by MICHAEL OTTO
AUCKLAND — The new principal of St Mary’s College, Ponsonby, Jane Holloway, told a formal welcome to the school that there is nothing more important to society than the education of young women.
Mrs Holloway was echoing the words of the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley.
A former principal of St Catherine’s College, Kilbirnie, in Wellington for nine years, Mrs Holloway told parents at the St Mary’s welcome that, “I need you to love your daughters, to support them, to help them grow, to set boundaries, to visualise and be passionate about the fine young women they will become”.
She told students she needed them to “get involved, to ask questions, to work for justice, to work for peace, to think, to be stimulated by teaching, to be passionate about your learning”.
At the welcome in October were 34 students, staff, board members and Mercy sisters from St Catherine’s who “handed over” Mrs Holloway.
She said it had been very hard to leave St Catherine’s because it had been such a significant part of her life and had helped form her.
Before leaving St Catherine’s she was farewelled in a moving ceremony, but told those present the time had come for her to move on.
Mrs Holloway is president of the Australian Mercy Secondary Schools Association and secretary of the National Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools. Her previous appointments include being assistant principal at St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie.
She told NZ Catholic her vision for religious education at St Mary’s is “that religious education does not become bogged down in the academic, but that academic learning, that is so necessary, complements the development of values and a strong awareness of social justice that helps shape society”.
“It is vital that students, and, in particular teenagers, have a forum in which they can discuss, challenge and understand their faith to form a strong foundation for the development of their Catholic character in the future.”
Mrs Holloway is married and has two children aged 15 and 10. Her family plans to relocate from Wellington to Auckland in early 2012.