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A note from Mr Bray - 21 September 2018

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2

As I am writing this article on Wednesday evening, I am very conscious that this is the final edition of Bytes for Term 4. When you sit down to read the Bytes, there will be just one week of this term remaining and it will certainly be a very special week for our Year 12 students and their families as I will explain a little later in my article.

This past fortnight certainly began in a most colorful manner with the public opening of our Kindergarten Art Exhibition on Monday, 10 September. I attended this event last year and was truly amazed by the artistic talents displayed by our Kindergarten children. Once again our amazing Kindergarten staff and children presented a display of artworks that had to be seen to be believed! And there was certainly a large crowd of parents and carers, grandparents, uncles and aunties and family friends who had come along to enjoy this special event. It gave me great pleasure to see our Kindergarten children excitedly guiding their family representatives around the exhibition and introducing them to the various artistic creations that they had produced throughout this year.

The Friday of last week was another very busy day. I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the Secondary Student Leadership Training Day. This training program involved students from Years 10 and 11 who had put their hands up to be considered for prefect positions for the 2019 school year. I was greatly encouraged by the calibre of these students and their clear desire to explore what it means to lead well and especially how to lead from a Christian worldview perspective. At the conclusion of this day those involved in presenting this program were left in no doubt that student leadership at Nowra Christian School will remain in very capable hands next year! I would particularly wish to acknowledge the role played by Mr Howie Petts, our Secondary Chaplain, who was primarily responsible for the organisation of this excellent training event.

On this same Friday, I attended a Primary Assembly, led by our Stage 2 students. It was a vibrant assembly where numerous awards were presented and where groups of students provided the audience with great delight as they performed innovative dramas with original storylines that they had work-shopped. I then had the opportunity to briefly attend CRU group which is a creative lunchtime program for Primary students run by Mrs Emily Thuaux, our Primary Chaplain, ably assisted by a number of student helpers from Stage 3. This program is always full of variety and energy with plenty of games and activities and the presentation of a thought-provoking devotion.

If you happened to be visiting our school on either the Monday or Tuesday of this past week, you might have encountered some rather unusual sights! You may be forgiven for believing that time had stopped still as groups of students in a variety of locations were required to remain completely still for up to a minute or more. Well, there was a rational explanation! Our students were participating in the development of a ‘Virtual Tour’ of our school which, when fully completed, will be housed in a prominent position on the NCS website. As the name suggests, it will allow visitors to our website to click onto various locations throughout the school and to ‘move’ around up to a full 360 degrees as they explore our grounds and facilities. There will also be a range of videos that present interviews with our students and I was also asked to provide a ‘Principal’s welcome’. We will be sure to let you know when this new feature is fully operational.

This same Monday also saw the holding of a very successful Parent/Carer/Teacher Interview Evening for those who have children in Years 7-10. I was delighted to mingle with the many parents/carers in attendance and was pleased to hear your positive comments about how much you value the opportunity to speak with our staff about the progress of your children.

I stated at the beginning of this article that I am writing my comments on the Wednesday evening of this past week. Tomorrow is Thursday and it promises to be a very special day in the life of our school community. This is the day that we are calling our ‘Farmraising Day’ and we have especially set it aside to carry out two activities designed to support our farming community. This is because our farmers have been hit so hard by the current severe drought conditions. We plan to hold a ‘Dress as a Farmer Day’ and a ‘Parma for a Farmer’ canteen special meal. (As soon as I finish my article, I plan to get my farmers outfit ready but am wondering how comfortable it will be to walk around our school in gumboots for an entire day?) We are trusting that the members of our school community will give generously to participate in both of these events. We will certainly provide you with an update on our website in relation to the total amount that we have been able to raise through these two initiatives as well as including plenty of colorful photographs.

I mentioned earlier the Secondary Leadership Training Day for those seeking to be prefects in 2019. On Friday of this week (21 September), we will host a luncheon for our wonderful group of current prefects who have led our school so well throughout the 2018 school year. We have much to be grateful for in relation to the manner in which these students have embraced the example of true servant leadership as demonstrated through the words and actions of Jesus. As always, there are many other significant events that have occurred at NCS throughout this last fortnight.

However, I would like to conclude by taking a quick ‘sneak preview’ into what will be happening next week. This is a very special week for a particular group of students for a number of reasons. Of course, I am referring to our Year 12 students who will conclude their final formal lessons at our school on Wednesday, 26 September. According to established tradition, our Year 12’s will generously provide a delightful Staff Appreciation Breakfast to acknowledge the support of the many staff members who have taught them throughout their years at our school. These same students will be even busier the following day which is the final day of Term 4 but also the day of the Year 12 Graduation Assembly, held at NCS and the Year 12 Graduation Dinner which will this year be held at Coolangatta Estate. Both of these events will attract an appreciative crowd of family and friends who have also played important roles in the lives of our Year 12 students over many years. (Once again, you can expect to see detailed photographic evidence of these events being placed on the school website following the conclusion of these special occasions.)

As you would all be aware, our news media have been reminding us of the challenging plight currently being faced by our farming community, including members of our own NCS family. We have seen many graphic images of dry, dusty paddocks with livestock desperately searching for something to eat. However, this has clearly reminded me that we do live in a ‘Fallen World’ and that at any time within our NCS community, we have individuals and families who are hurting in some way. For some it will be the challenge of sickness or physical injury; for others it may be financial pressures or insecurity of employment. Still others may be experiencing relational difficulties. These challenging circumstances that any of us could face at any time have led me to the Focus verses for this fortnight. These verses from Psalm 121 provide us with great encouragement. They remind us that we do not face these challenges and struggles alone but that we serve a God whose loving eyes are always on His creation and Whose desire it is to uphold and support us in our times of great need. It would be my encouragement to all of us that we can play a vital role in this process by praying for the health and well-being of all members of our school community and being sensitive to the needs of those we meet on a daily basis.