As you are aware the air quality and smoke haze over Sydney has been extreme and intense today, affecting staff and students at the College. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment have forecasted more intense conditions for tomorrow with a “red warning” being issued for the Sydney region. A red warning directs us to limit any exposure to outdoor activities. For this reason, the College has decided not to transport the students to Picnic Day at Clontarf on Thursday 5 December, tomorrow.
We understand that parents will make an informed decision in the best interest of their daughter(s), and the College will provide activities and supervision for the duration of the school day if the decision is made for students to attend school.
Students who are attending school tomorrow are reminded to bring their own picnic lunch as the Canteen will not be open. The final College Liturgy and House Assemblies will take place as planned on Friday. Students will finish at midday on this day as previously communicated.
With our Mercy Pilgrimage leaving today and the Cambodian Immersion trip leaving Saturday, I thought it appropriate to offer this prayer for the safe travels of all in our community during the upcoming school break.
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
It has certainly been a busy end to the school year with many activities taking place at the College.
The community came together last Wednesday evening for Carols in the Chapel. Students and their families joined Sisters of Mercy and staff as Mercy musicians and singers performed beautiful renditions of Christmas carols. The amazing acoustics of the Mother Mary Clare Dunphy Chapel always provides an ideal meeting space for all to rejoice as another year draws to a close. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the true spirit of Christmas as a time of faith and hope that comes with the birth of Jesus as Saviour.
The College held its Year 7 2020 Orientation Day last Thursday where we welcomed over 200 students as future Mercy Girls. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces eager to join us and being welcomed so warmly by our student leaders, Year 9 students and College staff. May this be the beginning of a rich relationship forged with our new Year 7 students and their families.
On Friday, 29 November, over 80 current and future Mercy Girls attended the Public Speaking Day of Excellence, mentored by ex-students who excelled in public speaking during their time at the College. A huge thank you to Mr Chris Ostrowski for his facilitation of the day, to the College staff who assisted and to the many students, both current and ex-students, who came along to support the program.
Today, we farewelled students and staff on their Mercy Pilgrimage. The group will visit places of Mercy in Ireland, United Kingdom and Italy. The group will have many rewarding experiences not only from the places and people they will visit - including Mercy International in Dublin and Pope Francis in Rome - but also from the opportunity to share this experience!
Significantly, tonight the College will acknowledge students during our annual Celebration of Achievement Evening. I look forward to you joining us in celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students in 2019 and reflecting on 130 years of Mercy education in Parramatta.
This Saturday, students and staff, including myself, set off on the Cambodian Immersion trip. Through the many fundraising efforts of the students, we aim to participate in humanitarian projects including providing housing, food, equipment and fresh water to those in need.
Both the Cambodian Immersion and the Mercy Pilgrimage will be reflecting on their experiences at a College Assembly early in Term 1, 2020.
Things to Note
- A reminder that school concludes for 2019 on Friday, 6 December with an end of year Liturgy. Students will be dismissed at 12 noon.
- The revised Mobile Phone Policy will be communicated to staff, students and parents at the beginning of 2020. Please check our website from next week for this Policy.
- An exciting opportunity has emerged for the College to explore a partnership with Western Sydney University. What this may mean is that this could include the use of the university's sporting fields and other facilities. An information evening outlining this opportunity will be held in Term 1, 2020.
I wish everyone a very happy, holy and safe Christmas and look forward to seeing everyone back refreshed and ready to learn in 2020!
Warm regards and the blessings of Christmas to you all,
Mrs Marie Wood