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A note from Mr Bray - 12 June, 2020

‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

When I wrote my last NCS Bytes article, we had just completed our first week with all students from K-12 having returned to school to engage in on-site teacher directed lessons. I am pleased to say that, after two further weeks, we appear to have settled back into a well organised school routine. Certainly, as I have moved around our school site this week, I have been able to visit numerous classrooms where students and teachers have been actively engaged in productive learning programs. It was also wonderful to be able to hear the sounds of excited young voices in the school grounds during recess and lunchtimes as students played games and enjoyed each other’s company. My immediate thought was ‘This is how schools are meant to be!’

On many occasions in the past I have stated that schools are busy places and, in this article, I thought that I would take the opportunity to share with you just some of the many productive activities that are, once again, taking place at NCS. Yes, whilst events such as sporting carnivals, excursions, incursions, school camps and physical assemblies are not yet able to occur, there is much that is still taking place. In many ways, we are seeing growing evidence that we appear to be on a journey back to what we once regarded as being our ‘normal’ school routine.

So, just what have been some of the events that have occurred during this past fortnight? Recently I have found myself being drawn to discover the source of some amazing aromas that have been emanating from the Secondary Food Technology room. On further investigation, I have discovered that our Years 9 & 10 students have been creating some scrumptious meals and learning how to ‘plate’ this food in a most appealing way. On another occasion I dropped by to discover these same students perfecting a rather ‘technicolour’ jelly dessert that was certainly ‘eye-catching’! (Elsewhere in this edition of the Bytes, you will be able to read further details provided by Harrison F, one of the students in this class.)

Not only has my attention been caught by delicious cooking aromas, but I have also been delighted to hear the sound of musical instruments as, once again, our dedicated team of peripatetic teachers have been able to return to their on-site musical lesson delivery program. I was able to drop in as a number of these lessons were taking place and it was so encouraging to see our teachers working enthusiastically with eager students as they further developed their musical skills. (Of course, our peripatetic staff are to be congratulated for the creative way in which they have been presenting online lessons during the past weeks but it was very special to see students and teachers back together once again.)

I never know what I might discover when I embark on a ‘journey’ around the school grounds and this was certainly the case as I recently discovered on the grassed section outside our Years 3 & 4 classroom area. I could hear the energetic voices of young students but I was uncertain as to what had created all of this excitement. When I came around the corner, I discovered that they were engaged in a game of ‘tug-of-war’. It was a gloriously sunny day and I must admit that I couldn’t resist the temptation to join one of the teams but I am not sure whether my skills were of much help.

On Thursday of last week, I witnessed a most unusual sight as I was greeting students, parents and carers at the start of the day in the carpark area. It appeared that there were two strange figures dressed in space suits! On closer investigation, I discovered that it was actually Mrs Arthur and one of our Primary students, Cam S. What I was actually witnessing was the very beginning of our Year 7 ‘Space Day’. I thought that I would follow our ‘astronauts’ as they gathered out on the school oval where Mr Clarke, looking more like a ‘mad scientist’, was preparing to launch a number of rockets into the atmosphere. An appreciative group of Year 7’s, some also dressed in space outfits, had gathered to witness these launches. I thought that this might be a significant moment in human history, so I took some photographic evidence of these events. I will let you decide whether Mr Clarke has a potential future as a space engineer.

Mrs Bate was also out and about around our school grounds over the past few days with her camera in hand and she was able to capture just some of the ‘action’ as students from both Primary and Secondary were enjoying the pleasures of being back at school once again.

While all of these activities have been occurring, our Primary and Secondary teachers have been very busy finalising assessment tasks and writing student reports. These reports will be distributed in the near future.

As you would be aware, when our students all began to return to on-site learning, the decision was made to open our school canteen every day of the week for online lunch orders. Our canteen staff have been working very hard to ensure that both students and staff have access to delicious food that is freshly prepared. These online orders have proven to be most popular and I am pleased to announce that the canteen will continue to be open for lunch orders each day of the week throughout Term 3.

I am also pleased to state that our TAS/Visual Arts building program is making pleasing progress. In fact, the building is now rapidly approaching the lock-up stage. Mrs Lawrence and I had the pleasure of visiting the site last Friday and we were especially pleased to note that the new Food Technology room is now having cupboards, benches and food preparation modules installed.

As I stated earlier, I have continued to have the pleasure, along with a number of other staff members, of meeting and greeting students, parents and carers at the commencement of most school days. Initially there were a number of our youngest students who seemed to be somewhat anxious as they waved goodbye to their parents/carers on the first few days of their return to school. However, I am pleased to report that most students now appear to be very pleased that school is back in action and that they have the opportunity to spend productive time with their teachers and classmates. I have regarded it as being a special privilege to have so many polite students warmly greet me each morning on their arrival to school.

Once again, I would wish to sincerely thank all parents and carers for the wonderful manner in which you have continued to abide by our requests to promptly drop off and pick up your children before departing the school grounds. Your support and cooperation during this difficult time have been greatly appreciated. In my next Bytes article, which will be the final one for this term, I plan to provide the latest update in relation to any changes and developments of relevance to our school community. Like you, I am looking forward to the time when we can, once again, welcome parent and carer helpers into our classrooms and gather together as the Nowra Christian School community during assemblies and special events.

My focus verse for this week was actually shared with our school community by Olivia C, one of our Year 12 students, during our virtual School Assembly, held on Friday, 5 June. Olivia was being interviewed by Mr Petts, especially in relation to an ABC interview that she had been involved in where she was asked to comment on her experiences during our recent time of ‘lock-down’. Olivia shared some very insightful comments during this interview with the ABC from a faith perspective and I have again included the link to the interview here. (I would encourage you to read the wise words that Olivia had to share, especially if you have not yet read this interview.) Undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic has been an anxious time, not only for the members of our school community, but for every person on our planet. We are reminded in I Peter 5:7 that we have a God who loves us and cares deeply about us. He is willing to carry our burdens and to lift the weight of our anxieties from our shoulders. He is patiently waiting for us to turn to Him and to seek His comfort and assurance.

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