Principal's Update Week 7
Posted: 29-Aug-2018

Next Sunday is Fathers’ Day, which allows us the opportunity to celebrate the significant men in our lives and the gift that many of us have been granted through fatherhood. Personally, I am at a stage of life where many of my friends’ parents are failing. I am fortunate that mine enjoy good health, but I am acutely aware of the importance of parents at all times throughout life and the wrench that it is at whatever age to lose a parent. This weekend take the time to celebrate fatherhood and parenthood. The ultimate example for us of fatherhood is in our loving God who made his Son, Jesus present to us in the world as an example of how to love.

Dads and significant men, take the time this weekend to enjoy your adolescent's company and enjoy their affection. It can be hard for teenagers to express their appreciation of their parents, particularly at a time where parents are maintaining boundaries, and young people are testing them. Spend time with your teenager this weekend and find something that you enjoy doing together and the appreciation and affection will come in unique and unexpected ways. Happy Father’s Day!

At the end of the last term, I announced that Jo-Anne Kennedy would retire from the Assistant Principal- Student Wellbeing role at the conclusion of 2018. The College has advertised widely, and I am pleased to announce that Mr Andrew Robertson has been appointed to the role of Assistant Principal-Student Wellbeing. Andrew has been an employee of Damascus College since the beginning of the 2000 school year and House Leader of Rice House here at the College since 2008. He has an exemplary history as a classroom teacher and wellbeing professional, and we look forward to his contribution to senior leadership over the years to come.

The House Leader team working with Andrew next year will be;
McAuley House Leader - Rachel Wallbank         Assistant - Isabelle O’Dea
O’Collins House Leader - Daniel Jans                    Assistant - Karen Goonan
Rice House Leader - David Myers                           Assistant - Kirsten Phyland
Xavier House Leader - Hannah Keating               Assistant - Karen Hocking

I acknowledge Assistant House Leaders Deb Larsen and Georgia Shillito who both conclude their leadership term at the end of 2018 and thank them for the wonderful support that they have offered and continue to offer to the students of O’Collins and Xavier Houses respectively.

The College is finalising the other leadership roles across the College, and I will announce these appointments over the coming weeks.

We move into the selection mode for 2019 student leaders this week, and the new House Leaders will contribute to the selection process.

Late on Sunday night, it was great to welcome back our team of snow enthusiasts who had spent the weekend in near perfect conditions at Falls Creek. I know students have struggled for stamina in the wake of such a physically demanding weekend, but reports were of a wonderful time. Thank you to Karen Simpkin for her organisation of this event over the past five years and to Adrian Newman who will assume the organisational responsibility in 2019.

Congratulations to Cooper Guinea (Year 8) who was a Royal South Street winner in the Voice competition over the weekend!! Damascus Choral students competed yesterday and were wonderful ambassadors for the College. I thank Maria Russell and Jason Harrison for their facilitation of this opportunity.

It is the season for junior finals for sport, and it was great to hear of so many Damascus young people involved in purposeful recreational pursuits over the weekend. I wish all those students who are in finals over the coming week's success within their respective teams.

With many within the Damascus Community involved in the Mt Clear Junior Football and Netball club, I have received a request as to whether we could promote an opportunity for members of this community to support a funding application for a video scoreboard with the State Government. It is a grant process that requires community members to demonstrate online support for the application. Information from the club and about the process can be found by clicking on the following link:-

Mt Clear Scoreboard Project Mt Clear Scoreboard Project (89 KB)

On Monday Night Damascus Intermediate Debaters made it to the Debating Association of Victoria Grand Final at Australian Catholic University. I congratulate debaters; Tara Gannon, Nicholas Kattula, Georgia Newman and Payton Overall on winning the competition and for their high level of competition right throughout the season. I also congratulate Georgia Newman (Year 9) on being awarded the best female debater in Year 9 and 10. Thank you to Ashleigh Brown who has been a very generous leader of debating and public speaking throughout this year.

Last Thursday Paul Jans and Tricia Brown accompanied a team of students to Noorat in the State’s southwest to compete at the School Clay Target Championships. While Damascus did not bring home any silverware, it was reported that all had a great day!

There has been a lot happening in Science over recent weeks and the focus of National Science week saw Year 11 and 12 Chemistry classes complete the Australian National Chemistry Quiz. Senior students also competed in the Science Olympiad exams in the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Damascus runs an annual periodic table challenge which is conducted by Science teacher Tricia Brown. Meagan O’Beirne of Year 8 won the junior division, and Milly Frost won the senior division. I thank the Science team and Learning Area Leader Ivanka Saric for their leadership of these events.

Last week was Book Week, and the St Martin’s Resource Centre library staff facilitated a wide range of activities over the week including showcasing what staff were reading, a treasure hunt in virtual reality, an actual treasure hunt and a range of quizzes. I thank the SMRC library staff for inspiring young people to engage with literature.

On Tuesday Damascus College hosted Grade 4 students from Emmaus Catholic Primary School, St Francis Xavier Primary School and Lumen Christi Primary School for a day of maths games. Students from Year 10 Maths provided the support for the day, and it was an excellent transition event. The feedback from all the students involved was of a very engaging event, and I thank Sarah Boswell, Korina Hegert, Taneka Gardiner and Mathematics Learning Area Leader, Caroline Nolan for their leadership of this event.

On Monday night the students of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) facilitated the Courageous Conversation event. This was a great showcase of a range of guest speakers relating to wellbeing. It was fantastic to see the work that students had undertaken in arranging this expo, and I congratulate them on their efforts. I thank Applied Learning Coordinator Tom Inverarity and the staff team for their work in the lead up to this event.

Next Wednesday 5th September is the first of our information evenings for those families seeking enrolment for 2020. An information session, student activities and tour of the school will be available to prospective families. It is heartening to have received a strong number of applications already, and we look forward to welcoming new and existing families to Damascus College next week. More information about the evening can be found here.

Thank you to those families who responded to the invitation to the Father’s Day Mass and Breakfast tomorrow morning, we look forward to seeing you at 7.20am

We pray this week for Beth Irwin (Year 9) and family on the loss of their Grandfather. Prayers are also extended to staff members Jo Kennedy and Deb Glassen who have each lost a loved uncle and aunt respectively. While we also pray for staff member, Trish Brown and her family on the death of her Dad on Monday evening.

May the God of comfort be with them at this time.

Until next week…

Matt 

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