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A note from Mr Bray - 28 June 2019

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’ Romans 12: 12 (NIV)

I am amazed to think that this edition of the NCS Bytes is, in fact, the final one for Term 2! This means that our 2019 school year is virtually at the halfway mark. You may well also share my surprise that this year is racing by so quickly. However, it is encouraging to take the time to peruse previous editions of NCS Bytes and to read about the incredible variety of worthwhile activities that your children have been fruitfully engaged in and this past fortnight has been no exception.

However, on this occasion, I will simply draw your attention to the numerous articles that have been included in Bytes that confirm that students at NCS have been active in many and varied learning events both at school and beyond. These have included excursions and incursions, school assemblies, information evenings, sporting events and so much more. Instead, I would wish to focus on a number of specific activities and achievements that have productively involved members of our NCS community. I would also desire to highlight some major events that are fast approaching so that you can mark these on your calendars.

One major activity that I had the privilege of participating in was the recent Act for Peace ‘Ration Challenge’. I was a member of our NCS Team that comprised students, parents/carers and staff. In total, we had 41 members of our school community coming together to raise funds for this incredibly worthwhile appeal. This activity was an initiative of our Secondary School student leaders and I would wish to commend them for raising the awareness of our school community in relation to the desperate plight of Syrian refugees and those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When I first saw the tiny ration box that contained my food for a seven-day period, I did seriously wonder as to my capacity to complete the challenge. (I could clearly see that none of the food items were going to provide me with a pleasurable sugar ‘hit’!) Yes, it was a stretching experience, the weather was cold and I, like many others on our team, often fantasised about a warm cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. However, as a team, we stuck together and achieved the incredible outcome of raising almost $11,000 to go to this worthy cause. (This meant that our school team was ranked 9th out of 197 other schools throughout Australia.)

Saturday, 22 June was another busy day in the life of a number of members of the NCS community. From 8am, our dedicated School Board members were already at school as they commenced a Board Development and Training Day. This would see them hard at work until after 3pm. The program for the day involved an initial four hours of government-mandated training. The topic for training on this occasion was ‘Risk Management and Compliance’. After a well-deserved lunch, the program continued as the Board discussed a number of strategic topics of direct relevance to NCS. (As I frequently mention, your continued prayers for all who serve on our School Board will be most appreciated.)

The other significant event that occurred on this same Saturday took place at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. This was the venue for the ‘Stars of the Eisteddfod’ concert. I was able to leave the Board Training Day to arrive in time for the second half of this concert. There were two very important reasons why I wished to be in attendance. The first was that NCS students were represented on the program on two occasions. This is a great honour as only the ‘best of the best’ are chosen from the hundreds of students who have participated in the various Eisteddfod activities that have been held during the preceding weeks. Year 12 student Saphyre B presented a vocal solo and Ollie E, Lincoln and Kaylee B formed a saxophone trio, playing ‘The Entertainer’. The standard of these two presentations was amazing! The second highlight of the program was that one of our NCS music teachers, Mrs Amanda Lawrence, was honoured by being presented with the Gilmore Award. Fiona Phillips MP, the recently elected Federal Member for Gilmore, presented Mrs Lawrence with this prestigious award for her invaluable services to the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod program. Many NCS staff, students and parents/carers will not be surprised that Mrs Lawrence was chosen as they have greatly appreciated the professional manner in which she encourages the pursuit of musical participation and excellence at our school.

I frequently marvel at the amazing talents of our students in a wide variety of areas. One of these relates to music and the performing arts. All members of the NCS community, including extended family members, will soon have the opportunity to personally witness these talents as our Stage 3 students present the Primary School musical production of ‘Jungle Drums’. This performing arts ‘spectacular’ is scheduled for presentation in the MPC from 14 - 16 August. As if this wasn’t sufficient entertainment to keep us all satisfied, I am pleased to remind you that the Secondary School musical production of Oklahoma is scheduled for presentation during Term 1 of next year. Auditions were recently held and cast members announced so please stay tuned for further announcements at a later date.

We were delighted to receive a visit to our school from Mrs Fiona Phillips MP, Federal Member for Gilmore, on Friday, 28 June. Mrs. Phillips enjoyed a brief tour of our school during which she visited Mrs Longfield’s Kindergarten class where she distributed small flags (Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander). She then attended our Primary Assembly. Mrs Phillips was officially welcomed to Nowra Christian School by our Primary Captains and she took the opportunity to briefly address the audience. Mrs Phillips also presented a gift to the school of an Australian flag. She then remained in the audience for the rest of the assembly, enjoying three drama skits that were presented by Stage 2 students.

Each year, every school in Australia is required to provide an Annual Report as part of the government funding guidelines. These reports are very informative and provide clear details about the aims, priorities and performance of each school. The NCS 2018 Annual Report has now been uploaded to our website and you are welcome to read it. I believe that you will be greatly encouraged as you peruse its pages and read about the 2018 year at our school.

Finally, I want to bring to your attention a significant event in the life of our school that will be held on Thursday, 8 August in the MPC. This event is our ‘Insight 2019’ Evening. We held our first ‘Insight’ last year and all who attended agreed that it had been a great night. The program was full of entertainment from our talented students, provided an informative overview of key strategic initiatives and concluded with great coffee, delicious food and the opportunity for informal conversation. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on joining with us for this very special evening. Mark this date on your calendar now.

I often talk about the wonderful privilege I have of belonging to a Christian school community. I realise that not everyone is able to start their day sharing a devotional time with their work colleagues. At NCS this is how staff begin every day. My focus verse again relates to a recent devotion presented by a member of staff. The topic of this devotion was ‘patience’ and I would like to share with you just some of the very practical advice that was provided. We were informed that patience is not quite the same as waiting. Waiting is something that we do, while patience is something that we offer. We wait because we have no choice but patience is our gift to God that demonstrates our confidence in his goodness. We display this confidence even when we cannot see an immediate answer to our fears and concerns. Patience proves our love for God and our trust that his plan for our lives is worth waiting for.

With only five school days of Term 2 remaining, I would like to take this opportunity to wish students, staff and all school families an enjoyable holiday break. I trust that your children will find times for rest and refreshment before returning to Nowra Christian School on Monday, 29 July.

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