President’s Report

Welcome to another newsletter. Over the recent weeks there has been a number of reunions, the continuation of the Mentoring Project and the first of the Santa Maria Old Girls’ Life lessons with a Lunchbox speaking series commencing last week.

Another part of the many activities, events and support projects of our Association is the feeding the homeless programme operated in conjunction with the College.  I was part of the team of helpers a couple of weeks ago and it provided valuable insight and opened my eyes to the different needs within our own ‘backyard’ and community.  It was for me, an opportunity to learn more through ‘nourishment’ in the spirit of hospitality and connection through the provision of food and recognise the importance of dialogue and seeing the person behind homeless figures and numbers.

The OGA’s primary role is one of connection – to each other as past students of Santa Maria, to the College and to the wider community.  The feeding the homeless programme is another important method for us to connect and share.

Danielle Cattalini, President (class of 1986)

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Old Girls’ 1938 – 1960 Interviews

At Santa Maria, we believe in cherishing the past and remembering our heritage. Although many of the school buildings and grounds have changed, the core values and ethos has remained intact. Our Old Girls’ enjoy connecting with the school and keeping involved. They are an important part of our history with many stories to share.

The OGA recently organised a morning tea for Year 9 students and Old Girls from 1938 – 1960. The women attending were from all from walks of life, and have all been through their own circumstances which have shaped who they are today. Everyone had a certain level of worldliness and had much to share.

Reminiscing on their times at Santa Maria College, the Old Girls reflected on friendships, lessons, struggles, fun times, sports, socials and teachers. The students were fascinated by the many differences of school life, compared with today. Both parties thoroughly enjoyed the shared experience.

By Georgina Guidi (class of 2015)

 

It was a huge privilege to spend the morning with six of the Old Girls. I spoke to Barbara Edwards (Stevens)  and  found it very interesting. I admire all the stories she was sharing with us.  Barbara left home at five years old to go to boarding school, where it was very strict and they got the cane if they talked or misbehaved. Barbara left me with a little bit of advice saying to always keep an open mind, as you never know what your future will be, and to keep your options always open. It was an amazing experience, sharing their knowledge. I would do it all over again.

Olivia Gumina (Year 9)

Talking to the Old Girls was very inspirational and makes me really appreciate what I have today at this school. How lucky we all are as a community to have such a lovely school, with a strong history.

Eloise Davis (Year 9)

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The Mentoring Project

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“A Mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself”
Oprah Winfrey

This year, Year 9 IGNITE students have been involved in a Mentor Project with past students, run in collaboration between the College and the Old Girls’ Association. The Mentor Project is a fabulous opportunity for students to be mentored by past students. It’s also another network outside the school and home environments, for students to feel guided and supported. On Thursday night, a dinner was held at the College for the girls and their mentors, which provided an opportunity for the girls to see their mentors in a relaxed environment.

“My mentor and I have lots of common interests, which is great! I enjoy having someone there I can just talk to and who will give me helpful advice, such as subject selections.”
Sadie Caridi (Year 9)

During our recent catch up we discussed the endless possibilities of study after school. We spoke about different jobs, working within a team and the various types of workplace environments. These conversations lead us to speaking of short & long term goals. With a shared interest in art, we look forward to meeting again soon and plan to work on design projects together, whilst catching up on our recent highlights.
Jessica Hicks (Class of 2013)

The Mentoring Project, has been such a wonderful program to be involved with. Amber and I have met on several occasions now, first to have a tour of the College, so Amber could show me all the new and incredibly hi-tech buildings that have been built since I left in 2005. It also gave me the opportunity to share my memories with Amber too. We also recently attended the Murdoch University Open Day together, so Amber could have a look at the courses on offer, now that she is making her subject selections for Year 10. We both had a very enjoyable day, taking part in the many activities on offer, and also getting to know each other better.  We are both thoroughly enjoying getting to know each other more, learning about each other’s lives and building a trusting friendship. We look forward to many more exciting activities and catch-ups ahead of us.
Kristy Galloway (Class of 2005)

A SMOG Appeal

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As I sit and write this, the rain continues to pour outside my window. That really heavy, persistent rain that seeps into everything and leaves a sogginess for days after. Sitting here, by the fire with a hot drink, I offer up thanks that I don’t have to trudge through the wet to find the least damp spot to sleep tonight. But many of Perth’s homeless will be doing just that.

This is something that I think about a lot since volunteering for Homelessness We Care’s food run. Run by Santa Maria Old Girl Jane Armstrong (Class of 1993) and her partner Sim, the food run happens every Tuesday night in the city regardless of rain, hail or even Christmas! The service provides comfort in many forms: a nourishing hot meal, a hug or a handshake. Toiletries are handed out and other services are available on a regular basis such as physio, podiatry, vet and hairdressing. The Street Doctor sets up in the same place and Big Orange Sky provides a wash and dry for clothes and blankets. And now Santa Maria has committed to collect donations and provide the meal for up to 120 people once a month.

Why do I volunteer? Firstly, it’s within my capacity to do so. It suits my work and family life. I can tap friends and family on the shoulder for their travel toiletries, or to buy an extra couple of toothbrushes, a few extra little cans of tuna or an extra pack of ladies’ sanitary items in their next shop. This is the easy stuff.

Mostly, I like helping. I like challenging my judgement and putting people in need first. It’s refreshing to have my preconceptions around homelessness challenged by being on the ground. In that moment, seeing and dealing with the immediacy of their needs, all judgement is suspended. All I can see are people who deserve kindness and dignity. It’s an embodiment of the Mercy spirit that has stayed with me long after I left the College.

Throughout my life, that Mercy spirit sometimes just gave me a little nudge and other times a big shove. Those who know me well, know that I usually like helping in the background, I don’t like to share who or why I’m helping, and would even be surprised I’ve committed to even write this, but that ol’ Mercy spirit is flaring up a little more lately and I feel compelled to encourage others to commit, even a little, to Homelessness We Care. Besides we need your stuff: travel toiletries, little bit of extra from your weekly shop, a hot meal for our SMC food run, warm socks, beanies and jackets. If you feel that Mercy spirit speaking a little louder than usual, and believe me, you don’t need to be an Old Girl to feel it, you might find it in your capacity to commit to a Tuesday evening once in a while. You will get more than you give, the spirit is strong and the camaraderie is great!

Fleur De Campi (Cason-Odorisio, class of 1986)

Class of 1977 Reunion

Squealing, giggling, hugging, kissing and even a few tears. Sounds more like what you would expect at a student event than a school reunion.

Well, when we got together as the Class of 1977 at the end of July, it was a though we’d never left school, grown up, and lived challenging and demanding lives for the last 40 years.

As Paula Hull (Martin), Head Girl in 1977, said on the night: “We are a decent bunch of women, intelligent, caring, considerate, lovely and a bit naïve. And the world needs people like us.”

Amid cheering and clapping, we all agreed!

“Do you remember when…” and “Oh I had forgotten that…” and “I can’t believe we…” and “Thank goodness my kids don’t know…” and even “Thank goodness my kids don’t do…” buzzed around the room overlooking beautiful views of the Swan River where we gathered at the College.

The pics from then tell the story, along with green pinnies, peter pan collars and jabots, and invitations to the Year 12 ball (and most importantly who went with whom to the ball) and the graduation mass.

The pictures of now continue the story, with laughter lines and greying hair and…Well the rest is our secret.

We also remembered those who couldn’t make it to the reunion and those who had passed away too early.

We all told Principal Ian Elder, who gave us a tour of the school, that we knew we would have done so much better at school if we’d had the amazing facilities of today.

To Charmaine Versluis (Priest) thank you, you kept us in touch and brought us together. We are already planning the next gathering.

Jane Machin-Everill (class of 1977)

See all the photos of the Reunion here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5EB1Ua