Donvale Christian College is affiliated with the following organisations:
- Christian Education National
- AACS (the Australian Association of Christian Schools)
- AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia)
- IPSHA (Independent Primary School Heads Association)
- ISV (Independent Schools Victoria), previously named the AISV, Association of Independent Schools of Victoria
Trade Training Centre - Ranges TEC
Donvale Christian College, along with Mount Evelyn and Mountain District Christian Schools has established Ranges TEC - a new trade training centre proposing to offer quality vocational education and training options to students in Years 10, 11 and 12 from February 2012. Please visit their website for more details: www.rangestec.vic.edu.au
Please view the Ranges TEC Newsletter - April 2017
VCE in Vanuatu
Donvale Christian College is working in partnership with NTCU, a Christian school in Port Vila, Vanuatu to provide students there with the opportunity to study the VCE. The VCE offers those students a high standard, internationally recognised qualification, thereby improving their education and vocational prospects. The aim is to be equipping future leaders in the local community.
The VCE students at NTCU undertake units of work and assessment tasks set by the Distance Education Centre of Victoria and are tutored by local teachers. However, since 2007, Donvale has contributed to the program in a range of ways:
- Administering aspects such as the exams
- Mentoring the local teachers
- Sending Donvale teachers to work with classes and to conduct teacher workshops
- Providing resources
In recent years, groups of students from Donvale visited NTCU and worked with the primary classes there. It was a very enriching experience for everyone involved.
2016 Visit to Vanuatu
Vanuatu Experience - Stephanie Booth - Year 11
On the 11th of September this year, myself and a group of year 11 Donvale students embarked on an amazing journey to Vanuatu; a mission trip which has worked in many of our lives since and impacted each of us in very personal and surreal ways. For first five days spent in the amazing tropical country of Vanuatu (a welcome change from the unpredictable weather in Melbourne this time of year) we were given the incredible opportunity to share the knowledge we have gained through our many years of education in Australia with the primary school students at NTCU (Neil Thomas Christian University). It was truly phenomenal to be able to create relationships with the wonderful kids there and to see how happy and generous they all were despite some of them coming from very poor family situations. The whole group of us would easily say that these 5 days spent at the school were by far the best and most satisfying of the trip, and on the final day there wasn’t a dry eye at the thought of not being able to see our amazing students again.
Something that particularly stood out for me from my experience at the school was how much Donvale's relationship with NTCU positively impacted their small community. On the last day of school during the assembly, the principal stood up to thank Donvale for all their contributions, but she could barely make it through her short and heartfelt speech of appreciation without crying. This worked within me, and cemented the fact that the work which we were doing within that school was the work of God, and us as young people had been experiencing His grace, His love, His generosity and His joy through those children the entirety of the week we had been there.
For the remainder of our stay in Vanuatu we enjoyed exploring the natural beauties that the island had to offer, and met many warm and generous people in every direction we went. Something that I have taken away from this trip that I hope to never forget, is that the majority of the people we met there weren't well off financially and they didn’t have very much, yet they were the most generous and happy people that I have ever met. It truly does show that consumerism and the comforts of the Western world aren't necessary in fulfilling a happy and satisfying life.
The final day in Vanuatu was a sad one and we knew that we would all greatly miss our relaxing time away from home, but we all came away with many happy memories and exciting new experiences, and for that I would like to thank Mr Turland and Mrs Delaney for organising the trip and keeping us safe, as well as Donvale for providing the opportunity to be a part of something so incredible and life changing.
As Christian educator and philosopher, Doug Blomberg, reminds us: “Neighbourliness requires that we be welcoming to strangers and even more: that we love our enemies”.
One of the ways Donvale tried to make a commitment to “the neighbourliness of mutual embrace” has been to become involved in the Building Bridges through Interfaith Dialogue program. The program aims to build bridges of mutual trust and respect through inter-faith dialogue. One of the strengths of the program is that it seeks to cultivate relationships.
What it looks like…
Since 2009, each year, approximately ten Year 10 and Year 11 students from Donvale participate in the program. We drive together to another school. It could be a Jewish, Muslim or other Christian denominational school. The students all participate in a big-group activity where they have to cooperate with the students from the other schools. After this, they sit down together and eat a meal. Here they will talk about normal everyday things, asking each other about their likes and dislikes, daily routines and what school is like. After the meal, the young people get together in gender-specific small groups where a facilitator helps them to discuss issues encouraging reflection on how growing up in a faith tradition impacts on one’s worldview. The students are not spokespeople for their faiths: such a responsibility would be unfair. Instead, they each express their own journey of living as a Christian.
The students love the program. On the way home at the end of a session, the bus is always buzzing with excitement and conversation as the students discuss the things they’ve learned. Questions are asked as a comment earlier in the evening has provoked them to think about issues they’ve never thought about before. Time and again, the students realise through the experience the fundamental human-ness of each person. They see that the girl with the hijab or the boy with the kippah struggles with - and celebrates - the very same things. What they also articulate is that their own faith in Christ is strengthened. Importantly, it is strengthened in a mature way. They do not need to set up the Islamic boy as ‘the Other’ in order to define themselves; such a negative construction of personal identity is not born of neighbourliness.
Rather, the very claim made by Blomberg rings so very true. That by not passing by the stranger on the other side of the road, the students are “encouraged both to understand their own way of being and to embrace those of other faiths, thus avoiding insularity and, hopefully, mutual suspicion – though not, of course, disagreement.”
We at Donvale have no doubt that the students who participate in Building Bridges are better for the experience and, importantly, so too is our world.
Nahed Samuel and Andrew Simpson