Acting Head of House – Barry

In Ohio, seasons are theatrical. Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it.

Toni Morrison             

There is something different in the air in Term 4. Whether it’s the turning of the seasons signified by the halcyon sunshine, the scent of jasmine, or the simple confusion upon the sudden onset of a sun shower or cool wind that whips through the corridor, there is no denying that the transition to Term 4 brings about reminiscence of the year and dreaming of the summer holidays.

2020 has been a year like no other. COVID-19 has brought significant changes to our day-to-day school life. The scent of hand sanitiser and the filling of more space as we physical distance has brought a new season to the Barry corridors. Even so, in many ways the school year progresses as normal, marked by our calendar events of Music Festival, Year 12 graduations and farewells, daily time with our Houses and Thursday Prayer. These things may look different, but they continue to punctuate our year, giving rhythm and certainty.

During one of these recent yearly events, the Year 11 Leadership Day, I listened to our Barry Girls, erudite and visionary, articulate their desire to ‘leave behind something on which others may build’ (Mother Gonzaga Barry). I was reminded that their legacy will not be the events that they plan or the programs that they instigate. Their legacy will be the example they set in their approach to the day-to-day. Our school year is punctuated by events that signify rites of passage or the passing time. These events can, at times, appear as Toni Morrison thought of the seasons in Ohio, as the prima donnas of the week, term or year, arising to steal our focus and energy.

More important than these events in the calendar is our approach to them. Mother Gonzaga Barry urged her students in 1903 to avoid a ‘mere butterfly existence’, longing for the summer and flitting from one thing to another. Instead she urged them to contribute to life, knowing ‘for what purpose you have been sent into this world.’

Barry girls have again this year shown the Loreto values that they have learnt and practiced. Our year has not been about marking time, or about recreating events with added COVID safety protocols. While those protocols and these events are important, they don’t define who we are. As a House, high rates of participation led to a win at the Swimming Carnival. The students then embraced a reimagined Music Festival in Term 1 with no less felicity or courage, winning the Spirit Cup . They have encouraged one another, virtually when they could not meet face to face; they have embraced the challenges of 2020 with aplomb, with grace and with characteristic good humour. Our House Council, under the guidance of House Captain, Emma Davies, has led by example and from the heart. This is the legacy of 2020 in Barry House. Not a mere butterfly existence, not of giving in to the prima donnas of seasonal events, but of authenticity and quiet fortitude even when the familiar seems strange.

Mrs Amy Perry

Acting Head of Barry House