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From the Head of Senior School

Mark SimpsonThank you for the warm welcome I have received since commencing at the beginning of this year. Before I arrived, I had heard a good deal about the strong sense of community at Concordia and already this has been evident in a number of events this year. I have been greeted by parents at several different information evenings, by old scholars at Old Concordian events, and already I feel a part of the dedicated staff community. You would be proud to know too that many of your children have been forthcoming in greeting me, which I have appreciated. 

There are numerous reasons for choosing Concordia. For me it is this sense of community, its strong Christian values, high standards and the provision of a wide range of co-curricular opportunities available to students.

I am delighted to be taking up the role of Head of Senior School and working closely with the Senior School staff to enable our students to successfully traverse their final years of school and smoothly transition into post-school pathways. While there is a strong focus on academic results, our aim is to focus more holistically on the all-round development of the child.

We aim to empower students to lead happy and successful lives once they leave school. In order to do this, we use a wide range of approaches, including encouraging and allowing students to learn, but occasionally also providing clear guidance to ensure they know we care for them.

I value particularly the three-way partnership where we as teachers work closely with you in your role as primary caregivers to ensure that our students are provided with consistent guidance. The strength of this relationship cannot be underestimated and I appreciate the trust that you place in us. In my view, the classroom should be a sacred place where students should feel comfortable, but also supported to take risks in their learning and where they should be encouraged to develop the virtue of persistence. Perseverance, or “grit” as it is sometimes referred to, is a critical skill that will help students to overcome obstacles and ultimately achieve their full potential.

I have a particular passion for wellbeing and I am excited to be working with Dr Catherine Johnson, Briony Carman (Head of Middle School) and the wellbeing team as we develop a program in response to our understanding of the needs of our students. I can’t emphasise enough how fortunate we have been to use the information we have gathered from our students so that we can deliver a bespoke program tailored specifically to their unique needs.

Finally, it has been terrific to work closely with the Student Leaders who have impressed me with their contribution to the community through working at places such as The Magdalene Centre and coordinating the Valentine's Day fundraiser in support of the Heart Foundation and bushfire recovery effort.

It’s been a great start and I look forward to getting to know you better during the course of the year.

Mark Simpson
Head of Senior School

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Artist in Residence

We have been fortunate to have Jimmy Dodd as our Artist-in-Residence for 2020 this term. His career in Art crosses a wide range of mediums. The students are currently learning about the kinetic forms of art that he is exploring, and they are responding to this with their own pieces. This form of art is essentially an integration of art and technology, which is the essence of STEAM. By crossing into these different areas the students have become aware of how the traditional boundaries between technology and art can be merged.

As an artist, Jimmy has had many solo and group exhibitions that are both in traditional galleries and using urban spaces. His work over the years includes painting, built structures, murals and public art. Jimmy teaches at the Adelaide Central School of Art, leads community projects, and exhibits regularly across Australia. His painting mill integrates the forms of paint and technology, and it has provided stimulus to the Year 9 students. Machines become their own characters through the drawing bots made by the Year 9s, 10s and 11s as well as the ground gropers made by the Year 11 students, who have been looking at movement and recycling. The Year 12 students are responding to Jimmy's work in various art forms. Year 10 students have focused on the influence of Jean Tinguely and have been working in teams to create kinetic sculptures with one sculpture run solely on a pre-used solar panel. These works will be displayed in the school this year as a celebration of the workshops run by Jimmy. For further details on his work you can visit his website and his Instagram page (@jimmydazzla).

Jane Robson
Head of Art

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Sally Cameron Jazz Choir Workshops

On Tuesday, 25 February, our two Jazz Choirs (Mattson Jazz and McKenzie Jazz) were privileged to spend quality time with ARIA award winning Jazz Vocalist Sally Cameron.

Sally is a world-class singer, educator and composer. She took both choirs through their paces to assist in their preparation for their performances at the upcoming National Jazz Festival, Generations in Jazz.

Sally’s extensive knowledge, coupled with her ability to expertly guide musical groups, was a joy to be a part of, and an experience all Jazz Choir members will long remember.

The fruits of their labour will be seen and heard on Twilight Tea’s main stage next week, so be sure to check them out!

Mat Noble
Director of Music

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Twilight Tea - Bottle Stall, Kids' Book & Toy Stall and Volunteering

Twilight Tea, our annual Concordia community fair, is just around the corner and we are looking forward to a a wonderful evening in the Concordia Campus Quad from 5-8.30pm on Friday, 13 March. The success of this College-wide event relies on involvement from many members of our wonderful community, so please find below some details of how you can support Twilight Tea and help make it a fantastic night for all involved.

Volunteering at Twilight Tea

Thank you to all those who have already registered as volunteers to assist on various stalls at Twilight Tea. There are still some volunteer timeslots that need to be filled, so if you'd like to get involved please click here to register your availability.

Bottle Stall Lucky Dip

The Bottle Stall Lucky Dip has been a particular favourite at Twilight Tea for a number of years and we are hoping to once again have a huge range of bottles available this year. A reminder that each student is encouraged to bring in a bottle or jar to contribute to the stall filled with something that would appeal to any age group e.g. factory-wrapped lollies, condiments, hair accessories, small gifts, etc. to the value of $5.

When preparing your bottle / jar, please note the following:

  • Bottles/jars should be free of chips/cracks;
  • Jars, including lids, must be washed in a dishwasher before use;
  • Please no nuts or nut products;
  • Food items (e.g. lollies) should be factory-wrapped. Unwrapped items cannot be used;  
  • Please include a simple label on the outside describing contents if the item is inedible e.g. 'For the Garden';
  • Please no alcohol or alcohol-containing products.

Items not meeting the above criteria unfortunately cannot be used. 

ELC to Year 6 families can bring their bottles / jars directly to the St John's Campus School Office, while students in Years 7 to 12 can take their bottle / jar to the Concordia Campus Student Services Office (SSO) up until Wednesday, 11 March.

Kids' Toy and Book Stall

The Kids' Toy and Book Stall is new to Twilight Tea this year and we are still seeking items for this stall. If you have any children's books or toys in good condition that you would like to donate to the stall, please bring these to the St John's Campus School Office or the Concordia Campus Student Services Office by Wednesday, 11 March.

We are looking forward to a wonderful evening with a full program of entertainment, children's activities, food stalls and much more! Entry is free so bring a rug and enjoy the festival atmosphere with your family, friends and neighbours!

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'Developing Perseverance' Parent Education Workshop with Mark Le Messurier

We are delighted to have well known counsellor, mentor, educator and parent coach Mark Le Messurier presenting his 'Developing Perseverance' parent education workshop at 7pm on Wednesday, 18 March in the Concordia College Chapel.

This presentation is bursting with a selection of totally practical ideas to build resilient kids. All parents of school-aged children are warmly invited to attend.

The event is free, but please RSVP online by Monday, 16 March for catering purposes. Thanks to the Concordia Parents and Friends for funding this workshop.

Contact: The St John's Campus School Office for further information (8271 4299 or sjmail@concordia.sa.edu.au).

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Ash Wednesday

Considering the devastating fires that have reduced much of Australia to ashes this summer, it is potentially counter intuitive to bring ashes to the forefront of our minds, especially now that the majority of fires have finally been extinguished. We scarcely need any more grim reminders of the potential in this world for beautiful things to be destroyed, be they buildings, crops, homes, wildlife, stock or even human lives.

Ash Wednesday is an unusual celebration in itself, in that we take the opportunity every year to remember our mortality and acknowledge that we too will one day return to the dust. It hardly seems like something to celebrate. Yet, it is often in the face of our fragility and mortality that we call out for help. Ash Wednesday does give us something to celebrate because, as Christians, we call out for help from a Saviour who is greater than the elements, more powerful than anything we might face in this world, and who has even overcome death itself by His own resurrection. While we will also return to the dust one day - hopefully a long time from now - in Jesus, we have the promise of eternal life. He has made us a new creation.

It was, therefore, both a sobering and peaceful experience to come together last week as a school to acknowledge these things together and pray that God’s hope and joy will characterise our lives. As students and staff came forward, they received a sign of the cross on their heads, then a petal, together with the words: “Though you are dust and to dust you shall return, in Christ you are a new creation.” It was particularly touching to have this sombre ritual accompanied by beautiful, prayerful music from our choir and musicians, who created the space and atmosphere to allow people to reflect on their lives.

Knowing that the safest and easiest move is to stay in one’s seat, it was incredible to see so many students come forward to receive this blessing. We can be truly grateful for the sense of solidarity we experience in these community events, drawing on the depths of a rich spiritual heritage.

Dale Gosden
School Pastor

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Adelaide Festival Centre Workshop Excursion

On Friday, 28 February, the Year 11 Drama students plus some invited Design, Technology and Engineering students attended a tour and presentation at the Adelaide Festival Centre Workshop. We are so excited to have forged a connection with this professional industry. The team at AFCW are currently building the set for our upcoming production of High School Musical and it was a real thrill to see not only our set in the workshop but to see it alongside sets for professional productions of Frozen (making its Australian premiere in Sydney in July this year) and Six The Musical (which will re-open Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre in June). Students were able to gain insight into the design, budget and construction phases of some really big and spectacular productions, all of which have been built right here in Adelaide.

Emma Williams
Head of Drama

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Everyone has a Story to Tell...

As our Year 8 cohort landed back at the College after their recent camp, it was time to begin our sequenced curriculum in Language and Literature. Working within the IB Middle Years Programme Global Context of ‘Identities and Relationships’, our students have been engaging in formative activities to examine how narrative is communicated through varied genre and medium. The concluding session for this study was our ‘Station Activity’, where students moved around Murtoa in groups, reading and responding to texts. There were excerpts from C.S. Lewis, Colin Thiele, Dreaming Creation Stories, self-portraits from Van Gough and even a dance from 'Britain’s Got Talent'! The teachers are looking forward to the upcoming creation of autobiographical texts after this afternoon of inspiration!

Vanessa Narino-Terry
English and Humanities Teacher

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Senior School Community Service at The Magdalene Centre

It's always wonderful to see our students serving in the wider community! On Saturday, 22 February, representatives from the Senior School prepared and served meals for over 100 patrons at the Mary Magdalene Drop-in Centre in the CBD. Here's what our School Captains shared about the experience:

'Within the first 10 minutes of being there, it was an eye-opening experience. Everyone worked together really well and we loved having the opportunity to help those in need. We made some great friends and enjoyed every minute of the night.'

Thanks to all of the Senior School families who helped by cooking and donating towards this service activity. It was a wonderful community effort!

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