Monday, 24 October 2016
Now in its seventeenth year, ‘Wardy’s Christmas Tree’ is a Newhaven College giving tradition that was started by kind hearted teacher, John Ward.
Although retiring at the end of 2015 after a 47 year teaching career, the last 18 of which were at Newhaven College, John holds true to his own wise advice that he always gave to students, "You should not go through life with a catcher’s mitt on each hand. You need one hand free so that you are able to throw something back to others."
Each year John is overwhelmed by the generosity of families who place gifts under the tree. “When I arrived at Newhaven College I was amazed at how many families were in need”, he said. “It reminded me of my own childhood when Christmas could be a tough time, so I decided to do something to help. It brings me so much joy to deliver the gifts to the Salvation Army in Wonthaggi and think of all the local children who will have a smile on their face on Christmas Day.”
The number of families donating gifts increases each year and members of the public also come in to place gifts under the tree. Each Newhaven College campus has its own tree and the students love checking the presents to see what has been donated. “Learning about the giving tree encourages our students to think of others”, John said, “It is a living example of our College values of Respect, Empathy and Responsibility that they can relate to.”
John invites you to drop in to Newhaven College to ‘throw something back to others’ this Christmas. The trees will be in place until early December at both the Phillip Island Road and Boys Home Road Campuses.