Message from the Director of Wellbeing
Mrs Girzie Vanas
Gratitude – a key to happiness!
It’s so easy to look around and be dissatisfied with our own reality; with the things we own, the way we look or the relationships we have. But have you ever stopped to think that one of the keys to improving your happiness could lie in how often you give thanks?
Recent positive psychology studies have shown that ‘gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships’ (Harvard Health 2020). This year in particular has brought with it many challenges and struggles, however, we must remember to take the time to pause, focus on the good around us and be grateful. Developing this attitude of gratitude has been shown to be one of the simplest ways to improve our life satisfaction.
While we all express gratitude in different ways, the secret is in focusing on giving thanks on a regular basis. So, if you are out of practice here are some practical tips:
Write a thank-you note or text. This will not only make you feel happier but nurture your relationship with others. Try and send a gratitude letter to someone at least once a month.
Keep a regular gratitude journal.
Count your blessings. Pick a time to sit down and reflect on three to five things that you are grateful for each week.
Give thanks in prayer or meditation.
We all have the ability to develop an attitude of gratitude, so take the challenge. What can you be grateful for today? Your true happiness may depend on it.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(Harvard Health, 2020. Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier - Harvard Health.)
Pastor Nicholas Kross - Castle Hill Campus Chaplain
Dear Families and Friends of Hills Adventist College,
Nicholas Kross here, the chaplain from our Castle Hill campus, and proud to be a part of the awesome chaplaincy team at Hills Adventist College.
Life has been so uncertain and unpredictable for us all hasn’t it? It has taken a toll on my soul as I am sure it has for you too.
I have found myself bracing for the simple act of beginning a new day.
Yet, as a chaplain I am called to lift the spirits of your kids. To teach them about the strength they hold inside, about the God who loves them and who laid His life down for each one of them, and lastly to turn our eyes - in kindness - to those around us.
It wouldn’t be true if I didn’t say it has been a challenge at times to bring this positive focus and tone, when we have so many voices telling us why we need to worry.
I know you can relate in some way to this, these same children are under your care too! They look up to you way more than they ever will to us. They are your children, and will be for the rest of their lives. Even though “Children are a gift from the Lord and a reward from him” Psalm 127:3, the process of parenting them and raising them up as strong and loving young people, is a real challenge. A challenge that Sarah and I will learn first-hand in around 6 weeks!
As chaplains we only have a short window of time to try and equip your kids, to encourage them, and build them up before they sail into the unknown future of adolescence – and adulthood, a career which by the way is a load of fun!
For this calling, somehow the promise of relief in that latte just isn’t enough to keep the engines going.
We need something deeper. Something far richer than Netflix or scrolling through our devices to relieve the pressures of the day.
In the calling to raise up young people as chaplains.. and parents, we need to be lifted up ourselves.
Instead of the short lived reward of relief, we need a deep restoration. Not just once, but time and time again.
When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman by the well about a spring of life bubbling up inside our hearts (John 4:13-14), He was speaking not just to her, but to you and I. David wrote in the Psalms about how the Lord is our shepherd. How He shepherds our hearts, and leads us beside still waters.. how He prepares a table for us in front of our enemies, and how His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life.
But in the heart of that Psalm, David spoke of a truth that we can have right now in 2020.
“He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:3
As a chaplaincy team, we pray that you and your children will experience this restoration first hand. That you will know the deep abiding love that God has for you. We also lift up our awesome school to God, placing it under His leadership as we walk together into the rest of 2020 as a community.
Re-Enrolment for 2021
Once again, we are beginning to make plans and provisions for staffing and resources for next year.
Please be reminded that under the terms of the College enrolment policy, families must provide at least one full term’s notice of withdrawal. As we are now planning for 2021, it would be appreciated if you could notify Mrs Kay Reilly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, and prior to the end of Term 3, if your child is not returning to the College next year.
If your child is continuing their enrolment at our College in 2021, there is no need to do anything. Thank you for noting this.
Late Pick-Up From School
Please note that we have After School care at both Castle Hill and Kellyville Campuses. This service runs until 6:30pm. If you know you will not be able to pick up your child by the end of staff supervision time (3:35pm at Kellyville and 3:20pm at Castle Hill), please arrange with our after school care provider, Mini Miracles to obtain a casual booking with them for the day. If you know you are going to be late on a regular basis, please arrange an ongoing booking with them. Application forms for casual or ongoing bookings can be obtained from the College office, otherwise, you can contact the Mini Miracles Area Manager directly at: email@example.com. Mini Miracles have very reasonable rates, and are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy.
School Car Park Reminder
As you pick up and drop off students at school, please respect the 10km/hr speed limit in our school car parks at all times, and be careful as you drive in and around the school, particularly when reversing. We thank you for helping care for our students by your careful driving habits in and around the College.
Premier's Reading Challenge
It is now only 1 week until the end of the Premier's Reading Challenge for 2020!
This means, that all students who have signed up for this year's Challenge have until 28th August to log on their Student Reading Record and record all of the books that you have read. Once you have done this, Ms Van Vliet and Mrs Wright will be able to validate that you have completed the Challenge and so that you can receive your certificate or medal.
So, don't give up! There are plenty of easier books that you can immerse yourself in in each catergory. If you need help finding some suitable books, please don't be afraid to ask for help and remember that the library is open for you to come and read at lunchtime.
- Mrs Wright & Ms Van Vliet, Librarians
Sydney Adventist Schools Scholarship
Online Safety for Children and Families
We know families are concerned with their child's online safety, particularly as more technology is used in their learning in the current environment. We would like to share some resources that may help your family learn more about keeping safe online. Please click on the link below to read more.
Early Learning Centre & Junior School - Art Competition
Please enjoy a selection of the entries into this year's Art Competition. There were many more entries this year, and we will advise when online viewing will be available, and when presentation of awards will occur. Thank you for your patience as we work through a new way of running the Art Competition this year.
Greater Sydney STEM Challenge Day
Last week 1 team from the Castle Hill Campus and 2 teams from the Kellyville Campus participated in the Greater Sydney Conference STEM challenge day. Each team were required to design, construct and operate a prototype vehicle that was able to carry blocks which represented valuable items that could be moved in case of a natural disaster. The teams competed against other Sydney schools and were able to showcase their creations via Microsoft Teams. The students worked very well together to produce some authentic prototypes. - Mrs White
"It was fun to get together and work as a team to create a prototype. Constructing the prototype was the best part of the day!" - Madison, Year 6
Year 7 & 8 STEM Days
Year 8's Comedy of Errors
This week Year 8 have strutted across a stage in their English classes. As Shakespeare wrote in As you like it – “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances…” However on Monday our Year 8 students found themselves acting pieces out of The Comedy of Errors on a much more concrete stage. They had been challenged to memorise passages and many did that and had beautifully choreographed performances. A number of orators and actors demonstrated their wares. - Mrs Ashby
“One way to learn the mind of the Creator is to study His creation. We must pay God the compliment of studying His work of art and this should apply to all realms of human thought. A refusal to use our intelligence honestly is an act of contempt for Him who gave us that intelligence.” E. Walton, Physics Nobel Prize Winner
As part of their Invictus Programme, Year 8 ran displays and interactive science activities at lunch times this week. The displays, from Coke/mentos rocket fuel, archaeological digs in the long jump pit, Skulls and skins from animals, to microscopes, catapults and crossbows; plants and string contortions were eagerly investigated by Middle and Junior school students despite the wind blustering around the tables.
Special thanks to Ms. Davies for instigating the activity and organising materials and her companion teachers, Mr. Ku and Ms. Wilson-Polak, for the time and encouragement required for it to be so successful. Thanks to Ms. Menzies for the photos.
- Mrs Ashby
Enviro Mentors Come to Visit
Kindergarten to Year 2 at Kellyville and Kindy A from Castle Hill were visited by Enviro Mentors to learn more about worms, the use of worm farms and discover the benefits of worm farming for our community. Students engaged in hands on activities to explore what is included in a worm farm, what worms eat and got to hold the wriggly worms and explore their home.
This incursion assisted with the start of Kindergarten's Project Based Learning unit as they will be designing and starting a worm farm for our college this term.
Year 5 Give Thanks
Our College has been increasing our focus on 'Wellbeing' this year. With this in mind, Yr 5 students, under the guidance of Mrs Van der Merwe and her Student Teacher, Mr Tuaoi, put together a gift for all the teachers and auxiliary staff at out College. The Yr 5 students delivered these gifts last week, expressing their gratitude to each staff member for their contribution in our school community, keeping our College working harmoniously. Thank you to Mrs Van der Merwe for all the effort that went into organising this. - Mrs McDonald
It felt really good to give something to someone else, it made them feel good too. It was nice to give back to others. - Angelis
I like doing nice things for the teachers because of what they do around the school. It felt good to make them happy and to do something nice for other people. - Nate
I liked giving out the mugs because I was making others people feel wanted, loved and cared for. When we were handing out the mugs it felt nice to give without expecting anything in return. - Avril