from ms barbara watkins, principal:
Greetings from Hong Kong! As the week closes we are now half way through the Principal’s Overseas Trip and all is going well.
Throughout the week we have been busy visiting with our families, both current and past, here in Hong Kong. We have had the pleasure of dinner and a ride on a Junk on HK Harbour. It was amazing to see the lights of HK and discuss the unique and different life our students and parents experience in this part of the world. As well as this catch up early in the week we have visited many schools to understand the educational context our overseas students have come from prior to their arrival at Loreto. We have gained many insights whilst visiting the schools and have brokered some lovely partnerships for our students going forward for some possible exchanges and some virtual global connections in various key learning areas.
I was privileged to speak on leadership to the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the rooms of Kirkland and Ellis HK on Tuesday morning. It was a very interesting group of lawyers in HK who look towards the growth of young women in the Law. Some interesting insights on ‘grit’ and ‘personal brand’, ‘knowing yourself as a whole person’ and the idea of the cultural impacts on women in leadership were discussed. It was a very interesting morning and the feedback on the presentation was positive.
Last night we hosted our Cocktail Evening at the China Club HK. It was a superb event where over 40 Loreto family and friends attended. Many Ex-Students living in HK attended the event and it was great to catch up on weddings and the birth of children as well as catch up with some ex-parents and friends of the school who are in some way connected to Loreto Normanhurst. This event and the fact that the School had come to visit them in their homes in HK meant so much to the families here. Distance for these families and ex-students is profound, as you can imagine, and due to this distance families are limited in what they can attend so it was just brilliant to gather together last night and during the week, to share stories and the experiences of their girls as well as share our love for the school and the joy around the 120 years of Loreto Normanhurst’s excellence in education. We depart for London on Saturday.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins,
from ms marina ugonotti, deputy principal:
Albeit the weather has tried to cast a shadow of grey over our week, it has been another week of great colour and movement at Loreto Normanhurst. I do encourage you to read ahead as in this newsletter you will find some wonderful reports and reflections on the week that was and the many events and moments of celebration or commemoration that marked the week for our community.
We were blessed with good weather last Saturday for Open Day. The day was a wonderful celebration of our entire school community. I thank all staff, parents and students who were involved in making the day such a success.
On Tuesday we held our annual Careers Expo. The event was very well-attended, and provided a great opportunity for our students to get a glimpse into their future in the workforce and to engage in conversation with many people from different backgrounds and fields of work. I often comment to the girls that I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I’m usually quite liberated by that declaration myself, but they often respond with disbelief and concern. After they look at me with wonder and shock, I reassure them that none of us can possibly have a definite and closed notion of what the future will hold. More than ever our young people need to be open to multiple iterations of what work will look like for them and I know that Tuesday evening’s Expo shed quite some light on this for them. Thank you for the Careers Staff for their organisation of this key event.
On Wednesday we held ‘Close the Gap’ Day. The aim of the day was to highlight and raise awareness about the inequities in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal Australians and the rest of the country. Students participated in various activities throughout the week to raise funds and awareness, and are encouraged to continue conversations about this important issue at home and with friends. While it might be a ‘day’, it is a conversation that must be sustained at local and national levels and we will continue to do our bit here at Loreto Normanhurst to work to close the gap and to educate our girls in this area.
I had the privilege of being part of Niamh Condon’s (Year 12) “support team” at the Lions Youth of the Year Award. Niamh responded to two impromptu questions, those being “If you had a magic wand, how would you deal with bullies?” and “what is the future of fossil fuels and what are the alternatives for the future?” Niamh them presented her prepared piece, a powerful and thought-provoking speech on what she dubs ‘the humanity of charity’. It was wonderful to hear Niamh reflect in this speech of the impact which her participation in the Project Futures Cycle Challenge to Cambodia had on helping her empathise with people at the centre of the horrible issue of human trafficking. Niamh finished as the runner-up on the night and represented our School with pride and grace. The Oratory program continues tonight and we wish Stephanie Sardinha all the best as she competes in the CSDA Public Speaking Grand Final tonight.
Today marks the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. This morning I spoke with the girls about how simple acts of kindness can counteract the harm and damage that bullying can cause. There is no place within our community for any act that demeans or removes the dignity of another human being, and we all – adults and young people alike – have a role to play in looking out for each other and being kind to ourselves and to others. I wonder if you caught the ABC series “Bullied” on Monday night. It is a four part series and continues this coming week or can be caught on iview. I did recommend it to the girls to watch, and do so to you. It provides some haunting insight into the impact that bullying can have, just as much as it highlights how kindness and solidarity can heal and repair.
I wish all Patricks and Patricias a very Happy Feast Day and to all a very Happy St Patrick’s Day, and leave you with the beautifully moving words from the Breastplate of St. Patrick.
As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Ms Marina Ugonotti