Welcome to Term 2. I hope everyone had a lovely Easter, filled with opportunities to relax and enjoy time with family.
2020 is certainly unprecedented and it is times like this that we understand the importance of our community. The transition from classroom to home-based learning has necessitated significant changes, for both schools and families, and required us all to work together to ensure our girls thrive and shine as we navigate this pandemic. Research has shown the relationship between schools and families has a profound impact on both student outcomes and wellbeing, so I would like to acknowledge our families and thank them for working in partnership with us. I appreciate everyone’s patience and the warm messages of support sent to teachers and staff. The sense I get from our community is one of working together, supporting each other and I am very grateful for this.
This week I have enjoyed visiting our classrooms which has given me the opportunity to check in on our students who are learning on campus, but also allowed me to watch online lessons and listen to our students interact, collaborate and problem-solve in their virtual classes. I have also spent time each day with our Prep to Year 3 students. What I’ve noticed is that, whether they’ve been online or on campus, our girls have been engaged, active and happy. Feedback from students is that their classes are going well and they’re feeling confident with the learning. I congratulate all our girls on the way they have approached our current learning environment and I thank all parents for encouraging and supporting their daughters.
The move to an online environment has required a significant redesign of the curriculum and learning and I would like to thank teachers for their creativity, energy and determination – they have put a great deal of time, energy and thought into learning new skills, changing their pedagogy and ensuring students are learning and growing. Every girl is important to us and we want to ensure that, despite the current situation, each one continues to thrive academically, regardless of whether she is learning online at home or here at school.
The Parents Network of Queensland Independent Schools website has lots of resources and articles to support parents through this time https://www.parentsnetwork.qld.edu.au/. There’s also a good letter from CQU Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp that Year 12 students may find worthwhile to read.
Week 1 has gone well thanks to the way we, as a community, have worked together. But I am looking forward to later in the term and remain hopeful it won’t be too long before all our girls can return and we can all be together at our beautiful school again.
This Saturday is ANZAC Day
The current situation also serves as a reminder that, when times are tough, Australians have always relied on the distinctive qualities of mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance to get us through. These traditions are associated with the ANZAC tradition – a tradition that started on 25th April, 1915, when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
This campaign lasted eight months and resulted in 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease. From their bravery and courage has emerged the ANZAC legend and spirit.
This Saturday we recognise ANZAC Day. It is a day to remember that, like the ANZACs in 1915, Australians today all bear the qualities of care, compassion, support, resilience, and strength within us.
This ANZAC day, we won’t be able to attend the Dawn Service, or march in the parade, or spend time with extended family and friends. But we can still reflect on those who have sacrificed for our nation and our way of life. Whilst we can’t come together, we can remember them.
Every ANZAC Day, I think of my grandfather. He served in World War 2 in New Guinea as a member of the Australian Airforce. I don’t know much about his service - my grandfather never talked about his time at war. But the man I knew was gentle, and kind and funny – I can’t imagine that he enjoyed being at war; I imagine he must have had times when he was terrified. The man I know would have missed his wife and children terribly. I often wonder why a man who seemed so ill-fitted for war, decided to enlist. I believe he would have done it because he felt it was his duty, he would have believed in freedom and protecting his family, his nation and the Australian way of life.
On ANZAC Day, I also think of all the men and women who have enlisted and served in our defence forces. I’m sure there are many, many reasons why men and women enlist just as I am sure that there are many, many challenges and sacrifices they and their families make. I am grateful that there are people who are still prepared to serve today, not only to protect our nation and our values but also to ensure the freedoms, safety and basic human rights of people all around the world.
This ANZAC Day, whilst you can’t attend our usual services, if you can, try to find a moment to remember those who have served, remember the qualities of mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance that Australians are renowned for. If you can, join Australians around the country who will be ‘lighting up the dawn’ by standing in their driveways, united in spirit, remembering all those who have served and sacrificed. Further information can be found at https://rslqld.org/News/Latest-News/Light-up-the-dawn.
Our Year 12 girls traditionally participate in the Dawn Service and Rats of Tobruk service. This year, due to the current restrictions, they won’t be able to be part of these traditions. Instead, we have asked them to share photos that represent their reflection on Anzac Day – we will share these images with our community next week.
Lest we forget.
Mrs Deanne Johnston