From The Principal
It was wonderful to return to our College this term after spending some time in the United States as part of an Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) Principal’s Study Tour.
The new term greeted us with the sun shining and it was evident, as the students came to the Commencement Assemblies at each Campus, that they were walking with a spring in their step and anticipation of the opportunities ahead. Term 4 is always a great time, as it provides the chance to finish the year well, reflect on the growth and development of the students and to celebrate many of the successes and highlights of the year.
I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and study with my colleagues from independent schools in Victoria and South Australia, as part of the excellent programs provided by ISV. A detailed account of my trip and the learning that took place will be included in our 'In Focus' magazine published later this term. I wish to commend and thank my Vice-Principal Mr Scott Elliss and all the Heads of Campuses for their work to ensure the smooth operation of the College in my absence.
Celebrating Back Creek
A day dedicated to celebrate the wonderful contribution that our Rural Studies program has played over the past 21 years was blessed with a beautiful sunny day. The many families who gathered enjoyed a day of country hospitality, the opportunity to reminisce and to see the Back Creek Farm looking its very best. It was great to see a mix of past and present students, families and staff spreading out picnic rugs to share in such a special celebration.
The day was generously supported by members of the College Foundation, the Major Events team and the Back Creek staff who all contributed to the planning of the event. Mr Riddle’s paella was a huge hit, as was the usual sausage sizzle and the cakes and scones on offer. Entertainment was provided by a number of musical performances and the efforts of Mr Kevin Smith, and the members of the Junior School Choir particularly, added greatly to the atmosphere on the day.
Back Creek Farm at Scotsburn has become a significantly important contributor to the College program and is described by many students as the highlight of their learning journey at Christian College. I have lost count of the number of parents who have told me they noted the incredible positive change in the lives of their children because of their time at Back Creek. As we anticipate the expansion of the Year 9 program in 2018 to include a specifically-designed full term program dedicated to 'Transformational Learning', I am excited about the incredible impact the Back Creek Campus will have on our College program in the many years to come.
College Music Evening
Each year it is a highlight for me to attend the annual Music Evening at Costa Hall and enjoy the most amazing performances from each of the ensembles. With almost 500 students and staff represented from all year levels and campuses, the sell-out audience had the chance to see the developmental progressions that are scaffolded throughout the College to ensure that such high quality performances are on show. This year it was wonderful to see new faces on the stage conducting some of the ensembles and to see how the work done to create such an excellent program is in such good hands for the future. I congratulate each musician, ensemble leader and the Directors of Music, Mrs Fiona Gardner and Mr Andrew Dunlop, on such a highly successful evening.
Farewell to the Class of 2017
This week our Year 12 students concluded their formal classes and have finished school to prepare for their upcoming exams and final assessments. A day dedicated to celebrate this occasion has now become a welcome tradition for these students. Commencing with a formal breakfast served by the Senior School Campus staff, the day has become a wonderful time of reflection and shared celebration together with some fun and formality. A particular highlight is the traditional ‘Clock Tower’ signing and the opportunity to ring the bell to 'sign out' and mark the end of their time at Christian College - while also signaling the beginning of the next phase in their lives. It is a privilege for me, and the other members of staff who have the chance to share this moment with the Year 12 students, to see the impact this experience has on these young people. For some, it can be quite emotional.
The students also enjoyed a concert and some fun activities, as well as some final time with members of their respective Houses before attending their final Service in the Senior School Chapel. This, too, is a time for looking back over their journey, reflecting on their time as students and praising God for His provision and care throughout the years. The service concluded with a parade, led by a piper, down the drive to the front gate with applause and cheering from the remaining Senior School students and staff, creating a wonderful tribute to our departing Year 12 cohort.
I take this opportunity to thank the Year 12 students for their contribution to our College and for the respectful way they have completed their time with us. I wish them all God’s richest blessing for the weeks leading up to their exams and for the future. My final comment to the Year 12 students was to share the wise encouragement written by Catherine Booth, Co-Founder of The Salvation Army, who wrote:
You are not here in the world for yourself.
You have been sent here for others.
The world is waiting for you.
A good reminder for us all. Best wishes for the term ahead.