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Learning that Matters
Some fantastic swimming today from the Years 3-6 Berwick Campus students competing in the District Swimming Carnival.
Pictured is the girls’ medley team which came first. Team firsts also went to the boys’ open medley, 11 girls 4 x 50 medley and 12/13 boys’ 4 x 50 medley, with some great individual performances. Beaconhills was also named Edwin Flack Swim Champions for 2018!
What an outstanding effort from Beaconhills College participants at last weekend’s Cardinia Relay for Life event.
The Beacon of Hope team has so far raised more than $7000 and are sitting in third place for fundraising. There is still time for those who wish to make a donation online.
We are proud to have had the largest team at the event, and received a trophy for the most laps (500) and an Activities for Life Shield.
Congratulations to committee members Lisa Stacey, Aimee Buchan, Megan Harkin, Clare Tuohy and Hayley Johnson-Coutts. Hayley walked an amazing 25km, representing the 25 years that have passed since she was first diagnosed with cancer.
Beaconhills is now preparing for the big Casey Relay for Life event this weekend at Berwick’s Akoonah Park. Join us by registering online.
Relay for Life Committee: (L to R) Lisa Stacey, Hayley Johnson Coutts, Aimee Buchan, Megan Harkin and Claire Tuohy
The Hall family
Staff member Hayley Johnson-Coutts with Piper from Little Beacons (daughter of staff member Aimee Buchan)
Aimee Buchan with the youngest participant, her daughter Tilly from Little Beacons
The Senior Show band
Middle School show band
Congratulations are in order for Berwick Middle School student Ruby Thornton-Mackay, who over the weekend was offered a full scholarship to the summer program at the internationally acclaimed Joffrey Ballet School.
Ruby will travel to New York to participate in a two-week intensive in June, a dream come true for the talented performer who has been dancing since the age of three.
It is Ruby’s dream to one day be selected for Australia’s premier contemporary dance company, Sydney Dance Company. In the meantime, she is in no way short of success, having won the ‘Junior Down Tempo’ title at the Dance Star National Competition in 2017, where she was also a member of the three gold and bronze medal-winning Beaconhills College troupes.
As well as her academic studies, Ruby is currently rehearsing for Casey Chellew’s Indefinite Dance Company’s latest youth piece, ‘Truth or Dare’, and has been selected into the SCIMM Contemporary Dance Company’s Youth Platform for the second year in a row.
Well done again to Ruby, we are sure to hear more of her success before the year is out.
The World War II story of a Jewish man forced to tattoo fellow prisoners in Auschwitz was brought to life by author Heather Morris when she visited Beaconhills College students this week.
Ms Morris’ debut book The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the life of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who met and fell in love with his future wife Gita amidst the horrors of the Holocaust.
Speaking to Year 11 History students at the Pakenham Campus, Ms Morris said interviewing Lale over three years was often confronting – particularly when he spoke of his direct dealings with the infamous Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele. Mengele, aka the ‘Angel of Death’, was known for performing deadly human experiments on prisoners.
“There were so many horrifying facts and figures, but I wanted to distil the story down to two people,” Ms Morris said.” Lale and Gita were two ordinary people living in an extraordinary time.” The couple survived Auschwitz and eventually moved to Australia. Gita died in 2003, followed by Lale in 2006.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is published by Bonnier Publishing. Ms Morris is now working on a sequel.
Heather Morris (right) signs her book for Beaconhills staff member Fiona O’Callaghan
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.
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