Head of House – Mulhall

Unity Burns Within

During our time in virtual learning, I began to listen to the Michelle Obama Podcast. After listening to the first episode I very quickly sent the link out to the staff and students in Mulhall House, as her words seemed to echo the exact ideas that we discuss at the start of every school year. One of the standout statements that Michelle Obama made in this first episode emerged from a reflection on her own and her husband’s schooling experiences. She stated: “It’s not enough that I succeed; I have a responsibility to look after the kid at the desk next to me.” These words reiterated the idea at the core of the Mulhall House motto: ‘Unity Burns Within’. It is an affirmation that our strength comes not from stepping on one another to rise up, but rather by stepping forward as one, caring for all members and ensuring that each person has the opportunity to be known and celebrated.

Each year we discuss our House culture, specifically the need to form a team, a sanctuary and a safe space within the busyness of the broader school community. The House space is one which strives to celebrate the unique gifts of each member and to support the goals and struggles of each girl from Years 7-12. In this year of unique experiences, this message hasn’t lessened in its importance. In fact, the need to unite in support of one another has become even more important.

We began the school year blissfully unaware of what was coming; welcoming our Year 7 and new Years 8-11 students, launching the Year of Verity under the leadership of Abby and Year 12, building connections with new Tutors and Advisors and setting to work to learn our choir song guided by Chloe, our conductor. As the world became more aware of the growing pandemic, life in the Mulhall community shifted. We took on the challenge of Zoom choir rehearsals, virtual Tutor Groups, an increased engagement with online House platforms, and the Mulhall virtual activity challenge.

Despite the excitement that pervaded the locker area following the announcement that students were to clean out lockers in preparation for virtual learning, the overwhelming comment made by students in virtual Tutor Groups and Conversations only a few weeks later was that they were yearning to be back at school again. We often talk about the importance of relationships, but this new reality has provided us all with a greater appreciation of the truth at the heart of this belief.

It was with great joy that we returned to school part way through Term 2. Although we continue to make modifications to cater for health requirements, the Mulhall spirit has never dimmed. The Year 11 students led us in a wonderful Loreto Day, the entire House united to celebrate a joyful farewell for Year 12 and each day continues to be energised by the creative and humorous initiatives of students from Years 7-12.

As we progress through Term 4, we work through exams and assessment blocks, celebrate the Year 9 Songlines Experience, revel in the new leadership initiatives of Year 11, and look forward to the arrival of new students as part of the orientation for 2021 process.

2020 has taught us many things: to be grateful for moments of connection; to consider the needs of others; to be resilient; to regulate emotions and desires; and to value the spirit which drives our House.

 

Ms Patti Taaffe

Head of Mulhall House