“Wow!” This was the word which my 10-year-old goddaughter Stella greeted me with when she arrived at our Spring Fair on Sunday, excitedly telling me that “you’ve done a great job!”. Of course, as I explained to her, the great job was not done at all by me but rather by the army of parent helpers and volunteers ably led by our Parent Association (PAL). I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all those who contributed to our wonderful and joyful Spring Fair. We had some new events with the Battle of the Bands and the Young Farmer Challenge that were so successful and that I’m sure will very much become a tradition of Spring Fairs for years to come. Special thanks to the 2019 Spring Fair Committee and PAL for all their hard work. I do acknowledge that it takes many hands to pull these events together with such success, so thank you for all you do.
I also acknowledge the School’s Green Team, led by Social Justice Captain, Luka Swain, whose presence at the Fair ensured that we had a strong theme of sustainability to match our strategic pathway of being an ecology-centred school. I’m constantly in awe of the work of the Green Team and their passion, dedication and perseverance to support our community to help protect our precious Earth, our Common Home. This week at Assembly, the Green Team launched the Loreto Normanhurst Green Travel Plan, an action plan to promote and encourage our community to choose sustainable transport options such as walking, cycling, public transport and carpooling in preference to single occupant car trips whenever practicable. The Green Team will be leading the education and awareness raising campaign for the whole school and I commend them for their efforts.
We have set ourselves the goal of reducing the number of staff and students who come to work and school by single occupant car trips. Initiatives such as these are challenging for us all; they cause us to question what it is that we stand for and how willing we are to make small changes to routine and lifestyle to play our part in making a difference. Following assembly, I was having a conversation with a student in Year 10 about the advocacy work she is doing concerning environmental sustainability and ecology. I asked her what advice she would give me. Straight up she told me how important it is that I “lead by example”. I couldn’t agree with her more. I’ve pledged to start with one day a week when I carpool with other staff from my area and started with that this morning. I’m hoping to be able to plan a little better and increase to more than one day as the weeks unfold.
Once again, our Boarders Farmers’ Market was a place of gathering at the Spring Fair, celebrating produce and diversity of our country areas. The generosity, resilience and spirit of our boarder families were well on display. It was uplifting to hear from some of our boarder families that the rain which we have seen reported in the media this week had reached some of their areas. The Catholic Church in Australia has dedicated November as a month to remember and pray for all those affected by the drought. We are taking part in this prayer campaign, through our daily gong and it was the focus of this morning’s Communion Service as well. There is great power in prayer and especially coming together to pray – when we pray, we bring a strengthening presence to all and this was palpable this morning.
#buyfromthebush is a social media campaign intended to encourage people in metropolitan and city centres to buy from businesses in rural communities which are facing drought. Parents on our Boarder Parent Committee were telling me on Friday of the positive impact this campaign is having in their local areas, generating optimism as well as solidarity, hope as well as work for people who have now been employed to assist with packaging, restocking etc. It is the time when in our families and workplaces we are thinking of gift giving for Christmas. It is a campaign so powerful in its simplicity. Ex-student Lucy Moss owns Mink and Me in Coonamble, NSW. Mrs Kovacs and I caught up with Lucy when we were on the Principal’s Country Road Trip earlier this year and experienced how this enterprise is really a community gathering place that is changing the reality of life for so many people. Lucy has designed a map for social media of the businesses taking part in the campaign and I include it here in the photo gallery for your reference. I encourage you to buy from the bush where and when you can, thereby supporting those people and communities who continue to be impacted by this crippling drought.
Congratulations to our parents, rowing staff, sports staff and students for hosting the well organised Loreto Normanhurst Regatta last Saturday at SIRC in Penrith. As the LN Regatta is the first of the season it was great to see our rowers beat nerves and complete their races well. The camaraderie of the parents was obvious, and I know the rowing community looks forward to an enjoyable season. Good luck to all those students competing in sport this weekend.
In wisdom and love
you created our earth to sustain us and give us life.
We turn to you now
in faith, hope and love, asking you to look with favour on our drought-stricken land, on our starving animals, on our failing crops.
Strengthen, sustain and give new heart
to our farmers and to all who are affected by drought; be with those who support them.
In your loving providence,
send abundant rain and restore our parched earth.
Father of all compassion,
hear our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son, in whom the promise of new life has dawned, and through the power of the Holy Spirit,
the Lord the giver of life:
Renew your faithful people;
Renew the face of the earth.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Mary, help of Christians – Pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Pray for us.
Ms Marina Ugonotti