Principal's Update Term 3 Week 9

Wednesday, 14 Sept 2022
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
— 2 Corinthians 9:15

As I write this week’s article I feel a sense of gratitude flush my very being. I can hear some junior primary classes practice their EYE production piece, yesterday I joined the Year 9s and 10s in a multi-generational presentation from nationally renowned speaker and social expert, Katie Iles, where the students engaged in her message on building understanding, grit and determination of their and other generations; and tonight (Wednesday) I’m looking forward attending the Year 12 HSC Music students final concert. There is much to be grateful for in our BDC community.

NAPLAN Data 2022

Last week ACARA released the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) data for 2022. This year’s collective student data in Year 3, 5, 7, and 9 were some of the best the college has received over the last 10 years and a real affirmation of our teaching and learning programs and practices.

Areas well above state average: 

  • Year 3: Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling, Reading, Writing and Numeracy
  • Year 5: Reading and Numeracy
  • Year 7: Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling, Reading, Writing and Numeracy
  • Year 9: Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling, Reading and Numeracy

Areas for continued improvement (but aligned with state average): 

  • Year 5: Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling, and Writing 
  • Year 9: Writing 

While analysis of the data is still continuing I can confirm two assertions:

  1. Experiential learning philosophies such as MSL, Talk for Write and Walker Learning together with explicit teaching strategies have a profound effect on student growth
  2. The earlier a child joins our community the greater the student growth.

Student Achievements

Performing Arts - Dance

Amazing news from NESA regarding our first HSC Dance cohort at BDC. All students in the course have received nominations for possible inclusion in the 2022 HSC Showcase - Callback. 

Of note, the HSC Dance Practical exam consists of multiple components including Core Performance, Core Composition and Major Study Performance. Some students were nominated in all 3 areas.

Congratulations to:

Emily Hodges - nomination for Core Performance, Major Study performance and Core Composition; Kate Clerkin -  nominations for Core Performance and Core Composition; and Teo Ross - nomination for Core Performance, Major Study Performance and Core Composition.

This is absolutely wonderful news for our first Dance program. Congratulations to Hannah Johnson for all of her work with the dance students to get them to this level and for this recognition. 

Performing Arts - Drama

Congratulations to Teo Ross, whose individual performance Stealing Christmas For Dummies has been nominated for possible inclusion in the 2022 HSC Showcase season as part of OnStage. Congratulations also to Teo’s teacher, Ms Katie Gudgeon.

Performing Arts - Music

Congratulations to Olivia Hoare (Year 9) who spent last week in Sydney as part of the Regional Youth Orchestra. Olivia is a talented Double Bass player who throughout the week conducted masterclasses and also attended a performance by the Australian World Orchestra. On her final evening in Sydney, she played at the Sydney Opera House with the finale consisting of 120 musicians on stage from the RYO, AWO, The Arts Unit Symphony Orchestra and North Sydney Girls High Orchestra. The RYO is the orchestral benchmark for orchestral training in regional NSW. BDC Alumni Julia Magri, class of  2018, attended RYO programs regularly as a student and last week, Olivia was able to reconnect with Julia in Sydney.

Sports - Congratulations to Daniel Williams (Year 9) who recently placed 4th in Australia at the National Cross-Country Championships in Adelaide. Daniel also represented NSW in the relay event where he ran the anchor leg and won gold.

Valedictory Week

I wish to publicly recognise our class of 2022. I will be unable to shake their hand as they cross the stage or provide the annual Principal’s address during their Valedictory Week celebrations as I will be with our BDC Round Square student contingent in the United Kingdom attending the International Student Conference with Mrs Rothacker. In absence of this attendance, I have added my thoughts to the graduating class of 2022 in this week’s newsletter. 

Principal’s Address to Graduation Class of 2022

You have heard me speak of the African proverb - “it takes a village to raise a child”. Class of 2022, you are the products of our Bishop Druitt College village. The partnerships and relationships we have shared and built over your years of schooling have been forged from the innocence of childhood through to the challenges of adolescence and into the readiness for the next step you are starting to venture into.

These partnerships and relationships are not just value-adders of the schooling journey; they are things that are fundamental to the human condition. They are important. Daniel Goldman, the famous “social and emotional intelligence” psychologist and science journalist for the New York Times, stated that “Emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years. All the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages.” We know this statement to be intuitively correct. What Daniel Goldman is really saying is that each interaction you have from your childhood is important. The relationships we model, the example we give, the choices we make in those relationships matter. Valedictorians, how we treat each other also matters. How we treat people tells the people around you the kind of values you have and type of heart you have. This is important. Together with belonging and purpose, your happiness is derived by the relationships you have with the people around you.

In every religion, well the several different religions that I have studied, there is this thing called the “golden rule”. It is fundamentally important for us to look after each other. It is the human condition.

Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."

Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517

Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you." Analects 15:23

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18

Christianity and Judaism “...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Leviticus 19:18

Let us not forget this vital part of the human condition. The relationships with those people around us. These are important and a good message to hear just before Christmas.

My point here is that you have developed and invested in positive relationships throughout your life to date and over the next few years you will be going through a massive series of changes in one of the most important periods of your life. You will find employment, travel, complete trades, gain degrees, and possibly move cities. In all this change you will still need positive human connection. So think about the relationship that you currently have and the journey you have been through and continue to nurture the positive relationships in your life. These might be your friends or your classmates or your teammates or your family and maybe they are all of these people. Finally, as principal of Bishop Druitt College, I welcome you to our college alumni as the graduation class of 2022. I wish you well and remember you are world prepared and you will always have a friendly face and a welcome smile at your old school. 

Margaret’s Field Bridge

The land to the west of the college, lovingly known as Margaret’s Field (named after foundation principal Victor Branson’s wife and accomplished artist Margaret Ackland) will be reopened next week after bridge repairs and access roads have been completed. This site has been used for school picnics, as a playground, a campsite and a mountain bike track over the years and I expect that over the next few months it will be re-established with all of these uses and more. The laneway and bridge are yet to be named but names are already coming forward to recognise foundational staff or to tantalise the imagination. I will keep the community posted on these developments.

Father’s Day Breakfast

Just a quick note to thank all the fathers and father figures for attending our annual Father’s Day Breakfast. Over 400 people attended this year’s celebration of fathers. I wish to recognise the BDC staff who were on campus from 6am to make this event possible. Thanks to Brad Daymond who spoke of the importance of fathers and taking time to appreciate this relationship. He also spoke of the BDC Fathering Project and how you can be involved as a dad. Please contact our Fathering Project Coordinator, Mr Joel Blythe, if you wish to be involved or join via the Fathering Project Portal -

Father’s Day Stall

A big thank you to the parent helpers who ran this year’s Father’s Day stall. In our very busy lives we appreciate those people who go the extra mile to help make our students’ experiences richer and more meaningful. I greatly appreciate the effort and wonderful contribution of these parents who helped our students celebrate their fathers. Thank you.

New Academies

It is with pride and a dash of excitement that I announce the addition of two new sporting academies for 2023. Ms Titcume, as High Performance and Athlete Development Program Manager, has been working hard in conjunction with other key staff and sporting identities to develop Basketball and Rugby Union.

These academies are specifically designed to be student-athlete oriented and to focus on individual growth through sport specific unit skill development as well as strength and conditioning. Each of the academies involves highly skilled coaches and mentors hand selected by and overseen by Nat.

In 2023, the renowned player, coach and mentor Rob Linton from North Coast Basketball is excited to be building on his long relationship with the college and he will be supported by Zara Baldwin. Zara will be a new PDHPE teacher in the college. Zara is an acclaimed basketball referee with the junior nationals, was awarded a sporting scholarship with Newcastle University for her work as a referee, and will utilise her time in the PDHPE role to impart her skills with students and support Rob as Head Coach of the BDC Basketball Academy.  

The BDC Rugby Union Academy program will be headed by former Rugby NSW Mid North Coast Development Officer and Newcastle Hunter Wildfires Women’s Coach Joey De Dassel. Joey and Nat have already pulled together a list of talented coaches and rugby identities who will provide rugby position specific skill development together with strength and conditioning principles to support accelerated player growth. More details on these programs will be announced next week.

New and Departing Families Information

The college has almost completed the enrolment process for 2023 and to support families on our waiting list,  I would appreciate it if you could advise the college if you are going to withdraw your child at any stage in Term 4 this year. 

I also encourage families who have younger children that have not yet enrolled to complete their application as soon as possible for 2024 and 2025.

Nick Johnstone