Principal's Update Week 10
Posted: 26-Jun-2019

As the week draws to a close, and we conclude Term 2, we also celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is very significant to our Mercy heritage, and it speaks directly to the Damascus community. Senior students undertake classes in the Sacred Heart wing of the College, and this building celebrates the special place that the Sacred Heart of Jesus holds for the Sisters of Mercy, those within our community who attended Sacred Heart College and for our current student population.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart is about the living presence of Jesus in our daily lives. The artistic impressions of the Sacred Heart (two of which are at the College by renowned artist Leopoldine Mimovich) see the heart aflame with the light of Christ. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a moveable feast, which means that it depends on the date of Easter Sunday. It is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost Sunday, which falls on the 50th day of Easter. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not merely His physical heart but His love for all creation.

We pray this week that we can draw on the works of the Sisters of Mercy who imitate Christ’s work in the world, that we may be able to love one another with all our hearts, and that in loving one another we are able to see the plight of those in need in our world; the hungry, the lonely, those seeking asylum, the refugees, the sick…. May our hearts be inflamed enough to act against indifference and injustice. Loving God grant us the strength to make a difference in our world. AMEN

Teaching staff are finalising assessment feedback and preparing reports for parents and guardians. These will be completed by the end of this week and be ‘live’ on the Parent Access Module (PAM) on Friday afternoon. I encourage you to set aside some time to take in the information provided on PAM and to invite your sons and daughters to reflect with you on their learning during first semester. Learning is a life long journey and one that we all need to continue to bring a focus to. It is important at home that you reiterate that success is about improvement, not just a result and affirm your student for their efforts to see better results.

I congratulate all students on their involvement in the Lap of the Lake last Wednesday afternoon. There were some excellent student efforts, and the age group champions and results for the day can be found here.

Damascus students have had some other great sporting results this week. Damascus Intermediate footballers took out the BAS reserves premiership last week. I congratulate; Geordy Slater (Captain), Lucas Blazko (MVP), Clayton Winter, Lachlan Reynolds, Cameron Reynolds, Ryan Humphries, Damon Kierce, Lachlan Humphries, Tyler Pike, Jack Flood, Harry Matthews, George Edmiston, Lachlan Carter, Trent Parisi, Kane Irvin, Lucas Edmonds, Alex Randich, Jake Guy, Allistair Cameron, Shaun Leonard, William Coats and Tim Collins on their win. A special thank you to Hamish Walsh, Brendan Moyle and Jack Elkington (Both Pre- Service Teachers) who volunteered and assisted with the coaching. I extend my appreciation to coach, Brett Stone.

Our A Grade Badminton team also contested the BAS Premiership and went down narrowly. I congratulate; Tom Wilkinson, Oliver Watts, Dylan Hocking, Casey Hocking, Renae Hocking and Lily Jackson on their contest and thank their coach Jen Montgomery.

Recently Damascus College undertook a Rowing Review to the structures that support the Rowing program. I am very appreciative of the community members who engaged with the review. Damascus will strengthen the leadership structures to support rowing over the coming season and is working through the different elements of feedback from the review. A communication of the preliminary findings of the review can be found here.

I received a letter this week from the Chief Commissioner of Scouts Victoria recognising Tim Collins (Year 9) who has earnt the Australian Scouts Medallion. The correspondence informed me that of the scouting movement’s 47 million participants internationally, Tim is one of only a very small percentage of young people who achieve the award. I congratulate Tim on such a significant achievement and for all the work and community service that he has put into his scouting.

Over the holidays, the Damascus community welcomes students and staff from Angers in France. These students will spend nearly two weeks on a homestay, experiencing life with Australian families and schooling at Damascus and we look forward to welcoming them at the start of next term. I thank Languages Leader, Alysoun Smalley for her work in preparation of this visit and the families who have generously offered to host.

This Friday, as the last day of term, will see school finish at 2:18pm. Students have a casual day for the Vinnies Winter Appeal. Students are asked to bring $2 for the support of “Street Swags” that Damascus is working towards buying for those who are living on the street. If your student has PE, Wood, Metal, Science or Food – please ensure that they wear appropriate clothing; particularly closed footwear for practical classes.

Office hours over the holidays will be 9:00am – 4:00pm with the office closed for lunch between 1:00pm – 1:45pm.

Looking ahead, Term 3 will commence with regular classes on Tuesday, 16th July. Staff have a Faith Development day on Monday 15th July.

This week in TA, students have been provided with information to focus conversations for TA interviews and pathways selection for early next term. Can families of Year 8 to Year 11students please mark Thursday, 18th of July in your diary for the Subject Selection Information evening that will occur on that date.

The cast of “Around the World in 80 Days” have been working incredibly hard over the past three months and they have a busy time coming up in the second week of the holidays. I congratulate them on their commitment and thank the team supporting them; Andrew Seeary, Nicole Burness, and Maria Russell.

NAIDOC Week will be observed around Australia Between July 7 – 14, during the holidays. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians of all walks of life. In 2019 the theme of NAIDOC week is “Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future.” I’d like to encourage our students and families to consider any opportunities there may be to learn a little more about the people and the cultures that are recognised as the oldest living culture in the world.

We wish Assistant Principal, Ashwin Pillai well as he heads off to broaden his understanding of the Mercy world after the holidays when he will walk in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley in Dublin and Ireland. We wish Ashwin well for his travels and look forward to welcoming him back for the start of Week 3 next term.

Humanities and Religious Education Teacher, Deb Glasson, has had some unexpected leave over recent weeks, and Deb has confirmed that this will extend to Term 3. Cathy Prunty will teach the majority of Deb’s classes moving forward.

I acknowledge Jane McKendrick, who concludes the Long Service Leave backfill for Trish Rowe this week. Jane has been a great servant of Damascus College throughout her career, and we are very thankful for her support over recent weeks.

Danielle Peters has provided support within the VCAL team this term and her role will conclude on Friday. I am very grateful for Danielle’s support of Damascus College and thank her for her contribution.

Angela Hoban has ten weeks of well-deserved Long Service Leave commencing from Friday. Angela will be covered by Kerryn Wehrung next term, and we wish her well for her break.

Nancy Meiklejohn and David Boadle have seven and ten weeks of personal leave respectively next term. Nancy will be covered by Liam Downey who has been a regular supporter of Damascus College and David ‘s coverage is yet to be finalised.

I congratulate staff member Loretta Kaval and members of her family on the safe arrival of her newest granddaughter Nai Mae.

Thank you for the privilege of working with the wonderful young people that make up the Damascus community this semester. If you are travelling over the holidays, do so safely.

Until next term …. God Bless


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