Acting Principal's Update - Week 10
Posted: 17-Sep-2019

Damascus Day is firstly a celebration of our faith in the person and the mission of Jesus, who is at the centre of the Christian story of God’s concern of our world. Liturgically the Catholic Church has joined an ecumenical movement into the Season of Creation which began on September 1 and stretches to the Feast of St Francis of Assisi (October 4). In the southern hemisphere it is spring, and the blossoming of creation enables a unique reflection on how integrally connected humanity is in the earth community.

Pope Francis has been unequivocal in describing the ecological implications of God’s concern for all of creation, which he describes as the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. In his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si (Praise to You O Lord) he suggests that threats to the environment and accompanying poverty remain hidden because “many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems.” (#49) The Damascus College community is constantly aligned with the poor through our many social justice programs and ecological initiatives.

The Pope repeatedly talks about the earth as a connected system, with human beings “part of a network which we will never fully explore and understand.” (#138) As such, Francis says no single challenge, whether economic, political, or environmental, can be solved in isolation. We need to work together.

“The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation” (#49)

The mobilisation of support for climate action is to be applauded. The web of life is more fragile than some would allow. In this season of creation, we should seek to support and join with all those working for sustainable solutions to the deep ecological concerns that plague the human psyche and the planet.

Following the Mass today, we conducted an assembly where the School Captains for 2020 were announced, and I congratulate Hannah Mroczkowski and William Smith on their appointment to this important role. House Leaders were also introduced, and I congratulate the following students;

McAuley              Rice       St Martin         Xavier 
Rylan Walker
Elijah Ludowyk
Jude Skewes-Clinton
Ellen Billinghurst
  Kiara Powell
Imogen Batrouney
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Hugo Prehn
  Paris Murrell
Lynae Howlett
Jack Davidson
Tully Heenan
  Charles Smith
Jai Hallas
Emily Williams
Abby Moekotte

In congratulating the 2020 leaders, it is also important that I recognise the wonderful leadership of the 2019 captains; Millie Frost and Matt Snibson.

After assembly, our student population shared lunch that was cooked by the South Ballarat Rotary Club. I thank those community members who came along and supported our day. Our Student Representative Council (SRC) have worked for months with leader Ms Jayde Tangey to run a fantastic array of activities with students dressed up in attire from their favourite nursery rhyme, and theme – ‘Once Upon a Time’. Each House had a vast range of activities organised, and I extend my congratulations to these student leaders on their organisation and commitment of the SRC – Well done! It has been a great day!

This Friday is a Casual Dress Day for Catholic Missions. Students are asked to bring a gold coin donation to support the important work of the missions.

Tomorrow, Damascus College will compete for the McAuley Shield and Cup, in Noorat. Year 7 and 8 students will compete in boys and girls football games against Mercy Regional College (MRC) Camperdown and Noorat. This year, MRC will be hosting the event, to be held at the Noorat Recreation Reserve. Best of luck to all students involved.

Last Friday night’s Year 7 and 8 Beach Party social was a fantastic event, and I thank all those who supported it. There were some great costumes on display on the evening. I thank and acknowledge the work of Mrs Sally Balson in the lead up to and during the social.

This Friday we commence the Term 3 holiday break at 2:20pm, and we will resume Term 4 on Monday, 7th October. While students begin two weeks of holiday, the reality for our Year 12 VCE Unit 3/4 students is that they have two weeks to consolidate their learning and to prepare for their upcoming examinations. Over the holidays the College will be running a series of practice examinations which all Unit 3/4 students are required to attend. The timetable can be found here. Year 11 students who are undertaking a Unit 3/4 sequence are also required to be present for these trial exams. I encourage Year 12 students to make the most of this time and to continue to work with their teachers so that they can achieve their best. Parents of Year 12’s should now have received a letter outlining the College processes for the end of the year. If you have not, please contact the College Office.

For two weeks after the holidays, students are permitted to wear either their summer or winter uniform given the variability of Spring weather. Year 12 students will be permitted to wear Winter uniform until they finish. All other students are to be wearing Summer uniform by Monday, October 21st. This gives ample time for families to make sure that your summer uniform is in correct condition. Please be aware that for young women, dress lengths are to be no higher than knee height. Please get the summer dress out and check it out before you wear it - it is remarkable how much young people grow over the winter terms.

Please also remember that as a SunSmart school, the PE uniform includes the wearing of a hat as a compulsory item in Terms 4 and 1.

You may recall a few weeks ago that I mentioned about the great achievements of our Senior Debating Team. Additionally to this, we recognise our excellent D Grade Debaters. We acknowledge Mikayla Montgomery, Isla Casey, Megan O’Beirne, Charlotte Hayward and Eloise McGifford. This team reached the Octo Finals in Melbourne at the DAV, Debating Association of Victoria. That means they were in the top 16 of 530 teams across Victoria. A huge achievement.

We wish a lifetime of joy and happiness to staff member Aleceia Smith and her soon to be husband, Ray Gason. Nuptials will be celebrated in Split, Croatia over the coming weeks.

The College office will be open both weeks of the school holidays from 9.00am to 4.00pm daily, however closed from 1:00pm to 1:45pm daily. Friday 27th September is the Grand Final Public Holiday, and the College office will be closed. The St Martin’s Resource Centre will be open on Thursday 26th of September, from 10.00am to 4.30pm in the first week, and Monday 30th September to Thursday 3rd of October from 8.30am to 4.30pm, in the second week.

We will welcome back Angela Hoban, David Boadle and Rob Jans from extended leave for the beginning of Term 4, and I thank Kerryn Wehrung and Matt Mercer for their support over Term 3.

This week we keep in our thoughts and prayers the Coffey family, on the loss of the paternal grandfather of Jack (Year 8) and Madeline (Year 7).

Have a great holiday, and if you are travelling – please do so safely.

Until next term…


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