Principal's Update Week 3
Posted: 14-Feb-2018

Yesterday we had a wonderful day at the Eureka Swimming pool. The level of student participation was excellent and it was great to see students who may not be champion swimmers willing to give their best on the day. There was an amiable feel amongst the student population, as they affirmed the best efforts of their peers – and this was nurtured by the staff. I congratulate O’Collins House on winning the event – the final scores were;

O’Collins 1501
Rice 1467
McAuley 1417
Xavier 1354

The students listed below were recognised as age group champions and I commend them on their endeavours throughout the day. While these students displayed talent, they also displayed persistence, immersing themselves in a broad range of activities over the day, building up both their team and individual points – I congratulate all these students on their efforts.

U/13 Female Champion - Brooke Gannon (McAuley)
U/13 Male Champion - Jai Erwin (O’Collins)
U/14 Female Champion - Olivia Daly (McAuley)
U/14 Male Champion - Jayden Bickley (Rice)
U/15 Female Champion - Brigid Vereker (Xavier)
U/15 Male Champion - Geordy Slater (Xavier)
U/16 Female Champion - Georgia Dalziel (O’Collins)
U/16 Male Champion - James Mavity (McAuley)
U/17 Female Champion - Ellie Hennig (McAuley)
U/17 Male Champion - Ethan Handley (Rice)
U/20 Female Champion - Alexandria Murphy (Rice)
U/20 Male Champion - Micah Darby (O’Collins)

One of my highlights of the day is the Year 12 synchronised swimming that occurs at the end of the carnival. I love that after the healthy inter house rivalry that permeates the day, all the Year 12’s come together in a Damascus chant reflecting their unity at the end of the day.

Our interdependence as staff, students and families drew me back to a blessing prayed upon the staff at the Mass we shared with Catholic educators’ right across Ballarat.

“We travel in need dependent on our God for strength, for assurance, dependent on each other, instruments of love and service, leaving known paths behind we choose to journey on in faith. As the journey brought us to this point, so here we begin it anew, in company together.”

It was this spirit of journeying together that was evident at the Year 12 Retreat last week. The class of 2018 were trusting in their engagement with the activities of the three days in Anglesea and it was fantastic to be able to share that experience with them.

On Friday evening I was fortunate to be able to attend the launch of the NextGen exhibition. A showcase of selected VCE Visual Arts and Media works at the Ballarat Gallery. Oscar Thomas (Year 12) was recognised for an exceptional photography piece and I congratulate him on his achievement. There were multiple Damascus students selected to display their works, which is a great reflection on the creative students of our College, their teachers and families for nurturing these gifts. The exhibition is free and can be seen until the 12th March. Congratulations to all those students who were chosen to exhibit!

Today is Ash Wednesday. Students attended a liturgy at 12.30pm and I encourage you to talk about the significance of the Lenten period with your student/s. The name “Ash Wednesday” comes from the blessed ashes that are applied to the forehead as a sign of the beginning of the season of Lent, the season of preparation for Easter. The ashes of Ash Wednesday carry a sense of urgency. They remind us that we are not permanent residents here on earth, that in fact, life is quite short. This makes Lent a valuable time for examining our direction, refocusing our priorities, and making sure that God is central to our lives. This time of Lent each year provides the opportunity to open ourselves to being captured anew by the love of God – and to find ways for the love we have received to flow through us to others. Lent is also a time for recognising that we cannot help but be moved and respond to those in need. I will talk about the Damascus response to the Lenten call through Caritas Australia over the coming weeks.

Tomorrow night, Thursday 15th February, is the VCE and VCAL evening. If you have a student enrolled in either of these senior certificates, you are strongly encouraged to attend. More information can be found here.

This Friday, 16th February we having our Opening School Mass at 11.30am. Even if you are not familiar with our Church traditions, please feel free to come along. It is great to have families share liturgy with us. An invitation to the Mass can be found here. Students are to wear full school uniform and bring a change if they have PE.

Year 7 Camp kicks off next week at Log Cabin Camp at Creswick. Students will go out in house groups starting with Rice- Monday, O’Collins- Tuesday, McAuley- Wednesday and Xavier- Thursday. Families should have all have received information regarding the camp, however if there are any questions, do not hesitate to contact the College office. It should be a great week for our newest and youngest students to consolidate friendships within their new house groupings.

Any families who have a student in Grade 6 who will be seeking a 2019 enrolment please ensure your application/s are submitted by this Friday 16th February.

St Martin’s Resource Centre staff member, Rhonda Metcalfe is off on personal leave for the rest of the term. We send her with our blessings for the coming weeks. We remember all those who need our prayers at this time.

Until next week.

MATT

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