From the Acting Principal


Term 3 has unfolded with a number of events and celebrations. Least not of these was JJAMM Week, which ended with our Feast Day Mass and M-Factor hosted by the Student Leadership Team. It was a great day of fun and laughter as we gave thanks for the life of Mary MacKillop and for the work of the Sisters of St Joseph.   

At a recent assembly, I spoke to the girls about success and self-efficacy. I asked them to consider what their Principal’s certificate would say about their success. The following is an extract of what I shared.

Congratulations to all the students who have achieved awards today. It is a great opportunity to celebrate your academic excellence, your commitment and your service. Thank you for your contribution to College life. I know that we could have given out many, many more certificates. There is much to appreciate in the audience before me.

  • There’s the girl who:
    • Went from a C to a B in Mathematics, she now confidently says …“I enjoy Maths” – because of her achievement yes… but also because of her sense of, I can do this… I am doing this.
    • Had a brilliant idea! Her assignment was going to be the best assignment the teacher had ever seen. She had big ideas. But just three days before the assignment was due… she had completed nothing towards this great idea. There was no way this assignment was going to get finished. What was she going to do?  Slump on the floor, have a meltdown…well yes ...for a little while at least.  But then she re-grouped. Her big ideas needed to change… they needed to be ACHIEVABLE ideas. And so, with a bit of extra homework, some re-working of her ideas… she handed in her assignment – not quite as she had originally imagined– but in some ways it was so much better. She adapted, she remained positive, she backed herself in… she achieved.
    • Didn’t want to do the class oral…but then she did… nervously following her cue cards, encouraged by her friends and teacher she stared down her demons and bravely stood (shaking a little) and confidently delivered her speech. Ignoring the negative thoughts, she quietly punched the air and knew… she had done it… and she was ready to do it again.
    • Arrived ready for the school year aiming to get one of those certificates we just handed out… but she’s missed out… not by much… just a little. She knows though that she achieved more this year because she set that goal – she will not be deterred she will … keep going… her goal is clear… she wants to achieve HER very best.

We do not really have certificates for going from a C to a B; for being adaptability; for being brave; or for aiming High. But if we did, would you receive one? What would your Principal’s certificate say?

Self-efficacy is your belief in yourself to achieve a task. When you have high self-efficacy, you are more likely to try new and seemingly hard tasks, be resilient when things do not go according to plan and be successful.

You may not get a certificate for high self-efficacy but you will get a strong sense of achievement. Having the opportunity to learn is not only a gift, it is a privilege, a right and a responsibility. Learning can also be very, very hard and it really helps if you invest in building your sense of self-efficacy. The way to build your self-efficacy is to remember:

  • We learn from those around us.
  • We need a cheer squad – people we respect who will back us in.
  • Excellence takes practise, practice, practice, practice.

On another note, I have found myself inspired by the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. In a recent interview, she was reflecting on the Christchurch Mosque Shootings that happened on 15 March this year. Journalists had reflected on her leadership during this time and she was described as being composed, calm, compassionate, and warm. Some journalists interpreted her response as a feminine response to leadership. When asked “is there an inherently feminine way of holding power?" her response was, “There is a human way of holding power”. She received a round of applause for this response and I found myself cheering for this woman who shows us what leadership can be like: a leadership that is about compassion, understanding, intelligence and walking with those she serves… and does that not sound just like our very own Mary MacKillop?

I trust that this newsletter provides a window into life at the College over the past five weeks.


Helen Steele
Acting Principal