United in grief
Geraldton Christian College Principal
This week we have been mourning the tragic death by suicide of one of our much loved students,. All of us are deeply shocked and saddened beyond words. This particular student was respectful, diligent, hard working and always put others first. As a principal, this has been the hardest experience of my leadership. It has shocked myself and many into readjusting priorities and focusing on family.
I thank our leadership team and staff, who have been doing an amazing job supporting our students during this heartbreaking time, while dealing with their own grief. We are also very grateful to Louanne Hardy (Geraldton Christian College counsellor), Julie Woods (skilled in Aboriginal support), Eric Behiels (Sun City Christian Centre pastoral care worker and YouthCARE chaplain), Zoli Volschenk (Geraldton Christian College counsellor), Chelsie Bunter (Lighthouse Church), Mike Welham (Anglican Church children’s and youth worker), Lois Creemers (Potters House Christian Centre), Nigel Arnold (YouthCARE chaplain), Ben and Joel Paschke (Lighthouse church) and Kate Arthur (Geraldton Christian College chaplain).
These people responded immediately to the call and supported our students and staff on campus the morning after the students were informed. There were also many other offers of support from our College community. I have received many messages from caring doctors, chaplains and others expressing their sympathy and offering their support and prayers. Your messages of support and prayers have been very much appreciated and I am so grateful for the caring, supportive, praying community we are part of. One mum even dropped off some flowers at our front desk for staff and students.
In addition to our staff and Geraldton pastors supporting our students, we as a college immediately engaged organisations to deploy crisis response counsellors, who were available to counsel and support any students or staff who wanted to make use of their service. We thank the following people and organisations for their support: Janine Rule (YouthCARE Critical Incident Response chaplain); Martin Bekker (Youth Care); Elizabeth Lockyer (Mental Health Promotion Coordinator); May Doncon (WA Country Health Service); Geraldton Headspace Team; and Annette Dhu (GRAMS).
Your continued prayers and support are much appreciated.
If you or someone you know needs support, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14, Centacare 99211433 (ask for grief counsellor) or Headspace Geraldton 9942 8111.
Principal Gavin Hirschhausen’s handling of a deeply traumatic time in the life of the College won admiration from teacher and Midwest Times columnist Derek Goforth, who used his newspaper column this week to praise the school’s leadership.
Asked what inspired him to write the column, Mr Goforth said: “I have never felt so inspired, so cared for, so well looked after. It was an easy column to write simply because it was so raw and came from the heart.”
Mr Goforth said Mr Hirschhausen was “everything I expect from a leader and more”, adding that the way he had conducted himself and led the school was “inspirational”.
“Sophia de Lange (Deputy Principal Curriculum) and Hayden Scally (Deputy Principal Student Welfare) seem so perfectly placed as well, both forming this symbiotic relationship that complements Gavin. Fiona Davidson (Executive Assistant to the Principal) too. She is so organised, so passionate, so gentle and kind; exactly what you need for someone who has to do so many roles,” he said.
“When I walked out of that first meeting, after Gavin delivered the heartbreaking news I was devastated. But I felt a strength that was brought about from the Lord; a strength that Gavin galvanised with his words and with his actions. It’s been a very polarising two weeks, of huge highs and lows.”
If you would like to read Mr Goforth’s column, grab a free copy from a Geraldton service station or newsagent. Membership of the State Library of Western Australia also provides free access to digital newspapers across the globe, including The West Australian, The Geraldton Guardian and Midwest Times.
Alpha: Exploring Christianity
You’re invited! Taking part in an Alpha course is a relaxed way to explore the Christian faith with others, over dessert and coffee. Sessions focus on questions of life, faith and meaning, with opportunities to connect, watch a talk on video, and share any thoughts or questions you have.
START DATE: Wednesday 28 April 2021. Meeting every Wednesday for Term 2. TIME: 6.15pm. LOCATION: Edland Community Library, Geraldton Christian College, 15 Cedar Crescent, Strathalbyn. CONTACT: Kelly Harrington 0448 837 214, Bron White 0430 183 914 or Shaun Krause 0499 165 685. There is no cost and no pressure.
School photos: 23-24 March
A message from Kapture Photography:
Parents, school photo days are coming! Students will soon receive a personalised flyer to bring home from Kapture Photography, containing your child’s unique codes for ordering school photos online.
Keep your flyer secure
The unique codes contained on the flyer will be issued only once.
Order EARLY for sibling photography
Sibling photos can ONLY be ordered online. Once you receive the personalised flyers for your children, it is imperative that you order your sibling photo early to avoid missing out! There is a physical limit in the school schedule to how many sibling photos can be taken. Once the maximum capacity of sibling orders has been reached, no more sibling orders can be placed.
If maximum capacity is not reached, sibling orders close midday sharp on Friday 19 March.
The school or the photographers cannot accept late orders for sibling photography. Please do not ask as your request simply cannot be accommodated.
Order EARLY for discount photo day prices
Order your photos within 10 calendar days of photo day to receive discount photo day prices. Late orders are handled separately to the school delivery and incur a $20 custom service charge.
Your school will notify you in a few weeks when team and special group photos are available to view and purchase on the Kapture website. Please note: class, individual and sibling portraits are not available to view online prior to purchase.
Kapture offer a money-back guarantee for any parent who is not fully satisfied with their photo package. Should you have any queries before or after photo day, please check the FAQs on the Kapture website.
All students will be photographed individually on photo day for school administration records AS WELL as included in their class group presentation, available for purchase to all families. Should there be any reason why your child should NOT be included in the photo shoot, please contact the school office.
If COVID is still active in WA
For the duration of COVID-19 in WA, please be aware that Kapture are following all recommended health guidelines and safe practices. Our photographers are acutely aware of the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 and abide by each individual school’s COVID-19 policies. Where possible, the photographers will use verbal cues and instructions in an effort to uphold our high standard of student presentation. Students may be instructed by photographers to use single use sterile combs, wet wipes or tissues or to fix their own collars, buttons and stray hairs.
In a continuing series on new Geraldton Christian College teaching staff, we meet SARAH JUPP and ANNETTE KUHLMANN.
Sarah Jupp: A love that’s without condition
What is your teaching position at Geraldton Christian College? Secondary English teacher.
Where did you study teaching? Curtin University, Perth, 2008.
When did you join the teaching staff at Geraldton Christian College? I joined the College as a parent in 2019, but this is my first year here as a member of staff.
Recreation/hobbies/interests? “When I am not teaching, the things I love most to do are…”: Hanging with the family, reading, writing, lazy evenings at the beach, catching up with friends. All the usual things I guess! I also play trumpet and am trying to teach myself guitar, with limited success.
A little known thing about you? “People may be surprised to discover that I…”: Had a very turbulent high school journey! I’m so settled now, but definitely challenged my own teachers at the time. I’m finding it really interesting teaching this year group because it brings my own high school experience back to me. I hope reflecting on this gives me the empathy and understanding to support my students through their learning, faith journey and experience. We all benefit from being shown grace at any point, but perhaps we need a little bit extra during this transitional stage.
For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself. How would you describe yourself? Creative, determined and generally peaceful. Not a lot really fazes me, and I love having time in my own head with busy hands. The older I get, the more secure I am in my relationship with God and the more I trust that we are put in the right places at the right time, and are able to accomplish what we are given.
What is your background and what did you do before you came to Geraldton Christian College? My background is mainly in education and libraries. I love books and literacy, so my natural environment has been the classroom or local library. I’m very excited to be teaching English, where both loves are combined!
Where were you born and where have you lived before coming to Geraldton (assuming you weren’t born and raised here)? I was born in WA and grew up in Perth before moving to Geraldton 15 years ago. I spent a few years in Carnarvon doing children’s services in the local library and teaching in the public primary school before moving back to Geraldton in 2019.
In a nutshell, what has been your journey of faith? I was raised in a fairly secular family and went to public schools so my journey has been a little different. I developed an interest in Christianity as a child while reading classical books (Heidi, Little Women, etc) where God features strongly in the lives of the characters. After turning away completely during a rocky adolescence, I actively chose to pursue faith as an adult.
What would be the key life-shaping lesson you have learned about God/Christian discipleship, etc, that you would like to impart to young people? “If I could teach students one thing, it would be …”: That God knows all of our failures, sins and weaknesses, and loves us anyway, without condition.
Greatest joy of your life? Being a mother.
Annette Kuhlmann: Adventures with God
What is your teaching position at Geraldton Christian College? Pre-Primary, Year 4, Year 5/6.
Where did you study teaching? Heidelberg/Mannheim Germany 2009. Teaching for Primary and Lower Secondary, specialising in Christian Education and Mathematics.
When did you join the teaching staff at Geraldton Christian College? 1 January 2021
What is your background and what did you do before you came to Geraldton Christian College? Worked in primary and high school settings in Germany and Australia. My greatest adventure so far has been working at Carnarvon School of the Air for about 10 years.
Where were you born and where have you lived before coming to Geraldton (assuming you weren’t born and raised here)? I was born and raised in Germany. In my early 20s I backpacked through Australia – working on flower farms, dive boats and cooking in roadhouses. I settled in Carnarvon, got married to an Aussie guy and became an Australian resident in 2009. We moved to Geraldton two years ago.
In a nutshell, what has been your journey of faith? I grew up as a daughter of a protestant pastor in Germany. My faith has been with me my whole life.
What would be the key life-shaping lesson you have learned about God/Christian discipleship, etc, that you would like to impart to young people. “If I could teach students one thing, it would be …”: Trust God in whatever you do!
Greatest joy of your life? My family, my children (six and two years of age).
Recreation/hobbies/interests? “When I am not teaching, the things I love most to do are…”: Reading for myself and for my children, walking along the beach, travelling, playing board games, singing and dancing (just for fun).
Little ones lend a helping hand
We love these photos of the Pre-Primary class, engaged in the process of harvesting corn from the College grounds, peeling it and saving the cobs for seeds.
The photos were taken by Pre-Primary Teacher Ann Westerink.
Thanks Ann for sharing. 🙂
Doing Heston proud
The Year 12 English class are following in the creative footsteps of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.
The inventive Brit is the brains behind such eye-catching menu items as egg and bacon ice-cream and lickable wallpaper.
So how did Sarah Jupp and her class lighten things up when studying Ray Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains, a grim short story about a post-apocalyptic world?
They made apocalypse cakes of course!
Icing, chocolate, wafers and sprinkles came together to re-create Bradbury’s world after nuclear war.
We hear they tasted pretty good too.
Cracking lesson plan
A bit like personal protective equipment, warning signs alone weren’t enough to stop new Materials Design and Technology teacher Evan Burns from cracking his head twice in one lesson.
This group of Year 10 students decided to reduce the likelihood of the steel roof truss (hazard) causing him further harm by installing padding and a bit of caution tape he would surely see every time!
Mr Burns seized the opportunity for to underscore a lesson in safety: 1) Spot the Hazard; 2) Assess the risk; 3) Control the Hazard.
“We need to test and review the safety systems we have,” he said. “Well done, crew!”
At Sun City Youth on 5 March…
Harmony Day: 13 March
Skate competition: 27 March
Open Day: St Thomas More College
St Thomas More College at UWA in Crawley will hold an open day on Sunday 28 March, from 10.00am to 2.00pm, for students thinking of living on campus in 2022.
Hear from current students, ask questions of staff, tour rooms and facilities, and enjoy the Tommy More Community Market at the same time.
St Thomas More College is located at 10 Mounts Bay Road.
For more information go to https://stmc.uwa.edu.au/tommy-market
Open Day: St George’s College
St George’s College is a residential college in Perth for university students studying at UWA, Notre Dame, Curtin, Murdoch and Edith Cowan universities. The College will hold an Open Day on Sunday 28 March, from 9am to 2pm. The College provides accommodation for regional, rural, metro, interstate and international students studying at UWA, Curtin, Notre Dame, Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities. Visitors are also welcome to join us for breakfast between 9am and 10am. For more information and to register for breakfast go to https://stgc.uwa.edu.au/openday. Alternatively, tours can be booked at a time that suits you by visiting the website https://stgc.uwa.edu.au/book-a-tour, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 9449 5555.
Free: child/parent services
The Child and Parent Centre Rangeway offers a range of free services and programs to all members of the Geraldton community, for children aged 0-8. For more information, phone 9921 6814, email email@example.com, or visit the website https://childandparentcentres.wa.edu.au/rangeway