This last weekend I have been thinking about alumnae, my thinking triggered by three events: the arrival to the school of five girls from Presbyterian Ladies College, my alma mater, our annual Dame Alice Harpur School reunion, and a delightful dinner midweek with the first Head Girl of Bedford Girls’ School.
These events have made me reflect first upon my own schooling, what it has given me and then of course I reflected upon the schooling of Dame Alice and BGS girls and what I hope their schooling has given to them. There is no doubt that schools do play an important part in shaping you, they affect who you are, what you believe in, your values and aspirations. Education, therefore, is perhaps one of the few services that has a shelf life of at least 20-30 years and for some of our more mature alumnae at Dame Alice they would argue it has a shelf life of at least 50 years.
I know that I am very much a product of my own Australian education. At PLC I was encouraged to stand up for what I believed in, to be confident in who I was as a person and its motto “Labor et Honor” always reminded me of the importance of hard work and respect for the education received.
BGS is a new school, a school beginning a new adventure but we are incredibly lucky, we have been built on the very fine foundations, the reputation and past leadership of two outstanding girls’ schools. And whilst we have created a new identity – we have done as much as we can to recognise, value and appreciate the legacy of the two schools.
When I speak to the alumnae of the two schools and in particular last week, a former Head Girl, they speak proudly of how they have been shaped by their schools. I am therefore reminded of the importance of educators to prepare the girls of today to be the women of tomorrow. The way we teach, the way girls learn is very different to when I was at school as the world they are moving into is rapidly changing. But the values, the traditions and ethos of the school does not. As the legacy schools served well the young women of Bedford, creating impressive, dignified, intelligent role models, BGS will continue to do the same. The future for intelligent, thinking young women in Bedford is secure, their legacy will live on in the women today and their legacy will continue to live on in the women tomorrow. It makes me immensely proud.