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It is always our intention to ensure our students have rich educational experiences that are both meaningful and engaging. This term we are particularly seeking to build social connectedness within our community and to integrate ‘service learning’ into our daily actions. Understanding the needs of our community and responding accordingly as a campus, supports the concept of being grateful for our opportunities and generous as a result. Let me share some of the ways in which we respond.

Many of our staff members have volunteered their lunchtimes, to offer our students an opportunity to meet other like-minded students in a variety of activities. Quiet activities such as drawing club and chess club have been popular with walking club and footy club attracting the more energetic types. The conversations are lovely to hear, and it is our hope that these friendships continue to flourish outside the activity.

Last week we started our cooking for the parish freezer for those in need, using produce from our vegetable garden. Fourteen of our students worked alongside two lovely and generous parishioners from St. John’s Anglican Church, Linda and Sandra, who shared their knowledge and experience so beautifully with our students. Lucy Leeming, Sarah Guinness and Peggy McDonald are the force behind the scenes and Todd Cook and the Green Team are the providers of our produce. We call this the Giving Garden Project, which is aptly named, as there is the spirit of giving all round. Reverend Paul Woodcock from St. John’s is thrilled with this connection between our school and the parish.

Some of our students have shared the following thoughts on their involvement with the Giving Garden Project:
“I found cooking for other people very enjoyable and meaningful. While cooking, it was nice to think about how we are giving to other people and helping our community by just cooking a few meals such as puttanesca and orange cake. It made me think about how grateful I am for having three meals for me to eat every day. At the same time, we were helping the environment by using our vegetables and eggs from our very own school garden. I am excited to see this project help other people in our community.”
- Year 5 student Ayla Buckley

On Friday, Ayla, me, and some other students went to the kitchen to make food for those in need. Mrs Mac and Mrs D from the St Johns Anglican Parish came to help us cook and bake the food. My group baked the Orange Cake and Ayla’s group cooked the Puttanesca. The food all went to the Parish so that people in need can eat the food. We got most of our natural ingredients from the vegetable garden. It was a tremendously fun experience because everyone got to do something.”
- Year 5 student Omar Aly

“On Friday I got to do cooking with Ms Leeming and we cooked two dishes. We cooked puttanesca for the main course and orange cake for dessert. We got into four groups with four kids in each group. The teachers who helped us were Ms Leeming, Miss McDonald and Mrs Guinness and some ladies who came from the church who we were cooking the food for. We got to taste some of the puttanesca and we got to taste some marmalade and we had to guess what was in it. It was mandarin. It was delicious. My favourite part was cutting the garlic because my hands smelled like garlic. We did cutting, stirring, opening cans, using a measuring cup to measure olives as we needed 1 cup of olives, peeling. It was awesome!”
- Year 2 student Hannah Ashley

An enthusiastic group of parents met last Friday to reignite our ‘Parents and Friends’ (P&F) team with the intention of supporting our campus community in friendship and fundraising. We spoke of the purpose of our P&F and the importance of responding to our current needs.

The P&F purpose is:
• to encourage the powerful partnership between families and the school
• to build community, foster social connections and a feeling of belonging
• to support the School through assistance at events etc
• to assist the School and the Bairnsdale Campus in particular, build its resources through fundraising, noting that this is not the primary purpose of the P&F

We have a number of events this term that we will be seeking assistance for, including our Father’s Day & Special Friends breakfast and Grandparents Day. Next term, there will be a family bush dance so please save the date (Thursday October 19). Our first meeting was an encouraging response to reinvigorating our P&F, we continue to extend our invitation to join us when you can or put your name down to be called on to assist at or prepare for our community events.

We are most fortunate to have Gippsland Grammar Chaplain Reverend Dr Tim Gaden join us at Fellowship on alternate weeks. He spoke to our students so beautifully last week, explaining the significance of the animals on our house shields and what they represent.

Blundell Bogong features the Bogong moth and Rev Tim explained these represented the significance of returning to home and family, as the moths return each year to their birthplace. The Wellington Binks crest features two swans, signifying the importance of friendship and connection as the swans pair for life. Tisdall Hotham has the lion on its crest, to inspire courage and bravery when facing life’s challenges. Cranswick Dargo has two wings on their crest. Rev Tim suggested that these could be to represent eagles, with their strong eyesight and clear vision, are always looking to the future.

In an awareness on our external community needs, each student folded an origami house to support the appeal to the government for more housing across Victoria. This week our houses will be presented and displayed at Parliament house as a united message to look after the homeless.

With that in mind, I encourage our families to savour those special bonds with family and friends and be grateful for the comforts of home.

Virginia Evans

Head of Bairnsdale Campus