a group of parents, carers, and some staff and senior students, holding foam cups in their hands, possibly seated around some tables and displaying very satisfied smiles on their faces. And, if a further clue is required, you will see a small van, located near the carpark between the church hall and the school office, with a ‘bearded barista’ cheerfully demonstrating his skills and talents. This activity is a combined initiative of NCS and Nowra Baptist Church and is designed to provide one further avenue for families to enjoy a brief time of relaxed conversation. I am hoping to join the coffee queue next Tuesday morning and may well have the opportunity to speak with you, should you have the time to stop and chat for a few minutes.

NCS is a school that has always set out to develop the leadership skills of our students via numerous training programs and service opportunities. I would wish to especially commend our Secondary School student leadership team who are taking a major leadership role at our Monday morning Secondary School assemblies. This sees our school captains and vice-captains and some other senior students opening in prayer, providing the Bible reading and then presenting a devotion session to all assembled students and staff. I have been present at the past two assemblies as our two Secondary School Captains, Jasmine Dickinson and Caleb Mackie, have presented stimulating devotions that relate directly to our 2018 theme of ‘The names of God’.

This week I have chosen two focus verses and these have come directly from the devotions that Caleb and Jasmine have presented during the past two assemblies. Caleb was looking at God as our ‘creator’ and the fact that he has made each one of us uniquely. Just as is the case with snowflakes, no two human beings are the same. However, we do have one amazing thing in common and this is that we have all been made in the image of God. We receive this wonderful news in Genesis 1: 26:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Jasmine reminded us that our God is a God of promises and that when God makes a promise he always keeps his word, unlike human beings who have a tendency to become forgetful. She explored the Old Testament story where God promised Abraham that he would make his descendants into a mighty nation if they honoured him. A key verse that Jasmine referred to was

Genesis 12: 2:

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

I left each of these assemblies greatly encouraged that student leadership in our Secondary School has been placed in very capable hands.

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