From the Principal – 3 May 2019

I welcome all back to the start of a new term. New beginnings, new relationships and new opportunities. We particularly welcome new students and staff returning from leave.

I cannot believe how much can change in the world in as short a time as two weeks. Good news stories include the successful student trip to China ably led by Ms Jo Mitchell, Mr Robbie Xin and Mr Jose Rault.  Before the students left we spoke about the importance of genuinely learning from a culture that may be different to one’s own. Learning implies change, and unless something has changed in our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, we have not learnt anything. We challenge to students move outside their comfort zone, try new things, including ways of looking at the world and move beyond the cultural bubble that so often insulates people as they move between different cultural spaces to emerge unaffected and unchanged in any way.

The recent ANZAC Day commemorations, in which St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar played a significant part, were an occasion to acknowledge sacrifice and emphasise common humanity. As is now tradition, our Drumline led the parade and we were well supported by students, families and onlookers. It is an honour to be part of the Berwick ceremony and is a reflection on the importance of our school to the local environment and history.

On a much sadder note we saw the destruction of a world icon in the accidental burning of Notre Dame and the willful destruction of lives and places in Sri Lanka. Having visited Sri Lanka when I started at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar because of the strong connection our School has with this community, I can only imagine the angst and heartbreak felt by many of us. I hope that the forces at play in that event recognize that such acts ultimately achieve little. I ask that families watch their children and let the School know if there are concerns or signs of distress as a result of this event or other recent events including the appalling incident in Christchurch, New Zealand. A school such as ours works in partnership with families for the benefit of those in our care. Please note that we will be providing an opportunity for the community to pause and reflect on world events and show care and concern for all affected by violence around the world. Further information will be shared next week.

Some contacts that you may find useful include

  • Griefline-  1300 845 745  – they provide phone and online counselling
  • Parentline- 13 22 89 (8am-midnight)  – support for parents of 0-18yo
  • Your local GP – a referral to a private psychologist through a mental health care plan. The plan will enable a rebate to be provided if seeing a private psychologist.

In relation to works and other events over the holidays we were honoured to be the only school presenting at the inaugural Casey Sichuan Business Round table. An opportunity for delegates at this event was a tour of the St Margaret’s Berwick campus which was enthusiastically attended by approximately 50 delegates. The building of the Berwick Grammar Gym continues apace and the floor is about to be laid. Junior School received a boost through the refurbished bathroom area for the children and the renovation of The Cottage is making good progress. We know our community will enjoy access to these new facilities and the opportunities they provide.

I wish all in our community a happy and successful Term 2.

Ms Annette Rome