I was looking this week to words that supported what it is to be a Christian person in the wake of the atrocities in New Zealand and our own challenges of institutional abuse here in Australia. I found some comfort in the words of St Theresa of Avila who calls us to good works as God’s instruments in the world – not through violence or institutions but through how we encounter our neighbour here on earth;
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which God looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which God walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which God blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are God’s body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
We pray that we have the eyes to look with the compassion on this world and the body’s to bring God's love to life.
Someone who has brought’ God’s love to life here in this community for the past 40 years has been Mrs Karen Simpkin. Karen has been an extraordinary servant of Damascus and Sacred Heart Colleges. She has worked as a classroom teacher through to the highest levels of school leadership. She has had a passion for English, Humanities and Commerce, but her heart has always been on nurturing the best outcomes for each young person she has encountered. Karen is fiercely McAuley in her House orientation and has provided formal and informal leadership in this space. Karen is genuinely a woman of Mercy and has been a great servant of Catholic and Mercy education. I congratulate Karen on her pending retirement and an outstanding career! We will celebrate Karen’s contribution over the coming weeks.
Tomorrow we head to Llanberis Athletics track for our annual House Athletics Carnival. This day is a compulsory school day for all students. There is a broad range of events to engage students of different abilities. Please make sure students have suitable sun protection, food and water for the day. Parents are again encouraged to call in if you have a chance throughout the day to support your student’s participation.
On Friday afternoon, the Green Group and David Neate worked cleaning up our roadsides in the vicinity of the College as part of the Cleanup Australia Campaign. This activity saw young people actively working towards a healthier planet, and I congratulate them and Mr Neate on their efforts.
The cast and crew are in full rehearsal in the lead up to the 15th staging of the Final Hours performed in the evenings of Holy Week utilising the beautiful setting of the Damascus College grounds. The Final Hours is a dramatic representation of Jesus final hours here on earth and this season will have seen it span 29 years here at Damascus. It is a mighty effort for Performing Arts Coordinator, Andrew Seeary with the support of Nicole Burness and a whole team of others who contribute to this production which is central to our identity.
Reunion season is in full flight here with celebrations for the class of 1989 and 1999 last week. This weekend coming we continue our celebrations with the class of 2009 gathering on Friday night, the class of 1979 on Saturday and the class of 1969 on Sunday. It is always great to welcome alumni and if you would like to attend and are unsure of the logistics, please contact the office or check the website.
I had the good fortune to be able to attend the Head of School Girls rowing regatta over the weekend. The girls had a lovely time together and posted some great times in their respective heats and races. It was great to see the Year 10 Division 4 and Year 9 Division 1 crews win their respective finals on Sunday. It was a real pleasure to be able to support these students over the three-day regatta. I want to particularly acknowledge Ryan Vanderlinden and Riley Taylor who provided exceptional support to the girls right throughout the season. There is only one regatta left up in Sydney in 10 days where we have senior boys competing. The End of Season dinner will take place on Thursday 4th April.
There is a big week coming up for the Energy Break Through (EBT) team as they head to Wonthaggi to compete in a 24-hour race. EBT Coordinator Alan Strange and staff member Rachel Beardall will lead this opportunity for students over the Friday and the weekend with some generous family support. I wish the team well ahead of an exciting weekend.
It was great to hear of the success of the Year 7 excursions to the Aquarium last week to bring their novel “Blueback” to life. I thank English Learning Area Leader, Michael Bennett and the English team for their work bringing this to life.
As a Physics teacher, it is great to see five senior students heading off to the Girls in Physics breakfast at Federation University this Friday.
Next week, a number of Year 7 classes will head out of school for their reflection days as part of the Religious Education program. I wish students well with this next stage of their induction to secondary life at Damascus.
Congratulations to Matt Allan (staff) and his wife Rachel on the safe arrival of Patrick (Paddy) Alexander last week.
We remember in our prayers the people of New Zealand as they mourn their own and members of the Islamic community who may fear for their safety as they practice their faith.
Until next week …