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Over the past few months, I have met with many prospective students and families as part of the enrolment process for next year’s Year 7s. This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with our wider community and provides a wonderful platform to learn more about the motivations that encourage parents to send their children to Gippsland Grammar. There have been many reasons shared as to why a family has chosen to join us at Garnsey, however one theme that has been consistently referred to is the desire to be part of a School Community that will nurture their child into the best version of themselves. Specifically, to be part of a Community where students are a positive influence on one another and acknowledge their responsibility to create positive impact within their school community.

This feedback is more than a compliment to our School, it is a reminder of the responsibility we each have in creating and maintaining a learning environment that allows every student to thrive. While we continue to develop as a campus with ongoing improvements within pedagogy, provision and procedures, it is the actions of individuals that will make the biggest and longest lasting difference. I would like to share with you a summary of the work of cultural change expert Margaret Wheatley. She relates positive change within a community to the growth of a natural forest:

If you could sit on a mountainside for many decades, you would see a tree here or there sprout up in the valley below, and then more and more until you would see something you might call a forest. But you’d be hard-pressed to find the blueprint.

So, what does Margaret mean by this analogy. She is implying that a community “doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what’s possible.” They realise all of sudden that they make up a forest, an ecosystem … a community.

We all make up the Garnsey Community. As such, I believe that we all have a responsibility to help make our Community an environment where students feel safe and included regardless of their unique differences, and are surrounded by like-minded people who share a similar vision and values. Where each child is surrounded by peers who have a positive influence, helping them grow into the best learner and person they can be. I encourage everyone in our Community, particularly our students, to be aware of the influence they have on others and actively strive to have a positive impact on those around them. It is our personal, day-to-day actions that make the biggest difference and together, we can continue driving our campus forward.

An additional theme that has emerged within our enrolment interviews is the diversity and depth of opportunities we offer our students. We are a School that encourages all students to maximise the breadth of their experiences, to pursue passions and interests, and to challenge themselves by engaging in activities they normally find difficult or uncomfortable. Through this engagement, students can truly develop as well-rounded individuals who will be equipped to thrive in a rapidly-changing world. This term, there has been a range of different activities for our students to participate in so please continue reading to learn more about some of the activities that took place.

Rohan Jayatilake

Head of Garnsey Campus