As a newcomer to the MECS community, it has been a wonderful journey of discovery over the last few months as the various facets of the MECS culture have become more familiar to me. One of the encouraging things about Christian education is that, despite schools being in geographically different areas, with different families, churches and environments, there remains a purpose that does not change across communities. The desire to serve the Lord, to partner with parents, to nurture the gifts within our students and to act with an understanding that Christ is Lord of every part of life remains constant.
This year, MECS has introduced the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) to complement the already existing VCAL program offered at Ranges TEC and the VCE. This reflects the commitment of the school to recognise the various giftings that God has placed in all of us and to endeavour to help students flourish in these giftings. As we seek the Kingdom of God in education, it is important that we train our students to use their varied abilities to make a difference in the world and honour God through all that they do. As we are reminded in 1 Corinthians 12, the body of Christ has many parts - all different, but each an essential part. As our students - whether in VCAL, VCE or Ranges TEC learn to work with each other and support one another in their different paths, they are growing in their understanding of what it is to be a part of the Body and to seek the Kingdom of God.
VCAL is a highly self directed style of learning, with student ownership over the planning, organising and delivery of events and learning. Students develop leadership skills for the workplace, independence and teamwork.
At the beginning of the year, students met to discuss the areas within the community that they wanted to impact and plan how to do this. Students identified needs in the local community that they would like to support. They also identified the need for both food and community connection in the Senior School. This led to them opening a Senior School cafe and a range of businesses. Students have been involved with training for Food Safety, First Aid, liaising with council to gain licences to serve food, organising marketing, rosters and so on. It has been wonderful to see the opening of the cafe, and the opportunities for service that have taken place.
Students also work across a range of areas in the school, allowing them to serve and to develop workplace skills. Students have engaged with Primary classes through writing children’s books and building watering systems. They have served in the Cook Off days, run workshops, and continued to plan a range of events for the rest of the year. VCAL students juggle schoolwork and VET courses as well as work days and part time jobs - preparing them for the very real balancing act that we all experience in our lives.
Whether in VCAL or VCE, it is exciting to witness the creativity and growth of students at MECS as they learn to be faithful learners and to faithfully use their gifts to bless those around them.