Throughout this year, I have been endlessly inspired by the work of our expert teachers and professional support staff in their ability to respond to the crisis, adapt on the fly and pivot in response to feedback; the extent to which our students have displayed independence and flexibility in response to continually changing circumstances; and the way our community has come together to support, encourage and uplift one another.
In every section of the school, we have seen creativity and imagination at work to overcome the challenges of isolation, and we’ve seen a real desire from many students to take a greater ownership of their learning and embrace the opportunity to manage their own time.
One of the highlights of the year for me was to see the excitement from students and staff alike as we returned from each of the lockdown periods. This has been especially true in Term 4, as we farewelled the Class of 2020 and have begun the celebrations for the end of the Junior School journey for our Year 6 students. This week, the graduation ceremonies held at both Kew and Donvale campuses will be recorded and streamed to families as we are still not able to have parents onsite – however, this allows us the opportunity to share this special moment with family in other areas of the country or, indeed, the world, and provides a keepsake for the students for years to come.
We are also excited to be closing off the year in such an active fashion with all manner of experiential learning programs in Year 9. It has been great to see an abridged Outdoor Education experience on offer involving Yarra River Sledding, a Hike in the Werribee Gorge and Mountain biking on the Mullum Mullum Yarra Trail. We have also seen the return of the C-Change Challenge program, which includes a Mind, Body, Spirit elective, the Tree Tops Adventure Challenge in Belgrave and a variety of community service activities. The Year 9s will also explore our history, our story and our future through the Year 9 Civics and Citizenship program, providing an engaging, introspective and interesting end to their Middle School journey.
We have been pleased to welcome back the APS Summer Sport program as well for many Middle and Senior School teams, along with some practice games for our First Teams over the last two weeks. We are all hopeful about a full summer season of sport ahead.
I very much look forward to a year of face-to-face connection in 2021 as we embrace the full range of experiential learning opportunities for our students. We will look forward to celebrating their achievements through our broad program and share in the joys of music, drama, sport, community service engagements and Outdoor Education experiences.
I am grateful to the whole community for your welcome in this, my first year back at Carey. I am genuinely filled with optimism and energy about the exciting future ahead for us. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your efforts this year as we have managed the constant change and disruption. I wish everyone a wonderfully restful holiday break and a Merry Christmas as we look forward to an exciting year ahead.