Primary students from across the Manning region attended an arts day at St Clare’s High School, Taree as part of the ASPIRE program, while Year 11 students from St Clare’s embarked on a reflection day at Blackhead Surf Lifesaving Club where they explored the many dimensions of the Positive Education Framework, CLARE.
“The CLARE framework enables students and staff to enhance their wellbeing through the development of a positive attitude, positive emotions, positive relationships and a sense of purpose about self, school and life. The reflection day encouraged students to engage with God, their beliefs and their community and to develop a sense of balance between school and personal life,” said Ministry Coordinator, Denise Ryan.
Over at St Columba’s Primary School, Adamstown, students reflected upon Catholic Schools Week with a morning liturgy, followed by open classrooms and a school performance. “Catholic Schools Week is a chance to celebrate the strong relationship we have with parents at St Columba’s. It captures the essence of what positive school communities do to enrich the lives of all students in our care,” said Principal, Justin Hutchins.
Meanwhile, as students from Holy Name Primary School, Forster, engaged in fun and interactive workshops, families were invited to wander through open classrooms at St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton, where they had the opportunity to share in workbook fun of their children. During lunchtime, students participated in a social justice fundraising initiative for CARITAS Australia by hosting a ‘Rice Lunch’.
“In order to give our students greater insight into nations faced with famine and poverty we held a ‘Rice Lunch’ following our liturgy, so that our students can ‘walk in the shoes’ of others, even if only for a very short time. The school canteen was closed on this day so the students can focus on the simplicity of eating a ‘rice only’ meal, and classes will focus on being grateful for what we often take for granted,” said Assistant Principal, Kaylene Maretich.
At St Pius X Primary School, Windale, the school community gathered together for a Catholic Schools Week assembly, followed by open classrooms and a picnic lunch with families in the school grounds.
“The unexpected celebration this week is with our 2017 NAPLAN results in Myschool (ACARA). When compared with Similar Schools (with a comparative ICSEA) our Year 3 cohort finished 1st in Australia in Reading, Grammar and Punctuation and Mathematics, 2nd in Writing and 3rd in Spelling, whilst our Year 5 finished 1st in Australia in Writing, Spelling and Mathematics, 2nd in Reading and 3rd in Grammar and Punctuation. With CSW’s theme of 'Faith in our Future', the staff and students are working hard to make this a reality,” said Principal, Peter Bowen.
Our Lady of Victories Primary School, Shortland, celebrated Catholic Schools Week by sharing a community Mass led by Year 5 students of the school, followed by morning tea and open classrooms that allowed students and teachers to interact and showcase the extent of learning that occurs inside and outside the classroom. While the Garden Grubs gave the school scarecrow a makeover, they also provided a tasting plate of fresh garden produce available for any interested helpers.
“CSW brought together the Parish and school community in a celebration of all that is good with Catholic education. We finished off the week with a concert to entertain our visitors and send everyone home on a happy note which song and dance provides,” said Principal, Gerry Vandermaat.
At St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Belmont, “Catholic Schools Week is a time to set aside the routine of everyday and celebrate what makes it special to be a part of our school community, said Principal, Louise Outram.
“This week we learnt that we were one of 10 Hunter schools to make ‘significantly above average gains’ in NAPLAN 2017 and this is one measure of a successful school but there are others – community, compassion, joy, hard work, relationships and pride being among them.”
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Photography by Amanda Skehan, Amy Theodore, Emily Wilson and Brooke Robinson.