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A note from Mr Bray - 18 May 2018

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32

I have ‘borrowed’ this fortnight’s focus verses from the ‘My School, My Responsibility’ (MSMR) program that was held on Friday, 11 May, at Nowra Christian School. The theme for this event was ‘Stick to the Truth’ and Jesus reminds us in this passage that ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ John 31(b)-32 (NIV).

This was the very important message that was conveyed to approximately 130 secondary students who came from 8 schools as far afield as Wollongong in the north and Ulladulla to the south. This event provided a wonderful opportunity for these students, who already profess a Christian faith or have indicated that they wish to learn more about Jesus, to come together to enjoy a program involving music, song, games and prayer. A key feature of the MSMR program was the provision of 10 different workshops from which students were able to choose 3. Each of these workshops further examined some aspect related to the topic of ‘truth’. Workshops were presented by a variety of individuals and organisations including Voice of the Martyrs, YWAM and SECET staff.

I had the privilege of welcoming the MSMR team and visiting students to our school. I was also able to speak with a range of students at various times during the day and it was clearly evident that this enthusiastic group of young people had thoroughly enjoyed the program. Those that I spoke with said that they had found the workshops to be interesting and informative and that they were encouraged to spend an entire day with so many other Christian young people.

As always, this fortnight has seen our students at all levels involved in a wide range of learning experiences. As I have wandered around the school grounds and classrooms, I have been greatly encouraged by all that I have seen. I had the privilege of briefly observing some of our Kindergarten students who were outside with their iPads at the ready as they were taking photographs of clouds. They informed me that they were about to use these photographs as a key part of a project that they were completing back in the classroom on the topic of ‘clouds’. On Monday of last week, I spent lunchtime with the Primary Student Representative Council (SRC) members as they were holding a meeting in the Library. One of the first topics that they were exploring related to the establishment of a Yard Duty System that would ensure that the Primary grounds were kept clean and tidy. Two students showed great initiative by volunteering to create a PowerPoint Presentation that could be used to promote this program. What a stimulating way to spend a lunchtime being surrounded by such a group of enthusiastic young leaders!

Of course, many mothers would recall that Sunday, 13 May was Mothers' Day. I certainly had an advance reminder of this when I visited the Mothers' Day stall held at NCS. There was a great deal of excitement, especially from our Primary students, as classes came to visit the stall, one group at a time, to either buy some wonderful presents from the stall or to collect pre-ordered parcels that had been carefully packed by volunteer members of the P/C & F. (A special thank you to all of the parents/carers from the P/C & F who volunteered to organise this special event).

As the dates for the Secondary School Production of ‘Bye, Bye Birdie’ (23-26 May) draw closer, the Multi-Purpose Centre (MPC) is becoming a hive of activity both during and after school. I have visited the MPC on a number of occasions during this past fortnight and have had glimpses of the wonderful program that lies in store for all who plan to attend these performances. I have heard great singing, lively music, seen vibrant costumes and listened to engaging dialogue. The talented cast and crew are now working ‘overtime’ in order to ensure that this will be another memorable NCS production. (If you have not already purchased your tickets, I would encourage you to do so immediately – this is not a performance to be missed!) Buy tickets online here.

A visit to the Baptist Church auditorium on Tuesday of this week produced a surprise when I discovered that Ms. Ann Sudmalis, our Federal member for Gilmore, was present in the audience of senior students who had gathered to view a series of workshops presented by the Bell Shakespeare Company, examining various scenes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Ann indicated that she thoroughly enjoyed plays by Shakespeare and that she was always pleased to be able to visit our school.

Another significant annual event that has gained a great deal of media publicity during the past week has been the holding of this year’s NAPLAN testing program. This has seen students from Years 3,5,7 and 9 at NCS participating in a series of literacy and numeracy tests that run across three days. I am very thankful to the many staff members who have assisted with the organisation and supervision of this program.

Whilst many events have been occurring at our school, other activities have taken our students to locations well beyond the school gates. One such example has been the Da Vinci Academic Decathlon Competition, held in Wollongong. On three consecutive days last week, three different teams of talented young students, ranging from Stage 3 through to Stage 5, were engaged in these demanding academic pursuits. The competition is designed for students who enjoy the challenges of higher level thinking and problem solving ranging across ten different areas of endeavor. I would wish to especially thank Mrs Ellery for all of the hard work that she has put in to prepare our teams for this event.

I was reminded that this year is gaining momentum as I have recently been involved in enrolment interviews with families seeking to join our NCS community next year. It is always a privilege to participate in these interviews and it is most encouraging to listen to these parents/carers as they share the many reasons why they would like to become part of our school. However, there is no doubt that the major reason why new families apply to join NCS is because of positive word of mouth, usually from current families. I would wish to conclude this BYTES article by thanking you for recommending our school to your friends and acquaintances. I know that our staff and School Board members are greatly encouraged to realise that you have confidence in the type of educational programs that we are providing for your children.

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