Last night, I had the privilege of attending this year’s Ballina district’s Lion’s Youth of the Year competition. This competition provides senior school students the opportunity to share their passions and experiences with their community through interview and public speaking.
Of the six contestants this year from schools in the greater Ballina region, RCC had three representatives: Mikaela, Sam and Xanthe. As our students spoke, the audience received a glimpse into our future; one I was humbled to receive. Each student’s depth, awareness, and faithfulness were challenging and inspiring, illustrating that our future is now, and we should be excited about it.
So, rather than hear from me this week, I am honoured to share a glimpse of what our students shared with our community last night.
Mikaela: The Gift of Baking
…Eric Liddell was a Scottish missionary, who also won the gold medal for the 400-metre run at the 1924 Olympics. He is quoted as saying to his sister, "I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure." I believe that everyone has been given a unique collection of gifts. Some people are good at sport, others at music, or sewing, or academics, or baking or even the ability to listen or encourage those around them. Each gift is good and special. In 1 Peter 4:10 it says "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." This demonstrates that we aren't meant to hide or cover up what we are good at and enjoy doing, but we are meant to use them to serve others. By doing this, we are thanking God for giving us these gifts and honouring Him through the process. Sometimes it is intimidating to share something that you enjoy or have worked hard at with others, in the fear of them not liking it as much as you do. But if you never try, you'll never know. By sharing what you love with others, you may discover that it is better to be shared than to be kept to yourself…
Sam: Sport Connects Us As Community
WORLD PEACE can be achieved through… Sport, unlike anything else, has a unique ability to connect humanity across generations and cultures…. And These connections bring unity respect and peace within our community… They say it is just a game. To so many though, it is more than just a game… At one point in the television series, football coach Ted lasso faces a contract termination. In response, he said “I think one of the neatest things about being a coach is the connection you get to make with your players. That’s a loss that hits me a lot harder than anything that happens while playing a game.” Ted doesn’t care what happens on the pitch. He cares about the community. A community that when they come together can achieve anything. World peace begins here in Ballina. We have to take the first step and then everyone will follow.
Xanthe: TCK (Third Culture Kid)
For anyone who is unaware, a third culture kid, or TCK for short, is someone who has grown up in a culture different from their parent's culture or different to the country on their passport… about 20% of the students that attend my school are actually third culture kids. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are currently about 230 million third-culture kids globally… Being a third-culture kid is not always easy. In fact, not knowing how to answer people when they ask the simple question “where are you from” isn’t easy. Never being able to tell where my actual home was is not easy. Having the whole world at your fingertips from such a young age brings forth so many questions that you as a kid you just cannot find the answers to, now that is not easy. Leaving all your friends and family behind in a country that you had always lived in isn’t easy. Having an identity crisis at the ripe age of 9 is not easy. Being a third-culture kid is not easy, but what's life without a few bumps? Sure, life over there wasn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the most incredible experience ever.
How amazing! A massive congratulations to our students for representing themselves, their families, our school and our God with distinction and humility. Congratulations, also to Sam who won the public speaking section of the competition.
This is just one example of a wonderful start to the year. Our swimming carnival, water play day, leadership vision day, new student lunches, Chapel bands, soccer try outs (the list goes on) have all been amazing… and I don’t think it is going to slow down either.
We have Meet the Teachers Information Evening on Tuesday next week, with Ash giving a special presentation on parenting for resilience, Relate for parents is also on next Thursday at 2.30pm in the garden for Coffee before pick up. Zone swimming, gala days on the horizon, assemblies and chapels on alternating Thursdays, Stage 4 camp at the end of the term… What a blessing!
The real blessing though lies not in the variety and number of extra activities and opportunities, but in how we are seeing our students positively contribute with integrity and humility to their world around them.
Thank you, RCC students.