It was a pleasure to welcome students to School this week and to greet many parents at our Senior School Information Evening, Year Level Morning Teas and at the School gate.

Together with staff, I am looking forward to sharing this year with our community. The classrooms, sporting fields and music rooms were once again filled with active and engaged girls.

I would particularly like to welcome new families to St Catherine’s. I trust that all girls and children in our ELC will have a wonderful time at St Catherine’s. I hope they feel happy and comfortable here and seize every opportunity in both the classroom and in the vast array of co-curricular programs offered at our School.

In 2017 we also welcome new staff members to our School:

  • Ms Catherine Samuel – Deputy Head of Junior School and ELC
  • Mr Luke Russell – Year 2 Barbreck Teacher
  • Ms Alyssa Flint – Year 5 Barbreck Teacher
  • Ms Sandra Lenon – ELC
  • Ms Anna Pianezze – Head of Language Faculty and French Teacher
  • Mr Glen Robins – Teacher of French
  • Mrs Julia West – Arts Faculty
  • Mr Nick Racini – Health and Physical Education Faculty and Sport Department

We also welcome the return of:

  • Mrs Anna Mckenzie – English Teacher
  • Mrs Melissa Braddy – Educational Support
  • Ms Sally Wilkinson – Humanities teacher and Careers

We also congratulate the following staff in new appointments within the School:

  • Mr Lloyd Knight – Head of Sport
  • Ms Kanako Yokouchi – Year 7 Dean
  • Ms Lilly Dusting – Year 11 Dean for Semester 1
  • Ms Jenny Molloy – moving into the role of Year 8 Dean

Earlier this week, I enjoyed spending time with the Year 12 cohort when they attended their Residential Leadership Conference at Ormond College, University of Melbourne. This Conference focused on developing an understanding of leadership, with the girls encouraged to be intentional with their leadership and to ensure an awareness of the younger girls for whom they are role models.

A Keynote Address was provided by Ms Kitty Chiller, Chef De Mission of the 2016 Australia Olympic Team in Rio. Ms Chiller’s Address was given during the Year 12 Father Daughter Breakfast incorporated into the program at Ormond College.

Ms Chiller’s Address provided an insight into the personal and professional challenges she faced in Rio with the demands of caring for over 700 Australian athletes, coaches and managers during what was an exhaustive 16-day experience.

During her speech, Kitty encouraged the girls to “take responsibility for their own potential” and provided a reflection on the success of Modern Pentathlon athlete and gold medallist, Chloe Esposito. Knowing Chloe and her family well, Kitty believed her success in obtaining a gold medal was a result of “good old fashioned hard work.” She likened Chloe’s journey and success in Rio to that of the Year 12 journey, summarising there is no point in avoiding the work, and that “you get what you deserve.”

During the Year 12 Leadership Induction Assembly held earlier this week, I spoke of my interest in the recent Australia Day Address, provided by Professor Michelle Simmons. Michelle is a Professor of Quantum Physics at the UNSW. In her Address, she encouraged Australians to have high expectations of ourselves, to strive for the more difficult tasks and to set the bar high.  During her Address, she commented that:

“It is better to do the things that have the greatest reward, things that are hard, not easy.”

“We want people to be the best they can be, we must set the bar high and tell them, we expect them to jump over it.”

“We need to be teaching all students – girls and boys – to have high expectations of themselves.”

“I want Australians, above all, to be known as people who do the hard things.”

I felt this was a persuasive and somewhat strident philosophy for our start at St Catherine’s this year. From this, I encouraged all our girls in the Induction Assembly to “try the difficult things, to set the bar high, to not shy away from challenges.” My wish for St Catherine’s girls is for them to be known as girls who do the hard things, and in the words of Kitty Chiller undertake “good old fashioned hard work.”

This week, the Year 12 students commenced a new chapter in their lives and the Induction Assembly was a celebration of their leadership in our School. This leadership was symbolised by the receipt of their leadership badge and signing the Leadership Register and with the whole cohort standing together to pledge their loyalty to our School as the 2017 leaders.

The journey of our Year 12 students will be one of “good old fashioned hard work” but coupled with self-kindness, and a time of deep personal growth. This journey will be shared with friends, parents and teachers, interspersed with laughter and the making of memorable moments. I look forward to watching the Year 12 girls grow this year as our student leaders of the School. Their enthusiasm, willingness and quiet confidence is certainly evident. Our role as educators, and as parents, is to encourage their commitment and confidence and to inspire their learning, so these girls can achieve their best across 2017.

I look forward to welcoming new parents at the New Parent Social Evening on Thursday 9 February at 6.30pm. I wish all our students, staff and parents a successful and rewarding year.

Student Achievements

Congratulations to Year 10 student, Lucy Gray who competed at the National Sailing Championships in Adelaide and was selected to compete in the World Championships in Perth later this year. We look forward to following her progress in this sport over the coming year.

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal