The importance of connection
Some years ago, I listened to an interesting and entertaining talk given by a very prominent educator. He talked about his own professional career and how he often reflected on how he related to his students. As a young teacher, he had many of the same interests and hobbies as the young people in his care. As he grew older, the age gap widened between teacher and student and he sought alternative ways of making a ‘connection’ with his students. At all times, he wanted to be ‘respected rather than liked’ as he sought to make a difference in young people’s lives. Similarly, he aimed to create a strong sense of community amongst the students he was teaching and leading.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of being backstage as The Addams’ Family cast and crew prepared for their final performance. It was a Production with a difference as COVID disruptions delayed the final two performances. The connectivity between cast and crew was obvious and there was sadness tinged with joy at the realisation that the Production was coming to an end. The Addams Family was extraordinary. The gifts and talents and commitment of everyone involved was acknowledged by very appreciative audiences.
This week, I also had the pleasure of attending the finals of our Public Speaking competition. As always, the calibre of the students and the quality of their presentations was superb. Last week, our students competed in the annual Interhouse Cross-Country carnival. There were strong performances across all year levels and enthusiastic participation in House war cries at the end of each set of races. It was great to see so many students actively engaged in the event.
Whether it is through academic programs, faith enrichment activities, music, drama, sport, Magis or other College based activities, it is important to establish a sense of connection and community. We aspire for all our students to find a sense of belonging in at least one of our College groups.
The role of the school is to complement the far more important family community. This weekend we remember our wonderful mothers and express our appreciation for the love and joy they bring to their children and the wider John XXIII College family. Best wishes to all our Mums!
Sr Noni Mitchell ibvm
Loreto Sister, Noni Mitchell, one-time student of Loreto Claremont, died in Sydney on 28 April 2021.
Our College Archivist, Sr Theresa Elliott, advised me of the important role Sr Noni Mitchell played as Loreto Province Leader during the amalgamation of Loreto and St Louis. In addition, Sr Tess provided the following background:
‘After graduating in Medicine at the University of Sydney Noni joined the School Medical Service in South Australia and worked as a doctor for three years before entering the Loreto Novitiate in Ballarat in 1954. Noni studied theology and completed a Science Degree at the University of Melbourne followed by a Diploma of Education. Noni was a leader – in education, religious life, and the Church.
She brought a breadth of vision, deep wisdom, an inner freedom and a passionate engagement with the issues of the day to her role, first as Loreto Australia Province Leader 1974-1983 and then as Superior General 1986-1998.
The Loreto Sisters celebrate her life, a true Mary Ward woman, and give thanks for her wisdom and leadership.’