Message from the head of school - 11 April 2018

The first term has ended on a positive note after a successful St Mary’s Investec Hockey Festival. St Mary’s hosted players, coaches and parents from around the country, Namibia and the United Kingdom. I extend my appreciation to Quix, our staff and girls who worked at the festival, and to the parent committee and all the parents who worked in the pavilion. It certainly showcased our community spirit.

The sense of confidence and enjoyment among the girls was tangible and included all who played hockey and netball and those who had roles on the working committee: in spirit, first aid, media liaison, and for those who came to support their friends. In observing them, I was reminded how important it is to provide opportunities for adolescents away from the distractions of social media.

I came across an article by Rachel Simmons recently, which expressed all the concerns that I have about the impact of social media on the general well-being of our children. She referred to a number of studies that present a picture of young women as depressed, anxious, stressed out and feeling lonely. This at a time in history when women enjoy more opportunities than ever before. The research shows a strong correlation between times spent using technology and feelings of sadness and depression. Simmons also points to the sheer impossibility of measuring up to all the roles that are expected of women, as further causes of girls feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

As adults, we need to help girls redefine success and find purpose. We must teach them to practise self-kindness and compassion. As Anna Quindlen wrote, “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

Rachel Simmons is the author of Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives, and the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl. As an educator, Rachel teaches girls and women skills to build their resilience, amplify their voices, and own their courage so that they—and their relationships—live with integrity and health.

I wish all our families a restful holiday.

Deanne King

Head of School