Dear Parents and Carers
How quickly we have moved to onsite learning this week! It was a pleasure to see our students return on Monday and have the playgrounds filled with laughter and the classrooms filled with the sound of consolidation of the learning that has occurred over the last few weeks. Sometimes learning growth is visible and sometimes learning growth is more subtle and not easily measured.
Over the last few weeks, I have often referenced in my communications to you, our capacity to be agile and flexible. We have certainly had our resolve tested by the challenges brought on by the pandemic. As educators we have reviewed and refined the Continuous Learning Program; as parents, you would also have your resolve tested as you juggled your family and work commitments. The students have generally increased their levels of autonomy and their ability to be disciplined and focussed. I also have a renewed respect for retaining one’s sense of humour and optimism in the face of the constantly changing daily issues that COVID-19 has surfaced. I believe that how you deal with the issues is the measure of who you are – both for yourself and in the eyes of those around you.
If there is a positive, it must be that the true strengths of the OLMC community are now obvious to all. We have rallied as a community: our parents, our students, our staff, the College Board and our inspiring Parramatta Sisters of Mercy. I thank the Sisters sincerely as I know that we were and are always in their thoughts and prayers as a Mercy community, as they are in ours.
What has your daughter learnt about herself at this time? What have you observed that is different about her way of acting and thinking? In considering the time we have all spent at home, these might be good ideas to explore with your daughter as she transitions to onsite learning. What will she keep doing? More of something? Will she start working in a different way?
As Principal, I know I have benefitted from taking the time to show deep appreciation for those around me. From the friendly smile and acknowledgement that comes my way and that encourages me to be present in the moment. I have been grateful for the messages of support and gratitude that have come from parents and students alike; for the emails sent to me and for the parent who called out her thanks from the car window as she dropped off her daughter on Monday morning. I am so proud to be leading OLMC at this time as it has shown me such generosity of spirit amongst our community. Thank you all!
Year 12 students have been foremost in our minds here at the College and the recent Year 12 Student-led Conferences, conducted via Zoom, have been a great success. Year 12 are currently in their Assessment Block this week and next week and even this has taken on new meaning and purpose. I think we are all relieved to be back face-to-face and the resilience of Year 12 has been outstanding. We offer them our full support but we must also realise that they have stepped up and taken on an increased level of responsibility. This is both encouraging and right as they complete their education at the College and prepare for the wider world. I am confident that the forthcoming Study Weeks (two) in the July holidays, generously supported by their teachers will add to their confidence and courage as they approach their Trials in August.
The Mercy Tree symbolises all that is good about our Mercy community. At present, it is shedding its leaves but it stands strong and unwavering as a call to charity and service. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important not to forget the charitable causes that we as a community support. The Mercy Tree is an initiative of the College and underpins an important partnership with the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta. Standing tall in the Brigid Shelly Courtyard, the Chinese Elm tree was blessed and planted on College grounds in 2012. Reflecting the growth of the College’s commitment to Mercy Values and its desire to address the needs of the wider community, the Mercy Tree continues to raise funds to support charitable causes nominated by OLMC students and determined by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta. For the second year, donations to the Mercy Tree will go to support the Parramatta Women’s Shelter. As we emerge from coronavirus lockdown, donations are needed to support western Sydney’s most vulnerable women and children. During disasters and particularly at times like this, when people are being forced to stay inside, the rate of domestic and family violence climbs. In this difficult time, we would appreciate your donations to this worthwhile cause. To donate to the Mercy Tree, click here.
We are in Phase 3 of our Continuous Learning Program. It has been carefully considered, is focused and highly practical. Should we be called to revert to remote learning we can do so with minimal disruption. As always, I will communicate any instructions and updates from health and government authorities as they are made known to me.
Take care and stay safe.
Mrs Marie Wood