It was great to launch the 2018 school year formally last Friday with our Opening School Mass. Students were both reverent and respectful and they celebrated the induction of our school leaders generously. I extend my congratulations to those leaders and thank them for stepping forward in 2018. I also thank the parents, grand-parents, governors, board directors, priests and Sisters of Mercy who were able to be with us on Friday.
I want to particularly thank Bishop Paul Bird for celebrating our Mass and taking the time to be with us. It has been a big week for Bishop Paul who celebrated 50 years of priesthood last week and we congratulate Bishop Paul on his continuing ministry and leadership.
In my address, I reflected on our theme for 2018 which has been deliberately chosen to allow us to explore where faith meets life. "Never become tired of doing good.”
I spoke with the student population that on one level it is a message that is pretty straight forward, but on the real and deeper level, sustaining it is much harder. Bishop Paul shared with the student population the endeavours of musician and Australian Eurovision nominee, Isaiah Firebrace. He reflected on the practice and years of efforts that preceded him representing Australia in his craft. Isaiah never tired of doing good.
I also used a proportion of the attached clip fom the “Kid President” from Youtube (from 18 seconds to 1.50 – however the entirety of the clip is relevant.)
The Kid President says that good spreads when good is spread, and as Christian people we are called to spread the good in the world. There are so many ways that Damascus young people spread good in the world. The Bake Sale that was conducted last week was the launching pad for our contribution to Project Compassion – our chance to help those in need around the world. That is why our contributions over the coming weeks are important. It is but a singular example of where our students “do good!”
“Doing good” also requires us to expand our gifts and talents to the best of our ability. We must never become tired of doing good. Learning can be hard, but each member of our community has a responsibility to be the best learner we can be. We are all so privileged, God has put us in this country, in this College at this point in history - to expand our gifts and talents and to do good in the world. We need to make sure that we make the most of the opportunities presented to us. It can be daunting trying to be our best, it is hard to sustain our efforts when our academic work, our musical or sporting training, our employment challenges us, but that is when we must dig in and try harder as these things we learn will enable us to influence future society more positively moving forward.
As we consider the Christian leadership that every member of the Damascus community is called to, I go back to the inspiring words of the Kid President;
Good spreads when good is spread
And that’s totally how you live
You share and you love, and you give and give and give
If someone needs lifting, you send them a rope
Your little whispers of love, send out huge gusts of hope.
We pray this week that as a community we learn new things, get to know new people and strive to do good in 2018!
This Sunday is a big day in the Ballarat interschool sporting Calendar. Members of the Damascus community have the opportunity to band together and support with pride Damascus students who have been preparing for the last six months for the Head of the Lake regatta. This year 15 crews, who have trained hard to be a part of this competition, will represent the College. The Head of the Lake tradition comprises support groups known as “spit crews” to cheer on their respective peers in the regatta. Last year these places were made available to Year 12 students and siblings of the rowers only. However this year limited places exist for other students wishing to join the 'spit crew'. The regatta begins at 9.00 am this Sunday. For students wishing to join the spit crew the correspondence sent to families with the required permission form can be found here:
Head of Lake Permission Form (229 KB)
Next Wednesday from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm is the BAS Interschool Swimming Carnival at the Ballarat Aquatic Centre. A committed team of students have been selected to represent Damascus. Families are welcome and encouraged to support competitors.
I have had the good fortune to visit the Year 7 students each evening this week at the Log Cabin Camp at Creswick. Students have been very actively engaged in a range of team building physical challenges throughout the day and in the evenings they have worked with Peer mentoring leaders, SRC Leaders and members of the College Wellbeing team on different aspects of College life. It has been a real privilege to be a part of their camp and I thank camp leaders Ann and Brendan Bawden and the House Leaders and staff for their work.
I wish to flag for Year 7 families the “Meet the Teachers” evening that will take place next Thursday. Could you please put this in your diary as it is a key element of the Year 7 student induction for 2018. Details can be found here:
Meet the Teachers Evening (306 KB)
Last week within the Parent Access Module (PAM) we requested families update medical information for students. This is the medium we will utilise for excursion approvals moving forward and once the medical information is populated it is able to be drawn on for each excursion your child is involved in. Can I please encourage families to update these details at your earliest convenience?
This week in our prayers we remember the family of Amber Kennett (Year 9) on the loss of a loved Grand-father. May the God of consolation be with Amber and her family at this time?
Until next week…