‘You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God….’ Exodus 20: 3-5(a). (NIV)
It is hard to imagine that, as you are reading this edition of the Bytes, the school year has now moved into the month of June! You may well be wondering how we could possibly already be nearing this halfway stage when, seemingly just a few short months ago, we were settling back into a new year at NCS!
Certainly our past fortnight has contained an incredible variety of activities that have provided your children with wonderful learning opportunities. Further details, and colourful photographs, of many of these events have been provided in this publication of Bytes for your information.
Without doubt, one absolute highlight of this past fortnight has been the presentation of the NCS Secondary School production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’! (I should really say ‘presentations’ as our cast and crew, and talented orchestra, actually provided this amazing theatrical experience on four separate occasions for our viewing pleasure. I certainly trust that you were able to secure tickets to attend as this was a show not to be missed!) You can view the full photo gallery here.
For many of our students and staff, this spectacular musical performance was the culmination of more than six busy, and sometimes hectic, months of rehearsals. This time involved the learning of lines, practicing of songs and dance routines and the development of a deep understanding of the personalities of the characters and of the storyline that would finally be shared with appreciative audiences.
My wife Sharon and I had the pleasure of attending the Friday night performance of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’. We were pleased that we were able to share this experience with a number of special guests. These included Gareth Ward MP – Member for Kiama, Councillor Mitch Pakes, Assistant Deputy Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council. Shoalhaven City Council Deputy Mayor, Clr Patricia White and her husband Garry and former NCS School Principal, Mr George Windsor and his wife Betty were also delighted to accept our invitation to attend.
On arrival at the MPC, we were immediately drawn into the atmosphere of this performance as we were greeted by an amazingly polished 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. It was surrounded by glittering lights and it certainly provided a talking point for guests arriving for the production. (A special thankyou to Mrs Alison Stewart and her father Mr Greg Burton, for the provision of this wonderful vehicle!)
It was obvious that our guests were thoroughly enjoying every moment of this amazing performance. They joined in with the rest of the enthusiastic audience as we laughed at the many jokes, delighted in the vitality of the musical score and the clever lyrics and were drawn into the storyline as engaging characters transported us away to the world of the fabulous 1950’s.
At the conclusion of the show, Mr Gareth Ward indicated that it would be his intention to focus on ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ when he had the opportunity to speak about a local event in his electorate in Parliament during the following week. Other guests stated that the quality of this performance would have earned it a place on the program at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre – this was high praise indeed for our talented cast and crew!
On behalf of the entire NCS community, I would wish to publicly congratulate every person – students, staff and parents/carers – who played any role in bringing this wonderful production to our school. We applaud your efforts and marvel at your skills and talents! We thank you for your dedication to this task and for the professionalism that you have displayed, not only during the actual productions but throughout the entire rehearsal process. Thank you for a job well done!
Amazingly, in a fortnight that centred around ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, our students and staff somehow found the time to fit in many other valuable learning activities and programs. There were numerous excursions and sporting events and many students participated in the local Eisteddfod opportunities that involved choirs and musical performances. I was pleased to have the opportunity to hear the Secondary Choir performing at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre on 24 May. They did a wonderful job under the direction of music teacher, Mr Matt West. You can read more about all these events in our latest news section of our website.
Paul McLennan, Head of Primary, and I had the privilege of attending the annual National Christian Schools Policy Forum held in Canberra on 21-22 May. This event brings together around 200 or more delegates drawn from the leadership teams of Christian schools throughout Australia or who represent other key Christian tertiary organisations and service groups. We came together to discuss key developments and to receive the latest briefings about the events and issues that are impacting the world of Christian education both nationally and internationally.
Given that this event is held in Canberra, it also provides an excellent opportunity for members of Christian schools to meet with their local politicians and to receive the latest updates from representatives of the various political parties in relation to their educational policies and how these recognise the role of Christian schools. This year, those who attended a dinner meeting at Parliament House were addressed by both the Shadow Minister for Education, The Honorable Ms Tanya Plibersek MP and the Federal Education Minister, The Honorable Senator Mr Simon Birmingham. Former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Anderson, was our guest speaker and he addressed the topic of democratic freedoms, including the role that Christian schools play within this framework.
We also held a Kindergarten Open Morning for parents who are currently considering the possibility of sending their children to NCS. They had the opportunity for their children to join in programs with our current Kindergarten students, had a tour of our school and then Paul McLennan, Head of Primary, and I were pleased to speak further with them as we enjoyed morning tea in the MPC foyer. We will hold another Kindergarten Open Morning on 14 August.
As always, our staff have been very busy as they deliver an excellent educational program for your children. Somehow our Secondary teaching staff were able to find the time on 29 May to travel to Illawarra Christian School (ICS) to participate in an ATICS professional development event. This saw them meeting together with Secondary staff from four other regional Christian schools. The keynote speaker at this event was Dr Cassandra Sharp. She is an associate professor at the University of Wollongong and she presented on the topic of ‘story’ and how popular stories can be used by individuals to help construct identity. She related this to the world of Christian schooling and reminded her listeners that Christian schools have the greatest story of all to share with our students. This ‘story’, of course, is ‘God’s Big Story’ as it is presented in the Bible.
On 25 May, at our Years 7-12 Secondary Assembly, Pastor Paul McPhail, who is also an NCS parent, continued our devotional theme on the ‘Many names of God’. We learned that our God is a ‘jealous’ God as Mr McPhail examined a Bible story from 1 Samuel 7:2-6. However, God’s jealousy is not like that of men where we can let petty differences and feelings of envy dominate our behaviour and conversations. Instead God is jealous for His people and desires that they will serve Him alone and not other gods who cannot deliver what they promise. God’s ‘jealousy’ grows out of His desire for our best interests and for our eternal futures. The focus verses that I have chosen this week come from Exodus 20: 3-5(a). This is where God had spoken directly with Moses on Mount Sinai and provided him with the Ten Commandments written on tablets of stone. These are God’s explicit rules for how we are to live our lives and to serve and honour Him. These are the words of a ‘jealous’ God who wants only what is best for His creation.