Many of you know that I love David Attenborough and that in my down time I very much enjoy watching his documentaries. Animal behaviour has always fascinated me and in the end of term assembly today, I spoke to the girls about the Fire ants of the Amazon Rainforest, which featured in a recent episode of his latest series, A Perfect Planet. These remarkable, tiny creatures face evacuation from their underground homes when the rains come and the floodwaters rise, making it impossible for them to continue to survive below the earth’s surface in their nest. In response, the colony comes together, linking legs with each other and creating a living raft which is unsinkable. The colony floats down the river, sometimes for weeks, working together to repel predators and eventually docking the raft in new feeding areas where they live above the ground for three months until the floodwaters recede. It is an incredible phenomenon and one of the purest demonstrations of community that I have ever seen. The parallels with the ways in which our own community has banded together in the face of the COVID-19 challenges were, I felt, easily drawn, and I shared with the girls the similarities between the ants’ behaviour and their own instances of coming together to hold each other “afloat”. Many such examples are found in the cross-age interactions which are part of the daily life of a Lowther Hall girl and this term, as well as the ongoing cocurricular activities that bring girls of different year levels together, we have seen older students supporting and inspiring their younger peers at a number of camps and special events. Some of the girls spoke about their involvement in these cross-age experiences at our assembly today and it was evident just how much they had gained from their encounters with their counterparts in other year levels. Like the ants, when we work together, our capacity to rise above a challenge and find a positive way forward, is significantly increased. I am incredibly proud of the manner in which the girls continue to support one another and for the many ways in which our community looks after each other as we navigate the ups and downs that life brings. As we move into the end of term break, I hope that all families will find positive ways to connect with those they love and to draw strength and encouragement from these connections. I look forward to reuniting at the commencement of Term 3 with girls and staff feeling the benefits of a rest and a two week change of pace!

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes