Acting Principal’s Message
‘Be strong, and opt for all such good works as are in this world to be done.’
With all the rain and cold weather of this week, I found myself whinging about the discomfort I felt. Then, in a moment of rational thought I accepted that it is after all winter and I began to think of the homeless people and the real discomfort which they face daily. Last night I was driving by the BP service station in Chatswood where a middle aged man shelters under a tree with some cardboard boxes lining the wet ground. Locals have dropped off some warm blankets and clothes but in this weather it is clear nothing will keep him dry and it doesn’t address the real problem or provide a solution. Homelessness is a growing social concern in Australia with around 105,237 people homeless each night and around 17,845 of them being children under 10. (ABS)
What can we do when the reasons for this problem vary from the chronic shortage of affordable housing, domestic and family violence, intergenerational poverty, long term unemployment to mental illness? As a society we cannot let the enormity of these issues dissuade us from focusing on the respect owed to all people, of the dignity that comes with the basic human right of shelter, and of our duty to challenge the economic and social structures which don’t serve the need of the most disadvantaged.
At the heart of the Gospel message is that call to action, to reach out a helping hand to someone in need, to our neighbour – known or unknown. This week (August 1-7) is Homelessness Week. Homeless Australia has a website with ways within our local communities we can draw attention to homeless and take positive action within our local communities to lend a hand. I encourage you to go to this link to find out more and to read this excellent commentary on the issue by Andrew Hamilton SJ.
The Year 12 Trials have commenced and are going well. It was a calm lead up to the Trial period and staff will continue to work with the girls throughout the examination period and in particular on the girls’ return so as to focus on areas of challenge identified through the examinations. I ask that you continue to keep our Year 12 girls in your prayers. Year 9 have now completed the first week of their Far North Queensland Experience and from all accounts and photos, the girls are having a great time.
Year 6 have spent time this week in Canberra visiting key places of significance such as the National Parliament and the Australian War Memorial, meeting and learning from experts in their fields, and sharing in the joy of each other’s company and friendship. We will welcome them home this evening after what I know have been an action-packed couple of days. Congratulations to Year 11 Drama students for their production of Herstory showcased last night and tonight. Herstory is a series of group devised pieces loosely based on the students’ ancestry. It is a high quality production and if you can get to tonight’s performance, I strongly encourage you to do so.
On Monday we welcome back Ms Watkins after her sabbatical leave. I would like to express my gratitude to the school community for the support extended to me during my time as Acting Principal. It has been a valuable experience of professional growth for me and for this I am grateful. Thank you also to Ms Watkins for her trust in me and to Ms Kieryn Bateman who has ably filled the role of Acting Deputy Principal during this time.
They are on our streets,
In shelters, in doorways and back ways,
Lost, invisible, hungry and hurting.
Lord God, give us the eyes to see
“The least of these,”
Your children without the security
Of calling any place “home.”
Lord God, help us to remember
“Home” is more than four walls and a roof;
It is warmth in a cold time,
It is comfort in a difficult world,
It is safety for their children.
Lord God, help us to know
To be homeless is a hurt to the heart;
It constricts the soul,
both theirs and ours.
As we open ourselves
To your weary children,
We open ourselves to you.
Call us all to that place of solidarity,
Call us all home, Lord God, call us all home.
Ms Marina Ugonotti