This week we have welcomed back to School our staff, students and families, announced our Head Girls for 2022, celebrated the importance of fathers in their daughters’ lives and the contribution of our Fathers Group at Father Daughter Dinner, and enjoyed an evening of pure delight with the Year 7/8 Drama Production–Fight With All Your Might the Zombies of Tonight.
Year 12 students have returned to the reality of a very weighty eight or so weeks. Unlike the days of the OP system when Year 12s returned to interesting new topics in each of their subjects with just the ‘finishing touches’ still to go in their assessment, our ‘ATAR’ girls have their major assessment looming on the very near horizon. They are, however, well prepared and will be well supported and feel a deservedly proud sense of achievement when they are through. Never has our motto been more applicable—Nil Sine Labore. The simple fact of life is that nothing worthwhile is achieved easily or without hard work, even sacrifice and the rigour of this assessment will set them up well for the future.
The five girls shortlisted for Head Girl delivered speeches to the students of Years 10 and 11 on Tuesday, with Year 10 attending as observers and Year 11 voting for our new Head Girls. They were asked to respond to the advice for young people of Professor Raina MacIntyre—one of Australia’s leading infectious diseases experts who has become a household name in Australia over the past 18 months. She has stressed the importance of being yourself, being confident, not comparing yourself to others and doing what you believe to be right, even if at times this is unpopular.
We often think of the need for leaders to be strategic and visionary, good organisers, ‘doers’–and this is true—but many people would say that the most important influence our leaders have is on culture—who we are, how we conduct ourselves and what we stand for. Our 2022 Head Girls Georgia (Gigi) Souyave Murphy (11W) and Isabel Stephens (11M) have the support of their peers and will shape our School, in ways yet unknown, in the year ahead. We wish them well as they embark upon this exciting path to the future knowing that they will heed the advice of Professor MacIntyre ‘… follow your own path, and don’t get caught up comparing yourself to others… follow your own pathway and stick to your guns in terms of what you believe in.’
Comparing ourselves to others is natural but social comparison can be, of course, the scourge of an adolescent girl’s life in contemporary times. Many will have seen through the reporting of a Wall Street Journal investigation that Facebook, which owns Instagram, is well aware of the harm being done to the mental health and wellbeing of teens, on their social platforms.
Facebook’s own research revealed that:
- 32% of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram makes them feel worse
- 40% of Instagram users who felt ‘unattractive’ said that this feeling was caused by using the app
- Internal Facebook briefings indicate that Instagram is worse than other social media apps because of its emphasis on social comparison.
As with all of these things, they are neither all good nor all bad, but the guidance, support and firm boundaries of the adults in our children’s lives are essential as they learn to negotiate the world and all the challenges and wonders it presents.
For anyone sitting in the audience of the Year 7/8 Drama Production this week, there could be no doubt about what our School stands for: treating young people with the respect they deserve; the importance of nurturing their academic, creative and personal development; the high standards of our School and wonderful staff; and the sheer joy that can be experienced watching a play come to life in the hands of our talented young thespians. The girls were just so proud of one another and this will be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. It was a pure pleasure to watch.
I hope that it is a good term for all of our students, staff and families.
Ms Jacinda Euler