Community inspires girls to achieve
School celebrates its anniversary by looking forward, writes AB Bishop.
‘All of these activities encourage students to be active participants in their learning and develop their problem-solving skills.’
Published in: The Age Independent Schools Guide Supplement 2016, page 3:
St Catherine’s School in Toorak celebrates its 120th anniversary this year. “Since the school’s foundation, St Catherine’s has been privileged to be supported by an enthusiastic and committed school community,’’ Principal Michelle Carroll says. ‘‘Our old girls, past and current parents, staff and wider school community contribute greatly to the character and culture of our school.
“Our 120-year celebrations have allowed us to reconnect with so many people within our community including reunions with past school captains and vice-captains representing eight decades of student leadership, as well as a boarders’ reunion that brought past boarding students and teachers back to our school campus for a chance to reminiscence about their home away from home.”
Mentors are important for all young people and the remarkable achievements of a number of St Catherine’s alumnae are celebrated in the school’s first edition of its publication, Nil Magnum Nisi Bonum (Nothing is great unless it is good). “It is through the diversity of talent, ambition and achievements of our old girls that St Catherine’s continues to inspire our future generations of girls, allowing them to recognise their own capacities and realise what can be achieved as a St Catherine’s girl,” Mrs Carroll says.
The Early Learning to Year 12 girls’ school is committed to providing relevant and exciting STEM and TIDE (technology, innovation, design and engineering) options for its students. Year 5 students engage in a weekly ‘‘Genius Hour’’ session where they may research any topic of interest. “This allows students to be creative with their education and develops their 21st-century thinking skills, including collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking; all essential for the careers of the future,” Mrs Carroll says.
“Students enjoy learning fundamental computer coding and concepts, developing electronic circuitry skills, hands-on 3D design and construction, designing and implementing their own scientific investigations through alliances with the Australian Academy of Science and the CSIRO as well as exploring forensic science and transport through solar power. ‘‘All of these activities encourage students to be active participants in their learning and develop their problem-solving skills.”
Mrs Carroll is buoyed by the Australian Government’s commitment to increasing STEM career opportunities for women, with $13 million invested in its five-year initiative. “St Catherine’s is committed to this endeavour and in 2017 will provide students with an Australian first – a technology and engineering centre, connecting them to the latest hardware and software from the world of augmented and virtual reality as well as learning areas equipped with engineering workspaces and 3D printers. “Our augmented and virtual reality space will transform the way in which our curriculum is delivered. Students will be taken beyond the textbook and, through state-of- the-art technology, learn complex and unforgettable lessons first-hand.”
St Catherine’s maintains small year levels and class numbers. “Our size, along with our one-campus advantage, ensures all our students – from our youngest to our VCE students – learn in one central and encouraging community,” Mrs Carroll says.