Welcome to Term 3. I hope that all families enjoyed a restful break over the student vacation period. I know that the girls have returned refreshed and renewed for the new term.
We began our new term with a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony led by Uncle Laurie Bimson, who is a Guringai elder, traditional owner of Guringai Country and dear friend of Loreto Normanhurst. Uncle Laurie shared with our community the sacred significance of this cleansing ceremony. ‘Yellow blood wood’ is used in the smoking ceremony and each of us walked through the yellow blood wood smoke as we cleansed ourselves in the traditional way of the Guringai people on this very sacred land. This launched our community into NAIDOC week where we celebrated the rich and diverse history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year the theme for NAIDOC Week has been VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. These three elements are key to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
With 65,000 years of history before European settlement in Australia, it is right and just that Indigenous Australians are recognised for their unique place in Australian history and Australian society today. The history of our First Nations People is the history of all of us and as a school community seeking truth and doing justice, this week we affirmed our commitment to work together for a shared future based on respect, truth and understanding.
National NAIDOC Co-Chair Patricia Thompson says “The 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people which call for these people to be the architects of their own lives and futures.” For 14 years Loreto Normanhurst has visited Far North Queensland in the hope of Walking beside and Caring for Country. Pat Thompson is an elder of the Kuku Yalanji people of the region we visit and learn from. The Kuku Yalanji people’s borders extend from Port Douglas in the south, to Cooktown in the north and Chillagoe in the west. The Kuku Yalanji began concentrating around the Mossman River area from WWII onwards. They represent just one voice in the national push to recognise and listen to the voice of all Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. 2019 is the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages and as such provides Australia with a unique opportunity to hear this nation’s Indigenous voice. At our secondary school assembly this week, I mentioned that I would be very interested to hear from anyone who may speak an Indigenous language, have learned one at primary school or through family or friends, or perhaps might know someone who teaches Indigenous language/s. Please let me know if you or someone you know speaks or teaches an Indigenous language.
It was a busy term break for some students who were part of the New York Drama and Visual Arts Tour, the NASA Space Tour, the Project Futures Cambodia Cycling Challenge and the Yarrabah Immersion. It is wonderful to be able to offer these wide and varied programs to our students. These experiences deepen the impact of the girls’ growth in an enduring manner and I extend my gratitude to parents for their support and to the staff who accompanied the girls throughout these experiences.
It was also a busy and very successful time for some of our athletes in the pool and on the ski slopes. I would like to congratulate Charlotte Horbach, Year 5, who won gold in the 1 metre springboard and bronze in the 3 metre springboard individual events at the Australian Elite Junior Diving Championships. An outstanding achievement Charlotte! Our Snowsports team also had some excellent results at the Northern NSW Interschools Snowsports Championships and I would like to particularly congratulate Dominique Rossell, Year 12 who won two gold medals for individual snowboarding events, to then team up with sister, Eliza, Year 9, to win gold and silver in the team events. Congratulations to you both for these wonderful results and to the whole Snowsports team for their hard work and skill on the slopes.
Congratulations to Lana Harmey, Year 7 Barry, who has been selected to be part of the Sydney cast of the School of Rock musical which will run from November to the end of March 2020. We congratulate Lana on the dedication and commitment she has shown to have been selected and wish her well for the performances. Congratulations, Lana on your wonderful achievement.
For many years Loreto Normanhurst has been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme where students test themselves in outdoor activities and generous service. Our students commence the program in Year 9 fulfilling the Bronze expeditions and performing their community work. Some then go on to the Silver program and only a few move through to challenge themselves to do the Gold program. We are excited to hear that two of our students, Anna Hanselmann, Year 12 and Nitasha Dewan,Year 12 have just been granted the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award which is an amazing achievement. We congratulate them on this incredible achievement and we look forward to the formal ceremony that will take place in the coming months.
We also congratulate ex-students Victoria Pengilly (Class of 2017) and Margaux Choo (Class of 2018) who also both gained The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award which was presented to them this week by Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW. Her Excellency reminded recipients of the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” and spoke of the personal growth of each participant and the incredible journey each one had undertaken since beginning their journey with their Bronze Award, when many were only 14 years old. Each recipient had stepped outside of their comfort zone and shown great stamina and perseverance, selflessness and team work. We are proud of Victoria and Margaux’s achievements and sincerely congratulate them on attaining the Gold Award.
I’d like to extend to the community and the wider network of Loreto Friends an invitation to hear from Dr Elaine McDonald, Head of Policy and Practice at Dublin City University, as we host Dr McDonald’s Sydney public lecture: Bearers of a Dangerous Memory: the Prophetic Legacy of Mary Ward on Monday Evening 5 August. As people nourished by the vision and spirit of Mary Ward, I hope that many of you will be able to join us. You can register your attendance here.
May you always see the beauty of the Earth
May you always taste the sweetest fruit
May you always hear the laughter of the People
May you always feel the warmth of the Flame
May you always smell the perfume of the flowers
May your dreams always be happy ones
May your friends always be with you when you have need
May your stomach always be full
May you never feel hurt
Francis Bodkin, D’harawal Peoples
Ms Marina Ugonotti