Posted on: Friday 19 November 2021
Posted in: Videos and Conversations
The school year is about to run its course with today marking the end of our 2021 Senior cohort’s days as St Hilda’s students. Traditionally, the girls are farewelled with a final assembly, unique in the nature of its celebration of these young women by younger students whom they have cheerfully led in House competitions, on the sports field, on the stage, and in lunchtime meetings, discussing ethical dilemmas and social justice issues. Their range of influence is extensive. Seniors volunteer in the school’s coffee shop, which raises funds for charities, take on traineeships at our Pre-Prep Centre, coach, and lead the way in embracing our motto, Non Nobis Solum (not for ourselves alone).
As a cohort, they have undertaken the twenty-one months of their senior studies with a calmness and sense of purpose that has enabled them to cope with the uncertainty of the times, produced by COVID, along with the great joys and sometimes shadows that life can bring.
On Wednesday of this week, each shared something of their own journey during the Year 12 Reflection Service. Wednesday evening, they celebrated their academic accomplishments, with family by their side. The day before, Georgina Montgomery invited all those whose lives had been impacted by cancer to meet and plant a Jacaranda tree outside the Chapel in honour of family members who have passed. We know our graduates will continue to face challenges in the coming years; we also know the strength of character they have shown whilst still schoolgirls. We are deeply appreciative of the foresight of our girls, their care and compassion for each other.
Georgina has generously shared with us her reflection given on Wednesday. I include it in this newsletter to enable you to understand the story of many of our families who experience all that life can bring whilst the girls are growing and becoming the young women who shape our society, both now and in the future.
|This tree is a representation of the beautiful lives of loved ones any member of our community has lost, whether that be a sibling, parent, grandparent, or friend. A Jacaranda tree was chosen specifically as the lilac purple colour is the colour of the cancer ribbon that represents all cancers worldwide. I decided to plant this tree in recognition of a cause that I hold very close to my heart. In 2016, my mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer, when I started Year 7. Her and Dad told us in the Christmas holidays before my first term at St Hilda’s and it was a huge hurdle for me to get over. I was always worried about her and constantly checked up on her to make sure she was well. She was a real trooper and fought through chemo, doctors’ appointments and even organised Weengallon Pink Ladies Day, a huge fundraiser event for the breast cancer foundation in our rural area, all while she was unwell. She always made sure that she had a smile on her face even when she didn’t like the way she looked or didn’t feel well enough to get out of bed, she still provided for my sisters, my dad and me. After a long fight, she got the news that she was in the clear and the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, the cancer returned late last year, and she had to begin chemo again. With my little sister going into Year 7 this year, it was like déjà vu for me. Again, she fought so hard, and stayed herself by always complaining about the slow wifi at home or how it was too hot outside. COVID took a toll on our family as my mum was English and her whole family was from overseas. Her sisters and brother flew in and quarantined for two weeks in Darwin. One sister and her brother made it to see her in her final days but her second sister was in quarantine and had to say her final goodbyes over facetime. The disease completely took over her and she sadly passed away on the 1st of March.
However, my story is just one story of many. There are three girls who have been willing to briefly share their story with cancer. Firstly, Kenina. Kenina’s dad sadly passed away earlier this year after a long battle with the horrendous disease. Abbey. Abbey’s dad unfortunately passed away in 2014 after his battle with cancer, and Elsie. Elsie’s beautiful mum sadly passed away last year after her strong battle with the horrible disease. You girls have undergone the hardest thing a girl will ever have to go through, and your parents would be so proud of you for making it out the other side. The tree recognises their fight and your loss, alongside any other girl that has lost a loved one to any cancer.
To conclude, my family and I are so grateful for all the support the staff, our friends and boarding have provided us with this past year. On my behalf, the support my cohort and Mr Crowe have provided this year does not go unnoticed and I am extremely grateful and proud to be finishing school with such an amazing group of girls. Thank you, girls, for coming and I hope you all love the tree just as much as I do.
Just as Year 12 leads into a period of transition, so too our Year 6 and Preparatory students have celebrated these significant stages of schooling with their cohorts this week. It was a pleasure to experience the strong sense of occasion our leaders of the Junior School brought to their Farewell Chapel Service. Their pride in themselves and each other has been demonstrated throughout the year in their House events, clubs, and Andrews Cup representation. I had the pleasure this term, along with Ms Upasiri, of meeting many of this cohort and their parents; their readiness to transition into the Middle School environment is quite evident in their enthusiasm to embrace what will be new, along with that which is familiar.
It is not difficult for our Pre-Prep students to win the hearts and minds of those who have the pleasure of working with them or sharing an experience with them during their very creative curriculum. Those able to attend their Christmas Concert this week were regaled with songs in English, French, and Japanese, along with captivating actions and a wonderful sense of the joy of being 4 years old and on a stage!
Whilst our girls’ school year may come to a close next Thursday, the School itself will remain open and active in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I look forward to sharing with you, in my end of year letter, updates on all that is before us with the commencement of the 2022 school year. And, my, how quickly that is sure to come around.