‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ Philippians 4: 6 (NIV)
What a pleasure it was to welcome back our school families on Wednesday of this week. Quite fittingly, we commenced with our ‘Welcome Back’ Assembly, held in the church hall. We were delighted with the large numbers of parents/carers and extended family members who accepted our invitation to attend this event. Of course, it will not be until Wednesday of next week that all members of our school ‘family’ will have returned to us for the exciting 2020 year that lies ahead. This is the day when our Kindergarten students arrive to begin their ‘big school’ journey!
I am very aware that this holiday season has been dominated in many ways by the dramatic images associated with the bushfire crisis. In last week’s edition of NCS Bytes, I did focus closely on this topic and indicated that, as parents and carers, there are many ways in which you can assist your children to better cope with the potential anxiety that such events can create in the lives of your children. This same article included a link to a variety of other resources that provide helpful information of potential assistance to parents/carers. I also stated that our school counsellors and key staff members are available to provide you with further support, should this be considered to be helpful.
Not only have we been subject to this ongoing bushfire emergency but, in recent weeks, our media has also been preoccupied with health alerts in relation to the potential impact of the Novel Coronovirus that has its origins in the Wuhan district of China. (I also recently circulated an information email to all NCS families on this particular topic.) In many ways, we should not be surprised if our students - your children – are displaying some signs of heightened anxiety. It is the specific aim of all members of our staff team that our returning students will find school to be a comforting environment where they are in familiar surroundings and are being presented with routines that are both meaningful and reassuring. As members of a Christian school community, we will be reminding our students in age-appropriate ways that our God is still in control and that He is deeply interested in every aspect of the lives of each individual student.
I mentioned earlier in this article that we commenced our school year with our ‘Welcome Back’ Assembly. This provided us with a wonderful time of community sharing and celebration as we prayed together and sang songs of praise to our God. Rachel Curline and Joel Clifton, our 2020 Senior School Captains, also played an active role in the program as did Adele Graham, one of our Primary Prefects, who shared a Bible reading with us. Mr Howie Petts, Secondary School Teacher and Chaplain, introduced our whole-school theme for this year entitled ‘Show & Shine Jesus’. We are very much looking forward to further exploring the significance that this theme has for each one of us throughout the remainder of this year.
As is the case each year, I have been greatly impressed with how quickly and smoothly our staff are able to ensure that our students commence their school routines with a minimum of fuss and bother. As soon as the ‘Welcome Back’ Assembly had concluded, students were heading off with their teachers to meet as secondary year level groups or to go to their specific primary classrooms as they learned who their teacher would be for the coming year. I would wish to personally commend your children for the positive way in which they have made the important transition from holiday to school routines. This is just one more example of the excellent teamwork that we see occurring on a daily basis at our school.
Although our Kindergarten children will not ‘officially’ commence school until Wednesday of next week, our Kindergarten staff have been very busy throughout this week holding individual interviews with each Kindergarten child. These meetings involve games and enjoyable activities for the children and do provide our teachers with a most helpful update as they prepare programs to best meet the individual needs of each child. The final step in what has been a very thorough Kindergarten orientation program will occur this Saturday morning as all Kindergarten families and key NCS staff members come together in Marriott Park for a ‘Meet and Greet’ session. My wife Sharon and I are both very much looking forward to attending this event.
Even though all members of our staff team have been back at school since 20 January making preparations to ensure a smooth commencement to the school year, your children will have experienced a short but very busy first week of school. I trust that they will find opportunities to ‘re-charge their batteries’ over this coming weekend in readiness for the many exciting events that are scheduled to occur over the next few weeks. These include visits to the Nowra Show for a number of our classes and the exhibiting of student work in many categories; Year 12 University of Wollongong ‘Discovery Day’; ‘Oklahoma!’ school production rehearsals; Years 3-12 School Swimming Carnival and Primary ‘Super 8’s’ cricket competition. These are just some of the items that will be occurring in the coming fortnight so our students certainly have much to look forward to!
As I sat down in my office to write this edition of NCS Bytes, I had just returned from a quick visit to our stage 1 building program site. I can assure you that it is a hive of activity this morning as the second of two major concrete pours is taking place. This will see some 40 truck-loads of concrete delivered with a huge snorkel being used to pump the concrete from the trucks to the site itself. It will be my intention to provide you with regular updates as each new stage of the construction process commences. As a school community, I trust that we can enjoy this ‘journey’ that will culminate in the delivery of an amazing new educational facility for the benefit of our students.
At this morning’s staff devotion, we were reminded by Paul McLennan, our Head of Primary, of the importance that ‘routines’ play in all of our lives. Paul particularly reminded us that there is a danger that we can become too busy to pray as the activities of each day can consume our time and attention. However, it is vital that we ensure that regular prayer also becomes one of these important daily routines. Our God is always available and is eager to listen to these prayers. They do not need to be long and elaborate as, instead, God is seeking our sincerity and availability. Mr McLennan particularly drew our attention to a song by Stuart Townend entitled ‘Liturgy of the Hours’. I found this to be a very helpful reminder and for this reason I have included a link to this video clip and trust that you may find the time somewhere in your busy day to listen to the message that it conveys about the importance of prayer in each of our lives.