Our first day back on campus went very well—it was a lovely cool morning with a gentle breeze and, perhaps due in part to the ‘soft’ beginning via remote learning last week, it was incredibly calm. The independence, or was it determination, of our newest students was quite clear as they entered the School with purpose, barely in need of guidance on their way to find those coloured House flags and to finally be in the classrooms with their teachers and one another.
Staff and students were all glad to be off Zoom; the energy and warmth is returning. However, after the initial excitement of Monday the older girls, particularly, were somewhat tired—out of their easier morning routine (less sleep!) and trying to catch up on anything they felt they might have missed in their senior studies. Teachers too were excited to be here on Monday but, after all they had planned for and delivered in the weeks leading in, they were probably feeling a little like it was Week 8 of Term 3.
The restrictions were manageable with no masks required for teachers instructing or for students when seated and there were minimal absences due to COVID (just one or two staff and approximately 1.2 per cent of students). It was quite remarkable how ‘normal’ it all seemed and how quickly we all snapped back in to our usual, much loved, School life. There is a still a long way to go but a good start is always helpful.
The more serious side of Galentine’s Day
Many of your daughters will be excited that on Monday they will celebrate Galentine’s Day—our BGGS riff on Valentine’s Day, a day on which the girls celebrate how much their friendships mean to them, and of course, decorate the campus in pink and red. It is often cited as the girls’ favourite and happiest day of the year. And underpinning it is something that is an important part of our School culture—fun, spirit, even outright silliness that gives girls something to look forward to and helps them to feel connected, to know that they belong. You may have seen a piece on this very topic in the Courier Mail this week featuring some of our students.
Good educators understand that if students feel a sense of belonging and wellbeing (to borrow from our Strategic Design) and are happy, that this is foundational to both their overall wellbeing and their academic success. Being overly fixated on homework and results can kill the joy in learning and lead to unnecessary stress. It is very important that children have interests and pleasures in their lives that are intrinsically rewarding and contribute to their sense of wellbeing. For not everything in our ‘data and metrics obsessed’ world can be measured and nor should it be, and it must never be all about achievement.
School Assembly and Year 12 Leadership
School Assembly on Wednesday was our formal start to the academic year at Girls Grammar. Our new Deputy Principal (Co-curriculum), Ms Sophie Mynott, provided the Australia Day Address, encouraging us to ‘take some time to learn something new about Australia, from someone whose voice you don’t normally hear’.
It has never been more important, of course, for us to hear from diverse voices but, regardless of the particular date and the discussion that surrounds this, we acknowledged on Assembly what a wonderful nation we are a part of. We enjoy a peace and security that is simply not found in many other nations. Our democratic society allows us to speak up and speak out but also ensures we have freedom from persecution when we do (social media aside). I hope that our students understand that we have so much to be grateful for as Australians and that they, with their education, their confidence and their commitment will contribute to our society in a way that builds an even stronger, even better society in the future.
It was a very exciting and very meaningful Assembly, with President of the P&F, Dr Cate Campbell, presenting the Year 12 badges and noting that ‘this badge is a conspicuous symbol of the responsibility that comes with the position the Year 12 students have as the leaders of the School and role models for the younger years’.
Head Girls, Gigi (12W) and Izzy (12M), revealed, to a greatly anticipating audience and the traditional drum roll, the School Motto for 2022—Bloom with the Blue. They encouraged their fellow students to bloom or to flourish, to be themselves and to do this with and for one another, together, side by side. Finally, Trustee, Ms Diana Lorisch (Head Girl 1989), after providing a personal reflection on leadership shared her hope for us all—that it is a ‘wonderful, sparkling year’.
Ms Jacinda Euler