Happy birthday, Maris Stella!

| September 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

BY CINDY HUDSON

This year, Maris Stella celebrates its 120th birthday.

We commemorate the group of brave Sisters who had the vision and faith to travel from France to Durban to answer the need for the development of schools for girls in South Africa. They built their beautiful school called Maris Stella – Star of the Sea – which opened just before the dawn of the 20th century, on 22 May 1899. This name was chosen because of the school’s commanding view of the ocean, and because Mary, Mother of Jesus, has traditionally been looked upon by sailors as a guide – as a ‘star of the sea’. Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier (a South African prelate of the Catholic Church and Archbishop of Durban), conducted a beautiful Mass on 22 May 2019. He reminded the girls, staff, parents, old girls and friends of Maris Stella that they have so much to be grateful for, as they celebrated the courage and grace of all those who have gone before them. Encouraging critical and creative thinking, Maris Stella aims to instil in girls the necessary skills and confidence for them to make significant, positive contributions to our ever-changing world, and to embrace the future with confidence. The strong school spirit and family involvement makes it a caring, happy place for girls to grow and learn. The school encourages service to the wider community, which is evidenced in the many outreach projects it supports. ‘At Maris Stella, our teaching staff are constantly researching new ways to create innovative lesson plans that keep our girls engaged and inspired,’ says principal, Joan Schmidt. ‘There is a mutual respect between pupils and staff, allowing for an atmosphere of challenging debate and worthwhile communication. We do not believe in moulding young minds. That is not our job. We believe in empowering our girls with the right tools to find their own paths, to become the people they were meant to be. We get to witness this amazing transformation, and this makes teaching so rewarding. As we celebrate Maris Stella’s 120th birthday this year, we honour the many strong, independent women who have played such an important role in shaping Maris Stella into the beautiful school it is today. The day-to-day acts of kindness and generosity we get to witness in the classrooms; the camaraderie and spirit our girls display on the sports fields; the poise, passion and intelligence with which they address the outside world, and that indelible spirit of determination that sees them take on every challenge with grace and maturity, are an inspiration to us all. If Maris Stella girls are a reflection of what the future holds, then we can certainly look forward to some bright days ahead.’

Cindy Hudson is the marketing and PR coordinator at Maris Stella School in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Category: Spring 2019

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