This week at school we have been celebrating NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week. This is an Australian observance celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
During the week we have been privileged to have Uncle Gavi at the school to share with us the stories of this area and to lead us in a smoking ceremony. At Assembly we were excited to host Mr Michael O’Loughlin, CEO and co-founder of the GO Foundation with Adam Goodes. It was fantastic to hear Michael talk to the assembly about his life story and his time as an elite athlete and AFL legend. His message was clear. “Do your best and work hard for what you want and you never know what you can achieve,” a message that resonated with us all. After the assembly the indigenous students were excited to share lunch and some quiet chat with Michael which they thoroughly enjoyed. Uncle Gavi’s words resonated with me when he said aboriginal history is our shared history and we need to share in this together. We will endeavour to continue to do this at Loreto Normanhurst.
Our Team of the Week is the Loreto Normanhurst Snow Sports Team. Students and their parents attended the School Girl Snow Sports Competition in the student vacation and they performed extremely well with so many personal bests achieved in superb snow conditions. We congratulate them all for their dedication to such a difficult sport. Well done girls!
Year 5 set out on Thursday this week for a very chilly Bathurst to explore their learning of history and geography together. I have heard that they are having a great deal of fun. Whilst none of the group actually struck gold they have absolutely enjoyed panning for it. We look forward to seeing them when they return today.
As the community is aware a student vacation period is a time when we are able to enjoy some rest but is also a time when students can get involved in some of our extra-curricular experiences in learning or community work. This holiday period 36 students were able to attend the Music Tour through Europe and they had a wonderful time playing in some extraordinary concert halls and churches. Whilst this group travelled through Europe, a small group of students attended Space Camp at NASA – a brilliant experience that tested the students’ skills. These kinds of learning experiences are a privilege that our students are very thankful for and we are grateful that our staff are willing to take these groups away.
Not only were groups learning around the world but they were also assisting those who need support as well. A small group of staff and students visited Yarrabah assisting the youth and elderly for a week of community service. As well as this our Loreto Rural Partnership students assisted St. Michael’s of Dunedoo on their visit to Sydney. The students from Kindy to Year 6 experienced the excitement of living in the Boarding School as our guests on their big adventure to Sydney. We also had a group of students and members of their families bike ride through Cambodia to raise awareness to end human trafficking with Project Futures.
Our students are changed by these experiences and it opens their eyes to the plights of people around the world without the resources that we enjoy. I am glad to see so many students taking up these community service and learning immersions and we can see our FACE curriculum so evidently in these experiences.
Year 12 HSC Trials commence with practical subjects at the end of next week and the written examinations the week after. It was good to talk to Year 12 parents with their daughters on Monday night at a meeting about preparation for the examinations and the intricacies of Year 12 life in its final stages. The trial examinations are just that – a ‘trial’ – and it will expose what the Year 12 students do not know, in enough time for them to work on any areas of concern. As always the staff are here to support students and parents throughout this final part of their journey.
On Monday, Mrs Kovacs, Director of Boarding, Mrs Maunsell, Director of Development, and I embark upon the Principal’s Country Road Trip to the North and North West of NSW for the week. We will take in towns such as Dubbo, Wee Waa, Gulargambone, Dunedoo and Tamworth as well as many other stops, to visit our families on their farms and properties on the way. This is a fantastic opportunity for Boarder Parents to meet with the Principal and key members of staff in their home towns and we look forward to reconnecting with families in this area. The invitation is extended to all members of our community and we are looking forward to seeing everyone who is able to attend. Please view the invitation here.
The search for a new Principal has commenced and I attach a letter here from the Chair of the Loreto Normanhurst School Board to keep you updated.
Good luck to all of our debaters and sports teams for the weekend and we hope Year 10 have a wonderful Dinner Dance this evening.
Holy Father, God of Love,
You are the Creator of all things.
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures.
Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history so that we may build a better future for our Nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land. Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.
Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.
May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Wontulp Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group 13 March 1997 Brisbane, Qld).
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins