Principal's Update Week 8
Posted: 06-Mar-2019

Today is Ash Wednesday. Students attended a liturgy during TA this morning; I encourage families to talk about the significance of the Lenten period with your student/s. The name “Ash Wednesday” comes from the blessed ashes that are applied to the forehead as a sign of the beginning of the season of Lent, the season of preparation for Easter. The ashes of Ash Wednesday carry a sense of urgency. They remind us that we are not permanent residents here on earth; in fact, that life is quite short. This makes Lent a valuable time for examining our direction, refocusing our priorities, and making sure that God is central to our lives. This time of Lent each year provides the opportunity to open ourselves to being captured anew by the love of God – and to find ways for the love we have received to flow through us to others. Lent is also a time for recognising that we cannot help but be moved and respond to those in need. I will talk about the Damascus response to the Lenten call through Caritas Australia over the coming weeks.

We had a hot but enjoyable evening on Thursday when we formally inducted our Year 7’s and presented students elected to the SRC. It was great to see so many families engage with the College and take the opportunity to meet the teachers. Thank you to Chris Grant, House Leaders and Keran Mewett for their preparation for this event.

I congratulate the Damascus contingent on their representation at the Head of the Lake last week. So many crews recorded PB’s and knocked significant amounts off previous PB’s. It was great to see young men and women getting off the water rightly proud of your achievements and in many cases posting personal best times – well done! It was a beautiful day, and there was lovely support for Damascus rowers. I thank our families for that support.

I have received lovely affirmations of Damascus rowers and their support people since the regatta has finished. A former Damascus Head of Sport said he enjoyed watching the races online from Western Australia and sent his congratulations to all! I also had a parent from another school come over to me at the end of the regatta and affirm our students and the broader team for applauding every rower’s efforts from every school throughout the day. That is the culture of which I am so proud, and I congratulate all involved for celebrating the efforts of other rowers.

I extend my appreciation to our generous voluntary coaches and Leader of Rowing, Sharon Waters. For some rowers, the Head of the Lake concludes the season, and I congratulate you on your effort.

I also had the privilege of attending the rowing state championships on the weekend. Damascus students had some fantastic rows with the Division Two senior males bringing home bronze medals. I congratulate those who attended on their efforts. On Sunday Charlotte Ashley (Year 11) competed in the pairs Skulling representing her club and won a gold medal – I congratulate Charlotte on her achievement.

It continues to be a challenging time in Ballarat for survivors of sexual abuse, their families and Catholic Christians. If you are feeling burdened by the feelings and media that surround this conviction of Cardinal Pell or if you have a connection with victims that make you vulnerable, I encourage you to tap into Lifeline. George Pell will be sentenced over the next weeks, so there will be continued media attention. If you feel your student is vulnerable, please speak to your TA, House Leader, or Assistant Principal of Student Wellbeing, Andrew Robertson and we will connect students with appropriate support.

This Friday, 8th March, preceding the Labour Day long weekend is a student free day when staff will be working aspects of professional growth and curriculum development. I don’t need to remind our young people that they have a four-day long weekend, but I thought I had better bring it back to parents’ attention.

We remember in our prayers Phoenix Neil (class of 2018) and her family on the tragic passing of her brother. We also remember Julian Hockey (Year 11), Millie Hockey (Class of 2018) and their family on the tragic death of their cousin in Texas this week. We pray too for the family of Mia (Year 10) and Ryder (Year 8) Lavery on the passing of their maternal grandfather this week. May the God of peace walk with these families in this time of terrible sadness. We make this prayer of our loving God - Amen.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Until next week …

MATT

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