My entire school life from age four and a half was at Baradene College in Auckland , although in those days it was known Sacre Coeur. Virtually all the teachers were nuns and as a “closed order” they barely ever ventured outside of the school gates. In spite of this they were a savvy, well connected and in my view inspirational. I struggled as the years went on with some of the conformity, but at the same time got huge academic encouragement which was a bit rare in those days. Aside from visiting priests it was obviously a very female dominated world and I grew to believe that women simply could do everything, and within the school grounds, they did! Whenever any old girls get together we end up talking about Mother Maher, who was an authoritarian of whom we were all terrified but extraordinarily compassionate and astute. Eventually as the nuns spent more time in the outside world, she became a social worker. An extraordinary woman who crossed many boundaries in her life and did make me believe in the impossible.
Mme McMillan, you inspired my life-long love affair with the French language! After an underwhelming year of third form French I almost didn’t take it again in the fourth form. However I was assured that a new teacher was coming who would make it worthwhile – and you did! You lifted the language from the text books and made it real for us. You played a part in my year in France, my major at Uni, and my career path. Merci beaucoup!