Loreto Schools have long been associated with forming exceptional young women – women with deeply formed values, hearts, and minds, who go on to make a positive difference in the world, who challenge social stigmas, embrace leadership roles, and advocate for social justice… women of Mary Ward.
The graduating classes of 2020 were faced with circumstances unlike any other, yet the challenges associated with COVID-19, remote learning, and rapid change, were met with strength, confidence, and composure. The 2020 graduates truly excelled.
Sarah Harrington from Loreto College Ballarat was one of 38 students in Victoria to achieve a perfect VCE score of 99.95 and was one of six females to do so in 2020, an achievement she describes as surreal. Sarah had aimed to do her best and sensibly set realistic expectations of herself. When realising her score, she was in disbelief.
Upon reflecting on the year that was, and the impact of COVID-19 on her Year 12 VCE studies, Sarah attributes her achievements to maintaining a positive mindset, “Instead of spending all my time thinking of all I was missing out on, I tried to put a positive spin on the whole thing by realising that by learning from home, I could avoid distractions, work at my own pace, and spend more time with my family before Uni started. Although I did find it challenging at times to maintain motivation, I believe I gained a lot out of the whole experience, such as developing important skills for the future and realising that you can’t take anything for granted because you never know what lies around the corner.”
Sarah further credits her success and perseverance to her Loreto education and the strong learning environment promoted within, a climate that encourages students to challenge themselves and have the confidence to face the unfamiliar. “Loreto has taught me that if you have a goal, and if you set your mind to achieving it, you can get there…. Throughout my time at Loreto, I was always taught to have a ‘can do’ attitude and not to give up when things were challenging.”
Sarah sends a powerful message to current Loreto students and calls for their faith in her words, “You are so fortunate to have a Loreto education – cherish each moment while it lasts. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Finally, never underestimate what you are capable of. With a bit of belief, perseverance, determination, and hard work, you can achieve things that may seem incredibly out of reach – trust me.”
Sarah departs Loreto taking with her fond memories of the great sense of community “There is nothing more special than seeing all girls, from all year levels, coming together as one big family, spreading the Loreto spirit, and supporting one another.”
She will go on to study Medicine at Monash University and hopes to specialise in gastroenterology after finishing the degree. The entire Loreto Network wishes Sarah every success as she pursues her career ambitions and journey post-Loreto.
Feature Image: Sarah Harrington takes the stand at the Loreto College Ballarat Academic Assembly.