Young women of action
Mary Ward’s vision that “Women in time to come will do much” continues to inspire the young women of Loreto Normanhurst into their immediate and longer-term futures and now, more than ever, this includes the environmental sphere. The wave of change that is sweeping the globe is at work within and beyond our own community.
The Green Team offers a safe community of like-minded young people who are all keen to bring about change and keep the momentum going. Lately, the Green Team has attracted a number of younger members, who have formed a subsidiary group under the guidance of staff and the mentorship of older members. They were integral to the success of the recent low-bake, no-bake stall at which they worked alongside the senior girls to sell goodies and make almost $500 for the Baby Milk Project (the Loreto Day cause for 2019) and they are eager to lead events in the future. These up-coming leaders in the ecology space are vital for continuing the fine work of the Green Team as our seniors move on.
Increasingly, we are seeing our students become more courageous in participating in the conversations with their peers around sustainable living. Although the topic has now become main-stream, the knowledge that our members have and continue to gain allows them to educate their friends and family, widening their sphere of influence beyond the school boundary. The confidence that their efforts are not going unnoticed or unappreciated is evident in their continuing enthusiasm for making their world a better place, and, they demonstrate resilience as they bounce back from perceived and real failures, striving to resolve problems that persist and being the face of decisions that challenge their peers.
The Green Team hosted a breakfast this week and invited guest speaker Sophia Skarparis, a Year 11 student from Monte Sant’ Angelo. Sophia became known to the Loreto Normanhurst community in March 2018 through her mission to petition the NSW Government to eliminate plastic bags at point of sale. She was successful in collecting sufficient signatures to ensure that there was a conversation around the issue and, although to date there is no legislation, Sophia continues to fight for reducing plastic pollution in the communities to which she belongs. As a result of her efforts, Sophia received the Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year in 2018. The students and staff attending the breakfast were impressed with her confidence and inspired by her drive. The students bombarded her with a stream of questions sharing a similar theme – how could they replicate what she has done and continues to do? Sophia serves as a tangible role model to her peers and our Green Team left invigorated and with their resolve strengthened.
Loreto Day 2019 was a huge success not least in regards to social justice and environmental impacts. The Sustainability Team was capably led by a core of Green Team members who required little more than a bit of back-up from teachers as they navigated the journey. They provided education to their peers around the sustainability and ethics of specially printed t-shirts and why there would be no provision of disposable plates and cups for those who forgot to BYO, promoted the collection of soft-drink cans for Return & Earn and encouraged activity-based House games.
The Green Team is indeed a student-led extra-curricular activity and it is an absolute privilege to work alongside our current and emerging leaders.
Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield