As I write this newsletter, I am feeling very privileged this week for I have experienced several terrific experiences with our senior students. On Tuesday, as part of our endeavour to increase our awareness of Reconciliation Week and Indigenous culture, Aunty Chris, an Aboriginal elder came to share her story with us.
National Reconciliation Week is the time for all Australians to learn about our history, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and our indigenous people.
Our Years 5 and 6 students, our younger students with an indigenous background, and some of our parents, came together to hear how Aunty Chris was not a ‘stolen generation’ child but one whose life had been deeply affected by this practice. She shared how, as a 3 year old, her mother, due to illness was declared an unfit mother and her and her siblings were unable to live with her. They lived with their father and an Aunty at times and she told how her life was quite unsettled as when word came the ‘big black car’ was in the vicinity they uprooted or on several occasions they had to hide when it was too late to move on and they saw the dust in the sky indicating the car to take them away was coming towards them. They hid under a bed which turned out to also have a red belly black snake under it and on another occasion they had to climb into a dark water tank and stay in there until it was safe to come out. As young children they had to stay inside to play as it was too risky to be outside. They were unable to play with nearby cousins on a mission as Aunty Chris had an Aboriginal mother and a white father and only full Aboriginals were allowed on the mission site.
When she was around seven, the family lived together again for a while, however her parents were unable to get married as it was not legal for a white person to marry an indigenous person. She began school, however it was considered she would not amount to much in life other than a servant so the nuns would get her to undertake kitchen and shopping duties for them rather than formally educate her. Her mother became ill again as did her father, who had fought in two wars, and when the neighbours came in to assist they said disparaging racist comments about her parents and told her that she would never amount to anything as she was a ‘hopeless black’. She took great offence at this and resolved to show them they were wrong.
She began high school, though left after being accused of cheating in a test, as the teachers felt her results could only be as a result of cheating and forced her to strip down to her underwear in order to locate her notes.
Aunty Chris then began to work in a returned servicemen’s home and it was then that she first began to feel she had something to offer others and that she felt cared for, valued and loved. Chris then went on to work in a hospital as well as a youth detention centre. She had found her calling - working with children who, like her, had been affected by trauma in their lives. She was able to ease her pain by helping others get through their hurt.
Aunty Chris followed the words of Pope John Paul II, who, when he was in Australia for the bicentenary urged Aboriginals to make their contribution to the country as well as feel the right to be welcomed by all those in our country.
Aunty Chris’ life experiences taught her the importance of speaking up and not being afraid to ask questions. The messages that she passed on to us were how she does things for others as she sees everyone as important and that it is not her place to judge anyone. She has the deepest respect for all and she is thankful for her life.
She urged our children to walk with respect, to respect one another but also to respect themselves for if you don’t do these things you are not taking responsibility, and you will not form quality relationships in your life. She also reminded them that it costs nothing to be kind. These were strong messages and the children were receptive towards hearing and learning from Aunty Chris. A particularly poignant moment in the afternoon was when one of our students asked her to describe her school years and her response was: “friendless, lonely, unworthy and unloved”. This greatly affected both the children and adults in the room and this simple response really impressed upon us what trauma our indigenous people have experienced. We now have such a greater understanding of the significance that Kevin Rudd’s Sorry Speech has for our indigenous population. A number of years ago, Aunty Chris moved into the education sector and was invited by her local MP to be in Parliament House to witness the delivery of this national apology. She described it as a day of great elation for her.
We are so grateful to Aunty Chris for spending time with us, for reminding ask to give ourselves the opportunity to grow and learn to be the best people we can be. We hope that all our students will be as thankful for their lives as she is for hers and to be aware that regardless of the background we come from we all have choices and we need to take responsibility and make them, and to be open to all people and full of hope.
The second experience that I am privileged to have this week is to spend three days in Canberra with our Year 6 students. To have the opportunity to share in what we generally consider to be ‘a right of passage’ for primary students has been wonderful. To be out of the school environment and to see and hear our students socialise with one another, inquire about things that interest them, work out who gets what bed in their rooms and how to ensure you’re not going to have a wet towel the following day (funny that some think that if you leave it on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet it will be fine!) along with identifying who can and who can’t use cutlery or who knows how to dress appropriately for the climate, along with identifying potential future prime ministers or senators, has all been interesting! Look out for their version of events in the next newsletter.
Last week I was also privileged to be part of the liturgical service for some of our children who made their Confirmation with Bishop Bill at the cathedral. The Holy Spirit was most definitely amongst us that evening and to see so many of our children commit to their faith is extremely affirming. May the gifts of the spirit continue to be with all our confirmation candidates throughout their lives and may they continue to use these gifts to enhance both their lives and the lives of others.
Disco fever was definitely out in force recently! We had at least three quarters of the school attend our first disco of the year. The hall was flashing with a multicoloured array of lights, the music was pumping and our students were dressed to impress! At our Infants disco we saw some great dance moves, an amazing conga line and fabulous mixing with one another. Our Primary disco was a cross between a disco and a concert. Everyone was lined up outside as though they were going into the most popular concert venue of all time and once the music started up there was a wide range of interesting dance moves as well as lots of crowding around the DJ on the stage, arms swinging in time to the music and many would be artists joining in with the singing, often doing a solo verse or two with the microphone. It was a fabulous night and the children are very keen for the next disco. The number of parent helpers on the night was brilliant and the organisation of it all was terrific. Thank you to all those who helped out in both big and small ways and especially to Tammy Wilson and Joanne Smith, who were instrumental in organising the evening and working with their fellow Year 5 parents and a range of parents from other year groups in ensuring the night was a success.
Earlier this week we spoke to the children at assembly in regards to their uniforms. Many teachers have noticed that there is a tendency at the moment for children to be deviating from our uniform policy, mainly in regards to ‘accessories’. We ask that you continue to help us develop your children’s sense of pride in wearing the St Joseph’s uniform correctly.This looks like:
- shirts tucked in, and sleeves rolled down and buttoned, on the way to and from school, and out in public
- hair accessories to only be in the school colours of blue and yellow
- all hair tied back if shoulder length or longer (both boys and girls)
- no nail polish
- polished black school shoes and white trainers on sports days only
- plain silver or gold studs or sleepers - no ‘bling’
- no necklaces, bracelets etc
If there is a particular reason for your child to be out of school uniform, such as damaged shoes, etc please write a brief explanatory note or email.
Parent teacher interviews
All staff are currently in the midst of report writing for Semester One. Reports will go home at the end of Week 9 and parents are invited to come along in Week 10 for parent teacher interviews. You’ll be able to book these on Compass in the near future.
Farewell Fr Peter
Due to a Priest retiring in the Diocese, the Bishop has recently relocated some of the Priests. Our Fr Peter is one of them. He has been assigned as the Parish Priest of Forster and begins this weekend. He is pleased to have his own parish but a little disappointed to be leaving Newcastle and the connections he has made here. We thank Fr Peter for the many Masses, liturgies and class visit he has been involved with since joining us two and a half years ago. We also thank him for his support of the staff and his support of our school initiatives. We wish him well and hope that he finds the parish of Forster a warm and welcoming one.
We haven’t been informed whom our priest will be, as yet, however we will let you know once this has been shared with us.
We have been struggling to get volunteers recently for the canteen, particularly on a Friday, which is causing a great strain when the amount of lunch orders is up around 150. Many people have been out of the habit of putting themselves on the roster due to COVID but we now strongly encourage you to once again sign up and lend a hand where you can. If we are unable to get any volunteers we will need to look at some changes, which are not what we want to do. These changes may include such things as a narrower window for ordering so that numbers are capped on a Friday; limiting the menu to make it easier and more efficient to handle the Friday demand etc. we would greatly appreciate any time you can give to help out in this area.
To be included on the roster please click here remember to make sure you are cleared to Volunteer before signing up.
Our next P& F meeting is this coming Monday, 31st May at 6:00pm in the Library or via Zoom. We will share the Zoom invite on Monday. Remember, if you have anything you wish to put on the agenda please send it through to the secretary, Karen Stathis, at firstname.lastname@example.org
|11 June||Central Region Athletics Carnival|
|18 June||Pupil Free Day|
|25 June||Pupil Free Day|
Australian Mathematics Competition
Wednesday 4 August – Friday 6 August
The Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) is an engaging 30-problem competition that demonstrates the importance and relevance of mathematics in students’ everyday lives; it is open to students in Years 3 to 12. Australia’s leading educators and academics, with a deep understanding of our national curriculum standards, actively design the unique AMC problems each year. The competition is fully online.
Held in Term 3, the AMC has two divisions applicable to primary school: Middle Primary (years 3–4) and Upper Primary (years 5–6). The cost is $6.50 per student.
If you would like your child/ren in Years 3 - 6 to participate in the competition, please complete the payment via QKR. This will open next week.
For more information click here
Positive Behaviour Learning (PBL)
Congratulations to the Green Sports Colour House for achieving the most tokens in the first half of this term! Students in this sports house enjoyed a sausage sizzle for lunch on Tuesday. A special thanks to Mel Beath and Tammy Wilson who volunteered their time to cook the BBQ and serve.
Our PBL focus this fortnight is Care for All - Care for belongings and equipment. This is a big focus area as we often have our lost property bins filled with belongings such as hats and jackets. In class students are learning strategies that will help them take responsibility for their belongings. This includes making sure their names are on items and that they develop a routine to check they have all their belongings with them. If you have an opportunity, please discuss these concepts with your children.
The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy. After Jesus had greeted them again, he said,
"I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me."
Then he breathed on them and said,
"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don't forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven."
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Pentecost LiturgyOn Monday, we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost with a whole school liturgy. We were led in song and prayer by Year 3.The theme for the liturgy focused on the "gifts” we receive from the Holy Spirit - wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgement, reverence, courage and spirit of wonder.
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost takes place 50 days after Easter Sunday (the resurrection of Jesus). The events of Pentecost are recorded in the book of Acts (of the Apostles) and referred to in John’s gospel. The feast of Pentecost celebrates the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples and energising them to set about their mission of continuing the ministry of Jesus. Pentecost teaches people about living in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps people to pray, serve God and guides people into helping others and living like Jesus did. It marks the beginning of the Christian church, when the apostles began to spread Jesus’ message. It is also known as the birthday of the Church.
Many children from our St Joseph’s community and the wider Newcastle Parish received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings over the last two weeks. Bishop Bill, Father Andrew and Father Peter celebrated the service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The students participated beautifully and it was a joy to see them receive the Sacrament of Confirmation supported by their sponsors, families and school community.
Please pray for these children as they continue on their journey of faith.
‘Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.’
ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT CONFERENCE
8‐10 July 2021
The Conference, coordinated by the Lay Pastoral Ministry Network (formerly known as NAPPA) collaborating with the Christian Initiation AustraliaNetwork (CIAN), and the Mission Planners NetworkOceania (MPNO) invites people to consider the events in our world, and within our Church, which present us with an opportunity to open our hearts and minds to act upon what the Spirit is asking of us at this time inAustralia and Oceanic region.
The Conference encourages faith communities including clergy, staff, leadership teams, council members, ministers and volunteers; for those in pastoral care, for youth, family and education support, to engage in the life of Christ, and his Church, by exploring ways to: engage the wounded, the disillusioned, the disaffiliated, the discontented & disconnected members of the Body of Christ; heal the divisions that have caused pain in our Church;revitalise those Catholics who are just “hanging in there” so that they may once again share the Good News of Christ; encourage and resource those who have brave and bold evangelisation ideas.
Mrs O’Neill visited Year 4 Blue on Wednesday to film our students engaging in play with the Spirit. She will be sharing their experiences at this very special event.
Visit the website for more information: https://pastoralministrynetwork.org/
VINNIES WINTER APPEAL 2021
St Vincent de Paul is passionate about raising up the next generation to have a deep understanding of the issues of poverty and injustice, so that our young people are empowered to change the world. To this end, they have created some classroom activities for us to access to help students learn more this Winter Appeal. Students will meet Bernadette, Marissa, Michael, and Claire to reflect on the work of the Society and the issues that will make this winter a challenge for many Australians. These activities aim to show students more than they have previously seen of what goes on behind the scenes at Vinnies, because they really are a part of this good work that they do.
In last years’ Winter Appeal, we helped so much! This included food, blankets and financial support. This year we hope to really show our support and how much we care.
Over the next few weeks, you will be notified about the SJSJ initiatives planned for our school to support the Vinnies Winter Appeal. Stay tuned! Thanks so very much to our SJSJ team.
World Environment Day
When is World Environment Day?World Environment Day (WED) is an international day of environmental awareness and action that happens on 5th June each year. Started in 1974 by the United Nations, each year WED is hosted in a different country, with events focusing on a central theme. World Environment Day 2021 is being held in Pakistan, with 'ecosystem restoration' as the central theme.
REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.This year, we're starting from the ground up. We can't go back in time to when the world was a greener place, but what we can do is plant trees, clean our oceans and rivers, and lake peace with nature that fuels our everyday lives. The world is asking you to be bold and join the fight for #GenerationRestoration
Ways to promote ecosystem restoration:Since 2021's World Environment Day theme is ecosystem restoration, you might wish to mark the occasion by organising an event or initiative for your children and/or students that focuses on protecting Australia's ecosystem and/or the ecosystem in your local area. We are only as healthy as our planet, and we all depend upon a healthy ecosystem in order to thrive.
Fun, eco-supporting World Environment Day activities:
Plant native Australian flora for the bees: bee populations are dwindling all over the world, and ensuring that native Australian bee species have plenty of their favourite flowers and plants on which to feed goes a long way towards helping those populations build back up. If your children's schools have opened again, perhaps you could organise to have a section of the school grounds sectioned off for planting abelias, bottlebrushes, honey myrtle and other native Aussie flowers. If your school is not open yet, you could plant these same flowers in your backyard.
Plant native trees: teach students about ecosystems, sustainability and the risks of environmental decline in order to turn them into little eco-warriors for the future. Schools can host events to get all of the students involved in planting new trees in their local area, or use school trips to demonstrate the value of healthy ecosystems in national parks and protected areas.
Host a beach clean-up: our coastal regions and beach areas are at a critical point, and we need to actively keep them clean and plastic-free to support the plethora of unique and endangered wildlife in our oceans.
Walk or bike ride: start the day in a sustainable way by encouraging your students to walk or ride their bikes to school that day, perhaps by promising them a reward if they do it. If schools in your area are still closed, perhaps you could instead go for a walk or bike ride in nature, and give your kids an opportunity to explore and appreciate the ecosystem on their doorstep.
Make compost: composting is an amazing and entirely natural way to create nutrient-rich soil for any land that is being gardened or farmed. As you and your children set up compost bins, you can teach them that using compost for gardening will eliminate the need for artificial fertilisers and pesticides, both of which can harm local ecosystems.
Change your behaviour: the best way to start with ecosystem restoration is to look inside yourself. Change your behaviour and start making environmentally friendly choices. Buy sustainable products that support the environment instead of harm it. Encourage yourself and others around you to do the same.
Every little helps, and every contribution matters, no matter how small.
Housie Returns to Southern Cross HallAfter a lengthy absence because of COVID-19 restrictions, Housie has returned to the Southern Cross Hall as of Thursday 27 May.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area - https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/weekly-bulletins/
Regional Athletics Carnival
The Central Region Athletics Carnival to be held at the Fearnley-Dawes Athletics Track on Friday 11th June.
Children will be required to assemble at the track by 9:00am to meet the team manager, Mrs Anne Maree Mantach outside the track gate. They will then enter the track as a team. The carnival is expected to conclude at approximately 1:30pm. The carnival will go ahead regardless of the weather on the day.
Competitors will need to organise their own transport to and from the carnival. Please allow plenty of time to travel to the event as the traffic at that time can be very hectic. The track’s carpark will be roped off as a designated spectator area for parents. Parents will need to park in surrounding streets, or at a cost in Marketown and the No. 2 Sportsground carpark opposite the track.
The cost for the day is $10 per student. This includes carnival costs and entry to the Fearnley-Dawes Track. Competitors need to complete the Competitor Information and Code of Conduct forms and return them to the school office with the $10 entry fee by Friday 4th June.
Some points for the day:
- Children will wear St Joseph’s sports uniform, including school hat.
- Have wet weather/wind proof gear in case of rain/wind gusts & sunscreen in case of heat.
- Please pack sufficient food and drinks for the day.
- Official opening is at 9.25am. The first event is at 9.30am.
- All children will be seated in the grandstand with their team managers for the carnival.
- Children may wish to bring a towel/small rug to sit on.
- Age 100m races will have heats and finals.
- 800m, 200m, and relays will be timed finals.
- Spikes not permitted in packed starts (800m).
- 7mm spikes may be worn in races where children run in individual lanes.
- Only teachers are permitted to enter the recording room and grandstand.
- Parents/spectators are asked to bring their own seating or rug. They may assemble along the fence beside the long jump pits. This will be a designated spectator area. They are not to sit with children in the team area.
- A copy of results will be placed on a notice board as soon as possible after the event is finished. Parents will be able to get the information they need from this board.
- Programs may be purchased on the day. Cost to be advised.
St Joseph's Regional Athletic Team
|Maya V||Oliver S||Bridget K||Archie B|
|Ava K||Otis Z||Lily G||Evan B|
|Adelaide M||Archie D||Deaerbhla C||Leimoni P|
|Eve Y||Jacob F||Violet L||Sidney M|
|Amalia S||James S||Mabel H||Edward M|
|Isabella D||Evie B||Spencer S||Lucas V|
|Bonnie P||Carter A||Madeleine L||Zach M|
|Gizelle G||Zac G||Gowri P||Vrix M|
|Eleanor M||Zara D||Oliver C||Olivia H|
|Byron S||Lucia M||Hugh M||Stella C|
|Louis W||Edie C||Gus M||Miriam B|
|Theo S||Abby B||Oliver M||Aurelia F|
|Dante M||Hamish M|
On Wednesday 19th May, Mr Watson took two senior teams and one junior team made up of boys and girls from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 to represent St Joseph’s in the Newcastle Futsal Tournament. The tournament was held at Genesis Newcastle and saw the St Joseph’s teams compete against other schools from all across the Newcastle Region. All the children had a lot of fun and some great successes on the day!
The Senior Boys had several wins and draws across the day and placed 3rd overall in their divisions.
The Senior girls team won all of their games and made it through to the finals, losing narrowly to Newcastle Grammar.
The Junior boys team fought their way to the final with several convincing wins and one draw. They also lost narrowly to Newcastle Grammar in the final.
As runners up in their divisions, both the senior girls team and the junior boys team will now progress to the next level of the competition which will be held on Tuesday 22nd June. Further details for this event will be provided as soon as they come to hand.
We would like to thank Nathan Zervos and Lauren Flynn for coaching and supervising our teams on the day and all of the parents who came along to support the boys with this event. Your assistance and support is truly valued.
Congratulations to Hugh, Edward, Spencer, Ziggy and Oliver, who attended the Diocesan Rugby trials on Wednesday 26th May.
Oliver was successful at this trial and has now been selected to participate in the Polding event in Forbes in the coming weeks. Despite narrowly missing out on selection for the Polding trials, the other boys had a great time and learnt a lot from their experience. They represented themselves and St Joseph’s with great pride. Well done boys!
Polding Cross Country: Tuesday 8th June
Central Region Athletics Carnival: Friday 11th June
Futsal Tournament: Tuesday 22nd June
Exciting news for our Kindergarten students! Next Tuesday 1st June we will welcome to our school Stephanie – a proud Aboriginal woman from the Wonnaruah and Worimi nations of the Hunter Valley/Port Stephens regions.
For the past 20 years, Stephanie has provided cultural experiences to children and staff in preschools and primary schools through her businesses ‘Numa Ngarra’ which means ‘feel, listen, know’, in the Gathang language of the Worimi Nation.
During the middle session, Stephanie will spend time with our Kindergarten students as they investigate Dreaming Stories of our Awabakal and surrounding areas, incorporated in their Literacy unit. Her aim to provide students with experiences that connect to their own lives while using the outdoors and gifts from nature will ensure our kindergarten students have a very meaningful and fun experience with her!
We are very fortunate to have Stephanie visit us and look forward to learning more about our Awabakal culture with her!
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Teacher
Issue 4 of Book Club has been sent home today. This is the last order for Term2. Cash orders should be taken to the library on Monday, 31st May between 8.30 and 8.50.
LOOP orders will close at 10am on Tuesday, 1st June
The St Joseph’s musical spectacular is well underway! Our puppeteers and lead actors had their first script read for term two this week and if that is anything to go by, we know audiences will be in for a wonderful treat. Classes are busy workshopping and putting the final touches on their ideas before we start piecing the creative elements together.
Stay tuned for some more updates of our St Joseph’s original production ‘An Unexpected Night at the Zoo’
School Photos will be on 22 June 2021.
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