The spirit of our community was evident last Saturday at our annual Open Day and I thank everyone for everything you did and brought to this great day for our school. It was such a wonderful event that is so important for our school as we share the offerings of a Loreto Normanhurst education with families looking for the right school for their daughters. It was also a very successful day measured by people in attendance, feedback of their experience, the smiles on faces, enquiries fielded in the Enrolments stand and the explosion of joy and pride in our school. Many thanks to our staff for their contribution on the day, in the lead up to the day, and in their every day as they go about their work here in relationship with each other and our girls. I would also like to thank Evelyn O’Brien, Year 12, Georgia Tiffen, Year 7 and Sairsha Davies, Year 7 for presenting with me and for truly embodying our mission in their speeches. Many thanks also go to our wider community of parents and ex-students for their hard work and cheerful attendance which also embodies who we are as a Loreto community.
This week the School’s Leadership Team has been in Ballarat attending a conference organised by the Loreto Schools of Australia Committee (LSAC). The Mary Ward value of Sincerity, celebrated by our schools this year, was the inspiration for the conference theme of: Leading with Sincerity, Living with Integrity. We have heard inspiring and insightful presentations by Jane Kelly IBVM on the educational vision of Mother Gonzaga Barry IBVM, and from two presenters who led us through workshops about ‘Understanding Unconscious Bias’. We were also blessed to hear from Sr Wendy Hildebrand IBVM, Province Leader of Australia and South East Asia, whose keynote presentation was about ‘Leading with Integrity in a complex world: the Loreto landscape near and far.’
The conference has also been an opportunity for us leaders of Mary Ward Schools in Australia to engage with the ‘compass document’, a guiding document which came out of the international conference of Mary Ward Schools in 2017. It was inspiring and heartening to be part of the presentations from all seven Loreto schools on how we are responding to being Mary Ward Schools in the modern day; schools that are guided by the ‘compass points and bearings’ of:
- Keeping our focused fixed.
- Guiding and guarding in the use of media.
- Cultivating values needed now.
- Engaging with the bigger picture.
- Thinking and acting justly.
- Embracing and affirming diversity.
- Owning and developing the charism.
- Being an agent of change.
Our facilitator throughout the conference was Sr Sandra Perrett IBVM who, by drawing on the practices of our traditions such as the Examen, communal and personal prayer, dialogue and discernment, allowed us all to make meaning and deepen our commitment to our call and mission as leaders in the charism and tradition of Mary Ward. Before our celebration of the Eucharist on Thursday afternoon, we had the chance to visit Loreto Ballarat and the archives of the Loreto Province. As I stood by the grave of Mother Gonzaga Barry, I reflected on her grace, spirituality and fortitude. We are all forever grateful to the eight pioneer sisters and two novices who answered the call of mission back in 1875, and in doing so, became innovators in the education of women in Australia.
Today is the National Day of Action to end Bullying and Violence. Here at Loreto Normanhurst our students discuss action plans and ways to empower themselves to be part of the solution around any bullying situation. Providing students with opportunities to talk about bullying is an important part of making a positive change, of becoming positive role models and of encouraging others to make a constructive impact on the school climate. As a school we will continue to provide opportunities to focus on bullying and what we can all do to create safer, more loving, and caring communities for everyone.
Last week I wrote about students who have been named as state or national representatives in their chosen sport and it gives me great pleasure to report that Juliet Lahood, Year 11, competed at the Taekwondo Dutch Open on the weekend and won gold for Australia! Juliet competed in four fights in her Junior Sparring Division 2 against Germany, Finland and Ireland. Next stop for Juliet is at the Belgian Open this weekend and we wish her the best of luck.
Congratulations to Hannah Cowap, Year 12, who has been named in the NSW Under 21 Women’s Eight Rowing Team. This is a huge achievement for Hannah and I would like to further congratulate her for continuing to strive and achieve her best.
Tonight is the annual Trivia Night for Year 7 girls and their Year 12 buddies, organised by the SRC. This night is a fun and relaxed way for the girls to bond and form firm friendships which is so important within our vertical pastoral care system and particularly for our new Year 7 students. It will be a fantastic evening with the girls dressed up to the theme ‘Throughout the Ages’ and I look forward to hearing about it and seeing the girls’ imagination coming through in their many wonderful costumes.
Good luck to our rowers for the Schoolgirls’ Head of the River this weekend. Our rowers have done their work to prepare for the big day and I know they will give it their all out on the water. I look forward to joining coaches and parents on Saturday to cheer our rowers on in true Loreto Normanhurst spirit.
Lord I will turn, turn my face towards you.
I will lay before you the desert areas I hide.
Keep me faithful to your word.
May it find a place in my heart and transform my life.
I will turn to soak in your refreshing words of life.
And bathe in the gentle power of your Spirit.
Lord today I turn my face towards you.
To rest in the warmth of your love.
Seeing the inequalities and oppression of our world may I strive to be part of the solution, building peace and working for justice.
With Mary Ward, Teresa Ball, and Mother Gonzaga Barry we pray,
Ms Marina Ugonotti