St Dominic’s farewells Frances Belcher

On the afternoon of Friday 19 June, the St Dominic’s community gathered together to farewell Frances Belcher, Principal of St Dominic’s Centre Mayfield. Her last day at the school was Friday 26 June.

Family, friends, students and staff all joined in celebrating Frances’ commitment to the school. Her dedication, kindness, hard work and fairness were acknowledged and honoured. It was an emotional event – there were tears of sadness but lots of laughter and joy as well. The food was delicious (thank you to Sandra Plumsted for catering) and the entertainment provided by the St Dominic’s children was very moving and enjoyable. All staff were involved in the organising of the event and it was a pleasure to do so.

Frances has certainly been an inspiration to all of us and she will be sadly missed.

Following is an excerpt from her last school newsletter:

As I sit here writing my final newsletter, I am reflecting on my 27 years at St Dominic’s and the Waratah Deaf School.  They have been both rewarding and challenging, but always filled with the joy of working closely with students and families, the supporters of our school community and the wonderful staff at St Dominic’s.

It has been a privilege to be part of the mission of the Dominican Sisters, continuing the work that was started 140 years ago by a young deaf woman, Sr Gabriel Hogan OP, who made the amazing sacrifice of leaving her home and family in Ireland forever to establish the first Catholic special school in Australia which is now St Dominic’s.

Although I am sad to leave, finishing now as principal will give me the time and space to think about the future while I still have plenty of energy and passion to get involved in other things.

Thank you for all of your kind words, wishes and gifts over the last few weeks.  I will treasure  those and the wonderful memories I have for many years to come”.

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