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As we traverse the final term of 2023, we find ourselves amidst a unique and joyous convergence of milestones, with both the end of Year 12 celebrations and Year 7 (2024) transition activities taking place simultaneously. It's a heartwarming spectacle to witness the culmination of one educational journey and the eager anticipation of another. The Year 12 students, who have spent years honing their skills and knowledge, are ready to complete their final examinations and take their next big step into adulthood. Meanwhile, our incoming Year 7s are embarking on a thrilling adventure, eager to explore new subjects, make friends, and embrace the opportunities that await them. It's a beautiful reminder of the cycle of learning and growth, where endings give way to new beginnings, and the school community unites to celebrate and support these momentous transitions.

Our Year 12 students have truly set a remarkable example during the final celebrations, displaying conduct and maturity that has left us all in awe. Their behaviour and camaraderie have been nothing short of inspirational, making them outstanding role models for their younger peers. We were delighted to welcome parents to witness the magnificence of this moment by joining us for breakfast and the farewell Chapel service on campus, and we hope to continue this tradition in the years to come. A heartfelt thank you is also extended to our dedicated teachers who have sacrificed their time and effort to support each student in achieving their very best, not just academically, but also through life's countless challenges. And to the families who have entrusted their children to our school, your faith and support have played an indispensable role in shaping the bright futures of these remarkable young individuals. Thank you for being an integral part of this wonderful journey.

The transition into Year 7 is a significant milestone in every student's life, marking the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in their educational journey. It's a time of both anticipation and uncertainty, and it's our collective responsibility to ensure a smooth and supportive transition for our students. We want to reassure our school community that we are committed to providing multiple avenues for connection and support throughout this pivotal period. We understand that change can be daunting, so we will offer various resources, guidance, and opportunities for students to build friendships, gain confidence, and navigate their new environment. Some of these activities include Tour & Teas, placement testing, campus visits, joining Fellowship, personalised meetings, peer support, and of course, our transition days in Week 8. Together, as a community, we will ensure that this transition becomes an enriching experience, fostering growth and preparing our students for the exciting adventures that await them in Year 7 and beyond.

Although we have been focussed toward our Year 12 celebrations and Year 7 transition, the campus remains lively with trips, excursions, and activities. Please read below for student and staff accounts of the events that have taken place so far this term.

VCE Visual Arts & Technology Exhibition by Head of Visual Arts and Technology Nick Kuch
The annual VCE Visual Arts & Technology exhibition was held on Wednesday October 11 for the first time in our brand-new building. It was a great opportunity for families of students studying the VCE in the new Art and Design centre to be invited in to see the amazing work and be guided through the building by the students. It was a function that was very well attended with around 200 attendees which Leah Brutovic (Creativity and Expression Prefect) graciously opened at 6pm. Students representing Furnishing, Food Studies, Media, VCD, Data Analytics and Applied Computing along with Art Making and Exhibiting were on hand to discuss the works with families, friends, and staff. The incredible talents of our senior students were very much the point of discussion in an informal setting that allowed families to be fully immersed in the works on display.

Shooting results by Shooting Captain Finn Carpenter
October 16 saw another shoot at the local Longford range with 110 students from the Wellington secondary schools. However, this competition was a special one, it was the final shoot our year 12s will get to compete in for Gippsland Grammar. A special thankyou to Ella O’Doherty, Nathaniel Shelton, Oscar Rich, and James Westman for being such an important and valuable part of our team this year, and we wish you in luck in whatever the future holds for you. This shoot like many of our others in the past saw us once again achieve success. Taking out top squad was Gippsland Grammar squad 1, which consisted of Nathaniel Shelton, James Westman, Sam Ditchburn, Joel Hooper, and Braith Stayley, scoring a combined score of 87/100. Grammar also saw more success, taking tied second place in squads. As a cohort, we also managed a fair few individual placements, starting with the junior girls, which saw Imogen Carpenter and Darcee Young have to go to a shoot off for First, Second or Third. Both were successful, with Darcee young taking First place, and Imogen Carpenter taking Third. A similar situation happened in Junior boys, with Braith Staley shooting off for First, but falling just short and taking second place junior boys. Again, with Senior Girls, with Ella O’Doherty taking First place after a shoot off taking First place in the senior girls. And finally with senior boys, which saw another shoot off for second and third, which comprised of 10 senior boys, which is the most I have ever seen in a singular shoot off. This unique event was won by Jole Hooper in Second and Sam Ditchburn in Third. A big thank you to the many volunteers at Longford Field & Game for organising and running another fantastic competition.

House Music Eisteddfod Highlights Concert by Year 11 students Andrew Crawford and Zara Tacey
Wednesday October 9 saw students’ talent soar in the Chapel of St Anne for the House Music Eisteddfod Highlights Concert. Seventeen students from Years 7 through to 12 gave performances as part of a celebration for what has been an extremely successful year for the music department. The night covered all bases - familiar performers such as Logan Mills, Zara Tacey, The Martin Sisters, and Andrew Crawford treated us to spectacular renditions of some of the most well-known hits. As well as the new kids on the block: Maddy McMillan (Year 7) and Riley Arndt (Year 8) who wowed audiences with vocal and saxophone solos respectively. Then, of course, who could forget the maestro-worthy guitar performance from Year 10 student Evan Del Mastro. The piano keys sung the praises of Mia Humphris, Oscar Wilkins, and outgoing School Captain Emily Thai, all doing their respective houses proud. In a year including an international ANZAC Tour to France and Belgium, the production of ‘Annie’, Cultural Festival, Soirees and lunchtime concerts, the Eisteddfod Highlights concert proved once again why it is a ‘highlight’ of the music calendar.

Japan Study Tour by Japanese teacher Rachel Patton
20 students from Gippsland Grammar had the experience of a lifetime in September, joining our sister school in Okazaki in Japan and staying with Japanese host families. After a week of travel under the wonderful guidance of Ms Sugisaki, students from Years 9-11 spent a week at Hikarigaoka joining classes and cementing friendships with the students who visited Gippsland Grammar earlier in the term. Highlights of the trip included singing karaoke and hanging out with the Japanese students after school, day trips out with host families and a week of travel to Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. A particularly memorable experience was a lecture from a 92-year-old survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima and her powerful message about nuclear arms. Students would like to say an earnest thank you to Ms Sugisaki and her helpers, Ms Patton, Mr Henderson and Mr Mack. ありがとう!

Final Day of School for our Year 12s by Head of Year 12 Elizabeth Bullers
The final year of school is a period filled with a range of emotions. It is a time of excitement as formal education draws to a close, but it is also bittersweet, marked by the sadness of parting ways with those who have played a significant role in one’s life to date. The Year 12 class of 2023 was no exception to this sentiment. Throughout the year they have eagerly anticipated their last day of school with enthusiasm and passion. 

On the morning of Wednesday October 18, students, parents, and staff came together to share a hearty breakfast featuring bacon, eggs and sausage. Followed by a touching farewell Chapel service. It was a truly special occasion as parents were able to join us for these pivotal moments in the day. During the service there were farewell speeches from the Year 9s, a musical number by both the Year 11s and Year 12 students and a video of the graduating class, showing how much they have changed from babies to Year 7 to Year 12 students. Revd Dr Tim Gaden led the service and lighting of the candles. After the service we farewelled the parents and the Year 12 students gathered in the staffroom for morning tea with the staff. Subsequently, they spent quality time with their mentors, receiving a thoughtful gift from the school, which included either a keep cup or a banner. They also revisited letters they had written to themselves during their Year 12 camps and engaged in a friendly mentor-versus-mentor dodgeball match.

The day was filled with memorable moments, including the screening of a Year 12 video that the students had put together, followed by a lunch at the Greyhounds. The festivities reached a climax with invigorating water activities, including a water fight and slide, culminating in the eagerly awaited countdown to the final bell. The Year 12 students showcased their exemplary behaviour throughout the day, and as they head into their upcoming exams, we wish them every success. We look forward to Valedictory, later in the year, where we will say a final farewell.

Rohan Jayatilake

Head of Garnsey Campus