Sunday afternoon continued the atmosphere of community as we met for the weekend’s final event. The aim of the Thanksgiving Service was to end the weekend giving all the glory to our heavenly Father, looking back on 50 fruitful years and forward to another 50.
A full gymnasium was welcomed by the Hon Nick Goiran MLC, who was our MC for the afternoon. Mr Goiran was part of a team comprised entirely of past and present Rehoboth students who lead us in worship, prayer and a message from God’s Word. A wonderful aspect of this was to see the various generations that have gone, or are currently going through Rehoboth represented on stage – from Mr Eric Swarts, a member of our original class of 1966, to Heather-Grace Ong, currently in Year 3 at the Wilson campus.
Those present worshipped together in song, were treated to an item from Amanda Jacobs and Paul Kennedy, and were lead in a prayer of thanksgiving from Benjamin Peletier before Haydn Nelson, Senior Pastor at Riverview Church, shared with us. Drawing on the well-known Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Pastor Nelson showed how the servants whom the master blessed had shown courage and taken a risk to turn what they had been given into something more. It matters to God what we do with what He gives us. This was a strong reminder to continually put Christ at the centre of all things at Rehoboth, so that we don’t forget to do the best we can with the resources He has provided us.
The service was followed by a delicious afternoon tea, which many took as another chance to catch up others and share stories while others took the opportunity to browse the memorabilia and photos on display. It was a fitting conclusion to a busy, but thoroughly enjoyable weekend as we were all reminded of the wonderful blessing of having a school where Jesus Christ is honoured as Lord of all.
On the Saturday afternoon of our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend, the Concert was held at the Rehoboth Centre on the Kenwick campus. It was an excellent afternoon of songs, dramas, and fellowship with a huge audience from the Rehoboth community.
One thing that really astounded me over the weekend’s events was the faith of our founding members, who put so much of their time, energy, and resources into building something they weren’t sure would work out. But they trusted God and stuck to what they knew: that bringing up their children in the Lord was vitally important and that God would provide the means for that to happen. As I looked around in a moment of reflection during the Concert, among all the things that were happening I remembered that we were standing on the old bitumen basketball court in a beautiful facility, singing our praises and thanks to God for all that He has done for our community and for His people at large. What a legacy to be part of! What a blessing we enjoy!
It was amazing to see more than 700 people squeezed into the gym and its foyer to watch some of our very talented students perform. It struck me that there must be thousands of people in Perth and abroad who have in some way been touched by the Rehoboth community and its legacy. The vastness of the community stunned me, as well as the willingness of such a large community to come and support the kids, to celebrate, reminisce, and bless this school.
We had performances that included Year 1s all the way up to Year 12s, and even a couple of past students. From songs, to dramas, choir items and guitar ensembles, there was truly something for everyone. The atmosphere in the gym was vibrant and parents and peers alike enjoyed watching the students perform what they’d been rehearsing for weeks in front of the whole community.
As the stage manager, I did not get to enjoy all the items from the audience, but I have some vivid highlights and got to see the rehearsals. One of my favourites was the Year 6 item from the Kenwick campus, “Total Eclipse”. In the rehearsal, I was impressed by how powerful the message was. Often we are distracted by all sorts of things that eventually lead us down a path that is very far from Jesus. However, He is always there, ready to remedy the pain and deal with the sin so that we can be whole. Well done to Miss Gibbon’s Year 6s! The Year 9 students who performed some poetry, particularly Mobina Sadeghian who only joined Rehoboth last year, also impressed me. In the past she has found performing in front of others very scary but was determined to perform at the Concert and worked so hard to bring us a beautiful poem about God’s love for us. The Year 3 class from Kenwick performed a beautiful drama with amazing costumes. I was absolutely floored whenever any of the choirs performed. Even from backstage and in the rehearsals, those students nailed it and really moved me. Considering the Primary Choirs had also performed at the Re-Dedication Service earlier in the day, they were still focused and determined to bring their very best yet again at the Concert. The Year 3-4 class from Wilson who performed “He is No Fool” with shadows did an incredible job and I was so glad to have caught some of it before heading backstage between items. It was stunning and so clever and effective. Excellent work! The Senior Worship Band always leaves me feeling encouraged, and amazed, at how professional they sound.
I was personally very privileged to be asked to help coordinate the Concert, and I found it a very humbling experience. The main reason for that being that there were so many people who were there to help, offer suggestions, not offer suggestions (which sometimes is equally important) but offer a hand, cover classes and duties for rehearsals, make me a coffee, send me a quick encouraging word, help me solve problems, offer technological assistance and so many other things. And it wasn’t just staff members either. I was amazed at the helpfulness, initiative, and skill of several students who helped make the concert run smoothly. Malachi Terpstra, who for example, is an absolute gun at anything technological, and made the beautiful videos that were enjoyed between some items. He came to rehearsals, came early to the Concert to help set up, untangled countless cables, fixed microphone stands, and was generally a solid helping hand in whatever way he could. The Concert would not have been as beautiful between items except for the hours he put into making the videos. Thank you Malachi! Allira Terpstra was another major student influence in the smooth running of the show. She showed maturity and solidarity in organising teachers to bring their students to the right place at the right time. Thank you Allira! Ethan Hunter, despite having to perform in the concert itself, was cool as a cucumber and was ready to help myself and Mr Peletier move set pieces, instruments and props on and offstage. He was possibly the calmest person backstage and always ready for the next thing. Mr Merlo, past student and audio-visual extraordinaire, and Mr de Bruyn worked tirelessly to ensure sound and lighting were perfect. Mr Peletier and Mrs James did a wonderful job backstage. Mr Murray was a fantastic MC. Knowing that all these wonderful people were helping to bring about God’s glory in giving thanks through the concert made me further thankful to be a part of the Rehoboth community.
Thank you to everyone who came and supported our students in their performances. It was very encouraging to see so many familiar faces and new faces, and to join together with you to thank God for what he has done through Rehoboth, to celebrate, and to enjoy his abundance.
Spilling out onto the Kenwick campus grounds, the Family Fair kept the spirit of the Concert going in fine style. Poffertjes, fairy floss, popcorn, and cool drinks sated the appetites of many, while students ensured the ice cream man was kept busy for the entire afternoon (seriously, that was one huge queue!).
The warm sun bathing the fair grounds in its golden glow added to the sense of community enjoyed by all. While some tested their mettle on the bucking bull, others tried their aim at the water dunk (especially with Mr B taunting them!). The younger among us enjoyed the bouncy castles, animal farm, face painting, and photo booth, while the older ones enjoyed a coffee and took in the view from a comfy position under the marquee. After a while that view turned into a sea of brightly coloured heads as students proudly sported their free anniversary hat. Live music was provided by our very talented students throughout the afternoon, and 98Five was on hand, giving away lollies and stickers and promoting the anniversary throughout the afternoon.
Eventually it was time to wrap things up, as castles were deflated, the music faded out, and the ice cream man served his last, patient customers. The afternoon was a wonderful experience, made more so by the well-organised volunteer team who spent the time racing about ensuring everything was running smoothly.
Our Re-Dedication Service was an opportunity to honour the seeds that were sown in the early days of Rehoboth and to remember our humble beginnings. It is always good to reminisce, and we certainly did that!
Mr Rob Geijsman spoke of the years of prayer and preparation by the founding members before the school started with 2 teachers and 23 students on 14 February, 1966. We heard stories of a very different way of “doing school” from Mr Ross Patterson, Mrs Joan McArthur and Mr Andy Meyerink, and were able to see many original artifacts and photos of the early days in the display room. Our combined Primary Choirs sang the song “Soli Deo Gloria”, reminding us of why we are here today.
We then looked forward to the present – Mr Frank van der Kooy painted a picture of a thriving community with wonderful facilities, dedicated staff, and ever-increasing student numbers. Throughout the changes over the years in staff, facilities, students, and teaching methods, one thing has remained constant – Jesus Christ is still firmly at the centre of learning and life at the College and will continue to be so into the future. We praise God for His faithfulness and provision and look forward to His continued blessing on the College in the next fifty years.
A dinner was held on the Friday night of the 50th Celebration Weekend. It was an opportunity to bring together both past and present staff and Board members. The evening was greeted with much anticipation and the mood was one of great celebration and uniting of teachers and staff who have greatly impacted the lives of students over the past 50 years.
The gymnasium was transformed into a wonderland of twinkling lights and beautiful decorations, thanks to the creative talent of Mrs Jacqueline Nieuwkerk and her sister Mrs Charmaine Sweeney (who flew from Alice Springs to help with the preparations) as well as Mrs Jody Goiran and Mrs Hannah Dash who also prepared the evening meal. Mrs Sue Rentenaar and her team made sure there was plenty of memorabilia for the guests to reminisce, laugh, and cry over.
The guests were welcomed into the gym foyer by the beautiful harp playing of Miss Jessica Khoo (Secondary Music Teacher) and later entertained by guitar and bongo drums by Jayden de Jongh and Tyler Vivian (students from the Class of 2015).
Mr Frank van der Kooy, as MC, led us through the three speeches for the evening, each pertaining to the “Seed, Nurture, Flourish” theme:
SEED: Mr Eric Swarts, one of the original class in 1966, told us of his memories of Rehoboth in the early days and his recollections of the instrumental role both his parents played in the start up phase of the school.
NURTURE: Mrs Nicole Pleysier spoke about the way in which we at Rehoboth have the privilege of not only teaching the curriculum, but being able to speak into the spiritual lives of individual students.
FLOURISH: Mr Mark Steyn helped us to imagine the next phase of Rehoboth’s history.
It was a wonderful evening largely made possible by the dedication of past students and their families – just another reason for celebrating how we are helping to shape the next generation for His service at Rehoboth.
Both Campuses held their 50th birthday celebrations on Tuesday morning this week. Our CEO, Mr Mark Steyn, opened in prayer and we had the pleasure of listening to Mr Andy Meyerink, one of the students in the original class, reminisce about his days at Rehoboth. The students really enjoyed listening to his stories about the olden days!
Just to show that we have come a long way, we Skyped to Kenwick so that we could be together in spirit as we celebrated. We sang praises to the Lord, and then all the students had an icypole while staff and guests were able to enjoy some morning tea.
It was a pleasure to host some of the founding members as well as two past principals, Mr Ross Patterson and Mrs Lynne Nixon, and Rehoboth’s third teacher, Mrs McArthur, all at the Wilson Campus where they began their journey with Rehoboth so many years ago. These special guests were able to continue telling stories from long ago as we followed the assembly with a delicious morning tea.
Mrs Pike PRINCIPAL – WILSON CAMPUS
The View from Kenwick
Tuesday morning, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Rehoboth.
The first school buildings constructed were two classrooms at the Wilson Campus, so it was fitting that our guest speakers presented from Wilson. With the help of Mr Beattie and Mr Hunter, Kenwick Campus was able to join in via Skype. Imagine, close to seven hundred students all tuning in at once. Technology was able to create a joint experience for us to celebrate. Quite a stark contrast to 50 years ago when we might have used 2 tin cans and some very long string! From only 23 students and one Campus, though, God has been faithful and has lavished us with an abundant harvest in student population and learning resources.
We were intrigued by Mr Andy Meyerink’s stories of the past. It was brilliant to see how much of an impact Rehoboth has had on multiple generations.
After the formal proceedings, both Campuses were led with some community singing. The Kenwick Campus was blessed by the Senior Worship Band and Wilson was accompanied by Miss Goh. Mr Stirling then lead us in prayer at Kenwick before the whole student population were treated to an icy-pole, while their parents and some of the teachers could stay and enjoy some morning tea.
Students were presented with a commemorative celebration pin. We ask that they wear it proudly and treasure it dearly.
Mrs N Pleysier ACTING HEAD OF PRIMARY – KENWICK CAMPUS
Scott de Ridder was employed at Rehoboth between 1990-2001 as the Woodwork and Photography teacher (pictured above with the senior boys basketball team, 1994).
Mr D, Where are you now?
At the moment Tanja, Taneeka and I are living in Dalyellup, Bunbury. Tanja and I both teach at Grace Christian School; Tanja as an Educational Assistant and myself as a Design and Technology Teacher. I have taken the job of one of my ex-students, Rodney Blennerhassett, who became a D&T teacher after leaving school and who had worked at Grace for some 5 years.
Are you still in the soft drink selling business?
Since leaving Rehoboth and in which I supplemented my income with selling cools drinks at lunchtimes (“Camp fundraising”), I have now seen the error of my ways, knowing that I probably was responsible for obesity, diabetes and high tooth decay for decades to come. Now-a-days I call it “SPARE CHANGE” in which I collect students spare change at lunchtimes and recess and give this to certain “Mission Projects” which the students can nominate or be involved in. Last year we gave nearly $2,500 to various causes just through collecting spare change, 5c, 10c, 50, $1.00, $2.00 coins.
How long where you at Rehoboth (and what years)?
I was the Design and Technology Teacher of Rehoboth for 11 years, from 1990 to 2001. They were 11 great years of my life with many highs and a few lows. Lots of great students coming through the school, nephews and nieces, and many life-long friendships being established. All of our kids were born during those years but we did lose our first, Alida de Ridder at 22 weeks. Tanja lost her mother just before Corey was born which was a very low point in our life. We thank God for 11 fantastic years overall and He built our characters into the people we are today
What is your favourite Rehoboth memory?
If I think back to Rehoboth it is full of rich memories. Riding my bike from Thornlie with Melissa Johnson (nee Oswald) every morning and every afternoon. In those days she could ride! To teaching colleagues, Renald “Bruce” Tibben to the Alfred Schneiders and Gary Harris’, to name a few. To life-long friends, students that I taught. The list would be endless. Early morning swimming, developing kids into Olympic champions – well, getting them fit and strong to beat Swan Christian School. All these memories and I haven’t even mentioned the world famous photographers and cabinet makers, chippies and builders that have come through my workshops. So my biggest memories is all about seeing young people succeed in their gifts and become upstanding people of our communities in both their Christian life and their occupations.
The Rehoboth photography “Dark Room” is part of College folklore. Do you miss the old school photography? Any vivid memories of what was a lot of people’s favourite subject?
You talk about history and change! Many memories and maybe even marriages were formed in the closeness of working in that darkroom. Everything purely above board, of course. Our Rehoboth students were responsible and could be trusted 100%. But now in the age of digital photography, it is just not the same. Students miss out on the toxic smells of developer and fixer. Mums no longer are washing out the brown stains of developer all over white shirts and sleeves. People have lost the ability to count, 1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand, and then there was that moment when the image formed in front of your eyes like the first sign of spring, the first rains, the first child born in the family. Life has lost moments in history. I’m choking up with emotion!!!
How would you describe Rehoboth to someone who had no idea what the College was about?
Life at Reho was like going to work with friends and family. But the day was surrounded with God moments, bringing Him into every aspect of learning. Work colleagues were close friends and students were young people who you invested time into, bringing out all the gifts and talents that God had planted in them. Rehoboth is a school where we as teachers carried on the work from home and partnered with parents to love and nurture their children. Life at Rehoboth was a privilege that was placed before me to be part of. Thanks for allowing me to share a little of my time and memories at Rehoboth Christian High School.
Elise Swallow (nee Rogan) was a student at Rehoboth and a member of the Class of 2003.
So Elise, Where are you now?
I’m living in Melbourne, in a quaint bayside suburb called Elwood. My husband, Andrew, and I are renting here while we are doing a grand designs style renovation on a little 5m wide block nearby.
How/Why did you get into Speech Pathology?
I first heard about Speech Pathology while I was having a working/travelling gap year after I finished Year 12 at Reho. I chose it as I did not think there was any better gift you could give someone than speech and communication. So I studied 3 years at Curtin University and then 1year at LaTrobe University in Melbourne. Then 4.5years ago God spoke to me about starting a private practice, so I’ve been running The Voice Within Speech Pathology since then!
What else are you involved with in Melbourne?
We attend Planetshakers City Church and I am involved in the prayer team. I love doing life with similar minded people who are passionate about releasing God’s goodness and kingdom here on earth. I also do my best to support and encourage the women at the North Melbourne Football Club. All the girls are so beautiful on the inside and out, and it is an honour to be on the football journey with each of them.
You had a Rehoboth Romance. Tell us about that.
Well my romance mainly commenced after I finished school, but … he still had another year left. Andrew and I were initially just friends at school and went to youth group together. But then near the end of Year 12, I did find myself becoming more interested in the Year 11’s lunchtime football games and walking past Room JK whenever Andrew was there to pull awkward faces to get his attention. After I finished school we dated for 2years in Perth, then he got drafted to North Melbourne so we did long distance for another 2years before getting married and then I moved to Melbourne also. So I have a lot to thank Rehoboth for!
Favourite Rehoboth teacher and why?
It’s a tight battle between Mr Schneider and Mr DeRidder but seeing as Mr De left half way through my time in high school – I’ll give Mr Schneider the title for stickability. But both teachers were approachable, mischievous, creative, caring and encouraging. They also represented and displayed their love for God in an open and authentic way, which I learnt a lot from Mr Schneider had a way of making history come alive by his famous “Nazi class” or wearing just a nappy and bald cap to become Gandi one lesson.
Favourite Rehoboth memory?
This is honestly a hard question to answer because I have so many positive memories with amazing friends, teachers, camps and school events. But my favourite Rehoboth memory was in Primary School when one of my closest friends (and still is), who was the biggest nerd at school (and still is… she’s now a doctor), had an unseen fit of rage one lunch time and lost the plot with a boy in our class and got in a punching fight with him. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!!