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A final note from Mr Bray for 2019

Focus verse: ‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ Matthew 1: 21 (NIV)

As I am writing this Bytes article, the final week of our 2019 school year at NCS is rapidly drawing to a conclusion. In fact, the past fortnight has seen an incredible variety of activities as students and staff have been working busily to complete all remaining tasks.

On Tuesday, 3 December I met with our builders and architects for the second of our site meetings. As previously stated, these are planned to occur every three weeks as we carefully monitor the progress of our Stage 1 Building Program. We had the opportunity to visit the actual site and to inspect further pleasing progress that had taken place.

On the Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of joining with a number of our school parents as we celebrated the conclusion of the year for our ‘Different Like Me’ group. We had a shared meal together and took the opportunity to reflect on our year. All agreed that this had been a very helpful group for parents who have children with special learning needs. I would also like to encourage any parents/carers who believe that this group might be relevant to their situation to consider coming along to our meetings next year. Robyn Poulden has done a wonderful job as coordinator of this group and she is the person to contact in the new year if you would like further information.

On the following Wednesday, our NCS Concert Band were sharing their musical talents with the wider community throughout the day. In the morning they played outside the Wesley Centre and then went on to Clelland Lodge where they brought great cheer to the residents of this facility. I wasdelighted to join them in Jellybean Park in central Nowra as they entertained busy shoppers. Those who passed by frequently paused for a few moments as our band shared a number of traditional Christmas carols with them. I would wish to convey my congratulations to Mrs Lawrence, our conductor, and to all members of the band for their dedicated service throughout this year.

Saturday, 7 December saw the holding of another very special event. This was the Worrigee Community Christmas Carols and I am delighted to say that, once again, a very large crowd were in attendance to share in this celebration of the Christmas message through music and song. Once again, we were able to appreciate the talents of the NCS Choir and Concert Band as well as the NBC Band along with numerous student soloists who contributed throughout the evening. Many who came along were drawn from the wider community and we trust that they now have a deeper appreciation of the real ‘reason for the season’; that is the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. As you would be aware the decision was made this year not to hold a fireworks display and representatives of the Salvation Army were in attendance to collect donations for their Disaster Appeal, primarily set up to aid those who have been adversely impacted by the bushfires. I am pleased to announce that collections on the night raised the very impressive sum of $1321 and a further $234 was added to this total from gold coin contributions received for face-painting donations. This brings the total to go to the Salvation Army ‘Disaster Appeal’ to $1555. Thank you to everyone who gave generously to this important cause.

The final Monday of our school year was packed full of action. This day saw the holding of four separate assemblies, all designed to recognise the special achievements of our students. I am pleased to say that all assemblies drew a large number of parents and carers and other extended family members who were present to celebrate the commendable endeavours of their children. We held a K-2 Assembly, a Years 3-6 Assembly and a Years 7-9/11 Assembly. Our final gathering was the Year 6 Graduation Assembly. As the name suggests, this event specifically aimed to honour all of our Year 6 students as they were about to graduate from Primary school in readiness to enter the demanding new world of Secondary school. I was given the honour of speaking to our graduates and I chose to challenge them to consider how they might use their God-given gifts and talents in order to make a positive contribution to our world.

Wednesday of the final week was a Community Service Day for all Secondary students in Years 7-9. This was a valuable time when our students had the opportunity to actively serve our wider community. Whilst some students remained at school preparing for our ‘Thanksgiving Evening’ and also assisting around the school gardens, many others were involved in service activities that took them to numerous locations throughout our surrounding communities. Students were involved in a wide range of activities including gardening, window washing, babysitting, car washing and assisting local preschools and charities. Two students, Lanie S and Jasmine H, even organised to bake delicious biscuits, slices and other ‘goodies’ for distribution to our hard-working firefighters at the St. George’s Basin RFS. At this time when so many are experiencing hardship as a result of drought and fire, it is a character building experience for our students to serve others.

This was also the date of our ‘Thanksgiving Evening’. This is a very special event that sees all of our NCS ‘family’ coming together to give thanks to God for His faithful provision for another year of Christian education at our school. It is a time where we celebrate student achievements and have the pleasure of witnessing their gifts and talents through the presentation of a number of entertaining student items. This year was no exception as we were treated to a preview of one of the dynamic scenes from ‘Oklahoma!’, next year’s Secondary musical production. Our Kindergarten children provided an animated and colourful contribution as the audience sang ‘Light of the World’.

We were also treated to a performance from the Secondary Vocal Ensemble and the Primary Choir combined with the Concert Band to provide a stirring rendition of the ‘Hallelujah’ song. There was also a focus on our NCS strategic value of ‘character’ via the presentation of two informative film clips. I trust that you were able to attend this event and that you left feeling encouraged that you are valued members of our vibrant school community.

Thursday was the final day of school for all students. This saw our K-2 children heading to White Sands Park in Huskisson for a games and picnic day. Our Years 3-6 students also began with a picnic day at Plantation Point Park in Vincentia and then headed on for some enjoyable water activities at the Bay and Basin Leisure Centre. Whilst this was occurring, all Secondary students were enjoying an Activity Day back at school.

Our focus verse for the final Bytes for 2019 is a fitting one for this current season of Christmas. It reminds us that Christmas is about much more than just the decoration of a tree with bright lights and tinsel, the wrapping of presents and the enjoyment of a large meal of turkey with all the trimmings. The true meaning of Christmas points directly to God’s wonderful salvation plan in sending Jesus, as the baby in the manger who would grow up to be the one who would hang on a cross to take the penalty for our sins. Thus, if we call on the name of the resurrected Jesus we will be saved and have the privilege of experiencing eternal life with Him. I trust that this will be your understanding of Christmas this year as you celebrate with family and friends.

I would wish to conclude by thanking all of our school families for your support of our school throughout this year. Thank you for your confidence in the educational programs that we provide for your children. Thank you for taking the time to encourage our staff as they work in partnership with you to provide ‘quality, Christ-centred education, founded on Biblical values’, (as outlined in our School Purpose Statement). On behalf of the NCS Board and staff, I would wish all of our school families a safe and blessed time throughout the coming holiday period. It is our prayer that you will have a wonderful time of rest and refreshment with family and friends and that you will again look forward to journeying with us when school resumes for all students in Years 1-12 on Wednesday, 29 January next year.

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