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Learning that Matters
Year 6 race winners Ryan M (left) and Rhianna C fly the flag for Bangladesh
Beaconhills College’s annual Middle School cross-country race is about much more than mud and the mad dash to the finish line.
Each year the ‘Run for Bangladesh’ cross-country race raises thousands of dollars to support the education of students in Bangladesh, through the charity organisation CO-ID (Co-operation in Development).
Beaconhills has helped raise funds to build a school and pre-school, as part of the 41 schools and five pre-schools the charity has built in one of the poorest regions of Bangladesh.
Donations from this year’s recent Middle School race have already reached nearly $1000, topping last year’s figure.
CO-ID committee member John Waterhouse, who is the College’s photographer and archivist, has been involved in the Run for Bangladesh since it first began in 1994.
He said money raised from the run was added to funds from College’s eight House church services through the year.
“We need to raise $8000 a year to pay for the wages of four teachers at the Beaconhills school (called Morhab) along with materials,” Mr Waterhouse said.
He said last year the generosity of the College community meant there was enough money to help also fund teacher training and an administration centre to store school supplies. Any extra money raised this year will go towards much-needed new kindergartens.
Tayla K learns about the ANZACs at the Berwick Campus
Beaconhills College students, staff and community members commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings with ANZAC services at both campuses on Friday 24 April.
Pakenham Campus Senior Chaplain Rev. Peggy Kruse summed up the spirit of the occasion with these words: “May we never forget that war is never the answer for peace.”
As usual, school captains and members of the College’s Cadet Unit played a key role in the services, but there were special events this year at each campus to mark the centenary event.
ANZAC mural shows compassion of diggers
Member for Gembrook, Brad Battin, officially unveiled a stunning three dimensional ceramic mural depicting ANZAC diggers at Gallipoli at the Pakenham Campus.
The mural was created by local artist Robert Matheson and funded by the Victorian Government and Victorian Veterans Council. It shows a young soldier carrying a fallen mate on his shoulder across the battlefield.
Mr Matheson said he wanted to create a mural that specifically depicted the compassion shown by soldiers to each other despite their terrible circumstances.
“I spent days googling images of Gallipoli searching for the right one,” he said. There were other striking images – such as an Australian soldier giving a Turkish soldier a drink – but he believed the one he finally chose “said it all about compassion”.
He started work on the mural in late January, meticulously rolling out each tile, sculpting the design then firing them to eventually compile the finished piece.
Mr Battin, who also attended the campus’ ANZAC Day service, told students that they were the “custodians of the ANZAC story” and to pray that a war like that would never be repeated.
Rev. Peggy Kruse blessed the mural and said it was an enduring reminder of the friendships and human connections made during the horrific circumstances of war. She also paid tribute to the 1000 or more Indigenous Australians who fought in World War 1, despite the fact that at the time they could not vote or were even counted in the census.
Oak tree planted
The College’s Berwick Campus was one of 500 schools which took part in the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)’s Gallipoli Oaks Project.
On Friday, staff and students planted an oak tree seedling supplied by the National Trust, grown from an acorn descended from trees in Gallipoli.
Chairman of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Dr Graeme L Blackman said the planting of the 500 oaks would create enduring, living memorials in schools across Victoria.
“Our project demonstrates the Trust’s and the community’s commitment to the passing on of the Gallipoli history from generation to generation, as well as teaching an important environmental message about caring for our significant trees,” he said.
Berwick Campus staff member Helen Comport founded the Quilts of Valour organisation after her son was critically injured in Afghanistan in 2010.
Group members create quilts for injured soldiers and families of fallen soldiers.
Along with Berwick Campus Principal Jenny Williams, she presented quilts to three visiting veterans to the service; Richard Long, Terry Hornbuckle and Bob Whitecross.
Pakenham Campus’ new mural: (l-r) Artist Rob Matheson, Cadet Cameron R, College Board Chairman Noel Martin and Member for Gembrook Brad Battin.
Teacher Helen Comport (left) and Berwick Campus principal Jenny Williams (right) presented ‘quilts of valour’ to visiting veterans (l-r) Richard Long, Terry Hornbuckle and Bob Whitecross
Berwick Campus Junior School students Keturah R (left) and Shem S with the new oak tree
In the absence of Mr Sheumack, the Headmaster, I have been asked to write a blog. I am not much of a person for writing about various activities but like to share a little of my thoughts about education when I put my words to paper, so this is my blog.
It is an exciting time to be working in education; it is also a very challenging time. We are living in a time of everything. Anything and everything is instantly available on the web. The challenge is to teach our young people to be discerning about this information, to know what is valuable and to know what to keep and what to discard.
We are a global community and we face global issues and common challenges such as economic crises, climate change, sustainable practices and the promotion of human rights together as global citizens. The challenge for us as educators is to give learners the opportunity and competence to reflect and share their own point of view and role within a global and interconnected society. We need to ensure that their eyes and minds are open to the realities of the globalised world and that they understand what it is to help create a world where there is social justice, equity and human rights for all.
Throughout their time at Beaconhills much is done to encourage the young people to adopt a global perspective, to believe in themselves and to have a vision for the future and to work out how they might achieve their dreams. The most important thing that we can do for them is to help them have high self-confidence and self-esteem. It is what is at the heart of a good education; it is an essential in ensuring they achieve their personal best. School is about making a life, not about making a living.
So our challenge is to encourage our students not to be content with just imagining things but to commit to working towards being movers and change merchants in our society and working together to affect positive change for the future, not just for the patch in which they so comfortably sit, but for the whole world.
We celebrate the potential that each child has and the knowledge that every one of them can make a difference in the world. We try to teach this through our programs and try to get our students to understand that a position of privilege brings with it a position of responsibility, and the question that we must constantly ask them as they move forward is “how will you make the world a better place?”
Campus Principal – Pakenham
Ryland on stage
Year 12 hip hop dancer Ryland L is one of only three dancers from Victoria chosen to perform at the VCE Season of Excellence ‘Top Acts’ event.
Top Acts presents a selection of performances in dance, drama, theatre and music from 2014 VCE students.
Students chosen have already earned Top Class awards early this year in the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) VCE Season of Excellence, putting them at the top of their disciplines in the state.
Ryland will perform his composition solo entitled ‘Brothers in Arms’ in the Friday 1 May event at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Ryland, who has been dancing virtually since he could walk, first started formal dance lessons at a Narre Warren dance studio under the instruction of Michelle Salewski. Ms Salewski later became Beaconhills College’s Head of Performing Arts at the Pakenham Campus, where Ryland is completing Year 12.
He said he was always attracted to hip hop as a dance form and took inspiration from performers such as Michael Jackson and Chris Brown.
Ryland said he stopped dancing when he was 10 or 11 because “hip hop wasn’t the cool thing to do then” but resumed lessons when its popularity began to skyrocket. He now dances with A2D Dance Studio in Narre Warren.
His dance composition ‘Brothers in Arms’ grew from his love of military movies.
“I kind of developed the idea on my own, having always been into military and action movies,” he said. “They seem to go hand-in-hand with hip hop.”
He hopes to become a professional entertainer but is under no illusions about how hard it is to carve out a career path in dance. Regardless, he doesn’t plan to give it up any time soon: “For me it’s like a lifestyle more than a hobby.”
I am delighted to see yet another group of students from our sister school in Laval, in the La Mayenne region of France, return to Beaconhills this month.
Our relationship with the Laval school ‘Immaculée Conception’ now stretches back 17 years and it has been a most successful student exchange program.
It is a joy for the students from both countries to reunite again, in this case for the Laval students to reconnect with the group of Beaconhills students who visited France last year and meet their families who are now hosting them during their stay here.
Aside from the friendships formed, this exchange program is invaluable to students from both sides of the world and a wonderful way to increase understanding of other cultures and ways of life. And who knows what future study, career or personal opportunities may evolve from these connections?
Over the coming weeks, I will also be on tour as part of our Learning That Matters project, now in the final stages of the three-year program, in conjunction with colleagues from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) and other school leaders.
The work we do will help consolidate our six key Learning That Matters principles, which now underpin our entire College curriculum, and set the blueprint for our College leadership for the future.
I have invited some guest bloggers from our leadership team to contribute to this space in my absence.
Thomas L gets ready for the g-force at Luna Park
Luna Park became a temporary classroom for Senior School students as they experienced the principles of Physics first-hand.
VCE students discovered the joys of g-forces, momentum, inertia and gravity on the recent Luna Park Physics Day.
Teacher Jim Prendergast said Unit 3 VCE Physics covered different types of motion.
“One very difficult concept we study in Physics is circular motion in a vertical orientation,” Mr Prendergast said. “The ride called the Pharoah’s Curse is perfect for experiencing in real life the forces described by mathematics in the classroom.”
Student Max said he found it interesting that the motion of the swinging pirate ship ride was most successful in making people feel sick.
“I believe it might have been the constant change in velocity in opposite direction, which made it difficult for your brain to figure out the difference between up and down,” Max said.
Another student, Rudy, said the various aspects to the motion used in different rides gave him a great understanding of Physics principles: “I found that the Luna Park excursion was extremely insightful on the real life applications of Physics.”
The excursion reflects the College’s ‘Learning That Matters’ approach, which ensures all learning is relevant and useful for students’ lives.
Students help prepare food at the Coolibah Centre
An Urban Camp program at the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Coolibah Centre in Fitzroy has given a group of Berwick Campus students a glimpse into the lives of people who are less fortunate.
The Year 9 students spent three days living at the Coolibah Centre, which helps older adults who are experiencing homelessness, have a disability or are socially or financially disadvantaged.
The camp program was developed in line with one of Beaconhills’ key ‘Learning that Matters’ principles: citizenship and service. Students are encouraged to actively participate in service to help enhance the lives of others.
On the camp, students slept on the floor and shared limited facilities. They worked in groups to develop a lunch menu for the centre’s clients, shopped for ingredients at the local supermarket, then prepared, cooked and helped serve the food.
They helped students at a local primary school in their literacy program and visited the Housing Commission flats in Brunswick Street.
The camp raised students’ awareness about homelessness, asylum seekers, refugees and the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s work with those communities.
Students Blake and Lilly said the camp made them realise that people from all walks of life can fall on hard times.
“The stereotypical idea of a homeless person is someone living on the streets, on drugs, but there are so many different reasons why people become homeless,” Lilly said.
Blake said he was struck by how quickly a person’s fortunes could turn around: “I really learnt how far bad luck can go.”
As well as the Urban Camp, Year 9 students each year take part in a ‘Common Good’ project, aimed at extended their awareness and becoming responsible global citizens. They might raise funds for the College’s sister schools in East Timor or Bangladesh, support a charity of their choice, work in a soup kitchen or volunteer in other parts of the community.
Welcome back all as we prepare to launch into another busy term at Beaconhills College. I hope you have managed to assemble all those necessary winter College uniform items!
As usual we have plenty happening in the first week. There are students from both campuses currently travelling in Italy, Greece and China and we extend a warm welcome to student visitors from one of our sister schools in Laval, France.
Don’t forget Friday 17 April is House Athletics day for Berwick Campus students from Years 5-12. On the same day we also have our annual Run for Bangladesh at the Pakenham Campus, as part of the Inter-House Cross Country Carnival for Years 5-12.
Families of Middle School students should have now received their donation envelopes for this event and it would be wonderful to see as many donations as possible.
The College has had a long association with charity organisation CO-ID, which builds schools and kindergartens in Bangladesh. Each year our collections through the eight House church services and the Run for Bangladesh help support the Beaconhills school on remote Bhola Island, paying for the wages of four teachers along with materials.
Last year our community’s generosity meant there was also enough money to help CO-ID fund an administration centre for storing school supplies and teacher training. Any extra money raised this year will go towards much-needed new kindergartens, with the eventual aim of having a kindergarten alongside every school. Little Beacons Learning Centre has already helped fund the building and operation of one kindergarten.
Please consider a donation, however small, to support this worthy charity. My best wishes for a happy and rewarding Term 2.
Exciting new playground developments at both the Pakenham and Berwick Junior Schools will give students more space and scope for imaginative play.
Construction of a new 10 metre pirate ship ‘The Toomuc Treasure’ is well underway at the Pakenham Campus and expected to be ready for use during Term 2.
New play space at the Berwick Junior School
The ship is built from sustainably logged timber and includes a walking plank, scramble net, slide, tubular bells and seven metre mast.
The Junior School now also has new undercover play surfaces featuring a map of Australia and a track around the perimeter.
At the Berwick Campus Junior School, an extra 800 square metres of open play space has been created using natural features such as stone retaining walls. Further stages of development are planned to connect different play spaces around the Junior School.
Headmaster Tony Sheumack said the new play spaces would enhance students’ learning by providing more space and opportunities for imaginative play.
He said the College had also employed a consultant to look at the overall integration of active and passive recreation areas across the school.
Plans for the pirate ship
Jemma T takes a jump on the training day
Twenty five students from Years Prep to 8 enjoyed Beaconhills Equestrian Club’s first training clinic for the year on 27 March.
A cavalcade of floats collected riders on the last day of term, on the way to the afternoon clinic at the Hallam Valley Pony Club in Narre Warren East.
Equestrian Club co-ordinator Michelle Wong said the clinic was great fun and a huge success.
“The riders had two lessons each in dressage and jumping and we had some outside instructors there on the day,” she said.
The Equestrian Club is attracting keen interest from riders at both the College’s campuses and the club already has a number of students who ride at state level.
Ms Wong said a team of 10 students will compete at the Inter-school Nationals in Werribee later this year. Many other events are planned during the year including a September holidays camp at the Cannibal Creek Pony Club in Garfield North.
A new Junior Saddle Club program is also open to all younger students who love horses. Owning a horse is not a requirement to join.
Come and see the Equestrian Club on Open Day
Equestrian Club members will give riding demonstrations throughout the day on the Pakenham Campus school grounds at Beaconhills College’s upcoming Open Day on Saturday 9 May, subject to ground and weather conditions. All welcome.
Videos for Change winners
A big camp for Little Beacons
Victorian All Schools Track and Field Championships
We are now an eSmart school
Harmony Club means no-one has to play alone
Brain Food: What to Eat When Revising
Vale Snr Antonio
Tribute to our teachers
Importance of Child Safe legislation
New centre a celebration of original Year 9 vision
School funding model announced
Vale Nigel Creese, AM
Roger Lord awarded Life Membership
New school funding model a cause for concern
Parent input benefits BeaconNet
Welcome to term 3
Tony talks Beacon Explorers
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