Soil Turns in Preparation for New College Pavilion

ECC and Metronet Break Ground for New Sports Pavilion

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On January 15th, Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC) and MetroNET turned the soil on a significant building project to enhancing campus facilities for generations to come.

The new ECC Sports Pavilion, scheduled to begin work next month, will provide improved amenities for ECC students on the far side of the oval, with the new trainline over pass now connecting both side of the school land.

The soil-turning event was attended by MetroNET representatives (including the Honourable Rita Saffioti MLA), architects from Parry & Rosenthal, builders Castle Projects and ECC staff.

This new facility has been designed to meet practical needs and is the result of a government grant worth almost $3 million for the local community.

We look forward to keeping our parents and students informed about the developments as they happen, with this new facility promising to provide essential and upgraded amenities for ECC students.

MetroNET’s  STEM+ Program for Young Women creates opportunities for secondary school students

Since the commencement of the Morley-Ellenbrook line, Laing O’Rouke has been working with students from Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC) to encourage more female students into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses in universities and ultimately, careers in Construction and Engineering.

The program, known as ‘Inspiring STEM+’ seeks to engage junior secondary school female students with STEM-based activities and develop interactive conversations with them in this space.

Our Year 10 Students, who began the course as Year 8’s two years ago, have had exposure to a range of various areas across the sector inclusive of Human Relations, Indigenous affairs, Community Relationships, Accounting and different aspects of administration.

This two-year course concluded with a series of discussions as representatives engaged students in some interactive learning.

An excursion to the Whiteman Park Rail Station (currently under construction) saw the students fitted with ‘hi-viz’ gear, sporting fluorescent vests, hardhats and eye protection. ECC’s newest FIFO-fashion students are now ready and attired for the mining and resources boom!

This visit was able to offer a glimpse into the progress of the MetroNET project together with it’s community and environmental impact.

With the huge amount of development still needed in Western Australia, both Laing O’Rouke and Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC) are happy to be partnering to assist our greater community through the empowerment of students who will one day serve in these industries.

The group finished with lunch at the Malaga Station, again gaining more exposure to the large scale work being undertaken to further connect Ellenbrook to the wider Perth Metro area.

Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony

On Friday, 20 October, our much loved Year 12 students graduated high school. 13 years of schooling culminates in this monumental moment marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new season. 

With mixed emotions, the “Class of 23” emerged onto the grounds that have been their educational sanctuary for some, as long as 13 years. The joy of no more school, coupled with the realisation of the big wide world awaiting carried somewhat of a “Nemo and Marlin” type experience looking out from the edge of the reef.

Principal Gigi Thiele charged our Year 12’s, leaving them with a deposit to take into their future. “Your character will be a main factor in determining your destiny and so I encourage you to constantly work on your character.”

Her words to stay in touch as Alumni gave reassurance to the strengthening college community as one that presses beyond just the schooling environment.

With an encouragement to his peers, Liam Hall, Head Boy, reminded his fellow graduates that… “We have significantly grown alongside each other over the course of the past decade and a half, progressively developing from carefree children playing tag to angsty young teenagers searching for our identities in a confusing world to mature young adults graduating high school and preparing to begin the next chapter of our lives.”

Head Girl, Abi Le Count shared to her peers and College community one last time with humility and poise “I know I was not a perfect leader, but i did my best. My best may not be someone else’s best but I’ve learnt not to compare myself to others because God has different paths for us all. As long as you are doing your best that is all that matters.” 

The college community thanks both of Liam and Abi for doing just that, your best and to remind you that your best was brilliant. Well done!

A number of community leaders attended the momentous event, all to cheer on this generation but some specifically to give out an array of awards. To mention some, Mr Mike Pitman, previous Principal to the year 12’s, Commander Blackman who presented the Leadership award and Alex Follington, representative of the College’s Parent community. We wish to thank you and all other guests for you commitment to our school.

Students, Tanika Campbell and Ashton Ker were awarded with top honours receiving the Dux and Valedictorian awards.

The ceremony drew to a close with each graduate receiving their ribbon and then stood united as the crowd of attendees sang “The Blessing” over them before an emotional exit through an archway of honour made by the college staff and faculty.

Well done class of 2023. We wish to congratulate each and every one of you, we pray the Lord’s blessing over you and we cheer you on as you write your future.

WA Parliamentarian drops into ECC to track the progress of Rail Project and STEM students!

Yesterday (Thursday 24 November 2022) was a special day for a select group of Year 9 students at Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC) who welcomed the Honourable Mrs Rita Saffioti MLA to their campus along with Mr Nigel Hunt (Principal Project Director Major Projects for the Public Transport Authority).

Mrs Saffioti has many positions within the McGowan Government (including her role as the Minister for Transport and Planning, which brought her to ECC today), but she made it clear to the gathered crowd of twenty Year 9 girls (the select group chosen to be a part of MELConnx’s STEM initiative) and a number of MELConnx workers that the Ellenbrook rail project was a project ‘close to her heart’ – and one that she was very keen to observe in the weeks and months ahead.

After being welcomed by SCEA’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Graeme Cross, Mrs Saffioti addressed the students about her role as minister and the great work that is being done by school and private industry in the Western Australian community to create connections across our suburbs. Mrs Saffioti was joined by College Principal Mr Mike Pitman, who facilitated a Question & Answer session with the Minister. Questions were asked about Mrs Saffioti’s background and her decision to study economics and university, her favourite construction project during her tenure and her reasons for being a politician.

“Fundamentally, you want to be in a job that helps people,” said Mrs Saffioti.

She cited recent letters that she had received from well-wishers about the Airport train line and the positives and negatives of social media posters who may say good or bad things about what you do each day.

“In the end, I say this to my staff, you have to ask: ‘Who is it who is speaking?’ Some people are not willing to identify themselves, only say negative things, and those are the types of opinions that don’t need to be interacted with.”

The Minister also took time to visit the new Mechatronics studio with the Principal and the construction site, which is taking shape adjacent to the school gymnasium. More visits are scheduled for 2023, once the underpass has been completed and the train line begins to take shape for the ECC community.

WA Politicians descend on ECC to commence MetroNET project

Yesterday was a wonderful day for Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC), with Principal Mr Mike Pitman welcoming Western Australian Premier Mr Mark McGowan MLA, State Minister for Transport Ms Rita Saffiotti MLA and Ms Jessica Shaw MLA to the Santona Boulevard campus to officially open the Morley-Ellenbrook MetroNET Line.

Student leaders and the gathered politicians lined up to take part in the ceremonial Rail Line Celebration and learn more about the collaboration process that has taken place between SCEA and the WA State Government throughout the project.

Public Transport Authority (PTA) Principal Project Director Major Projects, Mr Nigel Hunt, spoke to the junior students of ECC early in the day saying that ‘the foundations have been laid for something very special that will serve you for many years. That’s essentially what this school seeks to do also – lay a solid foundation for your life for years to come.’

Positive remarks were echoed by both ECC Principal Mr Mike Pitman and SCEA Chief Executive Officer Dr Graeme Cross as they spoke of the excellent work, communication and relationship-building that has taken place over recent years to reach this project milestone.

The day was a joint MetroNET/Ellenbrook Christian College project, designed not only to celebrate the commencement of the construction works, but also to help the College community to visualise the impact of the train line and the construction process slated to last up to two years.

The students enjoyed a ride on a mini-train, posed for photos in the train-themed ‘selfie’ booth and took part in a scavenger hunt that aimed to educate and stimulate learning around the new train line.

The new Morley-Ellenbrook Line is set to connect Ellenbrook to the rest of Perth via train with ECC already receiving phone calls from potential parents who live close to the proposed train line heading south.   

A new pedestrian underpass will allow safe access for students and staff between the College buildings and the oval, with a sports pavilion to be built in the coming months to further aid students and staff on the sporting fields.

The 21-kilometre long Morley-Ellenbrook Line will provide a 30-minute ride to the CBD from Ellenbrook, with five stations being built at a cost of approximately $1.1 billion dollars. 

A short media report from Channel 7’s 6pm News last night can be found here: https://vimeo.com/759863938

Staff Profile: Ellenbrook’s Sporty Evangelist

A recent audit in our TASS software revealed that approximately 20% of families across SCEA attend church on a regular basis. Using that metric, we could surmise that 80% of students that populate our SCEA classrooms, sporting halls and canteens each day are from homes that do not attend church or hold to Christian religious faith.

How does a young Christian teacher let his students know about Christ in his Physical Education and Christian Living classes at Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC)?

Introducing Mr Lewis McKerney – a young man that grew up with the gospel and has a heart to see young people come to know Jesus.

“Christian Living is a balance: you don’t want kids to like Jesus solely because they had just had fun in class, but you also don’t want pure boredom due to me droning on with talking and listening to me lecturing all the time. I have to show the gospel and what it is – but do it in a way that uses methods that the students can understand. You can’t change the gospel, but you can present it in an engaging, relevant and intentional way.”  

Lewis’ father runs the Christian Union at Murdoch University, and his mother is a teacher, so gospel teaching seems to run in the family for the McKerney’s.

A degree in Sports Science followed by a Master’s degree in Education prepared Lewis for life in the classroom, and he managed to fit courtship, marriage and leading numerous Bible study groups into his time at university! The early completion of his Masters’s degree allowed Lewis the opportunity to begin teaching at Swan Christian College in mid-2019, and it began in quite a flurry of activity:

“I got married, finished my last assignment, the next Monday started work, and graduated a few weeks later!” says Lewis in the gymnasium at ECC as students shoot basketball shots at recess on a Tuesday morning.

Eighteen months of the Physical Education/Christian Living teaching combination opened up a position at Ellenbrook Christian College for Lewis, now known around ECC as the “Jesus-loving, sport-a-holic teacher” who combines faith with fitness for his students.

But how do young people see Jesus in this soccer-playing, clean-cut young chap?

“For me, I look around at the Earth and see a Creator who designed it. I see myself as a broken person, and God presents an actual solution for that. He paid for all my wrongdoings; I can’t pay for them myself. In response, I want to live for Christ, have Him as Lord and serve Him.”

Lewis explains that bringing the Gospel to his students and helping them see the beauty of our Creator is something he loves doing as part of his classes, but he is careful not to be seen as ‘preaching’ to them.  

“Teaching Physical Education allows me to show the students how well-designed our bodies are. We run a Fitness unit that shows the amazing physical capabilities of the human body. Our bodies are these awesome soul-carrying machines, and it is so great to encourage the students to consider their bodies as more than just flesh and bones. We are created and designed beings, made with a purpose.”

“In Year 7, we are looking at Bible stories and showing how they build up to focus on Jesus, but in Year 11 and 12, we look deeper into other world religions and how Christianity fits into the world today.”

Along with the challenge of keeping students engaged, Lewis is very aware that students may bring their own perceptions to the Christian Living class, such as “I’m not a Christian, so why should I care?

“The discussions and talking are important to get students thinking. And it needs to be done in a way that isn’t attacking but helping them be open to new ideas.  Being able to present that in a way that they can understand and relate to is the key for me.”

Final words from the young teacher who needs to go and teach a class of Year 9 students?

“Working at Ellenbrook, seeing all of these different students and teachers, with different demographics and backgrounds –  we interact with so many different people all the time. Every one of us needs Jesus.”

Staff Profile ECC’s Head of Secondary – Mr Matthew Dufty

With a CV that boasts school postings that many of us could only dream about, and more letters after his name than the Welsh alphabet, you can be forgiven for thinking of Ellenbrook’s new Head of Secondary Matt Dufty as an eccentric professor who values statistics more than students.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

A chat with the super-intelligent mathematician who grew up with a St Stephen’s education, verges more into Biblical philosophies than Pythagoras’ Theorem, and gives an insight into a man who takes the ‘calling on his life’ very seriously.

“You seek first the kingdom of God. That can mean taking a risk and seeing what happens,” says Matt from his sparsely-decorated office at Ellenbrook Christian College on a Wednesday afternoon.

For some of us, taking a risk might involve changing the brand of milk that we purchase each week in our online shopping order. For Matt Dufty, ‘taking a risk’ has involved studying Education when Medicine was on offer, postponing a Masters’s degree because he wanted more classroom experience or packing his bags for a stint in Papua New Guinea to teach students and open the bible with the locals outside of work.

On studying Education:

“I was a Science and Engineering guy, but I love working with people – to the surprise of many of those around me!”

On postponing the Master of Education, he had begun before teaching his first day in the classroom:

“In order to do research, I needed to ground my practice in the classroom. Research is more valuable when it is done by teachers at the coalface. I try to be in the classroom. I think that’s really important. In school leadership, you’re more sympathetic to the challenges and opportunities that learners and teachers face when you spend time in the classroom. You’re first a teacher; everything else is second. Leadership and educational research come out of being a practitioner.”

On heading to Papua New Guinea as a young teacher:

“I was a teacher during the week at the International School. On the weekends, I worked with the Baptist network in the settlement fellowships there. I had no formal Biblical training, but I thought ‘The Lord taught by teaching stories’ – so I will too.”

Port Moresby is one of the more dangerous locations on the international teaching circuit, a factor that Matt was aware of when he signed up for his stint there.

“I learnt a lot about service there. The locals would be taught their trade skills during the week. This was usually carpentry, and that would take care of their livelihood needs. On the weekends, we had the opportunity to open the Bible with them. I couldn’t speak their language, but an Austrian friend would translate these ‘stories’ line-by-line, sentence-by-sentence in a way that the PNG locals could understand, and they could sit there for hours and take it all in.”

So how does a young chap from Perth end up in Port Moresby teaching locals about the Bible through an interpreter and find comfort in living out of a suitcase for a few years?

For Matt, this was not the first time he had been ‘on the road’, and it would not be his last stop, either.

When he was 12 years old, Matt’s parents decided to spend an entire year travelling through the United States, and they designated Matt as their Head of Finance for the road trip.

“It was amazing – a whole year away from school. I was in charge of the family’s finances, and I was determined to be fiscally responsible! I researched every campground that we could stay at, and by the end of the trip, we came in ahead of budget!”

The trip across the United States was also a time of spiritual awakening for Matt, who was still finding his way in the world.

“I was not always the best of company, not the best-behaved boy on that trip. But, as a 12-year-old, I can remember walking on the shores of Lake Erie and praying a prayer and having a sense that it was heard. I had an earthly father, and I had a Heavenly Father. Previously, when I was 11, I realized that Jesus was the Son of God, after hearing Matthew 9:9-13.”

Returning to Perth, Matt heard a talk at his local school that convinced him that the Christian life was ‘the real deal’ and this lifestyle was worth imitating.

“That Christian staffer, I felt, spoke the words I needed to hear. I had been around religious people before, but this was a person who I wanted to emulate.”

Becoming a Christian is one thing. Finding your purpose in life can take some time, though.

“As a 16-year old I came to the revelation: the meaning of life is to live for Jesus. Of course, it’s biblical. We know that. But it felt as though it was a personal revelation to me.”

Subsequent pouring over the scriptures and being baptized at Duncraig Uniting Church followed. There was no turning back for Matt.

In the same way, the calling to move from Port Moresby to an even more challenging environment came Matt’s way after some prayer: an international school in Jerusalem.

“I had felt the call to serve the peoples of the Middle East. I had been praying about it for many years, and the job was a good fit for me. I knew from Papua New Guinea that I needed to learn the local language if I was to serve to my fullest extent. So, I learnt Hebrew, which I juggled around my work. 

The school is in the hotbed of a conflict zone, and Matt learnt more about the way of life of different Middle Eastern communities. He also met his wife there – Ashley, an American staffer from New Jersey. This led to a move closer to home, to a Jewish school in Melbourne.

During his time in Melbourne, Matt met Dr Gregg Weaver, who later moved to Kalamunda Christian School.

So how did Matt prepare himself for his new life in a new school in SCEA?

Teaching the subject of Christian Living:

“Teaching the scriptures is a fearful thing. There is no doubt about that. The Book of James says that teacher will be held to a higher account”.

Working with staff at ECC:

“You’ve got to serve people. The Lord blesses us overwhelmingly, and we need to make sure our motivations are always pure. God continues to refine all of us each day.”

With two young sons (Elisha, 7 and Luke, 4), Matt has moved into the area and is keen to see the Ellenbrook team (with Mr Mike Pitman and Mrs Michelle Cockrell) achieve great things for the ECC community.

“It’s like the United Nations here. Families from various language and national groups are here. It is an amazing place to teach and be a part of,” says Matt.

Something tells me that Matt Dufty will revel in the multicultural environs of the Ellenbrook community……

Ellenbrook Christian College refreshes its website for a new era of community

We are proud to unveil the new Ellenbrook Christian College website which has been put together by the team at Helium Digital – a Christian website company that has assisted SCEA on some recent projects.

“We wanted to ensure that our ECC Executive Team had a guiding hand in this website refresh, right from the start,” said Mr Mike Pitman, “but John Igglesden and Marisa Streeton were the hands and feet of the operation when we needed to make things happen.”

John Igglesden, ECC’s Marketing Officer and resident worship guitarist completed the work in consultation with Helium Digital and is happy that the site is now considered ‘LIVE’.

“School sites have two main roles: to show off the school and to quickly provide relevant information. This site does both very well,” said John this week.

‘Navigation was a key part of this project. We wanted prospective parents to be able to flow through the site intuitively. We also wanted current parents to be able to find the information they wanted with a minimum of fuss.”

A quick scan of the new site highlights a few of ECC’s trademark qualities: a rolling video loop that demonstrates the College in action, each section of the College showcases its offering as part of a collective Christian community and a strong sense of welcoming to all parts of society. The College boasts students from more than 30 different nations and has worked hard to infuse a Christian sense of ‘loving thy neighbour’ into everything they do.

For the millennial, tech-driven youngsters amongst us, John tells us that there is a new part of website technology known as a ‘mega menu’. He assures us that it will be a hit with the ‘Boomer’ crowd – or indeed anyone who likes websites to be straightforward and easy to navigate.

These new definitions are a bit much to take in. ‘Mega’ and ‘menu’ make me think of a restaurant, not a website.

“That is indeed their real name,” says John.

Hmmm….

“It’s called ‘mega’ because it is large. It’s a ‘menu’ because you can choose where you want to go on the site,” he continues.

I love how these young minds educate us on the important things in life…..!

2022 marks new milestone for Ellenbrook Christian College

Despite Perth being in the midst of COVID cases and school being highly disrupted this term, Ellenbrook Christian College (ECC) paused this week to celebrate an enrolment milestone –  600 students!

College Principal Mr Mike Pitman was deferential this week, attributing the pleasing results to his hard-working enrolments team and educators:

“It’s encouraging to know that there is a level of trust in the community for what we are offering at Ellenbrook Christian College. As Christian educators, we value unity within our team and there is a high level of competence which makes our work very enjoyable,” said Mr Pitman.

Enrolments officer and Personal Assistant to the Principal, Mrs Marisa Streeton, has been present for almost every enrolment interview and tour since Mr Pitman began in late 2019. She is constantly taking calls from members of the community who have heard good things about the College.

“I feel like the phone doesn’t leave my ear some days! But I’m so glad that I can be a part of the growth of such a great school,” said Mrs Streeton.

When Mr Pitman isn’t busy welcoming new students to the campus, he is a father to his four grown-up children and grandfather to fifteen grandchildren. Prior to joining Ellenbrook Christian College, Mr Pitman spent time at Swan Christian College Junior School, Kalamunda Christian School, Southern Hills Christian College and Scots College in Sydney.

“Working with a team of enthusiastic and competent people makes all the difference. ECC has a fantastic team of people who care a great deal about what they do and they care for each other. Having that core group of people who are committed gives me a sense of purpose and optimism for the future,” said Mr Pitman.

A quick trip around Ellenbrook’s campus demonstrates the multicultural aspects of the schooling community, with more than 40 different ethnicities represented in the enrolment figures.

“There is a lot to like about what is happening in our classrooms,” said Mr Pitman, “and our teachers are cohesive and coming together really well during this period of online learning and separation due to COVID regulations.”

Well done to Mr Pitman and his team!