Principal’s Update 2016 – 14

As Year 12 begin saying goodbye to their school days, they have shared with the College community their considerable talent across a range of different subject areas. Through exhibitions or performances of major works in the subjects of Design & Technology, Visual Arts, English Extension, Music, Drama and Textiles, we have witnessed such creativity, as well as discipline and patience. These students are rightly proud of their major works because they are authentically theirs – from the original idea to the completion of the work. It is learning at its best. Congratulations to all of our Year 12 students and their teachers. I look forward to formally farewelling them at their Graduation on Thursday 22 September, and to recognising their many achievements at Speech Night on Monday 21 November at the Sydney Town Hall. Parents also deserve appreciation and credit for the way they have supported so lovingly their daughters throughout Year 12. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

The Science Labs have been the centre of very different activities over the last week. Our Kindergarten children took up their position in the labs complete with safety glasses and relevant equipment, looking very much like serious, if small, Science students. They are currently learning about “Gravity” and how people learn new things when they test ideas. The students tested the effect of distance and mass on a pendulum and related this to everyday objects such as swings found in a park. 

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Then our Year 12 students gathered in the labs to enjoy an end of course party, complete with an enormous gelato ice-cream cake, supplied by Ms De Domeneghi. It was perhaps just as well that both groups didn’t gather on the same day.

Congratulations are due to our Primary students who have again achieved considerable success in the State Maths Problem-Solving competition. Six entries were submitted into the Mathematical Association of NSW investigation competition. Results included, three first place awards and two second place awards.

Kinder    Class      Under the Sea. Exploring the Underworld of Maths – First

Prep       Class      Mathematical Vivid – Second

Year 2    Class      The Mathematics of Toothpaste – First

Year 3    Class      All Hands on Deck – First

Year 3    Class      Investigating 800 – Second

At last week’s Years 6-12 Assembly we also recognised a range of student achievements in external competitions including Mathematics, Geography and History, as well as in the Da Vinci Decathlon.

The planning for Year 10’s Step up to Senior School project for Term 4 is well under-way, and is a collaborative venture involving students and teachers. We are all excited about making this ‘tail end’ of Year 10 a new beginning that sets them up for success in Year 11. From offering ‘taster’ courses to mini-major works, workshops at universities and museums, the Heads of Department have ‘pitched’ different ideas to the group to meet a wide variety of student needs and interests.Mrs Long’s Pastoral Care team and Heads of House are also ensuring that student well-being will be a major focus of this time. We will continue to report the progress of this initiative in Veritas Voice.

As indicated in our Annual Appeal this year we are undertaking major restoration of the sandstone façade of Holyrood. This beautiful heritage building is something we must protect, but the cost is significant, now approaching $300,000. Thank you to those members of our community who contributed to this year’s annual appeal to help support this project. The College is very reliant on such support to ensure continual capital maintenance of our buildings and infrastructure.

At the conclusion of this term, I am taking a short enrichment trip and travelling to the United States to visit Dominican schools, the United Nations, and to meet members of our alumnae who currently live in New York. I am very keen to build links with these schools – Dominican Academy in New York and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in Los Angeles.

I continue to be inspired by the writing of Dominicans – local and global. Timothy Radcliffe OP is one such Dominican who writes beautifully about the relevance of Christianity and Church in today’s world. He reminds us that ‘Veritas’ must be an ongoing pursuit for educators, so that students have the confidence and courage to be discerning seekers of the truth. As he argues, ‘we have to lose those certainties that banish uncomfortable truths, see both sides of the argument, ask the questions that may frighten us. St Thomas was the man of questions, who learnt to take every question seriously, however foolish it might appear…So the teacher is not there to fill the pupils’ heads with facts, but to strengthen them in their deep human inclination towards the truth, and to accompany them in the search. We must learn to see with our own eyes and stand on our feet’. (Timothy Radcliffe OP)

With these words of Timothy Radcliffe in mind, I wish all the best for our Year 11 students and staff participating in our immersion programs in South Africa and the Solomon Islands. Immersions offer us that ‘deep human inclination towards the truth’ as we face uncomfortable truths about inequality of power and privilege, and impel us ‘to lose those certainties that banish uncomfortable truths, see both sides of the argument, ask the questions that may frighten us’. We see with our own eyes, and our vision is forever changed.

Dr Maree Herrett