Principal's Update Week 8
Posted: 04-Mar-2020

On Friday evening, I had the privilege of attending the Next Gen Exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery. This exhibition is a showcase of selected VCE visual arts and media works from all over South West Victoria. 2019 Damascus students and graduates, Lauren Bradshaw, Joshua Frawley, Mitch Labbett, Abbey Cody, and Isabelle Tomic, were recognised in the exhibition. Isabelle received the Innovation Award from all the pieces presented for her ‘Never Ending Story’. The Damascus students works are a great reflection on the creative students of our College and of the work of their teachers and families in nurturing these gifts. The exhibition is free and can be seen at the gallery over the next few weeks. Congratulations to all those students chosen to exhibit!

Thank you to our parents who so generously supported the catering efforts for the Rowing Championships last weekend on Lake Wendouree. The weather did not assist on Sunday, but it was a great team effort in the interest of Damascus Rowing and very successful. Students will come together on Thursday evening for the End of Season Rowing Dinner at the Ballarat Greyhound track, and I look forward to celebrating students achievements on the evening and recognising all those who have nurtured them. Students also participated in regattas in Ballarat and Nagambie over the weekend, and I congratulate them on their pleasing results.

Damascus students did very well at the BAS tennis tournament on Monday, and I congratulate Megan O’Beirne, Isabelle Pearce, Brayden and Jarrod Joyce on progressing to the semi-finals next week, and I congratulate all involved on their efforts.

Unfortunately, yesterday I had to communicate to our senior students who had committed to travel to France in the next fortnight, that St Benoit Elycee had communicated their inability to host us due to the Coronavirus. Damascus is committed to the important place of these experiences within student learning, and we will explore future opportunities for travel when they can be undertaken with greater confidence. I will continue to liaise with those families impacted regarding the implications of this decision as more information becomes available.

There are a couple of significant events coming up with next week with our Bright Futures breakfast on Thursday 12th March. Our guest speaker Judy Brewer AO has done wonderful things in improving society’s understanding of people with Autism, and this breakfast provides an opportunity to hear of that journey. More information can be found here.

Students will compete in the BAS interschool swimming carnival next Wednesday, 11th March at the Ballarat Aquatic Centre – Families are encouraged to come along, and I wish our competitors well in their representation of Damascus College.

This Friday, 6th 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!!

As we move deeper into the season of Lent, we heard in Sunday’s Gospel of the temptation of Christ; this was balanced against the temptation of Adam and Eve in the first reading. The juxtaposition of good and evil in these scripture stories is familiar to everyone, but what is right and wrong is not always black and white in our existence and choices. Yesterday in TA time, students focussed on aspects of communication in positive relationships, which our TA leader Sally Balson prepared in conjunction with our Psychologist and Counsellor, Marcus Probert. Part of what this lesson involved was identifying behaviours in those we associate with, that bring us down. It related to the tension that exists for young and older people, as outlined in these readings, that our choices are not always black and white. There was an opportunity for students to explore the need to discern what the intention of the other is in our relationships and make decisions that empower them to act in their self-interest and to maintain their health and identity. In our Lenten reflection this week, we draw on these stories to look at our own challenges, and we seek to do what is right. The devil quotes scripture at Jesus in this story – scripture can be used to appeal to our lower nature, but we know the stories appeal is to our highest nature – as we progress a Lenten journey we seek to be the best we can be and turn to those things which bring out our best. I thank Sally and Marcus for their support in enabling us to do so.

We remember in our prayers the family of Brian Perkins, Brian was a former Business Manager of St Paul’s and the extended Perkins family have been very active in the broader Church community in Ballarat. May the God of peace walk with the Perkin’s families in this time of sadness. We make this prayer of our loving God - Amen.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Until next week …

MATT

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