Principal's Update Week 8
Posted: 28-Nov-2018

On Saturday and Sunday I had the privilege of attending the Energy Break Through event in Maryborough and to see our students working so collaboratively on our two vehicles was fantastic. Mark McLean, Alan Strange and Sean O’Loughlin support great learning by allowing students to make their own decisions in a team context where they have built up these vehicles from the ground. I extend my appreciation to all the parent helpers over the weekend and particularly to Alan and Anne-Marie Strange, Caroline Nolan, Trish Rowe, Sean O’Loughlin and of course, Mark and Kerrin McLean. Congratulations to all our students on your part and on achieving your acknowledgements for innovation in the hybrid vehicle and your success with the single power source, electric vehicle and the hybrid vehicle. Damascus students achieved a top ten finish of the more than 160 schools that competed. Our electric vehicle came second in that class, and each vehicle was recognised for their design and construction or their presentation. The EBT community also honoured Mark McLeans 21 years of team management by allowing him to lead the final lap of the competitors. It was a great weekend of College achievements.

Next week will be the final week for students
• Existing students have a student free day on Tuesday 4th December, while we welcome our 2019 Year 7 students for Orientation day.

• Wednesday 5th December will be the final day of the Early Start Program.

• Students will undertake their last day of classes on Thursday 6th December which will include Mass and Ball games for the first House event of the 2019 Ron Mathews Shield. I remind families that this is a compulsory day and that non-attendance will result in exclusion from non-core activities such as formals and socials next year. I encourage families to join us for Mass at 9.30am in the John Shannon Centre next Thursday 6th to conclude the year in the spirit of our tradition. Students are encouraged to wear PE uniform next Thursday given the active nature of the day.

I remind families with student/s going into Year 10 that students need to hand back their Microsoft Surface Pro Device on Wednesday complete with case, charger and stylus to avoid being invoiced for the full cost of a replacement device. Families of the 2018 Year 12 students should have returned devices by now.

Senior students have approached me about a Ballarat event on Friday titled “School Strike for Climate Change” at Ballarat Trades Hall. From the social media posts, this appears to be a national movement driven by 5-18-year-olds, and it is not apparent who is organising the event. If there is a discussion in your household about your student attending this event, the duty of care must be assumed by the family. Damascus College cannot allow students to go without parental permission and supervision. Political activity needs to supported by education, and this type of political education needs to be an individual family decision. If you intend to support your student/s to attend, could you please provide a signed note on Friday morning and collect them from the College. Classes will proceed at school as scheduled. Given that it is an individual decision – I would ask that those who choose to attend do so in casual clothing. I also take the opportunity to promote the College’s Green Group which support a range of environmental initiatives across the College including paper recycling, the development of our beautiful bushland and guidelines for responsible purchasing.

Last Wednesday night the graduating class of 2018 gathered for Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral before moving to Bray Raceway to celebrate the end of their secondary schooling. It was a great event, reflective of the young people and their families. I extend my appreciation to Adrian Newman and Tony Haintz for their organisation of the Mass and Matthew Hallowell and Tom Inverarity for their organisation of the dinner.

On Monday night we will gather at the Regent Theatre for the Awards and Achievements evening. Families have been sent correspondence via email if their student is receiving an award. Instructions on booking tickets are available in that correspondence as well.

We wish Imogen Batrouney (Year 11) well this week as she heads off to Brisbane to compete in the CrossFit Nationals Championships. Imogen is competing at the elite level in her chosen sport and is currently ranked 4th in Australia and 1st for many of her lifts for weight for her age group. Best wishes to Imogen for this important competition!!

Damascus has a team of Year 9 boys heading off to the Nationals Basketball from Monday in Melbourne. 2017 graduate Alicia Mewett is coaching this team, and Keran Mewett and Sean O’Loughlin will accompany them. I wish them well for a week of strong competition played in good spirit.

Tomorrow night from 7.30pm in the Valda Ward Auditorium will be the final Performing Arts showcase for 2018. This event will be the showcase of student work from the Drama and Music classrooms from across the College, and all are welcome to attend.

This Sunday in the Church calendar is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the beginning of the season that herald’s the birth of the Christ child and it mark’s the time when Christmas trees and lights and festive decorations come into full swing. We are also reminded in the Gospel’s this week to use this time of preparation to ensure we are exploring our ultimate dreams and realities and not to be distracted. We are encouraged to focus on the things that are important and to not allow our focus for the festive season be taken away from the people that we love as an expression of God’s love in the world. There is so much to do over the coming weeks, but if we can distil that busyness to completing the things which build up the love around us, we may find greater joy in the season.

We remember the Sisters of Mercy this week, who farewell Sr Connie Walsh today from her earthly presence. Connie was a proud Sister, hailing from Manangatang in the Mallee and she is remembered with affection this week. May she receive the heavenly reward that she so richly deserves form her life in ministry.

We also pray for David Neate and his wife Ngaire and their family as they celebrate the life and grieve the passing into eternal life, of Ngaire’s Mum.

Until next week



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