Darren McGhee

2015 was a historical year for the YOS Lawnton School. Our first school year:

  • Where 22 students disillusioned or expelled from mainstream

school re-engaged with education pathways and the opportunities that it brings

  • During which the school advanced from having a provisional

registration license to a full accreditation.

  • In which we became the first Salvation Army accredited school in

The Salvation Army Eastern Territory of NSW, QLD and the ACT and perhaps the first in Australia

  • Where we blended established staff and new staff together to form a team that started the culture building of the YOS Lawnton school.

Getting to this place was driven by our Savior’s call to reflect in actions God’s values, God’s character and not give up on the young people who had been rejected. In doing so working towards the establishment of a world like what we imagine heaven to be.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10: 30-37 where a priest and Levite both devoted religious, figures decided to walk past an injured Jewish man along the Jericho road. The man was eventually assisted by a good Samaritan who at the time their societies despised each other. Why did those religious figures not stop? Martin Luther King surmises
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
The Jericho road they were travelling on was dangerous and known as the “bloody pass”. It can be imagined that they, all three, were afraid and fearful about what might happen to them if they stopped. However the good Samaritan seem to dismiss the fear, replaced by a concern for another human being.
Establishing a school can be a frightening, too hard and at times discouraging. However, The Salvation Army Youth Outreach Service asked itself “What will happen to those young people if we do not stop and help?. It is easy to ignore or leave it for someone else.
So we stopped and helped in a way that called us to be brave, to focus on the needs of others. In a practical way, that we imagined Christ might have chosen. Many prayers were had and many people pitched in at different levels, working extra hours to establish YOS Lawnton, an accredited Independent Non- State special assistance school in an area that had very little alternatives.
At the end of 2015 we can look back hoping that the foundational work will long outlast our working lives and continue on until it is not needed. Providing a space where students and families can heal and once again enter the educational pathways that brings about dreams and opportunity. The hope is that as we evolve the YOS Lawnton School will reflect the love that created it and be a beacon for those students who have been injured and hurt by the world.

As Jake one of our original students says:
“I was nothing when I came here at first but with all the help and my determination YOS helped me pick myself up and I got back on my feet and all I would like to say … thank you”. I really appreciate it”.

The years ahead have many challenges for this new School. There are still many rivers to cross before the YOS Lawnton School matches our hopes and dreams. In the meantime we draw upon the support of the broader Salvation Army, The Salvation Army Pine Rivers Corp partnership, the local community, the students and families, the staff and the God whom we serve.
Our first Annual General Report is an affirmation of the work achieved and indicates areas for more improvements.

Darren McGhee

Principal YOS Lawnton