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Our archives revealed an interesting gem from the 1919 School Magazine, The Link. St Margaret’s has been through an epidemic before, the influenza epidemic in 1919. Below are some excerpts from a boarder’s essay that was published referring to ‘The “Influenza” School’ in 1919. I thought you would be interested in a student perspective from that time.
“There are 700 cases of influenza in Brisbane and the Government is going to close all the schools.” So we were greeted on Monday morning. “Jolly good fun! I know mother will send for me at once. I shall catch the Western Mail on Wednesday.” But mother didn’t send for “me,” and the Western Mail was bereft of its intended passenger. Tuesday, May 6th, dawned on an educational world in chaos. All the schools closed – all the boys and girls turned loose to avoid germs for their bodies by prowling aimlessly in the streets and parks, or gleefully playing in the gutters….
All the boys and girls? Not quite. Wherever in Brisbane or its suburbs stood one of those “houses of sound learning” called a boarding school, there were gathered and kept safe from the threatening plague, groups of boys and girls.
An “influenza” school was certainly a new experience. The name belies itself; it really means a school where influenza does not come. At first our spirits were cheered by all kinds of wild rumours. Everyone was to wear a mask, and by the time the description was complete the article would have done nicely for sue by the Inquisition in a chamber of torture. Everyone was to keep five feet – no, fifty feet – away from everyone else, and Miss Hart would supply compasses to ensure accurate measurements. Everyone was to be rationed; the butcher and baker were to come only once a week and would be allowed to deliver their goods only after being inoculated and passing through an inhalation chamber at the front gate. Sneezing was to be reckoned a capital crime – worse even than stealing from the tuckshop.
At St Margaret’s four or five girls went home, but our numbers were close on 60. Then the question was how to keep that large family happy and employed. For the first week all went well, but as the excitement wore off a few tempers wore out, and for a few days it felt as if the peace of our home might be spoilt by open warfare…. [However], the School administered a dose of common sense, and the result was happiness, due to hard work and harmony.
The day began with drill at 8.45, lessons followed till 1, preparation as done from 2-3.30, and games were played from 3.30-5.30; the evenings were spent in recreation. The VI Form worked hard for a week to arrange our pleasured, and then had to retire owing to the exigencies of work.
On Saturdays matches were played, House versus Hall (Mooloomburram), or one dormitory against another, in basketball and tennis.
Sundays saw us gather for our common worship in the Chapel – influenza regulations did not apply there.
The ill wind of that dreadful epidemic blew the School much good. All who spent that period at St Margaret’s agreed…. We have to be very thankful indeed, not only that we were mercifully preserved from any illness whatsoever, but for many invaluable lessons learnt…. The School work of those girls who were in residence benefited very much indeed by those weeks of concentrated effort. We learned, too, lessons of good comradeship and unselfishness. If we felt homesick or anxious we kept quiet about it, lest our fears or sadness should do harm to others. We remembered that all were living in a cloud of anxiety….
Looking back, we can say that all “played the game” splendidly. It was not easy for the girls to stay at school when holidays at home were possible, and to hear little news of their people in those anxious days. The staff in utter self-forgetfulness worked early and late, often hours overtime, always ready to propose or further any plan to help, and they had no chance of throwing off their worries by escape from daily routine.
Such an experience is not likely to occur again, please God the need will never more arise. But as it had to be, it is good that we can look back upon it as a force that made for the real strength and development of the School, instead of hurting it, as we had somehow fearfully anticipated.”
We certainly are entering (or have already entered!) interesting times. Our students have now transitioned to online learning, and so our classrooms are looking a little different at the moment. Our teachers continue to connect with their classes each day, with students choosing to join the class at school and some online at home. Either way, classes continue to be engaging, with rigour and richness in teaching and learning.
The POD is something that all our students are engaging with every day. The teachers have spent a lot of time building up their class pages or OneNote classes to ensure students remain connected with essential resources.
It is also helpful if parents are connected to our electronic means of communication and notices. We would like to recommend that all parents download the St Margaret’s app to their phones or devices in order to be able to receive timely notifications from the school. The St Margaret’s app can be found in the App Store if you have an Apple device, or Google Play if you have an Android device. If you would like further information on how to use the app and set up their notifications, please go your POD dashboard, click on IT service and then on POD support. All information can be found in this area.
I’d like to thank our community for all their support throughout this time. Each day seems a little different lately, and we thank you for your flexibility and connection with us with all the changes we are seeing.
This beautiful picture by May Gibbs, created at the time of the Spanish Flu has been making its rounds on social media. I think it is still relevant today.
However, on a serious note, things have changed so dramatically during the term. Who would have thought when we began the New Year with our wonderful 125th anniversary celebrations that we would be facing such a virus that seems to be threatening the way we live? One author suggested that it is “a pandemic of human disappointment”. I agree with this sentiment. So many things like concerts, holidays, school functions, chapel, competitions, excursions and trips have had to be cancelled. We won’t be spending our Easter break in the way we had envisioned. There is grief as we come to terms with the disappointments we will face over the next little while. It is important to address these disappointments as a family and talk about how we feel. I have been sharing with some of our students and listening to their disappointments. As one person put it, we are now trying to find our new normal. As we adjust to the constant changes, as a family and community, what is our new normal?
As a Christian, I draw on my faith in times like this. Jesus revealed that there is hope, even in times of challenge. Regardless of our beliefs, I believe that all people are all truly loved by God. Rays of hope will come in the way we act and behave in times like this. I hope we take the time to check our neighbours and families to see if they are okay. If we get to the point of not being able to leave our homes, we can stay connected through social media, phone and email. Please take the time to check in with people, particularly those who are alone.
We continue to pray for our school community, our local community, Australia and the world. I will uphold our school community in my daily prayers. And if you choose to pray but can’t find the words, I have included some resources below which may help you.
During these times when things are changing rapidly, the skills the girls have learnt in Boarding will help them to persevere. Boarding at St Margaret’s builds character, increases resilience in a controlled, caring environment and prepares the girls for the inevitable knocks, scrapes and twists and turns of life. One of the most important lessons Boarding teaches the girls is that they exist as part of a whole and that the world does not exist solely to serve you. Girls are taught that they must contribute to their community/society and the fun you have will only match the effort you put in. The girls are part of a wider team and the success of that team relies upon their contribution. Boarding instils resilience in the girls to withstand the many pressures of the modern world. We provide them with the coping tools and allow them to apply theses skills in different situations.
All staff in Boarding are charged with putting the well-being of the girls first and this approach permeates the culture of the Boarding House. As a community, it is ever important to keep the connection going between the staff and the girls and to nurture the relationships that have already been established. We as a Boarding staff are committed to keeping in touch with every girl over the coming period and to ensure that our Boarding community continues to thrive.
On the weekend, I sent the following email to the Years 11 and 12 girls with regards to assessment and the impact of Coronavirus.
I just wanted to send you an email to reassure you that in all the news and feeds around Coronavirus we, as a school and the QCAA, have your best interests in mind.
We can only go one step at a time; I get that you are nervous and worried. But we can only trust the decisions that are made officially, not the ones the media and others are speculating about.
Late last week, Ms Curtis and I received a letter from the QCAA that assured us about how they are working towards minimising the impact of the interruptions to teaching and learning to ensure students receive fair and accurate results.
Both Ms Curtis and I feel comfortable with the work and professionalism of the QCAA and we will keep you informed as more information is sent from them. As you can appreciate the QCAA are working to make decisions that will affect all Years 11 and 12 students across the state, not just our school, so we need to follow their timing and procedures.
Below is a link to a page on the QCAA website where they will be posting information for parents and students about updates with regards to Coronavirus:
A summary of this for our context is:
What happens if a student misses a senior assessment because of coronavirus?
The QCAA has updated the AARA provisions with procedures to follow should a student be absent owing to coronavirus. This includes being able to run comparable assessments for missed exams and extending due date for students whose medical condition or other circumstances may affect their ability to participate in assessment. If this is you, please email me if you haven’t already and we will work together to follow the QCAA provisions.
How will Year 12 results be affected?
The QCAA recognises that schools must make decisions that prioritise the health and well-being of their students and staff. The particular circumstances faced by individual schools will guide what is realistically achievable within these constraints. The QCAA will take these challenges into consideration when calculating final subject results and certifying the achievements of students. And they will adjust their processes accordingly to ensure that the available achievement information is used to determine fair and accurate outcomes. We will be informing the QCAA of any instances that may impact our ability to deliver quality teaching, learning and assessment.
Girls, if you have any questions please pop in to see me or send me an email. As I said a few weeks ago, the teachers and I are working to keep learning active for you. Because like you, we want the best for each and every one of you. Continue to engage with your learning at school if you can, but if you can’t I will email you more details about how you can continue to engage in purposeful ways.
Education ministers have made the decision to not proceed with NAPLAN for 2020. The decision was made in order to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, including online and remote learning. The decision not to proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 also means that the scheduled equating study which St Margaret’s was to take part in will not go ahead either.
The cancellation of NAPLAN will not impact on our continued focus on literacy and numeracy at St Margaret’s.
With the increasing spread of COVID-19, countries around the world are implementing preventative measures. For some it means the closure of schools and a movement towards home-schooling, with children transitioning to online lessons.
For parents, this can appear to be a daunting task. However, it does not necessarily mean that the parent is now the teacher. Whilst schools will strive to meet a child’s academic needs, parents and carers will need to play a key role in providing structure and on-going support. Some young people will transition seamlessly, whilst others may struggle. Offering reassurance and being vigilant for signs of anxiety and depression will be essential for adult carers.
Many families may find themselves in uncharted territory, but it will be important to remember to just do your best to balance home-schooling and daily work responsibilities. Although we are living in a time of uncertainty that is particularly unsettling, it will provide an opportunity for families to reflect and spend some quality time together.
If you do find yourself struggling or have any concerns relating to home-schooling, please contact the school directly for advice.
For more information on this topic, please go to the POD, click on the Parent Resources tile and then click on School TV.
As we progress daily through unknown times, it is hard to be optimistic. While optimism might be the harder way, it is the better way. As on the flip side, pessimism is negative and is regarded as taking the easy way out. If we expect the worst, then often that is what you get.
As the adults in a child’s life, it is important to demonstrate optimism. So, what does optimism look like for a child? It means being brave when things look too hard. It means making the most of your intelligence and talents. It means trying out new things because there is always the chance of great discovery. It means always thinking you can do better, and things will get better. It means straightening up, throwing back your shoulders, and looking life in the eye.
I know I became a teacher, like many other teachers, because I feel I can make an impact. Education makes life better, makes people better, makes the world better. That’s optimism! Over the past weeks I have seen optimism in action by all girls, but particularly through the TEAM challenge; the Year 5 girls who decided they wanted to fundraise to help find a vaccine for COVID-19.
This week, they launched the “Helping for Hundreds Campaign” and every child can get behind it, especially with many students learning from home and the upcoming school break. Encourage your child to follow the 3 easy steps below and one easy step (step 4) for the adults in their life:
Like TEAM challenge, we want the school community to get behind this campaign and raise more than the $100 that was initially pledged.
TEAM Challenge – Absent: Charlotte Challis-Hall
I believe that music can act as a soothing balm for us all during these unchartered times. We have all seen the lovely video footage of communities in Italy making music in a variety of forms from their apartment balconies. Music provides us with a unique way to connect with others whilst also being a tonic for our souls. Over the weekend, Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel came up on my playlist and I found the piece moved me in a way that I hadn’t quite experienced before (if you don’t know the piece, look it up – it is amazing). I believe we are all in need of special moments where we can experience beauty and transcend what is going on around us, and I do hope that all in our community can take some time to listen to music that is meaningful to them. Perhaps there may be opportunities also for our students (and parents) to share their music, whether that is through online opportunities or even playing from the verandah for the neighbours! I hope everyone can stay safe and healthy during the days to follow.
Private Music Lessons
Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, some changes have been made regarding the delivery of private music lessons. Most private music teachers are able to offer online music lessons. Communication and further details will be sent by the teachers regarding the preferred application to be used for the online lesson (at this point, the preferred option is Microsoft Teams which students can access via the POD.) Guidelines and expectations around those lessons, along with lesson times will also be sent to students/parents by teachers.
Some private music teachers may not be able to provide the option of online lessons for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, lessons that have already been paid for will be either made-up or refunded. This will need to be negotiated with your daughter’s music teacher.
Should there be the need for online lessons through Term 2, parents and music teachers will need to decide together as to how to best maintain continuity of learning for your daughter.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we try to best support our students. We will endeavour to keep you up to date with further information as it comes to hand.
Please note that all music ensembles have been cancelled for the remainder of Term 1. Conductors have been making resources available to students via the POD. Students are encouraged to check the POD regularly for this information. Also, some Secondary ensembles are trialling online sectional rehearsals via Microsoft Teams. Your daughters will be contacted by their conductor if they will be participating in this trial.
Music Support Group
The next meeting scheduled for Tuesday 21 April has been cancelled. We will inform the community when meetings will recommence.
All the sports associations St Margaret’s is involved in, including QGSSSA, BSRA, DPNA, BWPI and Royal QLD Lifesaving released statements last week suspending and cancelling seasons. We will keep all families and students informed as information is provided to us regarding Term 3 sport.
Even though there is no training or competitions available to our students, the Sports Department has been busy meeting and planning to develop a new and exciting Sports Program to be launched in Term 2 to keep students physically active and engaged in health and wellness opportunities. For the remainder of Term 1 we will continue to run our supplementary programs such as Run Club, Strength and Conditioning and Speed and Agility. All groups adhere to social distancing guidelines and have no more than 10 participants.
St Margaret’s Run Club
St Margaret’s Sport wants you to conquer your fitness goals with every kilometre. To help you do this, a Run Club has been formed. The Run Club will be available for all students, those physically present at school and those who will be at home. All girls are asked to take up the challenge and either connect with your favourite fitness apps (Strava, Nike Run Club, RunKeeper) or use your connected device (Apple watch, Fitbit, Garmin) to track your runs and then manually enter your data into the St M Run Club Challenge Form.
This data will then be used to award members Virtual Badges and display a weekly leader board. For further information, access the Secondary Sport or Secondary Cross Country POD page.
St Margaret’s Sport encourages all parents, caregivers and students to join the Secondary Sport POD page to receive up-to-date information regarding the revised Sports Program in Term 2.
March Artwork of the Month (PDF 294KB) - congratulations to Sophia Connor (Year 9) for her lovely interpretation of a bird feather, painted in watercolour on laser cut board. All students in Years 7-10 are working on feathers, to be included in a large outdoor installation for the MAYO Arts Festival. The MAYO theme, Soaring Upwards, continues to be explored in our class work. We now have the opportunity to see even more artwork created for the new MAYO Arts Festival dates of Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October in Term 4.
St Margaret’s Outside School Hours Care: Vacation Care Program
Easter School Holiday Program - Bookings now open - secure your spot!
The school holidays are just around the corner and we can’t wait to show you the fun-filled and exciting activities we have planned for our April School Holiday Program. Further details of the program can be found here (PDF 836.3KB). Boys and girls, siblings, friends and family welcome!
Bookings for the St Margaret’s OSHC Easter School Holiday Program has opened. If you require care for the upcoming school holiday period, please return your booking form by 27 March 2020.
How do I book?
Complete the official booking form attached to the program. For further details, please email: email@example.com.
What is the cost?*
Fees: $65 per day*
*Incursions and excursions incur additional costs. These are compulsory for all students and therefore you are able to claim CCS.
SERVICE IS CLOSED: 10-13 April 2020
What are the hours of operation?
The service is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm.
How can I obtain more information?
If you would like further information regarding our OSHC Program or if you would like to make a booking, feel free to contact me on 0423 547 653 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the last week has brought about many changes for us all, we were fortunate earlier this term to have been able to come together for St Margaret's 125th Anniversary Women's Luncheon, hosted by the P&F Association.
For those of you who were able to join us, we hope you had a wonderful day celebrating 125 years of educating St Margaret's women with fellow mothers, past students and staff.
Such was the St Margaret's spirit that the event attracted coverage by the Courier Mail, Sunday Mail social section, Indulge Magazine and Queensland Country Life! To view the photos from the event, please click here.
I would like to thank and acknowledge Anthea Damman and Angela Pratt from our P&F Association, who led the organisation of this significant event, and thank the many parent volunteers who assisted on the day. While there were too many volunteers to be able to acknowledge everyone individually, this speaks volumes to how connected and kind the St Margaret’s community is. I would also like to thank comedian, writer and presenter, Mel Buttle (’99), for joining us as our Master of Ceremonies for the Luncheon.
Together, we raised over $40,000 for the benefit of St Margaret's students. We are thrilled with this achievement and the School and P&F thank you for your support.
Our fundraising efforts would not be possible without our generous sponsors and raffle prize donors. We sincerely thank them for their contributions, and we would encourage you all to support the businesses that have so generously supported our school.
Please see the list of these generous businesses and community members below.
Supporting Sponsors: UMS and Qscan
Major Prize Donor: Snowscene
Snowscene are a team of snow specialists with over 35 years’ experience in organising ski or snowboard snow holidays anywhere in the world. Exclusive travel packages are available for St Margaret's families, who are also eligible for a 10% discount in the Ski Store (must mention St Margaret's at the time of purchase).
Raffle Prize Donors:
The Greek Club
Mercedes Benz Brisbane
Emporium Hotel South Brisbane
Brenda Stevens Artist
Western Truck Group
Extreme Physique Albion
Studio Pilates Hamilton
Penelope Haddrill Hats
Haight & Ashbury Boutique
Pine Rivers Physio & Sportscare
and a special thank you to Sheridan Half Baked Cakery for the gorgeous celebratory cake!
Event cancellations for Term 2:
Due to COVID-19, events whereby parents, past students and corporate supporters would normally gather, have been cancelled for Term 2.
The events cancelled for Term 2 are as follows:
Take care of yourselves and one another, and once again thank you for your support.
What’s new this week…
UCAT Webinar MedView
This weekend, MedView are offering a free webinar designed for prospective medical students and their parents. Your Path to Medical School will be delivered by a current medical student and will cover:
If you are ready to learn more about getting into medical school and how MedView can help, register today to attend an up-coming webinar.
Free UCAT iCanMed Webinar (Brisbane):
Final 90-Day Study Plan to Complete UCAT Prep!
Tuesday 7 April
Visit the Careers page on the POD for the latest information on:
Contact Our Admissions Team
An independent day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12; Boarding from Year 5; Boys Pre-Prep
A School of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent St Margaret's School Council Ltd ABN: 69069684019 CRICOS Code: 00511K
The St Margaret’s community acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we gather each day. We pay our respects to the Elders past and present, for they hold the memories, traditions, culture and hopes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation.