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Principal Cate Begbie – Countdown to ‘Lift Off’

Personally, I always see the holidays as an opportunity to catch up on reading and this break I spent some time reading Melinda Gates’ ‘The Moment of Lift: How Empowering
Women Changes the World’
. It provides an engaging insight into the life and thoughts of a woman who saw, on numerous occasions, the power that comes with educating girls and young women.

The concept of ‘lift’ is one that resonated with me, as I reflect on my return to PLC and the start of our journey together. Gates’ reference to ‘lift’ is in relation to her own memories as a child growing up in Texas, where her father was an engineer who worked on the Apollo programme and she clearly remembered watching the countdowns to ‘lift off’. I cannot say that I have ever had the opportunity to see a rocket launch, however, I started reading this book as I was sitting on a plane last week. I wouldn’t presume to draw comparisons with a rocket launch, however, I can draw other comparisons to where we are, at this moment in time, as a school community.

Boarding the ‘Plane’

When you think of the last time you boarded an aeroplane, possibly just in this last week returning to Perth from the holidays, you would have experienced the hustle and bustle as the flight was called and everyone made their way to the gate. Once at the gate, passengers queue to board the plane. Each of those people, with different backgrounds and varied purpose, have one thing in common – the final destination.

As you board the plane, everyone finds space for their bags and their seats, buckles themselves in and tries to get comfortable. Then comes the quiet anticipation as the aeroplane reverses and taxies out – the quiet hesitation as everyone hopes for a smooth take off and flight ahead. I am sure that some of you feel a similar hesitation now as we embark on a new journey, a new flight, if you like.

Our ‘Moment of Lift’

As we commence the new term, we are about to experience our own ‘moment of lift’. We are a community of individual people, with different backgrounds, varied purpose but one thing in common – the final destination. There are many things that have changed in the years since I have left PLC, but there is a strong vision and fundamental values that have remained the same. The destination has remained the same – to see every girl have the opportunity to explore and reach her potential. Gates’ writes:

“How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings – and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity”.

Enjoy the ‘Flight’

Our journey ahead is a long one, but I do hope that you get comfortable and enjoy the flight. Term 3 will commence next week and our new flight will take off. The plane will shudder as the wheels leave the ground and the lights will dim, the engines will roar and we will race down the tarmac awaiting our own ‘moment of lift’. I do hope that next week is the start of a happy and successful semester for all members of the community.

I feel very humbled and privileged to be returning to PLC and to be joining this next flight. It has been an absolute pleasure to be back in the School in recent weeks, and to the staff, parents and students I have had the opportunity to see already – thank you for making me feel so warmly welcomed. To those of you I am yet to meet, I do look forward to the opportunity to do so in the coming weeks.

– Principal, Cate Begbie

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