All this talk of normality: when will we get back to normal? Is this the new normal? Is there an ‘old normal’ that will ever be the same again? Some neither want the old normal nor the new normal, so what will normal be like – and will we have some agency over it? What times of flux.
I read of an analogy that these times are akin to white water rafting: each of us is engaging in a very long and extreme experience which is intellectually, physically and psychologically demanding, requiring rapid responses and sustained, complex decision making. The turbulent journey is not over yet as we seek to reach still waters without too much of a drenching! I wish I could speak of white water rafting from personal experience, but the analogy certainly resonated with me.
Despite such disruption for our students this year, and we know of such constant upheaval for many families and indeed every industry, I share with you in this newsletter just some illustrations of the strength of Siena’s values and culture which provide such stability to us in navigating this journey:
- Last week, staff were invited to contribute to a request from St Vinnies for donated goods for families in need; the staff response was instant and overwhelmingly generous
- This week, student leaders in Years 11 and 12 prepared heartfelt prayers in readiness for our virtual celebration of St Dominic’s day, with the inclusion of Cantor, Isabella Crane – gathering around our Dominican theme of being seekers, being responsive, being in community and “speaking and acting as an open book which points to God” (Erik Borgman)
- On Tuesday, I tuned into the Eco Warriors meeting, our reliable group of students across Years 7 to 11 who met to keep awareness and action alive in caring for the gift of creation
- Steadfast support for College Leadership from parents, alumnae and community friends on Board and Board Committees, all seeking the best for our Siena families. A Chair of the Board whose leadership service is firmly anchored in the values of our community and in support of all
- Our parents who this week, have affirmed staff, encouraged staff, supported so many requests asked of them and worked to ensure their daughters are both careful and courageous
- Siena staff on their professional commitment to their work and their students. In challenging times, seeking to fulfil their professional obligations to students onsite, running online classes for Years 7 to 10, at the same time as maintaining their own health and wellbeing, along with that of their families.
- Our students, who say thank you to teachers onsite each day and who, whether onsite or at home, are working so hard to ensure great learning in Term 3. This despite fears, losses this year and so much uncertainty. Still and always, smiling, friendly, caring and strong
It is our students, our families, our staff, our Board and Committee members and our faith which stabilise and inspire us. Siena remains a very special place.