From the Principal – Hopes, Dreams and Stories
This week, we congratulate Year 11 students Madeline Powell and Angela Yu for their appointments as the 2022 School Co-Captains.
This is a significant undertaking in the journey of any student, accepting the responsibility that is bestowed in such a role and the enduring commitment to your School and fellow peers. In so many ways, our School Captains are our ‘culture keepers’ – gently holding the everlasting essence of being a St Catherine’s girl in the palm of their hands. I have every confidence in Maddie and Angela’s leadership capabilities and believe they will stand tall in the company of the School Captains who have also walked this journey.
At St Catherine’s, we love to celebrate the achievements of our Old Girls; their stories are inspirational and serve to motivate and encourage our current body of students. Towards the end of last year, I have never before felt the strength and presence of our past School Captains and Vice Captains more, than when I invited them to pen a letter of encouragement to the Year 12 girls as they commenced their final term at School.
Needless to say, the response from our Old Girl community to my call for action was overwhelming in number. Their collective sense of community spirit, sisterhood and care for the Class of 2020 was ever present in their words. Their calling as School Captains remained, as did their willingness to support St Catherine’s girls – years after they walked through the Heyington Gates as graduates.
I believe this is one of our School’s most treasured gifts to a graduating class; this was an extraordinary collection of over 50 letters, from Old Girls who had walked the halls of Sherren House dating back to 1945. It was quite simply one of the most touching examples of community care.
I wonder if, in another 50 years, the Principal of our School will call upon Cece and Lucy, our School Captains of 2021, and Maddie and Angela, newly announced, to pen a letter of encouragement for the graduating class of 2071.
I have attached for your own reading Hopes, Dreams & Stories For the Class of 2020.
This week, the Victorian government announced individuals over 16 years are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, specifically outlining the intention to vaccinate Year 12 students prior to the commencement of their VCE examination period on 4 October.
Whilst there will be no repercussions if families did not want their child vaccinated, the Department of Education and Training (DET) has “strongly encouraged” final year students to receive their vaccine, either at a government hub or through a general practitioner.
St Catherine’s School was also advised students can book their own appointment and consent to vaccinate themselves if the health professional assesses them to be a mature minor. Eligible students and their parents or guardians should speak to their doctor or pharmacist if they have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and their health. Students can book or change a vaccination appointment at a state vaccination centre through the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine online booking system.
Commencing Monday 30 August, VCE students can attend on campus to complete elements of their practical work in certain subjects, for example across the Visual Arts, where access to necessary equipment is required. Specific teachers will liaise with their classes to ensure the maximum of ten students at any one time is adhered to. At this stage, there has been no change to the scheduled date for the General Achievement Test (GAT) to be undertaken on campus – Thursday 9 September.
This week, our youngest children in the ELC joined their St Catherine’s ‘big sisters’ in our Learn@Home program following the introduction of new COVD restrictions. I offer my appreciation to our Head of ELC, Ms Sarah Bethune and the staff in the ELC, who worked tirelessly on Sunday to prepare the ELC Project Bags in readiness for collection on Monday.
In a beautiful demonstration of community spirit, our Senior School Boarders were on-hand to help Sunday afternoon to pack bags. The young children will participate in live-lessons using MS Teams, relishing the opportunity to stay in touch with their peers and teachers and enjoy the prepared learning activities.
I also remain immensely proud of our teaching staff across Barbreck and the Senior School.
Our staff continue to demonstrate much diligence and care for the academic journeys of all girls. We continue to monitor the students’ engagement levels, their general wellbeing, screen fatigue and academic loads throughout this period.
On Monday of this week, our House Tutors conducted a series of ‘High Five’ conversations with the girls (groups of five girls for 15 minutes each), to ascertain their challenges and high points at this time. As such, we have enabled some longer breaks between classes and created one day each week as a ‘Learn Lite Day’ where students’ learning activities remain accountable, but are enabled with reduced screen time.
Next week, the Learn-Lite Day for Years 7 to 10 will be held on Tuesday, the VCE students nearing the ‘pointy end’ of the year still required to attend their lessons with teachers on MS Teams.