This weekend we begin Advent, a very special time in the Church’s calendar. Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation for the joy that is the birth of the baby Jesus. This anticipation is profound for us today in our modern world and focuses our attention away from the distraction of the busyness of the secular world and it moves us to a place of love. The Nativity and Advent remind us that what drives us daily should be this simple message of love that is demonstrated by Jesus in a lowly manger. I hope as the year draws to a close and the student vacation period commences next week that families are able to engage in this watching and waiting for Jesus at Christmas and feel the joy that this simple yet powerful story brings to each of us.
It was marvellous to hear that as the wild storms beat down on Sydney this week some of our worst drought affected areas received some rain and quite a lot of it too. We hope and pray that the much needed follow up rain comes next so that the families in those areas can perhaps worry a little bit less as Christmas approaches.
This week I was struck by the speed, the sparkle, the colour, and the spirit as I had the pleasure of spectating at both the Senior School and Primary School Swimming Carnivals. They were both tremendous days and I enjoyed watching all students participate to gain a House point as well as watching our seasoned swimmers move down the pool with such incredible speed and prowess. I thank the students for their participation in the races and the incredible cheering too. I thank our parents for volunteering for important jobs and our incredible staff and Sport and PDHPE staff who made these carnivals such an amazing success. I thank them for their preparation leading up to the carnivals and for their joy, energy and hard work on both days.
In Loreto Normanhurst’s commitment to social justice we hosted our Sudanese Fun Day for members of the Sudanese Community who arrived in Australia as refugees. Thank you to the Mission Team and the JPIC group who ran the day. These days are so important to understand the plight of refugees in Australia and to assist where we can. Awareness of, and working with, all Australians that make up Sydney is so important for our students. I thank everyone who organised the event and were present on the day of fun and camaraderie.
This week the Boarding School invited staff from across the school (Maintenance, Learning, health staff and counsellors as well as boarding staff and members of the Leadership Team) who they have worked closely with throughout the year for their annual Boarder Appreciation Dinner. It was a superb gathering around the dinner table trading stories of the year and the anticipation of going home for Christmas and a summer holiday with family. Hearing the stories of the year that is almost complete, and the excitement that the next week will bring before the end of the year was a real treat, as was the relaxed atmosphere of the night. These dinners have been a highlight for me each year at the school and I will miss them. I thank the Boarding School for the lovely rug they presented to me and I will use it when I am relaxing and thinking of the abundance of brilliant memories I have of, and with, Loreto Boarding, and what an incredibly fantastic place it is.
The AGM for PAL (Parent Association of Loreto) was held this week. At the meeting we gave thanks to the outgoing team of parents who have led PAL this year, and we announced the new presidents and team for 2019. Thank you to Mrs Tracey Hartshorne and Mr Rob Critchlow, Co-Presidents for 2018, and their outgoing PAL Executive Team for their generosity and hard work for the year. Before stepping down they presented the school with a cheque for $40K. This is a very generous donation to the school. These funds will be put directly towards a refurbishment of the Year 12 Common Room, something that all students will be able to use in the years ahead. We also welcomed the new Co-Presidents Mrs Louise Wytenburg and Mr Paul White and their new Executive Team and I wish them well for 2019.
Thank you to the Boarding and Day parents for the beautiful gifts I received for my service to the school – a beautiful Charcuterie Board from the Boarding families and an exquisite gold bangle with gemstones symbolising each Primary and Senior School House embedded in the bangle from all parents. This is such a beautiful gift and I will treasure it and think of the beautiful Loreto Normanhurst community when I wear it. I thank you all for your goodness and kindness to me over my time as Principal and my time at the school and I will miss the community of Loreto enormously.
Today we had the thrill of Light Entertainment and I congratulate all girls on their fantastic performances and further congratulations to the winning House, Mornane. Even though the Year 9 Pantomime is in full swing, I will see it next week and will report on it in my last newsletter page. This weekend I will be around the sporting fields at Loreto Normanhurst and I hope to see you there. Good luck to those competing in finals.
Also this weekend is the ex-students drama production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Ex-students from a range of years have put this production together and I hope many of you will be able to see it on either Sunday at 4pm or Monday at 7pm in the Drama Space.
Be still and know that I am God.
With prayers of peace and hope,
Ms Barbara Watkins