On Monday 9 April, twenty Year 11 Modern History students were fortunate enough to attend the All-Schools Anzac Commemoration Service in Hyde Park. The service held extra significance this year as 2018 marks the centenary of the end of WW1.
The girls were treated to some sobering reflections from speakers ranging from the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, to student speakers. Our girls participated actively in the ceremony with Isabelle Humphries, Anastasia Leaver and Lucy Hassall acting as flag orderlies and Evelyn O’Brien and Anna Mossie laying the wreath on behalf of the Loreto community.
At the end of the ceremony, one of our students asked me quite a profound question about what she had just witnessed. She asked, “Mr Scali, when all these speakers talk about the soldiers in WW1 fighting to protect freedom, what do they mean? What was this freedom and who was threatening it?” Whilst this seems at first glance to be an easy question to answer, this concept of ‘freedom’ and the threats to it are not always easy to define. I thought this question was a real testament to the unique and critical way Loreto Normanhurst girls think, but also a reflection of the resonance the value of freedom holds with our students. The question was in no way a challenge to what was spoken about in the service, but rather it was a genuinely sincere attempt to grapple with the concept of freedom. I did come up with an answer on the day which seemed to satiate the curiosity of this student, but I think it is important that we all reflect on this question in our own way. What is this nebulous concept of freedom and what did it mean in WW1? What does it mean in our world today? Is it worth fighting for? I think everyone’s answer will be different and I encourage the whole community to reflect on this as we move closer to April 25.
On the matter of Anzac Day, there will be a full school assembly on Wednesday 2 May, to commemorate the centenary of the end of WW1. Girls are encouraged to wear either a poppy or a sprig of rosemary on their blazers for the day. As part of the ceremony, a wreath will be laid at our sandstone memorial in front of the flagpoles near the Mary Ward Centre. I encourage all members of the community to be aware of this memorial and to feel free to lay a wreath or flowers around it from April 25 to May 4. Girls will also be encouraged to say a quiet prayer for peace as they pass this memorial between these dates.
Mr Marco Scali
Head of History