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In this issue

Message Stick Term 1 Week 5 2021
Dates for your Calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Library News
Music News
Sports News
Parenting Tips
2021 Student Leaders
School banking with the Commonwealth Bank
Drop-off and pick-up zones for Junior and Gawura Schools
Opportunity to Volunteer at SACS!
The Breakfast Club - Darling Street Church, Balmain
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 1 Week 5 2021


This coming Wednesday 24 February we have organised for the Australian Dental Health NSW van to visit our school. If you would like your child to have a free dental check-up then just return the form which was emailed out and also handed to all students last week along with your Medicare number. This is one of several health care services that our school arranges for our Gawura scholarship Indigenous students.

On Friday 12 February we held a meeting at school for students and online for parents to outline this year’s On Country Tour to the Indigenous Homelands of Cape York and to Kuku Yalanji Nation. All permission forms need to be returned by Thursday this week so we can give final numbers so flights can be booked. This is going to be an amazing trip and for many students it will be their first time on an aeroplane.

Last Friday 19 February the JSGS held the annual Swimming Carnival at Drummoyne Pool. Our Gawura students went in all races and had a wonderful time. Please see more detailed report and photos below.

Our Year 5 students will visit Kirrikee for three days from Wednesday 3 March til Friday 5 March while at the same time Year 6 will be visiting Canberra for their three-day excursion.

Have a wonderful and safe fortnight ahead.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Dates for your Calendar


Wednesday 3 March: Year 6 Canberra/Year 5 Kirrikee camps

Monday 8 March: Cultural Excursion to Ku-ring-gai National Park K-6

Monday 8 March: Science Week

Tuesday 9 March: Cultural Excursion to Ku-ring-gai National Park 7-12

Saturday 13 March: Kirrikee Picnic Day (SOLD OUT)

Wednesday 17 March: G&T and Scholarship Information Evening


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


Managing big emotions

Wellbeing in our Junior & Gawura Schools addressed through a number of key areas and one of these is Emotional Management. We know that our students are developing in their skills in this area and part of our wellbeing program is to help them to learn the skills to name their emotions, recognise what zone their emotions are in (Zones of Regulation) and use some strategies to return to the green /calm zone.


One of the strategies that we teach students to help them manage big emotions is finger breathing. Finger breathing is an easy way for students to use deep and slow breathing to calm their emotions. Perhaps it may be a strategy which you could also encourage your child to use when they experience big emotions at home.

Bronwyn Wake
Junior School and Gawura School Counsellor and Well Being Coordinator


Library News


The Premier’s Reading Challenge 2021 opens on Monday 1 March!

From that day, you will be able to log-in for your child and begin to upload the PRC approved books they read. Your log-in details will be the same as last year, unless you have changed schools. NOTE that books that have been read since September 1, 2020 can all be counted towards this year’s challenge. The challenge closes on 20 August 2021.

An information letter will be sent home the Week 6 (starting Monday 1 March), which will contain your child’s personal username and password, as well as a summary of the rules of the challenge. In the meantime, you can be keeping a record of the books your child reads. These can then be added to their online record down the track.

Keep an eye out for the PRC-stickered books in our library. There are thousands of titles to choose from!

Successful completion of the challenge is as follows:


For more information, including book lists and the comprehensive rules, please refer to the PRC website

If your child attended a different school last year and completed the PRC there, please be in touch with me so I can request that their records be merged. Unless records are merged, 2021 will be recorded as their first PRC year. This is especially important if they are eligible for a gold or platinum award this year or if they are looking at earning a Premier’s medal.

As an inspiration to our students, parents and teachers are also encouraged to participate in the challenge. Send any 10 titles to Mrs Cotter in the library and have your name added to our wall of reading stars.

If you have any other questions or issues, feel free to email me

Although the aim of the challenge is to read a certain number of books, we hope that the result of the challenge is that a love for reading is ignited in our children. Reading for pleasure really does need to be that – pleasurable. So, for the joy of reading, and the growth that happens in hearts and minds when we read, we hope that 2021 will be our best year yet!

With you in the joy of reading,

Nicole Cotter
Coordinator of Digital and Information Literacy – JS & GS


Music News


Congratulations to the following students:

Freddy Beck – High Distinction, Preliminary Music Craft Exam
Hiroki Takahashi Zhong – Pass with High Distinction, Piano Grade 7
Yu Xuan Liu – Pass with Honours, Piano Grade 2
Siddhan Krishna – Pass with Honours, Piano Grade 3
Tianqing Lin – Pass with Credit, Piano Repertoire Grade 3
Taali Paku – Pass with Honours, Piano Repertoire Grade 1
Isaac Taylor – Pass with Honours, Piano for Leisure Repertoire Grade 2

Applications to audition for the Junior School and Gawura School 2021 Musical are now open to students in STAGE 3! If students would like to audition, they must fill out the online form by THIS FRIDAY 26 February. If successful, students will need to be available on Wednesday afternoons for rehearsals during Term 2 and Term 3. More information about audition dates to come shortly.

Ben Milis
JS Music Teacher and Chapel Music Coordinator


Sports News


2021 Swimming Carnival

The annual Junior School and Gawura School Swimming Carnival was held at Drummoyne Swimming Centre under bright sunshine despite a week-long forecast of rain. Although we missed having our supportive and enthusiastic parent contingent, the students and staff brought extra energy, noise and pageantry that is characteristic of our carnival. With so many students putting themselves into every available event and our beloved Lizard Lane awash with students keen to help their house walk away with the honour of winning the day, it was an outstanding day for all. Many of our finest swimmers from the day will soon have the chance to represent our school at the next level as we head to the ASISSA Swimming Carnival next month.

Thank you all the staff and Sport interns for making the day such a success and in particular to Mr. Dunseath who, despite having earlier in the week welcomed his third child Leo into his family, organised such a perfect day for us all!

Finally, congratulations to our female staff team who came home winners in our students vs staff race. The awesome foursome of Mrs. Burdis, Ms. Munden, Ms. Farag and Ms. Vanny are already talking about defending the title in 2022 whilst our male staff team return to the drawing board.

Tony Dunseath
Assistant Year 8 Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, Junior School Teacher


Parenting Tips


The long haul

I read this article recently and I thought it was definitely worth sharing because "the long haul can be very draining." Now, I am not telling you as parents anything new here! You know what I am talking about! Michael Grose, a great parenting advice-giver has written this article: “Succeeding at the Parenting Long Game” in his Parenting Ideas blog in January this year.
Hope you enjoy what he has to say.

“Parenting is the ultimate long game. You are in it for the long haul. You can’t change your mind, although there are times that you’d like to refund or at least trade a child in for a more agreeable model. You have to gird your loins, put a smile on your face and cope.
In the last few years there’s been a great deal of attention and resources directed toward teacher wellbeing, which is commendable. It’s not just teachers who need some TLC. Parents who spend a great part of their day looking after, caring for and worrying about kids also need to focus on their own wellbeing.” And I might add in here, particularly during the remote learning of last year.

Here are some essential strategies that will help you last the distance in the parenting marathon.

1. Connect to activities that energise
Parents give up a lot for their kids including many of the activities, hobbies and friendship groups that bring them joy and add balance to their lives. The person first, partner second scenario common to most couples is tipped on its head when the first child comes along. Suddenly you’re a parent first, partner second and person last. Two or three kids and ten years later the order is still the same in most families. It’s not until kids leave home that many parents start to regain their own lives back. The advice is simple. Retain some part of your life while you’re actively parenting that gives you joy and sustenance. Guard it zealously and, if applicable, let your partner do the same.

2. Lead first, manage second
The world abounds with parenting books (including my own, guilty your honour!) encouraging parents to be better managers of behaviour, solvers of kids’ problems, promoters of kids’ mental health and more, often at the expense of the leadership capacities. Leaders focus on the bigger picture, that is, the family as a whole, while managers focus on individual children. The latter is tiring, while the former is liberating.  Leaders look after themselves, delegate jobs and use modelling and teaching as core strategies.

3. Aim for redundancy
The basic task for parents is to make themselves redundant, which starts in the early years. Teaching kids to tie shoelaces, cook meals, feed pets and the like takes time and energy. However, it pays off when children are capable of looking after themselves, allowing you to sit back, put your feet up and relax. Not exactly, as independence can bring headaches too, particularly with teenagers who frequently confuse independence with freedom.

4. Raise your family as if it’s large
If you’ve ever worried about the small, precise details of your child’s life then I suspect that you are raising a small family. It’s interesting how parents in larger families worry about different things than those in small families. Size creates perspective. I often ask parents with concerns about their children “Would you worry about this issue if you had six children?” Ironically, parents of families of four or more children generally find family life far easier than those raising one or two kids, as they don’t take personal responsibility for their children’s successes, failures and problems.

5. Conserve energy – argue over issues that matter
Poor choice of clothes, wet towels left on floors and untidy bedrooms are typical of some of the minor things parents argue with kids about. Unfortunately, these minor skirmishes wear many parents out and sour goodwill. One of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve received was to only battle with children over issues that matter such as poor treatment of a friend, mean-spirited behaviour and dishonesty.

6. Avoid using children as benchmarks
The measure of your child is not another child, yet the temptation to keep an eye on another child’s progress, talents and character traits are ever present. In the short term, comparison can leave a parent feeling discouraged and dejected, especially if they have a late blooming child or one who has different strengths and talents to those in the mainstream. In the long term, comparison can be dispiriting for a child as they can easily feel that they never measure up. Each child has their own developmental clock and their unique strengths.

7. Only three things matter – relationships, relationships, relationships!
The longer I’m involved in parenting both personally and professionally the more that I understand that building strong relationships with kids based on mutual respect, appreciation and understanding is at the heart of successful parenting. Loving and being loved are core to be human. Nothing provides the level of human connection more than being an accepted, appreciated member of a family.

There are some wonderful thoughts here. Hope you are encouraged to try some of them.
With two adult children of my own, my long haul continues. But I have to say 99% of the time, it is an absolute blessing to be their mum!
We can talk about that other 1% later. 😂😂

Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


2021 Student Leaders


Commissioning of 2021 Student Leadership team

On Friday 5 February, the 2021 Gawura School and Junior School Student Leadership Team was commissioned in the Chapter House. The Leadership Team is made up of nineteen Year 6 students who have been selected by their peers and teachers to represent and lead in the SACS community.

Following a Bible reading, and empowering messages delivered by Dr John Collier and Mrs Rhonda Robson, the nineteen leaders pledged their commitment to serving the School as leaders this year. Years 4 to 6 students and teachers were privileged to witness this momentous occasion and celebrate with the leaders as they received their badges.
From the start of term, the Leadership Team has been diligently supporting students, attending meetings and performing assigned duties. They represent all of our wonderful student population beautifully.

Gawura School and Junior School Student Leaders 2021

Gawura School Captain:         Kailan Keegan
Junior School Captains:          Ayla Badger & Zachary Rigler
Junior School Vice Captains:  Imogen Loder & Milan Davies
Music Captains:                      Miah Graves & Kiran Joshi
Drama Captains:                    Lawson Hughes & Ava Birchley-Sharp
Visual Arts Captains:              Ruby Keeton & Barnabas Cobb

House Captains 2021

Canterbury Captain:               Alexander Lane
Durham Captain:                    Lachlan Comyn
Hereford Captain:                   Mira Forstner
Salisbury Captain:                  Luka Ehnuus
St Paul's Captain:                   Zayn Vaughan
Westminster Captain:             Finn Worsley
Winchester Captain:               Antonia Sarcasmo
York Captain:                          Harper Dance


School banking with the Commonwealth Bank


School banking material changes for 2021

To remain flexible in these ever changing environments, we won’t be sending you a kit automatically this year, however your School Banking Co-ordinator will have the ability to order parent guides and rewards wallet inserts from our School Banking portal at a time that suits your school.

Recognising many are transitioning to communicating with parents through digital channels and to support our commitment to sustainability, we will also be making a copy of the parent guide available in a digital version that can be used on any of your parent apps or digital newsletters. You can find this at

We’re here to help
If you have any questions, call the Junior School Reception on 9009 9442 between 8am and 4pm, Junior School Administration staff will liaise with the School Banking Coordinator who operates on Friday mornings, alternatively you can contact the Commbank School Banking Helpdesk on 1800 674 496, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (AEDST).


Drop-off and pick-up zones for Junior and Gawura Schools


It has been recently communicated to parents that SACS has a number of drop-off and pick-up zones for families driving to and from school.

One of the areas, identified as Area A: Bathurst Street, is one that we would ask you to not use for Junior or Gawura School students. The Bathurst street zone is extremely busy with sport buses for the school and they often need to double park in order to let students off, compromising safety and the ability for cars to get in and out safely. Additionally, it is not a supervised area for Junior School and Gawura School students, unlike Kent Street, where we can keep an eye on the movement and safety of our students.

As such, please continue to use the Kent Street drop-off and pick-up facility as the first choice in the mornings and afternoons.

Please remember that Wilson’s Car Park is still a great option with 15 minutes free and another 15 minutes at a discounted rate if you make use of the validator located in the school foyer.

Selwyn Wu
Deputy Head of Junior School (Pastoral Care & Educational Admin)


Opportunity to Volunteer at SACS!


Join our volunteer exam team

Support our students with disabilities - Year 10, 11, & 12 exams and HSC

Each year SACS Specialised Learning department call on parents to volunteer their time to act as a Reader or Writer for our Senior College exams throughout the year.
Here at SACS we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated “Army” of exam volunteers made up of parent volunteers from Years K-12, however as our SACS families say goodbye in Year 12 we need to seek new volunteers to keep our exam support team at full capacity.  
As a Parent and Caregiver, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to be part of the SACS school community. By assisting in examinations as a Reader or Writer, you will also become familiarised with the curriculum and gain a greater understanding of student learning. Most of all you will get to know fellow SACS parents in a positive and caring environment.

To be part of the exam team, you just need to be a proficient writer and speller.
The NSW Education Standards Authority lists the qualities that a Reader/Writer should have:

• A facility for English
• Clear, legible handwriting
• Sensitivity to the student’s special needs
• Patience
• An understanding of maintaining confidentiality.

Student support is needed for exams during the examination periods outlined below:

Year 10 Semester Minimum Stds:     Wednesday March 10, 2021.
Year 10 Semester 1 Exams:               Monday 10th May–Friday 14th May 2021.
Year 12 HSC Trials:                             Monday 26th July–Monday 9th August 2021.Year 11 HSC Prelim:                                    Monday 23rd August – Friday 2nd  September 2021
HSC:                                                     Tuesday 5th October–Monday 15th November 2021
Year 10 Term 4 Exams:                       Monday 25th October–Friday 29th Oct 2021.

Your support would be greatly appreciated at any time. You do not have to be available for all of the above dates, you may pick and choose which exams suit your timetable and interest. 

If you think you would like to join us and assist our students during their exams please contact Annie Grennell on 9286 9605 and leave your contact details.  

Come and help make a difference in our students’ lives as they prepare for their Senior College exams and the HSC.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Annie Grennell
NESA DPA Coordinator (Senior College)


The Breakfast Club - Darling Street Church, Balmain


Sunday's at 9.30am - High School students welcome

Darling Street Youth is designed to help teenagers grow their faith, their character and their relationships. So if you are a high school student and are looking to work through some big questions about Jesus, God, or how the bible fits together, you can join Darling Street Youth on Sundays at 9.30am. They meet at 668 Darling Street, Rozelle.

A youth band practices afterwards for anybody interested in getting involved in music. Parents are welcome to join the main church service.

Please contact Byron Patching via email or phone 0411 511 914 for more information.


Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao


Wednesday and Friday Appointments Available.

I would like to advise you that we have secured the services of a very generous doctor in the city who is willing to see our Gawura students and their families free of charge (he will bulk bill through Medicare) if the need arises.

Dr Shuo (Shore) Zhao is located at Level 1, 70 Pitt St, Sydney. You can book an appointment with him on any Wednesday and Friday morning between 8am – 12pm. The number of the practice is 02 9233 3399. We understand that many parents already have their own doctor that they use, possibly even through the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern but this is just another option for you to use if you choose to do so and one that is located in the city, near our school.


Resources for COVID-19


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