We Proudly Walk in Partnership
For the first time in almost two years, we warmly welcomed the return of parents for our annual Speech Day and Valedictory Dinner this week. For our Year 12 parents, the sense of occasion was profound, and for many a somewhat emotional experience, taking their seats for one last time in the Senior School Hall, and enjoying the splendour of dining together with friends in the evening.
As a School, we proudly walk in partnership with parents to guide young women through the bright eyed, bushy tailed Junior years, the ‘taking the world by storm’ time as Leaders in Year 6, and the somewhat apprehensive, tumultuous time of Years 7 and 8. The shared appreciation for the work of our VCE teachers was deeply significant across this week’s celebrations, as too was the outpouring of gratitude expressed by the girls for the substantial support of their parents this year. Across my more than 30 years attending Valedictory Dinners, I have quite honestly never quite witnessed such beautiful sentiments expressed for parents.
At the commencement of this year, our School Co-Captains Lucy Campbell and Clementine (Cece) Newton-Brown, together with the Student Executive and Year 12 Cohort, revealed their 2021 Theme: Dare. This alone tells a story about the graduating Class of 2021 – a cohort with a courageous outlook on life, matched with a gentle kindness for each other. Being together truly has exemplified their approach to leadership this year. Following the highs and lows of the COVID world that we have been faced with, I have encouraged the Year 12 Cohort to relish what comes next, to rest their minds, to drape themselves in the warmth of Summer, and to remind themselves of all they have accomplished, the relationships they have built, all they have learned and then to ready themselves to ‘lean in’ to build the next chapter of their story. We look forward to welcoming their return as Old Girls of St Catherine’s School.
Saint Catherine’s Day – 25 November
Yesterday, on Thursday November 25, we acknowledged and recognised the contribution of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The School honours her in our name. Saintt Catherine is the Christian patron saint of young girls and students, nurses and of crafts(wo)men whose work is based on a wheel, such as spinners and millers. Catherine lived in the Fourth Century, and was persecuted for her religious beliefs. The ‘Catherine Wheel’ is named after the wheel on which she was martyred.
Our School name is a source of inspiration that sets us apart. We explore the symbolism that is woven into the very fabric of our School and is exclusively our own. Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a noted scholar, representing knowledge as both empowerment and inspiration.
We draw inspiration from the words in our School song: “St Catherine’s wheel does us unite”. Drawing from this we look to adopt the inclusivity and infinite possibilities symbolised by the wheel, within our classroom furniture design next year in our Year 9 Humanities program, to influence teaching practice that draws on the benefits of Socratic/Harkness methods – a circle of discussion to explore, to think and to learn together. It is used to create a collegial practice, and a unifying place for staff to undertake professional learning seminars. Ideally, the sense of circle, also serves to bring people together to create and connect community as we have this week with our Year 12 parents and students.