What's On In Our Backyard Issue 24

Page 28


Celebrating The Personal Achievements Of Our Young People - St Philip's Christian College, Port Stephens -

Three students this year have reached personal milestones through the activities of the Japanese Cultural Society (JCS) at our College. JCS activities are run during sport time and can be continued throughout schooling at St Philip’s Christian College. In addition to mastering martial arts and Japanese language, JCS students must meet school standards and expectations to pass their grading. As they progress, students assume roles as mentors to more junior students. The JCS is a community of students dedicated to excellence and self-improvement and a space of nurture that develops and showcases both charismatic and quiet but powerful student leaders. An example of dedication to personal excellence is Monique Conna of Year 10. She has worked tirelessly to improve and finally received an award this year recognising her ability to write 35 Kanji characters from memory. This is a fine achievement, even in mainstream Japanese classes. More recently, she was passed in her first JCS grading. Monique is indeed an example of determination and personal success. Olivia Martin of Year 8 celebrates being the first Stage 4 student to be awarded a JCS brown belt and is now aiming at her red

Olivia + Shannon belt (the level immediately below black belt). A student of the local Robyn Yvette Dance & Talent Centre, Olivia is also about to take Intermediate Foundation (including pointe) and Grade 6 Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams. A student of Jazz and Modern dance, she also competes in winning dance teams at eisteddfods throughout NSW. Presently ranked top of her cohorts in Japanese, Olivia is a key member of the Student International Committee. The committee assists in promoting language and culture education at the College, welcoming visitors from Yugawara (Port Stephens’ sister city) and preparing for biennial College trips to Japan. Olivia is preparing for her own trip to Japan in September with school. A cultured student who raises the culture level of those around her, Olivia loves reading and Japanese animation. This quiet achiever hopes to practise law one day. Another quiet achiever, Shannon Pollard of Year 10 is a true leader. Since kindergarten, she has received significant awards at the end of every school year including awards for excellence in design, science, art and, of course, Japanese. She has repeatedly left her comfort zone since Year 7 by delivering public speeches and representing the school in activities ranging from Science and Engineering challenges and Robocup competitions. Aside from academic and cultural pursuits, she has worked in the background on community building projects such as sporting house promotion. After much perseverance, Shannon now leads the JCS at our college. The first student to attain her red belt, she is aiming for her black belt next year and formal coaching accreditation the following year. As an assistant coach, she caringly nurtures strength and confidence in her juniors with one parent recently describing Shannon as her daughter’s role model. Last year Shannon served on student council and is presently Secretary of the Student International Committee. She will report to the Port Stephens Sister City Committee regarding cultural exchange following her return from the 2016 trip to Japan. Incidentally, Shannon started saving for this trip in 2015 and paid the entire cost of the trip without parental assistance. Aside from improving her knowledge of Japanese, the Japan trip will lead toward her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award. It is an honour and a privilege to teach people who lead by example. It is appropriate to celebrate their individual milestones and achievements and to applaud their commitment to personal excellence.



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