From the Principal

From the Principal

Year 12 Retreat at Mittagong

The theme of “Gratitude” was the central focus of our Year 12 Retreat held last week at Mittagong. It was wonderful spending the week with each Year 12 group as they took time to continue their faith and personal journey towards a fulfilling adulthood. The spectacular yet peaceful setting of the Marist Retreat Centre, comfortably located in the countryside of the Southern Highlands, provided the perfect atmosphere for this reflective time.

Recognising the unique and positive relationships of family and friends, while exploring the special relationship each girl has with their God and with each other also allowed students to appreciate that life has many dimensions.

Throughout this time of thoughtful reflection students took the opportunities to write gratitude cards to each other, warmly expressing the qualities and virtues they valued in each other. It will remain a very treasured experience. With a renewed vigour and greater appreciation for one another, the students returned to MSCW this week.  


Year 12 Flex Model (Flexible Learning Experience)

During the Retreat week, Year 12 spent three days on Retreat and two days involved in our newly developed FLEX model. This FLEX model, being trialled at MSCW for the first time this year, allows our students a flexible learning experience of either online or face-to-face skills-based workshops. From an array of workshops, students were given choice in their decision to use their preferred way of learning, what time they engaged in the workshop and which of their subjects to target. While working with their teachers, students should be identifying particular areas needed for improvement and either ‘problem-solve’ it or seek greater explanation. This model was developed from the feedback and learnings we captured during the online delivery we undertook in 2020 due to COVID. During each of my ASPIRATION meetings with Year 12 groups, the students have expressed their excitement by this opportunity and over the coming week we will evaluate the success of this time. In Terms 2, 3 and 4, before the HSC, students will have further experiences of this FLEX model.

Principal’s Assembly

This week at the Principal’s Assembly, we acknowledged two significant events.

Firstly, through prayer, we launched our recognition of 200 years of Catholic education in Australia. This is a significant time for Marist Sisters’ College and a recognition of the commitment and dedication of the Marist Sisters who began educating students on this school site in 1908, 112 years ago. It was their presence, ambition, enthusiasm and tenacity that inspired students to “see, judge, act and feel” Mary in our world. As Marist women we are called to ‘ACTION’ the presence of Mary to others in a loving way, always fostering inclusion and accepting diversity.



The second significant event in our Assembly was to recognise International Women’s Day by highlighting practical expressions of this in our own school environment. The 2021 theme is: “Choose to Challenge”. We often invoke the words of Jeanne Marie Chavoin, Foundress of the Marist Sisters, when she said: “that women in time will come to do much”.

As a woman, she struggled with the adversity of growing up in late 1700’s where women didn’t have a strong voice for change. She knew that through time and with passion and commitment to the role and unique qualities of women, things would change. Still today this change could be perceived as being slow, especially when examined through the lens of the percentage of women on Corporate and NFP Boards, the rights of women included in Enterprise Agreements, elected local, state and national political representatives, equal remuneration in sports and arts, and while hard for us to imagine, even the right to education or voting in some countries. However, International Women’s Day brings a real recognition to the place, voice and skills of women. In this 2021 year of “Choose to Challenge” we can:

  • choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality
  • choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

From ‘Challenge’ comes change. This challenge means that we, as women, set the bar high on how we treat each other and celebrate each other. At the heart of this we at MSCW have zero tolerance for the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ which cuts down anyone who is perceived or appears better than ourselves through their achievements and ambitions. Instead we say ‘BRAVO’ to all those who try, and applaud those who eagerly ‘have a real go’ and rejoice in those who succeed, because they remind us of who we are and what we can achieve as women of ‘action’.

At the Retreat last week. I captured images of our Year 12 students raising their hands in support of “Choose to Challenge” in our College community. 

As educated women, we are obliged to ‘choose to challenge’ whenever we see injustice or witness someone putting another down.

These are the ‘put-down merchants’ or ‘quicksand crowd’ who mostly take and not give in a community. This behaviour will always be “challenged” at MSCW. As Marist girls it is always important that we ‘empower’ each other as ‘sisters’ to create a more just and equitable world. Each of us must play our part in the change.


Dr Anne Ireland, Principal

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #1, #2, #8