Term 2 Welcome

The red, orange and gold autumn leaves of St Catherine’s Walk provided a colourful landscape for students and staff as they returned to School this week. I trust our community members have enjoyed the Easter vacation with family and friends, hopefully relaxing and cherishing time together with loved ones.

This week, the School Council announced the retirement of our Council Chair, Mrs Clare Cannon, to occur at the AGM next month. Clare has given outstanding service to the School with much dedication and commitment as a Council Member for 11 years, and as the Chair of Council for 6 years. Clare and her mother, Margaret Darling, shared a great fondness for St Catherine’s School; Margaret was also a past student (1939) and Council Member for two years from 1949-50. Clare’s sister, Sarah and Clare’s own three daughters reveal a close connection with St Catherine’s for the Darling women that has been enjoyed for over three generations. The School is enormously grateful for Clare’s tireless work and stewardship of the School over the past 11 years, and we look forward to an opportunity later in the year for formal recognition of this generous contribution to the School.

The School Council, together with the Senior Leadership Team and Staff look forward to working with our incoming Council Chair, Ms Jane Hodder. As a partner with law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, Jane provides a deal of expertise across property, construction and infrastructure. As a member of various not for profit and for profit Boards, as well as a member of the external advisory committee to the Dean of Monash University Law School, Jane provides a high level of experience and knowledge in governance. This, coupled with her insight as the mother of two daughters, Miranda, Year 6 and Lindsey, Year 9, ensures she is well positioned to assume the role.

The School AGM will be held in Sherren House at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 May 2017.

The Council’s full announcement can be found here.

Girls Talk Parent Seminar

On Wednesday evening of this week, author and researcher, Maggie Hamilton, provided an insightful address to over 150 parents attending our Girls Talk Seminar – Raising Confident, Courageous Girls. Maggie’s messages were very clear and also somewhat concerning when she outlined her recent research of Australian girls. Over two years, Maggie interviewed girls, teachers, school counsellors, psychologists, law enforcement and medical personnel to gain a comprehensive understanding of the vulnerability of Australian girls today.

Life’s pretty complex for teen girls right now. While they’ve more choices, they’re way more anxious about their looks, possessions, and bodies. This generation of girls also has less confidence and creativity, few friendships across the generations and life experiences. Most of their spare time is spent on packaged entertainment or shopping. And their pre-occupation with celebrities means often they know little about their own story. We need to encourage girls in fun ways that give them a new sense of what they’re capable of.

In her recent book What’s happening to Our Girls? Maggie moves parenting into the twenty-first century by highlighting the power of outside forces in shaping the personalities, morality and ultimate wellbeing of our daughters. Although directed at raising girls, the message is equally important for those parenting boys. I encourage parents to read the reflection from our Director of Student Wellbeing, Merran O’Connor, in this edition of the Blue Ribbon and to view Maggie’s website for a list of resources such as books, blogs and parents tips.


Arts Exhibition

Term 2 provides many opportunities for our School community to come together in celebration of the Arts.

I encourage your attendance at the Yulendj Art Exhibition, launched on Sunday 28 May 3.00pm-5.00pm in Sherren House with the Exhibition closing on Thursday 1 June. The Exhibition has been expertly curated by St Catherine’s parent, Mr Shaun Dennison, with over 40 artworks available for purchase across the week. This will be our second Yulendj Art Exhibition, with the first being highly effective in establishing awareness to the Indigenous Scholarship Program at St Catherine’s and successfully raising in excess of $85,000.  In partnership with Yalari, the School provides scholarships for four indigenous students from Broome, Central Australia and regional Victoria, with two students commencing this year in Year 7. The School’s long term intention is to support six Yalari students at any one time.

The St Catherine’s Foundation Board is also delighted to offer Foundation Members an exclusive tour of The Season exhibition by Van Gogh, presented by the National Gallery of Victoria and Arts Exhibition Australia at their annual Social Evening. The Foundation Evening will be held on Friday 12 May with bookings for the exclusive St Catherine’s Exhibition Tour limited (bookings essential).

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal