Term 4 is off to a flying start and it has been terrific to see students and staff return from the September break revived and ready for what is always a busy but enjoyable term. At this time of the year we begin to reflect on the year to date and it still surprises me how quickly time flies. With Year 12s saying their goodbyes as they prepare for their end of year examinations and life after school, it is heartening to hear them reflect positively on their time at Tintern and laugh as they share their memories of the Middle School…which seem like a lifetime ago to them, but it feels like it was only yesterday to staff!
On 5 October, all Prep – Year 12 girls and staff joined together for a wonderful assembly to recognise, congratulate and celebrate the Year 12 Girls as they come to the end of their school journey. During the assembly we heard reflections from Annie Chou, Anna Harvey and Tamara Molnar about their experiences at Tintern and we enjoyed looking at a slideshow that showcased 13 years of memories. Our Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 girls presented the Year 12 girls with a card. Also at this assembly, our Year 12 Co-ordinator Jen Tsai Bove spoke with great passion to our Year 12 group. I wanted to share with you some of the words from her speech that I feel capture how we feel as staff about students at this exciting time of their life “I would like to share with you two examples of Tintern school Life that have been significant and important to me. The first is the Year 12 formal. Now, I am sure that many of you know how much I like a pretty dress and a great pair of shoes, but that is not why I like the year 12 formal. For me, seeing how you have grown and developed from eager little Year 7 students, into mature and sophisticated young ladies and thinking that somewhere along the way, we at Tintern have helped you to develop in some small way into the wonderful young women you are today is very special. The other reason I would like to reference the formal is because I want you as young women in a ‘looks obsessed society’ to remember that what you look like, does not and should not define who you are.
For me a great example of Tintern school life that I believe really demonstrates that the importance of attributes over appearance was the two world challenge expeditions I took part in. I loved that there as many, if not more girls who were willing to take on this enormous challenge. I loved that girls were willing to leave the nice clothes, hair straighteners, make-up and mobile phones at home and embrace another culture another way of life. I loved seeing girls covered in mud, walking in the rain and still having the time of their lives. I loved that you were not only willing to accept the challenges that were thrown your way but face them head on. I loved seeing young women take on important leadership roles and doing things that mattered. I loved seeing young women thrive when times were tough and home seemed like such a long way away. Whether or not you went on the World challenge is irrelevant. These are things that all of you have done in some way at some time while here at Tintern. These are the things that should define you, and these are the things that all of you are capable of.
So in summary my key messages for today are; reflect on your time, experiences and relationships at Tintern. Think about how they have helped shape you now, and how they will shape your future. Respect yourselves and take pride in who you are – not just in what you look like. Finally, show the world what strong, independent, competent and valuable young women. Do things that you love but also do those that scare you – you will probably surprise yourself.”
One of the exciting things about Term 4 is that we continue to welcome our new Year 7s for 2017 as they take part in their orientation program. Their second orientation day was held in the first week of term and there was great energy and enthusiasm as the girls participated in a range of activities including taekwondo and circus skills. Our next orientation day is being held on Thursday 17 November. On this final orientation day girls will spend the whole day at school and will be placed into their 2017 Pastoral groups and House groups.
It was great to see so many families at our 2016 Celebration Evening. The night was most enjoyable, not only as we recognised the achievements of our Middle School Award recipients but also as we celebrated and reflected on the many aspects of school life our girls participate in. Our Middle School Captains, Kim and Kate, summarised the highlights of the year so far and I have every confidence that in our remaining weeks there will be more ‘highlights’ added to the year. The Year 7s can look forward to their ‘Night of the Notables’ next week, Year 8s their Performing Arts Night and ‘Days for Girls’ and Year 9s their forthcoming exams and summer expeditions. Next Thursday and Friday we have many girls performing in the 9/10 Production – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ in the CM Wood Centre with performances beginning at 7.30pm, I hope to see many of you there.