Principal's Update Week 2
Posted: 25-Jul-2018

Tonight is opening night of the College production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I have always had an affection for it as a musical, for its foundation is in the old-testament scripture which begins with Genesis Chapter 37 and the story of the sons of Jacob.

In preparing this newsletter I was drawn back to the scripture and the story, which is one of betrayal and redemption - of sibling jealousy and mistreatment. As a parent, while there may be some uncomplimentary conversation between the young people in our house, I hope that they would not sell one another into slavery! If nothing else, as parents, it is good to revisit the scripture for reassurance that our young people are going OK!

At the heart of the story is forgiveness – the hallmark of Christian people. It is a beautiful production and our students have worked hard over the past months to prepare to perform it for us. I am thoroughly looking forward to the musical, which will engage and entertain over the rest of this week! Well done to everyone who has played a part in bringing this scripture story to life!

Yesterday we celebrated all that is green at our House assembly, the House Leaders created an environment where students showcased their many skills and talents and it was great to welcome back former students of the College to share how the school environment had shaped them. I thank Molly Mathews, Lucy Ryan, Aisha Azzopardi, Sam Hardefeldt and Riley Holloway for their contribution to the assembly. As an environmental and sustainability initiative, House Leaders Dan Jans and Deb Larsen organised Martin Scuffins of the Leigh Creek Hawk and Owl Sanctuary and his wedge tail eagle Yarrum to present to the students on the importance of preserving ecosystems. It was a great celebration.

Last Friday students were recognised with subject awards for their first semester work. It was great to see students with their House group celebrated for their effort and achievement.

It has been great to have 9 young people from Angers, France and their teacher, Violaine as part of our community over the past three weeks. Damascus families have generously hosted these students and their teacher and they have developed strong friendships and practiced their respective English and French. A farewell dinner for the families and students will take place in the staffroom here at school on Thursday evening. I acknowledge all those who have contributed to this immersion particularly Languages Leader Alysoun Smalley and French teacher Min Myers.

Next week are Teacher Advisor interviews and they build on the process of pathways and subject selection that was begun at the respective information sessions last Thursday night. It was great to have over 350 families attend over the course of the evening. Next week’s meetings will focus on the next stage of each student’s educational journey and students have been given homework to come prepared with what their pathway for 2019 might entail. Interview bookings are now open and families need to log in through the Parent Access Module (PAM) to make an appointment.

Monday 30th July is a student free day due to the TA interviews however students and families are expected to attend an interview on Monday or on the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday. If there are challenges with these times, please contact your TA.

This Friday, over 70 students from Year 10 (Core groups 6, 7 & 8) will spend the day at Federation University at the Catholic Youth Festival – Spreading the Joy. Students from Year 10 in Catholic schools across the diocese will be present at this event with a great range of workshops and guest speakers. This event concludes with Mass and students will be brought back to the College for 5.15pm dismissal.

I was very appreciative of the patience of members of our community in getting students to school through the bus strike yesterday. As expected, Geelong Road became very slow moving, but people were respectful and most importantly enabled everyone to arrive safely.

I congratulate this week Billy, Harry and Jesse Miller – all who were recognised for their talent in Camp Drafting at the regional awards last weekend!

I ask for your prayers for the family and friends of Susie Surtees. Susie has been a regular replacement and short term contract teacher at Damascus. She was a positive and energetic person who passed away unexpectedly last weekend. We remember Susie with joy as a great friend of Damascus College.

We also remember in our prayers Keran Mewett and her family, Keran’s Dad is currently critically unwell – we pray for the Mewett family at this difficult time.

We also pray for new staff member, Sr Emma Llewellyn on the passing of her grandmother this week. Prays and thoughts are extended to Chloe Daniel (Year 11) and her family on the sudden passing of a beloved family member.

Our blessings and best wishes are also extended to Spencer Bedggood (Year 11) who has experienced very significant illness this past week and Greg Dow (staff) who has undergone very significant surgery.

Until next week …

MATT

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