I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 12-13. (NIV)
If you have been feeling that this year is racing by then this past week would only help to confirm this suspicion as we have officially farewelled winter and have made our way into the spring season. Already the days have noticeably lengthened and we are no longer getting up in the dark and coming home as the sun sets! It is a particularly pleasant time of the year as the wattle trees are ablaze with their range of golden hues and spring vegetables in our school garden begin to reach maturity.
At school we are also appreciating these longer days and the warm spring sunshine, although we remain aware of the great need that our farmers have for refreshing rain. (Elsewhere in this edition of the Bytes you will be able to read about how our CSA ‘family’ of schools is rallying to assist the many farmers throughout our state who are suffering from the impact of one of the most severe droughts in living memory. Here at NCS we also plan to become involved in this vital fundraising endeavor as we participate in a ‘Farmraising Day’ on Thursday, 20 September).
So, what are just a few of the events that our school community have been involved in during this past fortnight? On Tuesday, 28 August I, along with numerous staff and parents, accepted an invitation to join Madame Wilkinson and the members of our Year 8 French class as we enjoyed French cuisine at La Toosh restaurant in central Nowra. This outing provided authentic opportunities for our students to practice their language skills. It certainly tested out my few very ‘rusty’ snippets of French learned many years ago in a small country high school!
I was delighted to join with numerous parents and carers on the evening of 30 August as we gathered in the school library for the ‘Preparing for Kindergarten’ information session. Gai Lindsay was our guest speaker and she was eminently qualified to share with us on this important topic. Gai currently lectures at the University of Wollongong in the Early Childhood area and she has previously served as a preschool teacher and director for 22 years before undertaking PhD research in this important field. We received a great deal of relevant information about how to best prepare our children for the rapidly approaching kindergarten experience. Many who attended were about to embark on this ‘journey’ for the very first time and they were pleased to remain at the conclusion of the evening to speak further with Gai and with our own NCS kindergarten staff.
I would also wish to thank the members of our P/C & F who, once again, organised a very successful Fathers’ Day stall, held on Friday, 31 August. I know that there were lines of children waiting excitedly to buy presents for their dads! For all the dads out there, I trust that you might have been the recipient of one or more of the delightful gifts that were on display.
During this past fortnight, I have continued to take the opportunity to meet with the ministry leaders of a range of churches in our local area. What a great privilege it is to have conversations with these pastoral leaders and to witness their enthusiasm to share God’s word and his love with the families that they come into contact with. Frequently, a number of these families will also attend NCS and these meetings have reinforced my awareness that both our school and the many churches in our area are working in partnership as we share the ‘good news’ about Jesus Christ.
On the Monday of this past week, I joined with Mrs Hetherington and her Year 10 class as we had the opportunity to meet with Daniel Agnew and to learn about the challenges that he had faced in becoming a published author. Daniel is a talented alumni member of NCS, having graduated in 2011. Daniel has published an historical fiction book titled Ariadne. This book is set in the historical period of the Bronze Age.
On Wednesday, 5 September, I accepted an invitation to visit our YEA students. ‘YEA’ was founded by a committed group of NCS students during Term 2 of this year. It stands for ‘Youth Eco Action’ and has the aim of inspiring students to strive to achieve sustainability in the way that we live. When I caught up with our YEA students, they were working with members of the Shoalhaven Landcare group on the construction of nest boxes designed to protect local native species.
I trust that you did not miss out on the opportunity to join with us in the MPC last Wednesday evening as we came together to celebrate ‘Insight 2018’. What an encouraging time we were able to share together as we focused on what it means to belong to the Nowra Christian School ‘family’! The program was brimming with variety as we were entertained by our talented students, were personally introduced to each member of our hard-working School Board and learned more from Mrs Meek, Head of Secondary, about some important modifications to our Focused HSC model as well as receiving an update in relation to our recently introduced AVID program.
The aim of ‘Insight 2018’ was to highlight the vital importance that ‘relationship’ and ‘community’ play within the life of our school. Three of our Board members presented key sections of the program. Craig Frew provided our devotion that highlighted what it means to live in ‘community’ and how the types of relationships that exist at NCS can add purpose and meaning to our lives. Ryan Heard shared the consultative process via which our school Purpose Statement was recently refined. He also outlined the vital importance of the three key values that have been identified in our recently updated NCS strategic plan. These values are ‘care, community’ and ‘character’ and it is our desire that all members of the NCS community will actively strive to model these values as we relate to one another. Our Board Chair, Paul Dickinson, then presented a detailed overview of the ten year NCS building masterplan that has been developed in partnership with our consulting architectural firm. He then highlighted the first stage of this plan which proposes the building of a Technological and Applied Sciences and Visual Arts and Design facility, scheduled to commence construction in 2019.
The program was deliberately designed to be a short one, allowing time for all present to enjoy conversation over a delicious supper. The ‘Bearded Brewer’ also had his coffee van strategically placed inside the MPC building and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee certainly added to the atmosphere of this event. What we observed was an encouraging snapshot of a relational community in action as those assembled enjoyed each other’s company and engaged in animated conversation about the many exciting developments that are occurring at our school.
If you were unable to attend ‘Insight 2018’ then do not despair. It is hoped that this might become an annual event where we can gather together as the NCS ‘family’ to be encouraged and to thank our generous God for the many blessings that he is bestowing on our school.
As is regularly the case, I am continually encouraged at the commencement of each school day as I have the privilege of attending our staff devotions. Recently one of our staff members shared a quotation that is attributed to US President Theodore Roosevelt that states ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’ We were also directed to the example of the Apostle Paul who continually praised God, regardless of the circumstances that he found himself in and these included being imprisoned and mistreated for his faith. As we live in community here at NCS, there will always be some amongst us who are hurting and travelling through challenging times. However, like Paul, we can be encouraged that the God that we serve will provide the measure of strength and comfort that we need to make the most of the situations that we find ourselves in.