Carmel Business Breakfast

The past week has been a busy and memorable one, I was proud to be an ambassador for Carmel School at many important community events.

Sunday’s commemoration of Kristallnacht at the PHC was a moving service. Judith Lawrence from the Holocaust Institute delivered a beautifully crafted and moving speech that taught me much I had not known about events that happened on that barbaric night in 1938. Morah Galanti’s Carmel choir with students from both the Primary School and the High School had worked hard to rehearse and sang so brilliantly, they were the subject of huge volumes of positive feedback afterwards. We really are lucky to have such talented musicians and dedicated staff in our school community. The event was a collaborative one and I thank the organisers for their hard work and for recognising the importance of remembering and learning from history’s darkest days.

On Tuesday, my dog appeared slightly confused that she had to wake up quite so early when a 4:45am walk was necessary to ensure that I could get to Fraser’s Restaurant in time for the Carmel School Business Breakfast. The annual event brought together people from all arenas of business an opportunity for good company and fabulous food. The two speakers made it a very special event. Emeritus Professor Simon Forrest spoke about the voice of indigenous people in his Welcome to Country and guest speaker Diane Smith-Gander AO spoke about a variety of topics in her impressive keynote speech, including pay differentials, the need to highlight entrepreneurship in education (happily, Carmel is doing well in this space) and ‘the golden rule’ – that those who have the gold tend to make the rules. It was a wonderful morning of thought-provoking discussions and learning Thank you to Ms Lorraine Regan who worked hard to ensure the morning was smooth and professional. I also thank Johnathon and Debbie Silbert for their dedication and hard work in ensuring that this important event takes place, it is a great opportunity for businesswomen and men to network and hear about all that is happening at Carmel School

How brilliant, then, to return to school after the business breakfast to hear from Mr Jon O’Brien that the poetry of his Year 10 students Ella and Ariella has been selected for inclusion in this year’s Primo Lux – an anthology of student poetry published annually to celebrate skilled writing and youth creativity in literature! Many hundreds of students from schools across Western Australia submit their works for consideration and the competition is open to those in Years 10 to 12, making this an even more impressive achievement for these young Carmel poets.

We also heard this week that Asher (Year 10) achieved a High Distinction in the Junior Science Olympiad. The two hour, online examination that Asher sat is designed to take talented science students to the next level and covers high level analysis questions and content in all three sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Even people as old as me can learn (albeit slowly) and learning opportunities for me this week have included listening to Dr Maria Outtrim speak about her research into the lives of women Principals in Western Australia at the final AISWA Women in Leadership meeting of the year. My Hebrew learning continues to challenge me each morning (I try to start by 5:30am) and although I am on an 81 day ‘streak’ on Duolingo and my faithful notebook is gradually filling up, my progress feels very slow. They say that teachers should learn difficult things to remind them what it feels like to be inept learners and I am certainly feeling that at the moment, but I shall persevere. The main frustration for me is that I am learning about topics which don’t yet prove particularly useful in real life – being able to list 23 different animals and name different items of clothing isn’t something which I can see much use for in my work, but I suppose I must learn the basics first. And my perseverance must be working, because I enjoyed the experience of a Year 8 lesson earlier in the week when I was able to understand far more than previously.

Although I am sad to have to announce that Mr Paul Carter has decided to retire at the end of the 2022 school year, I am also happy for him, as he deserves a wonderful retirement. Paul has worked at Carmel School for an impressive 22 years and has been a great advocate for sport and fitness as well as contributing to other areas of the School. Personally, I have been particularly impressed with his daily early morning cycle ride to work – something that I’m sure many amongst us consider and quickly decide against.

Also leaving us is Mrs Natalie Morrison, who has changed the lives of thousands of students during her time at Carmel School, spanning three decades. Her contributions to Mathematics are without equal as she has shared her expertise with the students as well as having led the Mathematics Department for a significant portion of her time with us. We wish her well in her future endeavours; this is not retirement, just an opportunity for a new chapter.

Also leaving and thankfully returning are, our Year 10 and 11 students as they depart for Israel on Shorashim (Carmel’s unique and much anticipated annual trip to Israel), on Sunday night. Having been lucky enough to visit Israel myself earlier in the year, I know that they and the dedicated teachers accompanying them will have an amazing and memorable time and that their experiences will inspire many of them to return in future. From those of us who will remain back at the ranch and keep things going, bon voyage and נסיעה טובה  - nesiya tova.

Shabbat shalom.

Dr Julie Harris