As I mentioned previously, I would be attending camp with my year 9 students. Well, my last week at Whites Hill State College included two days at the school and three days at camp. Monday and Tuesday were spent preparing for my students Michael Jackson performance. All of the year 9 students participate in different groups and the last week of school they perform. I was “in charge” of one group and assisting them with their choreography to Bad. I am no dancer, but I sure as heck tried hard!
Wednesday: Travel, Camp, Beach, and Surfing.
On Wednesday, Robyn (my mentor teacher), Jill (another teacher), Ben (another teacher), Craig (another year 9 teacher), and two other student teachers that Jill had previously. We headed to the Bryon Bay area of New South Wales and stayed at a camp there. For those of you in the USA, “camp” is not like our summer camps. Camp is a time for students, if they paid, to come together as a class and hang out in a setting other than school. There are planned activities and events, including formal dinner on the last night! Wednesday we got to the camp, got settled in the cabins, and then headed to the beach for a swim and a surf lesson! The teachers made sure that everyone had a sun shirt, sun hat, and sunscreen on—this included me! I am not use to all of this skin protection, because back in the states we slap on sunscreen and call it a day! Once we got to the beach, half the students swam, while half the students learned to surf. I am proud to say that I partook in the surf lessons for both groups. I can officially say I learned to surf in Australia—Chris Bernard you best be proud! Now the process of getting there was quite tricky and I did not stay on for too long, but I did it! Wednesday evening the students put on a talent show and I must say, some of my students are talented, some however, are not.
|Bus Ride to Camp!|
|Learning the ways of surfing!|
|One of the Instructors and me after a successful attempt!|
Thursday: Beach, Lunch, Scavenger Hunt, Girl time, and Formal Dinner.
On Thursday we had a morning swim session at the beach that ended up being cold, wet, and rainy! No fun for me, but tons of the students enjoyed their time! Later on in the day students went on a scavenger hunt around camp; they were separated into color groups! I can proudly say that although my team did not win, they certainly did an amazing job! The late afternoon was dedicated to girl and guy time! The girls had a guest speaker on how to handle various situations and a beauty session, where they learned all about how to apply make up and various techniques! The girls were very into the lesson and they had a great time! Thursday evening was spent preparing and attending formal dinner. My students dressed in semi-formal attire and all of them looked handsome and gorgeous! Teachers matched up the boys and girls and it was his duty to knock on the girl’s door and formally invite her to dinner! It was precious to see and I loved to see my students all dolled up! Dinner was served at the made up “Hibiscus Inn,” where we served fried chicken with marinara sauce, salad, and potatoes. For Dessert: cheesecake and ice cream! All of the students had an amazing time and I enjoyed serving them! After dinner our night was spent learning 3 different Australian dances...Yes, I did participate! It made the night and my day was officially complete!
Friday: Breakfast, Beach, Lunch, and Return to Brisbane.
On Friday we had a pancake and bacon breakfast before packing up and heading out! The breakfast was delicious and definitely filling! Afterwards, students packed up and prepared to go home, prior to heading to the beach for a little while. While the students were at the beach, Robyn and I (along with the cooks for the trip) stayed back and made sandwiches for our picnic at Byron Bay. Once the students returned, they cleaned up, the bus arrived and we were off to Byron Bay for lunch. Lunch was short and sweet; the students and Robyn had prepared a gift for me and gave it to me in front of every one…those who know me, know I’m emotional…Whelp, I cried. I didn’t ball, but I had a few tears! I was extremely thankful for the gift and my time at Whites Hill State College; I will definitely miss the staff and my students! We then headed back to Brisbane on the charter bus by 3:30 pm!
Friday Night: Christmas Spectacular at Hillsong—Brisbane!
As soon as I returned from camp, I started a load of laundry and jumped in the shower to get ready for the Christmas Spectacular at Hillsong. Jess, Deanna, and I took a bus directly to the church this time and arrived right on time! We were lucky to be at the performance; one of Jess’ students had 3 extra tickets and gave them to us! Now, when I heard Christmas Spectacular I expected Christmas Carols and the Christmas story…this was not the case. The show incorporated Cinderella with the message of Jesus and some Christmas carols. There was also some high school music inspired songs in this act. I enjoyed the costumes, songs, and what not, it was just a different way of portraying what I thought was going to be a “Christmas Spectacular.” It also did not help that there was a family in front of us with some uncontrollable kids that were obnoxious (this included the parents, too). However, it was a nice Christmas treat and the three of us enjoyed hearing Taylor Swift’s Romeo and Juliet as we exited. I also ran into another teacher at Whites Hill that was at camp with me, Jill. It was such a joy to see her face and give her one last goodbye hug!
Overall I had a successful time at Whites Hill State College and learned so much from Robyn and from my students. They truly embraced me and welcomed me and I will miss them all! We head to Sydney SUPER EARLY Saturday morning; we depart the hotel at 3:30am…that’s way too early for me!
Until next time,