For the last time.
I am 42 years old, and I have been packing my lunch and heading off to Covenant Christian School for a long time. And it has been a great privilege. This
week, I will be doing that for the last time. Of those 42, my journey with Covenant started in 1979, when I followed my big sister off (Mrs Stead)
to school for a year and a half, excited about starting big school myself in 1981. I then spent 13 years as a student here between 1981 and 1993. During
my time here I enjoyed the privilege of being in a number of activities. Because the school was small, I was able to be in everything. Musicals, bands,
choirs, soccer, basketball, swimming, cross-country and rugby league teams gave me so much joy, and had the privilege of serving as school captain
here in 1993. I was a student, and the son of a much loved Mathematics and Physics teacher for five of those years, but I knew her as mum. My Dad served
on the Board for some of those years too. I then stayed in touch with school as the older brother of a wonderfully talented student/footy player/class
clown through the mid-1990s, then completed my Mathematics teaching practicum placement here in 1998, before returning in Term 4, 2000, the week after
the Olympic Games in Syd-e-ney. I reckon I have taught Biblical Studies, Physics, Junior Science, Design and Technology, and of course Mathematics
to at least 1200 students in my time. I have coached more sporting teams and been on too many excursions and camps to recall. I have worked with teachers
from our Pre School to Year 12 staff. I am so grateful for everything.
At the end of this year, my wife Heidi, and our daughters Emily, Grace and Amy will be moving to the Central Coast, and I will be taking on a new leadership
role at St Philip’s Christian College in Gosford. I will be working with the teachers there, in particular to help them to better understand Christian
Worldview and teaching and learning across the school. I will remember with great fondness my time at Covenant. So what will I take with me?
Covenant is a pretty unique place. Set up by Christian families as a place where school will be an extension of the home, and where we intend to challenge
your children in regard to exploring God’s world.
Vision: To faithfully serve in God’s plan to restore all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Mission: To assist parents in the nurture of their children, by providing a Christ-centred, biblically grounded, culturally engaging and academically rigorous
education to equip the children to live for God’s glory.
We have always (and will continue to) aim to show our students, in all areas of the curriculum, that this world belongs to God, and this in every aspect
of school life. We want them to understand how to take the opportunity to learn as a means for understanding how to live as stewards of all God has
given to take care of.
We have and continue to offer an education that is:
Christ-centred: Christ Jesus is at the centre of everything we do here.
Biblically grounded: We want to be faithful to God’s Word and help our students to grow in their Biblical Literacy and understanding the place of the
Bible in their lives.
Culturally engaging: We live in the real world, God’s world. So how are we to live in the world? We are not a cultural enclave that hides from the
world. No, we engage with it and seek to find our place in it.
Academically rigorous: We want students to achieve their academic potential. Every year we have students do really well in the HSC, and wonderful teachers
who give so much of their time to assist our students to excel at school. Our ex-students are working and studying in all sorts of wonderful places.
But you won’t see our students glorified in the newspaper, or on a billboard outside the school. We are as happy for the student who gave his or her
best and achieved 60% as for the capable student that achieved 95% (and the two young ladies who achieved an ATAR of over 99 last year). We have never
given academic scholarships or dux. We would prefer to give God the glory.
Our staff love Jesus, and their goal remains the same. That this world belongs to God, and here we work to find our place in it, so we might live our lives
to the glory of God.
I will remember the students. They have taught me so much over the years. I have enjoyed the privilege of teaching many of your children. We have struggled,
laughed, cried, prayed and celebrated together. I am so grateful for all that God has given me in mentoring so many students over a long period of
time. Our students are often the best teachers, and I have learnt so much from them!
I will remember the parents. Thank you for your support of and partnership with me over those years. I can honestly say that I have looked forward
to my many school events and parent-teacher conference nights, as they have been an opportunity to better explore and understand the partnership we
have here at Covenant. Some of my closest friends at the school have been the parents of students I have taught, as you have trusted me to explore
God's word and world with your children. Thanks for trusting me in that position as mentor.
I will remember the staff. I have the most talented group of staff to work with. They love their students, and are always seeking to do what is best
for them as we transition them from childhood to adulthood during their time at school. I have worked closely with so many of them, and value so much
the encouragement they have been to me, particularly in the way they serve your children. At the end of this year, there are other staff moving on
from Covenant Christian School. I would like to mention two of those staff briefly. Mr David Gray is moving onto Belmont Christian College. David has
been working the last two years for the National Institute for Christian Education, where he has been working on a short project to help teachers,
predominantly from around Australia, but also in other countries, to wrestle with this thing called Christian Education. He has been a wonderful example
to so many. He is an outstanding teacher, and served here as Year 10 Coordinator, and a Geography, Business Studies and Legal Studies teacher for about
eight years before that. David is a man of high integrity and professionalism. Covenant’s loss is Belmont’s gain.
And Mrs Lesley Bennett. She has been working at Covenant Christian School about as long as I have. She has been our Education Support Coordinator,
the most wonderful colleague and the most wonderful advocate for students with learning needs. Lesley has given so much to our students, and has supported
them behind the scenes in the most faithful of ways. Lesley has lived out her faith in Jesus through the way she has loved and served her students
and their families, year after year. It is a privilege to be finishing up at Covenant at the same time as this wonderful colleague. Lesley is going
to retire and invest her life in other areas into the future. You will no doubt see Lesley around the school from time to time in the years to come,
as the staff continue to consult with her in order to ensure that our students are given the best opportunity to succeed at school, and in their lives
beyond school. Thank you for your faithful service to God Lesley.
And so this week is bitter sweet. I have loved my time here, but it is time to go. Over many years and in many seasons, I have learned that our God is
faithful, that He is God, and I am not. And I am trusting Him with my family into this new season, and I am grateful for that. I praise God for the
privilege it has been to serve Him in this place.