Principal's Update Week 2
Posted: 12-Feb-2020

“To Live by the light of Christ” is the motto of Damascus College and in the cycle of readings for the Church year, Matthew’s Gospel 5:13-16 was the Gospel last Sunday as we concluded the first full week of the school year. I love verses 14-16, as I believe they speak directly to the Damascus community, through our motto and our current promotional campaign; “Be.My.Best!”

Matthew’s gospel proclaims to each of us within the Damascus community;

“You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
It is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Members of this community are called to be a light to the world! To draw on their individual gifts and talents. Young people have made a fantastic start to 2020 and yesterday they were actively engaged with our swimming program. To see young people stretch themselves through their engagement with peers and sport was fantastic. Equally, it was a great privilege to be able to attend Retreat with the Year 12 class of 2020. They were a cohesive group of young men and women who were committed to making the most of their retreat experience and the staff team were grateful for the way they participated. I thank Adrian Newman, Tony Haintz and Martin Ryan, who facilitate the experience and all the staff who came away from their families to support our students.

There was a big day of rowing for our senior rowers last Saturday in Nagambie. Our junior and intermediate boys also competed strongly here at Lake Wendouree. This coming weekend boys are rowing here in Ballarat and girls are off to Geelong in the build-up to the Head of the Lake on Sunday 23rd February. I congratulate all involved on their build-up across the season.

Tomorrow night, Thursday 13th is the VCE and VCAL information evening. If you have a student enrolled in either of these senior certificates, you are strongly encouraged to attend. More information can be found here. 

This Friday, 14th February, we have our Opening School Mass at 11.30am. Please feel free to come along even if you are not familiar with our Church traditions. It is great to have families share liturgy with us. An invitation to the Mass can be found here. Students are to wear full school uniform and bring a change if they have PE.

Damascus is fortunate to have a hard-working and committed staff team. We are very excited about the newest members of our team in 2020. I am pleased to welcome to our community:

• Finian Augustin who joins us as a teacher of Indonesian/Maths
• Belinda Dwyer commencing in the role of Applied Learning (VCAL) Coordinator
• Matthew Edwards – Teacher of English and Assistant House Leader of Rice House
• Sharon Hayes as Education Resources (Library) Leader
• Dot Sell is with us in the short term for leave coverage for Ivanka Saric and Kerryn Mewett teaching Science and Mathematics.
• Michelle Tapera commences in the new Careers Officer role.
• Nora Tchekmeyan is teaching food, Music, Textiles and Business Management covering leave in first term.
• Kristiana Withers has been a member of the Instrumental Music team, and she is joining the staff as a teacher of Music.
• Carley Young has joined the staff as a teacher of Mathematics and Science for the duration of Peter Sartori’s leave over first semester.

Since the start of last year, we have welcomed a number of staff into our ranks;
• Paul Blanchfield as Rowing Logistics and Technical Support
• Angela Carr as Assistant Library Technician
• Andrew Curran in Maintenance
• Hamish Walsh Teacher of Mathematics and PE and Rowing Administration and Support-Teacher
• Emily Gray Learning Support Officer
• Lisa Meade Food Technology Assistant
• Shaun O'Loughlin – Teacher within PE, the HoLP and VCAL

It is great to have these great new additions to our staff team, and we look forward to their contribution over the coming months and years.

Year 7 Camp kicks off next week at Log Cabin Camp in Creswick. Students will go out in House groups starting with Rice - Monday, St Martin - Tuesday, McAuley - Wednesday and Xavier - Thursday. Families should have all received information regarding the camp; however, if there are any questions, do not hesitate to contact the College office. It should be a great week for our newest and youngest students to consolidate friendships within their new House groupings

Any families who have a student in Grade 6 who will be seeking a 2021 enrolment, please ensure your application/s are submitted by this Friday 14th February.

We remember all those who need our prayers at this time. We pray for Jack Sproull (Year 7) and his family on the passing of his beloved grandfather and Remi Mercer (Year 9) and her family on the passing of her beloved grandfather this week. May the God of peace be with them.

Until next week,


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