Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4: 12 (NIV)
Due to our recent Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, this edition of NCS Bytes covers three weeks in the life of our school. As always, the range of activities that have involved our students and staff, and often our parents and carers, has been amazing. I intend to refer to just some of these in this article.
On Tuesday 28 May, our entire school community carried out a ‘Lock-Down’ drill. Such drills are a vital component of our emergency management program and are designed to ensure that we are well-prepared to face any unexpected challenges that may eventuate. We were pleased with the cooperation received from all of our students and this practice drill has allowed us to further refine our emergency response procedures.
On this same day, NCS was the host school for the launch of the ‘Be You’ Program. Staff from many schools, and other organisations, in the Shoalhaven and South Coast districts were in attendance as two consultants outlined how this new program would operate and what benefits it would provide for our students. The ‘Be You’ Program replaces the KidsMatter (Primary) and MindMatters (Secondary) programs that have operated for many years. All of these programs have been designed to support the welfare and wellbeing of our students.
These three weeks have been packed full of a wide variety of excursions, assemblies and sporting events. Activities in the sporting arena have ranged across many areas including gymnastics, AFL Skills Days, Gala Soccer Days and a number of Cross Country events. As always, we have been delighted with the excellent sportsmanship that has been demonstrated by our students and their willingness to participate and to give of their best. However, of particular note was the excellent performance of Emily M who placed first at the recent CSSA State Cross Country event held in Sydney. As well as Hamish M and Joel H who both placed second in their respective races at this event. These were amazing achievements, considering that they were competing against some 150 or more students drawn from schools all around our state.
On 4 & 5 June, we farewelled five NCS staff members, three from Primary and two from Secondary, as they joined colleagues from around Australia to attend the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Winter Institute, held in Newcastle. This is the second year of our whole-school participation in the AVID program and we aim to send staff teams twice per year to receive these valuable professional development opportunities. (Please stay tuned for the next AVID update that will be included in a future edition of the BYTES.)
As parents and carers, you frequently hear about the potential dangers associated with social media and the internet. Whilst these areas can bring many wonderful learning opportunities, they can also be fraught with more sinister connotations. Consequently, Mr McLennan, Head of Primary, and I were pleased to accept an invitation to attend a seminar entitled ‘Keeping Safe in Cyberspace’ that was held at Cedars Christian College on the evening of 4 June. It was presented by Susan McLean who was described as being ‘the best and most respected educator on cybersafety in Australia, if not the world’. We certainly returned from this presentation with a great deal of relevant information to share with others at our school.
On 13 June, Mrs Bate and I had the great pleasure of transporting our Secondary Prefects to attend the ‘Synergy’ Breakfast, held at the Illawarra Christian School. Here our six students joined with other student leadership teams from the five Christian schools that comprise our ATICS Association. Each team had the opportunity to reflect on their leadership ‘journeys’ and to outline what they had learned about the vital topic of leading from a Christian perspective. I was greatly encouraged by all that I heard as these young leaders shared their discoveries with great wisdom and humility.
This was also the same day that our French students, under the direction of Madame Wilkinson, participated in the ‘Tour de Worrigee’. This event provided our students with a wide range of stimulating activities as well as ample opportunities to engage in French conversations. (Once again, be on the lookout for a more detailed article in relation to this event to be included in a future edition of the BYTES.)
No doubt, you have been reading information in recent editions of the BYTES about the ‘Ration Challenge’. NCS has entered a team in this very worthwhile fundraising event. On 13 June, we were issued with our ration packs and team members will commence the ‘challenge’ this weekend. I am excited, and probably a little apprehensive, about being a member of this team. I have now opened my ration pack and am psychologically preparing for the coming seven days when I will eat the same daily rations that would be distributed to the many Syrian refugees who have been displaced from their homes due to armed conflicts. If you would like to donate to this worthwhile appeal, you are still welcome to do so. You can make a donation to any team member by clicking on the following link: https://school.rationchallenge.org.au/nowra-christian-school
Please remember to uphold our staff team in your prayers. Throughout these past weeks, they have been extremely busy completing school reports. They have put a great deal of time and effort into this process, with the aim of providing our parents and carers with useful and accurate information relating to the performance and progress of each NCS student.
I did mention at the start of this article that the past three weeks have included the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend. This was a very special time for my wife, Sharon, and me as we travelled to Victoria to visit some of our family members. I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity of meeting my recently born grandson for the very first time. As a proud ‘grandad’, I cannot resist the opportunity to share this moment with my school ‘family’ so I am including a photo of little ‘Theo’ for your perusal.
I referred earlier to the ‘Synergy’ Breakfast, recently attended by student leaders from five Christian schools, including NCS. This was a truly inspiring time as we listened to the presentations provided by each team. Student leaders had been given a series of questions to consider that required them to address the challenges, priorities and opportunities for growth that they had encountered as a result of their leadership experiences. Without exception, every team emphasised how important it was for them to maintain and strengthen the Christian cultures of their respective schools. They stressed that it was their desire to lead as Jesus had led and to discern His will for their leadership priorities. They had learned to be patient, to listen carefully to what others were saying and to work as a team, realising that together they were stronger and wiser. They had developed an understanding that they were leading with the aim of benefiting all members of their school communities rather than seeking personal praise and prestige. Each team was asked to share a Bible verse that had provided them with guidance and encouragement throughout their leadership ‘journey’. Again, I was greatly encouraged by the range of relevant verses that each team presented. I would wish to share just one of these verses as my focus verse for this edition of the BYTES. It comes from 1 Timothy 4: 12 and states, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’
I left this gathering feeling greatly encouraged that our association of Christian schools was being guided by such a wonderful group of young leaders who were exhibiting the characteristics that were emphasised in this verse as the Apostle Paul set out to encourage the young Timothy in his leadership role.