FROM THE HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
It is with both thanksgiving and sadness that I write my final Junior School Newsletter report; thanksgiving for eight years of growth, friendships and learning that have made Lakes Grammar very special to me, and sadness at leaving such a fine school and its wonderful students. God calls us to different roles, each in their own place and time, and next year will bring another season in which to continue to serve him faithfully. I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for your support and encouragement not only to me but particularly to the children in their education and our teachers and staff team in all of their endeavours to nurture and grow the children. We have an outstanding school and I look forward to seeing it continuing to grow and establish even more exciting programs and initiatives in the years ahead.
I arrived at Lakes in 2013 and it has been my privilege to be Head of Junior School in this wonderful place. It is a school with a strong and well-deserved positive reputation, which comes from the wonderful educational opportunities offered to all of our students, our teachers who are dedicated, passionate and committed, and care deeply for our children and our school families each and every day, and our children who are so vibrant and excited about their learning, friendships and being able to 'stretch' themselves and try new things.
I sincerely pray that all of the students who have enjoyed being a part of Lakes Grammar will continue to possess a genuine desire and willingness to embrace 'setbacks' as learning experiences, that they will have a servant heart for others and that they will hold great hope for the future as a result of the Christian faith that we have shared. God loves us and sent his Son Jesus to die for us and to rise again so he can have a relationship with us forever. God's gift of salvation is an amazing one and the best part of being at Lakes has been the opportunity to share that wonderful news with our school community on a regular basis.
Thank you again for your support of both myself and our staff team, it has been an honour to be Head of Junior School at Lakes Grammar for a really beautiful season in my life. Some highlights have included the growth of our academic results and the implementation of many positive programs for student and staff wellbeing including Kidsmatter, Be You, Peer Support, Student Representative Council and Kids for a Cause. It has been a pleasure to see our co-curricular program grow to include Training and Concert Bands, a String Ensemble, Choirs, annual participation in the IPSHA Performing Arts Festival and Travelling Art Show, DaVinci Decathlon, and a multitude of sports, camps and excursions. It has also been a highlight to see our STEM Centres built and to work with Rev Matt and Peter Oates to build our Christian Ministry programs, building up CRU groups, seeing the outworking of our faith through service to others and philanthropy, growing the links with Lakes Anglican Church and their youth groups, and seeing the introduction of Christian Ministry Leaders. These are highlights because they have provided opportunities for our children to flourish and grow, and to be able to spend time with your children, nurturing them each day. Your children are so precious, thank you for entrusting them to us.
I am thankful to our parent community, School Council and our P & F Association for their consistent support in offering our students the best education, resources and opportunities that we can provide, as well as to our community, as we have great organisations like Doyalson RSL and Northlakes-Toukley Rotary who have partnered with our school for Anzac Day commemorations and Student Leadership Awards. I have also enjoyed the strong working relationships that we have had over the years with our local members of State and Federal Parliament - David Harris, Karen McNamara and Emma McBride.
Similarly, our teachers and administration staff have been amazing. It is unusual to be able to be in a leadership position and to also be able to regard many of our team as personal friends, however, that has been the case for us at Lakes and it is a reflection of the warmth and professionalism that we enjoy. We have wonderful people that God has brought together in this place and I pray that God will give these wonderful people every blessing into the future.
There are many people whom it is appropriate to recognise and thank at this time, but none more so than our esteemed Principal, Mr Hannah. Mr Hannah will leave a great legacy to the school community at Lakes Grammar on his retirement next year. I am sure the students and staff of Lakes Grammar will continue go on to do great things because of the wonderful example he has given us. He has always sought the best for every single person who has been a part of our school community. He is a Godly man who has dedicated his life to educating children, sharing his faith with them and takes delight in seeing them happy and joyful. He will be celebrated and treasured as both a passionate educator and a humble man who has touched our lives in so many positive ways. It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to have worked under his leadership for the past eight years, and an honour to see how the school has absolutely flourished and grown in so many amazing ways since its opening in 2004. I wish Michael, his wife Sue, and his family the very best on his retirement next year.
I congratulate Mr Ralph Johns in his appointment as Acting Head of Junior School. I have appreciated Mr Johns' leadership, dedication, integrity and strong Christian witness in the Junior School over the last eight years as Co-ordinator of Student Wellbeing and I am confident he will bring a strong and positive direction to 2021. I know that you will welcome and embrace a new Head of Junior School as you did me and you will offer them the same support and encouragement into the future. It is hard to write individual thank yous, as all of our staff in the Junior School, and many others, have been just amazing and each deserves thanks and recognition. Thank you to Bishop Peter, Bishop Charlie, Alan Green our NASC CEO, and our School Council for their leadership. It has been a pleasure to be part of our school executive team with Mr Ian Samways and Mrs Jennifer Sheargold, wonderful people who work incredibly and unfailingly hard for the school and for the best for the students. Similarly, Mrs Liz Evans has been an amazing support in all that she does for our school. The recognition of both Jennifer and Liz with Rotary 'Pride in Workmanship' Awards in recent years illustrates the absolute quality of all that they do and the high regard in which they are held in our broader community. We are blessed to have had Mrs Julie Stowe join us last year as Co-ordinator of Quality Teaching and Learning and our academic results and teaching programs have flourished under her leadership. She is a really experienced and passionate leader with wonderful people skills and has built great relationships across our school community. Similarly, we are thankful for the work of Mrs Holland, Mr Cantor and Mrs Colthorpe as they have co-ordinated Gifted and Talented Education, Sport and Teacher Mentoring respectively, and to Mrs Smith and Mrs MacLarty in the Senior School who have worked with us to build sound K - 12 partnerships.
Our prayers and best wishes go with Mrs Rebecca Wallace as she also leaves the school at the end of the year, moving to Adelaide. Mrs Wallace has been a highly regarded and much appreciated teacher for some years at Lakes as she has taught a number of grades, most recently Kindergarten, where she has done an amazing job of helping children settle into their first year of school and supporting our school families through that transition. Our Aboriginal programs have absolutely flourished under her leadership. Such an important part of our school is 'community' and for our indigenous children and families to have had the confidence to identify, to have enjoyed opportunities including AECG Camps, Art competitions, AECG Assemblies and indigenous mentoring programs, to name but a few of the programs that Rebecca has implemented, has been very special. The energy that she has brought to commemorating National Sorry Day, National Reconciliation Day and NAIDOC Week have enabled our indigenous students to feel great pride in their culture, and that has been invaluable.
I leave you with the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1: 3 - 9.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
May God bless you all and know that you will all remain in our prayers.
"Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends".
Head of Junior School