During the recent break I had the privilege of travelling with Ms Healy to Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa and to undertake a range of school visits, safaris and wildlife encounters. I have enjoyed sharing some of my adventures with the girls and thinking about some of the things that I have learnt from my travels. On Tuesday morning, Ms Healy and I spoke to the Senior School girls about some messages we had taken from the trip. These included: being prepared to have preconceptions and misconceptions challenged, seeing the importance of values as a driving force within communities, staying in touch with your sense of awe and wonder as you get older and being prepared to enjoy unexpected parts of life’s journey as they unfold, rather than just being focused on the plan or the destination. As well as some wonderful opportunities to take photos of animals and some incredible up close encounters with gorillas, hippos, lions, elephants and giraffes, the other highlight of the journey was visiting schools in Rwanda and Johannesburg and being introduced to staff and students who were keen to learn and eager to engage in cultural exchange. 

Back in Melbourne, this week started with an inspiring day in which members of the teaching staff shared their reflections on learning they have each been doing over the year – action research regarding best practice classroom teaching, informed through peer observation, data collection and extensive reflection and reading. We are fortunate at Lowther Hall to have a committed team of professional teachers who lead the way in learning for our girls. It was wonderful to then be back together as a whole school on Tuesday, in the Cultural Centre with the newly refurbished balcony! We have missed being able to gather as a Kindergarten to Year 12 group while the building works have been undertaken, and the sound of 800 voices joining together in song again was certainly a joy to hear as the girls began their term. This assembly was also the opportunity to celebrate the annual ritual in which each Year 12 girl receives a yellow rose from a Prep student and, in turn, presents her with seeds, symbolic of the growth that we anticipate for her as she moves through her years at Lowther Hall. I am enjoying meeting with the Year 12 girls over lunch in their House groups this week and next, in order to gather their feedback about the School and to assess how we can serve girls even better in the future and I am looking forward to joining with Year 12 families in the coming weeks as we acknowledge the contribution of the Class of 2019 and wish them well for the future. 

Today, we open our 2019 Art Exhibition “Elements” and I am looking forward very much to seeing all of our student art work displayed and to sharing the special opening event with many members of the school community. Do make sure that you put aside time to view the exhibition over the weekend! I hope to see you there. 

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes