Rachel Valentine

From the Deputy Principal

I always look forward to the first few days of the academic year: meeting new students wearing fresh uniforms, all displaying a mixture of nerves and pride. Now that the months of transition and preparation have finally led them to the beginning of their secondary schooling, this expression of pride extends to their families, thrilled that a new chapter is starting for their family.

Equally, greeting the students in Year 8 onwards, some looking a little tanned but nearly all a little taller. The freshness, the energy, the summer warmth – it is hard not to feel excited about the possibilities ahead for all students and staff in 2024.

Year 12 students attended their Retreat, staying overnight at St Mary’s College, University of Melbourne. This unique program offers information regarding planning and goal-setting, and opportunities to hear wise words from past students to inspire and support the Class of 2024. The Retreat allows individual time for private reflection while bringing greater cohesion to the cohort as they experience university campus life for a short while.

Some of the activities had a communication and team-building focus, and our students learned to observe one another’s decision-making, learning that different people bring different strengths and perspectives, all of which are valued. Students learned about gaining the best from study groups, and the benefits of supporting each other’s learning and enhancing individual study scores. Of course, the collective artwork activity balanced the intensity of preparations for this important year with a quiet period to appreciate faith, spirituality, and the aspirations of all. The two days culminated in a shared, special experience finishing with the Year 12 Formal Dinner.

Camps at Year 7 & 9 levels will soon be underway, while other Year Levels will be involved in the STRIVE Program, designed to guide students to be curious, confident, and accountable with their learning. Our sports teams are training in readiness for interschool competitions, instrumental music lessons are merely two weeks from commencing, and the musical production is primed for resuming rehearsals.

With period 1 commencing at 9 am and students arriving on campus beforehand, many training sessions, rehearsals, co-curricular activities, and opportunities to study will be scheduled from 8:15 am, a period 0, if you like. This new schedule allows for a reduction in some of the after-school hours' activities and allows students to more easily access ACE – Academic Consolidation for Everyone or Academic Bridging support programs after school in the DTIC if needed.

As our Year 12 students know, academic results are a necessary key to access a future career or pathway. However, as our new Year 7s focus on the first steps towards building friendships and connections, our most senior students showed gratitude for their relationships at this year’s Year 12 Retreat, creating fond memories and further solidifying the Mercy Values that these young people will carry into the future.

Ad Altiora

Rachel Valentine
Deputy Principal