Principal's Update Term 3 Week 6

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2022
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Mid-term three is always a busy time in the life of a K-12 school with excursions, performances, senior HSC trials, celebrations and, of course, exciting in-class teaching and learning. I am always buoyed by our vibrant community and the passionate staff we have at Bishop Druitt College. 

Australian Non-Government Secondary Teacher Finalist and National Excellence Award

Recently, one of our secondary teachers, Mrs Deahne Rushforth, was honoured in Sydney at the Australian Educators Awards. Mrs Rushforth is a dedicated and skilled Textiles and Design teacher within our Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) faculty. Mrs Rushforth made the national finals and was awarded, along with seven other educators, the National Excellence Award. This is a tremendous achievement and one that our whole community can be proud of.

Anglican Schools Australia Virtual Conference

College Chaplains Reverend Naomi, Reverend Nic, College Chair David Ford, and I attended the ASA virtual conference on Monday and Tuesday this week. The theme for this year’s conference was “Lifted in Spirit”. Presentations by Thai Cave Rescue Diver and 2019 Australian of the Year, Craig Challen SC OAM, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend Kay Goldsworthy AO, Archbishop of Perth, Nick Pearce CEO and Co-Founder on HoMie, Lockie Cooke Founder and CEO - iyarn and Zara Torre Founder of The Difference. There were many highlights in the conference but it was the grace, humility and wisdom of Archbishop Goldsworthy that rang true for me. She spoke about the role of Anglican schools in providing safe and nurturing spaces for all of our students regardless of background, religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation. This is something that our college has as a particular strength and our lived values of mutual respect, service, inclusivity, integrity, courage, justice and generosity of spirit bear fruit within this context. 

Bishop Druitt College Sports Dinner 

This year’s BDC Sports Dinner is tabled for 26 October. This event is a celebration of our college’s sports, our student-athletes, and our coaches and administrators. This year’s speaker will be Dr Deidre Anderson. Dr Dee has held senior roles within the private sector and federal and local government and has held executive positions both at international and national levels within elite sports and the University sector. She has been acknowledged worldwide for her contribution to elite athletes and has a lifelong commitment to supporting the development of young people.

She has been a recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow for her contribution to international relations, a recipient of the Princeton International Business Leaders award, a recipient of the Eunice Gill Coach Education award, an honorary member of the Golden Keys International Honour Society and in 2022 was recognised on the Queen’s Birthday list. She is also the co-author of a number of books and has published extensively in the areas of athlete transition.

Book your seats for the 2022 BDC Sports Awards Dinner at Pacific Bay Resort!

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BDC launches 2022/23 Reconciliation Action Plan 

After an extensive consultative process with students, staff, the BDC community and the Coffs Harbour Gumbaynggirr Indigenous community, the Bishop Druitt College 2022/23 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is now available for you to see. 

The objectives of the RAP is to promote recognition, understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures, histories and contributions. 

The college has developed a RAP each year since 2018, and is proud to have made significant progress for the college’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) community. Some of these achievements in the last year have included: 

  • Development of a mural for our Yarning Circle, with local elder Aunty Buchanan and the Goori Group students.
  • Continued recognition and participation in Aboriginal Events of Significance including  Sorry Day, Mabo Day and NAIDOC Week, and we were able to welcome parents to campus to celebrate with us. 
  • Support for many ATSI families with increased support for scholarships for 2023 and beyond, and increased staffing resources for our Aboriginal Education Officer, Gloria Mercy. 
  • Development of a customised school Acknowledgement of Country co-authored by Goori Group student leaders and our Gumbaynggirr language teacher, which our students of all backgrounds embrace at each and every assembly, ceremony and event within the school. 

“On behalf of the college, I wish to sincerely thank all of those who were involved in delivering on our 2021/22 RAP outcomes, and for those who were involved in the development of next year’s strategy - including students, parents, staff and members of the Gumbaynggirr community”, said Mr Johnstone. 

Staff, students and community members involved in the development of the 2022/23 RAP were invited to attend a morning tea at the school on Tuesday 9 August, which marked the United Nations International Day of Indigenous Peoples. The morning tea included a selection of local indigenous produce, and included an Acknowledgement of Country by year 11 student and 2022-3 Service Captain, Jenna Haley, delivered in the Gumbaynggirr language. 

Jenna was also part of the Indigenous student group who were invited to participate in the development of the 2022/23 RAP. The group also included Darcie McInally and Charlie Knight. 

Jenna says of her involvement: 

“As a young proud indigenous woman, with high involvement in the schools Goori Group, as well as being a part of 2022-2023 leadership team, I believe that the Reconciliation Action Plan is an important program for members of the community including, students, families, staff and the broader community to have their say in the way to restore and respect Indigenous culture within BDC. 

“I’m honoured to say that I’ve been a part of the progress and achievements that have been made, with many more exciting opportunities approaching through the work of the RAP. I look forward to the future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families within the BDC community.”

The 2022/23 RAP includes a number of new initiatives within the college and greater Coffs Harbour indigenous communities, including: 

  • Participation in the AISNSW Indigenous opportunity program, The Waratah Project, which aims to develop students as future leaders in their communities, and set higher expectations for themselves through literacy and numeracy outcomes. 
  • Inclusion of the school’s own Acknowledgement of Country in clear view on the BDC campus, and the ongoing improvement of campus bi-lingual signage. 
  • Mentoring and career development opportunities with our ATSI alumni and local business partnerships. 
  • The development of a student-led cultural awareness video to share with all students and the greater BDC community. 
  • The extension of the school uniform in 2023 to include a prominent indigenous design, for all students. 
  • Continued showcasing of ATSI National Events of Significance, and where possible, including local elders and parents and carers in these events. 

Download your copy of the BDC Reconciliation Action Plan 2022/23

For any feedback or questions, please contact 

Fathers’ Day Breakfast

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BDC Golf Day

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Nick Johnstone