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BAC nurtures young people of character

Category: Option E Educating

Submitted by on Tue 24/11/15 20:07

Brisbane Adventist College has long been interested in nurturing character in our young people, and it is at this time of year that we often see this blossom into fulfilment.

Where do you find many 'schoolies' at this time of year? Certainly not in outback Mungindi doing community service! 

This year is the 10th anniversary Year 12 Community Development StormCo trip and the team of 24 school leavers plus supporting staff are painting and gardening, constructing and cleaning, helping out at the local school and preschool, providing a temporary jumping castle and water slide at the town pool, and running a mini triathlon. (Keep your eye out for the full report soon!)

But last week was also a time of celebrating with a difference. The Year 12 Formal was followed by an afterparty organised by parents with maximum childhood nostalgia in mind. As part of a long term agreement between parents and the school, the students were granted their wishlist of fun and games on the proviso that it would be a 'clean' party (alcohol and drug free). Hence, the student centre was decked out with fairy lights, a jumping castle, giant Connect4, Jenga and Twister, ping pong table, photo booth, snacks, lolly bar, soft drinks, comfy lounges, and cupcakes decorated with a miniature graduation hat and plaque with each student’s name on it. 

“It’s a great example of our parent-school connections. We give parents the facilities and resources they need, and they make sure that their kids have fun and are kept safe. We don’t force anyone to do this. It’s totally their choice and they just happen to love it,” says College Principal Leanne Entermann.

The next morning the Year 12s were invited to ‘Chapfast’, a chaplain-hosted alfresco-style breakfast on a long table set up on the oval. The Year 6 graduates made the symbolic journey of crossing the bridge that connects the two campuses and mingled with the secondary students who arrived early to ooh and aah over the graduate’s Formal outfits, and teachers served a selection of delicious food.

Friday night they gathered for a formal graduation service held in the BAC Chapel. A touching tribute to their achievement, this was a thanksgiving for their lives, recognition of the part that school and parents have played in their growth, and another chance to pray for their future.

In a week of unique celebrations, some clear questions emerge in most people's minds: Why would BAC students choose to participate in activities that are so out of character for usual ‘schoolies’? Why did they choose to go to an alcohol-free, drug-free afterparty organised by their parents? Why would many of them travel long hours to Mungindi to work in the heat and flies during schoolies week instead of partying hard on the Gold Coast like many from other schools?

Linda Hassen, mother of Year 12 graduate Nicholas, has a theory.

“It’s partly because they just want to do something together, and it’s partly because these programs have been in place for so long now and have had such good reviews in the past that they’re really excited by the prospect. But probably more than anything it’s because the teachers lead by example. There is a Christian emphasis at the school and it is backed up by the teachers’ commitment. They’re the ones who prepare these things on top of their usual loads and the kids know they care. My son did the Stars program in Year 8 and was keen to be a mentor in Year 11 (although so many applied that he didn’t get a position). Last year he went on the International Development - Sonship trip to the Solomon Islands, and that really changed his life. Now he is going to Mungindi. The school has a real emphasis on serving, helping others, and giving.”

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