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A note from Mr Bray - 1 November 2019

Focus verse: ‘Be still and know that I am God…’ Psalm 46: 10(a) (NIV)

As always, life at NCS continues to provide an amazing variety of learning programs and special events. This past fortnight has certainly been no exception. Elsewhere in this edition of the BYTES, you will be able to read about many sporting events, ranging from biathlons and triathlons through to basketball gala days. There have been special assemblies and musical performances and throughout this entire time, our HSC students have been continuing their study and examination program.

However, without doubt, one of the major highlights of this past week was our special assembly and flag-raising ceremony, held at NCS on Friday, 25 October. At this event, Fiona Phillips, our Federal Member for Gilmore, on behalf of the Australian Government, officially presented Nowra Christian School with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. For many months we had been liaising with representatives from our local Aboriginal community in order to fully understand the cultural significance of the symbolism associated with these flags and what it would mean to raise them above our school. We were delighted that so many special guests, many of them representatives from a wide range of local Aboriginal community groups, were able to join with us on this very significant occasion. The program was a moving one that included a ‘Welcome to Country’, a didgeridoo performance and two traditional dances performed by indigenous students from St John’s Catholic College. Many NCS students, including both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, stood side by side as, together, they explained the meaning behind each of the flags. A traditional song entitled ‘Yul Lull’ was also presented by a small student choir, accompanied by all of our Kindergarten students beating in time with their clapsticks. Mrs Stewart, our NCS Aboriginal Education Coordinator, presented our keynote message and then everyone trouped outside to witness the raising of the flags. Mr Dickinson, NCS Board Chair, then closed our entire event, thanking God for this very special opportunity to highlight the strength of the partnership between our two cultures.

Friday, 25 October was also a significant day for another reason. This is the occasion when schools throughout Australia and beyond celebrate ‘World Teachers Day’. This day provides an opportunity for students and their families to say ‘thankyou’ to our dedicated teachers for their commitment to providing a quality educational program to all of our students. We held a special afternoon tea the following Tuesday where all of our NCS staff were invited to come along to enjoy some light refreshments. We also symbolically cut a decorated cake, displaying a special message highlighting World Teachers Day.

I had the pleasure of attending two events during this past fortnight that involved some of our talented NCS musicians. The first was a combined concert held at the Nowra School of Arts on the evening of Thursday, 24 October. This saw seven of our NCS students joining with over seventy Years 7 & 8 student musicians from the ACT Combined Schools Concert Band. What a delight it was to be part of the appreciative audience as we were treated to some spectacular ‘Big Band’ numbers! The other event had a slightly different flavour. This involved Mrs Lawrence, along with three of our talented musical students, accepting an invitation to a ‘High Tea’ function attended by members of the Shoalhaven Chapter of the Order of Australia. Former NCS Principal, Mr George Windsor, who is himself a member of this group, kindly provided us with this official invitation. Our students’ contributions were highly valued as Ethan V (piano), Saphyre B (vocals) and Ameleise C (flute).

Throughout this past fortnight, Mr McLennan, Head of Primary, and I have had the pleasure of meeting with many parents/carers who have taken their children to participate in a number of small group Kindergarten orientation afternoons. This well organised transition program culminated in a larger whole-group orientation afternoon held on Friday, 1 November. This event saw all of next year’s Kindergarten children and parents/carers coming together for the first time. Once again, Mr McLennan and I greatly enjoyed meeting with parents/carers as we sampled a delightful afternoon tea in the church hall.

Another unexpected pleasure that Mr McLennan and I also had this week was to accept an invitation to briefly visit the MPC to participate in an Indian Dance Workshop. This activity was part of a larger unit that has seen our Stage 1 students exploring many aspects of the geography, history and culture of the country of India. We arrived just in time to join in with the students from Mrs Baker’s Stage 1 class as they were learning some amazing dance moves. (If you look closely, you might even be able to see us ‘hiding’ in the back row as we tried to keep up with our talented students!)

In my introductory paragraph, I mentioned that our HSC students have been continuing their study and examination program throughout the past fortnight. For many of our HSC students, the examinations will continue throughout next week with the final examination involving NCS students concluding next Friday, 8 November. I would encourage you to continue to uphold our HSC students in prayer during this particularly busy and demanding time. At the same time, examinations have now commenced for students at other Secondary levels and your prayers for all of our students will be greatly appreciated.

This fortnight’s focus verse comes from Psalm 46: 10 (a) and it provides us with the following simple, but profound, advice ‘Be still and know that I am God...’ We were reminded of this important point during one of our staff devotions held during this past fortnight. We live in an extremely busy, fast-paced world where we often find ourselves racing from one task to the next. Doctors reliably tell us that such a lifestyle can lead to increased rates of anxiety and a loss of peace of mind. We were reminded that ‘selah’ is a word in the Bible that is used over 70 times. Biblical scholars believe that this word means to ‘stop, pause, reflect, think about’. As a staff, we were challenged to slow down the pace of our days and to ensure that we preserve sufficient time to meditate on God’s word so that we can fully appreciate its rich application to our lives. Consequently, I would encourage each one of us to ‘Be still and know that I am God..’ and I have little doubt that such a realisation will have the power to refresh and renew our lives.

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