Head of Senior School

2020 has been a year of many losses and consequently a year of discernment of what is valuable. 

During the periods of relaxed COVID restrictions, the students made the most of any opportunity presented. For example, Year 11 Leadership Camp was booked, postponed, rebooked and at the last minute cancelled and then it was decided to host it on campus. 

The students embraced the camp and its agendas to connect with others in meaningful conversation and to value people and relationships. Sophia reflected that “It was amazing to see how God moved in everyone’s lives, and we had so much fun when we all came together”. The Year 11s have had good role models in student leadership with the 2020 Seniors.

The Seniors started the year well being the pioneering group of the ATAR system. The College Captains and Vice-Captains had a retreat weekend where they studied the bible and prayed. From the weekend they decided on their mission statement for the year, “Actions of Love, reflecting Faith”, which they used to guide their leadership activities for the year. 

The first activity of the year would be leading Booth, Elliot, Graham and Wesley in the Interhouse Swimming Carnival on a rainy summer’s day at the Lawnton Pool. This was our first year using this venue and we enjoyed the covered grandstands from which each house cheered on their swimmers; ultimately Booth House won the day. Little known to us this would be the last carnival of the year.
COVID struck and ended the Term 1 a week early while rapid preparations were made for remote learning. Term 2 started with most students learning from home. The Senior Student leadership changed their focus to become an e-leadership team and started Northside News, an online College news report hosted by the College Captain’s, Leanne and Sindiso. 

The multiple episodes of Northside News covered the events happening on and off campus, interviewed staff and students through Google Meets and provided some much needed light comedy. It was not long before students were back on campus with a new norm of restrictions.

As restrictions eased with Queensland being a relatively COVID-free state, the students made the most of running lunchtime activities like Sports Week, Science Week, Missions Week and Grade of Origin touch football game. Interschool sports competitions resumed, and life suddenly was back to busyness. Even with the relaxation of restrictions, the College Formal was limited to a student-only event for the first time in 24 years of Northside formals. 

Despite the losses and uncertainty, we are thankful for God’s provision and safety for our College, and for a year still full of opportunity and activity and unity that we experience through Christ.

Mr Stewart Smith

Head of Middle School

‘Disruptive design - not just a process, but a mindset!’ 

This was a topic that I was meant to present on at the Future  Schools Expo in Melbourne back in March, but this conference - and almost everything since - has been very much disrupted. 2020 has been anything but the norm and has been disrupted on every front. And yet there has been great opportunity for growth, innovation and agility in teaching and learning through these challenging and unprecedented times.  

A recent Associated Christian Schools and McCrindle study on ‘Education for the Common Good’ highlights five principles for exemplary education:

1. Students feel safe and valued within the educational environment. 
2. Students are taught to serve, interact and collaborate 
with others.
3. Education is oriented towards the development of the 
whole person.
4. Students are challenged to think beyond their current knowledge and experience.
5. Values are integrated into the life of the institution 
through a shared culture and purpose.

Even in the year that has been, Northside has worked hard towards this kind of holistic approach to education. I am incredibly proud of our Middle School students and teachers in the ways that they have approached all of the inevitable variations and disruptions to the norm this year and, in particular, the remote learning phase and the transitions affiliated with that. 

‘Kintsugi’ or ‘Kintsukurai’ Japanese bowls are broken or cracked bowls that are repaired with gold and the end result is far more beautiful than the original vessel. 
Life is a lot like that and as we journey through it and meet and overcome obstacles, God is the one who can fill the cracks in our lives with gold. 2020 has had plenty of ‘gold’ to celebrate. We are incredibly grateful that our Year 8 and Year 9 camps proceeded as planned mid-way through Term One. Those experiences are so integral for the students as physical, social, and emotional growth opportunities. 

While the Year 7 camp was postponed and is now rescheduled to occur in 2021 when the current Year 7s are in Year 8, it has been impressive to see the students sit with and ultimately be comfortable with the uncertainty surrounding whether the trip would proceed. Our Middle School Captains and student leadership team have also shown a growth mindset and been able to embrace opportunities to be creative and to bring several Middle School events to fruition, despite significant obstacles. 
Missions Week simulations, PE Week, Science Week activities and a myriad of sporting competitions, cultural events and academic opportunities have given students numerous rich experiences throughout the 2020 school year. There is much to celebrate.

The documentary, ‘Most Likely to Succeed’, highlights the importance of fostering 21st-century skills such as the four Cs of Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Organisations such as Google and the Khan Academy are advocating these skills as the definitive future needs for an uncertain future and for careers that potentially haven’t even been invented yet. Embracing disruption and disruptive types of thinking is not just a stepping stone to amazing start-ups, STEM or passion projects, as the feeders to design specialist areas, but is a skill set and life skill that is needed for survival in the 21st-century.

Well done, Middle School on a year of embracing disruption, overcoming obstacles, pressing into God, serving, collaborating, being challenged, and choosing to thrive rather than just survive. 

Mrs Fiona Long

Head of Junior School

Life is meant to be shared, and God intended for us to experience life together. The Bible calls this shared experience fellowship. Real fellowship is more than attending church. 

It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting and forgiveness.

2020 is certainly a year to remember. It was a year that showed how each one of us brings to our community the ability to be agile and approach life’s changes and challenges with faith and fellowship. It has been an opportunity in the Junior School to put into action our College motto ‘Character Through Christ’.

This year provided the opportunity for our students and teachers to practice patience and to be thankful. Particularly when things did not go ‘according to plan’. Junior School students are commended and praised for their resilience and flexible approach to changing circumstances.  COVID-19 brought challenges to classroom learning towards the end of Term One, and upon entering our Remote Learning Phase in Term Two. 

Yet, Junior School responded with energy, creativity and community. All staff, teachers and students created classroom connections through online Google Classrooms and Google Meets. The level of engagement and fellowship achieved through the sharing of devotions, emails, comments, songs, videos, and online meetings created the culture of being together, even if not physically. 

How did we adapt? Grandparent’s Day and our Junior School Concert transformed into a creative and fun Prep – Year 6 Junior School Digital Concert video. Our Northside 600 in-house carnival was created, our choirs and instrumental music students blessed others by providing student concerts at lunchtimes, our Athletics Carnivals were restructured and other sporting opportunities sought. Junior School Assembly and Chapel became virtual or were held outside under the shade of trees in Playzone. 
Jump Rope for Heart was celebrated and Book Week dress-up day was a huge celebration with all Junior School students and staff dressed up as book characters. God blessed our community and fellowship, despite circumstances and changes around us. 

Our ‘Northside Five’ College values: Faith, Learning, Excellence, Character and Community were embedded into the attitudes and actions of our student community all the more as a result of 2020. Our Bridge Builders program became further enhanced and our Oral Fluency program results increased as our Junior School students strived for excellence.

This year has been eventful, but it has also been a year of blessing, agility, creativity, community and fellowship. 
2020 is a year to be grateful and thankful for our College and each other.

Mrs Cinaea Dallinger

The above image is a preview of the 'Community' title page in the 2020 Yearbook, featuring notes of thankfulness during Sacred Space week in lockdown. 

"Founded on a common commitment of faith in Jesus Christ, our College culture fosters a love of learning, caring, and serving one another and our community."