Spotlight On: Joy

1 December 2023

This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 1 December 2023.

This point in the term, fortunately, is not a fraught time in the academic calendar. There is still serious and meaningful work being done, especially in the senior years, but as well as usual lessons, girls across the school are singing and playing and rehearsing and enjoying activities that will be remembered long afterwards for the spirit of fun and friendship. The teachers on the other hand are not quite as relaxed  –  the residue of marking is being finalised and reports are almost complete However, the staff has also enjoyed a  number of beautiful celebratory events: the End-of-Year Dance Concert, the Middle School Drama Production , the infectious enthusiasm of the K-2 Christmas Pageant, the Kindergarten and Year 1 Sports Morning... and of course some Christmas activities next week.

Schools are busy, rich and complex environments and many of the most important experiences will not be found in the calendar of events. That which is most significant, long-lasting and life-changing is often invisible – it exists in a particular moment, or comes about through a long, slow process of growing maturity and self-knowledge. Sometimes the impact of an activity is unseen  but every so often we receive heartfelt acknowledgement from students, staff or families, as  we have from a Year 8 student, Zoe, who recently shared her thoughts on our partnership with Redfern Jarjum College, a full-service community school supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families living in Sydney. Representatives from Year 8 have visited the school throughout the year to assist with teaching the young children, playing sport with them, and sharing conversations. Last week it was Queenwood’s turn to welcome them to our school where they were involved in swimming, games and Christmas craft.

From Zoe
I just wanted to express my appreciation for having the opportunity to meet all of those children on Thursday and having so many fun and exciting activities. I felt like I could bond with the kids, and I could even talk to some peers in my grade that I wouldn't usually hang out with. I would also like to thank all the staff that were involved in putting this event together. This includes the swim staff, the art teachers and you and Mrs C (Calandruccio) and Mrs Tamberlin for organising it. I had a great time and I think the kids did as well, whether they were splashing in the pool, playing dodgeball, playing pickle ball or making some Christmas crafts. I could not stop laughing or smiling the whole time. To all the teachers who gave us the supplies to make this possible it meant a lot to me, and I cannot wait to do more service initiatives next year.

For staff feeling a little frazzled, messages such as these always bring smiles and a knowing nod. Inevitably, we do not always get everything right but, as this student recognised, sometimes we get it very right and the impact can be life changing.

Many parents and girls have taken the time to express their thanks to staff over the last few days and weeks, and we very much appreciate these messages as well. They are immensely rewarding and sustaining as we sprint towards the finish line.

I hope that these holidays bring you all the right balance of connection with friends and family and disconnection from busy work and crammed schedules. As this is the final newsletter for the year, I take this opportunity on behalf of the staff, to thank you all for supporting the school, and we wish you a safe and relaxing Christmas, and a very happy New Year.