Greetings on the last day of the Principal’s Overseas Trip from London. As you would know, this beautiful city was rocked earlier this week with a terrible event, one that is difficult to comprehend. We pray for the victims and the families of those who were affected by this senseless tragedy, and for peace in the world. Mrs Kovacs, Mrs Maunsell and I had arrived safely at Windsor when the incident occurred, but we thank the many members of the Loreto Normanhurst community for the countless messages of love and support that we received. We look forward to returning to school next week.
The week in the UK has been full of catch ups with ex-students and visits to Ignatian and Loreto schools, catching up with our Gap students and spending a brief time in reflection and prayer at Mary Ward sites. The week culminated in our London based Cocktail Party on Thursday evening with over 40 ex-students joining us to share stories and experiences. It has been a worthwhile week full of great conversation and celebration of Loreto and the relationships formed there.
The School is sad to announce that after 15 years of dedicated service Mrs Gabrielle Stooke has tendered her resignation. Mrs Stooke has been a valuable member of School staff and has spent the past twelve years on the School’s Leadership Team, most recently in the position of Director of Pastoral Care.
During her tenure, Mrs Stooke has been responsible for working with the School’s Pastoral Team in introducing programs and partnerships in the area of student wellbeing, strengthening the House system through initiatives that meet the needs of our girls, Student Leadership from Years 7 to 12, and the Far North Queensland Experience.
As I am sure you will agree, during this time Mrs Stooke has been a respected member of the School and the School community, and has made a positive and lasting impression on so many of our girls and families. The School thanks Mrs Stooke for her devoted work over those years and wishes her well for her future endeavours. Mrs Stooke’s final day with the School will be 31 March 2017.
Good luck to our Rowers for the Schoolgirls’ Head of the River on Saturday. It could not have been easy preparing for the event with all the rain that has been experienced in Sydney this week. We wish all Rowers and their coaches every success as they ‘go for gold’ this Saturday. Congratulations to the Captain of Boats, Lauren Graham, and Vice-Captain of Boats, Alana Lawson, for their leadership throughout the season.
As the Music Festival fast approaches we wish all students the best of luck in their final preparations for the event which should be fantastic, and a fitting celebration of the wonder of music at Loreto in its 120th year.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins
FROM MS MARINA UGONOTTI, DEPUTY PRINCIPAL:
This week we have endured another week of rain and storms but it hasn’t dampened the school’s spirit and engagement in good learning and many wonderful events. There is a real buzz in the air about Music Festival, especially after Wednesday’s rehearsal here at school. The countdown is well and truly on and I look forward to sharing this evening of felicity and community with you.
Last Friday the SRC hosted the Year 7 and 12 Trivia Night. What a wonderful night of collaboration, teamwork and mentoring. The Year 7 and 12 SRC Trivia Night is such a wonderful annual event and the Years 8-10 SRC students demonstrated their leadership by coordinating and running the event. With a theme of Hollywood, the students had great fun with some inventive and interesting costumes adorning the ‘red carpet’.
On Tuesday evening Year 9 students attended the first dance for the year at St Joseph’s College. The school collaborates with St Joseph’s College to have four set dances a year, hosted at Loreto Normanhurst or at St Joseph’s, for Years 8 – 10. The dances are always a fun night and a great chance for the girls to form friendships with students from other schools. I thank the staff who gave up their time to accompany the girls on the night.
On Wednesday we celebrated Harmony Day, a day of celebration and commitment to the promotion of cultural diversity and respect to all Australians. Students came together to celebrate their diversity and showcase their culture and passion in a lunchtime concert, international food stall and donations and pledges. It’s wonderful to see the girls promoting the importance of diversity and to respect all people in their community and foster a sense of belonging for everyone. These initiatives came after the student-led Diversity Program which took place in Houses recently.
In previous newsletters you would have read of the school’s commitment to working for reconciliation and the achievement of justice and human rights for Australia’s indigenous people. Part of this commitment is lived out through our engagement with the Close the Gap Campaign. Last week, our Years 11 and 12 Aboriginal Studies classes took part in an Instagram Photo competition and won the School’s Prize Winner category with their incredibly thoughtful and talented photos. Close the Gap with a Snap! competition is for high school students from across Australia to post photos to Instagram to reflect five Close the Gap themes. The prize is a beautiful, original artwork from Central Australian artist Sacha Long. It will soon be presented to the School and then will adorn the walls of our halls as a reminder of the work done and still to be done to Close the Gap, as well as the legacy being forged by the cohorts of Aboriginal Studies students here at Loreto. Congratulations to all the students who took part in this challenge and I commend the Aboriginal Studies students for working so hard to raise awareness in our school and beyond to Close the Gap.
Congratulations to our Tennis Team who competed across singles and doubles knockout competitions against 25 other IGSSA schools in the 99th edition of the Tildesley Tennis Shield. Led by our Tildesley Captains Niamh Condon (Year 12) and Lucy Gibson (Year 12), our team of 26 players have played excellent tennis with tremendous spirit and we look forward to confirming these results soon. Best wishes to all students taking part in tomorrow’s Schoolgirls Head of the River regatta at Penrith. Tomorrow’s regatta will be the final for this rowing season and I look forward to cheering the girls on with as many supporters as possible. With hope that the weather will allow for a day of healthy competition and enjoyable sport for all this weekend, I wish all girls representing Loreto Normanhurst in sports this weekend all the very best.
In last week’s newsletter Mrs Parker, Director of Mission, referred to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a wonderful invitation to us all for ‘a second chance.’ Today the school community took time out to say ‘yes’ to this invitation. Each year group took part in a 15 minute Liturgy of Reconciliation and we were then invited to receive the Sacrament. On behalf of the School I thank Fr. Michael Stoney SJ and Fr. Harry Kennedy for taking the time to be with our community and to lead us today. In a week where the events at Westminster, London, have reminded us of how fear and terror can shake the very foundations of peace, today’s Reconciliation liturgies provided a most beautiful response. The peace which Reconciliation imparts is one for which there is no substitute. It is a peace that flows from a certainty that our sins have been forgiven and that we are right with God.
And so I leave you with this truly beautiful and lasting Prayer for Peace.
The Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Ms Marina Ugonotti