Worlds Away

October 2019 saw a joyous travel moment with a snorkelling trip to the warm, green waters of El Nido in the Philippines. During a 12 hour wait for a connecting return flight, we sipped whiskey in the comfort of an ‘80s band at the Manila Casino. That smoky night resulted in laryngitis a week later but we revelled in the freedom of another gorgeous holiday.

‘A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.”

John Ruskin

Fast forward, six months to March 2020 and the world is enveloped by the unforeseen and insidious pandemic. Schools, workplaces, restaurants and retail start closing. We felt fear. But there was also a sense of novelty as we took to new routines including work from home. Fast forward again to August 2020 and the novelty has worn off as a mammoth second wave crushes the hopes of Victorians. Melbourne is a ghost town after 8pm, during daylight we are only permitted out for a quick visit to Woolworths (fully masked) to get essentials or for an hour’s exercise within a 5km radius. I have found this difficult, personally and professionally.

As an Advancement Manager, I revel in connectivity and social engagement but the current restrictions have meant I’ve had to rethink my approach. So, like the teachers in my school, I’ve had to transition to an online platform to keep the momentum moving. Here are a few of the ways I have adapted:

Digital Archives

The Librarian and I have worked extensively to ‘pump’ this platform with new materials so that our community has online access 24/7 to vast collections including Alumnae Memories, Sport, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, School Magazines and Histories. There is even a COVID-19 Social History Collection with student artwork and writing pieces reflecting their feelings, Principal and Chaplain communications and a timeline depicting the Australian response. We have recruited a number of new registrations to this site during COVID-19. During the registration process, Old Girls and other members of the community input their contact details. This is a brilliant means of refreshing contact details on Synergetic whilst formally chronicling the unprecedented nature of the time, and the community’s response.

Mentone Girls’ Grammar School is a leading Australian girls’ school founded in 1899. The School has a long history of educating ‘Remarkable Women’. The School’s Digital Archive celebrates this proud history and makes our heritage available to current and past students, parents, and the broader community. Access to these digital collections is made available through the generous support of Mentone Girls’ Grammar Old Girls’ Association as well as current and past parents.

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About Roslyn Holloway, Advancement Manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School

In her role, Roslyn provides leadership and planning to drive core fundraising activities at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School including annual giving programs, capital campaigns and bequests. Her role involves extensive engagement and activities with alumnae, current and past school families and staff, the Old Girls’ Club and the Parents’ Association. Roslyn currently oversees the Fundraising Portfolio for the VIC/TAS Chapter of EducatePlus.

Roslyn has extensive experience in stakeholder management, external and international relations and protocol from work over 15 years at the University of Melbourne.