From the Principal – Week 10 Term 4

As the School year draws to a close, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your individual and collective contribution to ensuring St Catherine’s School commemorated its 120th anniversary year with such a wonderful range of exciting and inclusive celebratory events.

The School can be immensely proud of the achievements of all its students and staff in 2016. The 120th anniversary celebrations this year have provided a backdrop for the School to connect and celebrate with our community of parents, Old Girls and educational partners across the globe.

It is a great pleasure and honour being the Principal of St Catherine’s School, a role that has afforded me the opportunity to engage with many members of our community, and an opportunity to reflect, honour and appreciate all that our School, and our Alumnae, have achieved over this time.

VCE Marking

In 2016, 11 VCE teachers have undertaken assessing/marking of VCE exams. This opportunity requires time spent training to mark the paper, and then considerable time cross marking papers with other VCE examiners.

Participating in this process provides an exceptional level of professional development and requires considerable knowledge and depth of understanding of the course requirements. We recognise the following teachers for their expertise:

Ms Vanessa Jackson-McRae – Chemistry

Ms Lee Brandt – Physics

Miss Kristy Forrest – Philosophy

Mrs Tracey McCallum – Accounting

Miss Jeanette Gunn – Maths Methods 2

Miss Tamara Andrews – Further Maths

Mrs Janette Matt – Specialist Maths

Ms Asuko Okumura – Japanese

Ms Corinne Buzza – French

Ms Loretta Carter – Further Maths Exam 2

Ms Lilly Dusting – Visual Communication

Thank you to Staff

I wish to also thank our teaching staff for their wisdom, dedication and passion for teaching, and our General staff for their continued support of the School. I believe it is the inspiration, encouragement and energy of all our staff that enables our students to strive and flourish.

In particular, I would like to acknowledge and farewell Ms Corinne Buzza who has provided outstanding support and service to the School for the past nine years, firstly as a Language teacher and then as Faculty Head. The strength of student numbers studying a language is testament to the sound leadership skills she has displayed since taking over the role of Head of Faculty. Under Corinne’s skilful guidance and expertise as a teacher, we have many existing and aspirant bi-linguists and the interest in learning a language continues to increase. We wish Corinne all the best as she takes up a teaching position closer to home. Mr Chris Jones leaves to also take up a teaching position closer to home. Chris joined us as Head of Sport in January 2014. During this time he has left an indelible mark in the sporting arena. His capacity and pursuit of excellence, and his drive and enthusiasm, has ensured our girls have been given every opportunity to perform at their peak. They have triumphed under his leadership and we have celebrated their many successes. Chris has inspired our girls to work hard, achieve and succeed. Ms Gwen Hackel will take up a teaching position at Carey Grammar, having joined the Language Faculty as a French teacher in July 2014. Her interest in, and care of, the students has been greatly valued. Her work in the Language Faculty has been appreciated and we thank her for her contribution during her time at the School.

Ms Bernadette Balanco departs after her contract expires at the end of Term 4. Her work as a Humanities teacher has been highly valued and her interest in her students has been greatly appreciated. Bernadette takes with her our good wishes as she leaves St Catherine’s. We wish her well in the next stage of her career pathway. Ms Or Krygger joined the Staff in Term 4 replacing Ms Tessa Dunstan who has taken Parental Leave. She has worked well in the Drama Department and it has been wonderful to see her embrace her role with such enthusiasm. Her warm smile and friendly manner will be greatly missed. We wish her well in her future pursuits. We farewell Miss Georgie Skinner whose contract has expired. She joined us in Term 2 as a Year 5 teacher replacing Owen Hughes after his retirement. A past student (2003) Georgie has worked well with her students and we thank her for her contribution during her time at St Catherine’s. We wish her well as she pursues the next stage in her career. Mrs Lyn Pewtress has taught in the Banksia Room in the ELC for the last two years. Lyn has been appointed as a full time director and teacher at Kilvington Grammar School and we thank her for her outstanding support and service to the Early Learning Centre and her dedication and commitment to her students. We wish her well as she moves to the next stage of her career pathway.

After three exciting and memorable years as the Director of Outdoor Education with The Outdoor Education Group and St Catherine’s School, Ms Casie Chalman is leaving to pursue full time studies to complete her PhD on Resilience Development with youth. Casie has overseen and delivered an outstanding program of outdoor education events since her arrival at St Catherine’s. We wish her well in her future studies. She will be greatly missed.

I would like to make mention of the staff who provide valuable behind the scenes support, in particular Finance, Marketing and Maintenance. Their commitment and work ethic is greatly appreciated.

My special thanks is extended to the School Council so ably led by Mrs Clare Cannon as Chair. Their generosity in providing expertise, stewardship and commitment towards the governance of St Catherine’s School is highly valued and greatly appreciated. They have served on the Council during a period of significant change as the School has embraced its future strategic direction.

This will be our final Blue Ribbon for 2016. I shall communicate the VCE achievements of our Year 12 students on Monday 12 December. This is an exciting final week with House Arts held last night and the Carol Service for both Barbreck and the Senior School held on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

I wish all members of the School community a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break. Take time to catch up with family and friends and enjoy. Take every opportunity to spend valuable time together.  Merry Christmas.

Michelle Carroll

Mrs Michelle Carroll