As you know from my email which was sent out before the beginning of Term 2, Mr Curtis and Heads of School were in New Zealand on a study tour from 19 – 25 April. We visited six christian schools and Laidlaw College (Christian Tertiary Institution) in the North and South Islands during the week.
There were some stand out moments during our visits to these schools. Some had amazing buildings and facilities while a few had basic buildings but they all had the same thing in common – they were passionate about their commitment to provide excellence in teaching and learning through Christian education.
We saw 21st century learning in a variety of classrooms and in others – a very conservative approach to education.
I have personally always loved New Zealand and this love was reinforced during this study tour. I discovered that the hearts of individual teachers in these schools beat with the same rhythm as our staff here and that their passion to teach God’s Word, His love and Grace to their students was a reflection of our own school in Australia. We were also so impressed to observe first hand the excellent pedagogy and cutting edge educational practices being delivered with the same passion in classrooms we visited.
Another highlight on our tour was the timing. For the first time in fourteen years I was unable to be present for the Anzac Day school assembly and ANZAC Day march and services in Beerwah and this brought a measure of sadness. However, it was wonderful to be part of the New Zealand aspect of ANZAC at this special time and to experience the sense of mateship and the strong ties which were birthed in such pain and human loss so long ago. We were honoured to have been able to attend a special ANZAC performance at a large school in Christchurch in their theatre. I was so moved to hear the presentation by the students and between tears “feel” the pain and agony of mothers and sweethearts, the mateship and sense of adventure expressed by the diggers and the sense of longing expressed in letters from soldiers who feared they may never see their new baby being born back home.
All our students here at GCC received a poppy and Anzac biscuits on Friday and this was happening also at one NZ school we visited.
The final experience we will all remember was a 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch late Friday afternoon as our study tour group from various states in Australia was reflecting on the week and having a time of prayer. Our chairs were moving and we looked at each other in amazement. We had seen the devastation from the 2010 earthquake just that afternoon. However there were no casualties or major damage in comparison to the recent terrible earthquake in Nepal. Please pray for the people there as they face this tragedy and the aftermath of grief. We have staff in the College who have connections with Nepal and my own grandson spent time assisting in an orphanage in Kathmandu in January/ February this year. He became so fond of the delightful children there that he has now become a leader in the children’s church where he worships.
Finally, thank you to everyone who attended the Anzac march last Saturday. Your support of this continues to be a distinctive of Glasshouse Christian College and is a proud tradition which honours those who gave so much so we can enjoy such freedom in this wonderful nation.
Cheryl Bryers, Head of Primary