Posted on: Wednesday 4 March 2020
Posted in: Senior School
We were very excited to welcome Gemma Sisia to Assembly on Friday. Gemma is the founder and CEO of the School of St Jude, whose motto is ‘Fighting poverty through education’. Gemma’s journey from Australia to Tanzania and her desire to bring education to the very poor is inspirational. In 2002, after realising the limited educational opportunities in Tanzania, Gemma started a school with $10, three students and one teacher. In 17 years, the school has progressed in more ways than one, now at 1,900 students with 1,400 boarding, the running of the school supported by generous sponsors and donations.
The assembly was led by Edwina Thomson, Ella Fitzpatrick and Ali Rutherford, three of the 23 girls who spent three weeks in Tanzania in 2018 and had the opportunity to visit the School of Jude’s. Edwina and Ella informed the students of the two girls that we sponsor at St Jude’s, Nafikahed and Nuru, who live very different lives to us.
“As a school, we sponsor two girls, in support of enhancing women’s education across the globe. Our first student, Nafikahed, is 16 this year and plays netball. Her interests lie in maths and science and she wants to become a lecturer. All of the students at St Jude’s live a significantly different life to ours. Nafia lives with her mother in a two-room cement block home that is rented, living with other families too. Her home has no internal plumbing and she must collect water from local taps. Secondly, Nuru is 19 and graduates in May this year. Her best subjects are biology and chemistry and she hopes to become a doctor, mainly for women and children. She lives with her grandparents, three aunties, three uncles and one cousin in a 5-room cement block, which means 10 people are residing in a 5-room home. In her letters to us, Nuru says, “Thank you for sponsoring and supporting me in my education.”
The Tanzania trip is on again this December and the girls are looking forward to spending a night at St Jude’s. It was fabulous to hear that St Jude’s has opened a girl-only campus and to hear from Judith, 2019 St Jude’s Graduate who is touring Australia with Gemma. This is Judith’s first time out of Tanzania.
We are heading into the busy time of the term with several assessments due and test block only a couple of weeks away. In Year 10 Thrive Succeed classes, the girls have been getting organised and working on improving their study habits. Once they have completed their exams, the girls will be completing a Morrisbey assessment on the Monday prior to Retreat, which will provide them with valuable information they can use to assist in planning their program for Year 11 and 12.
Last week I asked for expressions of interest from girls who would like to be ‘big sisters’ and assist with a reading support initiative for our Years 1 and 2 students. We have been overwhelmed by the response, with over 50 girls volunteering. On Tuesday they had their first training session. I am looking forward to hearing all about their experience working with some of our youngest St Hilda’s girls.
The week ahead emails which the girls receive from their Head of Year are designed to assist them with planning and preparation for the coming week and also to provide some food for thought. This week the girls were sent the ‘mindful minute’, and the week before the Year 11s received some information on gratitude.
“There are respectful, considerate things that can be done in life that will be appreciated by the recipient, and only good things can result.” Randy Pausch
Mindful Minute: “Research shows that multitasking on the job diminishes both our efficiency and the quality of our work. Even worse, multitasking releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to all kinds of health problems.” Mark Coleman
“Why is gratitude important? In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Head of Senior School