From the Principal - April 2019

From the Principal - April 2019

From the Principal – April 2019

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Thanking our Staff

In the past two weeks our Middle and Senior School girls all participated in Challenge Week and our Year 6 girls travelled to Canberra. Challenge Week involves assessments and tests for Years 11 and 12 and strategic wellbeing programs and outdoor adventures for Years 7-10.  It would not be unusual for me to write about the benefits the girls gain from such special events. The girls are invited to step out of their comfort zones, embrace mental, physical and emotional challenges and to learn how to build teamwork and friendships with others. This week I am choosing not to focus on the girls, but to highlight the generous St Hilda’s staff who make all this possible. I would also like to include in this, the recognition of the staff in Junior School who will also lead camp experiences for our Junior School girls later in the year. The sentiments in this report apply equally to them.

I would firstly like to pay tribute to our Head of Middle School, Mrs Sanburg who oversees the special programs for Years 7, 8 and 9 supported by her Heads of Year. Mrs Sanburg is a passionate advocate for outdoor education and has many years of expertise in this area. The successful running of these events takes a full year of planning and Mrs Sanburg designs a host of activities to lead up to the camp. One of the specialist providers made a comment to me at camp last week that the St Hilda’s girls are not like other students. They come prepared with teams, flags and positive attitudes that are not common in other schools. This is not an accident. This is from the careful leadership of Mrs Sanburg, Mrs McNamee, Mr Andrews and Mrs Jobson. Mrs Brodar, Head of Senior School, and Ms Wood, Head of Year 10, are similarly engaged in making the Year 10 Retreat a very special event for their girls. Their activities are carefully designed to build connections which will provide a positive launch into Senior studies. In supporting these leaders, our Deputy Principal, Ms Lauman, oversees the risks and processes to ensure that the camps run smoothly. Miss Hall and Mrs Radin-Brown, our Senior and Middle School administration staff, also support the planning processes behind the scenes. In Junior School, Year 6 Teacher Mrs Neville has taken the lead for the Year 6 camp, ably supported by Head of Junior School, Mrs Maynard and Deputy, Mrs Wilkins.

In addition to these key staff, we have an incredibly talented and generous set of teachers, who all take on important roles at the camps. Some staff take on the task of supporting the group at base camp, others care for a particular group. On any given day this might include phone calls to parents, overseeing medication or special diets, calming the anxious and being a welcoming presence to those who are finding the outdoor experience challenging. Meanwhile, the other staff are linked to groups of girls, and engage in hiking, setting up tents, overseeing meals, fighting mosquitos and keeping spirits high. These teachers delight in the achievements of the girls, and, in my recent visits to the campsites, I was pleased to hear reports from every teacher about how impressed they were with the girls they were working with. It is not unusual for me to be met by a teacher who says: “I am so lucky; I have the best group.”

The teachers who attended Challenge Week and the Canberra trip this year are:

Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10
G Neville
D Martinez
N Jones
M Wilkins
J Hoban
J Grimmer
B Moore
M Greening
J Mahon
A Rigby
S Urizar
L Hunn
A Hampton
S Upasiri
J Winter
R Jewell
C Cadden
R Horner
L Evans
C Craik
E Keogh
M Lilley
L Tilby
B Andrews
R Slider
M Conneely
G Gallo
K McNamee
M Benzenati
S Pearce
L Stone
E Pinkerton
A Mutch
G Grierson
M Krenske
T Young
P Duckworth
S Mudge
C Dunn
C Syms
S Cross
C Scruton
A Wood
C Brodar
K Nicholls
S King
L Gilmour

On behalf of our entire community – girls and parents – I would like to thank every staff member who engages in the challenge of special programs with our girls. The staff leave their own homes and families to embrace challenges themselves, and to make sure our girls get the opportunity to grow. It is not an easy task. It is in addition to their marking, their family commitments and their day-to-day responsibilities. I am so proud of the staff and the many ways in which they support the learning of our girls, both in and out of the classroom. I am also grateful to the staff who remain at school to support the assessment processes and who often take on additional marking to support their colleagues who are engaged on camp. It does take a village to raise a child. I am incredibly proud of the village of teachers at St Hilda’s who are role models for our girls in embracing challenge.

I wish all our staff, parents and girls a joyous Easter break. I trust that the opportunity to engage with the Easter message of hope and love through the death and resurrection of Christ will be a blessing to all.

Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace