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News > School Newsletter > Pastoral News - 5 November 2021

Pastoral News - 5 November 2021

It has been great to settle back in to face-to-face learning. We've already had Student Leadership Induction afternoons, Orientation Days and more! Read all about it in this week's Pastoral News.

"It is so good to be back"

We could not be more proud of the way the students have settled back into face to face learning after such a significant period of time away from the campus. On Monday and Wednesday of Week 4, students participated in fun activities to reconnect with their peers and teachers. Activities included escape rooms, Pictionary, problem-solving activities, chalk drawing and making gratitude cards. Each student made a ‘Loreto’ girl to create our own ‘Loretoville’ gardens around the School, decorated with messages of gratitude. The sense of joy has been evident since face-to-face learning has resumed. Students have maturely understood the importance of mask wearing and ensuring that they comply with the COVID safety plans in place. There is a sense of calm and assurance from the students and staff. Life is back in the corridors which is tremendous to see.

Despite this, it begs the question of what have been the lessons that we have learnt while being away? In some ways, we had to return to a simpler life during remote learning. We can learn so much from one another and other cultures about experiences such as these. We seem increasingly open to life lessons from other cultures. The Japanese have been intentional in their quest to live a calmer and quieter life, seeking solace and peace in nature while freeing the mind of the unnecessary ‘clutter’ that can preoccupy. All of a sudden, we found our freedoms ‘clipped’, and going out was not really an option, yet, we embraced our one hour of exercise and time in the fresh air as something sacred and special. 

In Japan, Iki means ‘life’ and Gai means ‘value’ or ‘worth’. In short, ikigai means life goal. Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia, the authors of ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret for a Long and Happy Life’ claim it is the reason why the inhabitants of Okinawa, the island with the highest number of 100-year-olds in the world, get out of bed in the morning. Such passion not only gives satisfaction and meaning to life, but also keeps you going. It is about having a purpose in life. So, over the next few weeks, spend some time together as a family talking about your purpose in life and what keeps you going as individuals and a family. After all, we have much to learn from one another.

Boarder Representative Council and Student Representative Council Induction Afternoon 

On Wednesday, the newly elected Boarder Representative Council and Student Representative Council met and worked together on their induction into their new leadership roles. The students explored leadership and how to build trust as a team, and began the process of identifying their goals and priorities for the year ahead. Mrs Hallinan, Dean of Boarding, as well as Mrs Boland and Mr Madigan, Deans of Pastoral Care worked closely with the students and were thrilled by the enthusiasm and energy that was coming from the group. We look forward to seeing the students build and develop their leadership skills over the coming twelve months. The Year 12 SRC Communications Leaders from the 8 Houses and Lara Iannello, SRC Communications Captain were in attendance to offer their support to the student leaders. There will be further opportunities for the two leadership groups to collaborate and work together over the coming months. In the House period on Wednesday 17 November, the students will workshop further activities with the wider school population on building student voice and agency.

Virtual Orientation Day - Update

On Thursday, new students across Years 7 to 11 participated in their Orientation Day, with a twist! It was Zoom all the way as we welcomed many eager and new faces to their new school. The students were ably supported by their Heads of House, House Captains and Year 7 Advisors over a few hours where they started to learn more about their new school, its customs and a few fun and engaging activities and games along the way. We can’t wait to see all the new students in person in January and induct them further into their life at Normo!

Hornsby Kuring-gai Mental Health Youth Forum

On October 26th, volunteer representatives from Years 9, 10 and 11 attended a half-day webinar organised by Sydney North Health Network, by special invitation of Matt Kean, Local Member for Hornsby. Various presenters discussed current research into protective factors for wellbeing and mental health, and strategies for helping ourselves and others. Local services for young people and their families such as Headspace and Kyds were also highlighted to the students. Doctors, counsellors, youth workers and psychologists also ran a ‘Q and A’ session that was enlightening, informative and interesting. The students said that they could recognise many of the themes of protective strategies and wellbeing focal points in our pastoral program, which was pleasing to hear. They also plan to take back to the Student Council and SRC some ideas they had about students meeting our counsellors in year meetings or Tutor time, so students felt more comfortable in accessing support, as well as ways to reduce stigma around accessing support. We were very proud of the way they maturely engaged in discussions on the day and listened respectfully to the presenters in the webinar. 

A Community Update on School Zones

As we return to onsite learning and students and parents begin travelling to and from school, it is important to keep road safety in mind. Hornsby Shire Council have developed excellent resources about road safety when driving, walking and catching public transport to school, including specific details about the road rules for drivers in School Zones and around buses.


We wish all students continued success with face to face learning and look forward to the weeks ahead.

Mrs Marysa Boland and Mr Justin Madigan

Deans of Pastoral Care

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