From the head's desk: 13 November 2020

Deanne King

In a move to position the school to be a valuable place of learning for future generations of South African women, St Mary’s has, in the past months, undertaken the analysis and assessment of our transformation and diversity imperative. Our school has always been adaptable otherwise it would not have remained a school of choice for girls since 1888. In recognising our school’s long history, we must reflect on the good and bad times that the school has endured. The Spanish Flu of 1918 is probably the closest comparison we have to a medical crisis. In her history of St Mary’s School, Mary MacPhail captures the impact of that pandemic, “Soon after the war the terrible Spanish ‘flu swept the country. Most schools closed down. St Mary’s was literally a hospital, every bed was occupied by a patient.”

This year has presented many challenges globally. In our context, St Mary’s rose to the challenge of providing remote learning during lockdown and creating a safe school environment to which the girls and staff returned. For this I thank the teachers and the self-sacrificing members of staff. The school also remains grateful to the parents for their decision to entrust their daughters to our school. We aim to thrive next year and to resume a fully functional school routine, although we may be underestimating the time that the virus will be a consideration.

The biggest threat to our school over the past months has been the lack of opportunity for our community to come together. We have lost so much this year in not hosting events and functions, which usually provide us with time to socialise and experience the value of being in community. The required physical distancing of the pandemic has translated into social distancing and this has harmed our relationships. Next year will be about healing our St Mary’s community through time spent together. No matter the vagaries of the pandemic, our values of love, community, integrity will endure and overcome.

To borrow from Joe Biden who found inspiration in Seamus Heaney’s poetry, “This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme.”

Deanne King
Head of School

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