30 November 2018
Yesterday we celebrated the end of the Year of ‘Be Like a Girl’ and acknowledged student achievement in its very different forms during The Glennie School JY and MSY Speech Days and Prize-giving Celebrations. Below I have shared adapted parts of my presentation which referred to the theme of 2018 and the introduction to the theme for 2019.
What a year it has been - we have experienced joy, tears, exhilaration, challenges and change - and our girls embraced them all in the spirit of being like a girl. In fact the students were so inspired by the theme that I was tempted to keep it for another year - but there is no need, it is already instilled and so much has been achieved by our girls, with passionate staff supporting, encouraging, coaching and inspiring them every step of the way.
There are many stories of girls being powerful in their own right each and every day. These include the girl who tries and tries and never gives up, even though she struggles so much in maths; the student who gets home every evening after a long day at school only to don her work clothes and work a few hours in the family business or help her parents by supporting her younger siblings with their homework; and the girl who recognises a need in the community and does something about it
To these girls - stand tall.
So, the groundwork is done - our girls have the soft and hard skills required to be a girl/woman in the 21st Century. They know how to :
- Be feminine yet strong
- Be compassionate yet firm
- Be nurturing yet challenging
- Be gracious yet competitive
- Be thoughtful yet ambitious
- Be respectful yet respected
- Be helpful yet independent
There have been many challenges for many in our community during the year and some disappointments. But the learning they gained from these disappointments, their development of character, their get up and go attitude - they did it like a girl. They threw back their shoulders, straightened their spines, plastered smiles on their faces and strode forward - Like a Girl. Many of them epitomised what Nelson Mandela meant when he said, “I never lose, I either win or I learn”.
And now? Now it is time to turn our focus outward.
I have thought long and hard about the theme for next year. I am always inspired by those who go out of their way for others, inspired by people like Steve Warren and those many students and teachers who find their strength in helping others, putting others’ needs before their own.
Remember the starfish. Thousands were beached and a little boy was throwing them back into the ocean one at a time. It made no difference to the thousands - but it certainly made a difference to each individual starfish. Individuals survived because of his actions.
Mother Teresa said, “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. That's easy isn't it?
Mark Twain made a profound statement when he said, “ The two most important days in your life are the day you are born … and the day you find out why”. He is referring of course to your reason.
What is our reason for being here?
There may be many reasons. Your daughter may be the reason someone can face coming to school each day; the reason someone feels good about themselves; the reason a friend can stand up to bullies; the reason their baby brother or sister smiles; the reason you, as parents, parents work so hard; or even the reason a teacher continues in this noble career. They may be the reason, and if not - they can be.
So my challenge for 2019 to each and every one of you in the Glennie community is Be the Reason!
This week we sadly farewelled a number of staff members from Glennie and wish them well with their future endeavours.
Prior to listing the staff who are leaving I would like to acknowledge Ms Sue Reynolds, who is stepping away for the role of Head of Hale House after 11 years. Ms Reynolds has led the House and supported the girl’s wellbeing with fierce determination and loyalty. We thank her for the enormous contribution that she has made to the Student Wellbeing team:
Staff leaving us at the end of their contracts are:
- Liza Barnes
- Kylie Dolan
- John Handyside
- Roz Riley (Teacher Aide)
- Bree Coleman
- Olivia Taylor
Staff who have been with us for some years and are heading off to pursue further career options are:
- Wendy Evans
- Brad Griffiths
- Beth Hardey (Teacher Aide)
- Sue Kelly (Teacher Aide)
- Peta Vincent
- Steve Warren
- Kim Coleman
- Ian Dixon
- Nicarla Hindle
- Val Lovell
- Megan O'Reilly
- Linda Rother
Teachers taking Long Leave:
- Nola Dadswell (one year)
- Sue Reynolds (one term)
- Fiona Stone (one year)
All of the leaving teachers and most non-teaching staff were farewelled on assemblies or boarders’ functions by students who spoke sincerely and with passion about the impact that these people have had on their lives during their time at Glennie.
There is,however, one teacher who, only this week, has been offered a position of added responsibility at another school and therefore was not farewelled by students: Ms Wendy Evans has been at Glennie for four years and during her time here has made a substantial contribution to the maths and music departments as well as the extra-curricular music program. She is both professional and passionate in her practice and is going to be missed by staff and students.
Although we had farewelled Ms Leanne Klein on assembly this week, I am delighted to announce that due to staffing changes we have been able to offer her a contract position for another year!
As a staff we farewelled our departing colleagues today, but in this forum I would like to express my thanks and wish you all well in your new ventures.
I would like to make special mention of four staff members who have been at Glennie for many years:
Mrs Kim Coleman leaves us after 17 years as the School Counsellor. During her time here Kim has touched the lives of many students and their families through her pastoral support during times of need. She has also been a huge support and sounding board to the Heads of House.
Mrs Sue Kelly has worked tirelessly as a Teacher Aide for almost 13 years. She is know for her kind manner, her can-do attitude and her friendly welcoming smile. She has also been passionate in her organisation of staff social events!
Val Lovell has been the second mother to hundreds of girls during her 13 years in the role of Head of Boarding. Val is known for her caring nature - the girls have felt loved and nurtured on her watch.
Steve Warren is the ultimate gentleman and gentle man. For me coming into the role of principal after the previous Head of 15 years was daunting to say the least. Steve made it easier. He was welcoming, accepting and 100% loyal from the word go. Steve is much loved in the Glennie community, not just because of his kind and caring nature, but also because he always stands for what is right. He epitomises our values of Integrity, Respect, Compassion and Courage.
To all our Glennie families, may God bless and keep you until we meet again in a couple of month’s time. Best wishes for a blessed and joyous Christmas.
We thank you Lord, for this year. For the challenges, the successes and the mistakes from which we have learnt.
Be with us as we spend our time with family and friends.
Guide us to be peacemakers, and to always be conscious of you in our lives.
Keep us safe in all that we do; give us good rest and good fun.
Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term.
Mrs Kim Cohen
Click here to view the Speech Day photo gallery.