I write today’s message after returning to Sydney with Mrs Kovacs from the Principal’s Country Road Trips 2019. This trip draws to a close what have been three instalments of warm hospitality, nourishing storytelling and humbling insight from our families on the land, past, present and future, into the current context of the drought-affected areas of our state.
Our most recent trip took us west to the beauty of the Central West and North West of NSW. Despite the undeniable impact of the unforgiving drought gripping the state, there was still so much beauty to behold. Beauty in the echoing cries of the thirsty land, beauty in the tenacity and resilience of the people of the land, beauty in the strength and solidarity of community. I have witnessed and absorbed all of this and more over these trips.
When planning your weekends or holidays out of Sydney, I encourage you all to consider making a visit to the country and regional towns of NSW. Sometimes those of us from the city can feel quite unsure of what we can do to assist those in drought affected areas. Along with prayers and assisting the Boarding School in transporting our boarders to sport or other outings, visiting these country and regional towns is another way we can contribute to the local economy and do our little bit for families and communities beyond the city bounds.
For the past fortnight, we have been following Year 9 as they explore the beauty and wonder of Far North Queensland and this afternoon, we welcome the girls and staff home. It will be great to have them back at school and we look forward to hearing of their experience, which I know will continue to gently unfold over the coming weeks and months. I am sure that our families will be happy to have their daughters home and know that the boarding community is also looking forward to being ‘whole again’ with the return of our Year 9 boarders.
The HSC Trials finish at the beginning of next week for Year 12. The girls have handled the exams with dedication and determination, and we are proud of their efforts. In practical subjects, HSC exams and submissions draw very near, with Languages speaking exams commencing this weekend. We continue to keep Year 12 and their families in our prayers at this time.
On Wednesday we welcomed guest speaker Melissa McGuiness who spoke to Year 11 about road safety choices and consequences. Melissa is continuing to live with the loss of her 18-year-old son from a road accident in 2012. He was also responsible for four other deaths and Melissa shared her very personal story with our community in the hope that it might serve as a lesson and warning to others about the dangers of careless and irresponsible behaviour when driving. We recognise and understand that Melissa’s story is upsetting and confronting, but we believe that it is important to expose our students to real life lessons, and this one was particularly relevant to a group of young people who are just beginning their preparation for a life of driving. If you have any concerns about your daughter in relation to this workshop, please contact her Head of House.
Today Years 10 and 11 were privileged to hear from anti-trafficking advocate Somaly Mam. Somaly is the founder of AFESIP, a foundation in Cambodia tasked with rescuing young girls (11 months – 18 years) from sexual abuse and trafficking. These girls are housed, educated, trained and reintegrated into mainstream society with financial independence. It is so important for our girls to hear about these issues in our world so they are equipped with the knowledge and education needed to be an integral part of the catalyst for change. Ex-student, Stephanie Lorenzo, read Somaly’s book and subsequently met her, giving her the inspiration to set up Project Futures. This July just passed, five of our Year 10 students and their mothers took part in Project Futures Cambodia Cycle Challenge as part of the awareness raising and fundraising to help Cambodian girls and women in this horrendous situation.
Congratulations to the Tech Hub Girls, Gian Ellis-Gannell, Year 11, Elle Nacard, Year 11, and Olivia Holmes, Year 10, for placing third in the state for the Years 11 and 12 category in the Young ICT Explorers Competition at UNSW last week. The judges were very impressed with their coding concept of a mentoring website for girls interested in STEM careers. Well done, girls.
Congratulations also to our Netball Schools Cup team who dug deep and gave it their all to win the Metro Grand Final! They now go on to play in the State Final in September. Brilliant work girls!
On Thursday we celebrated The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary with a whole-school Eucharist. This is an important celebration in the Catholic liturgical year, and when we celebrate the Assumption, we honour Mary, her faithfulness to God, her example of a holy life and her role in giving birth to Jesus.
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb,
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Ms Marina Ugonotti