Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
Would you describe yourself as a creative person? What do you imagine a creative person to be? For many years, we have suffered under the myth that to be creative you must excel at the arts: music, dance, drama or visual arts, or that creative people are ‘dreamers’. In fact, everyone can (and must) be creative. Sadly, our civilisation is poorer for this very dangerous and wasteful myth. Sir Ken Robinson says that “we don’t grow into creativity - we grow out of it”. When we observe little children we know this to be true. Sadly, there comes a point where the world stops valuing the creativity of young people as much as they value their productivity and their compliance. Robinson also says that teaching creativity is as important as teaching literacy and numeracy, and I agree. Whilst politicians clamour to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) as the cure-all to society’s challenges, I would suggest that there is greater hope in creativity - which can be brought to all of those disciplines. We are so blessed at Caroline Chisholm College to have a flourishing education in creativity - particularly in the arts.
Over the past week our students have had the opportunity to showcase their creativity in some very high profile ways. On Friday night, the Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest hosted ‘Night Garden’ - an exhibition of visual arts from some local high schools accompanied by beautiful music in the gardens performed by our students. The large crowd enjoyed a range of visual media created by our girls: drawings, collage, complex origami, ceramics and printed perspex while listening to our singers and instrumentalists. On Sunday, our dancers delighted the thousands of visitors to the Vivid Festival in Sydney as they ‘swam’ luminescent fish puppets through the crowded docks of Barangaroo and King Street Wharf. Our Aboriginal Djurrumin Sisterhood (and others) will be performing the same production at Vivid on Thursday night. It is an honour to be chosen to participate in the official Vivid program.
You will, no doubt have seen the advertising for our musical ‘Pop Stars’ which will be produced in collaboration with St Dominic’s College. This production is the first joint musical hosted by the two colleges, and will be a fun show for all ages. Make sure to follow the instructions in this newsletter to book tickets early.
All of these creative opportunities are only possible with the hard work, vision and energy of our Creative Arts team under the leadership of Mrs Karen King. Your daughters get to explore their creativity in every subject, but in these areas in particular, we celebrate the way students can use the arts to express something quite profound about their personhood. Our music, dance, visual arts and drama teachers devote many hours outside of their regular duties to facilitate these (and many more) experiences for our girls and I am very grateful to them.
Last Friday we marked Aboriginal Reconciliation Week at the college. Whilst we acknowledge the Dharug people as the traditional custodians of the land at every gathering, I challenged the community to think deeply about what that means. I am grateful for the continuing relationship Caroline Chisholm College has with our Aboriginal families and our local Aboriginal community and I commit myself to working in practical ways towards healing and reconciliation. Let us pray that God will strengthen us in this important work.
All creation once declared your glory,
Your laws were honoured and trusted,
Forgive us our neglect as our country approaches
the most critical moment in its history.
Listen to our prayer as we turn to you,
Hear the cry of our land and its people,
Just as you heard the cry of Jesus,
your Son, on the Cross.
Help us to replace our national shame
With true national pride by restoring the
dignity of our First People whose antiquity is
May our faith and trust in you increase.
Only then will our nation grow strong and be
a worthy place for all who wish to make their home in our land.
© Elizabeth Pike, September 1997
Mr Greg Elliott