Loreto Rural Partnership 2020
In Term 1, just before we moved into isolation, 12 Year 10 students travelled to Dunedoo and Coolah as part of the Loreto Rural Partnership. This is the seventh year of the partnership, starting with a relationship between Loreto Normanhurst and St Michael’s, Dunedoo, and with Sacred Heart, Coolah, joining the partnership two years ago.
The partnership is all about relationships and understanding; students from all the schools involved come to understand more about the city and country through authentic and lived experiences and engage across stages of learning. Having stayed in the Loreto Normanhurst Boarding School in December 2019, the students of St Michael’s were excited to see some new Loreto faces in 2020.
Students from Loreto Normanhurst spent a week in the Dunedoo and Coolah communities performing community service in each of the respective schools; they helped teachers in the morning and taught classes in subjects during the afternoons. After school, people from the communities kindly welcomed the students to experience their business or home lives, with students visiting dairy farms, crop farms, going on vet visits and meeting some of the families from the area. No shoes came back clean!
A St Michael’s teacher summed things up nicely: “So many people benefit from this experience.” A Loreto student said, “I gained a deeper understanding of rural life and how different it is to the city,” and a Sacred Heart teacher commented on the girls’ growth too, saying “To see the change in the girls by the [end of the] week is amazing.” Sr Margaret Flood, the principal of St Michael’s, sees the growth both ways, in that “It gives the St Michael’s Year 5 & 6 students an opportunity to understand life in high school from their interaction with the girls.”
A final comment in the feedback said “The program allows real values that people hold true to show through and shine,” which is what Loreto Normanhurst, St Michael’s and Sacred Heart are all about, and is a testament to the purpose of an immersion experience.
Mr Victor McGee