Dear Columbans, Members of the Staff, Parents and Well-wishers,

Happy 2022 to all of you !

As we have started the new year with the Omicron variant of the covid-19 virus frustrating our hopes of an imminent transition to pre-covid normalcy, we can expect challenges in the year ahead. Of course, we hope and pray that each of us will continue to be "positive" (not covid-positive but positive in our minds and hearts) - continuing to creatively adapt to unexpected changes in our projections, continuing to believe that the challenges we have had over the last two years are a process for growth and development of our hearts and minds and how we relate to the universe.

So, when I wish you a Happy 2022 – I wish that you may continue to keep up your spirits, continue to creatively adapt to life, continue to reflect on how each of us relate to the universe and learn from what nature is saying ("screaming") out to us.

Are the continued variants to the covid-19 virus, nature's way of still challenging us – warning us that we have not changed our behaviours and attitudes sufficiently ?

This is not nature punishing us – are we reaping the consequences of human behaviour particularly over the recent past – the last 100 years. We have a lot of reflection to do.

That is what we, as teachers, students and significant stakeholders at St Columba’s need to continue to reflect. I wish our educational efforts every blessing through 2022.

The theme for our newsletter, this month is "overcoming fear". Our feelings are very significant. If we do feel fear (and I doubt there's a single person today, who in the circumstances noted above, does not feel fear) – it's okay – let's listen to our ourselves and our feelings. Let's listen to our fear and hear what our feelings of fear are saying to us.

So my first hope is that all of us will pause and listen to our fear and the fear of others. Let's create the space to let people voice their fears. Our children have fears – let' s listen to them. We have fear – let's listen to ourselves.

While listening, especially to fear, it is important not to let the expressions of fear block out the HOPE we should always have – the hope that we can meet with the challenges we see before us – great as the challenges may be.

We can do this, by counting our resources (our blessings) each day. Let us list our resources which we can use. The resources include our ability to adapt, the fact that we have caring persons around us, that scientists and others in industry and society who are proactive and creative and who will come up with opportunities to help us.

Let us be willing to change the ways we have been used to living! For example – may be, online learning is here to stay and not a passing phase! I know that in education this will be an upheaval - however, it's a possibility which we must plan for! Maybe working from home may be the norm and maybe some of us will be required to change our work (for there will be changes in employment). These are only a few examples.

For our students, I hope that this extension of the online classes helps them realise that they must take responsibility for their education and the short time joys of not having to wake up early, to have to wear the school uniform the whole day, to spend long hours travelling, would be replaced with a development of a sense personal responsibility for what is important for one in one's life.

All the above is not easy - I hope that the school community will be there to create a synergy of persons working with a positive spirit which will enable all of us to live in hope, adaptability, creativity, care and concern.

Once again, a very Happy 2022 to all of you !

Principal, St. Columba’s School