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A note from Mr Bray - 22 February 2019

“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13(b) (NIV)

On a few occasions this week, I have been sitting in the staffroom and have overheard conversations between busy staff members who have commented that they are amazed about how quickly this school year is passing. I am also able to relate to these comments when I realise that Week 4 of Term 1 has now reached its conclusion!

Whilst the weeks seem to be flying past, each one of them has been brimfull of a wide variety of amazing events and activities. On Tuesday, 12 February, I had the pleasure of hosting a morning tea for Linda Giesa. Linda is a Year 11 student from Berlin in Germany who is visiting Australia on an exchange program. She will spend most of Term 1 with us before departing for New Zealand where she will continue her adventures. Linda has settled very well into life at NCS and has expressed her delight about the wonderfully warm welcome that she has received from the students and staff of our school. Such exchange programs provide wonderful ‘real-life’ opportunities for our students to learn more about other countries and their specific traditions and cultures.

This same Tuesday also saw the holding of the first Board meeting for 2019. Once again, I was greatly encouraged to spend time with our Board members, who are parents and grandparents who have volunteered their time and talents to serve our school community. It was a pleasure to join with them as they enthusiastically discussed a range of important topics associated with the effective governance of our school.

The following day provided us with glorious weather as all students from Years 3-12 travelled to the Nowra Pool to participate in our Swimming Carnival. It is at events such as this that you learn a great deal about the heart and culture of a school. As I walked around, meeting with students, parents, carers and other family members, it was abundantly clear that NCS is a vibrant school community where encouragement and teamwork are highly valued. I was impressed by the willingness of our students to participate in events, even if they were not confident swimmers, knowing that they were still earning points for their respective houses. For me, a highlight of the day was to observe the many occasions where senior students accompanied younger students in their swimming lanes, providing words of encouragement and even physically supporting them if they were struggling to reach the end of the pool. ‘Community’ is one of our three school values and this quality is what I saw demonstrated time and time again throughout the day!

This ‘community’ theme was further highlighted on the Friday evening as we held our Twilight Family Picnic on the lawns outside the MPC. Once again, we were blessed with beautiful weather and it was a pleasure to see how many of our NCS families gathered together to enjoy good food and coffee and friendly conversation. We were also provided with a special treat as our Concert Band played a number of musical items for our enjoyment.

It seems that every week at NCS contains a rich variety of activities and this past week has been no exception. On the Tuesday, I was pleased to be one of four NCS representatives who attended a meeting that brought together our architect for stage 1 of our Master Building Plan along with a team of five specialist consultants. This was a very significant meeting as plans were further developed for the construction of our modern Technology and Visual Arts Centre. This meeting has brought us one important step closer to the construction stage that should commence during the second half of this year.

Not only have our staff been very busy during the day teaching your children but they have also been actively involved after normal school hours as we have held Parent/Carer Teacher Interviews. On the Tuesday afternoon, all HSC teachers were pleased to meet with parents of students in Years 11 and 12. On the Thursday, it was the turn for our Primary teachers to have valuable interview time with parents and carers in Years K-6. Further Parent/Carer Teacher meetings are scheduled for coming weeks. At NCS, we state that partnership and effective communication are two areas that we highly value. These interviews represent one excellent way in which we can ensure that partnership and communication between Home and School are strengthened.

NCS is a school that has been experiencing steady growth and we now have 415 students from Kindergarten through to Year 12. When we add staff, parent helpers and any other visitors who may be at our school at any one time, it is clear that NCS is a busy place. As such, it is vital that we are fully prepared to ensure the safety of all members of our school community should an emergency situation arise. Consequently, we hold regular emergency drills from time to time throughout each year to familiarise all members of our community with the procedures that would be required in the event of an actual emergency. On the Wednesday of this past week, we held our first emergency evacuation for the year that saw every person within the school and church evacuated to the oval area on the northern side of our school property. We will hold further drills throughout the year, designed to ensure that we are well prepared for any future emergency situation.

On this same Wednesday, I was delighted to host visits to my office by children from our two Kindergarten classes. This is just one part of a wider orientation program carried out by our Kindergarten staff that is designed to familiarise these brand new students with the many components of our school. These visits are always one of the special highlights of my year and it is a great pleasure to answer the range of interesting questions that our Kindergarten children ask in relation to what things a Principal actually does as part of his or her role.

We currently have 237 families who comprise our NCS community. One of our families recently received a major award that has national significance. I am referring to the Cardow family who run the Pelican Rocks Cafe at Greenwell Point. Sam and Rebecca are parents of our school with their daughter, Luka being in Year 1. It was recently announced that Pelican Rocks had been voted in a ‘What if’ App survey as being the best Fish and Chip Cafe in all of Australia! You might like to visit our NCS Facebook page to see an interview with the family that was recently screened on the Channel 9 ‘Today’ Show. Congratulations to the Cardow family on this excellent achievement!

For all Secondary students and staff, this past fortnight concluded with the holding of an assembly on Friday. During this assembly, we further explored our 2019 theme of ‘Growing wise with God’. Mr Clarke, ably assisted by our school captains, Tamsyn M and Lachie W, presented a challenging devotion that focused on the investigations and thoughts of King Solomon, who has been described as being the wisest man who ever lived.

King Solomon’s investigations relating to the meaning of life have been recorded in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Early in chapter one of this book, King Solomon exclaims, ”Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1: 2(b). King Solomon had great wealth and knowledge and consequently he had access to all of the pleasures that the world could provide. However, he found that none of these in isolation could provide his life with the meaning that he was so earnestly seeking. So, what was the eventual outcome of all of his searching and pondering? In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon makes the following sweeping proclamation, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13(b). This is the profound truth that we will explore further as a school community as we continue to examine our theme throughout this coming year.

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