We have finally made it to the end of another successful, yet challenging year here at Mary Mac. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff for their hard work this year. As you know, we are in the midst of a teacher shortage and we are very lucky to have the committed staff members we have in our community. Each one of them is dedicated to helping your children be the best they can be, and by working in partnership with you, we are setting our students up for success. I wish all of our fantastic Year 6 students and the families who are leaving our community, all the very best for the future. Thank you for your valued contributions here at Mary Mac. You will be missed. At the same time, we look forward to welcoming our new Kindergarten students and all the other new families into our school in 2024. Let’s hope that it is a great year.
With only a month until Christmas, this weekend we enter the season of Advent where we celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. In 2019, I was very fortunate to spend three weeks in Jerusalem at Easter, and one of the most memorable things I did was to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which was built near where they believe Jesus was born. It saddens me greatly to watch the news every night and see the troubles going on in that part of the world. Remembering that the main focus of Jesus’ ministry was healing and forgiveness, I can see why he lived in such a troubled part of the world where his message is so vitally important. This Advent, I ask you to continue to pray for peace in our troubled world. Also, as get move closer to Christmas, many students like to exchange cards with each other. Whilst we don’t have a problem with this, we ask that parents/students don’t exchange any food items such as lollies/candy canes as we have a number of students in the school with food allergies and we don’t want to put their health at risk.
It’s hard to believe that there are only a handful of weeks left in the 2023 school year. We are now getting down to the ‘business end’ of everything, and as usual, there will be plenty happening here at Mary Mac. At this Friday’s assembly, we will hold a small ceremony to acknowledge Remembrance Day which falls on Saturday this week. With so much conflict around the world at the moment, it will be a good opportunity to remember all those who have died or suffered because of war. Please remember to keep praying for all the innocent civilians caught up in conflicts now in Ukraine and Israel. It makes the things we get caught up worrying about seem very insignificant.
During 2023, we embarked on a journey with Curtin University to introduce a speech therapy programme into the school. It has been very successful, and I’m happy to announce that this partnership will continue into 2024. Over the course of the year, around 30 of our junior primary students, most in need, received extra support from Katy Forest and her students who were in their third and fourth year of studying to be speech therapists. On top of that, we are about to realise a dream of mine and employ our very own speech therapist. From the start of next year, Alana Portacio, who is a fully qualified and experienced Speech Therapist, will work with our students who are most in need, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. In fact, we are the first Catholic school to go down this path. Other schools make space for therapists to work on-site, however, they still charge parents the full-service fee. As Alana will be a member of staff, there is no extra cost to our families. Alana will also be doing the Kindergarten screening at the start of the year, which is a wonderful thing as she will be able to follow up with the students who most need an intervention programme. I think with both Alana and Katy (and her students), we will be well-placed to offer extra support to our students. This is a very exciting initiative. I just ask parents to be patient as it is a new programme, and it may take a while to get to all students. However, in the long term, I believe this will be a wonderful benefit for our community.
Welcome back to the final term of the year. It will be a very busy term for sure, but still a great one in our beautiful community. It is nice to be back after the leave I took at the end of last term, when I went on a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St Paul throughout Malta, Greece and Turkey. I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to Lisa Liebregts, who was the Short Term Principal in my absence. I know Lisa and Tim Maxwell did a great job holding the fort.
Throughout this week Mr Maxwell and myself have been talking to the children in their classes about our Student Code of Conduct statement at Mary MacKillop and how we can live out these actions:
- Thinking about the feelings of others and showing kindness to others
- Treating everyone with respect
- Using our manners and speaking politely to each other and the staff
The challenge put forward to the children this week was to BE that person who makes a difference to someone through their words and actions and to remember that doing a kind deed for someone can make a world of difference to them.