For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6 (NIV)
I confidently began last week’s Bytes with the comment ‘I am amazed that this is, in fact, the final edition of NCS Bytes for the 2017 school year.’ Well, as you can see, I shouldn’t have been so ‘confident’ as we actually have the opportunity for one more Bytes article for the year. In reality, I am very pleased that this is the case as so many wonderful events have occurred at NCS during this last week that I wish to share with all members of our school community!
However, the first of these events actually occurred on Saturday evening of last week and this was our Worrigee Community Christmas Carols. This special occasion was jointly organised by NCS and the Nowra Baptist Church. Even though the weather was somewhat inclement, resulting in the actual carols program moving indoors, it did not dampen the spirits of the large crowd in attendance. It was a heart-warming sight to view the many families who were able to enjoy the festive atmosphere as together they visited food stalls, participated in craft activities and lined up for face painting. At 7.30pm everyone moved into the church hall where we sang carols with great enthusiasm and heard the Christmas story presented to us in a most creative manner. And, of course, there were many candles being waved by enthusiastic children and quite a few adults as well.
On Monday, our Christmas carols theme continued as I had the pleasure of accompanying our Year 6 students as we walked across the road to Chesalon Nursing Home to entertain the residents with a rousing rendition of many of their favourite carols. It was most encouraging to see many of the residents singing along to well-known tunes with big smiles on their faces!
Our Year 6 students were kept very busy on Monday as the afternoon saw them being honoured at their Graduation Ceremony. This was a very special event that commemorated the highlights of their time spent during 7 years of Primary school. The program also looked ahead to the transition that is about to occur which will see them returning after the holidays as our Year 7 class of 2018. It was most encouraging for our students that a large number of family members and friends were also able to join our appreciative audience. A delightful afternoon tea was provided at the conclusion of our assembly for our parents, carers and friends which added to the celebratory atmosphere.
On Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of joining with our Primary students in the church hall as we became the audience for a number of presentations from our Stage 5 drama students. We were amazed by the talents of these students as they performed in the style of ‘commedia dell arte’ which is a dramatic art form that began in Italy in the 1500s. This art form saw some of our student actors wearing masks and donning very interesting costumes. Their performances were full of energy, music and acrobatics. Yes, there is no doubt that drama is alive and well at NCS thanks on this occasion to the talents of Mrs Ellery and our Stage 5 drama students!
In the afternoon I attended the Years 7-11 Graduation Ceremony. At this special event we were able to acknowledge the excellent performances of our Secondary students in a wide range of areas including academics, sport and community service. Once again, it was pleasing that a number of family members were also able to attend this event.
I trust that you were able to be part of our capacity audience that filled the MPC on Wednesday as we held our NCS Thanksgiving Evening. In many ways, this is the major event that our school holds to acknowledge the performances, participation and endeavours of all of our students across the entire school year. It is an event designed to highlight the amazing variety of programs and activities that our students engage in and to recognise their many commendable achievements. The evening was capably compered by Jasmine Dickinson and Caleb Mackie, our 2018 Secondary school captains. We witnessed fine performances from our Concert Band, Primary Choir and the Secondary vocal ensemble. We were pleased to be able to acknowledge the faithful contributions of two long-serving members of our school community. We honoured Mr Ross Dixon for his sacrificial service as both Board member and Board Chair for well over 25 years. Mr Neville Vidler was also warmly applauded for his commitment to our school through his service as a teacher for over 33 years. The evening also provided us with a public opportunity to thank our God for the amazing blessings that He has showered on our NCS community throughout the course of this year.
Thursday saw all of our students coming to school for their final day of the 2017 year. This has traditionally been a student activities day which sees our Primary students participating in a Picnic Day and our Secondary students enjoying a Beach Day. We were blessed with perfect weather for these events! I had the opportunity to visit the Primary students at two different locations during the afternoon. My first stop was at White Sands Park in Huskisson where the Infant department (K-2) were having a wonderful time engaging in a wide variety of games and activities. I arrived just in time to participate in two rounds of ‘tug of war’ but I must have been a liability as the team that I was on lost on each occasion! I then travelled to Plantation Point where our Years 3-6 Primary students were also participating in an enjoyable series of relaxed games and activities. A special thankyou to the considerable number of parents and carers who were able to join us for these picnic activities. Your interest and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated.
On the Thursday morning, before visiting our Primary students, I accompanied Mrs Meek (Head of Secondary) and Mrs West (Careers Teacher) as we travelled to HMAS Albatross to attend the graduation ceremony for students from local Secondary schools who had participated in the ‘Long Look’ Naval Aviation Introductory Program. This 8 week program, held on one morning per week, is open to all Year 10 students to apply but there is a rigorous selection process. Lachlan White from NCS was one of these successful applicants and we were delighted to join with members of his family at this ceremony. All 18 participating students agreed that they had received valuable insights into career options within the navy.
Friday was the final day for our NCS staff team. We began with a communal breakfast, prepared by three very talented international chefs (alias Mrs Meek, Mr McLennan and Mr Bray). Following this we had the opportunity to farewell departing staff and to reflect on our 2017 year, giving thanks to God for His many blessings. Most of the rest of the day was spent in ensuring that we have left all areas of the school clean and tidy and ready for the commencement of the 2018 year.
As you can see from the outline above, this final week of school was typical of the 38 others that we have enjoyed at NCS during this busy year. Yes, life at NCS is never dull! Staff and students have been privileged throughout 2017 to have engaged in an astounding variety of teaching and learning programs that we trust have grown and stretched every student and instilled in them a genuine sense of curiosity and love of learning. Once again, on behalf of all staff, I would wish to sincerely thank our parents and carers for your consistent support and commitment to our school. The strength of the partnership between home and school has been a great encouragement to both our staff and students throughout this year. We thank you for your enthusiastic support and wish you God’s rich blessings as you celebrate the joyous season of Christmas with family and friends.
Our final focus verse for 2017 is taken from Isaiah 9: 6. It is a verse of prophecy from the Old Testament that was pointing directly to the birth of Jesus who is, indeed, the ‘saviour’ of our world. This is the ‘King’ that your children have been consistently introduced to in our devotional theme throughout this year. I trust that Jesus is also the King that you have placed your faith in and that He is the ‘reason for the season’ of Christmas that we are all about to celebrate in the very near future.