Welcome back to Term 3.  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday break, even if you weren’t able to take a short staycation.

Despite a very disrupted year to date due to the COVID situation, the students have shown a great deal of resilience and we have had a very positive start to Term 3.  The school has endeavoured to maintain normal routines as much as possible. Sport has resumed for Term 3 and we are currently holding “Zoom” assemblies for students and staff and keeping parents informed of what’s happening in the school via email and notices on our website.

Currently each Year 10 student is meeting with teacher mentors regarding subject selection for their senior years of study.  These consultations have the aim of assisting students to identify their strengths, interests and long term goals so that they can make the most appropriate subject selections to best serve students’ interests in senior studies and beyond. Year 9 students will meet with teacher mentors during Week 3 in relation to goal setting.

Education Week is upon us and, while we are unable to participate in many performances and activities within the wider community as would have previously been the norm, I am excited to let you know that we will shortly be launching a new sound room within the CAPA faculty for students to explore and experiment with sound and film.  Additionally, we are establishing a virtual reality and audio-visual room in the Library where students and teachers can create interesting and exciting podcasts.  These initiatives are designed to provide additional variety, enhance student learning and enjoyment in their subjects and expand their interests and skills.

We had very successful Zoom meetings this week with parents of Year 12 students as they head towards their Trial HSC examinations commencing on 6th August. The success of this initiative has given us the impetus to look at the feasibility of introducing similar arrangements in the future for parents of students in other years.  Although we are still holding out hope that restrictions on gatherings will be eased in sufficient time before the end of this term, it seems likely that we will need to cancel the much anticipated annual Reflections Evening for Year 12 students. Similarly, in these times of uncertainty, we are looking at potential alternatives for the Year 12 Graduation Ceremony.

In 2019, the school was successful in applying to participate in the highly prestigious and competitive 2020 Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship. In February, six applicants from Years 10 and 11 completed a project and an interview, and three nominees were forwarded to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for consideration. I am very happy to advise that Lawson Da Silva from Year 10 was successful in his application. Pending no further and ongoing restrictions, Lawson will travel to Singapore and Greece in the September holidays of 2021 to visit historical places. Congratulations to all participants for their high quality submissions, and particularly to Lawson who will be an excellent ambassador for the school.

It’s with a great deal of sadness that I inform you of the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Mrs Carolyn Riordan, who was our Teacher-Librarian. Carolyn was so highly regarded across all levels of the school community. Apart from her high level of professionalism and expertise, her warm, approachable and caring manner was welcomed and highly valued by all. Her service to the students of this school was exceptional.  Carolyn certainly made a lasting impact, not only for the manner in which she conducted her duties, but for the person we all came to admire. She will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all.

We continue to talk to students about the absolute need for hygiene (hand washing, sneezing/coughing protocols), and social distancing in the wider community. Students should avoid visiting local shopping centres before and after school except where absolutely necessary, and not linger once they have completed their purchases. I know that I can rely on parents to continue to reinforce with their children at home these sensible and necessary requirements.

Please also be aware that the school is still required to restrict access to the school site to ALL visitors, including parents, except where a prior appointment has been made. Parents should not drive on to the school grounds, and this is a particularly important requirement in wet weather. Should it be necessary to collect your child during the school day, please walk to the western pedestrian gate on Kingsway (closest to the school office) and staff will escort your child to that gate.

I would like to thank parents for their continued support of the school, and most particularly during this disrupted year.  Most students seem to have adapted well, and this is in no short measure due to the support and understanding parents have provided.

Brett Hugo – Principal