Our phased transition back to full-time school has had a successful first week. Our students are very glad to see each other again and the playgrounds are resounding to the noise of happy children in the Junior School and teenagers in the Senior School. The Premier is optimistic that schools will be able to resume full-time sooner than originally expected, perhaps even within the next few weeks. We await her decision on that, which will be based on the COVID-19 statistics during that time.
We are maintaining a cleaning/disinfecting schedule throughout the day and keeping our borders closed to external people as much as possible. While we anticipate schools having full-time attendance at least by next term, there will still be many regular school events that will not run at all or in their usual way. Our decisions about some of these will be based on the health advice as it changes over the rest of the year – if it changes.
Week of 18 May
The plans for our phased return have been emailed to you and are also available on our COVID-19 page on our website. Next week’s phase will be as published in my last two letters that are posted here.
Year 7 2021
I am currently interviewing external applicants for Year 7. Next week we will ask our Year 6 parents to indicate their intentions for their child for Year 7. It is important that we have this information, as you understand it at present, so we know how many places we will have to offer to external students.
A reminder to tell our Registrar if you have a child you wish to enrol in Kindergarten or Year 7 next year. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online learning continues for students in this transition phase, whether at school or at home. If your child is having difficulty please contact the relevant teacher so the issue can be dealt with. Remember there are a number of resources to assist with online learning on our COVID-19 section of the school website here. You might like also to have a look at the resources on our Counselling Blog.
Our chaplains, Matt and Pete, are posting chapel services for the Junior School and Senior School on our YouTube Channels each week. You might want to have a look with your child and see what spiritually enlightening antics our chaplains get up to. Here’s the Senior School Chapel for this week: https://youtu.be/QOFlS-lBzRY. Junior School Chapels can be found on SeeSaw.
Mr Michael Hannah
KEY DATES FOR THE DIARY
Weeks 3 and 4 (11 – 22 May):
Essential services workers’ children and all K-6 students in the respective Colleges below: Monday: Ridley Tuesday: Cranmer Wednesday: essential services children only Thursday: Lightfoot Friday: Tyrrell
Year 12 attend Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Online learning at home on Fridays. All other students as below: Monday: Years 8 and 9 Ridley & Tyrrell Tuesday: Year 9 Cranmer & Lightfoot Wednesday: Years 8 and 11 Cranmer & Lightfoot Thursday: Years 7 and 10 Cranmer & Lightfoot Friday: Years 7, 10 and 11 Ridley & Tyrrell.
Essential services children joining with their classes.
Weeks 5 and 6 (25 May – 5 June)
Essential services workers’ children, and all K-6 students in the respective Colleges below: Monday: Ridley and Tyrrell Tuesday: Cranmer and Lightfoot Wednesday: essential services children only Thursday: Cranmer and Lightfoot Friday: Ridley and Tyrrell
Year 12 attend Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Online learning at home on Fridays. All other students as below: Monday: Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 Ridley and Tyrrell Tuesday: Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 Cranmer & Lightfoot Wednesday: Year 11 Cranmer & Lightfoot Thursday: Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 Cranmer & Lightfoot Friday: Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 Ridley & Tyrrell
Essential service children joining with their classes.
Well, hello there. It has been a while. How have you been? Are you coping ok? It is great to see you. How weird is life at the moment? School is eerie, quiet and just not quite the same. It really is so good to see you. For me, each morning this week as I wander the school before the first bell I am having conversations that have these phrases in them. Each day there are different students arriving to bolster the ranks of our essential workers students. I am overwhelmed with joy to see each and every student arrive on campus. A school without most of its students present is a strange place to be. At least some of the bells were running this week to normalise the experience.
As staff, we have been working our way through the book of Psalms in the Old Testament each morning. If you’re not familiar with them, they are like poems or songs that dive into the rich tapestry of human emotion and circumstance, often questioning God and the reality we find ourselves in. King David of Jewish fame wrote a large number of them and they have been incredibly timely for the season we find ourselves in. There is a rawness in them that reflects much of what we are living through and I recommend them to you. Chances are, if you have been to a funeral you will have heard Psalm 23 read out…The Lord is my Shepherd.
One of the challenges that Pete and I have faced is making chapel an online experience. We have both had to work with various constraints, but we are hearing some really lovely stories back from the students of their experiences. Whether you watch on Seesaw in the Junior School or follow the Youtube link in Senior School our hope is that it may be a time of quiet reflection, maybe a few giggles as well as hopefully a sense of the familiar. I will say this, having a chapel procession with students is much easier than with Barbie and her friends (ask if you don’t know what I mean). I am told that quite a few extra family members are experiencing our online work too (mums, dads, grandparents and siblings) which warms our hearts immensely. It will be some time before we can have large gatherings at school so this will be our normal for a while yet and we hope that we can continue to bless you all with God’s word and love.
Finally, I wanted to say my own personal thanks to our school community. I have seen a real coming together while we are apart during the last few months. Staff are working with students and parents and guardians in a way that is really quite amazing. I am seeing regular innovations, creativity and collaboration in this pressure cooker existence. As a parent of three girls at our school I am deeply appreciative of how we have been doing our very best to make the most of an awful world experience. Please be assured of our prayers for you as we continue to work our way towards being all back together at school. If you need a giggle, then jump over to our senior school blog where you can see my COVID Bin Night Escapades. https://blog.lakes.nsw.edu.au/
JUNIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
We commemorated a different Anzac Day this year, with many families marking the occasion on their driveway at 6.00am as we were encouraged to do by the RSL. It was heartwarming to see a number of students paying tribute in this way, or learning to play the Last Post on a musical instrument.
I commend all of the students involved for their commitment to this very important occasion and for the perseverance we have shown in doing so in a different way from usual this year.
We were also able to commemorate ANZAC Day online when we returned to school through a reflective online service, in which the ANZAC spirit formed the focus of the occasion. We were thankful that our School and Christian Ministry Leaders were also able to join us online for this special service.
As personal reflection on Anzac Day, as a young boy, I remember my Uncle Russell (he was actually my great uncle), who was a lovely fellow, who sometimes found it hard to get around and wore dark glasses. I have a vague memory of being told that he’d suffered a bit in the war and some of his injuries had stayed with him, including his damaged eyesight.
A few years ago, we were looking at our family tree with our sons and we researched Uncle Russell a bit more. It turns out that he wasn’t in the Korean War as I’d thought but in fact had served in World War 2 with the 2/30th Battalion through the fall of Singapore, the Changi POW camp and then on to Thailand. This is a notorious chapter of the war as we know many Australian soldiers passed away on the Burma-Thai railway.
The hardship that he endured is quite incredible to look back on and think about, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic that we’re currently enduring. He enlisted in August 1940 along with my Uncle Lance, with initial training in Tamworth before heading off to Singapore. His mum passed away in 1941 whilst he was posted on duty. He returned to Australia in October 1945 at the end of the war. After making the long journey back home to the north coast, his dad passed away days later after he had returned in late October.
As a teenager, I remember giving a little help from time to time to Rowley, an old digger who lived locally – like Uncle Russell, he was also a really good bloke! We had a look at the records at the same time as learning more about Uncle Russell and discovered that Rowley had been a private with 8th Division Headquarters and was tasked with carrying the message to surrender when Singapore was invaded. He also ended up on the Burma-Thai railway and was a survivor of Changi where he sustained significant injuries. He was quite a local institution with a street named after him and had been our local RSL President for some years. When he was walking quite a few miles home in the rain from the train station at the end of the war, he decided that we really should have a local bus company which he started up and ran successfully for many years. It is interesting how both men made the best they could from the really difficult circumstances that they found themselves in at the time.
Ironically, when doing the research on both men, it is strange how I’d crossed paths with Rowley some 50 years later - and the way that it turned out that he’d had been in the same places all those years ago, along with Uncle Russell.
Mothers' Day Stall and Breakfast
Thank you to the Parents and Friends Committee for the great work that they do for Lakes Grammar and for the wonderful job that our committed team of volunteers did on organising and conducting our Mothers’ Day Stall – which is of course was online this year! Whilst it is a shame that we were not able to enjoy our annual Mothers’ Day Breakfast at school this year, we did of course wish all of our mothers the very best for this special day.
It presents a wonderful opportunity for us to remember and thank our mothers, aunties, stepmothers, adopted mothers and grandmothers who have cared for us and nurtured us in our lives. God has given us these special people in our lives to help us to experience love and to learn to love in return.
Head of Junior School
VISIT TO NURSING HOME
On Friday our family went to visit our local nursing home to give them some cards and chocolates to brighten their Mothers’ Day as we thought that due to the COVID-19 restrictions they may not be getting any visitors on their special day.
The kids all wrote out messages in cards and the nursing home staff were elated that they had come to share the messages and told the kids how much this would mean to the residents, especially those that can't see their families.
They were all so proud to help others and had their picture taken by the nursing home staff and the community office gave me a package to bring into school from some letters that were written over Easter.
The Jones Family
VISIT TO OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS
Montana thought today being International Nurses day she wanted to do something to show thanks, as this year more than any other our Health services workers deserve to be recognised and thanked.
Montana made three balloons last night, filled them with delicious treats and wrote a beautiful card for each.
We got up super early before school and we visited Toukley Ambulance Station, Wyong Hospital and Warnervale GP Super Clinic to let them know how much we truly appreciate them and care for what they do for us.
Montana herself has needed their services during this uncertain period and we cannot thank them enough for what they do for us all every single day of the year.
The McGarrity Family
SENIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL
It has been good to see students start to return to school this week. It has been a real change (and relief) for many of us.
Thank you for your understanding and for working with us in terms of maintaining proper hygiene, socially distancing and communication. In my last letter I mentioned a number of important points for the continuation of schooling, and in this newsletter I just want to underline a few points for next week:
Student roster for 18 – 22 May (Week 4B)
The roster for coming to school remains the same as last week:
Monday: Years 8 and 9 Ridley & Tyrrell.
Tuesday: Year 9 Cranmer & Lightfoot.
Wednesday: Years 8 and 11 Cranmer & Lightfoot.
Thursday: Years 7 and 10 Cranmer & Lightfoot.
Friday: Years 7, 10 and 11 Ridley & Tyrrell.
With regard to Week 5 (from 25 May), the current plan for Lakes, that we communicated two weeks ago is for students in Years 7-11 to return for two days a week, and for Year 12 to return five days a week. However, we continue to monitor advice from the NSW government, and these plans could easily change if there are new announcements regarding schools.
We are maintaining this as far as possible. So in class, we want students to sit by themselves as much as possible and to remember to appropriately distance in the playground.
Devices and Timetable
Again, not every teacher is back at school yet, so some of your classes may continue to be online and students will need to bring their devices to school. There are also some timetable changes (both at school and online) for Years 8 – 10 and they will be emailed to your child.
If your child is sick
Please don’t send your child to school if they are sick. If they are sick during the day they will need to attend sickbay and it is likely that you will be asked to come and collect them.
An announcement has come through today (Friday) from NESA that the HSC exams have been moved back by one week. The exam schedule will still take the same amount of time, but will commence 1 week later from Tuesday, 20 October and run until Wednesday, 11 November.