At Loreto Toorak, the COVID-19 pandemic and this period of social isolation away from school, although difficult to adapt to at first, has ultimately given students and staff a new and exciting avenue to display and develop their leadership skills.
In fact, our school was extremely innovative and avant-garde and showed great initiative in the early introduction of online teaching and learning. This essentially helped all of us to adapt quickly and feel comfortable with the program in the early stages of the crisis.
Despite not being able to meet in person, thanks to technology, we have been able to remain connected to our fellow Year 12 Councillors and our Student Representative Council using video-chats. Following our previous model, we continued to, and further enhanced our prior organisation and communication with the leaders regarding what would be discussed at these meetings. This has been incredibly productive as the Councillors have been able to come to the meetings ready and prepared to share their ideas to encourage the school spirit away from home.
Trying to replicate the school environment and connection at home over the internet has been a primary focus of our leadership during this time. There are many opportunities for students to continue their participation in their co-curricular activities alongside their usual mentors and peers. This time is the perfect opportunity for us to focus on finding our independent motivation and lessening our reliance on others to support our health and wellbeing. Of course, Loreto has been very encouraging of this by developing a myriad of different programs to continue the girls’ contribution to school life. These skills of independence are equipping us for the challenges of adulthood which we will all eventually come to face.
Looking ahead, it is very inspiring to think about just how much this experience will have enhanced our tenacity and determination. Additionally, when we return back to school, undoubtedly, we will take with us the skills we have individually developed in isolation but also the skills which we have developed as a school community.
Some of the words in the prayer for the Loreto Year of Verity we wrote with our fellow Loreto School Captains at the end of last year, help us reflect at this time; we give thanks for the important moments of verity we have experienced in our leadership and our school community over this time;
Ignite within us the courage to uncover our authentic selves and in doing so discover our greatest gifts.
Illuminate the path of integrity, so our lives are defined by love and honesty.
Inspire us to look beyond our own horizons to face the truth bigger than ourselves.
We are so proud as Captains to lead the school through this pandemic, and through to the other end, and are so grateful for all the effort that has been demonstrated by staff and students alike.
Authors: Mia O’Callaghan and Francesca Zappia
Captains of School, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak
Feature Image: Mia O’Callaghan and Francesca Zappia, Captains of School, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak