I awoke Sunday morning to a text from my daughter Georgia, “I’m okay”. She lives in London and this was the first alert that something had occurred. My first email was from Deputy Principal: Staffing and Operations, Lynn Broadway, whose son, Tristan, has just arrived in London for the first leg of an extended trip. He too is okay: but both Lynn and I know that our children live in an unpredictable world. Whilst we pray for safer times we must also continue to encourage our adult children to live bravely and pursue experiences and opportunities beyond Australia’s shores.
It was with interest that I read Bill Gates’s article in TIME this month, in which he reflects on his favourite books. Of reading he says, “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently…Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do now with my foundation.”
His most recommended book is The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. The premise of this text is that the world is getting better, and whilst we cannot ignore violence and discrimination, we can be optimistic and inspired to use the best of our ingenuity and heart to continue improvements for humanity. This message is personally and professionally resonant. As a mother and an educator I want my children and every young person to imagine a future in which they can experience happiness and fulfilment, and then I want them to jump into life brimming with optimism, able to manage the short term setbacks that are inevitable because they believe expansive opportunities lie ahead. And that is why Georgia and Tristan and countless young Australians abroad need to keep looking forward, not daunted by the carelessness and hatred of the few, but encouraged by the opportunities ahead of them.
The School Concert on 25 May was very special. The repertoire was so engaging, with every item a showcase of our girls’ talent and commitment. Year 12 shone as they produced brilliant performances. The special relationships between our music teachers and their students were apparent throughout the evening, a hallmark of the exceptional Music Program at MGGS. Bravo to the girls and their teachers!
After seven years building and leading the Athletics Program, Mr Nick Wall departs MGGS with our sincere thanks and acknowledgement of his accomplishments in this role. On Friday afternoon, Nick passed me in the staff room after his last GSV Carnival and lamented he could not deliver an overall win, but he was bubbling with the many achievements of the athletes that day. This is what I have enjoyed in my conversations with Nick, his knowledge of each girl and his encouragement of their personal best. Ms Sally Bailey, Director of Artemis Programs, and Ms Lucy Ellis, Athletics Co-ordinator, will take forward our successful Athletics Program and build on Nick’s hard work and leadership.
Whilst Sue Clifford may not be known to every parent and student, she is a much loved colleague at Merton Hall. The role of Daily Organiser in a School is a very early morning job, responsible for the devil in the detail of timetables, calendars and events. And Sue has done this job for over 10 years with humour, compassion and commitment. We farewelled and thanked Sue last week, as she exchanges city life for rural contentment.
Finally, the sneak peek tours of Artemis Centre are underway. First in, our staff, who told me that they were overwhelmed by the environments within, the space, the quality, the variety. This week students and parents have their opportunity to “wander and wonder” and I do hope you will be delighted by our new facility and all the promise it holds for the enhancement of community life for our girls.
I note that we are not completely finished within Artemis Centre and landscaping continues to the Walsh St end of the project. I thank everyone for their patience as we work towards staged operations over the coming weeks.