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Learning that Matters
Yesterday in Japan I was part of a ceremony to celebrate our 20 year friendship with Ibaraki Christian Junior and Senior High School.
Beaconhills currently has a group of students visiting Ibaraki and it was wonderful for them to also be part of this ceremony.
Our links were forged back in 1992 when Miss Nogi from Ibaraki visited Beaconhills and floated the idea of a sister school relationship. We hosted the first visit from Ibaraki students in 1994 and our students returned there in 1995. Since then there have been many successful student exchange visits.
There was only one year where student exchanges did not take place. The devastating tsunami in March 2011 brought much sadness to Ibaraki and made visits impossible. We were pleased to be able to provide some support to the school during that very difficult time.
At the ceremony yesterday, the Ibaraki Principal Mr Suzuki and I exchanged gifts in recognition of 20 years of friendship. Beaconhills presented a painting by Australian indigenous artist Tommy Crow called ‘Sunset Dreaming’.
It takes commitment from dedicated staff from both schools to maintain a strong friendship and continuous exchanges. At both Ibaraki and Beaconhills, we highly value the importance of building international relationships and having our students share each other’s culture, foods and customs.
We want our students to enjoy these experiences first-hand and to be truly global citizens.
The ceremony at Ibaraki
A sausage and a song: Beaconhills Middle School choir members (l-r) Caitlyn P and Georgina M enjoyed chatting to Evergreen Retirement Village resident John McKay at the barbecue after the Christmas concert.
Beaconhills College’s Middle School choir was warmly welcomed at the Evergreen Retirement Village in Pakenham recently to entertain residents with some Christmas carols.
The students delighted residents with their performance of a few well-known carols, along with some other modern arrangements. A barbecue after the show gave the students a chance to meet the residents and have a chat.
Music teacher Lauren Lee said the excursion was all about engaging with the local community through song and fellowship. She said it was a great success and the residents really enjoyed the concert.
“The students were able to bring some Christmas cheer, socialise with the residents and share stories,” she said.”
“It was the chance to sing to a very attentive audience, which gave students some valuable performance experience plus the opportunity to relate to more mature members of our community.
“The students had to be encouraged initially to get talking, but once they got going I found it hard to drag them away when it was time to leave.”
The choir is already booked to go back to the retirement village next year.
Pakenham Campus softball and Berwick Campus cricket teams smashed their way to victory in the final of the SEISA (South Eastern Independent Schools Association) junior summer competition, both defeating Newhaven College.
Pakenham’s boys’ basketball team was also victorious against Berwick Campus, winning 24-18.
Softball coach Elaine Simpson said the girls recorded an “awesome” 19-11 victory against the previously unbeaten opposition and showed great teamwork on the day.
Rob Murray from the Berwick Campus said the junior boys’ A cricket team made premiers for the second year in a row, with Jack B batting 25 to help the team win 117 to 31.
“The boys went through the season undefeated,” Mr Murray said. “Their highest total for the year was 200 against St Pauls and the leading run scorer for the year was Yash P (team captain), who averaged 62.5 with the bat and was only dismissed once for the year.”
“They were very strong in both batting and bowling and were never really challenged throughout the year. A very talented group of young cricketers!”
Berwick’s junior boys’ cricket team
Pakenham Campus junior softballers were winners
The recent events in Paris bring to mind an anonymous quote:
‘Ignorance breeds fear. Fear breeds hate. Hate breeds violence. Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.’
We can all play our part in helping combat terrorism. Helping developing countries establish better access for all to education plays a part. Encouraging our own students to connect to people from different cultures, by giving them real experiences both here and abroad, also plays a part. That’s why – at Beaconhills – we have such a strong international focus in our programs. Human connections matter. We don’t want to just accept people from other cultures but to embrace them and learn with them. Anything we can do to help foster understanding, dispel prejudice and create these all-important connections does matter.
I believe it is also crucial to maintain perspective, read from a variety of news services and remember that news is now instantaneous. We enjoy and appreciate fast access to information, but for children it can sometimes attach a much greater weight to the problems of the world than they necessarily deserve. We can be unduly influenced by the headlines rather than the facts and draw simplistic conclusions to complex issues.
We live in a multicultural Australia where people from different countries have settled over the generations. They have brought with them different customs, foods and religions and have been welcomed by most Australians. I hope in our privileged country we continue to welcome others and care for those in much greater need than ours.
We send our prayers to those who have lost their loved ones to terrorism. We will keep fighting the good battle.
Dylan (left) with sports commentator Sandy Roberts at the book launch
Dylan Beaumont, 12, has published and launched a unique interactive ebook called BallSports which reflects his passion for all things sport.
Now available in iTunes, BallSports includes slideshows, video footage, instructional guides and ‘wow’ moments, as well as exclusive interviews with some of Australia’s leading sports commentators.
It even has Dylan’s own commentary on the St Kilda vs Collingwood Grand Final, with NBA basketball, cricket, tennis and soccer also covered.
Well-known commentator Sandy Roberts was one of the identities Dylan approached for an interview. He made a guest appearance at Berwick’s Middle School Assembly on Tuesday 17 November, when Dylan interviewed him live on stage as part of the ebook launch.
Mr Roberts praised Dylan for his achievement and said he fielded a number of interview requests, but Dylan was the “most enthusiastic”.
“For someone of your age to put together the interviews…the variety you provided and the depth you went into…you should be commended,” he said.
And he had some sage advice for students like Dylan who were aiming for a career as a sports commentator: “Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!”
Dylan won first prize in the Years 5-6 category for BallSports at the Young Explorers ICT competition held on 29 August at Monash University, after working on the project for nine months.
He subsequently went on to launch the book on iTunes, with a portion of the proceeds of each book sold donated to the Beehive Foundation, a charity which helps young people build resilience, self-esteem and confidence.
Dylan said he wanted to start a website where he could blog about sports in general and interact with viewers.
“I hope to write further ebooks and place them on my website to share with my viewers,” he said. “This will be ongoing venture, as one day I would like to become a sports commentator just like my favourites who appear in my ebook.”
You can go to the iBooks Store to download BallSports for only $2.99.
Winners (l-r) Winston L, Rachel C and Steven S
Beaconhills College was strongly represented in the recent City of Casey Fresh Words awards, with seven of the College’s students among the 27 award recipients.
Fresh Words is an annual competition which celebrates the talents of emerging young authors, poets and songwriters.
Beaconhills’ international students were star performers in the English as a Second Language Year 11/12 category, with Rachel C taking first prize and Winston L runner-up. In the Year 9/10 category, Shao (Steve) S and Vivienne F were both runners-up.
Our local Year 9 and Middle School students also extremely well, with Russell R winning the Year 9/10 Creative Writing award and D’Jay C and Olivia runners-up in the Year 9/10 Poetry and Lyrics category.
International Programs Co-ordinator Susan Wood was at the ceremony and was delighted to see the international students collect their awards.
“I think it is a really strong endorsement of the success of our EAL (English as an Additional Language) programs,” Mrs Wood said.
Berwick Campus Year 12 student Mason Peatling has earned a place in USA’s Eastern Washington University basketball program.
The talented 6’8” (200cm) basketballer has played the last two years for the Dandenong Rangers in the South East Australian Basketball League and was chosen to represent Victoria Metro at the Under-20 Australian Junior Basketball Championships.
Mason will visit the States with his mum in December then head over again in June next year in preparation for the 2016/17 NCAA season with the Eastern Washington University ‘Eagles’.
He said the selection process had taken a year, with the Eagles flying out coaches twice to meet with him and his family.
Mason said he was still deciding which degree to study in the States, but was leaning towards business.
He is excited about the chance to move a step closer to his dream of becoming an NBA player, but knows the competition will be tough.
“It’s a lot more physical than here, “ he said. “But this is definitely going to the next level.”
As well as distinguishing himself on the basketball court at Beaconhills, Mason has also excelled academically – he was Dux in Year 9 and received the Best All Rounder award in Year 11.
Cadet Riley D at the Pakenham service
Remembrance Day services at Beaconhills this year highlighted some aspects of the story of war which many students would not have known.
At our Berwick Campus service, one of our teachers, Peter Bakker, shared his research on a forgotten group of people who have served in every war Australia has fought since the Boer War – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
But as Peter pointed out, their sacrifice was not always remembered. Just like other Australian families, many Aboriginal families lost fathers, sons and brothers and were buried thousands of kilometres away. Yet many did not even have their names remembered at ANZAC Day or Remembrance Day services for a long time. Thankfully this has now changed.
I would also like to acknowledge some of our Pakenham Campus students for their contributions to the Remembrance Day service. Ankie B (Year 9) shared a fascinating story about her grandparents who lived in Holland, where their family helped shelter Jews during WW2. She described how her Opa (grandfather) was forced to eat flower buds due to the food shortages and how, to this day, he will pick the buds from the bouquet at restaurant tables and eat them as an appetiser.
Our students certainly demonstrated their interest, respect and reverence during this year’s services.
Below is a poem by another of our students, Maddison J (Year 8), which beautifully captures the spirit of Remembrance Day.
Remembrance Day is many things
Many things that mean a lot
Stories and tales all woven together
A history we have not forgot
Remembrance Day is the sound of a trumpet
Signifying another long day’s end
Drawing our heroes back to base camp
Only to be woken at dawn to relive it again
Remembrance Day is poppies in a field
Their red petals marking the graves of those lost
In Flander’s Field our people lie
Our safety gifted by the greatest cost
Remembrance Day is the families who waited
Praying for their daughter, their son
Cousins, aunts, uncles and friends
Waiting for the return of their loved one
Remembrance Day is for those off the field
They weren’t soldiers, yet still saved lives
The doctors, the nurses, even Simpson and his donkey
They gave our nation a chance to thrive
Remembrance Day is a time to reflect
On the brave acts in our history
Those who have fought, have returned, have fallen
Are our nation’s hopes and dreams – our nation’s story.
Teacher Peter Bakker spoke at Berwick
Elliot and Hayley at the competition
Two Beaconhills students have taken out first and second prize in the Rotary Club of Pakenham’s Primary School Public Speaking Competition held on 27 October.
Hayley D (Year 6) was the champion speaker with her speech ‘Stop That Bullying’, with Elliot P (Year 6) runner-up with his topic ‘We Can Make a Difference’. Hayley was awarded $300 and Elliot $200.
Teacher Rosemary Jackson-Smith said both students had worked incredibly hard to prepare their speeches.
“These students are a credit to their parents and the College,” she said. “Their standard of public speaking was head and shoulders above all other competitors.”
Students choose their own topics for the competition and do their own research.
Skipping Siennas: Year 3 students Sienna O (left) and Sienna W were enthusiastic participants in Jump Rope for Heart
Beaconhills College is now the second highest fundraiser in Victoria and the fourth in Australia in the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program.
To date, students at the College’s Pakenham Campus Junior School have raised a staggering $22,911 for the cause through a series of skipping activities in recent months.
The amount raised well exceeds Beaconhills’ previous record of $15,000 in 2013.
Physical Education teacher Renyce McConnell said it was a “huge achievement” for the students to raise so much money.
“They loved being part of it and also enjoyed the fact it was helping others,” Ms O’Connell said. “Heart disease doesn’t affect just one group of people in our community and I think this cause really resonated with our families.”
Students took part in skipping workshops and were inspired by a visit from the Rockbank Xtreme Skipping Team.
Beaconhills was one of hundreds of schools across Australia which took part in the Jump Rope for Heart event.
Heart Foundation CEO, Mary Barry, said Jump Rope for Heart was a health education, health promotion and fundraising program rolled into one where children learn about the importance of being heart healthy and making healthy lifestyle choices.
“It’s a fantastic initiative for schools to be involved in – it’s great for confidence, strength, co-ordination, teamwork skills, cardiovascular health and fitness, and heart health knowledge,” Ms Barry said.
“The program is uniquely positioned to educate families, school communities and students about the importance of keeping their hearts healthy through regular physical activity and balanced nutrition.”
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