As I write for the final time in 2021, I can’t help but think how much of a roller coaster ride we have all been on. We began the year thinking (perhaps naïvely) that we were “post COVID”, only to head very quickly into lockdown 3, followed of course by 4, 5 and 6. I am in awe of students and staff who managed multiple challenges and I know that each family carries its own personal lockdown story.
I write this at the end of a term which began optimistically with no masks and school onsite and ends tomorrow with the completion of eight weeks of remote learning. As a College, we are grateful for the messages of support from families and know that these weeks of learning from home have certainly not been without challenge.
I have long been a journal writer, not every day, but certainly most days. Journalling helps me sort my thoughts and reflect on many aspects of life. Recently I had cause to turn the pages back to July and August 2020. Many of the things were the same: we were at home, missing family and friends, cancelling events, negotiating remote learning, looking out for our students, trying to lift the spirits of colleagues, eating too much chocolate (maybe that’s just me).
Yet there are some key differences.
I know that as a community we have faced a range of challenges these past weeks.
We returned to lockdown (for a fourth time), tackled remote learning (also for the fourth time) and just as we thought we might have a 'normal' last few weeks of term, an unprecedented storm devastated parts of the hills.
It has been wonderful to welcome students and staff back to Term 2 and I am sure we have all noticed the chill in the air. One of the delights of Belgrave is that the seasons take on real meaning with trees bursting with deep Autumn hues against the mountain ash.
I have been asked a number of times in the last week or so what the highlight of my first term at Mater Christi has been. Without a doubt it is the energy of the girls as I walk through the main courtyard , the Learning Commons, or Café Bene. The joyous buzz of students, happy to be together, is a most welcome sound and I know the girls are making the most of opportunities to get involved and make new friends.
As I write this post, I am conscious of the many things that have already occurred in the first month of the 2021 school year. When I last wrote, we had congratulated our high achievers of 2020 and welcomed Year 7 students, some of whom were still a little nervous about what secondary school might hold for them.
It is my great pleasure to have been welcomed wholeheartedly to Mater Christi these past few weeks. I have certainly felt the hand of Benedictine hospitality, so in turn I extend the warmest welcome to all new and returning students and their families to our thriving community.
“Christmas is the celebration of small things, particular things, barely noticeable things. It is Jesus in a manger—an animal byre—the child who will grow into the voice of God that is heard around the world………..
This was a refugee family.
After an exciting day spent at Gumbuya World, yesterday’s farewell liturgy, assembly and then Christmas Parade provided such a wonderful final day spent with students at school. With so many days spent at home on remote learning, having students back physically present has been a total joy.