Principal's Update Week 2
Posted: 24-Jul-2019

Today the performance season opens for ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’ A school production is twelve months in the making, and this performance promises to be special with a committed team of students and staff. The performers have had two serious run-throughs today, and tonight will be their first evening performance. I congratulate everyone who is associated with the show. Tickets are still available for individual performances, and I encourage you to come along to enjoy the adventure of Phileas Fogg in this unique and creative production, of classic farce, storytelling and crazy transformation! I acknowledge the outstanding work of Andrew Seeary and Nicole Burness and the entire staff team who have supported them. More information and tickets can be found here.

It has been great to have six young women and a young man from Angers, France as part of our community over the past month. Damascus families have generously hosted these students, and their teacher, Anne and her husband Olivier and they have developed strong friendships and practised their respective English and French. I thank them for being part of our community, and we look forward to them reciprocating with their care of our students next year in France.

It was great to be able to witness our students’ participation in the BAS Road Relay last Thursday. Students worked well in teams to compete strongly, and there was an excellent parental presence. Well done to all involved.

Following the Road Relay, it was exciting to see so many families present at our Subject Selection Information Evening. If you were not able to make it, I encourage you as a family to tap into the information in the subject selection handbooks. This can be accessed through the school webpage by going to “Life at Damascus” – “My Pathways” then clicking on what your level your student will be in for 2020. You can then scroll through the choices for your year level for next year.

This week Damascus College has undertaken a School Review to inform future strategic directions and school improvement. I thank the members of the panel and everyone who contributed to the review.

Today, Damascus students; Zoe Kierce, Zoe Newman, Ella Miles and Jacob Wilson represented the College at the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award. I congratulate them on the calibre of their speeches and their delivery. I wish Chenoa Williams, Isabella McCarthy, Nellie Lawler, Juan Manrique-Garcia, Zoe Newman, Ella Miles, Caleb Smith, Paris Govan, Breanna Gale, Rhyal Williams, Liana Canfield, Kaitlyn Handreck and Karla Gallagher all the best as they represent Damascus College at the Royal South Street: ACU Debating Challenge Cup next Monday. I thank Loretta Kaval for facilitating these opportunities.

All Year 10’s will have immunisations here at school next Tuesday. Any queries can be directed to Simon Carroll, First Aid Officer at the College.

Congratulations to Year 11 student and Damascus Rower, Charlotte Ashley for being nominated as the Federation University WestVic Academy’s 2018/19 female athlete of the year. A great achievement for Charlotte!
Congratulations also to Year 9 student Shannon Craggill as she recently entered an oil painting into the 49th Rotary Club of Bacchus Marsh Art exhibition & sale. Shannon won first place in the Bendigo Bank award for the best artwork by an artist 21 and Under. Well done, Shannon!

There are a range of different activities taking place over the coming week. Tomorrow members of the Green Group will go out tree planting for National Tree Day and I thank Mr Neate for facilitating that opportunity. VCAL students have a range of activities including a youth job expo and a visit to the Ballarat Library on Thursday. Year 8 students have travelled to Melbourne to the Holocaust Museum as part of their text study this week, and I thank the English team for facilitating this. They will also take part in Justice and Eucharist as part of their RE program over the next week.

I remind families that next Thursday, May 1st is a non-teaching day here at school, and information will be sent to families today to book TA interviews. The focus of the interview will be on subject selections, and I encourage families to visit the relevant 2020 year level resources within the pathways section of the College webpage.

Last Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 10:38-42) focused on the story from Luke of the sisters Martha and Mary entertaining Jesus. Martha is the diligent host, but she seeks Jesus’ input to rebuke Mary, who is sitting at his feet, listening and being attentive to him. Jesus tells Martha that, in fact, it is Mary who has chosen the better part. The tension between action and attention is at play in the Gospel from Sunday. Martha symbolises action, she is focused on being hospitable, or at least on the actions of hospitality, but she is not spending time in the company of her guest, Jesus. Mary is attentive to the person of Jesus – she is sitting with him – listening and talking. She is not focussed on the food or the event; she is focussed on the person. It is a good reminder that while Martha’s hospitable action was well-intentioned, she perhaps failed in her attentiveness to Christ in her house. I am reminded that our actions must come from a foundation of welcome and good cause – from being attentive to what it is that we must do. When our actions come as a focussed or attentive response to the needs around us, then we are affirmed in our Christian living. We pray this week that we may be attentive, responding to the needs of those around us.

There has been enormous sadness within our community this past week as we grieve with the Sawka family the loss of their Dad, Stephan. We extend the sympathies of our school community to Stefanie (Class of 2016), Sofie (Year 11) and Symantha (Year 11) and their Mum, Rita.

The Damascus Community has also been rocked this week by the news of the death of Tony Purcell. Tony retired from Damascus at the end of 2016 after 28 years of service to St Martin’s and Damascus. Tony is remembered as a passionate educator with a keen sense of social activism. He was a gifted storyteller, and Tony’s students have testified to the great influence he had on their lives as an educator. We extend our prayers for Tony and his wife Anne and Tony’s children, who attended Damascus College.

We also pray for the family of Audrey Merlin (Yr 8). Audrey's paternal Grandfather passed away over the weekend.

May our loving God walk with all those who grieve.

Until next week…

MATT 
 

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