Principal's Farewell Celebration and Message to the Community

"Thank you for trusting me, respecting my opinions, and turning my dreams into a reality." Loretta Wholley

Good evening and my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your attendance tonight.

I consider EVERYONE who is here today and those who apologised or have met up with me prior to today to say goodbye as special guests on my journey in Canberra. To:

  • parents and students,
  • Merici College staff both current and past,
  • sisters from the founding religious orders of Merici,
  • clergy,
  • staff from the Catholic Education Office,
  • politicians,
  • different Commission and Board members,
  • principal colleagues including those from the government and independent sectors,
  • principal association members,
  • media friends,
  • business colleagues,
  • and parish members.

In 8 years, I have needed each one of you to support me, encourage me and guide me as a leader to make an impact on the important role of education in Canberra, surrounding NSW, across this archdiocese and in Australia.

I am proud of what we have achieved together for your daughters and our young people in ensuring they have access to a Catholic, holistic and world class education.

Merici is an amazing school and will always have a special place as the first community I have led as a principal - your faith in me, gave me the courage to be creative, take risks, focus on what really mattered and seek out the resources, businesses, and influencers to share that message widely.

Thank you for YOUR SUPPORT in raising awareness and funds for the issues I am passionate about: like all-girls education, sustainability, adolescent mental health and well-being, homeless and domestic violence. I know many of you here will continue to fight for fairer funding and implement changes in local and national policies that keep the needs of the most vulnerable at the forefront.

Teaching to me is a privilege and a great responsibility - one I accepted very early in my life. In grade 3 to be exact - thanks to my teacher Ms Margaret O’Donnell. My other option was to be a nun - but we all know that obedience would have been a challenging vow for me to follow.

I know many parents, students and staff will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I will not return from a conference or meeting with a new idea or strategy I want to implement and thank you for putting up with my emotional speeches. I know the office will breathe a sigh of relief that Loretta has not spoken out or acted on an issue (on the radio or tv) and I know my principal colleagues will not miss my annoying late-night messages asking them to fire up on an issue I am passionate about.

Leaving the comfort of Canberra is going to be hard. Plus, now I can go back to supporting the West Coast Eagles in the AFL and not have to pretend I like rugby (I mean seriously who throws a ball backwards to move forward...)

Thank you for trusting me, respecting my opinions, and turning my dreams into a reality.

God bless and all the best for a bright and an amazing future!


Loretta Wholley


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