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A note from Mr Bray - 10 May 2019

‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden……In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’ Matthew 5: 14 & 16 (NIV)

Welcome back to all NCS families to what promises to be a very exciting Term 2 program! I am making this claim with great confidence, given the many amazing events that have already taken place during our first two weeks of term.

However, before I move too quickly ahead, it is often helpful to stop and look back over recent events. I wrote my last NCS Bytes article on Friday, 5 April, the day that we said farewell to Linda Giesa, our German exchange student. At that stage, we had one final week of Term 1 to complete. Little did I know that I would be unwell for most of this week and unable to attend school. However, this was a very busy week for all of our HSC students as they sat for their Preliminary examinations. Our ‘Relay for Life’ Team was kept very busy washing staff cars on the Wednesday as a further fundraiser for the Cancer Council. On the Thursday of this week, our Primary Cross Country was held with glorious weather being provided. I was reliably informed that this event drew a large and appreciative crowd of parents, carers and extended family members. This was also the week where staff attended a very special morning tea as we farewelled Mrs Harrison who was retiring from the role of NCS receptionist after more than seven years of faithful service. Our Office staff were also kept incredibly busy during the final two days of Term 1 with the very significant task of organising the distribution of ‘Celebrate Twenty 18’, our inaugural school magazine, that was distributed to every 2018 NCS family. I trust that you, and all of your family members, received great pleasure from reading through the colourful and informative pages of this wonderful magazine.

On the final day of term, we held our NCS ANZAC Day Assembly and, once again, many parents and carers accepted our invitation to attend this very moving ceremony. This year, ANZAC Day occurred on the final Thursday of our term holidays and many NCS students, parents, carers and staff members were in attendance at either the Dawn Service at Greenwell Point or the later service held at the entrance to the Nowra Showgrounds.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend either of these official ANZAC Day services as I was travelling back to NSW after having been in Victoria for much of the holiday period, patiently awaiting the imminent birth of our second grandchild. However, my waiting was in vain and our little grandson, Theodore, arrived fit and well just a day and a half after I departed Victoria! Oh well, I guess that I will just have to be satisfied with looking at the many photographs of Theodore until I have an opportunity to visit him in Victoria later in the year.

We have now arrived back at the very point where I began this article and I am confident that you will agree that there were indeed many important events for us to revisit. So, what then has happened in the two weeks since we have returned to school? Well, the undoubted highlights of the first week for all students from Years 5-12 were the two school camps that occurred during this time. Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students spent three stimulating days, experiencing the many amazing attractions that Canberra has to offer. At the same time, all of our Secondary students and staff spent three wonderful days at the Youthworks campsite, located at Port Hacking in the Royal National Park. I did have the pleasure of visiting our students in Canberra on the Wednesday, as I travelled across by car with Mr McLennan, our Head of Primary. We spent a fascinating afternoon at Questacon, being both entertained and challenged by the many interactive displays on offer.

It had been my intention to visit our Secondary students on the Thursday and Friday but a chance encounter with a kangaroo on the drive back from Canberra changed my plans somewhat! On behalf of students and staff, I would wish to sincerely thank the many parents and carers who provided assistance, especially on the Canberra camp. (Please take the time to read the Secondary Camp and Canberra Excursion reports and view the many photographs in this edition of NCS Bytes).

They say that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and this was certainly my experience when I discovered that I was unable to drive my car to visit the Secondary camp. Instead, on the Thursday, I was invited to visit our Stage 1 students as they participated in a series of activities designed to teach them more about the ANZAC tradition. There were many activities, including the making of delicious ANZAC biscuits and I was fortunate enough to sample some of these! The program culminated in a very special assembly where Mr Peter Williams played his bugle, along with a variety of other, often unusual, instruments. Mr Williams kept our students entertained whilst he shared lots of interesting stories related to the traditions of ANZAC.

This then brings us to the second week of Term 2. I could not possibly try to cover the incredible range of activities that have occurred in any great detail but I believe that you will be able to read numerous articles elsewhere in this edition of NCS Bytes that will include more specific information. Instead, I will simply list some of the events that have occurred and I am confident that you will marvel at the amazing variety that they contain. We have had a Kindergarten ‘Open Morning’ for parents/carers considering NCS for their children next year. Three NCS teams (one form Primary and two from Secondary), have travelled to Wollongong to participate in the Da Vinci problem-solving ‘Challenge’. A successful Mothers’ Day Stall, organised by our P/C & F, was held on Thursday and, during one of my visits, I witnessed many excited students picking up their special orders in readiness to spoil their mothers this Sunday. Students in Years 7-10 were entertained by three talented poets/actors who presented an amazing program entitled ‘Poetry in Action’. I was able to briefly attend some of this program and was greatly impressed by the way in which the presenters brought the world of poetry to ‘life’! I also ‘stumbled’ across Mrs White’s Year 3 class as they were outside with a large tape measure and paper aeroplanes that they had made. They were test flying them and then measuring the distance in centimetres. This was actually an innovative ‘hands-on’ maths lesson where students were learning how to convert centimetres into metres. Numerous other excursions also took place throughout this week that took our students to many interesting destinations.

The final day of Term 2 was another very significant day as NCS hosted approximately 100 Secondary students from schools throughout the local area and beyond for the ‘My School, My Responsibility’ day. All of these students had expressed a genuine desire to learn more about what it means to live a Christian lifestyle. They enjoyed times of shared singing and worship and had the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops throughout the day. The theme for the day was ‘Shine your light’. I had the pleasure of officially welcoming everyone to our school and was able to briefly meet with students and staff from time to time throughout the day.

Our focus verses, taken from Matthew’s gospel, were some of the key verses for the large group of Secondary students who were present for the ‘My School, My Responsibility’ event. As each student arrived, they were presented with a small light that could be placed on a key ring. This was a symbolic reminder that all of us who desire to follow the example of Jesus are called to live our lives in such a way that those around us will be attracted to enquire further about the source of our lifestyle. This ‘source’ is, of course, Jesus and the Bible provides us with the compass directions to help us wisely choose the paths that we will follow.