Although the weather hasn’t been particularly kind to us recently (I had thought that spring had sprung, but then needed to dig out my thermals again) there have been lots of positive happenings in and around Carmel School.

The Arts came to the fore as we were wowed by VAPA night, in which we admired various artworks and our students made music, sang and showed films which they had made in media. It was truly an evening which show-cased the dedication of Carmel staff and the talent of Carmel students in the Visual And Performing Arts.

On a similar theme, our talented young women and men in Year 10 presented an impressive dramatic piece at the YOH Fest (Youth on Health) finals at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on Saturday night. Receiving a Certificate of Merit from the Mayor for the “excellent expressive cast”, their performance of ‘Disconnected’ was beautifully acted and delivered an important message, urging parents to put their phones down, be present and make the time to really listen to their children. It was wonderful to feel the support of the staff and parents who made the trip down to Mandurah for the evening. It also served to make us even more sad that Ms Anastas has announced that after ten years of service to Carmel School, she will be leaving us at the end of this year, as her lengthy commute to work has become too much. She has achieved so many things in the Drama space during her time with us, teaching students from Years 7 to 12 and directing numerous performances. Her work with the Year 12 Drama students in 2021 and the brilliant results in YOH Fest over the past three years are just some examples of her wonderful contributions to the School.

The Year 5 Kabbalat Shabbat last Friday was also a very special occasion and enabled all Year 5 students to experience the joy of shabbat with their parents. There was some very lovely singing and the opportunity for families to take the time to connect and discuss various Shabbat-themed questions over the prompt cards provided. As feedback after the occasion reflected, these types of joyful events provide deep learning and are remembered long after our school days are over; they are both educational and memorable. We are looking forward to providing increased experiential opportunities for families at Carmel School next year.

Something else which has brought great joy to various Primary School students has been our recent additions to the cupboard of board games. A kind donation from PHC to thank the School for hosting them during their renovations was happily spent on a whole shelf of new board games including some favourites such as mancala, Settlers of Catan, Organ Attack and Ticket to Ride. My Friday lunchtimes have been greatly enhanced, playing board games with groups of students who want an indoor space to relax with their friends.

Mr Shadgett and I enjoyed presenting to the parents of next year’s Year 7 students in the BT Hall. We shared what we have learnt over many (too many?!) years’ experience of working with teenagers and provided some suggestions that we hope will help empower parents to proactively work with their children to develop various skills over the next few months, in preparation for High School. Mr Shadgett and I planned our halves of the presentation separately and were amused at the impressive alignment when we came together to finalise what we were going to say. I hope that the current Year 6 students have already started working on their organisation, persistence and resilience skills to help them be ready for High School next year!

As we start to think more about 2023, I am very happy to report the news that Carmel School student numbers show a 7.5% increase in enrolments for next year. This is a fantastic reflection of the hard work of Ms Regan (Director of Communications and Enrolments) and all the work put in by Carmel staff. It is fantastic that more and more families are realising the benefits of the excellent teaching, community spirit and small classes that we offer.

On the 2023 staffing front, I am pleased to announce that the brand new role of Director of Student Development and Wellbeing will be taken up next year by Cherie Russell, who will be looking at forging student links with other schools and developing further student leadership opportunities. Mrs Morrison will be leaving us at the end of the year – not to retire, but to provide the opportunity for a new chapter. In a career that has spanned three decades at Carmel School, Mrs Morrison has shared her expertise with students and led the department for a significant length of time. We thank her for all her contributions and wish her well in her future endeavours. After three years working as our entrepreneurship teacher, Ms Lee is leaving Carmel School to take up her next big adventure at Curtin University. She hopes to continue to help Carmel student entrepreneurs as they move onto the next parts of their lives. We will remember many of the amazing student businesses that she has supported in the High School.

Shabbat shalom –

Julie Harris