Principal’s Insights 2017


‘Moments to Pause…’ 16 February 2017

It is no wonder that anxiety plagues the modern human. We seem hopelessly confused. We love our tools; we can’t stop creating new technologies, always disrupting our current comfort level with a new solution to a previously inconsequential problem. However, we also love to hate our tools. We blame them for our dissatisfaction. In particular, we’re conflicted about the way we’re tethered to our smartphones.
(Shapiro, 2014).

be-mindful.jpgAnd we are conflicted. A plethora of research into children’s usage of the technology found the inextricable link between parent usage and parent attitude to their children’s usage. Yes, you have guessed what I’m about to say next: our children are watching us, listening to us, and, as children do, following our example - or not. They continue to behave as adolescents do, only now it’s with an added technological layer.

So, as parents, attempting to model fantastic parenting skills at all times, we also need to modify our technological use, you know: not oversharing on social media, being careful custodians of our young children’s digital footprint until they are old enough to do the same, being respectful of others online and in person, knowing that if we want our adolescents to drive ‘unplugged’ then the least we can do, is to do the same (DeRosa, 2016). Not only do we need to demonstrate our own interest in being technology-free intermittently, we also need to pause.

Really, it is no surprise that the mindfulness movement continues to gain traction in a society where technological connectivity is the norm, not the exception. We need to pause, to know how to pause, and to enjoy those moments of pause. Pausing is, without doubt, a 21st century counter response to the snap, swipe, and send syndrome to which we all contribute.

We want our children to self-regulate their technological use but want to be able to contact them with immediacy when we need to contact them. We want them to contact us when they ‘said they would’, and panic when they don’t. And… we want (or should want) them to pause.

Next week at Fairholme there are some pause moments scheduled, albeit some noisier than one would typically associate with a recess in action. Our swimming carnivals are activities that take us all away from being plugged in; so, too, the welcome function for parents and Sunday’s picnic. I believe the Year 12 Leaders’ Induction ceremony is an opportunity for each and every Year 12 parent to celebrate, pause and self-congratulate on raising a child to the brink of adulthood. This is, without doubt, a moment to compare the anticipation of starting school to the anticipation of drawing its chapter to a close. Your presence at such events matters to your daughter/s, even if they don’t say so and even if they seem more drawn to their friends’ company than yours.

Yes, they continue to watch us and watch for us – absorbing and tucking away every word, action and reaction, for future reference. I do hope that for many, there will be an opportunity to pause and to join us on ‘the BIG weekend’ - a celebration of our community and your daughter/s - in real time, unplugged.

Being mindful doesn’t mean that we must sit contemplatively in a darkened room and meditate for 10 minutes (Dale, 2016), it is about attending to the moment we are in and being present, truly present. We owe it to one another to adopt the ability to pause, meaningfully.

Dale, V. (2016). Press the pause button – how mindfulness can help reduce our own biases. ›

DeRosa, D. (2016). Practical Advice for Raising Kids in the Digital Age The Huffington Post ›

Shapiro, J. (2014) The Truth About Parenting And Smartphones ›

Tsukayama, H. (2015). How we’re adjusting to parenting in the digital age ›

‘Janus: January at Fairholme’ 2 February 2017

And so we begin in 2017: a ‘Janus moment’ if you like, as we look forward to new beginnings, and also reflect back upon the distance travelled throughout one hundred years on this site. Last Tuesday, Fairholme students pinned their 100-year badge upon the collar of their summer uniform, a small symbol of a special year in the College’s history.

Fittingly, at the end of our Commencement Assembly for Middle and Senior School students, Year 1 to Year 12 gathered on the oval to form three concentric circles: Junior, Middle, Senior. A massive jump'n'jive followed, Old Girls Meg Hamilton and Annabelle Perrignon sang with impressive strength and stunning skill, the hundred-year cake was cut and the Heritage Trail was launched: quite the start for our year of celebration.

Sometimes in schools we are privy to the most special occasions: this was one. The Fairholme spirit was palpable. Our Seniors of 2016 who had returned for the assembly that also acknowledged their academic and vocational achievements, were drawn like a magnet to the jump'n'jive.

It was special too, as two of our significant old girls, Jocelyn Mercer and Heather Harrison, launched the opening of the Heritage Trail. They also joined in the cake cutting along with Harriet Gilshenan, Prep student and granddaughter of Old Girl and past teacher, Christine Gilshenan, along with Year 12 student representative, Phoebe Duncan, who began her schooling at Fairholme in kindergarten. Phoebe follows in the footsteps of her three older sisters, Georgina, Amelia and Cate, who graduated in 2015, 2010 and 2008, respectively. Do explore the link below to the DVD presentation creatively pieced together by Mr Sessarago.

We look forward to honouring our past through such special events as:

  • The Whole School Picnic
  • P&F Ball
  • Commemorative Assembly
  • Founders’ Day
  • Facets of Fairholme Art Exhibition

and we hope that you are able to support these occasions as they occur. Heightened participation will invariably add strength to our community and lay a robust foundation for our next one hundred years on site.

In the interim, I look forward to meeting with you at the Interhouse Swimming Carnivals, Whole School Picnic, Information Sessions, Seniors’ Induction Assembly and the Principal’s Welcome function that all occur over the Big Weekend in February.

Here’s to 2017, and the Janus paradox of looking forward to the next one hundred years whilst honouring all those who have paved the way before us.

‘2017 Welcome’ 20 January 2017

Dear Members of the Fairholme Family

Welcome to 2017: a special year in the life of the College and our community. On 17 July we mark the anniversary of one hundred years of Fairholme, on this site. This year especially, we have the opportunity to look forward to the future and back to the past, to consider our foundations and progress. It is a unique moment in the College’s history and we look forward to celebrating, reflecting and forward-casting with you. We embark upon our next phase of strategic planning - a consultative approach to engage our community, our inaugural Art Exhibition: Facets of Fairholme and a year of learning, for us all.

I especially welcome all new students and families who are beginning their Fairholme journey. May the year be rich in its challenges and rewards. Our teaching and boarding staff look forward to working with you and your child/ren throughout the year.

Since the beginning of the school year beckons, I ask that you keep a close look at the College Website or the Fairholme App for start-up details, or contact the administration office (07) 4688 4688 should you have any further queries.

Academic Achievements
By accessing our website you will note the strong academic achievements of the senior cohort of 2016. Whilst we will acknowledge the 2016 Senior cohort more formally at the Opening Assembly on Tuesday January 24, we express our pride in their accomplishments as well as appreciation of the work of our teachers and families who have journeyed with these young women. Our 2016 seniors have diverse and significant opportunities and we hold great faith in their future.

Similarly, we acknowledge the successes of our knockout Athletics team that competed at the National titles in Canberra in December. The intermediate team finished eleventh in their field. To compete at this national arena is testimony to the fine work of our Athletics coaches and we also acknowledge their commitment to the program throughout 2016. We look forward to a strong 2017 program.

Congratulations to Ellie Bowyer and Bella McLoughlin who competed at the Australian Secondary School Championships. Ellie again gained Gold in Javelin and Bella gained Bronze in the Hammer.

Year 9 student, Imogen Saunders, has achieved her best results at an Australian level in Pool Lifesaving, breaking personal best times and equalling 2nd in Under 14 Overall trophy, winning the Line Throw and coming 2nd in CPR. Furthermore, she was placed 3rd in Under 14 100m Obstacles and 3rd Under 14 100m Manikin Carry. Congratulations to coach Hayley Wolff for her work with the lifesaving team, and to Imogen for outstanding and promising results.