A Long Legacy

A Long Legacy

Thursday, 10 December 2015  | Jacqui - Director of Teaching, Learning & Innovation
Colin, otherwise known by his skin name Japaljarri, has been inspiring students and teachers alike at MECS for 38 years; he started teaching at our school in 1978. He has already taught his final Senior School classes, and next week will be his last week at MECS. We have seized many opportunities in this final term to honour Colin and say farewell – at the Association EGM in October, the Year 12 Last Day assembly, the Year 12 Graduation Dinner, and at a special Senior School social evening. Next week, the MECS staff will have their opportunity to say goodbye to Colin.

Colin leaves a lasting legacy at MECS for students, parents and teachers. The following are just some of the words and phrases that have been used to describe him: gracious, a thinker, accepting, caring, enthusiastic, an inspirational teacher, an advocate for Aboriginal people, quirky, a keeper of the vision, master story-teller, a faithful follower of Jesus, genuine, a man of integrity, a cheerleader, and an encourager.

An inspirational teacher: Colin’s enthusiasm for his areas of interest is infectious. He has inspired students and colleagues alike with his passion for the Bible, especially the Gospel of John. He encourages others to study the Bible and ask the difficult and intriguing questions such as ‘What is the significance of the 153 fish in John 21?’ (His book ‘153 Fish’ provides an excellent insight into his thinking about many Biblical concepts.) Yet, his interest in the Bible is not a matter of filling his brain with interesting ideas, but of getting to know God through his revelation in Jesus Christ. These passions extend to other areas such as History, English and Indigenous communities.

An advocate for Aboriginal people: Colin has been instrumental in introducing students to Warlpiri and connecting them with the Yuendumu community (300km north-west of Alice Springs). During his early years at MECS, Colin and his family spent four months living in Yuendumu getting a better grasp of the language and culture. Many students, past and present, have been given an insight into the lives of these Aboriginal people, especially on the Year 10 Centre Trip. While some of the Warlpiri words and phrases have been forgotten by students, I have heard many of them quickly remember the songs that were taught and sung on this trip. We frequently hear stories of past MECS students who have been profoundly influenced by their Centre Trip experience, often making career choices that involve serving in indigenous communities.

A collector of quirks: Colin is remembered for a whole range of unique interests, habits and sayings. These include: his in-depth knowledge of the local indigenous plants throughout the school (and Montrose in general); dressing up as Gandalf for the Year 12 last days; his hand-drawn cartoons on worksheets and the whiteboard; his whistling and singing; and his use of words like ‘absquatulate’ when dismissing students, followed by, “Go out and play on the freeway”. Senior School students of more recent years will all remember his famous parting line “Mr Youl loves you all”.

Colin’s family have also been a significant part of MECS - his wife Heather served the school as a Board member and a teacher for many years. Their 4 children, Aimie, Anna, Benjamin and John, have all come through the school, with John graduating Year 12 in 2012. Colin and Heather have been Association Members since 1980. 

There is no doubt that Colin has left his impression on MECS in various ways. He has had a formative influence on students, teachers and the wider community. He has been steadfast and faithful in promoting the ‘sweet truths’ of MECS, and has been pivotal in walking alongside new staff and sharing the vision.

We pray for God’s provision, protection and blessing over Colin and Heather as they embark on this next phase of life in service to Christ. We will surely see Colin visiting MECS or assisting in some capacity over the coming years. Thank you, Colin, for your gracious and faithful service to our community for many, many years. 

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