This time last year, the world was caught in the initial stages of the Covid pandemic. The Australian Prime Minister was about two weeks away from closing the country’s borders. The NSW government announced the closure of a boys’ school due to a Covid case, and at Danebank we announced steps the school was taking to ensure our campus would be safe for students and staff.

It was a challenging time and more of that was on the way. Still, as had been the case since the foundation of our beautiful school, the Danebank community continued into the Covid-unknown with our trust and faith firmly in our Saviour and Lord Jesus.

Very early on in the pandemic, our country and state leaders started holding daily news conferences which were live-streamed on social media. In NSW, Dr Kerry Chant became a household name and a well-known presence at these conferences, appearing alongside Premier Ms Gladys Berejiklian.

As NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Chant’s almost daily TV appearances to report on the pandemic became a source of truth, and her knowledge and confidence in responding to questions from the media built confidence in the community on how the state was handling the pandemic.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and as our cherished tradition of Founder’s Day approaches, our girls have been inspired by Dr Chant’s leadership, grace and service to community. She has truly lived our motto of Ut Prosim, That I May Serve. On Monday, in celebrating Founder’s Day, we will welcome Dr Chant to our campus as an alumna of our school and recipient of the Edith Roseby Ball Award for Compassion. This award is presented to members of the Danebank community who have made a contribution to assist others in times of need or lead a life of service, in honour of the vision of service set out by our founding headmistress.

Dr Chant graduated from Danebank in 1980, serving as School Captain that year. Danebank has the honour to recognise Dr Chant’s life of service to the NSW community, at a significant time in our history, when clear heads and calm thinking, resilience and persistence, and unquestionable and expert leadership are required.

I hope you will join us for this event via livestream, starting at 9am, Monday 8 March.