Lessons in service led to Naval career

Posted by Gavin Box
Geraldton Christian College

Able-Seaman Joshua Keys, a 2013 College graduate, at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton. The memorial pays tribute to the 645 men who perished when the ship was sunk in a battle with a German vessel off the WA coast on 19 November 1941. The wreckage of HMAS Sydney II was found in 2008, about 200 km from the coast (Steep Point) of WA. Photo: Gavin Box


Joshua Keys: 2013 graduate

Geraldton’s strong ties to the Royal Australian Navy, through HMAS Sydney II, were underscored when the City was last year named as the ceremonial home port for the Navy’s newest ship, HMAS Stalwart. Among those serving aboard Stalwart is JOSHUA KEYS, Year 12 Head Boy in the College graduating class of 2013. We spoke to Able-Seaman Keys when he recently paid a visit to his home town after helping with the Australian Defence Force flood recovery efforts in NSW.

Joshua, you’re a 2013 College graduate – what’s transpired since that time? I went to Perth for four years and studied an undergraduate degree in Exercise Sport and Rehabilitation Science at Curtin University. On completion of that I joined the Navy and was in Melbourne for eight months to become a sailor. I trained in maritime and seamanship skills. On completion of that I went into the bosun faculty, where I became proficient in skills with the pistol, machine gun, assault rifles, mounted machine guns and driving large vehicles at helm. I then went to Perth for a short period of time where I was in a support logistics position. Then I went to Darwin for four months on an operation protecting Australia’s borders – on a patrol class vessel, which was really cool. This involved a lot of Navy seamanship and training and boarding party drills. As of January last year I was posted to HMAS Stalwart —a replenishment vessel which is utilised in allowing ships to travel and be more capable in Australian waters. We would go out and meet them and replenish them with fuel or frozen stores or ammunition – extending their capability, whether they be Australian or allied vessels.

What brings you to Geraldton? In November last year, Geraldton was announced ceremonial home port for HMAS Stalwart. As part of this, we will be involved in community engagement, including participation in various ceremonies (HMAS Sydney II and ANZAC ceremonies for example) and supporting the community wherever we can, from sporting activities and charities to the local cadet unit — any means that we can help out.

Is there any message you would like to give to College staff or students?
Of course, although Geraldton’s a great place, I’ve enjoyed the adventures the Navy has given me in travelling interstate and, hopefully by the end of this year, internationally. It’s allowed myself and my fellow sailors the opportunity to serve the community, help out with floods — really put a front foot forward in community engagement — and also develop skills in weapon use and operation of fast boats. All the “adrenalin stuff” as well. It’s been enjoyable.

Footnote: Commander Steve McCracken of HMAS Stalwart said Joshua and the majority of the ship’s company had spent the previous two weeks on the East coast, helping with flood recovery efforts in and around northern NSW, as part of the Australian Defence Force’s Operation Flood Assist. Their work included general duties, cleaning up and removing debris.

Geraldton Christian College
Students were able to continue learning while in self-isolation, thanks to the dedication of teachers and other College staff.

Heartfelt thanks for support program

College families in self-isolation have expressed heartfelt thanks for our “learning packs” program, where school work and materials are delivered to the family’s front door.

In recent weeks, with a number of families having to isolate due to COVID-19, College staff began working hard behind the scenes to roll out “learning packs” to ensure continuity of learning.

For Primary students, each learning pack, prepared by teachers and education assistants, contains a week of school work for the student.

For Secondary students, the packs would include textbooks and other materials needed to supplement work online.

Mrs Kathy Boase, who is part of the College COVID Response Team, delivers the packs to the student’s home – leaving the packs at the front door after a courtesy call in the driveway.

One mum contacted the College to say she could not thank the school community enough for their support.

“Mrs Boase, Mrs Boonzaier and Mrs Brits have been instrumental in supporting me as a parent and committed to my children’s education,” she said.

“They have been encouraging and flexible during our isolation, especially considering we had several days of bad symptoms where we did little more than eat and sleep.

They have been encouraging and flexible during our isolation, especially considering we had several days of bad symptoms where we did little more than eat and sleep


“Our school has proven its commitment to an ethos of building a community through education. On behalf of all the parents, thank you!”

Another mum echoed her sentiments.

“Thank you and God bless you all. You are doing an amazing job during these trying times,” she said.

“Just wanted to let you and the College staff know how very much appreciated you all are. Our family is very blessed to have you all in our lives. Thank you all again, God bless.”

And another likewise: “So amazing! Thank you all for always going above and beyond.”

Sophia de Lange, Deputy Principal Curriculum, paid tribute to staff who took time out of their busy day to support students in self-isolation.

“I applaud our teaching staff and EAs, who are working hard to teach students face to face and to also ensure learning packs are provided for those at home,” Mrs de Lange said.

“We recognise it can never replace face-to-face learning, but we do what we can at moment, doing our best in partnership with parents to support our students.”

Mrs de Lange also thanked Mrs Boase for going “above and beyond”, delivering materials so that students could continue their learning journey.

Mrs Boase gave credit to the teachers and EAs.

“They have done an amazing job pulling it all together,” she said.

Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College

Mrs Boase gets some learning packs ready for delivery.

Geraldton Christian College

From left: De-Sharnte, Sahba, Karli, Amy and Leilani, with letters from their pen pals.


Students caring for students

By Joshua Arundell
Secondary Teacher (Science, Chemistry & Biblical Life and Worldview)

Year 7.1 students De-Sharnte, Sahba, Karli, Amy and Leilani were excited to receive letters from their buddies in Year 1/2.

Due to restrictions on mingling of year groups, the students have become pen pals with their buddies.

All students have been very creative and enjoy getting to know each other over distance.


Truancy and Attendance

The Truancy and Attendance Policies have had minor revisions recently. Year Group Coordinators have been replaced by a Year Group Administrator, which is the only change in the Policies. The revised documents are available on request by emailing Mrs Fiona Davidson, Executive Assistant to the Principal, fiona.davidson@gcc.wa.edu.au.


New stock has arrived

Adult-size skorts are now in stock for Secondary students, with sizes 8-16 available for sale for $50 a pair. Students can come to the Office to try on.
These are a special order item with limited stock, as there was not much interest when we did the survey last year for parents. We will only order more stock according to demand.
Primary skorts in sizes 2-12 ($45) are more readily available as these are an off-the-shelf item from our supplier.
A reminder that we have jackets (sizes 4-3XL), long sleeve polos (limited primary sizes 2-8, secondary sizes 8-XL) and tracksuit pants (sizes 4-XXL) available for the cooler winter months.
As always, uniform can be ordered online through www.quickcliq.com.au. However, please note we will be doing stocktake during the school holidays, so online orders will not be processed until after stocktake is completed.
The new House polo shirts (ALPHA and OMEGA) for primary and secondary students are due to arrive early next term. We will communicate expectations for wearing these once they are available for purchase.
If you have any queries about uniform, please email uniform@gcc.wa.edu.au.


College Office hours

The College Office will be closed during the first week of the school holidays, re-opening on Tuesday 19 April, with reduced hours of 9.00am to 3.00pm daily. The Office will also be closed on Monday 25 April for ANZAC Day. Term 2 will commence on Tuesday 26 April 2022 for Kindy to Year 12 students.
For urgent issues over the holiday period, please email admin@gcc.wa.edu.au – this email address will be checked intermittently whilst the Office is closed.


Latest Merit Certificate recipients

Congratulations to the following Primary students who were recently announced as Merit Certificate recipients:

PP: Amitoj V, Joel A
Y1: Indiana B, Jimmy F, Hamish O and Madelyn C
Y1/2: Jarrah M, Esmae W-S, Michaela L
Y2: Victoria K, Jacob M, Toby d K
Y3: Lachlan WF, Luke S, Florance F, Autumn B
Y4: Georgia S, Tom W
Y4/5: Hannah G, Sam d K
Y5: Henry F, Faith D
Y6: Mitchell D, Benji S, Leah-May L

Geraldton Christian College

Benji inherits Dad’s building talents

Benji Schramm (Year 6) took a Design Technology “sustainable house” project to the next level.
With the help of dad Ben, who is a builder, Benji made a three-dimensional scale model of a single-storey, energy-efficient house.
“I came up with the ideas, but Dad cut the wood because I can’t use power tools,” he said.
Using plywood, wire, spacers, a food tin and green tissue paper, Benji created an energy-efficient Australian homestead – with wire fencing, gardens, water tank and detachable roof.
Dad used a nail gun to fix the pieces together.
“It has a wind turbine and six solar panels to generate electricity, an arched roof and thicker walls for insulation (heating and cooling) and overhang on the roof for shade,” Benji said.
Year 6 Teacher Jared Grimsley said Benji displayed exceptional skills in planning and constructing the model, working in partnership with his dad.
Mr Grimsley said the task for students was to build an energy-efficient house, as part of a lesson on sustainable living.
“In this unit, students learned about building sustainably, and how sustainable practices can be applied to the design and construction of houses as well as streetscapes,” he said.
“They explored how energy-efficient houses are designed and how key design features can reduce energy costs and contribute to a more sustainable way of life.”
Students investigated the importance of a streetscape, how it contributes to a community identity, and how it should be designed to include key features that encourage social interaction and different forms of transport.
Finally, they explored elements of a streetscape and how these are best incorporated into a design and the purpose they serve.
Mr Grimsley said students participated in the project to:
• Design and create a prototype of a single-storey, energy-efficient house that would allow people to reduce their running costs and their carbon footprint. Students also considered
the five key elements of energy-efficient homes in their design.
• Design and create a 3D architectural rendering of a streetscape.
So does Benji want to be a builder when he grows up?
“I do. I’ve always wanted to be a builder or an architect.”
Benji’s family and close relatives, the Fabian family, recently returned to South Australia to live, so we hope to hear in coming years how his plans play out.
We wish the Schramms (Ben, Suzie, Benji, Georgia Yr 4, Charlie Yr 1, Georgia K) and the Fabians (Hayley, Keith, Ruby Yr 7, Henry Yr 5, Florance Yr 3, Jimmy Yr 1) every blessing.

Geraldton Christian College
Jaymea-Lee (Year 4) shows her Geography project to Principal Mr Gavin Hirschhausen. Jaymea-Lee’s selected nation to study was France. Mr Hirschhausen gave her a Principal’s sticker for her outstanding effort.

How Creation led to great diversity

By Michelle Paterson
Year 4 Teacher

God called the dry land “earth" and he named the waters that were gathered together “seas”. And God saw that this was good. Genesis 1:10 (NKJV)

Year 4 students have been learning in Geography about the main characteristics of the continents of Africa and Europe.

They were able to see God’s creation in all of its intricacy and majesty – in the landforms, animals and weather worldwide.

They chose a country and presented their research findings in an Information Report format.

Students then designed a landscape image for their country and, using perception of depth and various art techniques, created a diorama.

Here are some photos of their work.

Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College
Geraldton Christian College


Health and wellbeing

By the Student Wellbeing Team

We were created in God’s image as complex beings, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ by our Creator God. Research shows that our body (physical self), mind (thoughts and feelings) and soul/spirit (the essence or core of who we are) are intrinsically linked and have a direct effect on each other. Adding to this, our world is fallen, broken and full of complexities that affect us every moment of every day, so it is little wonder that we can often feel less than healthy in one or more parts of ourselves.

What is health and wellbeing?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines “Health” as a state of complete physical, mental/emotional and social wellbeing and not merely an absence of disease. Another way to put it is that ‘Health and Wellness (Wellbeing) is a holistic approach’ – it is a way of life orientated toward optimal health and wellbeing in which the body, mind and soul/spirit are integrated with the goal to living life more fully.

How are you going with your wellbeing?
Sometimes we can feel that life is going well and we are really on top of things, and other times we can feel overwhelmed, down or frustrated within ourselves. It can be difficult when we are in the middle of our busy lives to objectively assess how we are travelling and see where our wellbeing is at in various areas.

We’d like to introduce you to this really handy tool, the ‘Wheel of Life’. The Wheel of Life is a visual tool to help you understand how balanced or fulfilled your life is in this moment.

The objective of the Wheel is for you to rate your level of satisfaction with each area, then map this onto an image of a wheel. Going through this process can give you an overview of your current ‘life balance’, and allows you to see which areas of your life might need improvement or attention.

Geraldton Christian College

How to use the wheel:

  1. For each segment ask yourself, “On a scale from 0-10, how am I going in this area of my life at the moment?” (‘0’ is ‘most unsatisfied’, ‘10’ is ‘most satisfied’.)
  2. Colour each segment with your rating from the inside out, with ‘0’ being in the middle and ‘10’ being on the outside.
  3. Ask yourself the following questions as part of reflecting on your wellbeing:
    • How do I feel about my life as I look at my Wheel?
    • Which of these categories would I most like to improve?
    • What help and support might I need from others to make changes and be more satisfied with my life?
    • What is the smallest step I could take to get started?

How you can access support
If you feel that you or someone you know might need some extra support to improve their current wellbeing, the following support is available here in Geraldton:
• Centacare Geraldton: Ph 9921 1433
• Headspace Geraldton (for 12-25 year olds): Ph 9943 8111
• Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may be available in your own workplace. Contact your HR department to see if this resource is available to you.
• Private counselling support services can be found through this contact list: https://beyou.edu.au/resources/tools-and-guides/wellbeing-tools-for-you

If you have concerns about ongoing issues related to wellbeing, a good place to start can be with your GP. You will need to:
• Make an appointment with your G.P.
• Discuss with your GP if a Mental Health Care Plan is an option for you (a Mental Health Care Plan can give you a number of free or subsidised sessions with a Mental Health professional).
• Your GP may refer to an approved support service (e.g. 360 Health)

The following links may be a useful place to start looking into getting some support:

Our Wellbeing Team is here to assist our College students on their wellbeing journey. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you think we can be of assistance.


Ex-College teacher serving war-torn nation

By Operation Mobilisation

Ukraine urgently needs help! The conflict is rapidly escalating, with Ukraine’s major cities now under attack. Operation Mobilisation’s Team are on the ground responding.
OM has Aussie families* in Ukraine, which include former Geraldton Christian College Teacher Shane Paxa and wife Jemimah (pictured below), who are prepared to work directly with their local community and those displaced by the conflict. They are responding with emergency shelter in homes and church facilities, food, sanitation, water, blankets, and first aid and medical kits.

  • Please pray for all those displaced and for the OM Team.
    Pray for safety for all. Pray also for our OM Team on the ground, for strength and wisdom as they respond with love and practical aid.
  • Please give. Your tax deductible gift will help refugees and families who have been forced to flee their homes. https://om.org.au/project/2022-ukraine-crisis

* OM is in constant contact with its Aussie families working in Ukraine. OM’s International Crisis Response Team are working with the local leadership to implement crisis plans.


Apr  25

Public Holiday – ANZAC Day

Apr  26


3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

Apr  27

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming at Aquarena

6.15pm – 7.30pm. Yr 12 Information Night (in-person, subject to COVID directions). College Hall

Apr  28

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

3pm – 4pm. Maths Support in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 10 to 12 only)*

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

Apr  29

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

Apr  30

To be confirmed: Yr 11/12 Coral Bay Outdoor Ed Expedition

May  1

To be confirmed: Yr 11/12 Coral Bay Outdoor Ed Expedition

May  2

TTo be confirmed: Yr 11/12 Coral Bay Outdoor Ed Expedition

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

May  3

To be confirmed: Yr 11/12 Coral Bay Outdoor Ed Expedition

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

3:30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3 to 12 only)*

May  4

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

May  5

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

3pm – 4pm. Maths Support in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 10 to 12 only)*

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

May  6

Primary (Yr 1 to 6) in-term swimming lessons at Aquarena

May  10

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

May  11

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

May  12

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

3pm – 4pm. Maths Support in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 10 to 12 only)*

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

May  13

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

May  16

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

May  17

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

1.15pm – 3pm. Secondary Interhouse Cross Country – Yr 7 to 12

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

May  18

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9


May  19

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

3pm – 4pm. Maths Support in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 10 to 12 only)*

3.30pm – 5pm. Homework Club in College Library (in-Term and Yrs 3-12 only)*

May  20

NAPLAN – Years 3, 5, 7 and 9

* Parents/guardians must complete an Operoo eForm giving permission for their child to attend Homework Club or Maths Support. Please email gavin.box@gcc.wa.edu.au to request an eForm to be emailed.