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News > School Updates > From the Principal - OGA eNews 2, 2024

From the Principal - OGA eNews 2, 2024

We were very excited to announce the winners of the 2024 Past Student Awards: Dr Alex Markwell (’95), Michelle May AM KC (’72), Caitlin McConnel (’07) and Trudi Mitchell (’87) in March.
Ros Curtis
Ros Curtis

As you may already be aware, we were very excited to announce the winners of the 2024 Past Student Awards: Dr Alex Markwell (’95) and Michelle May AM KC (’72) were recognised as Distinguished Past Students, Caitlin McConnel (’07) was named the Young Past Student of Distinction, and Trudi Mitchell (’87) was the inaugural winner of the Spirit of Service Past Student Award.

The Past Student Awards Dinner, where we celebrated the achievements of these four remarkable Old Girls, was a fantastic night, and we would encourage you to nominate past students for next year’s awards. Information about the very straightforward nomination process may be found on the school website.

As an educator, I find this event particularly affirming. Of course, I was not Principal of St Margaret’s when all our awardees attended the school. However, each recipient of the award could clearly articulate a relationship between some of their personal and professional life choices and the lessons they learned at St Margaret’s. These lessons were less about content, and more about the example set by the Sisters, or the motivating belief of a key teacher during their time at school, and/or the values that were instilled by demonstration and practice. The educator in me appreciates that we can have a life-changing impact on the students we teach. Each still felt the pull of the connection to St Margaret’s.

I recently read a journalist, who was commenting on the strength of the ‘old school tie’, saying that it was odd that a period between 6 – 12 years in your childhood should remain of interest to you in your (hopefully) very long life. However, attendance at school occurs during a very formative time in one’s life. Therefore, everyone usually remembers how they were made to feel at school. It is rare that past students can remember what happened in Period 2 on a Tuesday. However, they will remember how they were made to feel.

Hopefully, most ex-students remember quality relationships with teachers and peers; the camaraderie of a sport team or the music ensemble; the joy of solid friendships; and the laughter and the dramas of experiences on camps, tours, and exchanges. Some will also remember very keenly early injustices that can often occur in schools; this is because it is also during the school years that we learn the necessary coping strategies to handle disappointments and a perceived lack of fairness. These would have existed even if, on balance, your school days were happy ones.

The first goal of the current Strategic Plan is to ‘Strengthen the St Margaret’s experience’. This requires attention to two elements:one is improving student engagement and the other is building students’ resilience. Success in both aspects is important for positive connection to school and feeling ‘good’ and ‘happy’ (not every day, but on balance) during those formative school years.

One of the important experiences in student engagement at St Margaret’s is the Ponytail Project. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Ponytail Project, to be held on Tuesday 30 July. You may be aware that we have set an ambitious goal to reach the million-dollar mark, having raised around $700,000 across the past nine years.

It’s a bold target, so we are calling in the cavalry – the wider St Margaret’s community – to lend a hand. Many of our younger Old Girls will have participated in the Ponytail Project, while others may have been parents supporting their daughters to #rockthechop and raise funds. Some of you may have previously donated for which we gratefully thank you.

As a community, St Margaret’s has moved mountains before, and we are calling on our Old Girls to help up push the fundraising needle to its bold target, and in the process, help positively impact the many people suffering from this disease and their loved ones.

You may wish to consider chopping off your own hair by registering yourself or a team of friends for the chop here

If you live outside of Brisbane, you might also consider getting a group of friends together and perhaps hosting a morning tea with the object of raising funds to donate to a student or staff member who may be chopping off their ponytail.

 It would be wonderful to see our community come together once again with the objective of improving the lives of others on this very special occasion. If you have any enquiries, please email Wendy Johnston, Director of Marketing and Communications, on or call (07) 3862 0837.

Per Volar Sunata

Ros Curtis

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St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School
11 Petrie Street
Ascot, QLD, 4007

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Phone: +61 7 3862 0777
Fax: + 61 7 3862 0701
Open: 8am – 4pm (Mon – Fri)


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