Principal's Address 6 November 2015 - Glasshouse Christian College

Principal’s Address 6 November 2015



  • November 4, 2015

Sports Awards Night

Winner of three gold medals, a silver medal, an Order of Australia, world record holder and Young Australian of the Year (1988), Duncan Armstrong had a lot of wisdom to pass onto our students at Sports Awards Night.

“Never underestimate the commitment of your family supporting your goals,” Mr Armstrong said. “They are your taxi service and your cheer squad. You will be emptying their petrol tank and then emptying their pantry when you get home again,” he added.

We were entertained by Mr Armstong’s animated and self-deprecating account of his first gold medal but it was what he told me afterwards that I found truly inspiring. As an elite athlete Duncan was used to being in control of his life and used anger and jealousy to fuel his swimming which worked for winning in the pool but not in life. By the time Duncan retired he had become aggressive and distant from his family. His life strategies were just not working.

A friend he admired invited him to church and Duncan’s first thought was that he had walked into a circus – everyone was clapping and loudly worshipping God. However, he felt welcomed so kept going back and on his third visit he said Jesus was waiting for him. “I felt like I had been crash-tackled by God and my life hasn’t been the same since,” he said.

“I could feel the presence of God and His love and didn’t know how to handle it. As an athlete I was a control freak but when I encountered God’s love, I felt completely overwhelmed and out of control. I couldn’t stop sobbing. It was a difficult year but it was an amazing shedding of all the things I thought was important and the peeling continues 11 years later. I still struggle with thoughts and judgements today but when I feel it come on, I pull out my bible and throw myself back on God,” he said.

Mr Armstrong was impressed by our students’ talent and quickly recognised the regulars as they were repeatedly called up to receive awards.

This year the Primary Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year were Daemon Cruise and Cassidy Ferris and the Secondary Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year were Damian Tomokino and Andrea Little respectively.

An unexpected addition to the night’s program was seeing just how good a doppelganger GCC’s Russell Modlin is for Duncan Armstrong. Mr Modlin said that back in the 1980s complete strangers wouldn’t believe that he wasn’t Mr Armstrong and he would have to point to his name badge to prove the point.

The night was a success because of all the hard work put into it by Michelle Boroughs and the Sports Department Team. Well done everyone.

Middle and Senior Awards Night

Once again the Caloundra Event Centre was the perfect venue to celebrate our students’ achievements in style.

It was a great night that didn’t just ‘happen’. David Heyworth, Jacqualina Vreeling and the teachers spent many long hours poring over the results working out which students should receive which awards. It is not something they take lightly as there are limited accolades to be conferred and the students receiving them have to be truly deserving.

While the teachers have been deciding on the awards, Rachel Bull has been working behind the scenes pulling the whole night together. Rachel has spent many extra hours ensuring this is the best night it can be for our students and families. Once again she has done an excellent job in making the whole night seamless. Thanks also to Stacey Whyte and Ebony Hilton and their teams for the performances on the night.

Our Middle and Senior School Captains hosted the night in a professional and polished manner as the culmination of their duties throughout the year. Well done to Troy Fullerton, Calista Theron, Harry Fullerton and Brooke Hughes.

I am incredibly proud of all of our students and the new heights they reached this year.

Many students worked hard but did not receive an award. I want to take this opportunity to recognise the quiet achievers. Students who work in the background, doing their best and helping others along the way. They are the backbone of our College and deserve to be congratulated.

Along with the Academic, Diligence, GREAT and character awards there were highly prized individual awards. This year Joshua Coumi was Middle School Dux and Thomas Hall College Dux. The Year 9 All Rounder was Jayde Curtis and the Principal’s Award was presented to Nathan Wood in Middle School and Annaliese Hughes in Senior School. The Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork for Year 10 went to Jordan Bull and for Year 12 went to Madeline Kinsley. The University of the Sunshine Coast presented the Rise and Shine award and scholarship to Jesse Woods. The Emily Lord Award was presented to Monique Newell by special guest Mrs Pam Newell who is (appropriately) Monique’s grandmother.

Congratulations to Josh Andrews and Moale James who were made College Captains for 2016.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our special guests who attended on the night to make the presentations and help make it a truly distinguished event. Special guests included: the Honourable Andrew Powell, State Member for Glasshouse; the Honourable Mark McArdle, State Member for Caloundra; the Honourable Mal Brough, Federal Member for Fisher; Councillor Rick Baberowski, Professor Bartlett from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Mrs Pam Newell who presented the Emily Lord Award.

Athlete’s Foot School Rewards Program

Athlete’s Foot in Caloundra has been donating $5 to the College for every pair of shoes they sell and recently sent us a cheque for $45 from this program. Thanks to everyone who has shopped there and had their name linked to our College in the customer loyalty program. Athlete’s Foot in Caloundra also keep up-to-date pictorial brochures on approved GCC footwear to help parents and caregivers take the guesswork out of purchasing shoes.

Staff Appreciation Day

The last Friday in October is World Teacher Day and at GCC we have adopted it to be Staff Appreciation Day in recognition of all the people who make this the great College it is.  However, this year we held it on Thursday 29 October to fit in with the Hospitality Department who cleverly used the day as an assessment project for students.

If it was up to the staff, every student would have received an A+ for the sumptuous banquet of goodies they prepared for everyone.  The new covered Hospitality courtyard was the ideal place to hold the morning tea and we were grateful for the shelter from the persistent drizzle.

Dance Night

The Dance Night on Friday night was another wonderful night and a great celebration of the Arts at GCC. The event was so well attended it was sold out.

It was obvious that the students were clearly enjoying themselves and that enjoyment was infectious. The quality was on display for all to see. There were quite a few students who performed their own choreographed pieces too.

The act of the night was our male staff dancers and what a fantastic bunch they are too. In particular, Mr James Follett, who continued with the number even after suffering the indignation of being dropped by his colleagues in the final lift. My daughter Rachel laughed so hard people around thought that she was in great distress.

As always a night like this does not happen without a great deal of effort from a great team. I would like to particularly thank Stacey Whyte and everyone who helped make this night a success.

How has your day been?

We all appreciate someone asking us this question after a long day – even if we aren’t quite ready to unburden ourselves yet. Children of all ages are the same – even teenagers who seem to turn into partial mutes at age 14 (although it doesn’t stop them chatting to their friends) appreciate knowing you care about them, what their day was like and what they learned.

Small things, like asking a child what happened at school, can be the difference between a child who unplugs at the end of the day and one who continues thinking about what they learned. When children explain to their parents what they have learned, it shows they have understood it and provides the parent with a door into their world. Give them the kind of feedback that acknowledges and respects their comments so they know you are really hearing them.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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