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Learning that Matters
Year 8 student Teneille M set a new record in the 800m race at the recent ACS (Association of Co-educational Schools) Athletics Championships held at Albert Park’s Lakeside Stadium.
Teneille ran the race in 2:27.12 seconds, just five seconds in front of Matisse L, also Year 8, who placed second.
Her new time shaved five seconds off the former ACS record.
Teneille also placed equal first overall in the individual rankings for the championships. Beaconhills performed extremely well, with five other students also ranking in the top 20: Matisse L, Taryn J, Mitchell M, Jaxon B and Cameron D.
The 800m result was also a four second improvement on her own personal best time, Teneille said.
“I didn’t have a strategy going into the race – it was just to get out fast, early, to make sure I didn’t get caught in the clutter at the beginning of the race,” she said.
Her next event is the Victorian All Schools Cross Country Championships held at Bundoora Park in late June.
Earlier this year she competed for Victoria in the Australian Junior Championships held in Sydney, placing ninth in the Under 15 girls 2000m steeple chase.
Student Daniel T was a recent donor
Beaconhills College students and staff have saved nearly 7000 lives through blood donations to the Red Cross mobile Blood Bank since 1997.
The Blood Bank recently recognised the College’s community service contribution when it made its last visits to the Pakenham and Berwick Campuses.
The Red Cross has now streamlined its collection practices to enable more appointment times by scheduling longer visits at other locations.
The College’s Blood Bank co-ordinator John Waterhouse said the school should be proud of its donation history.
He said a total of 1200 students and staff had donated blood, with many repeat donors. That equated to 2300 units of blood, representing nearly 7000 lives saved.
Student ambassadors worked each year to help recruit other donors and promote the Blood Bank
visits in the school.
“It has been a wonderful way to enlist young people in the program in the hope they will become lifelong donors,” Mr Waterhouse said.
He said the College would continue to appoint ambassadors to promote the program and send small groups of donors off-campus to take part in the mobile Blood Bank’s community visits.
The College’s Blood Bank co-ordinator John Waterhouse (centre) celebrates the last Blood Bank visit to the Berwick Campus with his student donors
Year 12 students Matthew D and Bridget M help create the ‘sea of hands’
Beaconhills College students marked National Sorry Day (Tuesday 26 May) and Reconciliation Week with a ‘sea of hands’ and Reconciliation Assembly at the College’s Pakenham Campus.
Senior students placed 500 red, yellow and black hands on the school grounds as a symbol of reconciliation.
Assembly organiser and teacher Lynette George, a Wiradjri woman, told students that the ‘Sea of Hands’ symbolised Indigenous rights to land, the ongoing process of reconciliation and the desire for greater mutual understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
“Today we will be doing something special and creating a statement that we, as a Senior School of Beaconhills College, recognise the ongoing need for reconciliation,” Ms George said.
The assembly included guest speaker Mandy Nicholson from the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages who talked about her work to keep Indigenous languages alive.
Shawn Andrews, who is managing director of Indigicate, also spoke passionately about the importance of reconciliation now and for the future. Indigicate is an education provider that specialises in cultural education from an Indigenous Australian perspective.
Other highlights were student musical performances, including children from Little Beacons Learning Centre using their own versions of clapsticks.
This year’s Reconciliation theme is ‘It’s time to change it up’.
This week’s guest blogger is Sam Maddock, Head of Outdoor Education.
I was recently out blazing the trails with my running club near Healesville, when I started chatting with one of the other runners. He just happened to be a senior public servant in charge of Human Resources at Parks Victoria.
I took the opportunity to ask him what he looks for and values in potential employees. He said: “We look for future employees that have the right qualifications and good marks, but these don’t cut it on their own anymore. What we’re finding is that a lot of graduates lack confidence, communication skills and work experience, which are essential for succeeding in the work environment of the future.”
Last week I had the privilege of taking eight motivated Year 10 students to Lysterfield Lake for a day of intensive training for the up-and-coming 2015 Hillary Challenge Victoria State Championship. The students braved near artic conditions to complete a navigational exercise, mountain biking, raft building and a range of team building exercises.
They embraced the opportunity to be outside, pushing their bodies to new and unknown limits despite their numb fingers and toes. I couldn’t have been more proud of the way in which the students rose to the physical and mental challenge and stayed focused – although it would have been easier for all of us if we’d just gone to the Trailmix Café and drank cups of hot chocolate to warm ourselves up!
Over the winter months, Beaconhills has a number of exciting opportunities for students to participate in including a snowsports program to Mount Hotham, Year 9 Global Beacon programs to Vietnam and East Timor and an outdoor education program to Glenelg River and Hattah National Park, as well as the equestrian team and the HPV (Human Powered Vehicles) events.
The Beacon Explorers program offers students an opportunity to be involved in a range of experiences that enhances the school’s academic program. The programs are designed to help students become better communicators and problem solvers, more organised and resilient.
I encourage all students to make the most of these opportunities so that they can equip themselves with the necessary skills to become the leaders of the future.
Head of Outdoor Education
* Headmaster Tony Sheumack returns this week from his tour as part of the Learning that Matters project.
Bridget B from Pakenham was on the saxophone
Berwick and Pakenham students honed their performance skills and delighted parents with a range of musical items at Senior School music concerts this week.
From outstanding singing at Berwick, to jazz guitar at Pakenham, there was a wide variety of performances by students completing Units 1 and 3 of the VCE Music subject.
Students from Unit 1 performed two musical items each as part of an ensemble, while Unit 3 students presented two solo items. Each student was marked as part of their assessment.
Some chose well-known tunes from musicals, while others opted for the popular tunes such as ‘Stairway To Heaven’ or ‘Piano Man’.
By the end of the year, students will need to be able to perform five or six items as part of their exams.
Berwick’s Melanie H demonstrated her skill on the violin
I have just returned from a short visit to East Timor aimed at further strengthening the relationship between our two countries and fine tuning the focus of our fundraising efforts.
I would like to share some thoughts and facts about the gentle and peaceful people of this country.
East Timor is a developing country which has only recently become democratic. Before 1999, East Timor was occupied by Indonesian military, but in September that year a referendum was held for East Timorese independence, in which 78 per cent voted in favour of becoming an independent nation. Indonesia was forced to leave, but East Timor was left without any resources to move forward as a country. Because of this history and the sacrifices the people had to make in order to gain independence, the East Timorese are a very patriotic and a proud nation.
I have personally had the opportunity to visit our sister school in Hatolia with our Year 9 program on a number of occasions now and see firsthand the results of this remarkable program. Hatolia was rebuilt and is totally supported by fundraising. Another fantastic opportunity provided is to be able to offer scholarships for young girls to complete their education. We have had the privilege of giving 10 girls in Hatolia a full scholarship. Without our help, these girls wouldn’t be able to afford to finish their education and have no choice but to stay home and look after the family.
During our visits, when we arrive at one of the villages, the first ceremony is to be presented with a tais. A tais is a traditional handwoven cloth, which the Timorese give to people on special occasions. Through the medium of tais, women have the chance to improve their quality of life and uphold the customs and traditions that shape East Timorese identity. In East Timorese culture, cloth plays a key role in social and ritual life and also in assigning women’s standing in communities and is a symbolic bond from the person giving and receiving the scarf.
Here is an excerpt from one of the students’ diaries: “After a three hour hike through the mountain terrain to one of the other villages, we reached Data Rua, a tiny, two classroom school in the middle of nowhere. It was the smallest school in the district and they had no tables, chairs, blackboards or walls. We were all exhausted, our feet burned from the hot ground and we were thirsty. They talked to us about what they could do with our help and all they asked for was water. They told us how all the students have to walk several hours every morning and night to get to and from school and how dehydration is their biggest problem. It was a heartbreaking truth that each of us had to come to terms with that day and the journey back was far quieter than the way there as we were all trying to process what we had just witnessed”.
It has been gratifying to witness the developments of the infrastructure and educational advances through the generous donations of the staff and families of Beaconhills over the past 12 years. The people of the Hatolia district are truly grateful.
Campus Principal Berwick
Head of Berwick Middle School Clare Tuohy (centre) pictured with student committee organisers Chelsea N (left) and Caitlyn H
The College’s Middle School community now proudly wears the badge of the best Relay for Life fundraiser in the region.
Figures just in from the Cancer Council show the Berwick Campus Middle School team raised a staggering $17,919.65 for cancer research.
The 111 teams which participated in the 2015 Casey event raised a combined total of $403,695.
Head of Middle School Clare Tuohy said the team was “absolutely thrilled” to learn the news.
“I feel very humbled to be part of the Berwick Campus Middle School and to be in a position to witness such a generous and compassionate community of students, parents the wider College staff members,” Mrs Tuohy said.
“Learning that Matters – Citizenship and Service, is at the very heart of our community and this amazing achievement at Relay for Life clearly demonstrates our commitment and dedication to making our world a better place for all.”
She thanked the parent and student committees, including Year 12 students Caitlyn H and Chelsea N for their help and to all staff for their support.
Former Beaconhills College student Genevieve Polderman was one of the Australians volunteering in Nepal when the 7.8 earthquake hit on April 25.
Having witnessed first-hand the devastation it caused to the communities where she had worked, she has now launched a campaign to raise money to provide food, water and first aid supplies to villages nearest the epicentre.
Her ‘Snipping for Nepal Appeal’ will see her cut 50cm from her hair to raise $3000 for the cause. She plans to donate her hair to ‘Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ to make wigs for cancer patients.
Genevieve said the funds she raises will be distributed by Sudip Koirala, who is the president of the Leo Lions Club Nepal and from the host family where she stayed while volunteering in Kathmandu.
The earthquake struck just a day before Genevieve was due to return home from a wonderful month, working at an orphanage run by the Didi Foundation, the Bright Future Childrens’ Home.
Genevieve graduated from the Pakenham Campus last year and decided to take a gap year after being accepted into International Studies at Deakin University.
She was always involved in community service activities at school such as Relay for Life and was a regular Blood Bank donor.
After hearing about the Bright Future Childrens’ Home through its founder, Jan Pryor – her mother’s friend – she decided to volunteer in the orphanage, teaching crafts and working in the womens’ co-operative centre helping out in IT classes, sewing and the library. The orphanage is in a small town called Pepsi Cola, named after the town’s factory.
Genevieve was at the Bright Future Childrens’ Home having a party when the earthquake struck.
“It went on for about a minute,” she said. “I wasn’t so much scared as had a lot of adrenalin.”
She spent about three hours with them in an open space immediately afterwards, then the night sleeping outside before having to battle a huge crush of people at the airport the next day to make her flight out of the region.
“We all saw things that no one should ever have to see or experience,” she said. “Having to leave my host family and the Bright Future Childrens’ Home was more heart-wrenching.”
She said with 40,000 homes destroyed and more than 8000 people killed, donations are vital to help the Nepalese people in their time of need, particularly now the area has just recently experienced a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
Genevieve plans to have her hair cut at the Pakenham Campus on 25 May once her fundraising goal is reached, but is considering extending the goal to raise even more money.
If you would like to donate, go to her fundraising page.
Sudip Koirala, president of the Leo Lions Club Nepal and Genevieve’s host, hands out food after the earthquake.
Tennis School coach to run for Nepal
Head of the College’s Tennis School of Excellence Brett Hillier is also doing his bit for Nepal, taking part in a 150km fundraising run.
Together with his friend Darren Cordy, Brett will start the run from Foster on 22 May and run through the day and night, arriving in Upper Beaconsfield on 23 May at the local tennis club for a party and barbecue.
Proceeds from the barbecue will go to CARE Australia to help rebuild Nepal. $10,000 is the fundraising goal.
Brett said he has visited Nepal twice and knows it is a country with limited infrastructure and ability to cope with an earthquake disaster.
“Thousands are dead, homes have been lost and the country is in shock,” he said. “To help Nepal is the only just thing to do.”
You can donate to Brett Hillier’s fundraiser here.
To find out more contact Brett.Hillier@beaconhills.vic.edu.au
Equestrian captain Alicia B (Year 12) placed third in the championship round
Beaconhills College’s Equestrian Team members modelled their stylish new team uniforms at the recent Inter-School Show Jumping Championships.
The event was the second round of a four round championship, hosted by Hillcrest Christian College.
Equestrian co-ordinator Michelle Wong said the College’s senior riders rode very well, with equestrian captain Alicia B placing third in the championship round and fourth overall.
She said the team was steadily expanding and it was wonderful to see competitors support each other during the competition.
“Our junior riders are learning the ropes with the assistance and guidance of our senior riders,” Ms Wong said.
“And the new equestrian uniforms meant our team was looking very impressive!”
She said Beaconhills’ new branded ‘jump’ will be unveiled in the next round of competition. Beaconhills College will also be the host school of round one in 2016.
* Beaconhills students interested in joining the team should email Michelle.Wong@beaconhills.vic.edu.au
Team members proudly model their new uniforms
Jemma T (Year 9)
Wellbeing is a word frequently used and often misunderstood. We have begun a process of deep thinking in the College to research and understand what wellbeing means to our community and how to embed wellbeing into all aspects of student learning.
We know that a strong sense of wellbeing is an integral part of effective learning and we aim to enhance the wellbeing of our students.
Connectedness is the key to development of individual wellbeing. When you reflect on your own life experience you are likely to recognise that when you have strong family relationships, trusted friendships and work in a role where you are valued, then you are more likely to enjoy positive mental health and strive toward your goals. For our students this is the same and we know that a high degree of school connectedness is significantly linked to improved learning outcomes and general wellbeing.
When we talk about connectedness at Beaconhills we are referring to students who are actively engaged in meaningful learning, known and valued in their school community and involved in extra- curricular activities. They have a significant teacher they can trust and rely upon, are challenged in their learning and have a positive peer network.
We have introduced processes, undertaken research and developed understanding aimed at building connectedness amongst our students. Through development of strong relationships, shared problem-solving and active communication between students, teachers and parents, we aim to establish a supportive environment filled with challenge that ensures student engagement, positive mental health and strong academic performance.
Senior Student Counsellor and Wellbeing Leader
630kg of food…and counting
Medals for College students in Oceania Athletics
ACS Chess Tournament
Students win writing awards
Make nature play a priority, says Maggie Dent
Five winning teams in SEISA finals
Best on show
Dancers make it to nationals
Beaconhills winner in sustainability awards
Danielle O’Leary: rising star in education
World Environment Day
Help shape our school’s future
Why we value chaplaincy
Recent events in Sri Lanka
A message of hope this Easter
Bushfires: thanks for your support
Boarding residence now open to local students
Order of Australia medal for College Board Chairman
Welcome to a new school year
Getting a HeadStart
Wellbeing in action
Importance of Child Safe legislation
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810