From the Principal
We Belong Together
It has been such a joy for me to return to school and visit our campuses to see our community reconnecting after the summer break. I think I have felt this sense of joy for two specific reasons. The first reason is a personal perspective – after spending most of Term 4 last year away on leave, I certainly missed having connection with my colleagues and being involved in our wonderful College program. The second reason is a professional viewpoint – I can clearly see the growing health and strength in our community despite the negative effects of the disruptions caused by the ongoing difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no doubt that one of the biggest challenges for society in general throughout the pandemic has been the ability to remain connected. The imposition of lockdowns, border closures, and requirements to isolate that we have experienced for the first time in our lives have temporarily removed our freedom to connect with family, friends, workplaces, sporting clubs, churches, and schools. Whilst technology enabled us to remain connected remotely, nothing replaces the ability to be together in the same physical space.
Opinions relating to how our respective governments at all three tiers have managed this process is currently being debated – and this will no doubt continue for some time to come – however, the impact of this season on our human condition, our wellbeing as individuals, and our health as a society, has become a concern for many, including educators.
The global pandemic has reminded us that schools thrive when our learning communities are together. This is true for a number of reasons. Not only do we learn more comprehensively in supportive and present groups, but, also, schools, just like any other example of human beings gathering together, are places where a sense of belonging can be created.
As I consider what this means for our Christian College community, I have been thinking through the lens of a child attending school or kindergarten for the first time. I am sure these thoughts have been influenced by watching my own grandchildren begin their educational journey – two of whom will be joining us at CCG.
In the past, the education sector placed great emphasis on the end result and the final stages of the learning process. Thankfully, in more recent times, we have become much more aware of the importance of the beginning of the learning journey, and the small steps achieved along the way, noting that the outcome is not the only significant factor in the formation and development of children’s lives and learning. Hence my reflection on education through the eyes of a small child.
Being, Becoming, Belonging
If being together is so important, how can we at CCG specifically focus our attention on connecting and re-connecting at the start of this new year?
The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (developed by the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Workplace and Employment Relations in 2009) outlines the following key elements to support our children from birth to 5 years of age. Interestingly, these have a clear framework around the notion of belonging. The vision is for ‘each child to experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life.’ To achieve this, the framework states the fundamental view that children’s lives are characterised by being, becoming and belonging.
- Being – Being recognises the significance of the here and now in children’s lives. It is about the present and them knowing themselves, building and maintaining relationships with others, engaging with life’s joys and complexities, and meeting challenges in everyday life.
- Becoming – Children’s identities, knowledge, understanding, capacities, skills and relationships change during childhood. They are shaped by many different events and circumstances. Becoming reflects this process of rapid and significant change that occurs in the early years as young children learn and grow. It emphasises learning to participate fully and actively in society.
- Belonging – Experiencing belonging – knowing where and with whom you belong – is integral to human existence. Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighborhood, and a wider community.
I take this opportunity to encourage us all to adopt our own personal focus on these key aspects of our lives as we navigate our way into this new school year; to find the patterns and processes through which we can connect or reconnect to an understanding of being, becoming and belonging. There are limitless possibilities attached to the new beginning afforded us by a new year.
Thankfully, as Christians, we have so many Scriptural examples (including the words and actions of Christ Himself) to follow and to inspire our journey of growth and transformation as we look to the future. One such example is found in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43: 18-19
We are reminded here that God wants us to embrace new things in our lives, and to look ahead to see the fresh new possibilities. He wants good things for us and He wants us to discover the purpose that He has for each of us and for our community. That is why He has brought us together at Christian College. We belong to Him, and to each other. Our challenge is to follow His direction.
It is my prayer for our community as we connect at the beginning of the new year and find a place where we belong together, that our College will be blessed with the capacity to love one another and treat each other with kindness and respect through our words and actions.
These truths are, I believe, the foundation of the ‘Learning that Matters.’
Thank you to our families, our students, and all of our teaching and professional support staff for contributing to what has already been a great new beginning for 2022 – and for that beautiful sense of belonging which makes our College community so remarkable and unique.
Blessings to you all.
What’s Happening at Middle School
Week 2, Monday 7th February 2022
Tues 8th Feb – Year 5 Chilli Challenge Day
Tues 8th Feb – Year 5 Chilli Challenge Day – Parent BBQ – Cancelled
Thurs 10th Feb – Swim Trials
Week 3, Monday 14th February 2022
Mon 14th Feb – Wed 16th Feb – Year 7 Camp – Cave Hill Creek – 7B, 7G, 7H
Wed 16th Feb – Fri 18th Feb – Year 7 Camp – Cave Hill Creek – 7M, 7R, 7Y
Thurs 17th Feb – Year 5 Parent Cuppa and Tour Morning – Cancelled
Sat 19th Feb – Year 9 Leadership Training Experience
We Sustain Each Other
It has been a brilliant week on the Middle School – Highton Campus, and one that has us set us up for a successful year ahead. After the enormous, and often deeply unsettling previous two years, I have felt a deep sense of calm and positivity around the grounds this week. Our students have engaged wonderfully with their classes, and met new teachers and friends with smiles and open hearts. Likewise, we staff already recognise our great privilege in getting to work and learning alongside your young person over the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Stemming from our College’s philosophical statement, values and strategic goals, our theme for the year ahead on campus is ‘We sustain each other’. Throughout the year, in assemblies, devotions, classes, on camps, excursions and in the everyday moments, students and staff alike will be encouraged to consider the ways in which we can nourish, nurture and build each other up, all in the name, and for the glory of God, our ultimate sustainer. I look forward to updating you as this theme evolves throughout the year.
Please keep in your prayers those within our community who are unwell at this time, including those isolating with Covid. For that small group of students who have missed some classes this week, we look forward to welcoming you back very soon!
Our students have presented themselves beautifully this week, and it has been lovely to see many wearing items of our new College wardrobe. I am aware that the Uniform Shop is currently out of boys dark navy socks, those to be worn with the existing (old) uniform. With this in mind, please note that it is appropriate for boys to purchase and wear the new socks with the old uniform, at this time.
I am delighted to let you all know that the carpark on the south side of our campus will be completely refurbished this term. Careful planning has gone into this area of our school, with an ultimate focus on safety for everyone who uses the area. Please note that from next week, the entrance gate on Thornhill Road, and the carpark itself, will be inaccessible for parents and guardians. Please instead use the carpark inside our front gates on Burdekin Road, should you need to park on campus. The College bus network will continue to run as currently scheduled.
I pray you all have a safe and peaceful weekend, and as your young person arrives home today, they do so with great excitement about the year ahead.
Our new Cyber Safety Hub and Partnership With Family Zone
It is with pleasure that I introduce to parents and the wider College community our new Christian College Cyber Safety Hub. This support and resource hub is just one element of a broader Cyber Safe Schools Program and formal College partnership with Family Zone that we will be unveiling more detail about progressively over Semester 1.
The Cyber Safety Hub is a relevant and tailored resource of information, guidance and advice for parents regarding all areas of navigating the digital world with their young person.
This includes up to date app and game reviews, and parents can also request an article on a specific topic, issue or theme.
I encourage all parents to visit the hub and explore the resources it provides.
The hub is accessible via a new tile on the parent links page of SEQTA Engage (see below), or directly via this link: https://christiancollege.cybersafetyhub.com.au/.
I look forward to sharing more about our new formal partnership with Family Zone, including about the Cyber Safe Schools Program which focuses on school and home working together in community to support all students in building positive digital behaviours. A part of this program is some new tools that the College will be implementing this year as part of our protection and support of students in the digital space while they are at school.
In addition, I’m excited about some complimentary Family Zone parental tools that will soon be made available as part of this program for our parents. 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. Parents may notice a Family Zone tab on the Cyber Safety Hub which relates to this part of the program. While these Family Zone tools are not available to parents just yet, our goal is to have them in place later this term.
I’m excited about the College’s partnership with Family Zone beginning this year and I look forward to sharing more about aspects of the Cyber Safe Schools Program with you as the semester progresses.
Music Opportunities at Highton
Music is a major life force at Christian College and there are many opportunities to become involved.
An extensive ensemble program is offered to students from our campus both here and at Senior School. There are various groups for students of different levels of experience: Concert Bands, Stage Bands, String Orchestras, Percussion and Guitar Ensembles. Those who don’t play an instrument are most welcome to join the Choir and free music theory classes are also offered. The ensemble timetable for Term 1, 2022 is below. Students who are already involved will be contacted by ensemble leaders regarding the commencement of their rehearsals for 2022. For those who are interested in becoming involved in music at Highton or have any questions, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year 5 Music – A Year of Performance!
On Wednesday the Year 5 students came together in the chapel for a demonstration of musical instruments. After hearing how each worked and sounded, students were encouraged to describe the sound of each instrument and think about what appealed to them. Every student in Year 5 will be learning a musical instrument or be offered the chance to extend their musical abilities in workshop classes. By the end of the year, the Year 5 cohort will be able to perform as part of larger ensembles and provide a celebration concert to showcase the amazing learning that they have experienced. The development over the year is so exciting!
Here’s to another music-filled year!
Year 7 Orientation Program
This week we were blessed to have 148 students start their Year 7 journey at Middle School. This includes 71 who are new to the College, and I offer my warmest welcome to them and to their families.
To assist all the students to settle into the rigours of secondary studies, they were engaged in an Orientation Program for the first three days. It was a great opportunity for students to develop new friendships and get to know their homeroom peers and teachers. A range of activities were designed to show students many of the facilities and resources available to them, as well as team building and social connection tasks.
Lots of fun was had throughout the program, and we hope that it helps the students to feel comfortable in their classes, in the yard, and in their learning.
Our Student Officer – the Heartbeat of Highton!
Our Student Officer at Highton Middle School has been most suitably described as the ‘first port of call’ for a vast range of student needs.
Lewanna Smith commenced at Christian College Highton as our Student Officer during 2020. Since starting out in the role, Lewanna has very quickly become not only an exemplary support person for students but an integral part of our Highton staff team. She has a wealth of knowledge about our students, families, first aid and ways in which our staff need support to in turn support our students.
The Student Officer job can look different at every moment of every day! Some regular tasks Lewanna undertakes include issuing late passes and bus passes to students, monitoring attendance, triaging students in sick bay, managing medications and all first aid supplies, providing the necessary first aid supplies to teachers for excursions and camps, passing on communications between parents and students, receiving and passing on forgotten lunches, instruments and uniform items and checking in with teachers. Lewanna values the opportunity to really listen carefully to students when they come to see her and determine what they need so that she can provide the most appropriate support required. This is Lewanna’s gift of being in tune with the needs of students and is clearly evident in the way she values ‘being in the moment’ with the kids. As a parent of three children, Lewanna understands that there can often be underlying concerns or issues at the heart of the matter, and these are not so easy to identify by what is initially presented. She understands that by really listening to students carefully, she is often able to determine when there is more going on than simply meets the eye!
In addition to being a parent and working at Christian College, Lewanna enjoys a healthy lifestyle including some exercise and reading. She has travelled extensively around the world and looks forward to being on the move again once we are able to.
Lewanna has really enjoyed having students back on Campus this week. A reminder from the Student Officer to our families at home is to please remember to inform the College if students are away or if any known absences are planned due to family commitents. The Highton Student Office email is email@example.com
Annual Digital Learning and Student Device Policy Agreement
Late last week, parents received a copy of this policy via email, along with instructions for how to complete the mandatory parent agreement via EdSmart.
This agreement must be completed by a parent for every student at the College, as a requirement for access to digital learning technologies. This includes participation in the College’s 1:1 device program for students at Years 4-12.
Parents are requested to complete the agreement as soon as possible, and by Friday 11th February at the latest.
Students in Years 4-12 will also be made aware of the College’s expectations regarding safe and responsible use of digital technologies and will complete a student agreement within the first two weeks of their classes.
A copy of the Digital Learning and Student Device Policy Agreement, newly updated for this year, is available to parents for reference at any point in the year via Documents in SEQTA Engage.
2022 CCG Tennis Championships
The CCG Tennis Championships are back in 2022 – this time in its customary Term 1 timeslot!
Students are invited to register for our Tennis Titles set to be held on Friday, February 11 at Geelong Lawn Tennis Centre from 4pm to 7pm.
There will be a main male and female singles draw to determine this year’s individual College Tennis Champion from each gender, and there will also be doubles matches for students to participate in once they are eliminated from the main draw.
Beyond this, performances from these Championships will form part of the selection process for our College Tennis Team (Year 7 to Year 12) that will compete at the GISSA Tennis Championships later in Term 1.
Our staff from the CCG Eagles Tennis Program – lead by Mr Sam Nichols – are excited to be involved in this great twilight event, which always creates a lively, feel-good atmosphere thanks to the excellent facilities and generous hospitality of the Geelong Lawn Tennis Club.
Further, our Tennis Program staff will use performances at these Championships as part of our selection process for the College Tennis Team (Yr7 to 12) that will compete at the 2022 GISSA Tennis Championships later in Term 1.
If you are interested in entering the CCG Tennis Championships, please register your interest by emailing Mr Matt Murnane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Sport Faculty would like to wish students the very best of luck for these Championships.
2022 CCG Surfing Championships
Who will take home the prestigious ‘Scott Elliss Trophy’ in 2022?
The Sport Faculty wish to confirm that registrations are now open for students from Year 7 to Year 12 to compete in this year’s CCG Surfing Championships!
These Championships will be held on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28 at Jan Juc Surf Beach.
As in previous years, it will be an all-day event – beginning at 8:30am – and parents / guardians will be required to transport students to and from the venue.
Performances at these Championships will also form part of the selection process for our College Surfing Team (Year 7 to Year 12) that will compete at this year’s GISSA Surfing Championships later in Term 1.
The ‘Scott Elliss’ Trophy is the most unique event on the College sporting calendar and has created a ton of highlights and memories for students in the past as they challenge themselves in the surf at one of the world’s premier beaches.
If you would like to enter this year’s CCG Surfing Championships, please register your interest by emailing Mr. Murnane at email@example.com
Our Sport Faculty would like to wish students the very best of luck for these Championships.
School Sport Victoria ‘Team Vic’ Program
Our Sport Faculty is excited to help students from Year 5 and Year 6, as well as students from Year 7 to Year 12 engage with this year’s School Sport Victoria ‘Team Vic’ Program.
In 2022, students can attempt to gain selection in ‘Team Vic’ squads in 15 different sports – AFL, Basketball, Cricket, Cross Country, Diving, Soccer, Golf, Hockey, Netball, Rugby League, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Touch Football and Track and Field.
For students in Year 5 and Year 6, our College will run Try-Outs, or some other selection process, early in Term 1 to decide which students can nominate for the first stage of ‘Team Vic’ process on behalf of Christian College Geelong.
There will be Try-Outs, or some kind of selection process, for the ‘Team Vic’ 12-and-under Teams for Year 5 and 6 students in Cricket, AFL, Basketball, Netball, Tennis and Soccer.
Our College Head of Sport Faculty must endorse the nomination of any student from Christian College Geelong and there are a limited number of endorsements our College are allowed to provide.
Please note, as it explains clearly on the SSV website, students who engage with the ‘Team Vic’ Program must “consistently display well above average team and sport-specific skills for 12-years-old students’, adding that this process is to “determine the best from across Victoria”.
Therefore parents and students are asked to carefully consider whether this description applies to them before choosing to engage with the ‘Team Vic’ process.
Also, it is the responsibility of the student or parent/guardian (not the College) to accurately complete the nomination form, make the payment, transport the student to the trials and cover all of the costs.
For students from Year 7 to Year 12, the process is different. Year 7 to Year 12 students can nominate themselves for the first stage of the ‘Team Vic’ Trials.
Again, it is the responsibility of the student or parent/guardian to accurately complete the nomination form, make the payment, and transport the student to the trials and cover all of the costs.
If there are any students from Year 7 to Year 12 who choose to engage with the ‘Team Vic’ process, please advise our Sport Faculty, so we can support you in any way we can and celebrate your achievements along the journey.
If students or families would like more information on the ‘Team Vic’ Program, please follow this link: https://www.ssv.vic.edu.au/team-vic.
Or you can contact our Sport Faculty for assistance by emailing Mr. Matt Murnane at firstname.lastname@example.org
CCG Interschool Snow Sport Team 2022
I am sure like me, you are all watching the Winter Olympics with much admiration of the skills and abilities of the athletes competing. One of our past students, Jakara Anthony Competed in the Qualifying Round of the Female Moguls, qualifying in first place with a dominant score of 83.75.
Jakara graduated from CCG in 2016 and her interest in skiing competitively began at the Interschool competition level.
You may not be aware that we have a CCG Interschool Snowsport Team, and while competitions have been cancelled the last two years, it looks more promising that this event will go ahead this year. The Victorian Interschool Snowsports Competition is held at Mount Buller between the 20th -28th August and is available to all ages and abilities.
If you would like more information and are keen to support your child(ren) in competing in this event, please email me on email@example.com.
I am sure you will all be very keen to watch Jakara compete in the Moguls on Sunday night.