Julie Sampson – Learning Director

Over the holidays I was very fortunate to travel to Mauritius to volunteer at Lighthouse Christian School. This is the school at which colleagues Matt Pearce and Kristen Felgate-Pearce are presently working for two years.

I travelled with fellow teacher Deanne Bovingdon and another teacher friend.

Matt is the Head of Secondary School and Kristen is volunteering in the school three days a week.

It was wonderful to visit another school in another culture, to meet Mauritian and ex-pat teachers who are equally committed and professional in their work, and to learn about a new culture.

Both English and French are national languages so I was also able to practice my French, which I learn as a hobby. In many ways, teenagers are the same the world over. Lighthouse Christian School has a similar curriculum to us, their students enjoy sport, complete (or don’t complete) homework, face major exams to complete their high schooling and teachers deal with similar student and classroom issues to what we do.

Also over the holidays, Pastor Al visited Nepal on a trip with fellow Lutheran pastors. And the Habitat for Humanity team travelled to Fiji to serve the community by constructing two buildings.

This week we have 25 Chinese students and two teachers visiting as part of our reciprocal relationship with our sister school in Beijing.

They are enjoying some outings with our students to see the sights of the Adelaide Hills, a homestay with a family and interaction in classes.

Why does Cornerstone involve itself in such activities, as a school, in student groups and as individual students or teachers?

Encouraging our students to look outside themselves, to their local and global communities is an important part of developing global citizens who give back to their society.

One of the Australian Curriculum and SACE capabilities is Intercultural Understanding. We desire to build in students an appreciation and respect for other people’s social and cultural backgrounds and to learn about the diversity of our nation and the world.

By having the opportunity to learn about other cultures, serve through school programs or to take up exchange or broader volunteering opportunities, students and staff have the chance to consider how their own values, languages, beliefs and morals compare to those of other cultures.

A broader intercultural understanding of our society is an essential part of living in the 21st Century in multi-cultural Australia, in the workplace and in our communities.

Through explicit teaching in subjects and extra-curricular activities, we encourage our students to express empathy, respect, and responsibility towards other people.

We are called as Christians to respect others and to serve in our communities. We have unique gifts that we can share, and serving others further develops our understanding of them and of our gifts and talents.

Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. (1 Peter 4:10)