The Community Engagement Committee, a sub-committee of our School Council, aims to foster an all-inclusive culture of engagement with members of the community. Creating a unique sense of belonging to St Catherine’s certainly fosters and strengthens the connection to the School for our local parents, rural boarding parents and international families, past parents, friends and members of SCOGA. Events such as the biennial Father-Daughter Dinner, the introduction of the Boarders’ Parent Support Group and more recently, the St Catherine’s School Community Evening in Shanghai and Afternoon High Tea in Kuala Lumpur are a reflection of the very intention to extend our reach to all members of our diverse culture at the School and provide a understanding of the work undertaken by the Committee.

My recent travel over the mid-year break to Shanghai, the beautiful city of Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur provided an exceptional opportunity for our Head of Boarding, Mrs Sue Collister and I, to connect and converse with our International families. With each conversation, I was provided greater depth to my level of understanding of the challenges of studying abroad, a long way from the care and support of loved ones at home and in the face of significant language and cultural differences when the girls first arrive in Melbourne. I was immensely proud of our international boarders who assisted in my conversations with their parents, translating between Chinese and English language with such ease. Our Chinese parents were equally delighted and cherished the opportunity to thank Sue for all she does in caring for their daughters on a daily basis in our Boarding House.

During my time in China and Malaysia, I greatly appreciated the warmth and generosity of our parents who provided an insight into the culture and traditions of both countries. My favourite city was, undoubtedly, Hangzhou, a 50 minute ride on a fast speed train from Shanghai. Host to the G20 Summit in 2016, Hangzhou’s beautiful tree-lined streets and lake-foreshore provide an exquisite backdrop to the Impressions West Lake Ballet and Opera performance. Staged entirely upon the lake itself (a stage the size of football field and built 3 centimetres below the water surface), Impression West Lake is nothing short of a spectacle of light, music, dance and theatrics.

The sheer numbers in China are always perplexing to me and I was continually intrigued to learn of the educational programs available and the success of students on a global scale, particularly in Mathematics and Science. Sue and I enjoyed the opportunity to walk around the very elite Shanghai Music School, one of China’s most prestigious Music Schools. With 500 applications for every one place available, young students resort to hours and hours of daily practice to enable enrolment, hence achieving extremely high levels of music performance at a young age. We also appreciated the opportunity to observe a classroom lesson at Strong International School which utilises the recently launched Lekepad. Much like an iPad, the Lekepad is complete with the full Chinese curriculum installed and is used exclusively for delivery of the educational programs. The Lekepad enables a three way dialogue of instant feedback between teachers, parents and students and will be in the hands of 30 million students in just five years (just 15% of the total student population in China).

At the invitation of Mr James Chen, Foundation Board Member and father to Catherine Year 7, Mr Tim Dillon, Victoria’s Commissioner to China attended our event in Shanghai and provided a broader understanding of the Victorian – Chinese business partnerships, in particular, in the tertiary and school educational sectors. I also acknowledge Mrs Gillian Ruan and Mr Paul Yu (Angela Year 7), Mrs Catherine Wang (Yixu (Winnie) Year 10) and Mr Steven and Jennifer Teow (Esther, Boarding Captain Year 12) for their hospitality and assistance in hosting our international families whilst in China and Malaysia.

Higgins Community Thank You and Community Service Awards

Congratulations to Mrs Lisa Steven (Sarah Year 11) nominated by the School for a Higgins Community Service Award and who was recently announced as a successful recipient of an Award. Lisa will receive a certificate presented by The Honourable Kelly O’Dwyer, MP and The Honourable Linda Dessau, AC, Governor of Victoria at the Awards Night this evening. This is a well-deserved recognition of Lisa’s tireless work.

Lisa was nominated for almost 20 years of voluntary service to the School through the Foundation Board, Yulendj Arts Exhibition Committee, PFA, Second Hand Books Committee, Parents’ & Friends’ Network Committee and Snowsports Auxiliary. Lisa has also had a key role in organising the School’s key events, such as the 120 Celebration Ball and Biennial Galas. In addition to her service to the School, Lisa has served as a member and Chair of the Yalari Melbourne Dinner Committee since 2014 (and Chairperson since 2016) and has been instrumental in the success of Yalari’s Melbourne fundraising dinners; assisted in the organisation of Yalari’s Strategic Briefing and Thank You events; worked as an ambassador and networker for Yalari and been successful in acquiring in-kind and financial donations on behalf of Yalari.

We are immensely proud of Lisa’s recognition and most sincerely thank her for a significant contribution to the School and wider community.

Staff News

Over the past week, Mr Adrian Puckering has advised of his resignation from his role as Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development in order to pursue new opportunities. His resignation will take effect from December, 2017. Since Adrian’s appointment in May 2014, he has been instrumental and proactive in putting St Catherine’s School on the global map by speaking at many international and interstate Conferences. Most recently, he was invited to speak at the International Conference on Education and New Development in Lisbon, the Fifth European Conference on Education in Brighton UK and to provide teacher training at the STEM Centre in the UK. Adrian’s many articles for educational magazines and our own School publications have also been well regarded. His ethos is based from an intent to continually drive the development of innovative academic programs and improve professional practice which, ultimately, benefits students. During Adrian’s time at the School, he has worked with loyalty and dedication. His commitment to staff and students has been greatly appreciated, as has his strong support as a member of the Senior Leadership Team. We wish Adrian well as he pursues other avenues both internationally and nationally.

Please note, the School has engaged Lyngcoln Consulting to assist with the recruitment process for this Senior Leadership position.

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal