From the Dean of Christian Culture

Engagement with…Community

Our College Leadership Team, from the very beginning of this year, has been encouraging our students, staff and families to focus, if possible, on the theme of engagement; the notion of new or renewed possibilities being created through the building of connection.

Early on during this process we noted that engagement increases opportunity, engagement releases strategy, and engagement delivers fruitfulness; and then we shifted our gaze to begin discovering areas in which we might possibly choose to engage or re-engage in 2022.

Recently, we raised the thought that perhaps this year could provide the opportunity for us to become engaged or re-engaged with the joy and delight of asking questions – with a view to learning and growing; and ultimately therefore being able to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.

This week we have another suggestion to consider; a further option for us to potentially view as an area of life in which we may like to engage or re-engage.


One of the most wonderful moments in the life and growth of a school is when you can see, feel, and notice the clear presence of a strong sense of community. Our desire here at Christian College is to continue growing a healthy understanding and experience of community internally, but also to take this a step further, beyond the gates of the school, by developing wonderful young people who are thoughtful global citizens, helping to build our broader society; young women and men who will step out into the world and make a positive difference by leading, serving, collaborating, initiating, innovating, and creating.

How does this happen? How do people learn to do this? In community.

This learning begins at home, and it is supported at school – home and school being two of the most basic and yet strongest forms of community existing within our society. Other examples of current environments in which community learning occurs could include, but would not be limited to; churches, sporting clubs, arts organisations, music clubs, youth groups, and community hubs.

Human beings are designed to live and work in groups, not alone. We are built for relationships – it is how we learn, how we grow and how we create the next generation. We need one another. We can do so much more together than we can do on our own. Community is so important because we function so much more effectively when we are able to work together. It is not always easy to work in community, but it is always the best way.

We will continue as a College to search for ways which may help us all learn about and demonstrate community. Through the classroom, our sporting clubs, our camps, excursions and trips interstate and overseas, our Year 9 Transformation Program, the Our World experiences, and specifically invited guest speakers, (including the Rev. Tim Costello AO who will be speaking with our staff and students on site in two weeks’ time), we aim to teach and encourage a better understanding of why community is so vitally important.

There is a great scripture in Deuteronomy 32:30 which says, “…one can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand to flight…” simply meaning that the combined efforts and abilities of two or more people is exponentially more productive than one person acting alone.

An extrapolated definition of the term community would include the areas of building relationships, developing social understanding, supporting wellbeing, working toward a desired future, and acknowledging shared culture and history – a clear picture of what is sitting within the terminology. The word ‘community’ is important.

In fact, if we look at the word community we can see that there are two very strong hints contained within as to the foundations of the concept of community – those being “communication” and “unity.”


The notion here is not that we should all be the same – on the contrary, community in all its forms is stronger and more effective when we are different – because each individual lends their particular gifts to the group as a whole, providing much-needed diversity in thinking and in action.

It is helpful for us to remember that we are talking about unity not uniformity – there is a massive difference between the two. We can use the analogy of an orchestra with every member under the baton of the conductor beginning to play the same note for the same length of time at the same volume on the same instrument – that is uniformity, and it would not be pleasant. Instead, the orchestra members play a range of notes for a mixture of lengths of time, at various volumes, on a variety of instruments – but as they all play in unity their very differences become the beautiful strength of the whole.

If a musical example is not your preferred analogy, contemplate a football team. We need the rucks, the midfielders, the forwards, and the backline, all with different skills, different heights and builds, and different speeds to combine to make a team that is capable of getting the job done. A team of 22 rucks alone will not win a premiership!

This same pattern of unity within community is referred to in Scripture.

“…Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it…”1 Corinthians 12:14-26

Unity is working together and using our differences for the good of the team – developing community.


The most basic and in some ways most important foundational skill within community is communication. Nothing happens without effective communication. Community is about relationships, and relationships are about communication. Communication is often difficult, but it must be a focus for all of us – open, honest, regular communication. It can be verbal, written, expressed or inferred but it has to happen openly, honestly and regularly.

In the research I have been reading recently regarding the development of resilience and strength in young people, communication sits in the top five attributes needed. I am sure the same can be said in relation to the development of community. Those five attributes are:

  • Sense of purpose and identity
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to build relationships
  • Communication skills
  • Sense of humour

We are all part of this community at Christian College, and together we are aiming to further develop our sense of community by improving our understanding and practice of unity and communication. Perhaps this is a focus area with which you could consider engaging or re-engaging in 2022? If we all chose to engage in strengthening our sense of community this year, can you imagine what the positive impact of that decision might well be for many years to come? It could be very exciting!

Bless you all.

Getting to Know our Marine Backyard

Year 8 Marine Studies students have experienced close to ideal conditions during our first three snorkel sessions. Incredible water visibility, friendly tides, light winds and little swell have allowed for stunning observations of our local precious ecosystems. The current focus is on identifying various marine fauna and studying adaptations that enable these species to survive and thrive. Each week a different location around the Bellarine is visited. Our first two weeks included exploring seagrass meadows and subtidal rocky reefs at St Leonards followed by a snorkel around the historical wreckage of the Ozone Paddle Steamer, which is a place that now has turned into a home for many native marine flora and fauna.

For our most recent session, the students experienced a drift snorkel along Point Lonsdale Front Beach. It was here students learnt that even the smallest amount of swell can impact the clarity of the water. Despite a little sediment disrupting our views, there were moments of clarity where a large Smooth Ray (with a wing span of at least a meter) was observed, a Cat Shark, a Banjo Shark and plenty of variations of the marine snail including Abalone.

  • Summer Carnival

    On Thursday the 3rd of March the Year 5 and 6 students travelled to Geelong College to compete in the 5/6 Summer Carnival. The students were given the opportunity to compete across a range of sports, including Cricket Blast, Swimming, Hot shots Tennis and Dodgeball. As always on these days, the competition was fierce and it was great to see so many of our students active and so involved in their sport. I was very proud of the way the Christian College students conducted themselves, demonstrating great sportsmanship, a positive team spirit and an attitude of teamwork. Thank-you to the 5/6 sport staff who helped this day run smoothly.  


  • Enrichment and Enhancement

    Year 5/6 GMHBA Online Healthy Heroes Leadership Day 

    On Wednesday 9th March in the Bellarine Campus Boardroom, eight of our Bellarine Year 5/6 students, along with students from about 25 other schools, participated in the initial day of the GMHBA Online Healthy Heroes Leadership Conference, which is run in conjunction with the Geelong Cats. Students and schools have been asked to co-design a School Community Health and Wellbeing Impact Project that all student leaders will be responsible for actioning between Term 2 and early Term 4. This will involve further time together online with other participating schools across the year. The year will end with a leadership conference and expo at the Geelong Cats Stadium for students to come and share their impact projects and to celebrate their success in positively supporting and changing their school community for the better. Today’s first conference saw wonderful engagement and collaboration from all involved and at one stage even former Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling joined in on the discussion! I would like to thank Mrs Theresa Drewer for her work in organising and facilitating the program at the Bellarine Campus and look forward to seeing the initiatives our young student leaders are able to implement over the course of the year! 

    Maths Help Clinic (Year 5-9): 

    Every Friday lunchtime (between 1:30pm-1:55pm) in the library, Mr Pat Sculley is running a weekly Maths Help Clinic for the Year 5-9 students. The purpose is to provide support for those students who have Maths related homework questions or would like to extend themselves. Students can come along for 2 minutes or stay for 25 minutes, it’s purely up to them. If you have any further questions, please email Mr Sculley. 

    Chess Club: 

    Mr Adam Reidy and Mr Liam Monagle run Chess Club during the 2nd half of lunchtime (1:30pm – 2:10pm) every Monday and Thursday in the library. Chess club is open to all students from Prep-9, from beginners interested in learning how to play chess, through to more advanced players seeking a challenge. Reidy Sensei and Mr. Monagle will be there ready to either teach you the basics or facilitate your progression as a chess player (you may even be able to teach them a few moves!) The library has new chess sets ready for you to play with. All are welcome, hopefully many of you come along and join in the fun! 

  • Law & Order – In the Courts!

    The Year 9 Law and Order students have been investigating into the ways that we make and enforce laws in our society. Understanding the structure of government and how we pass a bill has been a topic we’ve spoken about as well as looking at some types of courts in Australia. We have unpacked the role of the Magistrate’s Court and had some fun completing some role plays – including the student’s own improvised stories. They are now working on developing their own cases so that we can perform them in the coming weeks together.

    Please enjoy the pictures of the students in action.

  • Year 7 Food Studies – A Healthy Start!

    Year 7 Food Studies class worked very hard to produce their very own healthy breakfast design. Aside from the dish requiring to be healthy and nutritious the students had to also work within other constraints throughout the design process. To create their final product students had to portion size each ingredient, identify nutritional needs of their target audience and ensure the presentation of the breakfast was appealing all while considering sustainability. 


  • Year 7 Humanities: The History of Humans 

    In Semester 1, students in Year 7 are considering sustainable pasts, present and futures through the lens of Ancient Civilisations. In Term 1, this is done with a specific focus on Ancient Australia. As a part of this, students have created timelines, learnt how to read a landscape, created survey maps, considered a range of migration theories and have also begun to compare people, place and time. 

    Students have been completing a portfolio of their learning and will continue to do this as we move to analysing artefacts. They will then recreate an artefact, justify choices in a museum card and even create a survey map for an archaeological dig of the site the item was found. 

    This will culminate in an end-of-term ‘Ancient Australia Museum’ display to be shared with students across the campus. 

  • Casual Wood Workshop Assistant Position – Bellarine Campus

    Christian College seeks the services of a trade-experienced Wood Workshop Assistant to work at our Bellarine Campus in Drysdale. If you are a hardworking, self-starter who demonstrates initiative and pride, with a passion for helping students and team-first approach, we would like to hear from you.

    Duties include taking responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of all worship equipment in safe working order and liaising with teaching staff and administration to ensure materials are ordered and prepared.

    This is a casual, one-day per week position with no work during school holidays. Please visit the Employment page on our website for a Position Description and application details (Home > Join > Employment). Closing date: Thursday March 24.

    In-Time Reporting and Feedback

    Beginning school and being back in the classroom, establishing friendships, packing a school bag and school lunches can sometimes be quite overwhelming for parents, carers and students alike. Especially after what has been the most incredible years of disruption to routines, patterns and familiarities. However, regardless of whether you are joining us in Prep, and or reconnecting at our Middle Schools or Senior Campus, the partnerships between home and school have demonstrated that children learn best when the significant adults in their lives (parents, carers, teachers), work together to encourage and support them.

    At Christian College, feedback about student engagement and progress in learning is an integral component to building the Home / School Partnership. It provides parents, carers, students and teachers with information about learning experiences, and sets a direction to inform future teaching and learning experiences, both in and outside of the classroom. Powerful feedback occurs when the learner understands the gap between their current level of performance and that of their desired performance.

    One of the significant benefits of teachers involving families as partners in the feedback cycle, is that parents themselves can provide additional informed support for student learning at home.

    At Christian College such feedback is communicated to parents via various mechanisms. In-Time reporting in the SEQTA Engage platform, SEQTA Notifications, sometimes via email, Assessment Tasks themselves, verbally via a learning conference and ultimately on a Student Report distributed at the completion of each semester.

    The agile nature of education in the last few years has brought with it some benefits in the use of technology, and this now provides a medium whereby parents and carers can access information at anytime and anywhere from a number of devices. At Christian College we hope to leverage off this benefit to provide more ‘In Time’ feedback regarding student learning, self-management and progression against the learning standards. Not only is this achievable through the SEQTA Engage platform, but for students with a College device, we would also encourage you to sit with your child and their device to view the work they are undertaking in their digital learning platforms, such as the Microsoft Teams App, where overviews of the learning may be visible in the upcoming Assignments feature of Teams.

    Please don’t forget that there is also the SEQTA Engage App available for all parents and carers. The SEQTA Engage App is available for download, making details about your child’s learning, feedback and outcomes even more accessible than ever – and via the device of your personal choice. Instructions on how to install the App are linked here.

    Parents of students undertaking studies in VCE Units 3 and 4, should note that the mark awarded and displayed by Christian College Geelong for any School Assessed Coursework (SAC) or School Assessed Task (SAT) is a raw score only, and is not the finalised score for the assessment. This mark remains subject to statistical moderation and review by Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

    We look forward to working in partnership with you as you connect with your young person’s progress in learning here at Christian College Geelong.


    Syd Strauch 15/12/1953 – 05/03/2022

    An inspiring teacher and much-loved member of the Christian College community

    Our College community was saddened to receive news of the passing of Syd Strauch last weekend who died surrounded by his loving family on Saturday after a brave and courageous battle with illness.

    Syd served our College in a range of roles including Deputy Head of Senior School, Director of Student Services, Head of Careers, Burrows House Group Teacher and as a teacher of History. He joined the College staff in 1994 and retired in 2016. He was a teacher whose knowledge, experience and wisdom were well-respected. He was also a man who loved to laugh, was down-to-earth, friendly, always ready with a one-liner or opinion on any number of other things that might enter a conversation…and whose penchant for donning a Hawaiian shirt to mark the first day for teachers after students had left for the year, became well-known.

    Principal, Mr Glen McKeeman and former colleagues of Syd at Christian College, Rev. Denis Tomlins and Mr Daryl Pobjoy pay tribute to a man whose impact on Christian College – and in particular our Senior School Campus – along with the lives of thousands of students and staff was, and in many cases continues to be, profound. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.


    Syd’s outstanding capacity as a teacher, together with his remarkable intellect and knowledge of history and global issues underpinned his impact on the countless students privileged to be inspired by his unique and broad contribution to education in Geelong and throughout Victoria over a period of more than 40 years.

    A hallmark of Syd’s contribution to the lives of many students was his support and encouragement when providing careers advice and assistance with tertiary applications. He was also a long-term contributor to the Geelong Careers Teacher’s Association.

    Syd contributed generously to the lives of his colleagues, providing incredible support to the growth of the professional development programs, curriculum design, the administration of VCE Studies as well as assessment and reporting procedures.

    His contribution to College life extended to many sporting, musical, cultural, and collegiate events, participating in camps, tours, and conferences. He certainly left a mark and helped shape our college significantly.

    Syd will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by our wider college community as well as many throughout education circles in Geelong, including Geelong High School, where he taught prior to joining Christian College in 1995.

    He lived a very full life that we shall celebrate with his family at a Memorial Service at a time to be confirmed.

    Our love and sincere condolences as a College family go out to his loving wife Jan, children Jenni, Zoe and husband Josh, Lachie and wife Emily and grandchildren Jack Sydney and Lucy Grace – they are very much in our prayers.

    Glen McKeeman





    It was my turn to lead Devotions!

    As I rose to share some thoughts, designed to offer focus for the commencement of the day, from somewhere in the room a voice proposed an alternative focus; “Anyone know how Arsenal went last night?” From the back of the room came an obviously pained response, “Oh, alright!”

    Poor Syd! His team in the UK’s Premiership League had lost. We all enjoyed a laugh, possibly at Syd’s expense yet, before we launched into things of the Spirit, we had been grounded in that brief exchange.

    Over the 14 years I was privileged to have Syd as a colleague and friend, I remember and celebrate the comfortable ease with which he negotiated his way through the challenges of establishing a new school, his personable style among the student body, along with the warmth and trust he developed with the College community.

    His death is a significant loss for the many he touched throughout his teaching career, and I extend to Jan, Jenny, Lachlan, Zoe and family members, my deepest condolences and prayerful support as you meet the challenges in the days ahead.

    Rev. Denis Tomlins

    Former Chaplain, Christian College Geelong


    Syd and I had similar backgrounds when we both came to Christian College. We each had around 16 years in the State Education system.

    Syd’s areas of expertise – History/Humanities, and mine – Physics/Science was not a barrier to our working relationship. We both enjoyed our time as Homeroom teachers in Burrows House.

    In 2000, both Syd and I were appointed joint Deputy Heads of the new Senior School Campus. Syd in the role of Student Services and me in Operations. When John Nelson retired as Head of the Senior School, we both had the opportunity to apply for that position but we decided that we were both in the positions we were meant to be in.

    When Glen McKeeman arrived as the new Head of Senior School we were appointed Directors of Student Services and Operations which allowed for the position of Deputy Head to go to up-and-coming staff. Assisting and advising new, younger staff was something we both enjoyed.

    Syd’s passion for guiding students on career choices was legendary as was his passion for his beloved subject of History.

    I have so many great memories of our 20-plus years working together. What a privilege and pleasure to have shared this educational journey with Syd.

    The many tributes to him from past students bear witness to his great legacy.

    Daryl Pobjoy

    Former Deputy-Head, Senior School Campus

    Chair’s Lunch

    Join the Chair of the Foundation Board for lunch on Friday, 8 April 2022 as we celebrate the significance of Easter and learn more about the work of the Foundation.

    All funds raised from this event will be allocated to our Scholarship Fund supporting current students who need financial assistance.

    Book online today at www.ccgfoundation.org.au/chairslunch

    For all enquiries, please contact Jennifer Freind via j.freind@ccg.vic.edu.au.

    A MYTERN Thought for This Week

    The less you judge the road that others are on,
the less you will judge yourself. 

Remember, we never really know what someone else is experiencing.

    So be kind and compassionate towards them…as well as yourself. 😊❤️


    Discover more about MYTERN here