I am delighted to report that we have all enjoyed a very positive commencement to the year. It was an absolute joy to welcome all our students and staff back on site for the start of Term 1.
School life is beginning to find a new normal, albeit we continue to respect the restrictions. Thank you for your support of these restrictions as we continue to protect the College community as best we can.
As I shared with students at their Commencement Assemblies, the year has already commenced positively with inspiring news for all women across the Globe.
We saw the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first female Vice President in the US's history. She also has broken racial barriers as the first Black person and the first South Asian American elected to the land's second-highest office.
It is a historic moment for women worldwide as the United States joins the many other countries who have already elected female leaders, including Australia, UK, New Zealand and Finland.
At the President's Inauguration, for me, and many, the person who stole the show was a 23-year-old woman. Amanda Gorman, an American poet and activist. Her poem, 'The Hill we Climb', was poignant and fitting. Her delivery was impeccable. In her striking yellow and red headband, her words calling for unity, respect and harmony - struck a chord. If you haven't had an opportunity, I encourage you to watch her delivery and listen to her poem
. Read the words and savour them.
Her final lines:
'For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it.'
How pertinent for us all when faced with any challenges. There is always light, always hope, if only we are brave enough to see it.
Last month Australia recognised four women for their contribution, their advocacy and their work to making the world a better and a fairer place for all:
1. Australian of the year – Grace Tame, advocate for survivors of sexual assault
2. Senior Australian of the year – Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu, aboriginal activist, educator and artist, who continues to drive reconciliation
3. Young Australian of the year – Isobel Marshall, current university student, committed to ending period poverty for women worldwide and founder of TABOO, provider of sanitary products
4. Local Hero Australian of the year – Rosemary Kariuki, supporting migrant women
Together with Kamala Harris and Amanda Gorman, these women provide wonderful and very different role models. They have had very different experiences in their own lives and bring their perceptions to the table. But they are united, each striving for a better world, through their compassion, their commitment, their sense of responsibility and their drive and ambition
. Their achievements are both humbling and inspiring.
I hope that these women might provide your daughters with the inspiration to identify what individual contribution they might wish to make to build a better and a fairer world
. It is worthy of note that Amanda Gorman and Isobel Marshall are not much older than many of our students.
At MLC, our diversity helps provide an outstanding environment in which your daughters learn to listen, understand, and value the different experiences and perspectives that their peers contribute to the debate. We each make a unique contribution across our local and wider communities. Collectively we combine to form the community and individually we contribute to and gain from the whole.
Importantly, I encouraged your daughter/s to recognise and appreciate the community that is here to inspire her and help her daily.
I posed several questions for all our students to consider:
· As we look ahead, I ask you, what do you want to achieve for yourself and for the community?
· What do you each need to do? And what support do you need to achieve your goals?
· This time next year, when you reflect on 2021, what do you want to be able to feel most proud of?
And, quoting Kamala Harris, I urged them to "Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they've never seen it before."
I hope they will heed these words and aim high and, importantly, consider how they might achieve their aspirations. I encourage you have a follow up conversation with your daughter/s to discuss her dreams and contribution in the year ahead.
I wish you all a positive and rewarding 2021 and l look forward to seeing you as soon as we can all be together again.