Dear Loreto Community members,
In a newsletter last term, I referred to an article by Sr Christine Burke IBVM on the canonisation of Mother Teresa and said that this would be celebrated beyond the Church as well as within it. So it was. At the time, I was struck by the number of commentaries I had heard or read about Mother Teresa’s canonisation. St Teresa of Kolkata certainly impacted on many, many people. Mother Teresa was known as “the saint of the gutters”, and it was her love for people not highly valued by society that inspired so much good will towards this simple woman.
Described as “a gleaming mirror of God’s love and a marvellous example of service to one’s neighbour”, St Teresa is an example to us all, and her life and canonisation complement Pope Francis’s view of a Church which strives to serve the poor. St Teresa’s words, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” provide inspiration to us in the way we live our own lives as we marvel at the life of this great woman.
Ms O’Keeffe, Ms Berlage, Ms Rocca, Ms Bleby and I spent two days with our newly appointed student leaders at the Student Leaders Retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to help prepare our students for their servant leadership role commencing Term 4 2016 and into 2017. I was delighted by the girls’ passion, maturity, higher-order thinking skills, natural leadership skills and their kindness and generosity. I found myself reflecting throughout the retreat on the wonderful role models that our girls have to draw on during their tenure as our student leaders. We are all blessed to have Jesus, Mary Ward and Mother Teresa as significant role models to help guide us in the work that we do and in the lives that we lead.
Student Leadership Retreat
As you are aware the HSC commenced on Thursday, 13 October and concludes on Friday, 4 November. I ask that you keep our amazing girls in your thoughts and prayers so that they accomplish what they set out to achieve. I was very proud of them as they stood ready to enter their exam looking positive and up to the challenge of their first English paper. We wish them all the very best.
For Year 11, the results of the Preliminary HSC examinations completed at the end of last term are a quantifiable measure of academic achievement and a platform from which to plan for HSC study. I thank Ms Duggan, our Director of Academic Programs, for delivering an excellent 2017 HSC Information night. I was also delighted with the attendance on the night, with some students needing to sit in the aisles as all seats were taken in the auditorium. Engagement of our parents is our priority and I am glad that parents are responding in record numbers as it directly benefits their daughters.
Years 7-10 have end-of-year examinations this term and so should be already developing their plan of study and revision. After her examinations have concluded, your daughter should reflect on her preparation to understand which of the study skills that she has developed have been most successful. A positive approach to continual improvement is so important. Please remind your daughter of the value of a growth mind set.
Beyond the academic, Loreto offers many extra-curricular opportunities for students to develop into well-rounded individuals. While I believe that the focus of education is much more than to prepare the young for employment, studies and reports on the skills required by employers stress the need for employees to be able to work well in teams, plan ahead and be able to cope with both disappointment and failure. These skills are often learnt and strengthened in extra-curricular activities such as sport, debating and musical groups.
If your daughter has not been involved in any extra-curricular activity this year, I encourage her to think about that as an avenue of challenge and perhaps accomplishment next year. This extra involvement can also help to widen friendship groups and enhance self-esteem.
Next week Loreto Normanhurst will host the Mary Ward Justice Forum Humans, God, Nature, with panellists Elizabeth Farrelly, columnist at the SMH and The Age and Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia. The forum will be facilitated by Julie Edwards, CEO of Jesuit Social Services. This forum series is held annually and alternates between Loreto Kirribilli and Loreto Normanhurst. I highly recommend your attendance at this event as it is always outstanding.
I also warmly invite you to attend the P&F Liturgy and AGM to be held on Monday, 14 November commencing at 6pm. I will be providing parents with an update on the pastoral review and introducing the new Pastoral structures that will commence in 2017. I look forward to sharing with you the outcome of the two-year review process which included research, analysis of surveys of parents, students and staff, forum consultation groups and a series of briefings. Our new pastoral structures are an evolution of the best of our current structures, leading to a model that we are calling ‘next practice’ not just best practice. I hope that large numbers of parents attend to be updated on the review and subsequent structures as well as celebrating the outstanding achievements of the 2016 Parents and Friends Association.
Finally, congratulations to our water polo teams. What a great start to the season. Our Junior team defeated MLC in their first ever game at MLC under coach Mr Chris Hook, while our Senior team, coached by Mr Chris Carroll, was narrowly defeated by St Catherine’s, a well-known water polo school. Well done to the girls and coaches for our first official Loreto teams. Very exciting indeed.
Our school community was deeply saddened to receive the news that four of our staff members and extended Loreto community have lost loved ones this month. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
- Janet Freeman’s father, Robert (Bob) Freeman
- Helen Pajak’s mother, Helen Kutera
- Gabby Smith’s father, Mr Bede Nichols
- Vanessa Fraser’s mother in-law, Anna Furhoff
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
Anna Dickinson (Mrs)