Principal's Update Week 9
Posted: 28-Mar-2018

Yesterday we gathered in House Groups for our Holy Week Liturgy. Each House focussed on the Stations of the Cross – the visual depiction of the Passion of Christ. This was accompanied by selected scripture and prayers. Damascus is incredibly fortunate to have a series of Stations of the Cross that were created specifically for the College by Sister of Mercy, Sacred Heart and St Martin’s teacher and artist; Sr Margaret Mary Bagtros. There is an image of the first station – ‘Jesus is Condemned’ opposite and a full set of the images can be found here:  

Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross (5626 KB)

The stations are located in the Mercy administration wing and are a beautiful depiction of Christ’s final hours on earth. The images are beautiful in that they are carved in plasterboard and mounted on ply - very humble materials. Yet what they evoke is amazing. I encourage you to reflect on the images as a foundation for the centrality of the Easter story to our existence as an educational community this week, and if you are at school to take some time to admire them.

I wish to extend my congratulations to rowers; Maddie Lamb, Millie Hockey, Charlotte Ashley, Gemma Smith and Erin Gore on finishing sixth nationally in the rowing championships – the girls worked hard to qualify for the final and represented the College with enormous pride on Sunday. Tonight the rowing fraternity will gather at the Ballarat Golf Club to draw the 2017/18 rowing season to a close and I look forward to an evening of great celebration.

Today we venture to Lake Wendouree for the Lap of the Lake running competition. The weather looks fine and we are looking forward to an afternoon of great House competition.

On the sporting front, I congratulate Matt and Sam Harris and Jack Bambury on their part in the victory in the division one Ballarat Cricket grand final over the weekend. We wish Sam Rizzo of Year 12 every success at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games where he will compete in the 1500m on the 9th April. It is a great achievement by Sam and we wish him well.

Students will work six shortened lessons tomorrow prior to a 2.20 pm dismissal. Thursday is a casual dress day and students are encouraged to bring a gold coin donation for their casual dress to support Project Compassion.

Term 2 will commence on Monday , 16th April.

I apologise that I did not acknowledge in last week’s newsletter the challenges that we have faced with the turf on the Damascus oval. There has been an infestation of grubs that has been so severe that up to 50% of the surface of the oval has been destroyed. We are working to combat the grubs that have plagued ovals, golf courses and race tracks this year. Unfortunately, until we are able to get a suitable coverage on the oval it will remain closed. We have made arrangements to take students off site for the Physical Education program or change the sequence of curriculum delivery and have adjusted recreational spaces for lunch and recesses. I have also been asked as to why the lawn area at the front of the school has been allowed to dry off. The watering system that we used had failed and we have not been able to source suitable replacements. We are looking at what other systems are available for the future.

If you have a child in Year 10 who has work experience next term and the paper work has not been returned to the College, could you please attend to this as soon as possible.

Students will be able to wear Summer or Winter uniform (but not a mixture of both) for the first two weeks of next term. Can I ask families to please get out their Winter uniform now and attend to it? As parents, daughters will say to you that no-one else has their skirt to knee length – please hold firm in supporting the College requirement and ensuring that it is the required length to avoid unnecessary and embarrassing follow up!

You may also be pressured to purchase a rain jacket. This item of uniform was introduced to cover the expensive blazer as students walk to and from school or as they wait at rural bus stops. It is an optional item of uniform and cannot be worn throughout the day as we provide dry spaces around the College for students. I just thought it was timely to reinforce the College’s position on the rain jacket.

Holidays should be holidays, but I encourage families to log onto PAM and ensure that you are up to date with your student’s progress in their respective studies. Holidays may provide an opportunity to catch up on work that has been missed or to create a summary of first term learnings. Year 12 students are now one third of the way through their learning program and so a comprehensive revision of content to date will be important.

Please keep the family of Jack Brownlee in your thoughts and prayers. Jack lost his life in an accident last week, he attended Damascus from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of McAuley House. Jack’s brother, Mitch completed Year 12 here in 2012.  My recollections of Jack was of a friendly and likeable young man who was well regarded by his friends. Please keep Jack, Mitch and their parents; Dave and Janine in your thoughts and prayers.

We also remember Rory (Year 10) and Ava (Year 7) Burrows and their family as they grieve the passing of their grandfather this last week, may the God of comfort give them strength and peace at this time.

I wish everyone well for a blessed Easter and look forward to catching up next term …

MATT 

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