Deputy Principal’s Message
As I sit to write about the events of the week in Ms Ugonotti’s absence on the Principal’s Country Road Trip, I have the sun on my back. The sun on my back is one of my most favourite sensations in the world and it always has been. I notice that I seek it out whenever I can take the chance to do so. Sometimes it just beckons. And yet, it was only through my introduction to Ignatian spirituality that it made complete sense to me.
When discerning the signs of the spirit within, it helps to simply notice if we are feeling content, or cranky, or generous, or mean, or open hearted, or jealous. St Ignatius found a way to describe these ‘stirrings’ of the spirit. The words he uses are consolation and desolation and we all have both within us, all the time. I cannot deny that it is the languages teacher within me that is drawn to the essence of these words. Consolation…con sola…with the sun. This is what crystallised the love of the sun on my back; I am drawn to it so that my body and spirit might experience or bathe in the consolation that is freely offered in that moment, leaning and leading into God’s soothing, warming love.
There is much to report on this week and I think that the most fitting place to start is National Boarding Week. Now, most schools celebrate this over one week. We quite like a celebration at Loreto Normanhurst and have managed to draw this celebration over a three-week period this year! I experienced my first unforgettable ‘Main Event’ on Friday 3 May which highlighted the talents and spirit of our boarding community. Parents and siblings of boarders, as well as the staff, enjoyed the song and dance extravaganza over a chicken schnitzel (and sensational potato wedges). I was lucky enough to play judge on the night and declared Year 7 2019 the victors with their joyful ‘Hairspray’ act. Year 11, disguised as 43 ‘Freddie Mercury’s’, came a close second. We will enjoy another rendition of each at Assembly next week; they were too fun not to enjoy a second time.
Ms Ugonotti and Ms Kovacs have spent the week on the road visiting current and prospective boarder families around NSW which we will learn more about next week. I have loved learning more about boarding life in my short time here and hearing stories of home. I admire the girls and the families for holding each other from a distance for such prolonged periods of time, all the while dedicating themselves fully to the Loreto Normanhurst family. We will round off National Boarding Week with the Boarding School Commitment Weekend next weekend, full of activities and experiences that articulate the importance of being together.
It has been an unusually quiet week onsite with Year 10 on their Canberra excursion and Year 8 on Camp at Collaroy. They were both graced with blue skies to revel in the learning and newness of their days. The Year 10 excursion is three days dedicated to their History/Integrated Learning Program. The aim is to immerse the students in the historical, artistic and political arenas focusing on democracy, sources illustrating World War I and various art forms. The girls have been involved in role plays and various activities about which there will be a comprehensive update in next week’s newsletter.
The Year 8 Camp theme is ‘Brave not Perfect’ (I will just take this side bar to recommend the Brené Brown talk on Netflix, or anything she has written about courage and vulnerability, in the unlikely event that you have not come across her already). Through a series of outdoor activities aimed at extending one’s comfort zone safely, team building with war cries and strengthening relationships across the cohort, I can only imagine that the girls are having a great time. Serendipitous but true, as I began writing this, Mrs Parker sent me a photo of the girls doing an Ignatian-based reflection while sitting in their own quiet spaces on the beach in Collaroy…all with the sun on their backs…
I commend the students in Years 5, 7 and 9 for their calm approach to NAPLAN, taking it maturely and in their stride. The Year 12 students led the way in displaying equanimity, balancing their assessment week with their ongoing school work, extra-curricular commitments and hopefully finding space to be present to family life too.
Of course, I could report on so much more; schools are full and plentiful and rich in activity. What we don’t see with the naked eye are the quantum leaps of growth made every day, the smallest moments where a new understanding has just occurred.
Wherever you may be this weekend, may the sun be shining on your back.
We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace;
let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty;
let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom,
of joy, inspiration and renewal,
places where all creatures may find acceptance and belonging.
Let us search for these places;
in the world, in ourselves and in others.
Let us restore them.
Let us strengthen and protect them and let us create them.
May we mend this outer world according to the truth of our inner life
and may our souls be shaped and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom.
A prayer from Michael Leunig
Ms Sophie Kearns