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Well, the world certainly does move in mysterious ways! In a year where we were all ready to celebrate the 125th birthday of St Margaret’s, we have had to put many of our plans on hold as the COVID-19 pandemic became our reality.
Update on Committee business
The committee was able to hold our first meeting of the year in February. This meeting we put into place our plans to celebrate. We had plans to reimagine the Chapel and Morning Tea. However, these plans have been put on hold until next year due this event being cancelled due to social distancing. We have also had to cancel our May committee meeting. Our focus is now purely on the OGA Cocktail Party and Past Student Awards to be held on the 24 October in the Art Centre Foyer and Terraces. It would be great to see many of you attend this evening as this will be our only chance to connect as a full association in 2020. A reminder too: please put your nominations in for this event to celebrate the work and commitment of the members of our group. You can download a nomination form later in this newsletter and read more about the awards.
Update on OGA Scholarships
June is also when we normally award the OGA Overseas Scholarships. These scholarships are provided by the OGA and are available for past students who wish to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course overseas. However, again due to travel restrictions these scholarships will not be awarded for 2020/2021. It is hoped however that we will again be able to offer these at the end of 2021. In our next newsletter we will share an update from Annabelle Crossley (’15) and Lucy Tuffley (’16). Annabelle attended Science Po in Paris and Lucy completed a semester of study at Amsterdam University College of Liberal Arts. I look forward to sharing with you a report from the girls about their study experience.
This year the school held a Giving Day on the 19 March. The day itself was very successful raising $162,883, and I am pleased to announce that the Old Girls' Association was a strong supporter on this day being a matcher of funds. This meant that when someone donated their contribution was doubled due to the funds provided by the Old Girls' Association. We look forward to continuing to support the school to enhance the facilities and opportunities that are offered to all students.
I hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter and I encourage you to share your or your friends’ stories through the ‘Share’ link in this newsletter.
If you have any other suggestions, please also feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward again to connecting more with all of you and connecting you back to St Margaret’s.
We all knew that 2020 would be a special year for St Margaret’s as we celebrated our 125th anniversary. However, we could not predict just how special this year would turn out to be. My contribution to this newsletter should have been about all our exciting 125th anniversary celebrations. Unfortunately, that cannot be the case.
Our social distancing rules have had an enormous impact on the daily operation of the school. Yet, we were very fortunate that we were able to hold our 125th anniversary Cathedral Service and our fabulous Women’s Luncheon, hosted by St Margaret’s P&F Association, before those rules came into place. Past student Mel Buttle (’99) was a fabulous MC and two past students, Anthea Damman (’85) and Angela Pratt (’90), were the key organisers for this event which saw many former St Margaret’s girls among the 620 attendees.
As part of our 125th anniversary celebrations we have posted on our website 125 Notable Past Students. I would encourage you to take the time to read about them. If you feel we have missed someone, we would love to have suggestions about other past students we should contact. At the time writing this article, we have published approximately 80 notables on the 125th anniversary microsite and the remainder are in the pipeline and will appear throughout the year. You may know of someone though that you would like us to follow up on and we would be grateful for your assistance.
We are not certain what will happen in Term 3 in terms of limitations on mass gatherings. For example, we may not be able to hold an official opening of the Sports Precinct. Whether or not it is formally open, we will start using the new Precinct for classes and trainings from August this year. Our capital campaign was successful and is now finished. It is time to start planning for the next project for the school. As always, I remain grateful for our past students’ support of the school and this campaign. As Old Girls, you not only have had a significant role in the school’s past, but your generosity and support help build the school’s future.
I have been thoroughly impressed by the resilience of our current students as they have adapted well to the new style of curriculum delivery. Not unsurprisingly, the online environment has provided numerous opportunities. It would be natural to think that the co-curricular life of the school has stopped. But that is not so. As I write this article in Week Two of Term 2, we have developed a virtual interhouse cross country competition; there is a virtual running club and ergo group; year level assemblies have continued – all online. Our boarders are sending in photos of home. In the first week of term, it had to be photos of sunsets or sunrise. Our prefects have introduced a Spirit Cup and are posting weekly challenges for both primary and secondary students. These unprecedented times are testing the creativity of our student body and staff and they are coming up with wonderful alternatives for connection. Making the best of an unusual situation is surely a good sign of student resilience.
Thank you for your continued interest in St Margaret’s. I hope you all remain well and resilient in these unusual times.
Per Volar Sunata,
On Thursday 19 March 2020, St Margaret’s held its inaugural Giving Day, a bold fundraising move as the school celebrates 125 years of educating and empowering girls. In just 24 hours, 409 donors and matching donors contributed to raise a total of $162,883 towards the completion of St Margaret’s sports precinct, a project which will provide our young women with outstanding new learning facilities to support their education, health and wellbeing for life.
We truly appreciate the St Margaret’s community who have supported our bold new vision for St Margaret’s sport and whose gift will enable every St Margaret’s girl to benefit from state-of-the-art new sports facilities.
Special thanks must go to our generous matching donors, who matched donations up to our original goal of $100,000 dollar for dollar. Our original goal was no match for our community and house spirit though, as past student, parent and current student generosity exceeded every expectation!
Students celebrated Giving Day among their Houses enjoying lunchtime activities, music and a sausage sizzle.
House pride was on the line! Each House or team proudly rallied together in competitive spirit watching team tallies climb, as past students supported their house and parents supported their daughters.
Kendall House topped the Giving Day ladder with a total of $30,892 funds raised by 57 donors, followed by Chaucer with a total of $23,523 raised by 51 donors.
St Margaret’s Principal Ms Ros Curtis acknowledged the community for their valued support.
“We are grateful to our community for their spirit and generosity on our inaugural Giving Day. Thank you to everyone who participated. Your contribution will make a huge difference to St Margaret’s students and our learning facilities.
“Our school has a long history of philanthropy with the facilities the girls benefit from today being delivered by the efforts of previous generations of parents, past students and staff.
“Through our inaugural Giving Day, the St Margaret’s community has boldly continued this philanthropic culture ensuring a legacy for today’s and future generations of St Margaret’s students,” said Ms Curtis.
If you missed Giving Day and would like to make a donation, please contact our Director of Philanthropy and Stakeholder Engagement, Lara Pickering, by calling 07 3862 0884 or email email@example.com.
This term we welcomed back our students and are starting to see school life return to normal. Sport, health and physical education has long played an important role in delivering the holistic education for which St Margaret’s is so well known and regarded.
We are pleased to share that a return to sport is imminent. Early in the mornings we are seeing pockets of small groups of girls participating in fitness and training activities with much enthusiasm.
While the pandemic has caused a few delays for the construction of our new sports precinct, we are confident the school will be able to take possession of the eastern and southern sides of the precinct (the tennis courts, Philip Harris Gym and HPE building) at the end of July/early August, then the pool one month after that. Our students are most excited about being able to use this amazing new facility in Semester 2.
The facility boasts a water polo sized heated pool enabling students to swim and train for sports such as lifesaving and water polo all year round, new tennis courts with lights, and a modern gymnasium, a high-tech strength and conditioning gym, and contemporary HPE classrooms.
Throughout this construction period, the primary school community has shown great flexibility, continuing to deliver high-quality teaching and learning to our students while adapting seamlessly to a construction site operating next door. Our sports and HPE staff, too, have continued to deliver sports training and programs, and the HPE curriculum, across 2019 and 2020.
This project would not have been possible without the support of our past student and parent community. The Capital Campaign, which concluded with Giving Day in March, was a huge success for St Margaret’s. Thanks to the community's generosity, we raised just over $1.3m for the new precinct.
On behalf of St Margaret’s, the Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generous philanthropic support of our donors who have contributed to this most exciting and significant project in St Margaret's 125-year history.
This ANZAC Day, the Anglican Church Southern Queensland honoured the nurses who served in World War 1, and in doing so acknowledged St Margaret’s past student Sister Ella Chow McLean.
Born in Roma in 1890, Ella was the eldest of 10 children. After leaving the family homestead known as ‘Bindango’, Ella attended St Margaret’s (enrolling at Eton High at Toorak House in 1908). Having trained as a nurse at the Brisbane General and Brisbane Children’s Hospital, Ella began working at the Warwick Hospital and, in May 1915, joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). Serving in both India and Egypt, Ella returned to Australia on board the S.S. Nestor in 1919.
As a proud Anglican and devoted nurse, Sister Ella McLean represents all those women who gave so much of themselves to serve during The Great War.
For the full article, please click here:
Image courtesy of John Oxley Library, SLQ)
‘First published in Anglican Focus on 20 April 2020.’
Phoebe Young (’99) is a lawyer, writer and keynote speaker who attended St Margaret’s from 1995 to 1999. During her final year she was a Prefect and also elected Boarder Captain by her peers.
After a year of travel and work in Spain and England, Phoebe commenced studies at The University of Queensland. Towards the end of her first semester, Phoebe suddenly developed a type of severe allergic reaction known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. After a gruelling period in intensive care and multiple surgeries, Phoebe was faced with the loss of both her legs below the knee, her left hand at the wrist, the fingertips of her right hand and much of her vision. This was followed by a lengthy period of rehabilitation, including learning to use protheses and navigate the world with low vision. Phoebe determinedly re-commenced her university studies and graduated with degrees in Arts and Law with Honours. She then honed her legal skills as an Associate to The Honourable Justice Ann Lyons of the Supreme Court of Queensland, before being admitted as a solicitor.
Phoebe has dedicated much of her legal career to working for not-for-profit legal centres and government departments, advising and advocating for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the community.
Phoebe is also an Ambassador for the Queensland Eye Institute. Last year Phoebe participated in the Queensland Eye Institute Foundation's "Last Seen" exhibition, which partnered visually-impaired Australians with influential artists to depict their last dearly-held visual memory. The exhibition was met with a sell-out launch at GOMA and was then exhibited at QPAC. Phoebe was partnered with Archibald finalist Guy Morgan, who suffers from retinal detachment himself. Morgan created a magnificent painting of Phoebe’s memory which was a night sky full of twinkling stars. The painting, along with eight other inspiring works, were auctioned with the proceeds donated to the QEI Foundation.
Phoebe has fond memories of years as a Boarder at St Margaret’s and believes the experiences gained at school helped develop many of the values she holds dear today, including her empathy, resilience and ingenuity.
Phoebe is currently working for the Department of Communities, while raising her two young sons with husband Ben in Toowong, Brisbane. Having faced incredible challenges, Phoebe’s courage and positivity is an inspiration to all of us.
Lisa Laing (’95) is an entrepreneur, mentor and business futurist, who has forged a highly successful career in business over the last 12 years. Winning prestigious Telstra Business Awards in the process, Lisa has built and sold a number of businesses, including several multi-million dollar brands.
One such brand is Ecoriginals, the world’s most eco-friendly baby nappies. She is now Chief Business Strategist at The Uncomplicate, where she provides guidance to other small business owners.
Asked to describe her current role, Lisa said, “I use modern technology and thinking (including remote working teams which has a boost in popularity thanks to COVID!) to reduce overheads and steer [small business owners] towards leaner more innovative businesses. This usually results in more money in their pockets and more time to spend with their families. I only discovered these tools myself after trying to raise my kids and run several businesses at once. It was either I collapsed under the weight of it, or I learnt new ways to run businesses in a far more innovative way!”
After leaving St Margaret’s, Lisa initially worked in the travel industry and then studied to become a property valuer, a career that led her to roles in global property companies in Sydney, Darwin, Dubai and Doha. She transitioned into business in her late 20s, building several companies with her then husband, the last of which was Ecoriginals, which she describes as her “passion project” but also “nearly the straw that broke the camel’s back”:
“When we were deep into growing [the Ecoriginals] brand, I decided I couldn't cope without finding more efficient ways to run a business, and that's when I went out to do some significant mentoring programs around the world, which changed my life. I ended up running this brand working around 15 hours a week, and with all nine of my staff working from their homes around Australia. These days I feel so lucky that I'm about to spend my time helping other businesses undergo similar changes. I love what I do!”
Like many Old Girls, Lisa notes the enduring friendships formed at St Margaret’s as a highlight of her time at the school, as well as her involvement in the rowing program and the incredible Petrie Street view that we all know and love! She also credits the school environment as fuelling some of her ambition to succeed: “I think the competitive environment at school has egged me on since leaving school, to ensure that I achieve something with my life, that I achieve something extraordinary with my life. I like to focus on the impact I have on others (kindness and compassion) and that I leave a legacy behind that extends beyond my lifetime. That's the plan anyway!!”
Lisa now lives in northern New South Wales and is a mum to one and step-mum to five.
Emma Louise Hay sadly passed away on 26 January 2020. Born on 26 April 1983, Emma attended St Margaret’s from 1995 – 2000. During her senior years, Emma enjoyed participating in the rowing and hockey programs.
From a fellow classmate, 'Emma had the innate ability to know how to make people laugh. Her quirky and witty sense of humour was what made her shine. She had courage to jump in and try new things with an inquisitive mind and a knack for remembering all kinds of facts on many different occasions.' Emma had a warm, happy disposition and clearly enjoyed the company of her friends.
Emma was the dearly loved daughter of Judy Hay (’75, nee Phaup) and sister to Dominique (‘02) and Margot (‘05).
May she rest in peace.
The Past Student Awards have been established to both recognise the many achievements of St Margaret's Past Students, both professionally and personally. They are also used to celebrate the diverse achievements of Past Students and provide an opportunity to share stories of success. Nominations are now open.
There are two award categories:
With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is with regret that we have made the decision to postpone the Reunion weekend previously scheduled for the weekend of 24th and 25th of July. It is our hope that by September, there will be a little more flexibility in the restrictions. Please see below the revised dates and format for each of the reunion events:
10 Year Reunion – Class of 2010 – Friday 18 September 2020
20 Year Reunion – Class of 2000 – Friday 18 September 2020
30 Year Reunion – Class of 1990 – Saturday 19 September 2020
40 Year Reunion – Class of 1980 – Saturday 19 September 2020
50 Year Reunion – Class of 1970 – Sunday 20 September 2020
60 Year Reunion – Class of 1960 – Sunday 2 September 2020
VIP 60+ Year Reunion – Under review
Interstate and International Reunions
Melbourne - Friday 30 October 2020 – Under review
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the OGA Chapel Service which is hosted on the Sunday of the Reunion Weekend, is cancelled for this year.
We hope that we will be able to hold an event in October encompassing our Past Student Award presentations that will present an opportunity for Old Girls to come together this year.
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An independent day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12; Boarding from Year 5; Boys Pre-Prep and Prep
A School of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent St Margaret's School Council Ltd ABN: 69069684019 CRICOS Code: 00511K