This week, our Year 12 students completed their VCE Examinations. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on their focused, diligent and persevering approach to their studies this year and particularly, in their preparation for each exam paper.
Commencing with English some four and half weeks ago, this somewhat gruelling month requires a high level of sustained commitment and concentration. Thank you to all our Year 12 parents and VCE teachers for assisting the students to stay the course and enabling the girls to deliver their best performances.
I provide for you below, my Address from the Year 12 Final Assembly earlier this Term.
Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It is perhaps surprising then, to learn the traditional greeting passed between Masai warriors: “Kasserian Ingera,” means, “And how are the children?”
Not “how do you do?” or “how’s it going?”, but they ask “how are the children?” It’s wonderfully revealing about the values of Masai society – it acknowledges the high value that the Masai always place on their children’s well-being.
The hoped-for reply is equally revealing: “all the children are well.” Not, my children. Not, some of the children but all the children are well. For the Maasai, society cannot be well unless all the children are well. If the children are well, it means peace and safety prevail. It means life is good.
Imagine – in Australia – if our greeting was not ‘hello’ or ‘g’day’ – but “Kasserian Ingera” – and how are the children?
In education – the question: how are the children? Is really the only question that matters.
I learnt this phrase when I was travelling in New Zealand over the September break. It reminded me that last year I was fortunate to hear a Masai woman actually speak at a Conference in New York; her name was Dr Kakenya Ntaiya. She is the founder of a boarding school for girls – Kakenya Centre for Excellence.
Kakenya established the school when she identified education as a significant problem in the region, with only 11 percent of the general population attaining a secondary education. Sadly, only one in five graduates were girls. Also of note, is the understanding that 90% of the Masai girls are married before they turn 18 years of age.
Kakenya’s mission statement is to “empower and motivate.” These words sound familiar and I recall using these words exactly with our own St Catherine’s girls.
There are girls, every year, graduating from schools all over the world, regardless of circumstances, wealth, resources or technology – there are girls everywhere, just daring to dream. Kakeyna’s girls’ believe their success will be determined by their fortitude, confidence and individual hard work. Our girls must believe the same.
On the occasion of her first overseas visit, Michelle Obama, at the time, First Lady of the United States of America, made a memorable speech at a girls’ school in London.
Passionately making the case for every girl to take her education seriously, Ms Obama encouraged young women to reduce the gap between the way the world exists in its present state, and how women know it should exist. She told the students, “in pursuing your dreams, use your talents, be resolute, create the world as it should be, not as it is,” (Obama, 2009). Her speech was translated into 39 languages and has been watched over a million times online.
As an educator of some experience, I see in our young people, in our Year 12 girls, great hope and optimism for the future. I see confident, outward-looking, articulate, savvy, edgy, creative young women, who are interested in living substantial lives, daring to dream. Girls pursuing their dreams. I know I am not alone in this confidence and excitement.
Parents, thank you for raising such wonderful girls and sharing them with us for this very important time in their lives. We have been honoured to have them in our professional lives and we give thanks to you for working with us in partnership, to help develop such fine young women.
Kassierian Ingera – your children are well.
On behalf of the staff, I wish each and every one of the Year 12 girls many blessings into the future; for their immediate studies which are in front of you, your exams and your lives which will follow.
Congratulations to our School Captain, Mackenzie Leyden and Vice Captain, Georgie Sitch. As a School, we are enormously grateful for your friendship, care and leadership this year.
In the scope of the rest of your lives, your St Catherine’s years are a handful of heartbeats, but are vital beats just the same, forming an integral part of the core of your being, having helped define who you are, both on this day and into the future.
Year 12 girls, I believe you have been well prepared by our School and your families. Hold you head high as you walk through the Heyington Gates this afternoon – savour the moment.
Congratulations to our Barbreck students and thank you to all staff involved in the production of the Barbreck Junior School Music Concert last night. The many parents, grandparents and family friends in the audience thoroughly enjoyed the evening and we were all immensely proud of the children.
The Massed Item at the conclusion of the evening, The Wanderer and Blue Ribbon Girl involving the Preps through to Year 6 girls and teachers, was just fabulous to watch.
The organisation throughout the evening was superb with transitions from one item to the next brilliantly coordinated, which can only be achieved from a huge team effort. Our students are fortunate to learn from such experienced professionals and the high standard of performances was a reflection of the expertise within our staff.
Well done, and thank you.
The St Catherine’s School community extends their heartfelt prayers and thoughts to the students, parents and staff of St Kevin’s College following the deeply sad and tragic loss of life of Year 12 student Hector. May he rest in peace.
Within our own School community we also extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Geraldine Parsons, a former staff member at St Catherine’s who sadly passed away this week.
Driver Care Outside of School Gates
As all parents will appreciate the morning School drop off and afternoon collection times are very busy periods of the day for vehicles and pedestrians along Heyington Place.
I would like to remind all parents to exhibit care and caution when departing in their vehicles, particularly directly outside of the School Gates and to avoid using this area to make u-turns or for their daughters to alight.
Thank you for your commitment to ensuring the safety of our students.