The Small Things

Perhaps the most salient aspect of St Catherine’s is its distinctly intimate community: an ethos that is difficult to emulate elsewhere, nor can ever quite be encapsulated in words.

St Catherine’s breeds this culture. It is the knowledge that there is nothing arbitrary about the responsibility that we, as students, hold, because we all play a role in shaping the community to which we belong.

I began my time at St Catherine’s in Year 7, and was instantly hooked on the fact that regardless of your interests, skills, or ability, you will always experience that feeling of belonging. It is through this nurturing culture that we are then able to find our voice, express our views and opinions, and pursue our talents and interests.

Now, as a Year 12 student, the general consensus amongst my peers is that one of the most rewarding aspects of your final year of high school is the opportunity to form relationships with younger students. As we progress through Senior School, we model aspects of ourselves off those who come before us, eventually evolving from the mentored to the mentor, and shaping our own community and our own story.

For me, community manifests in the immense pride you experience when one of your fellow Boarders wins gold at Head of the Schoolgirls, despite the fact that your own rowing career was limited to a single season in Year 9, or when the School applauds an instrumental soloist following an outstanding performance in Assembly. This is a solidarity that transcends age, ability and curriculum, but is imbedded in the long history of our School. Our education is more than a mandated curriculum, a set of stipulated mathematical formulas and English texts. It is an amalgam of every conversation we had, every friendship we valued, all the triumphs and all the downfalls. To be a ‘St Catherine’s Girl’ is much more than to proudly wear a blue ribbon. It is an attitude, an approach to the challenges that life inevitably presents, and the ability to stay true to yourself in the process.

St Catherine’s is not just a close-knit community, a school with fantastic VCE results, and hard-working teachers and students alike. It is a place where we become more than a group of individuals, or cohorts of girls who merely coexist within the same buildings. We become this incredible force of drive, passion and going beyond.

And so the proverb goes: from little things, big things grow. I think that this is by far the most important lesson that any school can teach. An awareness of your impact on the community and the manner in which the small things contribute to a larger scheme. A conversation that may seem meaningless to one person has the capacity to ignite a spark in another.

In this way, the seeds of St Catherine’s remain ingrained in us long after our time as students is well and truly over. We appreciate the value of character and experience, over that solely of outcomes. Because, during the formative years of our lives, it is the small things that truly matter.

Mackenzie Leyden

School Captain 2017

Up next