Dear OLMC Families
Welcome back to Term 3! Second semester of any school year has its own rhythm and familiarity and yet we have all learned to expect the unexpected in a year filled with some significant challenges and many significant successes! We have learned to pivot and to persevere and we can all be really proud of our achievements, anchored in our faith, our Mercy charism and our deep sense of a hope-filled community. These ever-changing circumstances can test our resolve and our relationships and I cannot help but be immensely optimistic when surrounded by our wonderful students, OLMC families and College staff who daily make wellbeing and learning their priority. I am glad to be amongst such positive energy.
We will continue in Phase 3 of Continuous Learning for the time being as this is the best approach to minimise any disruption to learning. Safe hygiene practices remain in place, visitors to the site remain restricted as do whole school events and excursions. I know that we have all become Zoom experts and I thank you for your support and patience as we continue our sensible approach to keeping us all safe and well. You are aware that I always (and regularly) communicate with you when updates and notifications are provided by NSW Health and government authorities. I ask that you adhere to all guidelines, information and instructions that are communicated so that we all take responsibility for our collective health and wellbeing. If you are unsure of something please contact NSW Health and alert the College to your concerns. We will continue to do our best!
By now you will have received the email from the College Board Chair, Ms Kerrie Walshaw, informing our community of Mr Stephen Walsh’s decision to resign as College Principal. If you have not seen the communication, I include Ms Walshaw’s thoughts here:
'I am particularly proud of the strengthening of our Catholic identity, the transformation of our learning framework and increased professional development opportunities for staff. Under Mr Walsh’s leadership enrolments at the College have significantly grown and his oversight of the construction of the Ailsa Mackinnon Centre and the purchase and redevelopment of Roseneath have added to the College’s facilities and resources. We have certainly made considerable progress thanks to the leadership of Mr Walsh and the Executive team.'
On behalf of the College community I wish to extend my best wishes to Mr Walsh as he explores the next phase of his career and acknowledge the contribution that he has made to me in my leadership role and to us as a Mercy community.
In the second semester of a school year it is always an opportunity to reflect on learning so far and the learning goals that were set at the start of the year. What has worked well and what has shifted? What more can be done? What needs to be added to or done differently? The recent Student-led Conferences for all Year groups have been an opportunity for discussion around such reflections. It is not unusual for individuals to reset goals or even reset direction. The important aspect is to recognise when it is right to do such resetting and to recognise opportunities. Your daughter will be rethinking her goals and setting new directions no doubt and having discussions with you about her learning and aspirations.
Not unlike the students, staff also reflect on their goals in the second semester. It is not unusual to consider their career progression or the timeliness of taking their well-deserved Long Service Leave. Professional growth is always encouraged, supported and valued here and it can be a bittersweet moment when a staff member makes a decision to move beyond OLMC. It is right for them and we can be proud as a community that we have contributed to their development so that they wish to continue their contributions to education beyond us. We can be a little sad that they are leaving but know that it is their decision and it must be right for them. They are truly 'expanding beyond what they know they can be'. In fact, this often happens at this time of year in every school – people move, people take long service leave, people take parental leave. Staff are people and it makes for a dynamic learning community!
The non-term time was a very busy time at the College. I wish to thank the many staff – both teaching and support staff - who attended the College to facilitate the two Year 12 Study weeks. Year 12 – I also wish to congratulate you! Your engagement with the support provided is commendable and demonstrates your control over your learning despite the challenges. You are preparing for your Higher School Certificate and you remain proactive and undaunted. Well done! You each are a fine example of resilience for all students following you and you show how to respond to challenge with courage and grit!
The 32 Student leaders for 2020 /2021 certainly look up to Year 12. I was fortunate to attend their Leadership camp on Friday and Saturday of last week and I am truly impressed by their enthusiasm and Mercy spirit. I spoke to the student leaders about the importance of authenticity and integrity and they spoke to me about the importance of inclusion and unity. We are blessed to have such strong values embedded amongst us. I look forward to their leadership - I know I will be learning from them!
The Light Rail construction has placed significant constraints around traffic movement in the Parramatta CBD. Thank you to those parents who have been able to park several streets from the College rather driving into Ross Street. I am aware that traffic congestion is increasing around us and am investigating an alternative site for drop-off and collection of your daughters each day. I will have more to communicate about this later in the week.
The Catherine McAuley OLMC Parramatta Alumnae Award is presented each year to an outstanding ex-student. Introduced in 2009, the Award is a way of acknowledging and celebrating the great achievements of the OLMC Alumnae community. An ex-student may nominate another ex-student for the Catherine McAuley OLMC Parramatta Alumnae Award, by submitting a written nomination to the Principal.
Click here to read more about the Catherine McAuley Alumnae Award, past recipients and how you can nominate an ex-student.
Click here to access the Catherine McAuley Award nomination form
- 19 August - College Open Morning Virtual Tour. Bookings can be made through the website. Please tell your friends should they wish to join one.
- 21 September - Launch of the OLMC 2020 HSC Virtual Showcase. Look out for more information in the next newsletters. It is exciting that we have learned so many new ways of doing things!
Thank you all for your invaluable support as I continue in the role of Principal (Acting). We are doing well because we have faith and we have faced challenges together. We will continue to face challenges together I am certain however, each time we grow in confidence and courage. What more could we ask of ourselves!
Stay safe and well.
Mrs Marie Wood