MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Preparing with Love
First Sunday of Advent, 29 November
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord”(Jer 33:14)
While the season of Advent is imbued with remembering, recalling Christ’s first coming as an infant, when divinity became incarnate, it is also a time of anticipation, as we reflect on and await Christ’s second coming. But Advent is not only a celebration of the past and an eager expectation of the future; it is a season that asks us to meditate on the present and delight in Christ’s presence with us now. It is this very season that concentrates our hearts, minds and souls on Christ in order to make present the days that have already been and the days that are surely coming.
Jeremiah said, “The days are surely coming,” when God would “cause a righteous branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” A sense of imminence looms over Jeremiah’s prophecy, as does the mystery of its fulfilment. Its surety is promised—what God has promised, God will do—but its arrival could only be anticipated.
But what was anticipation for the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled in Christ’s birth centuries later. According to Luke’s Gospel, in the little southern Judean town of Bethlehem, his humble parents called there by a Roman census, the future became the present.
Yet Jeremiah’s day had come. That was the time when an unknown baby was born “in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). The infant saviour grew to manhood, gathering disciples, that momentous incarnation becoming not only the beginning of a human life but a touchstone of human history and destiny.
As Jesus prepared his disciples for the end of his life, though, he did not direct them to his beginning but to the future, when he would return. He promised them that “there will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay… in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” These powerful apocalyptic images point us to the coming redemption, the days that are surely coming.
And bracketed by the birth of the infant saviour and coming of the cosmic redeemer, there is the now: the present, the preparation. What does it mean to prepare at Advent? In Luke’s Gospel Jesus warns his disciples against twin threats—not to become “drowsy” with partying or to become anxious with the worries of day-to-day life but to immerse themselves in the promises of the past, the hope of the future and the joy of the present. Jesus counsels vigilance “at all times.” This is not a passive caution but an active preparation.
The preparation for the apostles was life with Christ, as it must be for us too. Christ walks with us as we look to the past and await the future, in the Scriptures, in the church and in the world with our brothers and sisters. Revelation, a living thing, emerges from the pages of the Scripture for us; it comes to us in the liturgy, lives with us and guides us to our future.
The apostle Paul also gave concrete direction to the church in 1 Thessalonians as he aided them in preparing for the future. In anticipation of the “coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints,” Paul prays that God will make them “increase and abound in love for one another and for all” and that their hearts would be strengthened “in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father.” Paul acknowledged that the Thessalonians were living with love and holiness, even as he encouraged them, but asked that they “do so more and more.” More and more love and holiness are needed now, to honour the infant who came to us then and in preparation for the days that are coming.
With temperatures of 43 degrees predicted for last Friday, students start to believe and propagate the myth that there is a magic number the mercury can reach which sees the schools close.
But it’s just not the case. Schools are closed only in extreme circumstances such as during fire or flood or for health and safety reasons such as lack of running water making the site unsanitary.
Hot weather is generally not considered to be an emergency and there is no set temperature which forces a school to close. All of the classrooms in our school have ceiling fans and are well ventilated with the Marian Building and the Library fully air-conditioned.
In hot weather, we take sensible precautions by insisting all girls are in the shade and cancelling any vigorous outdoor activity.
It was disappointing to find students taking the day off on Friday due to the heat, especially when some of those students then went on to the beach or the pool where they were even more exposed to the sun than they would have been here.
We would appreciate parental support with this issue as we move into the summer period. The school will not close because of hot weather; you would always be informed if the school site was unsafe and the students were directed to leave.
National Art School News
Each year, the National Art School Board runs an Intensive Studio Practice Course. This year, over 300 students applied to undertake the course. 154 students from 89 schools in NSW completed the course this year. We are very proud of the achievements of:
- Serena Siow (Digital Photography)
- Chloe Xenophontos (Life Drawing)
both of Year 11, who undertook the course and achieved outstanding results. It is hoped that these girls enjoyed their taste of learning in a tertiary environment with a studio based methodology. Congratulations girls!
LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL
WHY GO TO ALL THE EFFORT? Here are the reasons:
A joint study by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work and the Australian Council for the Arts has found that engagement in the arts benefits students not just in the classroom, but also in life.
Students who are involved in the arts have higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, researchers discovered.
The results, published in 2013 in an issue of the prestigious Journal of Educational Psychology, found students who participate in dance, drama, music, and visual arts showed more positive academic and personal wellbeing outcomes than students who were not as involved in the arts.
The comprehensive study, titled The Role of Arts Participation in Students’ Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study of School, Home and Community Factors, examined 643 primary and high school students from 15 Australian schools, tracking their academic and personal wellbeing outcomes over two years.
Academic outcomes included motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, and educational aspirations, while personal wellbeing measures considered such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.
Some of the strongest effects were found for students who spent high amounts of quality time in creative and performing arts subjects at school. Positive effects also resulted from home influences, such as how often parents and their children talked about and participated in the arts.
Active participation, more than simply being an observer or audience member, also yielded stronger positive effects on school and personal wellbeing outcomes in the study.
According to lead author, Professor Andrew Martin: “The study shows that school participation in the arts can have positive effects on diverse aspects of students’ lives”.
“Whereas most previous research has been small-scale or focused on students’ enjoyment in specific arts subjects, such as music, dance, drama, and visual arts, our research was large-scale and assessed outcomes beyond the arts domain,” he said.
“It shows that the arts can impact broader academic and personal wellbeing outcomes for young people.”
At a time when different subject areas must compete for space in the school curriculum, the study’s findings also emphasise the importance of the arts in the school curriculum, according to Associate Professor Michael Anderson, one of the study’s co-authors.
“This study provides new and compelling evidence that the arts should be central to schooling and not left on the fringes,” he said.
The analysis was funded by the Australian Research Council, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts. The study team, led by Professor Andrew Martin, included Associate Professor Michael Anderson, Dr Robyn Gibson, and Ms Maryanne Mansour, all from the University of Sydney, as well as Dr David Sudmalis from the Australia Council of the Arts. A copy of the research is available at the Journal of Educational Psychology website.
A sincere thank you to Ms Amy Nelson, the Performing Arts staff and all the staff behind the scenes who have made this opportunity to host a musical at Bethany a reality. To our parents- we appreciate your indefatigable support of your daughters with costuming, pick-ups and drop offs. The sensational production was one of the major highlights of our Bethany year!!
- Please keep the Zervos family in your prayers. Ellena Zervos (Year 9) lost her paternal grandfather, Paul Zervos, on 22 November after a struggle with illness. May he rest in perpetual peace.
Our mantra:“Girls can do anything. Bethany girls can do everything!* (*except divide by zero)” Vicki Lavorato Principal