Director of Development Report
The 125th Anniversary celebrations were a wonderful success, with over 600 people visiting the school for the various functions and events over the course of the weekend (March 19-21). Many memories were shared and stories told, and there was such a positive buzz throughout the whole event. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the school, particularly about the girls who were involved over the weekend - our visitors enjoyed their tours and were amazed to see the progress that has occurred at St Hilda's since their time here. They were also thrilled to see that our values and traditions have remained true to the founding Sisters' vision of St Hilda's.
In the lead up to the weekend's events, we had a number of special visitors and initiatives happen at school. We enjoyed an assembly with Katherine Rich, as our guest speaker. Katherine was a student at St Hilda's in the 1980s, who went on to serve as a National MP for 9 years - and the Kapa Haka group performed the St Hilda's Haka for the first time. The Prefects had a special guest at their weekly meeting - Cherry Wilson (née Dance), who was Head Prefect in 1966. Cherry had travelled from London to attend the 125th and she shared her memories of her time as a prefect with the girls. There was a special service at St Paul's on the Thursday, which involved the Rev'd Barbara Dineen who is a St Hilda's Old Girl and former staff member. On the Friday, Honor McKellar (QSM), a St Hilda's Old Girl who is 100 years old, came to cut the cake with our youngest student, Lyra Westoby. After that, the girls all received a special 125th badge and a piece of cake, before our visitors started to arrive for the reunion.
The weekend kicked off with a cocktail function in the Chapel, sponsored by Roslyn Fresh Choice, Dave Callon - SHARE, Dwelling Architectural Design, Mitchell Daysh and Gallaway Cook Allan. There was a lot of noise, as around 500 people gathered to reconnect and reminisce! On Saturday, there were decade photographs, a staff function sponsored by Moyles Fresh Choice in the Library, and a Gala Lunch at the Glenroy Auditorium, sponsored by Dwelling Architectural Design and Rationale. On the Saturday evening, we enjoyed the ‘125 Years of Inspiring St Hilda’s Women’ panel discussion, sponsored by Craigs Investment Partners - Peter McIntyre and Chris Timms. We heard from Old Girls Margo Barton, Catherine Fitzgerald, Carrie Hobson, Bridgette Jackson, Katherine Rich, Lucy Strack and Sarah Perriam, who was also our MC. They shared stories of their years at St Hilda’s, and told us how their experiences set them up for their journeys in the arts, the corporate world, politics, fashion, media and sport. On the Sunday we held a special Chapel service led by Dr Townsley and Kelvin Wright. At Tolcarne there were tours and lunch, which was very well attended! As our celebrations came to a close, there were many comments from Old Girls who had thoroughly enjoyed their weekend and who felt very proud of their school.
The 125th Anniversary weekend was 18+ months in the planning and preparation, and there are many people to thank including all of our sponsors; the staff who helped get everything ready for our visitors as well as helping out all weekend in various capacities; the Tolcarne staff for accommodating all our visitors; our PFA and Old Girls' Association volunteers who assisted with registrations and event; the Prefects who had various jobs to do all week; the wonderful student tour guides; the Kapa Haka group and Sings Hilda for their wonderful performances; John Huggett and Geraldine Corkery for co-ordinating the displays in Rom 103; the Board of Trustees and Board of Proprietors for their support of the 125th Anniversary, and all those who attended the events. It was a very busy week but it was a wonderful occasion to come together as a school community and enjoy St Hilda's 125th birthday!