This long weekend reminds us not only that the end of term is nigh but more significantly that we are halfway through Lent, with Easter only three weeks away. During this time of Lent, we as Christians are encouraged to reflect through prayer, abstinence and giving to others, on Jesus' life, his suffering and sacrifice, his death and resurrection.
It is in this context that students and their families are asked to support the work of Caritas Australia through Project Compassion. I hope that everyone in our College community will donate generously, supporting not only the efforts of our student leaders to meet their target but also to ensure funds that will truly improve the lives of disadvantaged communities. In such a way, we as Good Samaritans are 'doing likewise'.
As other reports show, these have been busy weeks, with much happening, from the Athletics Carnival, Reflection Days, Immunisations, Personal Project meetings, planning meetings for excursions to Central Australia and China in the term break, College Tours, Swimming Trials, preparation for 9C Adventure Camp, Classes at Yarra Ranges Tech School….through to our celebrations last Thursday for International Women's Day.
Tiarna Ernst's presentation had wide appeal, with much excitement evident afterwards as students and visitors clamoured for photo opportunities. Current research continues to highlight that equality remains a key concern for young girls in school as for women in the workplace. However perhaps of greater consequence is the pressure being placed on girls and women to be likeable first of all, followed then by such as competent, confident and compassionate.
Julia Baird (The Age, 11 March, 2018) quotes wisely from a recent article in the Harvard Business Review:
"People who focus on how others perceive them are less clear about their goals, less open to learning from failure, and less capable of self-regulation."
I believe that all our recent guest speakers (Drs Judith Locke, Michael Carr-Gregg, Maggie Hamilton and Madonna King) would totally concur with her message for our teenage girls. Making, retaining and supporting true friendships is important; however the key to success here, as for learning and well-being, is for girls to become truly themselves, to present themselves honestly, with a much diminished focus on likeability, and fitting in. As Julia says "the world is such a wonderful, diverse and multifaceted place that there's (sure to be) somebody who's going to like you; you don't need to twist yourself into shape".
As we conclude this year's International Women's Day with its 'leave no women behind' mantra, I trust that our girls are learning to go forth in confidence "to eschew timidity, tell their own truths and create spaces for others to speak". As educators of girls, we believe that being informed, compassionate and creative ranks beyond likeability.