From The Principal

At our final school assembly of Term 1, Associate Principal, Mrs Karen Mitchell, reflected with gratitude on how truly thankful we should be for our first term of 2024.  Mrs Mitchell reminded students that we have had a wonderful term with many positive opportunities that have enabled our young women to have experiences that they either haven’t had for many years, or to reach new levels of success.

From school-wide events like athletics and swimming sports days and the coin trail, to year-level activities such as the Camps that Year 8 and Year 12 enjoyed.  The term has been very full with retreats, surf and Waterwise days, subject field trips, and extracurricular activities such as Polyfest and a wide range of sporting events including summer tournament week.  All of this is, of course, in addition to the quality teaching and learning that has taken place in every classroom.

Mrs Mitchell concluded by saying that we can all have gratitude for who we are, have gratitude for what we have, and have gratitude for what we have been able to do at school.  At this point, we would like to thank you, our parent community.  For our young women to have opportunities and experiences, enjoy success, and become empowered young women who will challenge and shape the future, we must all work in partnership.  We know that our strength is in our community which is centred on our faith and we are truly grateful.

There is the perception that our young people’s lives are more difficult to navigate than what we experienced at a similar age, and this may very well be true.  We can point the finger at societal pressures and the demands and expectations that our young people are exposed to from sources like social media, or the pressure that they put on themselves, engagement and motivational concerns that some experience, and issues around mental health.  Whatever challenges our young people are facing, they need us to guide and support them.

In reflecting on Mrs Mitchell’s message of gratitude, there is clear research to support the positive impact that the regular practising of gratitude can have on our mental health.  Many of us have a negativity bias that results in negative events in our lives having a more significant impact on our psychological state than positive events.  In short, we feel negative events more intensely.  One way we can overcome this negativity bias is by focusing on the good things in our lives, the people we appreciate, the positive experiences we have enjoyed and what we are looking forward to tomorrow.  Regularly practising gratitude can support us in being happier, healthier and having more energy – to be more resilient.

Over the holidays, I challenge our families to make the regular practice of gratitude a priority.  This could take place over an evening meal, before bed or anytime when there is the opportunity to ask questions like ‘What was one thing you enjoyed today?’; ‘What’s something delicious you ate?’; ‘Who have you enjoyed spending time with?’; Who has made you smile?’; ‘What are you looking forward to tomorrow?’

Whilst working with our young people on being grateful, during each term break I also challenge our students to find a balance between rest and recuperation, preparation and self-improvement.  Yes, our girls need to have a break, but they also need to ensure that each day they are doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity, at least 30 minutes of reading, and unplugging from devices at least 30 minutes before bed, to ensure they return to school reinvigorated, refreshed and ready to make the most of the continuing opportunities the College has to offer.