Principal's Update Week 6
Posted: 23-May-2018

This week which began with the feast of Pentecost on Sunday is also Catholic Education week in the Diocese of Ballarat. Sunday’s gospel for John (20:19-23) began with the disciples standing together and Jesus moving in amongst them and saying to them “Peace be with you”. This simple greeting brings with it both comfort and challenge.

To be at peace is a desired state of being, to experience peace is to be assured of your safety and purpose, and to create peace is to address the issues that disturb you. One of the attributes of an holistic education is to support families in building young people’s capacity to deal with transgressions. It is in the spirit of reconciliation and peace that Damascus College founds its behaviour management processes in restorative practices. Jesus said “Peace be with you” and in this same Gospel he breathes on them and says “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain they are retained.” The challenge for young people and those of us who are not so young, is to forgive. Through dialogue and understanding young people are often able to understand and deal with transgression and our processes of restorative practices are structured in a way to enable people to talk in a safe way about the things that have hurt them. In this week where we celebrate the birth of the Church and celebrate Catholic education in this diocese, we are each invited to consider whose sins do we retain and is that helpful role modelling for young people.

On Sunday, it was great to join the 14 Year 11 students and the staff who will be travelling to Timor in a month’s time, as they celebrated Eucharist with the St Alipius community before spending the day in planning here at school. They have an exciting time ahead! For Damascus families seeking to support the people of Anairo and our immersion team, there will be a trivia night here at the College on Friday 1st June. More information can be found here. There was also a great “Parma Night” last night and it was wonderful to hear of such strong attendance.

This week is Library and Information week and the staff team within the St Martin’s Resource Centre have a range of activities planned. The St Martins Resource Centre has an exceptional adolescent fiction collection – I encourage you to talk to your student regarding the library lessons that they undertake as part of their learning throughout Years 7 to 10.

This Friday night is the Middle School Formal for our Year 9 and 10 students. This is a social opportunity that the Damascus College staff facilitates for the students of our community. It has always been a very positive event on our calendar, but it is important that I reiterate that normal school rules apply. It is an alcohol and smoke free event. There are no pass-outs through the evening. Students must be signed in and signed out by a parent. If students are not at school on Friday, then it is expected that they will not be at the formal on Friday night. I must reinforce my encouragement that parents support one another by not condoning after parties. If you say no to requests from your child, you’re actually supporting other Damascus parents who are going to receive the same pressure from their student. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the evening please contact your students House Leader.

Tomorrow our VCAL students are travelling to Camperdown and Cobden to support those communities in the wake of the St Patrick’s Day fires. Senior VCAL students undertake their Religious Education Program as part of their senior certificate and this opportunity to join Blaze Aid to provide support has arisen out of class conversations regarding social justice. The students have collaborated with their teachers to bring about this opportunity to help others and we wish them well as they head off in the morning.

The Energy Break Through team are continuing their years’ work in preparation for Maryborough in November and yesterday they spent the day at Haddon trialling and refining their 2018 vehicles. I acknowledge the effort of this team and wish them well over the coming months.

It was great to see the cast of ‘Joseph’ working in such a committed fashion here at school on Sunday. It is shaping up to be a really great production for next term.

 
This week we welcome second year pre-service teachers; Rebecca Love, Louis Saccutelli, Jack Vanderburg and Matthew Bulluss from Federation University and Sophie Mildren from Australian Catholic University.

Next Tuesday evening there is an information session for those families seeking to attend the 2019 Indonesian trip. More information can be found here.

VCE Unit 3 Drama students are performing their drama ensembles for assessment next Wednesday to Friday from 8.00pm in the Valda Ward Auditorium. School community members are welcome to attend these performances.

We have observed an increase in the number of families being contacted for collection by students directly via SMS or phone call due to illness as we head into the winter months. Students are advised that if they are feeling ill and require collection from a family member, they are required to report to the First Aid Officer for the College to advise families of the collection. Can I ask that parents/guardians remind their students of this requirement. If you are contacted by your student for collection directly can I ask that you make contact with the Administration office before arriving to ensure that the College is aware of any students leaving the grounds. Furthermore if you are aware in advance of an upcoming appointment or absences please ensure the College is notified as soon as possible. The following document outlines the best way to contact the College in reference to it. We thank you for your continued assistance in this endeavour.

Absence Information Sheet Absence Information Sheet (112 KB)



We keep in our prayers Cathy (staff), Bridget (Yr 12), Thomas (Yr 10), Connor (2016) and Mark Prunty on the passing of Cathy’s much loved Mum earlier in the week. We also keep in our prayers Maria Russell and her family on the passing her beloved mother. May they rest now in God’s loving and eternal care.
Until next week …

MATT 

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