As I look to the clocktower windows I see an A4 sheet of paper with the number 5 on it. This signifies how many official days of school remain for the Year 12 class of 2017. With courses, enhancement programs and trial exams completed, a number of oral and performance exams already undertaken and revision in full swing, our students and teachers are fully focused on the final examination assessments. As staff we feel very proud of the girls as they have worked consistently, collaboratively and with the goal of achieving their best throughout the year.
Schools are not just places to ‘know’ they are also places to ‘become’. The first 13 years of schooling are fundamental to the holistic development of a young person and it is easy at the end of Year 12 to just focus on an ATAR result; an important part of an education, but it does not define the overall development and growth of the young person.
As our Year 12 students complete their secondary education at Camberwell Girls, we will also be celebrating their contributions as leaders, as active compassionate citizens, as creators of music, art and theatre, as active participants in their local communities, as supportive mentors and role models and as capable young women who are ready to embark upon new journeys to ‘create a more just and sustainable world’.
Next week we look forward to celebrating student achievements, both academic and co-curricular and we will enjoy some key highlights from the 2017 school year at the Years 10-12 Presentation Evening, Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner. The Final Year 12 Assembly is also a time to share the students’ reflections with fun, imagination and enthusiasm and we look forward to their performances.
I would like to thank our School Captains this year for their strong and inspiring leadership. Mia Sieber, Jacqueline Gu and Meagan Kollmorgen have led with great integrity and enthusiasm and I have felt very honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside them and mentor them. It has been through this process that I have gained enormous respect for their dedication to develop as leaders, to serve the Camberwell Girls community and to provide relevant, purposeful and fun opportunities for all members of the community. I thank Mia, Jacqui and Meg for their leadership, hard work and commitment this year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our 2017 Year 12 students for their leadership at Camberwell Girls, and on behalf of the community, wish them all the very best in their final examinations and for the new and exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
As I mentioned at the end of last term I was also very fortunate to travel to the USA on the ‘Leading Learning that Matters’ study tour, to learn about leadership in a number of key global organisations and schools, concluding with a residential at the Harvard Graduate School of Education working directly with the Director of Project Zero and a number of key faculty members. I was delighted to be invited as one of eleven Principals into this two year program that is being run by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Independent Schools Victoria. I look forward to sharing my learning with you during the term.
Tonight we officially open ‘Dara’s Labyrinth’, the labyrinth created by artist-in-residence Simon Normand, in conjunction with students, staff and members of the Camberwell Girls community over the course of this year. The creation of this labyrinth was inspired by our learning with Murrundindi, Ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people and our Positive Education Program. We are grateful that Murrundindi, The Right Reverend Bishop Genieve Blackwell and Simon Normand will all be part of the official opening, commencing at 5.30pm.
All members of our community are welcome to visit Dara’s Labyrinth and to walk the path. A labyrinth is a walking meditation as labyrinths only have one path that lead from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the centre and back again. Unlike a maze where you lose your way, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool that can help you find your way. Labyrinths are present in almost every religion and our labyrinth also reflects our commitment to indigenous people and culture through the representation in mosaics of some of the animals featured in the paintings of indigenous leader William Barak.
The name of our labyrinth, Dara’s Labyrinth, is in recognition of Dara, the star that fell to Earth and created Bunjil the Eagle. This star, with its two moons can be seen in the night sky between July and November and is at the epicentre of the labyrinth.
I hope that you are able to take the time to walk Dara’s Labyrinth.