From the Assistant Principals
Posted: 07-Aug-2019

Magic Moments Youth Leadership & Business Summit

It was my pleasure this week to meet with three Damascus College students who represented the college at the Magic Moments Youth Leadership and Business Summit. Held in Sydney for 5 days over the term 2 holiday Year 9 students Mikayla Montgomery, Megan O’Beirne and year 10 student Georgina Newman were immersed in a leadership program with the aim of identifying the ‘best version of themselves by acknowledging individual strengths while also accepting their own vulnerabilities’. 

All girls spoke about the opportunities for personal growth that the seminar provided them with. For Mikayla it was the motivation in identifying goals and having the capacity to achieve them no matter the obstacles that can potentially distract you. Mikayla recognised the importance in setting goals that require you to challenge the vulnerabilities that you believe or other people believe that you might have. According to Mikayla accepting our vulnerabilities and breaking them down allows you the possibility to achieve anything that you set your mind to. Similarly Georgina highlighted the importance of addressing your fears pointing out that ‘fear is like an obstacle that you can overcome’. She spoke of the need to do identify and address the WHY- the HOW can come later. Megan spoke of the feeling of ‘coming of age’ throughout the program. She identified how with confidence and the support of others it is possible to push through anything.  No matter the potential peer pressures that surround you it is important that you become the best version of yourself.

All students agreed that leadership is open to all with the characteristics of a true leader ‘being able to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others’.  The students identified the wonderful networks that they were able to make with other participants over the 5 days which they have continued to harness.

Over the coming months Damascus College will begin the process of 2020 student leadership. We look forward to the opportunities that these will provide for students 7-11 in their personal growth.

(Pictured above Mikayla, Megan and Georgina discussing aspect of leadership)

Mr. Andy Robertson - Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing

Who Do You Say That I Am?

This is the question of Jesus to the disciples in Luke’s account of the good news of Jesus the Christ? It appears at the centre of the gospel and marks a turning point in the narrative. Jesus ministry now looks to fulfilment that is to come in Jerusalem. The full text:

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Luke 9:18-20

As readers and interpreters of the biblical text we can consider the question in a number of ways. Because it is not an eye-witness account, but gospel written decades after the fact, the text is making a claim.  What is Luke wanting us to understand about Jesus and the early church community?

The context is prayer. Jesus turns from prayer, communication with the one he calls Father, the one in whom his trust is complete, to address the disciples with a question about his identity. In his relationship with the Father, Jesus’ identity is solid – he is son. In Chapter 12 Jesus’ teaches the disciples to pray the “Our Father”.  Luke’s readers would already know that.  Nevertheless Luke portrays a Jesus who is interested in perceptions of his identity. Aren’t we all?

Who do you say that I am?, Jesus asks, and we are curious. It is a very human curiosity. What do people say about me when I am not looking or listening? At some stage, we all wonder about that. What image do I project to others? What self-talk do I have about myself in my inner world? How much is it based other people’s comments about me? What is the face that I share with others? Is it my true face? We are all interested in our identity and in the distinctiveness of others. It is what sells glossy magazines and daily newspapers and is at the heart of social media. How many “likes” do I have on this post? But whose opinion about my character do I value most? Whose view of me do I put most store in? It is at the heart of coming to terms with our lives and our purpose in life. It seems that Luke’s Jesus is also seeking feedback?  But is he? Is that the point?

Returning to Jesus’ question. It can be put in many ways and even brought into the present day.

  • Who do I say that Jesus is in the gospel?
  • Who do we say that Jesus is in the gospel?
  • Who do I say that Jesus is today?
  • Who do I say that Jesus is for me?
  • Who do we say that Jesus is for us?

The answers matter because they come to the heart of Christian faith. And then Luke brings home his point by linking Jesus with the longings and hopes of first century Judaism. Luke has Jesus’ question so that we can recognise what we are called to in the answer. The message is not in the question, but in the response. The message is placed on the lips of the earliest leader of the Christian movement. It is powerful and confronting. Discipleship demands witness. Luke’s message is that discipleship, following God, is about proclamation. It is about witnessing to the truth and the truth is stated in the messianic language of the Hebrew and early Christian people. Peter’s answer is good news for the Judeo-Christian community who are called to acknowledge and declare it personally.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Mr. Tony Haintz - Assistant Principal Catholic School Culture 

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