Author Archives: Philip Wicks

Building life-long Bonds with Villagers in Vanuatu – STORMCo 2016

Macquarie College students are building life-long bonds with local villagers in Vanuatu, giving back to the island community through their annual service program.
Forty students depart Newcastle on 9th November 2016, the next generation of Year 12 school-leavers swapping traditional year-end celebrations for enrichment initiatives in the Olwi Village, Vanuatu.

STORMCo (Service To Others Really Matters Company) is a program deeply embedded in the culture of the Macquarie College Senior School after just eight years in place. It is a life-changing experience for students, resulting in new Year 7 students looking forward to their own international travel adventure, supporting a remote community and experiencing a lifestyle as their brothers and sisters have done before them.

Students will immerse themselves in the local village, for some it will be their first time overseas. With only basic amenities, this first-hand experience of a humble village existence awaits them. As too does hard work.

The purpose of this year’s trip is to support the Olwi Village with building projects including tiling, painting, fixing ceilings and constructing drainage to collect water at the local Primary School. These works will improve the teaching and learning environment for students who are constantly faced with extreme weather conditions in the region, many of whom are still recovering from the catastrophic impact of Tropical Cyclone Pam which battered the island of Port Vila in March, 2015.

Among the physical tasks there is also time for reflection. Students will embrace the culture and learn from their hosts, they will spend time reading, playing and performing with local students during which time bonds will be formed as they realise the value of service to others and living in the moment.

The Year 12 Class of 2016 departs Macquarie College on Wednesday 9th November after almost 12 months committed to fundraising activities aimed at purchasing building supplies and education resources for their time in Olwi Village. While paying for their own flights and their accommodation in Vanuatu at the end of the service trip, students turned their minds to a comprehensive fundraising campaign throughout 2016 which featured hosting stalls and guessing competitions at the recent Spring Fair, an auction, and everyone’s favourite chocolate boxes.

There is also an active GoFundMe page for this trip, with donations sought direct from the community which will help students to reach their online fundraising target of $5,000. STORMCo trip coordinator, Mr Aaron Williams, is proud of the Year 12 cohort which has committed to the trip, to fundraising and to the opportunity of experiencing global citizenship. During 2016, students have been challenged in their thinking about the value of sharing small acts of support and kindness. This trip will see many small, individual acts accumulate to make a significant difference to this remote island community.  

Click Here to visit the group’s GoFundMe page.

“In 2009, we inspired 19 brave students to go beyond their comfort zones and make a commitment to helping others with tangible resources and also compassion. We are now in the final stages of preparations for 40 students and seven staff to continue the tradition in 2016,” Williams said.

“So far, fundraising efforts have generated $12,000.00, but our final online fundraising target of $5,000 via GoFundMe is yet to be achieved. We would certainly appreciate support from individuals across the Hunter who may like to make a small donation. This act of kindness will go a long way. We are cannot wait to get started on the building works promised to the Olwi villagers.”

“Local businesses Honeysuckle Dental and KH Account Solutions have both donated $1,000 each to our campaign and we are truly grateful for this level of support, which will purchase valuable building supplies for the project.”

“While this service trip is focused on village life and making a lasting contribution, we will also take time to celebrate the end of Year 12 in a safe and positive environment while staying in Vanuatu. On return to Newcastle on 16th November, the next phase of our students’ lives will begin as they seek out employment, study or community-oriented roles and make their own way in society.”

Details of trip
• Departing the College: Wednesday 9th November, 2.00pm from Macquarie College
• Returning to the College: Wednesday 16th November
• Tour Organiser: Mr Aaron Williams, 4954 6222
• Students on Tour: 40
• Accompanying Staff: 7

Macquarie College Announces Additional Year 5 Class for 2017

Earlier this year, the College Council and Administration Committee examined the possibility of introducing a third Year 5 class for 2017. 

We had many children on the waiting list and decided to promote this opportunity widely during September and October.  It gives me great pleasure to confirm that a third Year 5 class will be introduced in 2017.  As a result of a substantial waiting list and enquiries received from new families over the past month, we can welcome more children to begin their Stage 3 education at Macquarie College. 

Year 5-6 students are facing a number of important changes in their young lives, as they realise academic ability and opportunities, experience changing social dynamics and physical development.  Our staff are experienced educators and guide students during this important period in their lives.  We take great responsibility in nurturing their sense of belonging and achievement, as we lay the foundations for a smooth transition into Senior School in just a few short years.

Thank you to those who continue to recommend Macquarie College to your friends and family and we ask you to remember the Referral Program, that offers both the referring and enrolling families a discount off Tuition Fees for 2017.   We appreciate your commitment to the school, which helps us grow a community of families seeking a Christian values-based education for their children.

Announcements regarding our staffing structure for 2017 and beyond will be made in the coming months.

Macquarie College Announces the 2017 Senior School Leaders

On Wednesday 20th October, the Senior School gathered for a special Chapel service, during which the 2017 Leaders were announced.  

Dr Bruce Youlden, Principal, greeted the 2017 Leaders and congratulated them on their appointment, and expressed pride in them for their values demonstrated throughout the year which have earned them the opportunity to represent their peers and the College in their final year of Senior School.  You can watch Dr Youlden’s speech here

The 2017 Leaders are Carl Gearing and Holly Kozlik (Captains) and Belle Smith and Damon Tually (Vice-Captains).

Student Representative Council members Sarah Ottoway and Harrison Lyddiard gave a wonderful speech during Chapel, which is shared below.

SO: Leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.”  However, this definition only scratches the surface of what true leadership is.
HL: Sarah and I, asked some teachers to sum up what they believed to be the most important aspect of leadership, in one word.  Here’s what we received:

  • Courage, Example, Service, Strength
  • Selflessness, Patience, Guidance, Transparency
  • Considerate, Humility, Vision, Empathy
  • Integrity, Influence, Authenticity, Empowerment
  • Not one answer was identical.

SO: So how can leadership mean so many different things yet sound so simple. Leadership can be recognising a problem and finding a solution to it. It could be helping others with a selfless heart. It could be acting as a role model to help guide those around you. Leadership revolves around kindness, respect and initiative.
HL: So who is a leader? Leaders are people who know how to achieve goals and inspire people along the way. Leaders can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, school captains, the list goes on.

SO: In other words, leadership is complex and means many things to many people, depending upon the context. For instance, some lead by example and take a hands on approach such as in sporting teams, while others are more authoritarian, taking a hard line approach and delegating as we see in the military. Either way, a leader cannot lead without followers. Followers need to respect their leaders.. What therefore engenders respect?
HL: Respect must be earned through both actions and words. Great leaders such as Ghandi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela demonstrated time and time again that respect must first be earnt. Integrity, fairness, compassion, and consistency all come to mind. However, sometimes respect is earned by making difficult decisions that aren’t popular. Jesus Christ, a great leader, acted in ways that were clearly not popular and paid the ultimate price.

SO: In a more current setting, we see the opposite unfolding in the soap opera of the US presidential campaign. One of the candidates appears to have issues with integrity and judgement, but is at least consistent. Opportunistic popularity does not necessarily make a great leader.
HL: School leadership is unique. Its sharing your gifts, abilities, talents, dreams and ideas with everyone around you. But there is more to it than that. Leaders model, connect and involve. They act as role models for the community, they connect with the people they want to lead, and they involve people whenever they can.

SO: We lead by example, and one of the most difficult parts of leadership is showing people that they can do better even if they doubt themselves. Leaders put time and effort into those around them, they aim to give people a better experience and try to produce the best results possible.
HL: They don’t give up, and they strive to always be their best, regardless of their circumstances. Leaders talk, show and share in order to learn, inspire and encourage others to make better things happen.

SO: So what kind of leader will you strive to be? One whose authentic and patient? Or one who serves, guides and is empathetic?
HL: What about integrity, respect and strength? Or selflessness, transparency and consideration?  Why not be all at once.

New Titles Now Available in the Library

Infants: A Lesson in Trusting God

Send out a search party for Puppy! Abby hears him in the basement, but it is so dark down there. Is Abby brave enough to rescue her friend, Puppy?  This is a Level One ‘I Can Read!’ book, which means it’s perfect for children learning to sound out words and sentences. It aligns with guided reading level G and will be of interest to children Pre-K to 3rd grade.

Junior School: WeirDo 7

Life for WeirDo is MEGA BUSY! Hes planning on making MEGA bucks from the Street Garage Sale, plus hes helping Bella write a winning song! And is that a dusty dino bone in the corner? It wont be easy … but it will be funny! 

Senior School: Prisoner B-3087

Survive. At any cost. 10 concentration camps. 10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It’s something no one could imagine surviving.  But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face. As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.  He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.  Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?  Based on an astonishing true story.

Parent Library: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children―don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?  Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet―it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.  It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you” for everything they have.

Year 5 Learn Valuable Sales and Marketing Skills during E-Day 2017

The annual Year 5 E-Day was an outstanding success for all of the students and staff who got involved.  

This annual event helps the students to learn about basic commerce, marketing and customer relationships as they each host a stall and attempt to generate the most income from a day’s sales.

“On Thursday 20th October, Year 5 hosted E-Day. Everyone’s stalls were amazing and everything went really well. We all were very excited on the day. In the morning we had all our products ready to sell, and we had our final update from Mr Franklin and Mrs Culjak about how the day would run.

Tables were set up for our stalls all around the COLA, and our names were pulled out of a container so we got to choose our location. Soon we were all setting up our products ready for sale. It took quite a long time, but we finally had everything done and we were ready for our first customers – we were all really excited now! 

We walked around the COLA looking at all the colourful stalls, which were so amazing and decorated wonderfully.  Finally, we heard the noise we were waiting for, the bell for recess. Crowds of kids came running from all directions and we soon had lines of customers waiting to be served using their ‘E-Dollars’ – it was so awesome and we enjoyed the buzz of selling.

After recess ended, we went back to our classes and tallied up our E-Dollars and put the numbers into a sales chart. Then we put all our E-Dollars into a zip-lock bag for safekeeping.  We then ate lunch and prepared our stalls for a second run of customers during lunch.  The lunch bell rang and we were selling our products again to the Seniors, this time our Year 10 Buddies got ‘E-Dollars’ to buy from us.

A lot of the stalls did really well and everyone was happy.  When all the Seniors went back to class, we started trading our goods between us.  Most stall-holders ran out of stock, but those who had stock left traded with others.  

Then it was time for everyone to pack up, returning equipment and cleaning up any rubbish.  We then did a final tally of our sales from the second session and created graphs to analyse our sales.  

Everyone’s stall was so original and creative. E-Day was a big success and we all enjoyed it.

Georgia (Year 5Q) and Imogen (Year 5F).