Dear OLMC families,
Welcome to the final newsletter for 2020. And what a year 2020 has been!
As we complete the final week at the College, it has been a period of great reflection and celebration. Each day this week we have been acknowledging the achievements of every student throughout 2020. As well as significant academic achievements, students have been acknowledged for their contributions to our community in diverse areas of service and Mission. What a rich community we are, made more so by the contributions of each one of us!
I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts as I spoke with each group of students this week:
“Good morning students. Good morning staff.
Who has noticed the corner of the AMCC on O’Connell St and Victoria Rd?
Who has seen the sign on the corner of the building?
Do you know what it says?
Yes – Expanding beyond what we know we can be!
Do you know what it means?
Yes – being more than we think we can be; becoming more than we think we can become; doing more that we think we can do. It even means keeping on going when we don’t want to give up and finding more inner strength that we didn’t know we had!
2020, for all of us, has been a year like no other when all these things are true about us!
We have all expanded beyond what we know we can be!
Everyone is calling 2020 an unprecedented year and they have talked about the dreadful challenges we have all faced. They have told us we should feel anxious and that life sometimes is unfair because we have missed out on things that should have happened but didn’t. Sometimes it is okay to feel this way but it is not okay to let these negative feelings control us. It is not good for us!
So when challenges come our way we have two choices:
- We can let challenges and negative feelings take control of us or
- We can control those challenges and face them head on. And even though we might feel a little anxious and that life is unfair (and we all do at times!) we can act with confidence and courage because we are in it together here at OLMC!
Of course things happened: COVID-19 we didn’t see coming, but every challenge that came our way we faced together and I couldn’t be more proud of you all than I am in this moment .
I want us to think of 2020 as a remarkable year that has brought out the best in all of us! A year when we look back and see how much stronger we all are, how much more we know our true worth and how committed we all are to our Mercy community. Today we are here celebrating each other and acknowledging our resilience and persistence.
The beginning of 2020 was also still a challenge because bushfires were still affecting many Australian communities. And then the Coronavirus struck.
As a strong Mercy community, we felt these challenges keenly and initially focussed our efforts on supporting those affected by the hardship of drought and the regional communities struggling to rebuild after the fires had ravaged their homes but not their resilience. Awareness raising and fundraising became just two practical ways of trying to be of service to those who had suffered loss and hope. You might have helped to organise bucket collections of gold coin donations at the College gates or a Gelato Day where all proceeds were donated to Drought relief. Your generosity truly lives out our Mercy Values of compassion, service and dignity.
We started the year by talking about our Mercy Value for 2020 “dignity.” We agreed that:
Dignity is the treatment of each person with respect and the recognition of their inherent value and worth.
Let me remind you that we decided that we would:
- Be aware of your value as a human being made in the image of God
- Be positive, hopeful and kind
You have all conducted yourselves with great dignity throughout every experience.
By March 2020, Australia began witnessing the worsening effects of COVID-19 on the world. International travel was halted, the pandemic was spreading and here at OLMC we began to prepare for Continuous Learning.
Not one of us saw this coming. It has never happened in my lifetime, your parents’ lifetime or yours! It really is an extraordinary event that has asked much of us and we have responded extraordinarily well.
Instead of onsite learning you were asked to learn remotely and you did! Instead of interacting with your teachers face to face you zoomed them. And you did it brilliantly.
When we all had to self-isolate for 14 days you continued your learning and patiently waited to return to the College.
I believe we have all learned some valuable insights during 2020.
- We have learned to never give up
- We have learned to try our best no matter what because that is who we are
- We have learned that a sense of humour is important
- We have learned that together we truly can expand beyond what we know we can be!
2021 marks a new beginning at the College. We will have a new College Principal to welcome, Ms Lucie Farrugia, and we are all excitedly anticipating her arrival. I am very much looking forward to supporting Ms Farrugia in my continuing role of Deputy Principal at the College. I know that she brings a great wealth of experience with her and that she will make our Mercy community even stronger and richer by her presence.
I have been privileged to lead the College as Principal (Acting) in 2020, in what has been an eventful year for us all. I wish to thank all of the OLMC Staff- teaching and support - for their magnificent efforts throughout the year to ensure things ran as smoothly as possible for everyone. A particular thank you to those staff who stepped into acting roles during the year. I am grateful for the support of the College Board and particularly the Board Chair, Ms Kerrie Walshaw. Thank you to the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta, for their unwavering prayers and support. Thank you to the College Leadership Team for their professionalism and loyalty as we have navigated this remarkable year together. A special thank you to Ms Gemma VandePeer who has supported me so well as Deputy Principal (Acting) during 2020. And thank you to all of you parents who have supported us all and offered vital words of encouragement at crucial times.
To the students and families who are moving to new schools in 2021– I wish you a positive experience and thank you for your contributions to our Mercy community.
To the staff who are moving on to the next phases of their careers – go safely and with our best wishes. Thank you for your contributions to our Mercy Ministry.
As I encouraged the students this week to consider the following so I now encourage you: As you prepare for the Christmas break and get ready to spend time with your families and friends I would like you to spend some time thinking about your amazing achievements in this remarkable year that has been 2020!
You are different now. You are stronger in ways that you do not realise yet!
Never lose your confidence and courage - you are a Mercy Girl!
Be proud of who you are becoming!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Stay safe and well.
Term 1, 2021 will mark the beginning of a new era at the College as the uniform changeover process, which began in 2018, will be complete.
All Mercy Girls in every Year Group will be wearing the brand-new uniform from the start of the 2021 school year.
This is a very exciting time in the College’s long history. This change is a tangible reconnection to our rich Mercy heritage; blue is the colour most commonly associated with Mercy around the world and many past OLMC uniforms have featured the colour blue.
We are delighted that our current students, families and staff can be part of this historic moment.
Please visit the Uniform Shop online to book your appointment, see opening hours, make online purchases and view then price list. https://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/enrolments/uniform-shop/
To assist in the transition to the new uniform, the College set up an Old Style Second Hand Uniforms Facebook page. This will now be closed from 11 December, 2020.
Music at OLMC
In the last newsletter, you received notification that the Mercy Music and Performance Academy Parramatta would not continue in 2021.
It is important to note that this does not in any way change what musical opportunities are available to Mercy Girls. The same music subjects and co-curricular groups (such as choir, orchestra etc) will all continue with no change.
The change is to the administrative/operational structure of music at the College only. Music at OLMC is returning to the same structure that was in place before the Academy launched in 2015.
The only significant change that will occur in 2021 is that non-OLMC students will no longer receive music tuition here at the College.
The College’s strong tradition of music excellence will continue as all music curricular and co-curricular offerings and lessons will remain. Mercy Girls will have every opportunity to develop their musical talents to their potential. The College is committed to building upon our strong musical legacy; we will continue to honour our rich musical history into the future.