First Responder’s to the St Catherine’s Hardship Fund

On receiving the Principal’s recent email to parents regarding a school fee discount, current parents, Gillian Ruan and Paul Yu, were among our first responders to supporting the establishment of the St Catherine’s Hardship Fund.

Gillian and Paul are Jeanie Hood Society members who understand that a close community is a strong community, and believe that keeping the blue ribbon on St Catherine’s girls is at the very heart of their support to Hardship.

Gillian is the International Families’ representative on the School’s Community Engagement committee – and, together with Paul and other Foundation members, helped deliver the Senior School Science Project in the last capital campaign.

This interview reveals so much of what Paul and Gillian value about the St Catherine’s school family, and their decision to assist in crisis.

Established in response to COVID-19, the Hardship Fund will provide bursaries to families facing hardship now and well into the future.

Please tell us something about your familyand when your family joined the St Catherine’s community. 

We have a small, but warm family with only three members; my husband Paul, my daughter Angela, and myself. We love and respect each other and share our thoughts and feelings easily. Angela went to Melbourne Girls’ Grammar from Prep to Year 4 but when offered scholarships to a number of schools, Angela decided on St Catherine’s inspired by the charismatic personality of the Principal, and the close and caring community at the school.

Why are you passionate about being members of the St Catherine’s community, and what has your family found special about your time at the School so far?  

Since coming to St Catherine’s, Angela has been very cheerful and content. The older girls have guided her in many activities such as junior debating, music and other extracurricular activities. There is a warm atmosphere at St Catherine’s – Angela feels that she can ask for and receive help when she needs it. All the girls are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities and take on challenges. St Catherine’s is such a close-knit and thoughtful community that we are like a family, and we need to help each other, especially during hard times.

How do you feel about being a part of establishing the Hardship Fund? What does giving to the School mean to you overall? What does it mean to you personally to be giving to Hardship?

We feel hopeful in contributing to the establishment of the Hardship Fund, as we would be delighted if it can help our staff and students and maintain the cheery atmosphere of the school. We hope that families who have the ability to contribute do not hesitate to help our community.

Why have you decided to be some of our matching donors for the St Catherine’s Giving Day taking place on Thursday 23 July?

It is great that our School Council and the management team responded quickly and appropriately to the coronavirus outbreak, including setting up the Hardship Fund, in order to protect everyone. As members of our community, I believe that it’s our mission to do whatever we can do to support it.

For more information on the St Catherine’s Hardship Fund and Giving Day, contact the Advancement Office, at

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