Week 8 Term 2
Nurturing a Life of Prayer
Father Walter Burghardt, a Jesuit Priest, tells the story of an old farmer who would stop at a chapel on his way home from the fields. Knowing that the man just sat in the chapel apparently doing nothing, a neighbour asked him, “What goes on when you sit there?” The old man smiled and said, “I look at the Good God, and the Good God looks at me.” Prayer can be that simple—and that wonderful.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours”. All human beings hunger and thirst for God. The thirst for God is often described as a longing in our hearts that can’t quite be satisfied. In every man, woman, and child, that longing is ultimately a desire to be close to God. The great news is that God longs for such closeness with us as well. Prayer is the place where we acknowledge and express that thirst, where we are met, heard, and responded to. It is our opportunity to listen to God.
Prayer is an activity of the heart. It is not empty ritual or prescribed words. Prayer is our turning toward God with as much of our true self as we can muster. Prayer is best when it springs from our deepest emotions of joy, wonder, sorrow, gratitude, yearning, loss, and need. Perhaps the most sincere prayers we will ever voice are short and clear—“Please, God.” or “Thank you, God!” or “Help me, God!”
There are many styles of prayer, but if you want to nurture a life of prayer, a wonderful practice is to sit quietly and be aware that you’re in the presence of God. This practice can seem terrifying and uncomfortable at first, but it can soon become a highly prized and valuable part of your day. No matter what else is happening in your life, you will always be able to calm yourself, sit in God’s presence, and know that “the Good God” looks at you too.
COVID-19 – Our Biggest Threat is Complacency
I will be giving to my staff in the coming days, a reminder (as has been the case constantly during this time) to ensure complacency does not enter into our daily routines due to the apparent lack of threat of COVID-19 to the Macleay Valley. Happily, we have been relatively sheltered here from the full impacts of the virus and have been able, in many senses, to return to something that is ‘near normal’. But as the Premier of NSW opens up the state to more regional travel, there is an increasing chance that there will be spikes in infections, including in our own community. So it is for this reason that we need to be constantly reminded of the need for Health Authority guidelines to be adhered to.
You will have seen on the news recently, other schools in the larger cities having to close due to an outbreak within. None so prominent as that of our former student Aiden Tolman, whose child’s school was closed. You may then wonder just what might happen if there was to be an infection here at St Paul’s College.
Rest assured there is a strong and co-ordinated response plan in place IF such an emergency were to occur. Proper parental messaging is set in place, if required and lines of communication ready to go between this college and NSW Health, and to our Catholic Schools Office.
An infection on-site would trigger an AMBER alert which would mean the school would be in lock down and our gates locked until further instruction is given to us on the best method of evacuating students. Children could not simply be picked up randomly. They would be restricted to classrooms to ensure no further cross-infection might occur, and to await further expert guidance. Their safety and yours is our priority here. Hopefully this planning will not be required, and it will be in no small part due to the concerted actions of all to remain vigilant and to not let complacency into our daily lives.
REMINDER - School Fees Support
By now you will have received invoices for the next instalment of school fees, school service levy and elective subject fees. Within this statement was a letter from me outlining the support being offered by the Diocese to families impacted by COVID-19. While it would be ideal to be able to support families no matter what the circumstances, the Director and the Bishop took the view that, with limited ability to spread support, a single category of eligibility would be formally identified and offered that support, specifically those families who are eligible for Job-Seeker payments.
This does not count out any potential support for families impacted in other ways. This College will always provide support to families in any circumstance and I always take the opportunity to listen to families and the impact of their particular circumstances on school fee payments. If you feel that some assistance is required, I encourage you, as always, to make contact with the school fees officer, and/or me to discuss how we can help you through these difficult times.
Kevin Lewis BEd (Syd) MEd (ACU) GradCertRe (Uon)
Reflecting on Online Learning
Since returning to face-to-face learning across the College, we have been engaging in targeted reflections with staff and students on their experiences of learning from home. COVID-19 has had some unintended positives for teaching and learning moving forward. For staff, it has been the opportunity to engage in a range of technologies that will continue to be used to enhance learning and support students, and an appreciation of the importance of partnerships with parents in education. For students, experience ranged from those who thrived in this environment, to those whom it did not suit at all. Semester 1 reports have been changed slightly due to our changed circumstances. Subject attendance data has been omitted and some alternate areas for improvement and areas of growth have been added for the junior reports that reflect the online experience.
Parent Teacher Interviews
Parent/Teacher interviews will still take place on Monday night, 10 August (Week 4 – Term 3). Face to face and social distancing measures will be applied if there is still a government requirement for this to happen. We will be taking bookings via the schoolinterviews.com.au portal and the booking code will be made available early in Term 3.
Year 10 into 11 Subject Selection
All Year 10 students should now have the Year 11 – 2021 Course Selection Handbook and you would have received a letter outlining the timeline for subject selection. On Wednesday, 22 July (Term 3 – Week 1) Year 10 students will be presented with subject information by a range of teachers at school. This will be followed by the Year 10 into 11 Subject Selection Information night on Monday, 27 July (Week 2 – Term 2) from 4 – 6.30 pm. This event will be staged face-to-face and restrictions will be applied if necessary. On Monday, 3 August we will then be conducting Year 10 Subject Selection Interviews. I would like to say how important I think it is for parents to discuss subject selection with their children. Students should choose the subjects that they enjoy and not be influenced by peers. These important discussions should also include career choices and access to further education, ie university or vocational institutions, and any prerequisite subject students may require to pursue certain career pathways.
Year 8 into Year 9 Subject Selection
The Year 8 into 9 Subject Selection process will begin in Week 5 of Term 3. Year 8 students will be able to choose two elective subjects to study as part of the Year 9 curriculum. Students will choose five subjects to participate in during the Year 9 Subject Selection Taster Day. During this day, in Week 5 of Term 3, students will be shown a sample of the content available from the Year 9 course and will participate in practical activities associated with that subject. At the conclusion of the Taster Day students will be asked to complete an online subject selection form where they will choose three subjects in order of preference. The subject lines for elective subjects in Year 9 will then be created using these subject selections.
Mr Leon Robinson - Acting Assistant Principal
Well-being and Happiness
At St Paul's this term, we are focussing on gratitude to help build resilience and increase happiness. Happiness is a state of mind or a mood. Teenagers are usually happier when they’re satisfied with their lives and relationships, although nobody is happy all the time.
Wellbeing comes from physical, mental and emotional health. It is also about understanding your emotions, taking part in different activities, having good relationships and social connections, finding meaning in life and feeling that you are doing well.
How Can You Help Your Child to be Happy?
You can boost your child’s happiness with praise and encouragement, clear rules and boundaries, a healthy family lifestyle and warm family relationships through praise, encouragement and positive attention.
- Give your child praise- but not too much.
- Give your child attention.
- Encourage your child to try new things.
- Value your child’s strengths, and praise to build self-esteem
- Let your child know that you are proud of him/her
Rules and Boundaries:
Clear and fair rules help teenagers feel safe when lots of things in their lives are changing. If you involve your child in making the rules, they’ll be more likely to stick to them. Negotiating rules with your child is also a way of showing that you respect their growing maturity.
- Encourage good sleep habits. Teenagers need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night and no technology in the bedroom is a good start.
- Help your child aim for at least sixty minutes of physical activity each day.
- Encourage your child to make healthy food choices to fuel their growth and development.
- Help your child keep a healthy balance between study, work and play. This might mean looking at how many nights your child is out doing things, how much down-time they have, how much they can contribute to family life through chores, how many family meals you have together and so on.
Mrs Bronwyn Shipton - Assistant Principal - Mission & Wellbeing
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Today (Friday, 19 June) is the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord has existed for centuries, and this devotion serves as a reminder for us to seek comfort, shelter and life in the beautiful heart of our Saviour. Saint Mary MacKillop had a special affinity to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as the order that she founded in Australia is known as The Sisters of St Joseph of the Scared Heart.
A recent addition to our College grounds that has coincided with this special feast day, as well as with National Reconciliation Week, was a mural project organised by the Student Representative Council and enthusiastically overseen by Mr Angus Crowley. The mural combines the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Proclaim Lismore Flame, the handprints of many staff and students as well as the quote by T. Barnard, “It’s not about the colour of my skin, it’s about the spirit that burns within”.
St Paul’s Feast Day Celebrations
In Week 10, on Monday, 29 June, we will celebrate the Feast Day of St Paul, from whom our College takes its name. Like many things this year, our Feast Day celebrations will look a bit different from previous years. This year we will have a ceremony celebrated in PCs in lieu of Mass. Year 12 will be hosting a festive Marketplace at lunchtime as a way to raise funds for their graduation. In Period 5, we will host a trivia/games competition, again in PC. Normal classes will run for the rest of the day. We look forward to an enjoyable, albeit, more subdued Feast Day this year.
Sunday Mass Update
As restrictions begin to ease, Fr James has generously scheduled some additional weekend Masses, to enable as many people as possible to be able to attend Sunday Mass.
For the time being, weekend Mass times will be as follows:
- Saturday 9.30 am – South West Rocks
- Saturday Vigil 6 pm – Kempsey
- Sunday 7.30 am – South West Rocks
- Sunday 9.30 am – Kempsey
- Sunday 11 am – Kempsey
Our Youth Ministry Officers (YMOs), Calissa and Darcy, have been doing lots of amazing things as the term continues:
- Our lunchtime youth group REACH continues, with a good core group coming along to explore and nourish their faith. The REACH Instagram page is still up and running – there is some great content posted there. Follow it using reach_kmc.
- In Week 10, a number of our Youth Ministry students will join with our YMOs to assist the Year 4 teachers in facilitating the Accendre. We are looking forward to an enjoyable, faith-filled day.
- They have continued to be an active presence in our Youth Ministry classes in Years 9 and 10, teaching the students about various aspects of leading retreats. We hope that in Term 4, both classes would be able to facilitate retreat days for our Catholic Primary feed schools of St Joseph’s in Kempsey and St Patrick’s in Macksville.
Vinnies Winter Appeal
Once again this year, as a College, we will be joining with the wider St. Vincent de Paul Society to help with the annual Vinnies Winter Appeal. Mr Edwards, along with some helpers in Year 10, has been drumming up support for this important appeal, which aims to provide some warmth and assistance to those in our community who need it.
Families are asked to bring in any warm items of clothing (jumpers, beanies, trackies, sleeping bags, blankets, etc.). Online monetary donations are also very much needed and appreciated!
Please GIVE GENEROUSLY where you can, to support our brothers and sisters in need this winter.
FEATURED RESOURCE: Wildfire – Evronia and Mariah Allan
During their time of isolation, two of our alumni performed and shared their own version of “Drawn to You”, a song by Audrey Assad and Matt Maher. Sisters, Evronia and Mariah Allan, both served as Youth Ministry Officers here at St Paul’s (in 2017 and 2019 respectively) and were also on mission with the Catholic Ministry group, NET Ministries.
If You Do Nothing Else Today, Stop for Five Minutes and Listen to Angels Sing!
We are truly blessed to have had these young women as a part of our community, who are so excited to share their love for Jesus with the world.
You can view this amazing, moving rendition here.
School Retreats Update
It is our intention, to hold the following Retreat and Reflection days during Semester 2. Some have been postponed/changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, however as a Catholic school, the spiritual formation of our young people remains of utmost importance. More details will be forthcoming as we get a better idea of the ‘lie of the land’. Here is a tentative list of what we hope to hold in Semester 2:
- Vinnies Sleepout/Street Retreat
- Year 8 ‘Catch the Wave” Retreat (Week 6, Term 3)
- Year 12 Reflection Day (Week 7, Term 3)
- Year 9 Retreat Day (Week 3, Term 4)
- Year 10 Retreat (Week 3, Term 4)
- Senior Retreat (Week 4, Term 4)
- Year 7 Reflection Day (Week 8, Term 4)
Over the next two weeks, I will be taking paternity leave as my family welcomes our second child into the world! During this time, Miss Megan Henry will be filling in as Acting Leader of School Evangelisation. I am sure she will do a fantastic job in continuing to nurture our College community’s relationship with Jesus. Congratulations Meg.
Please contact me if you have any questions about, or ideas for, ministry and evangelisation at the College.
Mr Dominic MacAndrews - Leader of School Evangelisation
HSC Exam and Trial Exam Timetables
Year 12 students all have access to their personalised HSC examination timetable through NESA Students Online. Students must be aware of their exam dates and are asked to see me if there is a problem or they have any questions in regards to the timetable. Students need to see me if they cannot access Students Online.
Year 12 have received a final copy of the Trial HSC Exam timetable. As these exams start in Week 5 of next term, students should be starting to revise now and not leaving their revision until the last minute.
NESA Updates on HSC
HSC results will be released on 18 December.
Practical exams/Extended hand-in dates
The hand-in dates for the teacher marked components and the externally-marked folios have been extended by two weeks:
- English Extension 2: Friday, 21 August
- Industrial Technology: Thursday, 27 August
- Textiles and Design: Monday, 31 August
- Visual Arts: Monday, 14 September
This information is being updated regularly and can be accessed via the website: https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/about/news/novel-coronavirus
HSC Minimum Standard of Literacy and Numeracy
Minimum Standard tests for Year 10 occurred last week. Any students who do not meet the standards or missed a test, will have other opportunities this year and in 2021 and 2022 to sit these tests. Students will be notified of their results via email before the end of the term.
Year 11 and 12 students who still need to meet the standards have been emailed to advise them of their status. Catch up tests started last week and are continuing over the next two weeks.
Years 7-10 Semester 1 Assessment, Grades and Reports
A reminder that due to the disruption to learning this semester, students in Years 7–10 will not be expected to complete any further formal assessment tasks. Semester 1 reports will include a common grade and comments but no marks. Grades will be based upon any assessment tasks completed in Term 1 and other class work and informal tasks.
Parents can request, in writing, that their child's progress not be reported on using the common grade scale. In these cases, the student is not counted in the cohort and he/she must receive a written report in a form decided upon by the school.
Please contact Mr Lewis or me if you have any questions or concerns in regards to this.
Important Diary Dates
|Year 12 HSC Trial Exams||18-30 August|
|HSC Practical Submission Dates||21 August - 14 September|
|Year 11 Preliminary Final Exams||14-18 September|
|Year 12 HSC Exams||19 October - 11 November|
Mrs Catriona Martin - Leader of Curriculum
The number of Year 12s staying back in order to study after school has hit double figures, which is encouraging. This is not all on the one occasion, mind you, but it is still a very positive sign. We are open for business five days a week, with complimentary grapes and carrot sticks on offer, to feed the healthy hunger.
Premier’s Reading Challenge
As of Monday this week, Jade McLean (Year 9) has moved within a whisker of completing the Challenge, having registered sixteen titles. Otherwise, there’s been very little movement. Be sure to ask your English teacher, or Library staff, if you have any questions.
Quite a few classes received a visit last week to remind them of this wonderful resource which, to be honest, appears to be quite underutilised at the moment. That is not a problem per se, but do be aware of what it has to offer. Again, just ask your English teacher, or Library staff, if you have any questions.
Will soon be calculated for those with the cleanest overdue records. This applies to textbooks AND Library books. You know what to do.
and remember…Wash Your Hands and Keep Your Distance
Mr Peter Garty - Teacher/Librarian
Homework Club will once again be operating every Wednesday afternoon from 3.25 until 4.25 in Student Services. Students can complete homework or assignments with the support of a teacher and with access to computers and reference books. The Library will also be open Monday through to Friday afternoons until 4.30. All students are welcome and encouraged to make use of this valuable service. Those students being picked up, should do so from the car park behind the Science block.
Mrs Kristy Carney - Additional Needs Teacher