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From the Principal

Love, Faith and Influence 

Last week I attended the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) / Independent Schools of Australia (ISA) National Education Forum in Canberra. The purpose was to discuss matters relating to the vital role that Independent Schools play in the lives of our young people. There are so many aspects to this, and as I listened to political leaders from the major parties, notable speakers in the fields of education, reconciliation, wellbeing, governance, e-safety, and economics, I reflected on the role that Christian College plays in the lives of our young people, and wider College community. 

Over more than 40 years our College has influenced and shaped the lives of our students, staff, families, and more broadly, our local, national and global community. It is remarkable to think that in our relatively short history, there are so many people connected with the College contributing to society in so many ways, through wide spheres of influence: business, the arts, theatre, music, sport, medicine, law, science, the environment, recreation, community service, our churches – and more.  

Whilst celebrating the life of a former colleague and friend Syd Strauch at his Memorial Service held in the Middle School Chapel last Friday afternoon, I was reminded of the impact that one person can have on a community. It was a privilege to gather with Syd’s wife Jan, his children Jenni, Zoe and Lachlan, and their family, friends, colleagues and many of the students Syd taught, to mark the life of a man who positively influenced the lives of others. Indeed, sadly this year, we have also had cause to reflect on the lives of Major Wilga Morris and Mr Bob Schultz who also passed away earlier this year. Wilga, a former Salvation Army member of our College Board, and Bob, through his involvement as a parent, like Syd, made wonderful contributions to the lives of others by contributing to the life and ministry of Christian College. 

Interestingly, the data discussed during the National Forum indicates that increasing numbers of families are making the choice to send their children to Independent Schools. Enrolments in Christian Schools are growing at a significant rate.  

In the conversation last week, we explored some of the important factors that challenge our young people and how schools can best meet the complex demands they face. I am convinced as I work each day alongside my colleagues at our College, that we are taking every measure in striving to meet the demands we face to support our students and staff to flourish. 

Over the past few years, a significant amount of our energy has been directed toward the area of wellbeing with the lofty intention of seeing individuals and our community flourish. Flourishing might seem to be a fanciful notion in a world that is confronted with the horrific events in Ukraine, the recent floods along the east coast of Australia and a global pandemic. However, flourishing is our aim, and schools like ours can begin by providing the love, faith and influence through our Christian ethos that offer our young people and families a level of hope and peace in these uncertain and unsettling times. 

At the recent Prefect Investitures, each Guest Speaker reminded us of the example Jesus is for our lives, whether we have been chosen for leadership or not. Learning from His life reminds us of our call to love and serve others as we seek to find meaning and purpose. And, as I think about that, I think about Syd, Wilga and Bob and what it was about them that we celebrated. It was their love and service to others – that’s why we mark those people’s lives as having been well lived. 

The challenge then for schools and families in supporting our young people to flourish is to continue investing in the way we encourage, nurture and model the Christian faith each day. 

This week our community has been blessed to have Rev. Tim Costello as our guest. It was a privilege to hear Tim share with our staff and students in various formats and as our Guest Speaker at the Gathering Hope Appeal Luncheon hosted by the College Foundation. His message of hope through a presentation which encouraged us to see the community strength provided through faith, morality and democracy, was poignant in light of current global uncertainty. 

 

One of the first verses I recall learning in Sunday School was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” found in Philippians 4:13. I remember thinking that Jesus was a type of ‘super hero’ to provide such protection and support. As I think about that now I am reassured that despite the challenges that we see in the world, and the difficulties we might individually face, God’s love and grace help us to find a place of peace, contentment and safety in times that shake us. 

The notion of a flourishing life is lofty. But with God’s help and influence, it is obtainable and available. 

Perhaps this is why more families are seeking and choosing Christian schools for their children? 

God bless. 

Future Enrolments – Every Day is an Open Day at Bellarine

For Deputy Heads of Campus, Mrs Pam McKeeman and Mr Andrew Platt, and me, it is a real privilege as part of our roles to meet with prospective families and conduct tours around our Bellarine Campus, sharing with them the rich and authentic learning program that takes place in each classroom with your young person on a daily basis.

A tour of the Bellarine Campus provides each prospective family with a genuine ‘feel’ of everyday life and learning at our campus, and that’s something that really has to be seen and experienced firsthand to gain a full understanding and appreciation.

As we come to the end of the first term for 2022, is has been wonderful to have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many prospective families as to their educational aspirations for their children. We feel both excited and privileged that many families are seeking a Christian College education at all year levels. In particular, Years Prep, 5 and 7 are filling quickly for next year.

As a family within our school, should you be aware of other friends and family who may be considering future educational opportunities for their children, please encourage them to come and visit us for a tour, to experience for themselves the learning program, culture and ethos of Christian College Bellarine. Similarly, if siblings of current students have not yet had a tour of our Campus, or completed an enrolment application, to ensure a place for them I encourage parents to promptly book a tour.

Every Day is an Open Day at Christian College. To make a tour booking, please click ‘Book a Tour’ at https://christiancollege.vic.edu.au/

Cyber Safe Schools Program: Parent Update

Parents may recall that in Week 1 of this term I introduced our new Online Safety Hub as part of a new Cyber Safe Schools Program that the College is in the process of implementing. This is in formal partnership with Linewize by Family Zone, providing tools and support for school and home to work together and guide our students in the development of positive digital behaviours.

Over this term, we have been putting in place some new tools at school that will help support and protect students in the digital space while at school and enable teachers and pastoral staff to be empowered to support our students’ wellbeing more effectively going forward.

In my communication earlier this term, I also shared some excitement about some complimentary Family Zone parental tools that will be made available to parents as part of the Cyber Safe Schools Program. These optional tools for the home will support Christian College parents to have better visibility and awareness of their child’s digital behaviour while at home. I’m pleased to share that these tools will be made available to parents, along with further information about the wider program, early in Term 2.

We’re delighted that these significant preparations to better protect and support our students in partnership with parents are nearing completion. Parents can look forward to the official launch of the Cyber Safe Schools Program in Term 2 as part of a broader wellbeing focus that will provide opportunities for parents to connect, engage and partner with the College to support the wellbeing of our young people while at school and in the home.

Following the upheaval and challenges of the past two years, the need to proactively support our young people in the areas of wellbeing and the development of positive digital behaviours has never been greater, and we’re so excited about the steps we’re taking with parents to meet that need.

 

Enjoying the Outdoors 

Throughout this term the Junior School specialist teachers have been making the most of the beautiful weather conditions and taking the children and their work outdoors.  

Today as I walked around the yard we had students from Japanese, Library and Music classes all working in the fresh air and sunshine. Mr. Reidy had his Year 1 students practising their conversational skills under our wonderful peppercorn tree, Mrs. Marian chose to share a story with her students on picnic blankets whilst they worked on their Harmony Day activities and Mrs. Lawrence chose a lovely green patch of lawn to review musical compositions with her students.  

We have been truly blessed by God to have these pockets of greenery and gardens to spread ourselves out and enjoy a time of rich learning together in the outdoors – we really do have lots to be thankful for!   

  • Year 6 Camp

    The excitement in the air was palpable as the Year Six cohort set off for Camp Angahook in Airey’s Inlet. The students were thoroughly excited to have the chance to get away with their friends, some so much, they forgot to hug their parents goodbye! The students had the opportunity to participate in many rich learning activities including low ropes course, thinking initiatives, the giant swing, climb tower, zip line, disc golf, camp fire (with marshmallows!), trivia night, bush walks, canoeing and mountain biking.  

    Some student highlights were: 

    “I loved the canoeing with my friends. It was really fun learning new techniques like how to properly paddle. We had to have a lot of team work and communication with my partner so our canoe went the right way!” Eva H. 6D 

    “The mountain bike riding was really fun. I loved it. The surroundings of nature that I don’t usually see were pretty cool, I also loved going up and down the tracks, it was soothing and relaxing. The outdoor smells after the rain were also pretty cool”. Zoe S. 6D 

    “Camp was awesome! Every single activity we did was fun and interesting. I loved patting the camp dog, Banjo”. Josh C. 6S 

    “Camp was a place to make new friends and have fun. I enjoyed the activities because we got to interact with friends and do things we hadn’t done before and get out of our comfort zone. The teachers made everything super fun”. Addison M. 6D

    “The best part of camp was probably interacting with people that I don’t usually play with at school. This helped me to make new friends and enjoy the fun activities. The giant swing was the best because I loved the team work and the stomach drop from up high!” Pyper N. 6S 

    The students are currently creating a photo slide show of their time at Camp. This is available to access via the TEAMS platform, in the homeroom-wellbeing channel. 

    Samantha McKenzie (“Mac & Cheese”) and Theresa Drewer (“Cruisy Drewsy”). 

  • Year 8 English – Sharing a Love of Storytelling

    Year 8 English students were treated to a special guest speaker, Mia Kafieris. Mia is a past student of Christian College and completed graduate and post graduate theological and counselling studies in Melbourne and Vancouver, Canada. She has taught and lectured in theology at several universities across the world. Mia is currently an adjunct lecturer for Melbourne University and The University of Divinity, whilst also a full time Chaplain at Christian College Highton Campus.  

    Currently, students are studying fairy tales and Mia, who has a special interest in this genre and creative writing, had students enthralled as she discussed how students’ own lives are echoed in a narrative which reflects their experience of culture.  

    Mia helped students delve deeper into writing and stage elements, whilst also challenging students to think about why we, as humans, are inherent storytellers, how has this changed over time and the implications for students as readers and watchers of fairy tales.  

    Over the final weeks of term, students will turn the fairy tales they have been crafting into picture story books to share with some of our junior year levels. 

  • Learning About Teamwork 

    This term the Year 1 children have been learning all about friendship and how to work collaboratively as a team. We have read many lovely, rich texts exploring the theme of friendship and discussed many quotes from the Bible, including John 13:34 ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’  

    We decided to put the student’s learning to the test by participating in the Year 1 ‘Team Building Championship’. Activities included cup tower building, collaborative drawing and creating a structure strong enough to hold a stack of books! It was very encouraging to see the students working collaboratively, negotiating tasks and listening to the ideas of everyone in the group. We were quite amazed at some of the impressive structures that were created! 

    Following on from this experience, students wrote a detailed recount as part of our ‘Recount Writing’ unit in Literacy. It is important to provide students with authentic purposes for writing and the students were able to reflect on their experience by recording their thoughts and feelings. It was such a fun and exciting way to show how well we are working as a team in Year 1!  

  • Preps are Writing Superstars 

    Over the past couple of weeks, the Prep children have been hard at work practising their writing skills. We are focusing on forming letters properly, putting finger spaces between words and putting punctuation at the end of a sentence.  

    This week we have put our skills to use and written a book all about our families. They have written a page for each of their family members, including themselves! The Preps are very proud of their books and are very excited to share them with their Year 4 buddies before taking them home! 

  • Self-Directed and Independent Learning

    Students Taking Ownership of Their Learning

    This term, it has been fabulous to see our students engaged in a variety of rich and meaningful educational experiences across our campuses – some within the classroom and others outside or during community events, such our recent swimming sports.

    With such a wide variety of activities and learning experiences, how are students supported to maximise the learning opportunities, prioritise and stay on top of their work or learning commitments?

    Our subject of Self Direction and Independent Learning in Years 7 to 9 is a unique, once-a-fortnight session where students are provided with explicit skills in how to prepare themselves as learners and are provided an opportunity to apply these new skills to their current subjects within this class. So far this term the focus has been around Organisation for Learning where students have been looking at ways to organise and plan their time using organisational tools such as a diary, as well as developing skills in the appropriate use of new and emerging technologies, such as Teams assignments, Cloud services such as OneNote and OneDrive to support their ability to independently plan for their learning requirements. All the while, they are developing appropriate digital literacy skills in sourcing information and across all their subjects. Students have also looked at SMART goal setting, habits of highly effective people and motivation. Our Years 8 and 9 students have built upon their skills from last year and have been more focused on their reflective practices as learners, as well as utilising class time to undertake learning tasks that they have identified.

    Throughout this journey students have been encouraged to reflect as learners as have been maintaining a learning journal. May I also encourage you to have a discussion with your child on their reflective learning portfolio, which they have been contributing to over the term.

    As an ongoing support for our students, we have also developed a Study Habits Guide website as a point of reference through their educational journey.

    https://christiancollege.vic.libguides.com/Student_Study_Habits

     

    2022 GISSA Swimming Championships

    Our CCG Eagles Swimming Team recently competed at the GISSA Swimming Championships at Kardinia Aquatic Centre, coming agonizingly close to capturing the biggest prize on offer.

    Our squad of over 40 students from our Bellarine Campus, Middle School Highton Campus and Senior School Campus all performed to a high standard as our College finished second in the overall Association Championship, less than 70 points behind first place.

    The strong performance featured a stand-out showing from the Senior girls contingent of our Team, which clinched the shield for the Senior Female Section of the Championships – a title that encapsulates the Under-16 and Open Age Groups.

    We had 11 students win their individuals races throughout all different age levels and strokes, with six of those students winning multiple events and two who went home with a stack of blue ribbons after winning four individual races and relay events.

    In particular, our Sport Faculty would like to thank the Year 12 students who competed at this event, which for many of whom put the finishing touches on years of incredible service to our CCG Eagles Swimming Program competing at events such as the GISSA Titles.

    Our Sport Faculty would like to congratulate Flynn Falcon Madison Cooper, Taylor’s Maya Fuller, Penman’s Oscar Murdoch and Burrows Bear Ben Breguet, as well as Flynn’s Luka Mathe, who was selected in the team but was unable to compete on the day.

    Our College is blessed with a large crop of talented swimmers coming through our Swimming Program, as evidenced not only by this result at the GISSA Championships but also the performances on show throughout our recently-concluded House Swimming Championships season.

    We look forward to watching many of our students compete in other events outside of school over the course of the year and we wish them all the best for the rest of 2022.

     

  • Sport News

    The College wishes to acknowledge and congratulate some fantastic student performances at recent State sporting events. We are always encouraged by the knowledge that our students are actively engaged in community sport, and we look forward to giving a number of these students an opportunity to represent the college on various sporting fields and in aquatic environments this year.

    Ashton Schram (Yr8) won a gold and silver medal in the individual board race and board relay at the State Surf Life Saving Titles and as a result, is off to represent his club and the State at the Australian Titles on the Gold Coast next week. Following on from his successful season in the surf, Ashton has been selected in the U15 State Hockey team that will be competing in the National Tournament in Newcastle during the first week of the school holidays.

    Harry Leigh (Yr12) and Kade Leigh (Yr11) have been selected in the U18 State Hockey team to compete at the National Championships in Cairns during the upcoming school holidays. This is the third year in succession that these brothers have represented their state in hockey, which is a great achievement.

    Jasmine King (Yr8) competed at the State Track & Field Championships, where she achieved personal bests in all three of her Field events – shot put, discus and javelin. With a javelin throw of 39.39m she became the State U14 Champion, and then followed this claiming a bronze medal in both the shot put and discus events.

    We wish Guy Williams (Yr8) and Ethan Grills (Yr12) all the very best at the Australian Track & Field Championships in the coming week. After medaling in three events at the State Championships, Guy will be competing in the high jump, triple and long jump. Ethan will be out to compliment his State 3000m medal with a national medal. We wish both boys all the best in their respective events at these Championships.

    The following students enjoyed swimming success at the State Championships recently – Madison Cooper (Y12) swam in five finals and collected one gold, one silver and two bronze medals; Nicole Briscoe (Y11) swam in eight finals and collected two gold medals; Matilda Byrnes (Y9), nine finals, three gold and four silver medals as well as being named female swimmer of the ‘meet’; Brooke Briscoe (Y9), ten finals, one gold, two silver and one bronze medal; Hayley Mackinder (Y9), five finals, two gold and 1 silver medal; Meg Conheady (Y9) and Zeke Lamborne (Y9) swam PBs in their respective races and Dax Conheady (Y7) finished 8th in his breaststroke Final. Unfortunately, due to having to isolate, Noah Stephens (Y7) missed that State Titles where he was competing in numerous stroke events. As a result of their performances at the State Championships, Madison, Nicole, Matilda, Brooke and Hayley have qualified to compete at the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide next month.

    Finally, our college was well represented at the Head of the Schoolgirls rowing regatta last weekend. Alice Joyce (Yr10) rowed beautifully across the three days winning a silver medal in the Yr10 girl’s single scull. Isabelle Brehaut (Yr8), Molly Callahan (Yr8), Abbey Powers (Yr8), Billie Ballard (Yr9) and Grace Perrin (Yr9), competed very well in their Yr9 quad scull division at this regatta. If students are interested in getting involved in this great sport of rowing, then please speak to these students or contact Mr Richardson.

    We congratulate these students on these impressive performances and wish the students who are competing at the National level all the very best in the coming weeks.

     

    School Sport Victoria Geelong North Swimming Championships

    If our College needed any further reminder of how bright the future is for our CCG Eagles Swimming Program, the evidence was there for all those who were at the Kardinia Aquatic Centre this week.

    Competing at this year’s School Sport Victoria Geelong North Division Championships, our College was admirably represented by a combined Team from the Middle School Highton and Junior School Campus and another joint team from the Bellarine and Surf Coast Campus.

    Both CCG Eagles Swim Teams, made up of 15 students each, enjoyed success on event day, with every student swimming their heart out as they lined up next to other primary schools from around the Geelong region.

    Our Sport Faculty would like to sincerely thank and congratulate every student who qualified for these Championships, even those who were unable to actually compete on event day.

    Team Managers Nick Rice and myself, Matt Murnane, were very impressed with the energy and encouragement students provided each other between events, creating a buoyant team spirit that no doubt lifted each of our competitors to greater heights than might have otherwise been the case.

    After several years where this event has been impacted by COVID limitations, it was also great to have parents and guardians back at the stands, and their positive and calming influence on the students around them was also a valuable contributing factor.

    Our College had two relay teams win their races at the Division Event on Tuesday, the first being our 11 Years Mixed Freestyle Relay Team made up of Year 5 Burrows students Alfie Lynch and Lucas O’Brien as well as Penman pair George Kitson and Holly Tucker, who stepped in as a last-minute replacement.

    The second Relay Team to claim the blue ribbons was our 12/13 Years Female Relay Team made up of Year 6 Flynn Falcons Chelsea Ronning and Ava Mousavi, as well as Taylor’s Macey Dow and Burrows Bear Tahlia Steel.

    There were also several students who finished in the top two of their individual events. This means they have earned the right to compete in the next stage of SSV’s Swimming Program – the 2022 Western Metro Region Championships coming up at Aquatic Centre on April 5.

    Burrows Bear Alfie Lynch won the 11 Years 50-Metre Male Backstroke Event in a time of 46.27, while two female students finished second in their individuals events – Flynn’s Chelsea Ronning in the 12/13 Years 50-metre Freestyle Event with a time of 34.92, and Burrows Bear Mikayla Grunberg in the 50 metre Female Backstroke with a time of 45.17.

    We wish those students moving onto the Region Titles in just over a week’s time the very best of luck as they compete for a spot in the SSV State Finals.

     

     

    Notice to All Parents Regarding CSEF Funding

    The Victorian State Government runs a program called the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF). As the name suggests, the fund is designed to assist families meet costs associated with school camps, sport and excursions and requires families to apply in each year they have a child who is eligible. Families who have an eligible child will receive $125 per year for a primary aged student and $225 per year for a secondary aged student.

    If you hold a valid means-tested concession card or are a temporary foster parent, you may be eligible for CSEF. Please complete a 2022 Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) Application Form and return to your campus administration office by the end of Term 1 please.

    Please read the attached letter for further information

    CSEF Parent Information:
    View Download
    CSEF Application Form:
    View Download

    We’re Hiring

    Christian College seeks the services of a Digital Technologies teacher for Terms 2, 3 and 4 this year.

    This is a part-time (0.5) position based at our Middle School – Highton Campus. Interested, or know someone who might be? Check our website for a Position Description and application details (Homepage > Join > Employment)

    A MYTERN Thought for the Week

    In this world of uncertainty , try not to be too influenced by the opinion of others.

    It is not THEIR journey. 

Your journey is unique. 

Seek advice, but then make sure that you are in control of the roads that you choose to drive down 😊

    Discover more about MYTERN here