Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
Being away from the college for Term 2 was a mixed blessing. I found the time and space to rest and focus on my studies, but I missed the students and the community and the great energy and grace this place gives me each day. When I returned to work I imagined that our students were a little bit taller and a little bit smarter. I am very grateful to the teachers who stepped into roles to lead the school with compassion and wisdom during my absence: Ms Junelle Dunne, who acted as Year 10 Leader of Learning, Miss Debbie White who was Acting Principal and Mr Greg King who was Acting Principal. It is a gift to this community to have leaders such as these ready to serve the students, staff and families of Chisholm.
We are in the final stages of preparing our Year 12 students for their Trial HSC examinations which begin next week. At this late stage of their learning, exam preparation should be occupying a significant amount of time every night and over the weekends. Studying and writing practice responses should take at least three hours per night. Our teachers are working hard, too, to provide feedback and exam strategies to the students. Please ensure your daughter is making the most of every opportunity to improve their performance over these critical weeks of preparation.
It is a significant time for our Year 10 students as they make their subject selections for Years 11 and 12. There is no secret formula for choosing the right subject, because the best students are those doing something they are interested in and are good at. I spoke with two students today about their passion for science and technology. Their curiosity, enthusiasm and love of learning were infectious. I visited an art room where Year 12 students were putting finishing touches on profoundly beautiful ceramics, and who were deeply proud of their creations, and I saw Year 10 students argue passionately about the impact humans are having on our environment. If young people can harness this love of learning and use it to direct their choices about subjects and about pathways beyond school, these decisions will make a lot more sense.
Students in the 10.1 Science class certainly harnessed their curiosity and talent when they competed in the Regional Science and Engineering Challenge held at Western Sydney University. They competed against Western Sydney schools and came away winners on the day, solving complex engineering problems under time pressure. They will go on to compete in the State Finals of the Science Engineering Challenge at Newcastle University on the 30 August. Congratulations to the girls and to their science teacher, Mr Matthew Rapley.
Building works have continued in the college, with the handover of our new Environmental Learning Centre, and the relocation of the West Wing meeting room to the back of the school. The West Wing was moved to prepare for the major building program that will begin in earnest in Term 4. If you are attending parent events, please park in the Eastern Carpark and make your way across the oval. We are also working to rehabilitate the playing field with new irrigation and grass. Over the coming months I will share more about the developments due to take place in 2019.
I want to invite parents to our next Parent Forum on August 28, 2018. The topic of the Forum is CyberSmart, helping our young people to get the most out of the online world, and keeping themselves safe in the process. This is a topic that affects all parents, and sometimes, we may feel like we are out of our depth when we try to support our daughters. The Parent Forum will help us understand the apps, tools and platforms our daughters are using and provide some useful strategies for helping them to manage their online health and safety. Please respond to the Facebook event when you see it pop up in your newsfeed, or email email@example.com to let us know you’ll be coming.
Congratulations to our dance company, and their directors, Mrs Brooke Hughes and Ms Alara Cassells-Forward for our terrific performances at recent dance competitions. This past Saturday at The Ultimate Dance Spectacular, our jazz company placed first, our contemporary placed second and our junior company received a highly commended; another example of how following your passion leads to success. Well done to all our dancers.
Finally, Pope Francis recently wrote to the Church about our call to holiness through our Baptism. At Caroline Chisholm College, we work with the church to teach the students that holiness is an ordinary and humble response to our desire to be people of love, following the example of Christ. Pope Francis offers us this beautiful reflection of what holiness can look like:
I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”.
Pope Francis GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE 19 March 2018
Mr Greg Elliott