Principal Mrs Michelle Carroll discusses St Catherine’s commitment to community service; locally, nationally and internationally across a broad range of activities undertaken by our students.
This week during our Senior School Assembly, I drew to the girls’ attention the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as adopted by world leaders at the United Nations last year. The Sustainable Development Goals are a global ‘to-do list to end extreme poverty, protect the health of the planet and aim to create a future where every person lives with opportunity and dignity – all by 2030.
During Assembly, we also welcomed Dr Erik Janssen (Father of Year 12 student Megane Janssen) who will deliver on behalf of St Catherine’s just under 100 hand-knitted blankets to families in the village of Khopechunga, in Nepal. Dr Janssen forms part of a medical team that has established a medical clinic in the Swanta Village in a remote region of Nepal.
During his Assembly address, Dr Janssen provided an insight into Sustainable Development Goal Three – Good Health and Wellbeing. With limited medical care in the regional areas of Nepal, much of Dr Janssen and the medical team’s work is focused on preventing disease. He highlighted the need for Ventolin inhalers and spacers to assist in managing the high levels of asthma owing to families residing in smoke filled huts and the need for basic items such as toothbrushes as dental care is virtually nonexistent as well as the provision of glasses to improve eyesight. Following the earthquake in Nepal last year, Dr Janssen will remind the Nepalese people when he delivers our blankets that they are still in the thoughts of many people around the world.
On behalf of the School, I also acknowledge the generous donation of wool and knitting needles from Spotlight and the support of Mr Quentin Gracanin (Father of Zara in Year 8 and Sienna in Year 6). Many girls, staff, parents and grandparents contributed to knitting squares and hand sewing blankets in what has been a significant undertaking all supervised under the successful leadership of Year 10 Dean, Ms Vicki Spanos.
Our Year 9s girls this week commenced their Heyington to Highlands Program where we also have a focus on Sustainable Development Goal Four – Quality Education. The Heyington to Highlands Program is underpinned by a literacy focus, where this year, the Year 9s will deliver just over 700 books donated from our Preps to Year 12 girls. The books will enable the development of a library in each of the three schools they will be volunteering in over the course of this week. Participating in the Program will enable our Year 9 girls to gain a first hand understanding of the educational plight of teenage girls in Fiji and to also learn about their access to education beyond village life.
Teenage girls are well recognised around the world to face more and greater challenges than their male counterparts. Without education, in poor health, and often with little or no control over their own body, a girl’s future can be derailed very quickly, and her potential never realised. This is why the United Nations have also focused their attention on investing in teenage girls to ensure they themselves hold the key to their own future. Over the course of the Term, I hope to spend some time focusing on the dilemma of teenage girls around the world and how the UN through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals aim to improve this, thus provoking the questions on how this is relevant for our own behaviour and understanding in Australia and what we can do as a School community to contribute to improving the situation of millions of girls across the world.
Cut for Cancer
I also wish to acknowledge the enthusiasm and commitment of our Year 12 students in orchestrating a significant fundraising event over the course of the holidays and culminating in somewhat of a ‘haircut en masse’ last Friday. Year 12 girls, Mia Lansell, Georgia Bickford and Ella Swann brilliantly coordinated the St Catherine’s Cancer Cut and successfully raised more than $28,000 for cancer research. This was a great example of empowered girls in action. Congratulations to everyone involved. The new hairdos look great!