Principal's Update Week 2
Posted: 01-May-2019

This week we welcome Project Rockit to Damascus College. Project Rockit has been working with young people for more than a decade to enable them to stand up to bullying, hate and prejudice instead of standing by watching. As Principal, I have seen too many young people’s wellbeing compromised by inappropriate online exchanges and activity. This has led us to engaging Project Rockit to work with students, staff and families to better equip them to deal with the challenges that they may face. Through the lens of (cyber) bullying, Project Rockit workshops explore themes of inclusion, respectful relationships, social leadership, diversity, values and ethics and empathy. The Project Rockit team are working with students from Years 7 to 10 today and tomorrow. Our staff team participated in a seminar last night, and the content was highly engaging and well delivered.

I encourage parents to attend this evening’s session, even if you have not registered. We regularly have families seek us out when things go wrong, so I encourage you to join with other parents to learn about some of the strategies that may equip adolescents to make better decisions and be safer online. The free information evening will be in the John Shannon Centre tonight (Wednesday, 1st May) from 7 pm.

Each year a team of young people from the College self-fund their trip to Timor and work over twelve months to raise funds for the people of Ainaro in Timor Leste; our 2019 Timor Immersion is approaching. The current immersion team have a raffle underway with a prize valued at $575 for a night’s accommodation for two at Mantra Southbank with a $200 dining voucher and wine. There are other great prizes attached to the raffle too. Tickets are available at the College office, through members of the immersion team or at tonight’s information evening.

Tomorrow our athletes will represent the College at the Ballarat Associated Schools Athletics carnival at Llanberis. Families are encouraged to come along and support our students. I thank Nicole Hexter, Head of Sport and her team for their work in preparation for this carnival.

Can I remind families of the Mothers’ Day Mass and breakfast that is taking place next Tuesday, May 7th and encourage you to try and fit it into your already busy calendar. More information about the event can be found here.

There are a range of different camps an excursions coming up over the next week; can I remind families to ensure permissions are granted through PAM and that medical records are up to date.

Students are required to be in full Winter uniform for next Monday, 6th May – this means long pants for boys, Winter skirts and tights for girls and track pants with the PE uniform for both. I have seen a couple of skirts that do not comply with our length requirements which is to the knee already this week. Following up uniform takes valuable school resources away from the core business of learning and teaching and creates awkward conversations with families when this follow up happens. Please ensure students are in the correct uniform.

Our staff team have been hit hard by bereavements over recent weeks. We keep in our thoughts and prayers Nick (Staff), Mackenzie(Year 12), Phoebe (Year 9), and Peggy (class of 2017) Yandell and other members of their family as they grieve the death of Nick’s Mum over the weekend. We also keep David Myers (staff) and his family in our thoughts and prayers on the death of David’s nephew late last week. We also pray for Ashwin Pillai (staff) and his family on the recent passing of Ashwin’s grandmother in the United Kingdom.

In the cycle of life, staff member Judy Vanderkley became the grandmother to twins this week. We congratulate Judy and her daughter, Rachel Wallbank (staff) on this exciting extension of their family.

We pray for the Lily and Nathan Purcell (class of 2017 & 2011) and their Mum Deb, who is currently struggling with significant ill health.

Damascus College supported a trivia night for George Davidson last Saturday night. George is the grandson of long-serving staff member Donnie Davidson, and he is battling an infant cancer. We keep George and the extended Davidson family in our prayers.

We pray for all who struggle at this time that in this season of Easter they may experience the hope that the risen Christ brings for us all. It is not a glib hope; faith is a personal journey – one which the disciple Thomas brings a very human face to in the Gospel this week. Thomas was legitimately sceptical but shares his exclamation “My God and my all” (Jn 20:28) for the benefit of us all!

Until next week …


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