Farewell Speech from Helen Steele, Deputy Principal of Mary MacKillop College from 2013 to 2019, addressed to the College Community at our End of Year Mass & Awards Ceremony.
I acknowledge the privilege it is to stand before you today in farewell to the Mary MacKillop College community.
In preparing my farewell, I found only room for gratitude. I recognise the great opportunities afforded to me through my work, professional learning, faith formation and relationships.
I acknowledge the parents here today and those I have worked with over the years. Working in partnership with parents is key to student success. I am not being flippant when I quote… "it takes a village to raise a child". In a time of great disruption and interruption, it is together that school and family must join to ensure that the disruption leads us to harmony and the interruption to connection. I thank all parents for entrusting their daughters to us.
I acknowledge the School Board and the Parents and Friends Association. Whilst these two groups have very different roles, both groups work to build community in the spirit of Mary MacKillop and the Josephite charism. The Board does so with the highest level of excellence ensuring that we continue to thrive as a school. Thank you. The P&F does so with generosity, fun, laughter, and lengthy discussions relating to continental cakes and ice cream. I will miss the P&F Meetings.
I acknowledge the Sisters of St Joseph… to each of you I am grateful for the way you have nurtured my spirit. You are attentive women… you notice us, you teach us by example how to be present to each person you meet. I thank you for your work and for the relationship you have with our girls and staff. Thank you.
I acknowledge MacKillop girls. Dear girls, what a joy you have been. I thank you for reminding me to be patient, for saying hello in the yard, for responding to my requests, for turning up all day every day, for making me laugh, giving me fashion tips…(nail polish remover still available free of charge at Student Services). I am so grateful that I have been your Deputy Principal. I thank the Wellbeing Ambassadors, the SRC girls and the SLTs of the past 7 years. It is through these groups that I have come to know what it truly means to be a MacKillop girl.
I acknowledge our staff. We are a small boutique school that punches above its weight that achieves excellence that raises girls to be confident, that teaches about charity and justice. We are a small highly successful school because our staff walk the talk and look to build relationships first. They work hard, give generously of their time and they have fun. There is a genuine respect amongst the staff and each one of you has made working at MacKillop very easy. I thank my colleagues for your work, support, guidance and friendship.
I acknowledge the Leadership Team of the College, Kath, Cathy and Rosette along with Justine Sheehy - Your work is exceptional and it has been a privilege to work alongside you.
I acknowledge two women who have provided outstanding leadership, vision and tenacity. Both have inspired me to become more than I ever dreamed. Our Chair of the College Board, Gess Carbone is an old scholar, an outstanding leader and a true MacKillop girl. Ever optimistic, she has steered the College to be a place of excellence, well known in the wider community because she is always sharing news of the college wherever she goes. Thank you Gess.
Our Principal, Kath McGuigan is a leader of strength. This means that no matter what – you can always lean on her. BUT – she won’t let you lay down. Rather she will direct, challenge, and point to the direction we are going. And then… ready set go… what a ride. Kath, your commitment to this school community is second to none and I thank you for entrusting the work of Deputy Principal to me.
There are three mantras I will take away with me:
"Be the Best Person You can Possibly Be" – from Sister Mary Mercer - needs no explanation.
The Sisters of St Joseph’s motto, "In all things love" has resonated deeply for me because of the way our staff care for the girls and for each other.
And finally my time at MacKillop has led me to
Know, do and be more than I could ever have imagined.
I thank you all and wish you every blessing in this time of Advent and into the future.
“We are but Travellers Here” - Mary MacKillop 1867