HOSG Rowing

As a School, St Catherine’s Rowers have produced the best ever result at the annual Head of the Schoolgirls on the Barwon River in Geelong, last weekend. An overall 3rd place behind MLC and Loreto reflected the dedication and commitment of our rowers this season. Across many summer months, the girls were ably supported by their equally dedicated parents and our Parent Auxiliary, The Heyington Club, led by 2017 President, Mrs Rachel Robertson. The Heyington Club created a sea of light blue on the banks of the river which ensured a warm and vibrant welcome to all who ventured to Geelong to support our crews. Of our 18 crews, St Catherine’s qualified for a best ever 14 A Finals, demonstrating a steady and marked increase in the strength and success of the program since the transition to our new facilities at Mercantile and with the leadership of Head of Rowing, Mr Dave Fraumano and Junior Coordinator, Miss Brigette Carlile. A full wrap up of results, along with the achievements of our Diving and Swimming Teams can be found in this edition of the Blue Ribbon.

MAD Night

The Music, Arts and Drama Festivities were also in full swing on Tuesday afternoon, despite the rainy weather conditions. Providing performance opportunities for our younger Barbreck girls and the Senior Music and Performing Arts students enables their stage confidence to grow and provides a platform to showcase their talents. Thank you to Drama, Art and Music Auxiliaries for their support throughout the afternoon.

Vale – Minnie Law, School Captain 1983

It was with much sadness that members of our School community farewelled 1983 School Captain, Minnie Law, at her funeral on Monday of this week. Our condolences are offered to Minnie’s family, her husband Steven and two daughters, Emma and Zahra. I was reminded this week of the lifelong friendships that are formed during our school years, and this was clearly evident on Monday as the Class of ’83 gathered to care for one another as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of their much-loved school friend.

Easter Church Service/s

Parents are invited to attend the Easter Church Service/s next week:

  • Senior School – Wednesday, 29 March at 2.00pm at St John’s Anglican Church
  • Junior School – Thursday, 30 March at 2.00pm at St John’s Anglican Church

I share for your interest below, an insightful article from the Alliance of Girls School Australasia highlighting Nora Ephron’s encouragement of women to embrace the ‘complication and surprises’ that life inevitably brings and the research revealing that our personality in older age can be quite different from that found in childhood.

Life changes you: We are not “fixed and immutable” forever.
Alliance of Girls School Australasia
Issue 4/ 2017: March 15, 2017

In 1996, American journalist, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron addressed the graduating class of her alma mater, Wellesley College, a women’s university whose distinguished alumnae include Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and the astronomer Annie Jump Cannon.

Ephron, who graduated from Wellesley in 1962 and is best known for the films When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, looked down at the young women in front of her and gave an entertaining but blistering lesson on the blatant sexism her generation endured, as well as the many obstacles that still remain to overcome.

Just this year, Forbes magazine described Ephron’s address — despite being delivered twenty-one years ago — as the “speech for women who think feminism doesn’t apply for them”. Describing the various forms of sexism that women still face — from the gender pay gap and absence of strong women leads in Hollywood films to the ever-present glass ceiling — she told her audience to take sexism personally and to understand that behind attacks on prominent women are the words: “Get back, get back to where you once belonged”. Above all, she said, “be the heroine of your life, not the victim”.

But what about women who say that “to be perfectly honest, you can’t have it all”? Ephron rejected this idea, saying “of course you can have it all”. Today’s women, she said, can do everything. The key is to be flexible and accept the changes and challenges that life inevitably brings:

It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the
complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are
good for you. And don’t be frightened: You can always change your mind. I know: I’ve
had four careers and three husbands. And this is something else I want to tell you, one
of the hundreds of things I didn’t know when I was sitting here so many years ago: You
are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever. We have a game we play
when we’re waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things
that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was your age, I would have put:
ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of
those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced,
funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother,
sister, happy. Whatever those five things are for you today, they won’t make the list in
10 years ― not that you still won’t be some of those things, but they won’t be the five
most important things about you. Which is one of the most delicious things available to
women, and more particularly to women than to men, I think. It’s slightly easier for us to
shift, to change our minds, to take another path.

And it turns out that Nora Ephron was right. Not only will we shift, change our minds and take other paths, but researchers have recently discovered that even our personalities will transform during our lifetimes. A team of researchers, led by Matthew Harris of Edinburgh University, used data from the Scottish Mental Health Survey of 1947 in which teachers rated 14-year-old students on six personality characteristics: self-confidence, perseverance, stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and desire to excel. In 2012, the researchers traced 174 of the original participants, by then aged 77 years, and asked them to complete questionnaires assessing their health and personality.

The researchers hypothesised that they would observe small to moderate stability in each of the six traits from childhood right through to older age. However, contrary to their expectations, they found there was “no significant stability” over the 63-year period. Only conscientiousness and stability of moods were found to demonstrate some stability but, overall, “the results indicated very low stability of personality from age 14 to age 77 years”.

In other words, “personality changes throughout the life course”.

Previous studies have found that personality is stable over shorter periods, such as from early to late adulthood. However, this study, which looks at a much longer time span of 63 years, demonstrates that smaller periods of stability do not add up to a lifetime of personality stability. Rather, “personality changes gradually throughout life, which can lead to personality in older age being quite different from personality in childhood”. In fact, “the longer the interval between two assessments of personality, the weaker the relationship between the two tends to be”, and when the interval is increased to 63 years, “there is hardly any relationship at all”.

As Nora Ephron told the 1996 graduating class of Wellesley College over twenty years ago, we are not “fixed and immutable” forever. Not only are we capable of reinventing our goals, careers and relationships but, as this latest research shows, life can also change our personality. Those who show self-confidence, perseverance, mood stability, conscientiousness, originality and desire to excel in childhood may not possess these personality traits in adulthood. Equally, those who do not possess these traits in their youth may develop into creative, confident, conscientious and stable adults who persevere and excel in their chosen field.


Harris, M., Brett, C., Johnson, W., & Deary, I. (2016). Personality stability from age 14 to age 77 years. Psychology and Aging, 31(8), 862-874. DOI: 10.1037/pag0000133

Horowitz Satlin, A. (2017, March 9). This Nora Ephron speech is for women who think feminism doesn’t apply to them. HuffingtonPost.
Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/nora-ephron-speechfeminism_us_58c03010e4b054a0ea66e5bf

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal