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Learning that Matters
Linden Hall student Yoshiki S, right, and D’Jay C (Year 9 Beaconhills) have become good friends after reciprocal visits to Japan and Australia
During our end-of-term holidays, we have a group of students from both campuses visiting our sister school – Linden Hall, in Fukuoka, Japan.
Our Linden Hall links began after a young teacher named Megumi Kawasaki joined our Pakenham Campus Junior School in 2004. Megumi was a former student of mine when I was teaching in Bendigo. She subsequently returned to Japan and later brought her own students from Linden Hall on an exchange program to Beaconhills.
I am delighted that our Head of Junior School, Peter Hockey, is now accompanying our students to Linden Hall to enjoy the hospitality of Megumi and the Linden Hall community. He is joined on this trip by our Berwick Campus Head of Japanese Mie Takamatsu.
The reciprocal visits between our two sister schools over the years have strengthened the ties between our two countries and fostered many friendships between Linden Hall and Beaconhills students.
This has been a wonderful experience for our students. It has given them a unique insight into the Japanese way of life, enhancing their cultural understanding and improving their language skills. I look forward to hearing about their experiences on their return.
Hiking in the high country
Year 12 Berwick Campus students gained new skills and a better understanding of environmental issues in Victoria’s high country during this year’s Snow Camp.
The Outdoor and Environmental Studies students from the Berwick Campus spent a week in the Alpine National Park cross-country skiing and snow camping.
The camp focused on cattle grazing in the high country and included a visit to Mt Buller’s Alpine Museum where they listened to a mountain cattleman talk about his views on the Alpine grazing issue.
Outdoor and Environmental Studies teacher Belinda Dalziel said the camp helped students build valuable life-skills such as resilience, team-work and leadership.
“The students prepare and cook all their meals in the snow, as well as camp in tents, learn to build a ‘snow kitchen’ and develop their cross-country skiing skills,” she said.
Student Jaymie H said the camp was one of the toughest things she had ever physically done, but a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
“Sleeping outside in such freezing conditions was difficult at times…but I would have to say that this camp was probably one of the best experiences of my life.”
Fellow student Scott T agreed: “The camp was a massive challenge, especially skiing up to the summit of Mt Stirling but it was definitely worth it because the view was incredible.”
The snow kitchen table
Cold comfort: the accommodation
Worth the hike for the views
(L-r) National History Challenge finalists Sophie F, Tia N, Ciaran Q and Marcus G with teacher Lyndall Fokkens centre.
Four Year 6 students made it through to the Victorian finals of the National History Challenge on Sunday 9 September.
With 25 finalists in Year 6 from across Victoria, Beaconhills’ Berwick Campus represented almost one fifth of the best results in the State.
The National History Challenge is a research-based competition which gives students the chance to be an historian and explore their past. Students submit an 800 word essay on a leader of their choice.
Tia N wrote an essay on Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Sophie F on civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jnr, Marcus G covered African American baseball star Jackie Robinson while Ciaran Q wrote about early Australian explorer Edward John Eyre.
Tia N said the competition was challenging and memorable.
“It was a great event that improved my writing, but mostly I was able to build on my research skills and add to my original foundations,” she said.
Individual Programs teacher Lyndall Fokkens said it was an outstanding result by the students.
During the final week of term, we were honoured to host a very high calibre show staged by La Mama Theatre Productions called ‘Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country’.
Year 8 to 10 students, as well as some students from Berwick Campus, were able to enjoy this fascinating story – and an important part of our local history – presented in the Lois Maghanoy Centre for the Performing Arts at the Pakenham Campus.
Coranderrk traces the minutes of evidence presented at the 1881 Coranderrk Inquiry. It tells the story of the people of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, near Healesville, who in 1881 took on the Board for the Protection of Aborigines to fight for justice, dignity and self-determination.
I would like to thank our Middle School teacher Lynette George for organising this event. Not only is this story part of our region’s history, but it is part of her family’s history. The Coranderrk story references the renowned Wurundjeri leader William Barak, who is great uncle (4x) to her children and also great-great uncle of Murrundindi, head elder of the Wurundjeri people and a regular visitor to Beaconhills.
The National Curriculum now calls for a deeper understanding of Indigenous histories and culture and this is increasingly being reflected in our learning at Beaconhills.
Lynette George is now also leading a new Reconciliation Committee at Beaconhills. This committee of representatives from across the College is in the process of drafting a Reconciliation Action Plan – the College’s formal statement of commitment to reconciliation.
Little Beacons’children (l-r) Tristan, Natasha and Kale feature on the cover of ‘Let’s Explore’
Pakenham’s Little Beacons Learning Centre is a finalist in Victoria’s largest sustainability awards program, the ResourceSmart Education Awards.
The Early Learning Centre, based at Beaconhills College, is one of three state finalists in the category of Early Childhood Service of the Year.
The awards recognise Victorian schools, early childhood services, students and teachers for their sustainability projects.
Finalists must show how to take local action on climate change and work towards embedding sustainability into all school and home activities.
Little Beacons, which has its own ‘bush kinder’ program called Early Explorers, has produced a publication called ‘Let’s Explore’ – a collaborative project between staff, children and parents.
It covers topics such as healthy living, recycling, recipes which include home grown fruit and vegetables, vegetable garden information, science experiments, outdoor play, caring for animals and sun protection.
The publication also has a copy of bin stickers for families to help promote the College’s three-bin recycling system at home. Proceeds from book sales support Little Beacons’ environment development, along with its kindergarten project in Bangladesh.
Head of Little Beacons Vicki Reid said she was delighted at news that the centre was an awards finalist.
“We believe children are ambassadors of the environment and the only way to make a long term difference is by providing children the opportunity to connect with the environment,” Ms Reid said.
Little Beacons has already excelled in its early learning centre government assessment by achieving the highest possible rating under the National Quality Standards – exceeding national quality standards in all seven areas assessed.
ResourceSmart Education Awards received a record number of entries this year – more than 180 entries from more than 100 Victorian schools. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 14 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Wellbeing in action: Middle and Senior students enjoyed some performance time in the ampitheatre during Wellbeing Week
One of the very important committees working behind the scene at Beaconhills is called WELLCOM.
WELLCOM is led by our experienced counsellors, chaplains and senior staff and is charged with reviewing all wellbeing programs, based on the large body of evidence showing wellbeing underpins successful learning.
What WELLCOM has worked hard to do is to establish a strong, supportive environment across the College. It’s an environment that ensures students are connected and engaged, promotes positive mental health and strong academic performance.
We have seen many example of ‘wellbeing in action’, most recently in the second last week of term when Pakenham Campus held a Wellbeing Week with a range of activities scheduled each day across the campus.
There were special workshops tailored for the appropriate age groups, covering topics such as civic responsibility and relationship with police, managing stress and anxiety, self-defence, meditation, kite-making, barbecues…and many other activities. It was a great week and very much enjoyed by students.
Wellbeing is also promoted through many other avenues. We have now have our Peer Mentoring Program being trialled at our Berwick Campus (mentioned in my August 6 blog), plus activities such as Year 9 Common Good, our Presentation Balls and Grandparents’ Days just to name a few.
Our events are strongly supported by our College families. This is one of the strengths of our College – the shared commitment of our families to be actively involved in the education and wellbeing of their children.
Prep student Sonachi O was happy to have her aunt Wendy there on the day.
‘Celebrating multiculturalism’ was the theme of a Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day held at the Berwick Campus Junior School on Wednesday 10 September.
Head of Junior School Cheryl Jones said the day was all about celebrating the diversity of cultures and backgrounds of College families.
Learning about the world and other cultures is one of the College’s six educational pillars, part of its ‘Learning that Matters’ philosophy.
Children and their families enjoyed a variety of activities on the day, including colouring in mandalas (a mindfulness activity), completing Venn diagrams about school life now and in the past, playing a numeracy game called ‘Beat my Grandparents’ and drawing portraits.
Ms Jones said grandparents had a wonderful day: “Some of them said they wanted to go back to school!”
(L-r) Dharun M, Jordan C and Aditya W celebrated with Aditya’s grand-mother Cely Goeltom
Expert in two martial arts styles: teacher Junji Sakamoto
Japanese language teacher Junji Sakamoto has showed his winning form in recent Victorian Kendo and world Aikido competitions.
Mr Sakamoto competed in the last weekend of August in the Aikido World championships at the Gold Coast and placed fourth in the Kata division.
Earlier in the month he also achieved third place in the veteran division of the Victorian Kendo Championships. Mr Sakamoto is second Dan (rank) black belt in Aikido and fourth Dan in Kendo.
He said the highlight of the Aikido World championships was winning against athletes from Japan.
“Aikido performed by competitors from Japan is always fast, strong and the most beautiful, so they were a great two days for me.”
Mr Sakamoto has started a Kendo Club at Beaconhills College’s Pakenham Campus after school on Friday nights from 3.30-5pm and any students from Years 5-11 are welcome to join. His assistant coach is Trent Reeve, who also placed third in the Open division of the Victorian Kendo Championships.
For more details, email Junji.Sakamoto@beaconhills.vic.edu.au
Ankie B gives her stall the thumbs up
Year 9’s recent Market Day was well-supported by plenty of hungry student and staff customers keen to sample the range of colourful and tasty treats for sale.
It was all for a good cause. The students raised a combined total of $2472 which will help support charities in Vietnam.
The 9.1 team was the top fundraiser, reaping $533.45 with their tempting range of pizzas, lollies and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ spiders.
Year 9 students at the Pakenham Campus have the opportunity to travel and volunteer in Vietnam as part of the College’s Global Beacons program.
Another thumbs up from Lachlan C
Happy customers: (l-r) Ashleigh N, Tia H and Christina K
Every now and again we get a reminder of just how outstanding our Performing Arts Departments are – and this week was a good example.
Our students from both campuses competed against other schools in the SEISA Dance and Theatresports competition and showed their superior teamwork, technique and ability. Berwick Campus placed first overall in Dance, with Pakenham Campus second. And in Theatresports, our Junior team from Pakenham and Berwick Senior team were also the winners.
Berwick Campus Years 7-12 performers have also had a wonderful result at the Wakakirri competition held at the Frankston Arts Centre. Their interpretation of the Cyclone Tracey story earned them the best Current Affair Story Award, meaning they will now compete in the final on 16 September at Hamer Hall.
Given these students designed their costumes, choreographed and created sets, projection and lighting design, this was an incredible result. Congratulations to all students and of course our excellent Performing Arts staff for their guidance behind the scenes.
Our Junior School Pakenham students should also be commended for their production this week called ‘When Oliver met Maria’. Teachers and students worked hard to prepare this performance and I know they had a most appreciative audience.
This is a good example of our Learning that Matters in action – students developing their talents, self-esteem and abilities to work together effectively.
Performing arts awards
2020 senior school captain announcement
Who said books are dead?
Remembrance Day Services
Athletics competitors score gold and silver medals
Birthday party…or donate to charity?
Is this Melbourne’s most colourful new tram?
Melbourne Cup tours Beaconhills
Lauren is in her element
Record Book designs promote sustainability
Making a monster impact on the war on waste
3 meaningful ways for alumni to stay connected
Public v private school funding
Reports that tell the whole story
What are your values?
A commitment to Indigenous education
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
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810