Principal's Update Term 2 Week 9

Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
— 1 Samuel 16:7

We have reached the end of Semester 1 and there is much to celebrate. In the last few weeks, we have achieved in all areas of the college including debating, academic competitions, eisteddfods, NCIS sporting victories as well as recognising and celebrating our college's 29th birthday (Foundation Day) and NAIDOC week.

Foundation Day

Established in 1994 the college is in our 29th birthday this year and as you can imagine after the holidays we will start planning what our 30th-anniversary event will look like for 2023. Please keep your eyes peeled for “Save the Date” events for 2023. I wish to thank our performers who excelled at our Foundation Day this year. The theme was “Performing Arts” and we outlined all the opportunities now available at the college for our students as well as some past accolades. We also were honoured to hear from Mrs Linda Morgan, a foundational staff member, who completes her service to the college at the end of the year. I wish to thank Linda for her commitment to the culture of the primary school over her career. We also heard virtually from our 2021 Dux Mitchell Maloney. I wish to thank Mitch for his academic efforts and his willingness to work with his cohort and the college staff at all times. He truly exemplifies the BDC Way.


NAIDOC Week is important to recognise and celebrate in our community as it celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Through education in this area, we continually address improved understanding and bring more people on the reconciliation journey. BDC is an inclusive and diverse community currently with 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Kindy through to Year 12. This is the highest number of First Nations peoples in the 5 Anglican Schools of the Diocese and this is something we should be proud of. The college has been actively working on building on opportunities with local Aboriginal groups, engaging in focus groups with interested parties, and has recently been selected as a Waratah School to increase opportunities in this area for our whole community. 

Scholarships 2023

Congratulations to the 2023 Scholarship Award recipients. These students have been recognised across a variety of endeavours including Academic excellence, Performing and Visual Arts, Sports, All-Round Talent, STEM excellence, as well as a commitment to First Peoples’ advancement. 

Our regions top-performing students awarded scholarships to BDC for 2023 article. 

Scholarship recipients for 2023 are: 

  • Mikaylie Atzori (Orara High School) 
  • Tehani Badke 
  • Sally Bartlett (Narranga Public School) 
  • Will Bursle 
  • Tyler Calder 
  • Hayley Campbell 
  • Ziggy Carpenter 
  • Ella Chowdhury 
  • Lior Daley 
  • Freya Eather (Kororo Public School) 
  • Jarrah Elliott (Toormina Public School) 
  • Nyah Gaddes 
  • Lilly Geddes 
  • William Hodgson 
  • Clare Kelly 
  • Ruby Knight (Narranga Public School) 
  • Anise Lee 
  • Isaac Lim 
  • Zitong Lin 
  • Lulu McGrath (Bellingen High School) 
  • Darcie McInally 
  • Samuel Mee 
  • Archie Mercy 
  • Hunter Mercy 
  • Halle Mercy 
  • Eve Moon (Toormina Public School) 
  • Caroline Mostert 
  • Anexandra Nealand 
  • Elicia Oxenbridge (Narranga Public School) 
  • Madison Patrech 
  • Shanaya Pitt (Coffs Harbour High School) 
  • Logan Sambrook 
  • Camble Scott 
  • William Taylor 
  • Amaia Wain (Bellingen High School) 
  • Sophia Walraven 
  • Joshua Walraven 
  • Daniel Williams 
  • Molly Williams 
  • Riley Wood (St Augustine’s Primary School) 

Please stick with me

I recently read this article and it really caught my attention as both a principal and a dad. It was written by Grown and Flown author Helene Wingens.

“Dear Mum and Dad,

Please stick with me.

I can’t think clearly right now because there is a rather substantial section of my prefrontal cortex missing. It’s a fairly important chunk, something having to do with rational thought. You see, it won’t be fully developed until I’m about 25. And from where I sit, 25 seems a long way off.

But here's what I want my parents to know..

My brain is not yet fully developed.

It doesn’t matter that I’m smart; even a perfect score on my maths test doesn’t insulate me from the normal developmental stages that we all go through. Judgement and intelligence are two completely distinct things.

And, the same thing that makes my brain wonderfully flexible, creative and sponge-like also makes me impulsive. Not necessarily reckless or negligent but more impulsive than I will be later in life.

Please stick with me.

So when you look at me like I have ten heads after I’ve done something “stupid” or failed to do something “smart,” you’re not really helping.

You adults respond to situations with your prefrontal cortex (rationally) but I am more inclined to respond with my amygdala (emotionally). And when you ask, “What were you thinking?” the answer is I wasn’t, at least not in the way you are. You can blame me, or you can blame mother nature, but either way, it is what it is.

At this point in my life, I get that you love me, but my friends are my everything. Please understand that. Right now I choose my friends, but, don’t be fooled, I am watching you. Carefully.

Please stick with me.


Here’s what you can do for me

1. Model adulting.

I see all the behaviours that you are modelling and I hear all of the words you say. I may not listen but I do hear you. I seem impervious to your advice like I’m wearing a Kevlar vest but your actions and words are penetrating. I promise. If you keep showing me the way, I will follow even if I detour many, many times before we reach our destination.

2. Let me figure things out for myself.

If you allow me to experience the consequences of my own actions I will learn from them. Please give me a little bit of leash and let me know so that I can figure things out for myself. The more I do, the more confidence and resilience I will develop.

3. Tell me about you.

I want you to tell me all the stories of the crazy things you did as a teen, and what you learned from them. Then give me the space to do the same.

4. Help me with perspective.

Keep reminding me of the big picture. I will roll my eyes at you and make all kinds of grunt-like sounds. I will let you know in no uncertain terms that you can’t possibly understand any of what I’m going through. But I’m listening. I really am. It’s hard for me to see anything beyond the weeds that I am currently mired in. Help me scan out and focus on the long view. Remind me that this moment will pass.

5. Keep me safe.

Please remind me that drugs and driving don’t mix. Keep telling me that you will bail me out of any dangerous situation, no anger, no lectures, no questions asked. But also let me know over and over and over that you are there to listen when I need you.

6. Be kind.

I will learn kindness from you and if you are relentless in your kindness to me, someday I will imitate that behaviour. Don’t ever mock me, please and don’t be cruel. Humour me-I think I know everything. You probably did as well at my age. Let it go.

7. Show interest in the things I enjoy.

Some days I will choose to share my interests with you, and it will make me feel good if you validate those interests, by at least acting interested.

One day when the haze of adolescence lifts, you will find a confident, strong, competent, kind adult where a surly teenager once stood. In the meantime, buckle in for the ride.


Please stick with me.


Your Teenager”

Term 3 Return

I will be writing to all families in the third week of the holidays to welcome everyone back, outline any staffing changes for the coming semester as well as highlighting some changes to our uniform policy. We will be introducing a new House shirt in 2023 that will be rolled out in the following 12 to 24 months and we are in the process of working through designs for focus group input. I will also outline updates regarding school shoes, hairstyles, and jewellery.

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable three-week school break. 

Nick Johnstone