What a joy it was to join over 100 students, staff and family members at this year’s Rocky River Run! Our community looked fantastic in their pink, navy and gold singlets and our large numbers made us difficult to miss. Not only were we blessed with beautiful weather, our group was happy and relaxed and clearly happy being together. I am by no means a runner but, for me, the opportunity to put on my sneakers, get into the fresh air, enjoy our lovely riverfront and chat to members of the school and Rockhampton community was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning. I was really proud of the way our girls looked, conducted themselves and participated and I had a lovely time spending the morning with them. Congratulations to all our girls for having fun, getting outdoors and supporting a great community event.
Hosting functions and events is very important to us because, not only is building community a very valued and important part of the Girls Grammar history and culture, it is vital for obtaining the best educational outcomes for girls. Research shows that students in schools with a strong sense of community are more likely to be academically motivated (Solomon, Battistich, Watson, Schaps, & Lewis, 2000); to act ethically and altruistically (Schaps, Battistich, & Solomon, 1997); to develop social and emotional competencies (Solomon et al., 2000); and to avoid a number of problem behaviours (Resnick et al., 1997). The positive effects of community-building are often long-lasting, building through primary school and persisting through the middle and senior years of schooling.
A national survey of Australian parents, The Future of Education 2020 survey, looked at, among other things, the role of schools in building community. The survey (McCrindle, 2020) canvassed the views of 1,003 parents from a mix of government, Catholic and independent schools around Australia as well as 401 educators. The survey confirmed that the school community provides a support network of role models and allows students, parents, and staff to feel seen and known. It also revealed that 76% of parents in non-government schools felt that they were known by the school community, compared with 67% in government schools.
At Girls Grammar, we value our community and enjoy our interactions with parents, families, Old Girls and friends of the school. Furthermore, there is no doubt that having a good community has a positive impact on a child’s education. I am grateful to all those members of our community who are able to attend events, engage with the school and participate in various capacities – our strong community is a valuable support network for our girls’ health, wellbeing and engagement.
National Volunteer Week
Last week was National Volunteer Week and I would like to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate the many, many people who donate time to our community. As a dynamic and busy school community, we rely on the generosity of so many people and we consider ourselves blessed to have so many individuals who willingly support the school including:
our Old Girls who come along every week to archive our school’s history;
our parents who coach and manage sporting teams and cocurricular activities;
the many parents who attend P&F meetings, serve on the committee or organise, run and volunteer at events;
our Old Girls, past parents and friends of the school who are currently organising the Girls Grammar Race Day;
the many individuals who kindly donate time to work in our library or classrooms.
To all our volunteers, I would like to pass on the School’s thanks and genuine appreciation for your contribution to the girls, the School and the wider Girls Grammar community.
Year 12 Formal
This weekend our Year 12s celebrate one of the most anticipated events of their schooling years – their formal. We wish them all the best as they prepare, and we look forward to sharing this wonderful milestone with them. The walkthrough will be live-streamed and we will share photographs from the formal with our community next week.
This Sunday, Stacey McCarthy and I head off on a tour of western Queensland. Starting in Roma, we then head to Cunnamulla for the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Annual State Conference which will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday. Attendance at the conference allows us to meet with rural and regional families and hear more about the challenges facing our boarding students and families. This builds our understanding, which allows us to find ways to better support our students. Following the conference, we will visit Charleville, Barcaldine, Alpha and Emerald before returning to Rockhampton. We look forward to meeting our current and past parents, alum and prospective students during this week.