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A note from Mr Bray - 24 July, 2020

The Armor of God 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6: 10-18 (NIV)

It is hard to believe that this Bytes article sees me welcoming all school families back to the beginning of Term 3. Of course, this means that we are now more than half way through our school year! I have no doubt that none of us are likely to forget the 2020 year as it has clearly proven to be a challenging one due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. However, I would again wish to commend all members of our school community for the wonderfully positive way in which you have all responded to the many changed health protocols that have been introduced.

Even though our lives have been subject to many changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I do trust that all school families did find some opportunities for rest and relaxation during the three week holiday break. Obviously there were some limitations on travel but it can be very refreshing to go for a walk with the family along the beach or for a bike ride in the country.

I am pleased to state that we have had a very smooth start to Term 3 and both students and staff have quickly settled back into an effective working routine. (The photographs below show some of our Year 8 Technology class students busily planting vegetables in the school garden.) We have also been delighted to welcome eight new students to our NCS ‘family’. I have had the pleasure of meeting with these students towards the end of this week and it has been most encouraging to hear their very positive comments about how well they have settled into our school community. Overall, they have indicated that students have warmly welcomed them and that they have already begun to develop strong friendships.

I mentioned before that our students have all had a three week break. However, this has not been the case for our staff who returned to school on Monday, 13 July to participate in our Staff Conference Week. Once again, the conference week provided our staff with an excellent opportunity to engage in valuable professional development activities. They were also provided with some personal preparation time, designed to ensure that everything was in readiness for the return of our students.

The Staff Conference Week Program provided a wonderful variety of professional learning activities. Just some of these included a focus on the important area of designing curriculum from a Biblical perspective, a time to reflect on knowledge gained as a result of our recent NCS online learning delivery experiences, as well as further sessions focussing on our AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) programs. There were other sessions that explored assessment practice and moderation at the Secondary level, whilst our Primary teachers engaged in a close focus on the vital area of student writing.

One highlight of our conference week was the opportunity for all staff to participate in a guided tour of our new TAS/Visual Arts building site. Staff were greatly encouraged to view these developments and there were many very positive comments made in relation to how these facilities will enhance key learning programs for our students. It is anticipated that major external concreting works will be completed next week, depending on the weather, and this will then allow for some landscaping of the surrounds to commence. We are now very much looking forward to seeing this project reach completion at some stage during Term 3.

Once again, I have had the pleasure this week of welcoming students and parents/carers at the entrance of our school during the morning drop-off period. I have been greatly encouraged by the cheerful greetings that I have received and I trust that this is a tangible sign that we are all glad to be back at school and ready for another productive term of teaching and learning. I would wish to take this opportunity to again thank parents and carers for your ongoing cooperation as you ensure that you promptly drop off and collect your children before departing our school premises.

Many of you would know Mrs Emily Thuaux. She and her husband, Ian are NCS school parents and Mrs Thuaux has also very capably carried out the role of Primary School Chaplain for the past two years. Mrs Thuaux was present for some of our conference week program but she will now conclude her role as Primary Chaplain for the time being. This is because she has commenced her maternity leave and we wish Mrs Thuaux and her husband God’s rich blessings as they prepare for the arrival of their next child in the not-too-distant future. I am pleased to be able to inform you that Mrs Adrienne Varga will assume the role of Primary Chaplain during the time that Mrs Thuaux is away from us. Mrs Varga is also a school parent and she currently acts as our DSM (Defence School Mentor). Please also uphold Mrs Varga in prayer as she carries out these two very important roles.

While I am referring to the important topic of prayer, I would wish to specifically ask you to pray for our HSC students in particular. There is little doubt that the 2020 school year has been a somewhat disrupted one for all NCS students due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. However, we all know that the HSC years are both vital and demanding ones. Term 3 is a very important one for our HSC students as they approach the conclusion of their courses. Please pray that they will be able to use their time wisely and be kept in good health. I know that they will be most appreciative of your prayer support.

One other feature of our Staff Conference Week is that we were able to continue to begin each day with a devotional session. I had the privilege of bringing the devotion on the first morning of our conference. I was very aware that our media outlets had continued to be dominated by depressing news relating to the COVID-19 pandemic during the holiday period. News items such as these can lead to feelings of fear and deep concern and these types of responses are fully understandable.

However, I was reminded of a well-known Bible passage from the book of Ephesians that is able to provide great comfort for all those who claim faith in Jesus Christ. This passage is found in Ephesians 6: 10-18 and it reminds us that in this world we will face all types of threats and challenges. It also makes us aware that there is a spiritual dimension to our lives. The passage encourages us to put on the ‘full armour of God’. It is wonderfully reassuring to know that this ‘armour’ is available to everyone who believes in Jesus. Such armour is more than adequate to combat whatever fears and anxieties may come our way and this certainly includes the fears associated with a world struggling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this devotion, I encouraged our staff to share this message of hope with our students on their return to school. I would also encourage you to read these verses and to take the opportunity to share them with your children.