Welcome back to the whole Loreto Normanhurst community! I hope you have all had a restful break and time with family. This year we have had a longer break, working the start date this year so our Boarder families did not travel on Australia Day. As the week comes to a close we feel like we are settled in to the rhythm of school once more.
We especially welcome our new students and their families and our new staff. Our new Year 5 and 7 students come as a group and they are progressing well already. Coming into other years can often be a little more difficult but I can see those students settling in well and being surrounded by caring students and adults to assist with their transition to Loreto. As I have said at the many gatherings of new parents and to our students, ‘together we are the village that help to raise a beautiful young women’. We have seen this village in full swing this week.
This year we have increased in student population and we have increased in teacher numbers to meet that need, trying to keep our ratios suitable for the relationships and learning to be maximised. We are full in Years 5 and 6 with 100 students. The goodwill around the school means we are over subscribed for places which is wonderful and that comes from the teamwork and partnership with families and school. Growth with the students in mind is what we work towards here at the school and over this coming year we will discuss this further as our Strategic Plan unfolds. More on that next week.
2016 will be a year of great excitement for the Year of Felicity in the school and in all Loreto schools across Australia. It is a challenging value one where we are asked to find the deep joy in each day. This is an attitude of mind and heart and value we can grow in ourselves. I challenge our whole community to grapple with the Value of Felicity this year and give you some words below from the Loreto School Australia Mission Statement to reflect upon.
Mary Ward spoke of being …A Cheerful giver…and of a Cheerful mind.
In her own life she showed the connection between Joy and Courage, this Felicity springs directly from living out the spirit of Freedom, Justice and Sincerity
Felicity is the natural gift of youth and an essential element of the Loreto spirit.
With positive commitment to this spirit our schools can offer students an experience of stability and happiness where felicity can flourish along with self esteem
Concentrating on Felicity means we must resist:
Self-pity, self-centredness, undue anxiety, despondency, envy, criticism, apathy, and every form of fanaticism,
Felicity belongs to the open minded and the generous hearted, it offers challenge to adults in the school community as well as students.
Felicity is nourished by fun and celebration, by beauty and creativity, by sensitivity to the natural environment and by opportunities of self-expression and for reflection.
Pope Francis has also declared 2016 the ‘Year of Mercy’. This is significant for us as a Catholic Christian community. We are bombarded daily with events that ask us to be merciful but as a society we can miss them or say to ourselves “that is not my problem”. The Pope asks us to engage with those who need us and to merciful to all. We take this seriously at Loreto Normanhurst and the recent High Court ruling on Refugees requires us to have a mercy driven response. I attach a template letter from Sr Libby Rogerson IBVM to our Prime Minister to overturn any plans to return children to detention in Australia or beyond. I encourage families to discuss the current situation and to download the letter and send it to the Prime Minister. Both Jesus and Mary Ward urged us to be a voice for the voiceless and this is one way to be that voice.
We were thrilled to welcome back members of the Class of 2015 this week to congratulate and honour them for their success in last year’s HSC. Sophie Cullen and Grace Maher, our joint Dux recipients, spoke powerfully and passionately about their Loreto education and what they now feel propelled to do for the rest of their lives after experiencing such a gift. It was great to have the girls back with their parents and congratulate the whole year and these high achievers on their success. We wish the Class of 2015 every blessing as they take on the world and thank them for their joy and leadership over their years at school.
Good luck to all students who are playing sport this weekend. As we know the more girls are involved in sport and the longer they play a sport the healthier their lives will be. We wish them well and hope the weather holds for the games to take place.
Prayer for Felicity
In this year of felicity may we act from love not fear,
serving one another with humility, humanity, and humour.
With cheerful minds and grateful hearts,
may our inner joy flourish as we grow in loving acceptance of ourselves and others.
As we move through the journey of life,
may we give thanks for the blessings on our Loreto community,
recognising your loving presence in all our relationships.
And where love is hidden, may we find the courage to bring love,
for felicity belongs to the open minded and generous hearted.
– written by the Loreto School Leaders for 2016 at the LSAC Student Leadership Conference
With prayers of joy and peace,
Ms Barbara Watkins