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Learning that Matters
A prestigious Premier’s Award has gone to Year 12 student Jaime Watts for her 2019 VCE subject work in Extended Investigation. Her subject score was 48, placing her second in the state.
Jaime, from the Berwick Campus, had already earned selection in Top Talks and presented at the State Library event in February. Her research topic was ‘How does ‘monster in narrative’ reflect humanity’s evolution?’
Jaime was thrilled to learn of her Premier’s Award, although she may have to wait a little longer for the official presentation which is now delayed due to COVID-19.
She said the researching and writing the paper was her favourite part of the subject.
“Getting to research something I’m interested in and having the excitement of piecing it together to create something new was a great feeling.”
She said she would highly recommend that students did Extended Investigation in VCE: “It’s improved my skill set and knowledge in practically all areas of my learning, and to this day, I still use my EI research skills and the contents from my paper in my other projects and subjects.” Jaime’s subject teacher was Alan James.
Premier’s Award winner Jaime Watts
This year ANZAC Day is very different. We didn’t hold dawn services with thousands of people standing quietly in the dark. There were no marches down the streets to thank all those who have served our country in times of war and in peace.
However, there were lots of people standing in their driveways at 6am this morning, holding a candle and if they could, playing The Last Post – calling us never to forget the sacrifice paid by the men and women of our defence forces so we can live in peace.
Most of us now have no recollection of the men and women who served in World War 1. We didn’t meet them, touch their faces, know their voice. The only evidence we have for them is the journals, scratchy photos, and worn artefacts. If we are lucky, we may have some medals passed down the generations that we can wear as a proud tribute.
But we have other evidence of these lives. We have our lifestyle, our values, our freedom – we have peace in a democratic country. We are free to express ourselves, to fight for causes, to stand for justice, to believe in whatever idea of God we wish, or not.
The irony of ANZAC Day is that as we get further from the events that triggered it in the first place, the more important it is becoming. The less we know about the individuals who fought for our sake, the more we value their achievements, even though we will never meet them, never touch their faces, never know their voice. And this year when we cannot do what we are used to doing, we have found new ways to acknowledge them.
This year we are in a different war – not a war with guns and tanks with a clear and present danger. This is a war against an invisible force that goes by the name of COVID-19. Like wars in the past, some nations have been hit harder than others. Some people are more at risk than others. We all pay a price.
So it is appropriate on this different ANZAC Day to give thanks for all those who are now fighting for our freedom, our way of life, our very existence, even though we will, for the most part, never meet them, never touch their faces, never know their voice.
The Bible passage often quoted on ANZAC Day comes from John’s Gospel. It’s very late in Jesus’ ministry and he is preparing his disciples for his imminent death. Jesus says, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It is a clear foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross, which we have just commemorated at Easter. He acknowledges that his relationship with them is not one of master and slave, but of friends. The whole purpose of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is to bring us back into friendship with a loving God so we might truly live in peace.
This year, as we stand in our driveways, like those waiting for loved ones who never came home from war, we hold our candles – light that cannot be overcome by the darkness, a light that offers a beacon of hope, a light that reminds us even when we are apart we are still a community, a light that speaks of sacrifice – on the cross and on the fields of war so we may have freedom and peace.
Lest we forget.
Revd Steve Terrell is College Chaplain at the Berwick Campus and is also Chaplain to 31 Battalion, Australian Army Cadets.
Audiobook and ebook borrowing is booming at Beaconhills College – and it’s not just due to COVID-19.
While the temporary closure of our College libraries has unsurprisingly seen a strong shift to digital borrowings, figures show the interest in ebooks and audiobooks was already thriving.
Head of Library at the Berwick Campus, Carmel Byrne, compared borrowing figures across the College for term 1 2020 against the same time last year. She found while physical book loans grew by five 5 per cent, digital loans jumped by a huge 67 per cent.
Mrs Byrne said she was optimistic that the College’s reading culture would continue to grow. Library staff were committed to building the digital collection and promoting it to students and families.
COVID-19 may have thrown our Beacon of Hope Relay For Life campaign a curve ball this year, but hope still lives on.
Despite the cancellation of the Casey event last term, the College community still raised over $30,000 to help fight cancer.
This included more than $11,000 raised from the Cardinia event and $20,000 raised by our Berwick Campus team before the Casey Relay For Life was cancelled.
Cardinia’s $11,000 effort earned a research award (named the Beacon of Hope), which will go towards leukemia and lymphoma research in honour of a current student battling cancer.
That $20,000, plus all of the registrations, will be transferred to Casey’s Relay For Life 2021. Congratulations to the team organisers at both campuses and all of our students, staff and families for their outstanding fundraising efforts.
I think we know that school is going to look very different for us all in term 2. COVID-19 has certainly thrown us all a major challenge.
I am inordinately proud of our College staff who have worked so hard to prepare our online learning program. Today the program begins in earnest, after it was introduced three days before the end of term. We have had some very positive feedback from families so far. It’s early days, but I feel confident we can continue to deliver the high calibre of education our community has come to expect.
How does an online learning program look for, say, the average Middle School student? We have tried to keep as much structure in the school day as possible. Led by our teaching staff, Middle School students will continue to use apps such as Showbie for their learning resources, our App4 to set and track tasks and Zoom for instructions and video conferencing.
Beaconhills is delivering on-campus learning for children of front line workers, along with places for students in Prep-Year 12 to support families who cannot provide home-based learning. Our two Little Beacons centres are open and continue to deliver early learning programs.
I believe we are firmly on the front foot with our online learning programs. Let’s keep up the great work – and get the most out of term 2.
Suggested Middle School student routine:
• wake: do some exercise
• breakfast and change for school
• 8.45am: tutor check-in on Zoom
• 9am: classes start as per my timetable with video meet check-ins with my teachers. Start working through my tasks on App4 using Learning Resources
• 11am: stop for a break, have some food, do some stretches
• 11.30am: classes start up again with more video check-ins with my teachers
• 1:30pm: stop for lunch, catch up with some friends online (no television, need some off-screen time)
• 2.20pm: final class with a video meet check-in with my teacher
• 3.30-4.30pm: have a break, get some exercise, music practice
• 4.30pm: start your home learning
• 6.30pm: dinner.
We are living history, right at this moment.
For junior school aged children in particular, taking time to create a time capsule will help them in the future to remember and reflect on this time of great social change.
We’ve uploaded a fantastic template below, created by LONG Creations:
COVID-19 Time Capsule
I would like to begin by thanking all those who have sent messages of support following the recent launch of our Online Learning Program – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was new ground for us all, but the spirit of collaboration has been truly heart-warming.
This afternoon, we emailed our families to announce the plans for term 2 programs, so that they might consider the most suitable option.
At this stage, we will continue with the Online Learning Program introduced at the end of term 1 for all Prep – Year 12 students. Staff have done a significant amount of work behind the scenes to deliver this program and we received positive feedback from many families. However, we appreciate there are still many challenges and we all need to work together to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for our students.
Along with places on-campus for children of front-line workers, Beaconhills will also offer limited places for Prep – Year 12 students at both campuses to support families who are unable to provide home-based learning for their children. This may include vulnerable children who need extra support.
Little Beacons programs at both campuses will be ongoing. As the Australian Government recently announced, these services will be delivered at no cost to families at this time.
It is important that children do not attend the College if they are unwell. School-aged children will have their temperature checked at the start of each day and social distancing procedures will in place for all children in the Prep-12 and Little Beacons programs.
On behalf of the College staff and board I wish you a safe and peaceful Easter. We continue to pray for those hit hardest across the world by this pandemic and have faith that a path to a healthier future can be found.
– Headmaster, Tony Sheumack
The new Beacon of Hope Community Garden is about to come to life.
Beaconhills is delighted to announce this charity initiative, aimed at helping battle food insecurity in our local community.
The College is now fast-tracking the garden project, a 75m x 25m plot at the Pakenham Campus. The garden will produce fresh vegetables to donate to Casey and Cardinia welfare organisations for local families in need.
Beaconhills currently has five thriving vegetable gardens with produce already donated and turned into meals for charity, used in food technology classes and for College menus.
When COVID-19 restrictions ease, Beaconhills will continue to tend to this garden and invite members of the community be involved in the project.
We would welcome donations such as unwanted large containers like old bathtubs to store chicken manure, sleepers and vegetable seeds and seedlings. Contact Jack.Donkers@beaconhills.vic.edu.au for more details.
Could you do a thoughtful act for someone else every day, for 21 days?
Beaconhills College’s Citizenship and Service Program is launching a new activity for students and families over the school holidays and beyond – the 21 Day Challenge.
The idea is simple. Do a small act of kindness for someone else every day. Record it, if you wish take a photo (we would love to see what you are doing), but most of all, do it because you want to help grow a ‘culture of kindness’.
You might write a card for someone, plant a tree, clean the windows at home or just email a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them. Some more ideas are below.
Our Year 8 Certificate of Excellence students are already taking up the challenge, documenting their actions each day which will be formally recognised as part of their certificate.
The concept was also trialled for a week with great success amongst our Year 2s at the Pakenham Campus (see photos).
You can click here to read about the original 21 Day Challenge and how it all works.
Beaconhills’ Citizenship and Service Program is based on the ‘benefit mindset’ philosophy, which in turn builds on ‘growth mindset’. A benefit mindset, developed by researcher and consultant Ash Buchanan, seeks to not only fulfil our own potential, but do it way that serves the wellbeing of all.
We would love to see some photos showing some of the ways you are meeting the challenge, so we can post them for others! Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A few starter ideas
Beaconhills’ Head of Citizenship and Service, Clare Tuohy, has a few ideas to get you started:
• Start a Gratefulness Journal. At dinner each night, encourage family members to highlight what they have been grateful for that day
• Cook dinner
• Make a batch of cookies for your family
• Write a poem about one of your family members and give it to them
• Plan a small veggie garden and put steps into place to make this happen
• Offer to clean the bathroom
• Make a card or write a letter of kindness to a neighbor and leave it in their letter box or on the front door
Alumni wins Australian Academy of Science award
Little Beacons Berwick completes Achievement Program
R U OK? Day
Zoe takes on the beanie challenge
Early Childhood Educators’ Day
ACS Chess Tournament 2020
Great Boarding House Bake Off
Seizure alert dog success for teacher’s family
100 days of school
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
A sobering story for Year 9s
Beaconhills runs around Australia
7 key questions to ask when choosing a school
The importance of regular school attendance
Combatting racism starts with education
Get ready for a return to school
Supporting our community through crisis
Term 2, with a difference
Online Learning to continue into term 2
Support for health care workers
From humble beginnings
Welcome to 2020
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