Dear Parents / Carers
Every family in our community has deliberately chosen an all-girls' environment for their daughter's education. As we celebrate International Day of Women this week, I have been reflecting on the vital role that Caroline Chisholm College plays in giving these girls and young women the skills and vision to make a difference in their world. The word 'empowerment' has become a little overused lately, but the belief in a woman's right to determine the course of her life is a relatively recent breakthrough, brought about through the sacrifice of women and men who were determined to give women and girls the same opportunities and access to the wealth of community as men. Caroline Chisholm, in her own way, sought to give the women she served the courage and support to establish healthy lives for themselves. We continue that work every day at the college. I am constantly impressed and humbled by the growth I see in our students every day - girls and young women who are prepared to stand and fight for what is right, to lift others up, to resist and refuse to advance themselves at someone else's cost. The collaboration, shared creativity and constant encouragement is a gift that I think is best shared in an all-girls' environment.
On Tuesday March 7, as part of the celebrations, I accompanied 20 students and Ms Mabon and Ms Murray to hear Dr Kakenya Ntaiya from the Maasai people of Kenya speak about how, as a child, she agreed to go through the ritual of genital mutilation in exchange for being allowed to continue her education. She has now established schools for girls to free them from the cycle of poverty and cultural abuse, and has transformed her community. She challenged the girls to consider what they will do with the privilege of education they have received. She said girls and women MUST improve their communities to make the world a better place. Our students returned from the talk inspired, energised and ready to use their gifts and talents to bring about positive change. If you would like to her Dr Ntaiya, she has presented at TED (https://www.ted.com/speakers/kakenya_ntaiya).
On Monday night we welcomed about 900 visitors for our annual Open Night. Although the purpose of the event is to promote enrolments for 2018, many of our visitors were current families, former students, even interested neighbours. All came away with the impression that this is a warm, welcoming and vibrant community, filled with generous and confident students proud to share their school with visitors. About half of all the students in the college worked on the night as guides, chefs, demonstrators, curators, farm hands, musicians and buskers, dancers, actors and so on! I was delighted by the pride with which our students showed off their school, even the Year 7 girls who have been here for all of five weeks!
I want to repeat my invitation to you to attend our parent forum next Monday evening at 6:00pm. Most, if not all of the parents I speak to, would find something useful in a session about how to help our daughters manage their sometimes complex relationships. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
As we move more deeply into the season of Lent, our Homerooms are continuing their work for Project Compassion. This week's prayer focuses on the women around the world who work for justice and peace.
Today we pray for the women of all times and all places:
Women of courage.
Women of hope.
Women living fully.
Women experiencing joy.
Women delighting in life.
Women knowing the interconnectedness of the human family.
Women honoring the sacredness of relationships.
Women quietly tending the garden of human flourishing.
Women boldly leading the transformation of unjust global structures.
Women seeking Wisdom.
Women sharing Wisdom.
Women receiving Love.
Women giving Love.
Women: the image of God.
Loving God, we celebrate your faithfulness and love. On this day we commit ourselves to the promotion of the full humanity of all women everywhere.
We know that whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is not of God.
Mr Greg Elliott