My earliest memory as Principal was the delight of having a very enthusiastic Year 9 student rush up to me and giving me such a warm welcome with the words “You’re going to love it here”. Ten years later I can say whole-heartedly that she was absolutely correct!
Our story began over 400 years ago when Mary Ward founded the first school for girls. Mary Ward was a visionary woman in recognizing that the education of girls benefits society. The first Loreto school in Australia was established right here in Ballarat by another visionary woman, Mother Gonzaga Barry.
We are fortunate to build on an education that from the first day the doors of Loreto in Ballarat opened was welcoming, with the students always at the centre. Mother Gonzaga recognised that girls have to be happy to learn. We aim for a sustained happiness for each of our students, a happiness that comes from a deep sense of belonging, a sense of being valued for who she is, and achievement of personal excellence through perseverance, learning from mistakes and effort.
Our students, supported by our staff, have time and again demonstrated their faith in action through their endeavours to respond to issues of injustice with a heart filled with compassion and a mind processing issues and planning activities which will make a difference. Our students contribute their time, talents and presence within the school and beyond, including visits to the elderly, supporting students at the Ballarat Specialist School, performing at nursing homes, taking science and language classes for primary school students and a diverse range of fundraisers.
We at Loreto College Ballarat are experts in girls’ education. We embrace today’s technology and teaching while drawing upon the 400 year Loreto history of the education of girls.
Time certainly never stands still at Loreto College. Each year we review our programs and structures in light of the most recent research to ensure that all that we do is supporting our students in enjoying their lives as Loreto students and preparing each to step confidently into the world beyond school. The diversity and depth of the education offered at Loreto College would not be possible without a very committed and generous-hearted team of staff. A current focus is on developing and implementing a positive education program – ‘A Felicitous Life’ – for our students.
The education we offer is broad and comprehensive, underpinned by the gospel values, and informed by the diversity of interests and gifts of each of our students. We do not wish our students to feel there is a need to look at others and be just like them. Our world would be very boring indeed if we were all the same. A Loreto education positions students to take up a broad range of opportunities. It is our joy to witness the individual achievements of our students and we celebrate the diversity of their pathways. In recent years our Year 12 students have taken a variety of pathways, including teaching, nursing, medicine, law, hairdressing, media, the sciences, business, the arts (visual and performance), fashion design and engineering.
The constancy required within the individuality is a resonance with the Loreto values of freedom, justice, sincerity, verity and felicity. Whilst public acknowledgment is affirming it is important for our students to understand that the deepest satisfaction is the personal satisfaction of having done the very best that she can at that point in time. Loreto schools across Australia have strong connections. Each year, students in Years 7 and 8 have the opportunity to spend a fun-filled day with students from Loreto Mandeville Hall and Year 10 students have the opportunity to apply for an exchange program with Loreto schools. A Loreto Pilgrimage to Ireland and England is offered in alternate years. Study tours to Japan and France are offered to senior students in alternate years. A Science Study tour to America, ‘Space Camp’, has been introduced this year.
Since Loreto College was first established in 1875, the education offered has been one which has endeavoured to support students in developing the skills, knowledge and understanding of self to become critical thinkers who recognise the importance of being fully informed prior to making decisions which are based on discernment and wise-judgement.
Ms Judith Potter
Principal – Loreto College