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92 Kangan Dr, Berwick VIC 3806
Learning that Matters
I read with interest an article in The Age (7 February, 2018) where Fitzroy Community School principal Tim Berryman urged parents to be brave and give their children more freedom.
His comments were backed by Queensland University of Technology education lecturer Dr Rebecca English, who warned that unless we let children have some level of danger or fear, we are “not allowing the human brain to develop to the full potential”.
I too worry that the risk-averse society we’ve created is doing our children a huge disservice. That in our desire to protect our children from danger, we are denying them the very skills they need to protect themselves.
As Beaconhills College’s Beacon Explorers programs begin in earnest, I reflect on the wonderful new experiences and skills they give our students. Whether it’s their first night camping in the high country of Victoria, or crossing a busy road in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, there is always a level of risk involved. Stepping out onto a football field, or competing in equestrian competitions carries a level of risk. But it’s important to remember how much is gained – leadership skills, resilience, teamwork – and hopefully the ability to competently assess risk and make the sensible decisions.
Beaconhills Berwick’s Head of Sport Adam Wright is a strong supporter of Relay for Life – and for good reason.
He and his three younger siblings lost their mother to breast cancer when Adam was just 16. Despite good family support, Adam quickly found himself in the role of “second parent”. Then – 11 years ago – breast cancer struck again. This time it was his grandmother on his father’s side of the family.
Thankfully, she is doing well and about to celebrate her 90th birthday. But it’s a poignant reminder, says Adam, of how far treatment has come and why Relay for Life fundraising matters so much.
This year, Beaconhills College will have dozens of students, staff and families walking in both the Cardinia (23 February) and Casey (2 March) Relay for Life events.
Within the school, teachers and other staff members have faced their own cancer battles. Berwick Campus’ first Head of Sport Scott McConchie, sadly lost his battle in 2014.
Adam describes the sense of community that brings so many College families together to fight cancer as “pretty impressive”.
“It’s humbling to work at a place that has such a strong emphasis on putting back into the community,” he said.
If you would like to donate, or join one of the Beaconhills ‘Beacon of Hope’ Relay for Life teams and help raise vital funds for research into cancer treatments, visit the Relay for Life website.
Cross-campus buddies Sarah Prendergast (Year 8 Pakenham) and Gemma Marangio (Year 9 Berwick) had a busy summer of surf life-saving training at Cape Paterson.
Both girls successfully completed their Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC). Their participation time is credited toward the Beaconhills Year 9 Certificate of Excellence and Year 9 community service.
Sarah spoke about her passion for life-saving at the College’s Commencement Service and her pride in becoming a qualified surf lifesaver after three years of training.
“I’m passionate about the physical activity that I get when I swim in the ocean,” Sarah said. “I also like all the challenges that swimming in the ocean poses, like the waves, the seaweed or even sometimes the wildlife.”
“But if I do ever see any wildlife out the back, say for example a stingray, I always have my friends out there with me, to give me the confidence that I need to just ignore it so that I can complete the long swim or board paddle.”
To complete their SRC, the girls had to do a week of intensive training – a range of theory lessons, water activities such as rescues and an exam.
Sarah has already done 40 hours of patrol work at Cape Paterson and plans to do more.
The spectacular dragonfly playground at the Berwick Campus Junior School is edging towards completion.
Today the ‘tail’ joined the rest of the structure, with the head and wings on their way this month. The playground will feature lots of exciting areas to explore, as well as a softfall landing, slides and a sandpit. Not surprisingly, the Junior School children are eagerly awaiting the playground opening.
The dragonfly is starting to take shape
I am delighted to announce that plans are well underway to open a Little Beacons Learning Centre at the Berwick Campus in 2019.
While this will be welcome news for parents seeking early learning programs, childcare and vacation care, this centre will also serve as a community hub in the City of Casey. It will offer the total package of children’s services, including maternal and child health, speech and occupational therapy, family support, playgroups and early intervention programs.
We are fortunate to have secured a $1.6m State Government grant to help fund this $6m project. Little Beacons will be located on the south-western corner of the Berwick Campus off Kangan Drive.
At this stage we are awaiting approval of the planning permit, before proceeding to the tender process and construction. We will announce more details as the year progresses.
This centre will complement our award-winning Little Beacons program already operating successfully from our Pakenham Campus.
A creative dance showing the ‘life cycle of a lizard’ has earned Beaconhills College Year 12 student Teagan Hogben a place in the VCE Season of Excellence Top Class performances.
Top Class recognises the best dancers in Victoria for their work in their 2017 VCE subject.
It’s the third VCE Season of Excellence award for Beaconhills. Berwick Campus’ Lachlan Toth made it to Top Designs for his product design work, while Pakenham Campus student James Wilkinson impressed the Top Designs judges with his Systems Engineering project.
Teagan said her composition dance solo represented the story of a lizard’s life – hatching from an egg, exploring the environment, then chased by a predator, bitten and dying.
She said she was thrilled with the invitation to perform in Top Class on 1 March at Southbank’s Melbourne Recital Centre.
“I was very excited to have found out that I was going to be performing my VCE Solo in Top Class – I never would have thought at the start of last year that I was going to receive an audition, let alone be invited to perform,” Teagan said.
She said she had worked hard with her Dance teacher at the Berwick Campus, Stephanie Borrie, so it was rewarding to have all the work pay off.
Teagan is completing her VCE this year, then plans to take a gap year in 2019 before doing a photography course and will continue taking dance classes.
She was one of the Beaconhills dancers who made it to the nationals of the Dance Star and Glee competition in Queensland last August, after the College collected gold, silver and bronze at the state finals.
We’ve had a flying start to 2018 at Beaconhills – three VCE Season of Excellence awards, a City of Casey Australia Day award (Community Group of the Year) and strong enrolments across both campuses.
The spirit of community – reflecting our commitment to citizenship and service – has been prominent in recent months. As we start the school year, I’m pleased to report we have had 700 volunteers complete the necessary Childsafe requirements to enable them to be actively involved in College life, from the canteens to the classrooms.
Staff have volunteered their time and donated their money, whether volunteering on the Vinnies food van or supporting some of our charitable initiatives at Christmas services and on staff day held on Monday 29 January.
Our staff day offertory raised $1700 which will go to the CFA, in memory of former Pakenham Campus student Sophie Cann who passed away in September 2017. Sophie was a member of the Menzies Creek CFA.
Today was Orientation Day for our Prep, Years 5, 7 and 12 students and there were many excited faces coming through our College gates this morning. I hope it was the first of many wonderful days at school in 2018.
Equestrian competitor Jamie Mita (Year 12 Berwick Campus) has had some outstanding results in the World Dressage Challenge held at Boneo Park.
She was overall winner in the Asia Pacific Region and eighth in the world overall in the senior division in the event held late last year. At the international Boneo Classic event last weekend, Jamie won Reserve Champion in the under 25 class. Other wins in January include the National Youth Championships and Under 25 Grand Prix Championships where she was named Reserve Champion.
Last year Jamie was selected as one of the top three finalists for the role of Young Dressage Ambassador of the Year. She hopes to represent Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Congratulations Jamie on your impressive achievements!
Beaconhills College has earned a City of Casey Australia Day award – Casey Community Group of the Year! The award recognises our educational contribution to help strengthen the Casey community.
Just some our initiatives last year included Relay for Life ($50,000 raised), Vinnies Soup Van volunteering, Solar Buddy light donations to fight environmental poverty, support of East Timor schools, books for the vision impaired via Insight Education, donations of winter coats, food and gifts to local charities and much more…
Pictured are two of our captains, Ashleigh Gilson and Riley Boland today proudly receiving our award.
Beaconhills College has become the first school in the Casey/Cardinia region to offer boarding for international students.
The College now has a modern boutique-style residence adjacent to the grounds of the Pakenham Campus, giving overseas students an option to homestay accommodation or staying with relatives. The spacious residence is staffed 24 hours by experienced supervisors and mentors.
Head of Admissions and Marketing Joanne McKenzie said the residence was an exciting new addition to the College’s successful international program.
Support Relay for Life call
Sarah and Gemma to the rescue
Dragonfly ready to land
Teagan top of her class
Australia Day award for Beaconhills
Boarding at Beaconhills
Beaconhills tech projects make Top Designs
We’re making music!
English teacher hits the write note
Rounding out our top 10
The benefits of risk
Little Beacons at the Berwick Campus
Happy new year – and congratulations…
International education flourishing at Beaconhills
Our mission for a new kitchen
Introducing our 2018 school captains
Farewell Year 12s
2018 College fees
Timely advice for exam time
Senior School leadership seminar
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810