Principal 8/4/22: Peace and Reconciliation

It is with thanks that we can reflect from this point of the term. I commented to the High School at our Monday assembly that this is the first full term of onsite learning since June last year. It feels odd to write, however, considering the past two years, this is something worth celebrating.

We have enjoyed a series of camps and many of the regular school activities are back in place. While it may feel mundane, our daily lessons together onsite should not be taken for granted, because we know that they haven’t been guaranteed in the past.

This week I had the pleasure to listen to a number of the presentations at the Primary ALC ‘Night of the Notables’. Students filled the hall with poster displays of famous people in history including explorers, influential and historic leaders and local heroes. Each student also dressed up to represent their ‘notable’. Each class had a theme which corresponded with the current curriculum they are studying. While this evening has been part of our school calendar for a long time, being able to host such an event is a particular joy.

This week we also hosted Backflips Against Bullying. This program was presented to Years 3 – 8 featuring high-energy performances by a team of incredible acrobats who conveyed messages about empathy resilience, and practical skills for responding to harassment and bullying. Bullying is not an acceptable pattern of behaviour and we work to guide students to resolve conflict and respond to concerns regarding bullying in appropriate ways and to be respectful to others. The Backflips Against Bullying program was timed as a follow up program to the ‘Bullying No Way’ day held earlier in the term.

On our return to lessons in Term 2 (Tuesday 26th April), both Primary and High School will be marking ANZAC Day with assemblies. This year the focus will be on celebrating the 75th anniversary of UNESCO. After two World Wars in less than thirty years, UNESCO was born of a clear vision: to achieve lasting peace.

This message of peace and reconciliation has never been more important, particularly as we mourn the news of the devastating impact of war on the city and people of Bucha and across the Ukraine. We live in a world that longs for peace but inevitably finds itself in conflict. This is evident at the international level right down to the struggles we see in interpersonal conflict. The source of lasting peace and reconciliation is revealed in the Bible. Easter is the time Christians celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was through this gracious act that we can be reconciled to and have peace with God.

Colossians 1:19-20 tells us:

For God was pleased to have
all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus),
and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.

This message of peace and reconciliation between God and humanity is at the heart of Easter. So, while we enjoy a long weekend, hot cross buns and chocolate, I would also like to invite you to visit your local Bible-based church to hear the good news about God’s offer of peace and reconciliation through His son Jesus Christ.

So, in closing this last newsletter for this term I would like to acknowledge the dedication of our staff, the resilience of our students and the support of their families in navigating a challenging term. COVID continues to be present in the community and the need to isolate has had an impact on staff and student attendance. Hence, as a reminder of the broadcast and email sent last week, the school is modifying our safety measures for the coming school weeks. This is a precautionary measure as it is likely that transmission will remain at high levels in the community over the Easter break and we want to maintain our current level of school activity in a safe and healthy way. Therefore please be aware that:

  • Students in Years 7-12 are required to wear masks when indoors and on public transport (including when travelling on buses to and from sport/excursions/camp).
  • Primary students are strongly encouraged to wear masks when indoors or on public transport (including when travelling on buses to and from sport/excursions/camp).
  • Staff are required to wear masks indoors
  • Matilda audience members, 12 years or older, will be required to wear a mask indoors

Wishing everyone in our school community a safe, healthy and restful break.

Keith McMullen