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From little seeds big radishes grow

‘For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.’(Good News Translation) Luke 14: 11

I wanted to begin this Bytes article by sharing with you an interesting ‘journey’ that originally

happened by accident when I was walking from my car one afternoon during Week 4 of this term. If I was to provide a title for this journey, I would use the expression ‘from little seeds big radishes grow’. As I was walking back towards my office, I happened to glance across towards the vegetable garden located near our Infants section and I noticed that Mr McLennan was there with a class of excited students. When I came closer to investigate, I discovered that these students belonged to Stage 2 where they undertake a gardening unit as part of their curriculum. I enjoy gardening so I asked if I could join with them as they set out to plant some vegetables and to learn more about how to prepare the ground, how deeply to plant the seeds and a range of other important topics. We were divided into pairs and each pair was allocated a row and given two types of seeds; radishes and shallots. I had the pleasure of working with Matilda ‘Tilly’ Maulguet and together we carefully planted the tiny seeds at the depths indicated on the respective packets.

I thoroughly enjoyed my gardening experience but I soon had to leave and found myself back in the Principal’s office. Some weeks went by and, in the busyness of life, I almost forgot about this gardening experience. Then one day late last week I was again walking past the garden area and I remembered that Tilly and I had planted our seeds so carefully. It was a few days after we had received a refreshing rain and I went into the garden to see what had happened to our seeds. I was amazed to see that the radish seedlings were well up and growing vigorously. However, there was no sign of the shallots. (I even probed around where we had planted them and could find no sign of them at all. Perhaps it had been too wet and the seeds had rotted in the ground?)

Mr McLennan has just informed me that radishes grow at an amazing rate and next week, our Stage 2 students will have the pleasurable experience of eating some of our produce. This has been a simple but helpful educational experience for our students to gain a greater appreciation of the growth cycle relating to the food that we eat. Vegetables do not just appear mysteriously in packages on supermarket shelves – they arrive there as the end result of the hard work of our farmers who prepare the ground, plant the seeds and tend the crops.

As I reflected on this experience, I realised that our students have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about God’s world through a wide variety of ways. Some of these will take them well beyond the formal classroom and, as was the case with our gardening expedition, they may require our students to ‘roll up their sleeves and to get their hands dirty’. I’m still not sure what happened to our shallot seeds but, no doubt, Mr McLennan and his students have been back to visit the garden and possibly they have developed theories about what might have occurred. Or perhaps they are still there lying in the soil just taking their time to grow and I was being a little too impatient?

So what else has been occurring at NCS during the past fortnight? As always, the answer is that many amazing activities have taken place! We recently participated in the Primary CSSA State Swimming Carnival where our students performed most creditably. Our Primary students continued to be involved in their Golf Clinic Days and a number of Secondary students participated in the CSSA State Volleyball Competition. Our NCS team received the runners-up trophy, being narrowly defeated 15-13 in the third set of their finals match. Many other Secondary students also attended the Professional Snapshot Day. The purpose of this day is to give students an insight into professional careers in our local area. Students are able to speak with local professionals as well as explore workplaces within the Nowra CBD. Twelve Secondary students (and three staff members) also commenced their Duke of Edinburgh Award ‘journey’ when they went on their preparation walk around the Worrigee area. We are also placing an increased focus on equipping our Secondary students to confidently participate in the public speaking arena. On Thursday of this week, a number of enthusiastic Secondary students were privileged to attend special small group public speaking coaching sessions delivered by Nicole Greaves. Although still young, Nicole is an experienced public speaker having experienced success at a national level during Years 8-10 when she was a student in South Africa. I had the pleasure of joining the audience for a K-12 Assembly that was run by our Infants Department and was impressed by the excellent manner in which they used their gifts and talents, much to the delight of the many parents, carers and friends who were in the appreciative audience.

I have been particularly impressed with the commitment of all members of the cast and crew of our musical production ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ as they have continued to rehearse tirelessly in order to ensure that all will be in readiness for this entertaining event. This Friday morning I took the opportunity to visit a number of our student musicians as they continued to practice the musical scores for this production. I trust that you, like my wife and I, are already checking your calendars to ensure that you will be present for one of the performances that are scheduled for 23-26 May.

During this past week, NCS has been holding our ‘Open Week’. This has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to share our school with interested families from our wider community. We have had numerous visitors during the week and each group has been escorted on a tour of the school by student leaders from both Primary and Secondary. As was the case last year, our visitors have all warmly commended our student guides for providing them with a most informative tour of the school. They particularly appreciated their polite commentary, their knowledge of programs and activities and their pride in belonging to the NCS student community. On the Wednesday, we held a Kindergarten ‘Open Morning’ where parents who are considering joining NCS next year were provided with the opportunity for their children to meet with our current Kindergarten classes and to participate in a range of activities.

In my last Bytes article, I reminded parents that this year our senior student leaders are responsible for presenting the devotion at our Monday Morning Secondary Assemblies. These devotions are directly related to our school theme for the year which is ‘The many names of God’. I also took the opportunity to share two of these devotions with you. Once again, I would wish to conclude by sharing the words of wisdom that were presented to us by our female Secondary Vice-Captain, Rachel Hill. Rachel reminded us that, as human beings, we frequently fall into the trap of ‘looking out for number one’ and believing that only the ‘strong will win and get ahead’. Rachel referred to the well-known Kardashian family who appear on our television screens and are renowned for living a pretentious and pampered lifestyle that lacks genuine substance and an awareness of the needs of others. The world of advertising offers us a lot of advice by saying that we deserve the best in everything – the best car, the best products, the best career. However, often this advice runs directly contrary to the words of Jesus. We see this illustrated in Luke 14: 7-11 when Jesus was speaking with the Pharisees and he shared a parable with them about a man invited to a wedding feast. The message here is very clear and it also applies to us. Jesus sums up the meaning of the parable in this fortnight’s focus verse which reads, ‘For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.’ (Good News Translation)