Principal's Update Week 7
Posted: 27-Feb-2019

Schools are amazing places with the breadth of activity that occurs every week. Weather has not been kind to our sporting carnivals so far in 2019, with the swimming needing to be re-scheduled to yesterday and the Head of the Lake today. However, it appears that we had a change of fortune with near perfect conditions yesterday for the Swimming carnival and positive conditions for rowing today.

I congratulate all students on their participation yesterday, the school works hard to provide a wide range of opportunities for engagement, and it is a day to build up our school community. It was amazing to see so many students engaged in the diverse range of activities throughout the day! Congratulations to St Martin House on their victory, with McAuley coming second, ahead of Rice and Xavier. It was a great day, and I thank students and staff for their respective role. I especially acknowledge the work of Nicole Hexter for her oversight of the event as Sports Coordinator.

This morning the re-scheduled Head of the Lake regatta will take place. Student safety was foundational to the decision to postpone and then cancel on Sunday, and while this is disappointing for all, safety cannot be compromised. We hope today to have much better conditions and that our rowers enjoy their racing and compete to the best of their ability.

The news of the Cardinal Pell trial was very confronting for anyone associated with the Catholic Church yesterday, none more than the people of Ballarat. We pray for all those who have been affected, particularly those who have been abused and their loved ones. There is no doubt that this decision and the media commentary surrounding it will bring trauma to those who have experienced any form of abuse. If this is your experience, support is available through community services such as Lifeline 131114; or Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

Damascus College is a Catholic Church entity, and we are committed to the highest standards of child safety, if there are specific questions relating to child safety please do not hesitate to approach myself, our Child Safety Officer, Deputy Principal - Chris Grant or contact the College and a member of our Leadership team will make contact with you.

It was a great privilege to be able to visit our Year 7 students in the evening last week while they were out on camp at Creswick. It was great to see friendships being consolidated and hear their enthusiastic stories regarding the activities of each day. Ann and Brendan Bawden facilitated a great week of activities, and I thank them for their leadership and all the staff who contributed to this camp over the week. 

Tomorrow evening we have the Year 7 Meet the Teachers event – communication has been sent to families. The format of the evening is Year 7 Students with Parents/Guardians meet in the John Shannon Centre from 5.30pm for a 5.45pm start for the Welcome and Introduction. There will then be a presentation of Year 7 students (students are to be in full school uniform) to families. The elected Year 7 SRC students will be inducted, and there will be a brief House meeting with House Leaders in House areas. To conclude the evening, there will be a BBQ in the Courtyard and time for students to introduce their parents/guardians to their teachers. Your support of a gold coin donation to the East Timor Immersion group will be much appreciated for the BBQ and drinks will be available at the cost of $2. We hope it will be a great night!

It has been great to hear our VCAL students speak of their first weeks in the workplace on Wednesdays and I congratulate them on their positive start, and I thank the staff team that support them! If families would be interested in engaging VCAL students in work placement through their small business, please speak with Careers Coordinator Jo Lawrence here at school or VCAL Coordinator Tom Inverarity.

Our Green Group are undertaking Clean Up Australia activities this Friday afternoon, and I commend them on their affirmative action in their stewardship of our environment, and I thank David Neate, our Sustainability Coordinator for his facilitation of this opportunity. If your student has an interest in the environment or sustainability, encourage them to speak with Mr Neate.

Next Friday, 8th March, before the Labour Day public holiday is a student free day when staff will be working aspects of professional growth and curriculum development. I don’t need to remind our young people that they have a four-day long weekend, but I thought I had better bring it back to parents’ attention.

A reminder to families regarding traffic management at school pick up and drop off times. This year we appear to have an increase in families who drive their children to school and therefore have more vehicles on campus during drop off and pick up times. Average traffic movements are 235 vehicles on the campus each morning and afternoon. End of day for classes is at 3.18pm, so please be aware when arriving early there will be a delay for students to come out. Parking in the loop causes a backup of traffic which then blocks incoming buses and cars from Geelong Rd. If your child/ren are not ready for collection, please park in an available carpark or keep moving through the loop and do a lap until your child is ready, flowing traffic is required for the ease of both families and buses.

We have a large number of buses entering the campus who are experiencing difficulties due to parent vehicles blocking access, which then impacts on the general traffic passing by; again please be mindful it is a main road, and there is also the traffic from nearby schools and the university. The peak time for traffic congestion is 3.20pm to 3.35pm. As the bulk of traffic has generally cleared by 3.40pm families are encouraged to stagger pick-ups and to arrive a little later, which enables the buses to depart as staff are on duty at pick up points until 4pm. Given the volumes of traffic we are dealing with, we remind all drivers to be patient, courteous and follow the road rules at all times.

We keep the family of Abraham (Year 7) and Maria Russell (staff) in our prayers as they grieve the passing of Maria’s Grandmother late last week. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord. We also keep in our thoughts and prayers Rahni Holloway (Year 12) and family on the passing of her Grandfather.

Our Gospel last week encouraged us to be generous in the face of adversity and to ‘turn the other cheek’. I think Jesus places these challenges before us to continually reflect on our stance in engagement with others and our God. I encourage you to take some time to read and reflect on the scriptures this week.

Until next week … 


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