Going Back to School

What are your memories of your school years? Was school a happy place or something to be endured?

It’s been over 30 years since I left school to start a cooking apprenticeship. It seems like a lifetime ago.

The holidays are over or almost over for most students. Do you remember that feeling? I know I do.

School was OK but holidays were just so wonderful. I used to wish that they would never end. Holidays are great no matter how old you are but there’s something magical about school holidays.

Our kids are on holiday at the moment. They head back to school on Wednesday. They have two days of freedom left.

I used to get particularly annoyed by the advertising in the summer holidays. Weeks before the new school year started I’d start seeing back to school signs everywhere. They’d have big signs up in shopping centres, they’d advertise back to school sales on TV and radio and the newspaper would be littered with back to school ads. Then the letterbox would fill up with catalogues full of back to school specials.

I didn’t need reminding that the holidays were rapidly coming to an end.

So how were your school days? Do you wish you could go back and live those times all over again? Can you remember what you thought your life would become after school? Has the reality lived up to what you imagined back then?

I’d love to read your comments.

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Holka Polka

I headed off to fairytale land last night. Our daughter Emily was part of her middle school production, Holka Polka. It’s a great drama full of fairy tale characters.

The writer, D. M. Bocaz-Larson, has created some very funny lines and the young performers last night handled the performance brilliantly. The comic timing of some of the lead actors was outstanding.

There were a few opening night nerves but the audience loved every moment of the show. Under the direction of Drama Teacher, Chris Willesee, Holka Polka was an absolute hit.

I must admit that as a parent I have been to school presentations of various kinds where I’ve been very focussed on the parts our kids have played, and less than interested in someone else’s little darling, but when you get something as good as this, you’re captivated from start to finish by the whole cast. In fact, it was so good, we’ve got tickets for tonight’s show too.

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Where are the crayons?

Where’s the little girl that we loved so much?

Pauline and I went to school last night. We attended a meeting where we were told about Emily’s options for courses in Year 10 next year. Within the next few days we must decide, together with Emily, what courses she will study next year. Those courses will then become the platform to launch her into Years 11 and 12, her final school years. We need to make decisions this week that will imapct her journey through university or whatever career she will move into.

Emily’s a very capable young lady and there are many directions that she could take and she’d excell in them all but now’s the time to start narrowing the options.

The odd thing is that it really wasn’t that long ago that school meetings were more about what crayons to choose. It seems like such a short time ago that we were getting her ready for her first days of kindy and then pre-school.

We were warned about how quickly the time passes and so we have tried to make the most of every moment. We’ve seen her develop her own interests and personality, all the while charming most of the people she has met along the way.

Now, at the age of 14, Emily is moving into yet another stage of life. Many fear their young ones entering the teenage years and to be honest we don’t know what waits around the corner, but I can honestly say I’m not all that worried. I know my daughter and I know the God who holds her safely in his arms. I’m just standing on the sidelines watching God pouring his amazing creativity into developing the young woman we have the privilege of sharing with him.

Where’s the little girl that we loved so much? She’s growing into a beautiful young woman that we love more today than we ever thought possible.

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Born Storytellers

Our family headed off to a book launch yesterday afternoon.  The book is part of the Born Storytellers series which contains short stories written by various school students.

Kevin Price chose to be a professional writer in 1987. He began as a columnist for an advertising industry magazine and a lifestyle magazine before moving on to copywriting for local advertising agencies and businesses.

While he still writes advertising, he now also teaches storycraft to bright young minds in Western Australian schools and writers centres and edits the resulting works for the Born Storyteller books. He completed his first novel in 2007, which remains unpublished. He is married, has two daughters, and writes in his rural studio in the hills north of Perth in Western Australia.

Since its inception in 2005, Kevin has delivered his creative writing program, Learn to Write like A Born Storyteller in ten West Australian schools and a leading writers centre. He has edited and published over 200 young authors in 18 volumes.

We were very proud to hear our daughter, Emily, read part of her story at the launch. I can now say that she’s a published author.

Kevin Price, who taught the students the skills they needed to get their story to publication, spoke about the power of stories and how important story tellers have been throughout history. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the students from the four schools that had their books launched yesterday was indeed powerful.

I really believe that we were created to have a very strong connection to stories. Stories can connect us with each other and our creator in very powerful ways. Stories can be so much more than an entertaining read on a lazy afternoon. We can’t afford to neglect the importance of storytelling.

There was a great collection of talented storytellers at the launch yesterday. I certainly hope they’ll all continue to put their storytelling skills to great use.

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School Chaplains get the thumbs up

school.jpgAustralia’s first ever national research findings on chaplaincy in Australian government schools have just been released and the results are very positive.

According to the 688 principals who participated in the national study, chaplains in their government schools were helping to build the sense of community in the school , support the school ethos and were assisting the integration of those who were considered potentially ‘at risk’ students.

A couple of days ago on my morning radio programme I spoke to Fiona Pitkin, Head of Chaplaincy Services for YouthCare in Western Australia. Fiona explained more about the work of chaplains in Australian schools.

You can hear what she had to say by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Did you have a chaplain at your school? What do you think of the idea of having chaplains in governemnt schools? Have you seen the beenfits of chaplains in your life or in the life of your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the comments section of this post.


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