Weekly News – Term 1 | Week 5

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

An important reminder that school is closed on Monday for a Teacher Only Day – an Otago wide ‘Jumbo Day’ is being held for all secondary school teachers across the region to undertake professional development.

We are thrilled to be let you know that three of our staff have been asked or selected to take part in international conferences this year.  We are very excited for them, and very proud, that their expertise and knowledge is being valued by an international community of educators, and that what we are doing at St Hilda’s is of interest to other schools, and our staff are seen as leaders in their fields of expertise.

Rachel McMillan, our dance teacher, has been invited to present at an International Dance conference in Adelaide in July.  She is presenting ‘Homing Device’; a 90-minute dance workshop that utilises the Māori health philosophy of Hauora (health and well-being) to explore themes of identity and home.

Marcelle Nader-Turner, our Guidance Counsellor, has been invited to sit on an international panel discussing the effects of pornography on young people and how the sexual objectification of women is shaping girls’ self image. This panel is part of the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia conference in Adelaide in May.

Judy Maw, our Assistant Principal, has been accepted to present at the National Coalition of Girls Schools Conference in Washington in June. This is a global conference for educators of girls and a very prestigious and influential event. Judy will be speaking on the work St Hilda’s is doing on our St Hilda’s Graduate profile to ensure we have ‘future -ready’ young women who are prepared, and able to, contribute to a global and dynamic society.

Obviously there is a lot of work and preparation required to present at international conferences and we are so proud of our staff for taking on that challenge, and excited that others are interested too.

2018 International Student Leader Sinry Yu with International Director Ange Spears

In assembly this week we were pleased to announce that the International Student Leader for 2018 is Sinry Yu.  Sinry has wonderful qualities, is well respected by her peers and we are confident she will lead the international group ably.

Next week the PFA are collecting items for the Chocolate Wheel.  Students may come to school in mufti on Wednesday and must donate a block of chocolate or box of chocolates to the value of $5.  These donations will be collected by their period one teacher. The fair is quickly drawing nearer and we thank you for your continued support.  Also, a reminder that tomorrow the caretakers garage will be open from 10.00am – 2.00pm for fair donations.

The 2018 Academic Blues Assembly is being held on Tuesday 6 March.  We ask that all students are in formal uniform for this special service.

Tudor Clothing will be visiting school on Wednesday 7 March at 12.30pm to measure our next students for their winter kilts.  If you would like your daughter to be fitted for her winter kilt during school time, please ask her to go to the student office during Wednesday lunchtime.  They also have a brand new size 24 blazer available for a cash price of $240 – please call Lindsay on 021 330 377 if you are interested in the blazer.

Interim reports will be emailed home on Friday 9 March.  These reports are to give you an idea of how your daughter has started the year and they focus on her attitude and learning behaviours. Fifteen minute learning conversations will be held with students, parents and Whanaungatanga teachers on Thursday 15 March from 1.00pm – 4.00pm and 6.00pm – 8.00pm.  These learning conversations provide an overview of how the year has started and look at what the girls have identified as important goals for their year. It is part of building the sense of community that the Whanaungatanga groups are based on and a chance for you as parents to be a part of this start of year goal setting. Booking information will be sent to parents next Wednesday.

Chapel Matters

Last year I did some chapels on the theme of “Naked Spirituality” (based on Brian McLaren’s book of this name).  This is the idea that when we think of who we are as spiritual beings, there is a real sense in which we have to strip away all our outer layers so we can be true to who we really are. There is no need to cover up, protect, hide, posture, or dress to impress when it comes to God.

Last year we looked at two key words that start us on the path towards a Naked Spirituality: “Here” and “Thanks.” With the word “Here” we are talking about being present in the present, which can be harder than it seems. We can practice this idea of being “Here” by holding our hands palm down by our side, and as we breathe, say “Here I am, God.” And we might discover the God who is here, as present as gravity, light, heat, friendship, hope, love.

With the word “Thanks” we want to cultivate a sense of gratitude in our daily life. This helps us to be free to see ourselves as creatures that live within God’s creation, rather than as self-made consumers in a soul- and planet-destroying system. We can practice this idea of “Thanks” by holding our hands palm upwards, as a gesture of holding lightly to what we have and to letting go of that drive to always have more. As we breathe, we can think
of things in our lives for which we are thankful.

A third word to add to these two is one of the most simple and primal in the whole of the English language – the interjection “O!” This word is meant to remind us of how mystery, wonder, and awe help us cultivate a naked spirituality, one which gives us an essential joie de vivre, a spark, a sense of play, a sense of imagination and a sense of connection with the universe and God. We can practice this idea of “O!” by holding our hands together on our heart, and as we breathe, we can think of the things that bring us joy. When we cultivate this quality in our lives, then “normal prose breaks into poetry, normal voices break into song, normal postures break into dancing, and people don’t become more religious – they become more alive” (McLaren, 2013).

From the Guidance Network

One of the purposes of our Whanaungatanga groups is to build a sense of belonging in our students. Greer Dokmanovic, the Chaplain of Pymble Ladies College in NSWexplores the importance of belonging and how you can foster it at home, in the attached article.

Tolcarne News

Over the last few weeks at Tolcarne we have begun our Koru Programme to help our younger students learn about and maintain their wellbeing. The Year 10s have been writing ‘warm fuzzies’, complimenting each other on aspects of their personalities that they love and enjoy. The Year 9s have been learning about different emotions and how they come together to create a whole picture. We invited John from Dunedin Laughter Yoga to facilitate a session and teach us about the effects of laughter on the brain. Judging by the sore abs and faces, the Year 9s had a great time.

Student Achievement

Amelia Lane is a member of the Brighton Surf Life Saving Club and is currently competing at the National Junior Surf Life Saving Champs, held in Orewa.