Principal’s Update 2017 – 11

Welcome to Term 3 to all our families, and a particular welcome to those families who have just joined our community. During the recent school holidays our students journeyed well beyond the classroom. Students in Years 9 and 10 journeyed to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands of Central Australia to immerse themselves in learning, reflecting, spirituality and searching. They journeyed to seek the truth about the First People of this land. Such a journey gives insight into the importance of and respect for language, lore, culture and land. We thank the Anangu people for their generosity and wisdom. At this critical juncture in Australian history where the question of recognition of indigenous people within the constitution is being debated, it is so important that we help educate students to have an informed voice.

At the same time, music students from Years 7-12 journeyed to the Northern Territory to perform an all Australian program in iconic landscapes, including Uluru, Kakadu, Standley Chasm and Katherine Gorge. Repertoire was from well-known Australian composers and in particular a composer from the Northern Territory who was able to workshop with the students. The concept was to share music with the local communities, including indigenous communities as well as with different schools. In the cathedrals of Darwin, students performed a full-length concert supported by the Darwin Symphony Quartet. There was also a collaborative performance with the Strong Women from the Tiwi Islands in their local church, and the Ntaria Ladies Choir from Hermannsburg in a beautiful precinct. Students from the College have returned to school excited to teach it to the whole school. This is learning at its best. We will have an opportunity to hear this music at our upcoming College celebration of the feast of St Dominic.

On the Del Monte campus Primary students have broadened their learning in different ways. Students participated in very well attended NIDA speech and drama activities over the holiday period, and Del Monte is also hosting a public speaking competition, “Speak Up”, for students in Years 5 and 6 from Riverview College. On 31 July, Del Monte will host a Music Cultural Exchange Project and Concert. On this day, the orchestra from St Stephen’s Preparatory College, Hong Kong, will be visiting Del Monte Primary Years as part of their Music Study Tour for the day. A concert begins at 5:30pm in the Primary Hall.

HSC students are very focused on preparation for their Trial HSC exams which begin on Monday 31 July. They have engaged in HSC workshops during the holidays with our dedicated teaching staff. My thanks to all of those staff who provided exceptional and generous care for our students throughout this period – whether on immersion, the music tour, or through ensuring that additional time is made available for completion of major works, revision of topics and submission of practice essays or other relevant tasks. Meanwhile Year 11 students spent a week of their holidays preparing intensively for their immersion to South Africa in the Term 3 holidays. This preparation is led by Sr Sheila and supported by the staff who will accompany the students on this most significant journey.

As we can see, schools are very busy places for teachers, parents and students, and we appreciate the commitment of parents who “journey” with students in many ways. Thank you for your ongoing support which really enables us to provide an excellent education.

As a community we look forward to our annual St Dominic’s Day on Friday 28 July, when Dominican Sisters, parents and guests, staff and students from all corners of our campus, including Mary Bailey House and Tallong, gather to pray, sing, and give thanks for the wonderful gift of our faith and heritage. This year is a particularly significant one in Dominican history as it is the 150th year since Dominican Sisters first landed in Eastern Australia from Ireland to establish the first Dominican foundation in Australia – Maitland, NSW.

Our school community today acknowledges the pioneering role played by these women in providing an education based on the spirituality and philosophy of Dominic. They hoped, as we do today, that the values learnt by their students would be carried beyond the school and that their graduates would be people of integrity, independence, courage and creativity, and who would work for justice in the world.

Dr Maree Herrett