A special welcome to those new to our Merici College family. At our Opening Assembly held today, I was so pleased to have the entire school together to celebrate the beginning of this academic year.
The 2017 theme is United in Hope.
As a community, we are being challenged to join for a common purpose. United in Hope means understanding that sometimes things in life are not perfect. Even when we plan them to be a certain way or think we may have done everything possible for things to go just right – things change. Sometimes what happens can be in our control and other times we cannot control what occurs. But how we respond, behave, act and grow is what is in our power to choose. We might think we are alone, but we aren’t = we are surrounded by people who love and support us. We need to realise that there are family, friends and teachers who understand what we are going through … we just need to take the time to find the right ones who will help us, encourage us and motivate to get through.
At Merici, it is our hope, as teachers and staff that each student will grow emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually and physically, supported by God, our Catholic faith and by every member of this community. We also play a role in offering hope to all in our wider community. So, make sure you get involved with our many charity and awareness raising activities like the Vinnies Doorknock, DonateLife Walk and Project Compassion.
You will hear more during RE and Pastoral Care time about the significance of the butterfly as a symbol of hope. The butterfly is proof that beauty can emerge from darkness and sadness. Change, resilience, perseverance and transformation are needed throughout this journey in life.
As you are aware during the last days of 2016, I accompanied students from Merici and other schools around Australia – there were 220 in total to the USA to attend Space Camp in Hunstville, Alabama and NASA in Houston, Texas. Today I would like to share with you a little bit about what I learned. Each day we were reminded to HAVE A GOAL and BELIEVE IN IT.
Students and teachers alike, were given many and varied activities to participate in that helped us realise the important and integral role people play in exploring the mysteries of the earth and of space. We were given personal and group challenges that encouraged us to be brave and put forward our skills and talents. Most activities also required us to work in collaboration, ensuing communication and teamwork were part of our decision making process and paramount to achieving our goals.
The tour wasn’t just about science, technology, engineering and maths. We learnt about the significance of history, geography, biology, English, languages and the visual and expressive arts – you need them all working together to create the perfect balance.
We had the opportunity to listen to experts: ask questions and delve deeper. Students were inspired to think about the careers that could pursue in the future. Advice from these experts was consistent – dream big, set goals, plan, work hard and remember that in order to grow and learn we sometimes fail and need to show resilience and perseverance to bounce back and continue to move forward – much like our theme for this year and that cycle and struggle of journey from caterpillar to butterfly.
The important message I learnt was that alone one person is smart but in a team, we are brilliant. It is when we are united in hope that our desire to make a difference can become a reality.
I wish you all the best for 2017, a year where we can transform. Remember we are on this journey together… united in hope.
Mrs Loretta Wholley