April 28th 2015
At the start of this year I mentioned that 2015 promised to bring a number of highlights during our 35th year anniversary. The last few weeks have certainly provided us with significant occasions to be proud of our College community.
Anzac Centenary Commemoration
The entire College community across each of the campuses, including those in residence at Back Creek and a group travelling to Central Australia paused to mark this important event in our nation's history. The respectful participation and reflection by every student was a credit to the preparations made prior to the event including viewing of a video featuring students sharing information about their own family members that form part of our Anzac tradition prior to the ceremony. I am extremely grateful to the Director of Humanities Mr. Rick Geall who proposed the concept of a College wide event, prepared the ceremony format and assisted by the College major events team executed a memorable event for everyone involved.
Once again this year the College musicians and choirs have supported the Geelong Combined Schools Anzac Service at Johnstone Park. Student leaders from all campuses represented their peers in laying wreaths. I was also proud to hear Year 12 student Will Crowther play the bugle (for the fourth year) during the Dawn Service that I attended in Ocean Grove on Anzac morning. Participating in these occasions and seeing the contributions of our students gives good reason to be proud of the fine young people that attend Christian College.
College Production 'Beauty and the Beast'
After months of preparation and much anticipation, the performances of this year's production absolutely delighted audiences in attendance. Along with every other person in the theatre, I was totally blown away by the professional standard of every aspect of the performance.
Everyone involved in this remarkable musical can feel proud of their contribution and collaboration to produce such a professional level of performance. Audiences were enchanted by the performances lead characters, the energy and zest of the villagers and captivated by the magical objects of the Beast’s castle. The acting, singing and dancing, together with the colourful costumes, fabulous sets, lighting and special effects all combined to reach a level of performance equal to any, including professional performances of this popular musical. The music provided by our own Christian College Orchestra was superb, allowing us all to connect with the mood of the story.
This significant event for our College provided a most positive reminder of the quality of the programs offered at Christian College as well as the incredible dedication and passion of our staff. The commitment to achieving a performance of this level of success comes from enormous amounts of hard work, persistence, and passion. The students, staff and parents involved are to be commended for the process of learning that they have each contributed to culminating in such an overwhelming result.
Ongoing Relationships in Other Places
In the past few weeks a number of students have benefitted from visits to communities that are a main feature of our broad program. Visits to Vietnam continue to provide Year 11 students with experiences and opportunities to see life in this beautiful country with such a rich culture and history. Seeing first hand village life and assisting communities and others less fortunate than ourselves provides students involved a most rewarding and growing encounter.
As too does the trip for Year 10 students to the Engawala community in the central desert region of the Northern Territory. This year I accompanied Mrs. Jan Strauch and her class for my 10th trip to the Alcoota School. I count this a privilege to do so, to see students interacting with the indigenous kids, assisting then with literacy and numeracy in the classrooms and enjoying lots of fun and establishing relationships in the playground, on the football field, basketball court or down in the dry creek bed around a community fire.
The layers of benefit that these trips bring as part of the growth of young people is invaluable. They develop a greater sense of themselves and others from being exposed to these incredible cultures and from seeing firsthand the differences that exist in the lives of fellow human beings. These connections are priceless and add to the rich tapestry of education for many of our students that have this opportunity to participate in these trips.
A highlight of this year’s trip was the presentation of sporting equipment and clothing, sporting books and a significant number of football boots provided by members of our community for the Alcoota School teachers to distribute to the students as rewards and incentives for good learning. I particularly wish to acknowledge Year 6 student Finnegan Murray who collected many of these from local suppliers as part of his “Every Child Deserves to Play” Foundation that he established in 2014 when he raised significant funds and items to assist asylum seeker children on Nauru. Finnegan is to be commended for his efforts to demonstrate love and care for others less fortunate and for his encouragement and fine example for us all.
Whole School Photo
Over the past weeks lots of information has been forwarded regarding this College wide event to mark our 35th Anniversary. As we count down to the day I pray that each member of our community understands and appreciates the great College that we each belong to and have the privilege of representing not only in this photo but each time we are involved in any aspect of the Christian College program.
An Education Worth Having….
You may have read some recent articles published in newspapers regarding Independent Schools. I read this debate with interest and note the narrow nature of the data that these refer to when comparing school sectors. What the data fails to record or measure or interpret in the articles is the personal growth and investment in the character and value base of students. I am not saying that Christian College has a mortgage on values, but what I can say from what I see and know from spending time with our students and seeing them in a variety of environments and experiences is that the qualities and characteristics shown at Christian College each day around the campuses and in the community, is something that we should all be extremely proud of.
The combination of all facets of learning at Christian College Geelong provides what I would term… An education worth having.