Dear OLMC Families
‘We have ever confided largely in Divine Providence and shall continue to do so.’
In these words Catherine McAuley identifies the source of her support and trust – her faith in God – to see her through the daily challenges that she faced and those that she witnessed being faced by others in the poverty of 19th century Dublin, Ireland. As she used all of her inheritance to build the house in Baggott Street, she faced each day with a hope and a conviction that made it possible for her to engage with each challenge and to look for solutions rather than being halted in her actions.
Having such a positive attitude helped Catherine to be fully alive and we can do well to live our own lives by following her example. Catherine’s sense of mercy and her deep integration of a values-focussed life sustained her always and forms for us a solid guide in our contemporary world.
Indeed, we have all taken this positive attitude and placed our trust in Divine Providence throughout 2020. As Term 3 draws to its close, we can be very proud of the way we, as a Mercy community, have trusted in God and always done our best. The pandemic has not broken us but made us stronger as a faith-filled community. Together, students, families and staff, we have withstood a period of self-isolation that tested us, but we have emerged with an even stronger sense of connectedness and with our sense of humour intact! We have proven ourselves to be an agile and responsive community that values each member and ensures that the health and wellbeing of each of us is a priority. How glad we should all be to members of such a vibrant Mercy community!
I wanted to draw your attention today to three members of our Mercy community who deserve our accolades at present for being who they are in representing the best of themselves and of us by association!
Our 2020/2021 Head Girl - Yasmine Alwakal recently competed in the World Debating and Public Speaking titles. Yasmine was placed 10th overall which is a remarkable achievement. Expecting to go to Shanghai to compete, COVID-19 meant no international travel but rather virtual travel instead! Undaunted Yasmine competed via Zoom early each morning of the competition and, afterwards attended her lessons each day at school. Yasmine – you have made us all very proud. Today, I presented Yasmine with her trophy acknowledging her 10th place in this competition, as well as a gift of appreciation on behalf of the P & F.
I would like to speak about two long-serving members of our Mercy staff. Traditionally on Mercy Day each year, such service would be acknowledged publically at Assembly so that our gratitude and respect can be shown. At smaller ceremonies this week, I can assure that these two valued colleagues have received such acknowledgment of their 30 years of service to the College community.
I congratulate and acknowledge Christine Hackett, our much-respected Leader of Learning Library, for her 30 years of loyal service to our community both in the Library and as a Religious Studies teacher.
I congratulate Poppy Liangas, a much-respected member of our valued Support Staff for her 30 years of loyal service to our community.
All three of these Mercy women model grace and dignity and a desire to be of service to others. Yasmine, Christine and Poppy - we are grateful for your presence and we thank you!
Excitedly, I additionally want to share with you the news that two of our Year 12 Drama students, Angela Younes and Ellen Durbridge have been nominated for ‘OnSTAGE’, for their individual performances. OnSTAGE is an exhibition of group and individual performances by HSC Drama students who have been deemed as exemplary by NESA. We congratulate Angela and Ellen on their nominations and wish them all the very best as their nominations move forward.
R U OK Day was on 11 September this term. This is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, ‘Are you ok?’ It is important on this day, as it is on every day, to ensure all our students and staff feel connected and supported. It is a reminder to check in with the people in your world who might be going through a tough time. Our College staff, donning the R U OK colour of yellow, greeted students as they entered the Mercy Gates on this day handing out R U OK wrist bands as a visual symbol of who we are as Mercy community and who and what we value – the dignity and wellbeing of each other.
This week on Tuesday, 22 September, the College celebrated Mercy Day. You will know it as a much-loved celebration of the College’s Mercy tradition that occurs annually on the Friday closest to the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy on 24 September. This year, in response to pandemic restrictions, we decided to do things differently, without losing sight of the purpose of the day itself. Mercy Girls wore bright pink and red attire to school to symbolise the theme of ‘From the Heart’. During Homeroom, the girls took part in a Liturgy where they engaged in activities around this theme. These included writing postcards to students from Sacred Heart College in Kyneton, Victoria, a Mercy school that has been in Stage 4 lockdown, as well as our new students who will be starting high school at OLMC in 2021. Money was raised for Mercy Works, the development arm of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Mercy Works partner with challenged communities in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Australia to promote justice and self-reliance. This year all funds raised will be donated to women’s projects in PNG. Mercy Day is a wonderful celebration of who we are as a Mercy community.
In Term 4, we have several staff members who will be enjoying their much-deserved Long Service Leave from the College. I know that you will join me in wishing a relaxing and refreshing break to Christine Hackett, Sheila Ibarra, Cathy McNulty, Ann-Marie Herd and Kevin Brooks. It is a testament to their loyal service that they are now due to be taking this leave and I wish them all the very best.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the resilient efforts of our Year 12 students as they complete their final week of learning at the College – and their final year of school education! Next week they will be attending the Study Week at the College in their preparation for the Higher School Certificate Examinations commencing in Week 2 of Term 4. Plans will be finalised regarding their Graduation Ceremony and disseminated to parents later this week and on an ongoing basis as we respond to any restrictions of the pandemic and the guidelines provided by NSW Health. Thank you for your patience!
Upcoming dates for you to note:
- OLMC’s HSC Virtual Showcase is now available to be accessed through our website - https://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/hsc-showcase/
- P&F Meeting - Tuesday, 22 October
- First day of Term 4, 2020, Monday, 12 October
Term 3 concludes this Friday at 3.20pm for all students and staff.
I wish everyone a relaxing break, a time for family and friends and a safe return to the College ready to start Term 4 on Monday 12 October!
Stay well and stay safe.
Mrs Marie Wood