Posted on: Wednesday 12 June 2019
Posted in: Boarding
Term 2 seems to have flown by – and has seen the girls actively engaged in all manner of opportunities from Middle and Senior School Plays, music and debating, to sport, rowing and, of course, academic pursuits – with girls undertaking tests and exams and completing assignments as I write. We have enjoyed the company of Exchange Girls from South Africa and New Zealand and farewelled and welcomed back our own Year 10s going on Exchange. The Year 12s are excitedly preparing for their Formal.
Two “St Hilda’s on the Road Trips” this term have afforded St Hilda’s staff the opportunity to explore parts of this wonderful and vast State and to learn even more about the areas from which our girls travel to join us at St Hilda’s. I am truly grateful and humbled to have been visiting country towns and properties and to have caught up with families in their areas over a meal or a chat. This means we enhance our understanding of rural and regional life with all of its joys and challenges.
We also come to appreciate and get a glimpse of what the country girls miss when they are homesick – the open spaces, the community of families, the work on their properties or in their towns, local events such as the Show, Campdrafting and races – but, most importantly, home. We learn more each time we visit, about the girls’ education pre-arrival at St Hilda’s and how we might reflect this in our thinking and planning.
Our trip to Dalby, Roma, St George and Goondiwindi – meant renewing or making connections with past, present, future and prospective families and some rain, even if only for a day or two! We are grateful to all for taking the time to join us for a meal or at the Show and appreciated the opportunity to attend the Accents Art Show, with St Hilda’s girls, including Year 12 Boarder, Pypah Kersh winning prizes with their artwork. And, what fun it was to watch Year 9 Boarder, Paige Sinnamon win Childs small open hack and open small hack at the Goondi Show – congratulations, girls.
The past week’s visit to North-West Queensland reminded me of our iconic Australian poem, “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar –
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rain
…..how true, especially given the irony of Queensland being drought stricken for many years, and then the monsoon event at the end of February in the north – such devastation and heartbreak, which Dr Wilson Reynolds and I heard about and saw as we spent time with our Northern families in Cloncurry and Julia Creek. Not only is the agriculture sector facing ups and downs, but of course the flow on affects rural businesses and the sustainability of country towns and, in turn, all of us. Families are reminded of the support available through the St Hilda’s Foundation Disaster Relief initiative, for those in our St Hilda’s community who face great hardship due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters.
Attending the ICPA QLD Inc Annual Conference is always a privilege; for me, the most powerful session this year was a Panel hosted by Drought Angels. Panelists shared their tips on Taking Care of Yourself so You Can Take Care of Your Children, and asked delegates to focus on themselves, and what “fills their cups”. In this session, the Conference also recognized that the relationship between home/family and Boarding is paramount and at St Hilda’s we work hard at Care, Connection and Community in Boarding to provide the best experience we can for the girls.
Dr Wilson Reynolds and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with St Hilda’s parents who also attended the conference; the ICPA as an extremely active lobby group in its quest to gain equitable and equal access to educational opportunities for rural and remote students – this is powerful and admirable and we are proud supporters.
Boarders this term celebrated National Boarding Week across Australia. At St Hilda’s, our girls celebrated Care, Connection and Community through our participation in the Mother’s Day Classic, our Karaoke Evening and Trivia in Family groups, coming together to create our Boarding Banner representing all Boarders and staff, creating our NBW 19 video clip and reflecting on “What Boarding Means to Me”. We also came together for a beautiful Chapel service in Boarders Courtyard lit by fairy lights and this provided an opportunity to thank staff for their care of, and commitment to, our girls. I sincerely thank all those in the School who assisted in any way with NBW, which was a great celebration of Boarders and their part as the heart of the School.
Our Head of Admissions, Mrs Fleur Brooks and International Connections Officer, Miss Kaitlin Barrell are looking forward to connecting with families who are in Hong Kong at the beginning of the holidays, as they will be attending a trade fair in Hong Kong. We all enjoyed very much the opportunity to meet our families in their home areas.
Our combined function with TSS BPSG, our Bush to Beach Bash will be held on Friday, 16 August at TSS – we look forward to meeting as many of you as are able to make the trip to the Coast, to see the girls and to get together and enjoy the company of other parents. We hope you can come!
I thank all our Boarding Staff Team members – from all the departments across the School – who work together to care in any way for the girls. Our staff find great joy and purpose in their work and each and everyone plays an important part in our community. We hope you all enjoy a wonderfully relaxing holiday together, with the girls helping at home. We hope your travel is safe and look forward to the girls’ return on Monday, 15 July after 11am.
Head of Boarding