The flexibility and optimism of our Year 12 students was evident this week with their ‘50 Days to Go’ celebrations.
It has been almost 18 months since the coronavirus pandemic began in Australia, and our society has changed in extraordinary ways. Last year we, perhaps naively, hoped that COVID-19 would bring a period of challenge but that our lives would return to some semblance of ‘normal’ after a relatively brief period of disruption.
Now, as the virus morphs, spreads and retreats, experts in epidemiology are hesitant to predict a date when we may return to our pre-COVID lives. This year our BGGS community has experienced lockdowns, quarantine and cancelled milestones. Yet, each time these things happen, we are reminded of the resilience and strength of our Grammar community, including most notably amongst our Year 12 girls who have responded to this punctuated year once again with the optimism and determination we have come to expect from them.
Yesterday, the Year 12 students gathered under the iconic fig tree to celebrate ‘50 Days to Go’—Thursday 26 August marked the start of the 50-day countdown to when these young women will graduate, and walk up Gehrmann Lane and through the gates of the picket fence for the final time as Grammar girls.
It is almost time for them to enter adult life and forge new lives and careers of their own. But as we navigate the changing face of ‘COVID-normal’, with a world still in various stages of managing the disease, a changing economy and a decline in employment, the future has never felt so uncertain.
These young women will join a world far different to the one we stepped into. For most Year 12 students, the myriad impacts of COVID-19 have disrupted well-laid plans—from overseas tertiary study, securing employment, or, more simply, a gap year of travel to explore the world.
These next steps are uncharted waters; however, our Seniors have developed remarkable resilience through these COVID-filled months. They have pivoted from classrooms to Zoom calls, outdoor training to remote workouts, socialising while physical distancing, all while supporting one another; as the united Girls Grammar sisterhood. They are strong and they are strong together.
We hope that through recent challenges most have developed important traits that our world needs—intelligence, resourcefulness, a sense of social responsibility and a deep understanding of their inner strength and that they are not fragile but capable. The respect and appreciation for their teachers has only deepened in recent weeks for they know how hard they have worked hard to prepare the girls to succeed, feel cared for and, just as importantly, to have them feel confident with their choices and within themselves.
A day like yesterday is an exciting milestone to share with peers and was one of those small but important rituals that mark this stage of transition as they prepare for their life beyond school. It was wonderful to see the girls enjoy this moment of joyful celebration.
Ms Jacinda Euler