Last week was National Boarding Week and you would have read about the activities and focus we had here at school to celebrate our proud history as a Boarding School in last week’s newsletter. This week at assembly we were treated by our Year 7 and 11 boarders sharing their Main Event entries with the whole secondary school. Boarding brings such nuance, diversity and richness to our community and it is wonderful to witness our boarders working together in celebration of their love of boarding. This weekend is Commitment Weekend for our boarders and I know they will have a wonderful time together truly enjoying the inclusiveness and camaraderie of the boarding community at Loreto Normanhurst.
Mrs Kovacs, Director of Boarding, and I spent some time in the beautiful areas of Griffith, Wagga Wagga and Canberra last week for the first of three Principal’s Country Road Trips planned for this year. It is particularly important to me, in my first year as Principal, that I have an opportunity to visit some of the areas that are home for our country boarders and their families. I was humbled by their hospitality and am grateful to all parents and ex-students who were able to join us.
You might remember that last year our Year 10 students and teachers participated in the very successful ‘Sprint Week’; which was designed by our Year 10 integrated teachers as a ‘real-world’ Design Sprint to work on real world problems. Design Sprints are a five-day problem solving methodology that helps organisations to grow their ideas and businesses, aiming to push the bounds of what’s possible. The school submitted a video narrative of ‘Sprint Week’ to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 2030 Future of Education and Skills Project and I am delighted to report that it has been accepted by OECD to feature on their website as part of the 2030 Teaching and Learning Examples. This is a great recognition of how we prepare students for the future by equipping them with a sense of purpose as well as the competencies they need to fulfil their own potential, contribute to the lives of others and help make a better future. Congratulations to our Year 10 Integrated teachers for such wonderful recognition of all the work you do. I share the video link with you here.
Each year we hold a special celebration event for our ex-students who graduated prior to and including 1969. ‘Loreto Lunch and Lyrics’ was held on Tuesday this week and it was a lovely celebration of beautiful and enduring friendships and of the influence their Loreto Normanhurst education has had on the lives of so many women over the years. Those gathered were treated to a beautiful concert by Year 11 Music students whose performances raised the hearts and minds of all in the Reception Room. I would like to acknowledge and congratulate two ex-students – Ex-students’ Association President Patsy Shannon, and Kathy Richardson, both members of the Class of ’69 – who were celebrated as Golden Jubilarians.
The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has invited me as Principal to take part in a roundtable discussion which will focus on the model of sustainable governance required for Catholic organisations to respond to the uniquely complex challenges of our times. The roundtable will be held next week at the ACU campus in Rome. It will include a Papal audience as the program draws heavily on Pope Francis’ teachings on human flourishing and the common good as well as the life and inspiration of his namesake St Francis of Assisi. I will be sharing the learnings of this experience with the community upon my return. I will be contactable throughout next week via our Deputy Principal, Ms Sophie Kearns.
Congratulations to our 13’s and 17’s Cross Country groups, both finishing third in the IGSSA XC Team event and eighth overall in Frensham last week. What a wonderful effort, girls! Good luck to all those competing in sport this weekend.
The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal is also on this weekend and I have been informed that 90% of the volunteers in our local area are Loreto Normanhurst students. On behalf of our local community, I thank and commend the service our girls will give to the community this weekend by volunteering for the Red Shield Appeal.
At this morning’s Communion Service, the focus was on our Loreto Day Cause for this year – the Baby Milk Project. In the reflection on the Gospel and the prayers of the faithful that followed, the girls led us to pray for all those in our lives and world who are struggling. It led me to think of the beautiful painting, Mary Undoer of Knots. In Augsburg, Germany, Mary Ward Sisters sometimes pray in St Peter’s Church under this painting. These knots are the problems and struggles for which we do not see any solution, and so today, we call to mind our Loreto Day cause and its aim to bring help to both mothers and children who suffer from AIDS and HIV. We call to mind our lives and the possible knots and daily struggles we may face and I offer you this prayer which calls on the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us all, to untie the knots in our lives, so that we may be closer to God.
Mary our Mother, you undo the knots that suffocate us.
Extend your merciful hands to us.
We entrust to you today the knots of our lives and world, and all the negative consequences that they provoke.
We give you these knots that torment us and make us unhappy and so draw us away from God.
We ask you for the grace, Mary Undoer of Knots, because we trust you and know that you never ignore those who come to ask you for help.
Mary Undoer of Knots, Pray for Us.
Ms Marina Ugonotti