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With four girls, Lisa (’79), Pia (’81), Nicola (’83), and Anna (’92), attending the School over 21 continuous years, youngest of the ‘Foley Four,’ Anna is now a St Catherine’s parent, with her daughter, Violetta, a Year 8 student at St Catherine’s. Anna and Violetta share their memories below.
“I was in my Mum’s belly as she took my older sisters to St Catherine’s. Then when I was old enough, I would go to their sports practices, and all the events. I spent so much time at St Catherine’s, amongst all the clothes at Swap Shop, putting all the baseball gloves away, getting out the hockey sticks for Miss Pizzey, or on dog minding duties with her gorgeous golden retriever, Rory. There was always someone who I could help, I just remember wanting to be a part of it all,” shares Anna.
The opportunity to take on her first ‘official’ role at St Catherine’s came when Anna was just three years old, given the title of first live mascot for the School, “Miss Susan Pizzey had a Junior Sports uniform made especially for me, along with custom made runners. I got to walk out with the Athletics Captain and the whole team behind us. I remember the roar of the crowd, everything felt enormous. All my sisters were in that team, and I felt so proud to be wearing the uniform, my very own.”
Anna used this enthusiasm for being part of a team, listening to the coaches, and being part of something greater than herself, in her school life in Barbreck. “I felt compelled to help my classmates in trying new sports, getting the kids who could not play to have a go. Everyone was welcome, I was adamant.”
Anna reflects on her time with Miss Pizzey, commenting that it provided her with a perspective on what true sportsmanship was. “To be truly included and seen for all having qualities that just needed gentle encouragement to flourish. Miss Pizzey had a spirit in her.”
During her time as a student at St Catherine’s, Anna says she was acutely aware of the privilege she had being a part of this great school, “When it was time for me to wear the Blue Blazer in my final year, I wore it with such pride. Every thread of that Blazer was woven with the 21 years of our family history at the School. The St Cath’s community had nurtured me from the beginning.”
Thirty years have now passed since her final year at St Catherine’s. Now, Anna watches her daughter Violetta create her own path within St Catherine’s.
“Seeing Violetta part of St Catherine’s School and having her first taste of competitive school sport has opened up such pivotal life memories for me – ones that have really served me in life and beyond the gates of Sherren House,” shares Anna.
“Violetta competed in the Softball Team this year. Watching them win the Final was electric. It was wonderful seeing Violetta fly in her natural abilities, cheer on her friends, discover what true sports talent really is. It provides me immense joy knowing Violetta is now part of the Foley/St Catherine’s lineage. St Catherine’s is the right place for her. I could not be more thrilled to be supporting the School in whatever way I can.”
For Violetta, attending St Catherine’s has felt like a return to home, “I feel proud knowing that my Grandfather, Mr Stuart Foley worked hard alongside a team of parents to create the buildings that we still use today, that my Grandmother Mrs Barbara Foley established the Sports Auxiliary with other parents to fund the exciting sports we now participate in. Knowing that my mum, aunties, and cousins have attended St Catherine’s is like they are all supporting me to find my way back home.”
Along with her family history, Violetta has enjoyed her time at St Catherine’s, describing it as “a big family for me. The teachers and coaches are all supportive. I feel encouraged and inspired daily to have a go, to learn new things, to make new friends, and to make mistakes. At the end of the day by being part of this family I have the space to discover who I am and what lights me up.”
Encouraged by her mum’s enthusiasm for “having a go at everything,” Violetta signed up for Softball, Choir and Swimming on her first day, “I met so many new people and discovered a new sport that I never knew before. I learnt that I love to swing the bat and hit the softball far and wide. It was such a thrill to play in a team and have fun each week, and to also win the GSV.”
Although Anna is no longer the three-year-old mascot for St Catherine’s, Violetta explains not much has changed “I can hear Mum roar ‘Go St Cath’s’ on the sidelines of my sport matches. The girls have now called her ‘our lucky charm’ and ‘secret weapon,’ as we have had a winning streak in those sports when she is there.
Featured in St Catherine’s News, Spring Edition 2022.