Take in The Moments in Time That Pass So Quickly As a Parent

This will be our final Blue Ribbon for 2019, although, I shall communicate the VCE achievements of our Year 12 students next week. This week, we have enjoyed the Year 6 Graduation, the annual House Arts Festival and Church Services for both the Barbreck Junior School and the Senior School.

The Year 6 Graduation provided opportunity for the unveiling of the Year 6 gift to Barbreck – a large brass bell located in the Forecourt of the Junior School, to be rung by girls upon their graduation from Barbreck. I reminded parents on the evening of the important “moments in time that pass so quickly as a parent: the first day of Prep, Year 6 Graduation and Year 12 Valedictory. As a parent, one must settle deeply into the moment and imprint the snapshots and the feelings of these moments in your memory. Take in the still Junior School faces of your daughters, remember how you feel as they will be young women before you realise”.

The Year 6 students celebrated their graduation from primary school with their parents this week.

Two of my fondest memories this year, shared with the Year 6 girls, remain the official opening of the Barbreck Junior School by Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, and Dr Jane Goodall’s visit to St Catherine’s. The Governor was visibly proud and humbled to return to her old school and it was with much joy that she unveiled the plaque to commemorate the opening of Barbreck. I reminded our Barbreck girls this week to run their fingers across the etched words on this plaque and to be part of the history of this much loved school.

The Year 6 students performed for their families and teachers at the Barbreck Graduation.

It also seems like only yesterday that we enjoyed the privilege of hosting Dr Jane Goodall in the School. Undoubtedly, Dr Goodall made a lasting impression on our Early Learning Centre (ELC) children through to our Senior girls, sharing their Biology lesson. I recall the story Dr Goodall shared at our assembly when as a young 10-year-old girl, all she wanted to become was a scientist. Yet Dr Goodall reflected “there was no expectation of becoming a scientist because girls did not do that sort of thing and everybody laughed at me”. At 85, she remembered some even responded to her aspirations by telling her she was “just a girl”.

It was Dr Goodall’s mother who provided her with the best advice to overcome these dismissive remarks. “My mother said, ‘If you really want to do something like this, you are going to have to work really hard, take advantage of every opportunity, but do not give up.’,” said Dr Goodall.

I trust our Year 6 girls also hold onto these two occasions (like me) as lasting memories of their final year of Barbreck and are equally inspired by Dr Goodall and the Honourable Linda Dessau AC.

A group of Year 6 students at the Barbreck Graduation.

I look forward to seeing our Year 6 girls at the other end of St Catherine’s Walk next year and will enjoy watching them grow to be beautiful St Catherine’s Year 12 girls in the year 2025.

This year, it has been a privilege to witness the growth and development of each St Catherine’s girl and the children in our ELC. All students have experienced the opportunity to discover their individual passions, interests and talents in the classroom, and in their co-curricular pursuits. In my role, I am acutely aware of providing each student with a network of support and care as they navigate their way through their adolescent years, their ‘tween’ years and their childhood years. The significance of establishing a strong community to support our students can never be underestimated and with our careful guidance and nurturing of all students, our School remains enduringly steady and strong to its mission.

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 staff that enables our students to flourish.

I wish to also thank the members of School Council, in particular, our Chair of Council, Ms Jane Hodder, for her leadership and support throughout 2019. We are a community which has active parents and past students who volunteer a tremendous amount of time and effort and, therefore, contribute greatly to the success of St Catherine’s. I very much appreciate all members of our School community for their generous support of St Catherine’s this year, and I look forward to 2020 with much enthusiasm and eagerness.

I acknowledge and sincerely thank the members of the Parents’ & Friends’ Association, so expertly led by Mrs Sarah Low, and with the support of the PFA Committee, for their high level of organisation culminating in a wonderful Christmas Fair last Friday. Their ongoing support has been invaluable and this event is a highlight in the School Calendar providing great enjoyment for our whole community.

I wish the St Catherine’s School community a relaxing and joyous Christmas celebration, a time when friends and family spend some precious, valuable time just being together.

Merry Christmas.

Michelle Carroll

Mrs Michelle Carroll