This week has been one of busyness! Students continue to work towards their goals; teachers continue to do the same. Amidst the everyday work that does occur here, we were privileged to host a visit from around Australia – teachers and leaders from Tasmania, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, and Queensland were able to experience a little of a day in the life of a Mt A student.
We were able to showcase classrooms in action (and I thank those teachers and students for opening up their spaces), our beautiful environment, and our Student Leadership program.
Our visitors were very impressed by the teachers, the environment and, most importantly, the girls. They have all commented on the level of expertise and depth of knowledge, understanding, and authenticity that the girls were able to articulate of who we are and what we do here at Mt A.
Everyone was blown away by the gardens, and all left with something to consider – from our transition programs, to our classroom environments, to our gardens and use of them, and to our Student Leadership program. They said they visibly saw and experienced the connections and the level of relationship building, and felt very welcomed by all.
I thank Rhianna Janas for sharing her experience and learnings of just how this leadership program has enhanced her learning journey.
I thank all of the Year 7 and 8 students who acted as guides and were able to speak about our programs and our environment as they journeyed. They demonstrated great pride in our college and, as always, were excellent ambassadors for who we are and what we believe in.
I asked the girls to answer this question: How do the gardens impact your life at Mount Alvernia College? These are just some of those answers.
As a student at Mount Alvernia the gardens impact me to believe Mt A is a college which wants to take care and nurtures with growth, love, and faith. This environment symbolises that we as a Catholic community want to be like Saint Francis and the others, to care for the environment with its needs, and uses to help each other and it.
The gardens symbolise new life, and second chances. Not only that but, every morning I enter this college, I feel welcomed and I feel the gardens bring a sense of happiness.
To me, the gardens are a pleasant reminder of the beautiful environment that we have amongst us. The gardens symbolise community; this means it is a group effort to keep the gardens alive and fresh. How? Because the groundsmen and students help to keep the fresh produce alive whist the La Cucina chefs use the food in their cooking. Finally, the olive trees in the far corner (at the entry) helps the college community and me to feel reconnected to Saint Francis.
I'm in Year 8 and I believe La Foresta has impacted my time at Mount Alvernia. Every time I look at the garden my head clears, my stress is relieved, and I'm happy to see such a beautiful environment every day when I enter the college grounds. When I'm taking part in home economics or see the La Cucina staff and students caring for and utilising La Foresta for their cooking, I feel proud that our college teaches us students to care for the environment and learn how to grow plants for cooking and La Cucina. Overall, I'm privileged to be so fortunate that my college supplies and grows such an exquisite garden for students to learn about the environment and using its plants to impact their life here at Mount Alvernia.
On Friday we were given a question about how La Foresta influenced or lives at Mount A. Since arriving at Mount Alvernia I have always loved the gardens. During test periods when I was nervous I would retreat to the gardens where I could prepare properly and calmly. Therefore, in my opinion, the gardens are a sanctuary for all students at Mt A. That of course is not the only way La Foresta has influenced my life. The gardens are apart of my everyday Home Ec lessons, providing fruit (for our seasonal muffins) and herbs to add flavor to other recipes. All up, the gardens have greatly influenced my life for the better.
The gardens of Mt A have many benefits to the College. The herbs, fruit, and veges are used in the Home Ec classrooms and help teach the students about how to plant and grow their own food, whilst the many flowers shrubs and other flora provide beauty and a welcoming entry for not only the students and staff but also visitors to the College. In the garden there is a table under an umbrella that many use at lunch. Sitting here, it is lovely to be among the flowers and sometimes you can smell the delicious food that a Home Ec class has just cooked from the fresh fruit and veges. There is also a second level to the gardens. If you follow a ramp that is at the front of the College you will find your way to the rooftop gardens. This is not only used by teachers and students at lunch, but also used for studying and classes as it is a quiet space to focus whilst also getting some fresh air. The gardens of Mt A have many brilliant benefits for all students, teachers, and visitors and, when the visiting teachers come, I am sure that they will be astounded by the beauty and uses it has to offer.
Firstly, I believe La Foresta is a statement that makes Mount Alvernia stick out from any other high school. Not only does it look amazing, but it is also practical as the fruit, veges, and herbs are all used to produce really good food from the chefs in La Cucina. Secondly, it is a great motivational tool which helps to brighten everyone's mood with the beautiful sight and aromas. The garden and table around allow students - like me - and teachers to sit within the scenery for work and leisure purposes. When I see the gardens it makes me feel happy, and helps me produce better work since I am not stressing, everything just disappears, and you can really focus on one thing. Overall, I believe that La Foresta is a major part of our college community and definitely positively affects my school life.
I'm in Year 8. I think gardens, in general, create a calm and welcoming atmosphere and the gardens at school do just that. The gardens are so beautiful to look at, with fresh growing vegetables to flowers. It's also great to know that what we cook in the kitchens is from the gardens and is fresh and healthy. This impacts my school life by calming other students and me down and creating a stress-free environment. I feel happy and at home when I walk through the college gates to see the gardens to greet me.
One of the things I love most about La Foresta - apart from it just being a stunning garden - is the community that goes into caring for it. We have gardeners that make sure all the plants are healthy, students and cooking staff that use the plants for different recipes, and the friends who sit by it at lunchtime. I think it's a beautiful landmark in our inter-connected community and has - for me at least- been an important part of a lot of my memories that I have with my friends at Mount Alvernia.
La Foresta at Mount Alvernia means to me:
- Peace and calm
- Gathering and coming together to form one or a union
- That our lovely kitchens and La Cucina can supply us with fresh fruits and vegetables
- Symbolising where St Francis, St Clare, and Elizabeth Hayes walked before and that we as students can walk in the same footsteps as them.
The gardens allow me to eat nutritiously in La Cucina, and they teach me the importance of eating well and how the various plants grow differently.