Happy Loreto Day everyone! Today we celebrate what it is to be in a Loreto Community. We celebrate our connectedness, particularly today, as we raise awareness and funds for the community of Rumbek in South Sudan. At the school in Rumbek, young women are supported with education and care and through this support, the chance at survival in a country ravaged by famine.
As a school on Loreto Day we try to do as Mary Ward hoped; to be a community that is focused on a faith that does justice. Together we will act with felicity and rejoice in each other’s talents. Year 11 have been planning and working to prepare a wonderful day of prayer, understanding, awareness, action and fun for us all to enjoy and their teamwork has been tremendous. To see young women of their age discern a cause through prayerful reflection, and plan for a day of action is wonderful to behold. The day really tries to encapsulate Jesus, St Ignatius’ and Mary Ward’s work and lives; ones of prayer, contemplation and reflection that leads to action. They have also worked to make the day a sustainable one raising our awareness on the importance of Loreto being an ecology centered school by minimising waste on the day and selling wooden beads as a symbol of their day of action for Rumbek.
Team of the Week is Year 11 for their dedicated hard work for the community culminating in Loreto Day. For all the little acts of kindness and hard work only they know. They are the team of the week because they have inspired us to think about a group of girls just like them in faraway South Sudan who want a bright future too. They have approached the cause with sensitivity and maturity and have worked together to provide a fun, sustainable and joyous Loreto day. Congratulations Year 11!
This week I had the pleasure of listening to many international speakers at the World Business Forum in Sydney. Two of the speakers stood out to me. Arianna Huffington, the Founder of the Huffington Post and now CEO of ThriveGlobal.com, and Randi Zuckerberg, Founder, Entrepreneur and CEO of Zuckerberg Media. Both speakers were stimulating, evoking many ideas and both gave the audience many insights as well as challenged our thinking. The two themes that resonated most with me, and ones I feel are worth passing on to the Loreto community, are about sleep and disconnecting from our devices. Of course the two are intrinsically connected.
Arianna Huffington calls herself a sleep evangelist and takes every opportunity to outline the benefits of more sleep. The data about sleep and performance is overwhelming. If we get the optimal amount of sleep for adults between seven and a half hours to nine hours a night we perform better at work, we are happier and we have better relationships. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when we do not get enough sleep. For our young people sleep is essential to focus, for their wellbeing, and for concentration and learning. Yet more and more, our young people are sacrificing their sleep or interrupting it with technology. Our young women at Loreto Normanhurst are told repeatedly at school to ‘get some sleep’ and they need at least eight to ten hours’ sleep a night for their brains to function at its optimal level.
A digital detox is necessary for us to get this uninterrupted sleep and now more than ever it is important for us to monitor our own and our children’s use of their technology. It is best to switch off all technology (no blue light) at least half an hour before bed and to slow the body and brain down by reading a book or having a slow and calm bedtime ritual. If you cannot easily let go of that phone at least the device should be out of the bedroom when you sleep, so that any text or communication that comes in does not interrupt your sleep in the night. Now, more than ever, we are switched on, our brains are active 24/7, mostly with interruptions, so we must take action to look after our brain and let it rest and look after our body and let it rest, so that we can have a more effective daily life and also a longer one.
I set a challenge to our Loreto families, parents, students and staff. I challenge the adults to take this coming week to model this sleep and digital detox and lead the way for our young people who badly need us to role model these two areas that will grow in concern for us if we do not. I challenge our families to take this coming week as a family to consciously get more sleep and do a digital detox and track how you go. Turn off those devices, charge them in the kitchen and get into bed a little earlier! Discuss the benefits, I know there will be many and I would love to hear how you go. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I too will be doing the same. Good luck.
Congratulations to our staff who this week continued their commitment to life-long learning as they graduated from the STEM Academy at Sydney University. Congratulations to Ms Clancy, Mrs Nalewabau, Ms Solo, Mrs Nairn, Mr Blackburn and Mr Little. Their continued work in the area of STEM is assisting our students to traverse and grow daily in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
We pray for two Loreto Families, current and past, who have lost loved ones recently, the Lassau-Wray Family, Brittany (Year 12) on the passing of her dear Father, Dr Edward Lassau-Wray and a past Family, the Bell’s on the passing of their beautiful Daughter, India, who would have been in the Class of 2016. Requiesce in Pace.
Good luck to all students debating and playing sport this weekend.
We pray that education for the children of South Sudan, both at Loreto Rumbek and elsewhere, is secured.
We keep in our minds that the education of both boys and girls in South Sudan is vastly different to our own privileged education but equally as crucial.
We pray that education in South Sudan continues to be valued, and unaffected by the current political climate, and that the lives of those children, will be forever benefited.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins