The end of the 2019 Academic School Year has arrived seemingly out of nowhere, and your children have officially completed a year of schooling!

It has been the privilege of the staff at Harkaway Hills College to accompany your children over the past four terms, and it has been an honour for me to serve the school community as Principal this year.

2019 was certainly a year of transition, with a growth in student numbers from 48 to 76, a new Principal after 3 excellent years with Frank Monagle, new routines, the first permanent building, and the first year of single-sex education in the higher grades. All of our school families adapted to the changes brilliantly, and your children demonstrated their adaptability and resilience by embracing these changes with positivity.

2019 was a year of exceptional achievement in the area of academics. Our NAPLAN results were excellent, a number of our students were extended through poetry and literature classes, we challenged all students with coding and STEM lessons, our older grades took on some exciting special project work, and our excellent staff maintained high standards in all areas of school life.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the classroom teachers, Sofie Burger, Genevieve Exton, Ianthe Lim and Anthony O’Shea for their dedication to your children, as well as Antoinette Baird for her exceptional support and assistance, all of whom have made Harkaway Hills College a standout school this year.

2019 has been a year of character building. The Motto program was particularly solid and well received, and the individual growth in students was remarkable. I would like to thank you all for allowing us to partner with you in the character education of your children, and in particular I am sure you will all join me in thanking our mentoring team, Claire Wall, Maria Materia and Frank Monagle, for their support and care this year.

2019 has been a wonderful year for extracurricular. We had incursions in the areas of Drama, Science, and Technology, and we had exciting excursions for all grades throughout the year. The Harkaway Hills College Choir was launched, and in their first Eisteddfod, they received an Honorable Mention award, despite being the smallest and youngest choir in the competition. A special thank you must go to Mrs Johanna Chavez for her dedication to the culture of music we have at our school.

Students in all grades were fortunate enough to participate in our Cross Country and Athletics Carnivals this year, and students from Year 3 up had the honour of representing Harkaway Hills College for the first time in interschool sport at District, Divisional and Regional levels, which was a truly history moment.

Most significantly, a number of parent volunteers took on an increased role in building up our extracurricular activities, and I would to thank Penelope Eltman, Jaime Castro and Stephen Price for their significant contribution to our sporting culture in 2019, as well as Jo Mistriotis for giving up her time to run a gardening club to expand the interests of our students.

2019 was a year of community. The fundraising team, lead in an extraordinary way by Natalie Everard, raised over $15,000 for the school through a number of community-focused events that have made a significant impact on our school. Some of this fundraising money contributed to the acquisition of our beautiful Marian Shrine, and the statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette now have their place beside the lake on the school grounds.

2019 also saw the introduction of the School House system that has been a significant factor in building team spirit among staff and students. It has been wonderful to see students across all grades bonding and building each other up in all aspects of school life as they continue to learn about teamwork and unity through this system.

I ask all of you to join me in thanking the PARED Board, in particular the Chairman Damien Burger, for the hard work behind the scenes as we plan and build Harkaway Hills College, as well as Lysterfield Lake College, in the years ahead.

My sincerest thanks must go to James Cheong and Grace Hesse, who have managed the operations side of the school exceptionally, and have provided an overwhelming amount of support for the parents, staff and students, as well as me personally, throughout the year. We truly have an exceptional team.

Finally, it is my pleasure to thank you, the parents of Harkaway Hills College, for your support in 2019. Your faith in what is still a very new school is much appreciated, and the dedication and love that you put into Harkaway Hills College is overwhelming. Thank you for believing in, and loving, our school.

It has been my pleasure to partner with you this year, and I look forward to an even more fruitful and happy 2020.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas, a relaxing school break, a blessed New Year.

Mary Broadsmith