Tuesday 13 February was the tenth anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australians. The Apology was delivered on February 13 2008 by then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. I recall that day here at Loreto when we, as a school, stopped together as one to witness this moment in Australia’s history. As the Apology was read out by the Prime Minister, I remember the emotion in Parliament and the emotion we felt listening and watching. The discussion that followed with students was incredible, with our young women showing the necessary insight and reverence and a deeper understanding of what it meant to be an Australian, to stand proudly in solidarity and in reconciliation with Indigenous Australians, in particular the Stolen Generations. Now ten years on, we continue to promote the need for reconciliation in Australia.
As Lent commences we are again aware of turning our focus to Justice and what that looks like as a citizen of the world and as a member of the Loreto community. Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are the three areas we are asked to focus on as a Catholic community during Lent and I must say, I have been very impressed with the senior students unpacking what this means for us as a Loreto community in a modern context. Today at Communion Service and last Wednesday at our Ash Wednesday Liturgy, the students spoke of giving up many things. Perhaps, ‘a harsh word’ or ‘giving up technology’ – so that we can be more present to others and build loving relationships. The students have also spoken to us about Project Compassion and our ability to raise awareness and funds for the poor in Australia and overseas. It is our aim that everyone in the school puts $2 a day for the period of Lent which would mean as a school we raise at least $12,000 for Project Compassion, which could provide support for projects for more than a year. Our small sacrifices mean a great deal to those who need it and this is our hope this year.
I have been so impressed by our young women at the start of this year, their joy and friendliness has been quite obvious around our halls. Everyone has gone about the business of learning with wonder and determination. I witnessed some of our students from Years 9 and 10 running to assist Year 7 students to class the other day in a very cheery way and I have witnessed many new students being wrapped up and cared for each day. This dedication was also so evident last Friday night when we watched the amazing Year 10 Drama classes perform Macbeth as part of the Bell Shakespeare Artist in Residence Program. This is a program that we have run for the last seven years and the benefits for our students are enormous. The powerful performances came from everyone, with students sharing the key characters and giving it their all. It was a really impressive performance from the soliloquy to the sword fight. Well done to Year 10 Drama, the Drama Department and Bell Shakespeare.
I would like to introduce Mrs Lynn Long, Director of Pastoral Care to the community. Mrs Long comes to Loreto from Santa Sabina with many years’ experience as a Director of Pastoral Care and within the wellbeing space. Mrs Long has already made an impact with our students and staff and we welcome her to the school.
Mrs Chris Woods, who is well known to the community, has a new role in the school as Dean of Extra-curricular. This new role focuses on the “E” part of our FACE Curriculum which is an essential part of the holistic learning our students are part of at the school. The Dean of Extra-Curricular has oversight of Sport, Oratory, Tours and many more extra-curricular programs we offer. Chris has had many years of leadership experience within the school and her passion and expertise leads her to be a great fit for this new role.
I look forward to seeing parents at the Information Sessions and Parent Cocktail Evening tonight. It is shaping up to be another great event for our community with about 500 people attending. I look forward to sharing the evening with parents.
Today, Lord Jesus
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
I give you my heart that you may love in me –
Your Father and all people.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me,
so that it is you, Lord Jesus,
Who live and work and pray in me.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins