Ex-Students’ Association President’s Message

Welcome to the first issue of our wonderfully revamped Alumni eNews.

Loreto Federation on 18-20 May 2018 was a wonderful weekend with Loreto ex-students, staff, current parents and friends – those educated or influenced by the philosophy of Mary Ward’s teachings from across Australia (and overseas!) – coming together for a weekend of shared vision and inspiration, and, of course, renewed friendships, around the central theme chosen by our school,  Be the Change!

Congratulations to everyone who helped ensure the success of the weekend and further congratulations to Ms Penny Graham and  Ms Jane Parker our Federation Co-Presidents for managing the weekend so beautifully and for putting together a truly inspirational program. I would also like to thank the school and in particular Ms Barbara Watkins, Principal, Mrs Alicia Maunsell, Director of Development and  Ms Grace Paraino, Dean of Development and Alumni, who, as the school’s points of contact on the Committee, were tireless in their efforts to support the Federation Committee.

As most of you now know, Ms Barbara Watkins is leaving Normanhurst after ten years as Principal, and before that, seven years as Deputy Principal. The school has continued to thrive under her leadership and she will leave a legacy of outstanding results for the school.  Barbara has been a strong supporter of the Ex-Students’ Association and in upholding the Loreto traditions. We will take the opportunity later this year to farewell and thank her in true Loreto style.

A key feature in commemorating our 120-year anniversary last year was the restoration of the Reception Room –  a significant and treasured feature of the school since it opened in 1897. A school room for over 50 years, in 1953 the space was refurbished and transformed into the Reception Room. In  2017 the school commissioned a heritage architect to oversee the refurbishment with repairs to the floor, stained glass windows, walls and architraves as well as restoration of the original furniture and carpet. The acoustic clarity, which has always been a valued feature of the Reception Room, was enhanced with the benefit of modern technology. This project was in recognition and appreciation of the mission and commitment of the Loreto Sisters over the past 120 years and  I’m delighted to inform you that on behalf of the Ex-Students’ Association, we donated $10,500 to the project.

We are very conscious of how serious the drought conditions are in our country areas and as a sign of support, particularly for our country boarding families, we have decided to organise an event  in conjunction with the Boarder Parent Committee. More details about the event are to come and we hope you will show your support and join us to help our families on the land. All funds raised will be distributed under the guidance of the Boarder Parent Committee. 

I am always amazed at the relevance of Mary Ward in our everyday life.   As ex-students, we value and recognise the important role that a Loreto education holds in our lives and we aim to continue to honour that education in the Mary Ward traditions.  As well as celebrating our friendships, we must be an authentic voice in our society and seek social change when required.  With the support of all ex-students, we will continue to raise our profile both in the school and throughout the wider community, particularly with our country ex-students, and further develop the already warm relationship we have with Loreto Kirribilli. 

I would like to recognise the Association’s new volunteers  who have shared their talents this year in organising ex-student events.  To Camille Hollingdale, Frances Cordaro and Dr Virginia Small, welcome and thank you.  We are always looking for new volunteers and we invite you to ‘Be the Change’ by assisting us in cementing our Association as a dynamic force in the Loreto community. This volunteer position requires attending four meetings per year (we can accommodate remote access) and assisting at our events. Please contact me via email if you are interested.

On behalf of the Ex-Students’ Association, I extend our appreciation to Ms Barbara Watkins, Mrs Alicia Maunsell and Ms Grace Paraino for their ongoing assistance and support of the Association.  I would also like to thank members of the Ex-Students’ Association Executive for their unending hard work, encouragement, generosity of spirit and good humour and being “Seekers of Truth and Doers of Justice.

Finally, if you would like to purchase a Loreto keepsake, a wonderful collection of Loreto memorabilia is available to purchase via this form with all proceeds going towards the Ex-Students’ Bursary Fund.


Ms Patsy Shannon

President, Loreto Normanhurst Ex-Students’ Association