I am an optimist and I am fortunate to come from a family of optimists. Such is my propensity to look on the bright side, in fact, that my friends tease me about my “Pollyanna” approach to some of the challenges we encounter. I must say that I am grateful for my disposition and for my prevailing belief that difficulties will pass, but I do have to say that the last twelve months has tested even me! The reality of life is the even the most cheerful amongst us encounter difficult times during which we can feel as though there is no hope. In the Anglican tradition, it is this state of hopelessness and the times in which we face disappointment, loss, betrayal or despair, that Easter most speaks into. Easter is the event in the Christian calendar that serves to remind us that light conquers darkness and that in even the grimmest of circumstances, there is hope. The concept of resurrection as told in the Gospels, provides a framework around which to build our own lives as “resurrection people”: people who forgive, who include, who speak out against injustice, who show compassion and who build up rather than tear down.

When you work with young people every day it is relatively easy to maintain hope for the future. Our girls are keen to learn and develop. They want the world to be a better place. They are filled with potential and ideas and energy and love. Seeing them in the pool or on the stage, speaking in assembly or helping each other in class you can’t help but feel buoyed by what they might become. Of course, like us, they are also flawed human beings and, being young and without the wisdom of years, they are prone to make mistakes. They get things wrong, they act without thinking, they make poor decisions, they hurt people and they disappoint themselves. This is part of life. It is not the mistakes, however, that define us or our young people; rather, it is the way we get up, the way we recover, the way we make repair. Believing that things will get better and having a disposition towards optimism means that we have to believe in ourselves and in each other. We have to be prepared to see the potential and coax it out, to have faith in our abilities to do better next time, to make better choices, to think more carefully before we act.

I have been incredibly proud of our school community this term. It has not been an easy one as the effects of last year’s extended lock down run deep and have drained many of us of energy and spirit. Our girls our staff and our parents all are re-learning what it means to be together as community. We are getting back in touch with kindness, inclusion, tolerance and compassion. We are working out how to look after ourselves while throwing ourselves back into the routines and rigours of school life. It has been a bumpy ride some of the time, but there has also been a lot of joy. 

Whatever your faith background, I hope that in the coming weeks you will find hope, positivity, energy and inspiration. For those celebrating Easter, may it be a time of blessing and renewal. I wish all our families a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing everyone back at school in Term 2.

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes