Dear OLMC Families
I actually started to write this week’s newsletter while I was waiting at the College for Debating last Friday night, 7 August. What a difference one day made to what it sounds like! By Saturday 8 August, I was working with the NSW Ministry of Health and the College Leadership Team to manage the notification of a COVID-19 case and planning for remote learning and deep-cleaning the site.
I think I would have written these words anyway and I share them with you now:
'… You work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do. That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.' Michelle Obama
Wise words for us all to reflect on at a time when all around us we can see individuals getting caught up in the unknown and uncertainties of the pandemic. Individuals can become fearful and, without even realising it, start to think only of their own needs and their own safety. Communities, where people feel connected and valued, think of collective needs and collective safety. This is what makes OLMC such a strong community - we are people who treat each other with dignity and respect no matter what. It is what we value and we accept nothing less for ourselves and for each other.
I have been speaking with our Year 12 students over the past couple of weeks and have been so impressed with their common sense and their innate sense of dignity. Part of the tradition of OLMC is that the Principal hosts a morning tea with a small group of Year 12 students from each one of the eight Houses. It is an occasion to thank Year 12 students for their contribution to our community and to converse with them about what they value about their education at OLMC. They often talk about Mercy Day and Retreats and when these ideas do emerge it’s wonderful to know that they are moments always connected to our Mercy values and that, for Year 12, they will be life-long memories.
At this time I am only partway through these morning teas with Year 12 and won’t finish them until later in the term (which is probably a good thing because there is always lots of cake!) but I am so looking forward to each and every one of them because it is an opportunity to tell each girl how much she is valued and valuable.
'Your word is your bond … do what you say you are going to do.'
This is a good reminder about trust and authenticity and can be applied to the character of our relationships and to our work ethic. Remembering to value learning and to demonstrate this by your actions, shapes an individual’s character and leads to personal growth. It can be as simple as remembering to complete classwork or homework and thus keep one’s commitment to continuous learning. Just some ideas on which your daughter could reflect. (I think we have lived this during this week.)
I would like to encourage you all to consider joining one of the P & F meetings this year if you have time. Now that all meetings are being held via zoom it may be easier for you to attend from home rather than travelling to the College. The P & F is a parent group focused on building community, supporting the College and connecting OLMC families. If you have time to join the P & F then save the date of the next meeting and look out for more details in the next newsletter: Tuesday, 1 September starting at 7.00pm.
I wish our Year 12 Dance students all the best for their Higher School Certificate practical examination which takes place this week. (This has to be rescheduled and the students have been notified.)
That was last Friday’s thoughts!
Today, I would add my deeply felt sense of gratitude for the many messages of support from our OLMC community. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes! I would also like to thank the College Board and the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta for their unwavering support and prayers at this time. It has been invaluable.
I feel we have transitioned smoothly to remote learning thanks to our professional teaching and support staff. I thank them sincerely as they manage their own lives and their own families at this challenging time. We are all doing our best.
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I will communicate again later this week and sooner if the situation changes in any way.
Stay well and safe.