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On Tuesday we held our end of term assembly which was a fantastic celebration of our students, including performances from the Chamber Orchestra, recognition of sporting achievements (both individual and team) and a successful completion of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award (congratulations Grace Ng).

We also reflected on what opportunities were offered during the term as part of our achievements. Some of the opportunities that were available included: exchange students from France and Japan, the Year 11 Ball, ICCES and SEISA cross-country, a student-led lunchtime music concert, a model United Nations competition, the House Music Eisteddfod, Science Olympiads, DAV Debating, Shooting championships, Year 9 Alpine Camps, our French Cultural Day, the Blackwood House footy trip, parent/teacher interviews, SEISA Dance and Theatre Sports, the Year 7 Science Expo, our wonderful Spring Concert, House Drama, SEISA Spring Carnival, Book Week, various community events (including Beanie’s For Billy Day), the start of the Rowing season and our study tour to Japan. We have so many opportunities available to our students and I hope that our students are able to recognise and be grateful for these opportunities. As mentioned in the assembly, we don’t just want our students to say they appreciate it – we want them to ‘live their appreciation’. This encourages students to demonstrate their appreciation through their conduct, their interactions and relationships (at home and at school), their engagement in lessons, their friendships, their personal presentation, their uniform, their effort and their attitude. At times, we are all guilty of taking things for granted. I really hope our students walk away from this term acknowledging the amazing opportunities that have been made available to them by our school and their families, and I challenge every student of Garnsey to go forward and show their appreciation in the way they choose to live their life.

In this assembly, we also heard from our Wellbeing and Care Prefects (Chris and Isabel) who provided a powerful presentation on our students’ perceptions of respectful relationships. Based on surveys completed earlier this year, we were able to compare the understanding and perception of our students relative to state averages. It was extremely pleasing to hear that our students have strong understandings of these important topics, particularly when compared to state averages. However, it was interesting to hear Chris and Isabel speak about the areas we could improve on, particularly (1) gender equality and (2) our students’ understanding of consent. Based on their information, there are indications that our student community still has some biases within the area of gender, particularly the influence of gender in leadership and our students’ ability to confidently stand up against sexist behaviours. Chris and Isabel also expanded on the importance of consent and have set a vision for our school where every student has a clear understanding of what consent means and how to truly respect someone’s right to consent regardless of the context or situation. I think this is a highly admirable vision for our students to set and one that can be achieved with further education and awareness.

Earlier this term I had the privilege of attending the 2023 Ecumenical Schools Australia Conference. During my time there, I enjoyed conversations with other Heads of Campus and Principals, including my own former Head of Middle School. We had many conversations however, our most interesting conversation came from memories we shared in the early 2000s. A powerful comment made was that ‘there are no ordinary moments’. We spoke about this concept and discussed how every action, every interaction and every conversation can have a profound impact on someone’s life. This impact can change someone’s feelings and emotions, their sense of belonging and connectedness, their trust for others, their compassion and empathy, as well as their approach towards others and the world. Every day we have incidental interactions that may seem insignificant to us but may have a huge impact to others. These interactions might be as simple as the way we greet others, sharing thanks, a post/comment we make online, a facial expression, an email, or even asking the question ‘are you okay?’. If we are to be a community that genuinely cares about others, I think it is important for us to be aware and recognise that there are no ordinary moments. We all have the very special ability to have a hugely positive impact on another person’s life. So, I urge all members of community to be conscious of their actions and communication, to find ways to be kind and compassionate, and to help us continue creating an environment that is both caring and supportive.

I hope you all have a wonderful break.

Over the last four weeks our Year 11 students have been engaging in our 2024 Student Leadership application process. The process had three key stages and, depending upon preferences, students were required to submit a full-page cover letter, engage in a group interview and present at assembly to our students and staff. This year we had 35 strong candidates and all students should be extremely proud of their efforts, regardless of the outcomes of the process – we are so grateful to have students at our campus who are passionate about leadership and influencing positive change within our community. It is with great pleasure that I can inform our community of the 2024 Prefect Team, which is:
School Captains: Sienna Hill and Andrew Crawford
Vice Captains: Rhys Bennet and Ivy Johnson
Community and Culture Prefects: Abby Crozier and Henry Storer
Wellbeing and Care Prefects: Alex Hamilton and Zahrarose Beatty
Curriculum and Learning Prefects: Georgia Steel and Stella Mekken
Creativity and Expression Prefects: Zara Tacey and Zara Clydesdale
Sport and Experience Prefects: Pippa Young and Zahra Hanratty

We are very excited to be welcoming these students into their leadership positions.

On Wednesday our students and staff proudly wore the team’s colours in support of Footy Colours Day. Though most of our community support their AFL team, it was pleasing to see representation from other sports including soccer, ice hockey, rugby league and rugby union. Garnsey is a community that regularly seeks ways to give back to others and Footy Colours Day allowed us to raise funds of $594.20 which will go toward the cause of helping kids fight cancer. Thank you to every community member who supported this day.

Earlier this week about 80 Garnsey students travelled to Pakenham for the SEISA Spring Carnival. The Spring Carnival features sports not included in our usual SEISA competitions, which means students from year 7-12 had the opportunity to represent our school in volleyball, hockey, netball and even lawn bowls.

Head of Sport Andrew Nicholas said it was an incredibly successful day with our students having fun (important), showing good sportsmanship (doubly important) and even winning some of the competitions (a nice bonus).

The boys volleyball team coached by Head of Garnsey Rohan Jayatilake only learnt to properly play the game in the two weeks leading up to the event and made it to the final after an extremely close competition that saw the second, third and fourth teams all on an equal score. Mr Jay said the team “played exceptionally well” and won the final by two sets.

The girls hockey team coached by teacher Kylie Lambert included students from Years 7-12 and won all three of their games, including the grand final against Newhaven College. Mrs Lambert said it was a great result for our hockey teams, which have won every interschool competition throughout the year including the mixed juniors in Term 2 and the mixed seniors in Term 3.

While there wasn’t success for the netball or lawn bowls teams, Mr Nicholas said the students embraced the opportunity.
“It was a really good day,” Mr Nicholas said. “It was the first time a lot of the kids had played lawn bowls and we were able to train at Sale Lawn Bowls for about three weeks leading up to this week and they all really enjoyed it.

YEAR 7 SCIENCE EXPO by teacher Kylie Lambert
As a part of National Science Week, we held the inaugural Year 7 Science Expo where our Year 7 students showcased their science learning from the term. Students in Year 7 were tasked with the job of finding a problem to solve, collecting data and presenting their results in a scientific poster and display. Students worked in groups of up to four and presented their findings in an afternoon of Science. The Year 5 students at St Anne’s were also studying Science at the time and their teachers Mr Ray, Ms Goode and Ms Dawson kindly arranged to have the Year 5 classes attend the Expo. The Year 5 students voted on their favourite exhibit, which happened to be one in which they all got an electric shock in a test of ‘How does reaction time vary with gender?’ There were 44 projects presented on a variety of topics from ‘Who cleans their hands best – adults or children?’ and ‘Which bathroom on the Garnsey Campus is the cleanest?’ to ‘How does pH of drinks affect the formation of boba balls?’ and ‘Does the sound around you affect the way you concentrate?’.

The Year 7s showed great thought in presenting their results and putting together their displays. The afternoon also included a special parent session, where parents could interact with the exhibits and ask questions of the Year 7 students. The student work was judged by both the classroom teachers, Mr Howard (Science Head of Department) and Mr Jayatilake (Head of Garnsey Campus) and special teacher awards were given to those projects that showed consistent effort, top teamwork and the best research. Congratulations to all those students in Year 7 who put themselves out of their comfort zone and engaged in speaking with both the Year 5 students, parents and staff that attended. Special thanks to the Science teachers and staff who helped facilitate the multiple projects during the investigation period. We hope to see some excellent projects in the years to come and encourage the Grade 6 students to start thinking now about what they want to investigate next year.

2023 Year 7 Science Expo Awardees



The Most Scientific Award (Awarded by Head of Science Mr Howard for following the scientific inquiry process and investigating a topic of national importance.)

Victoria Adams, Isabell Lindrea, Torah Coleman for: Which tree is best for fire prone areas?

Year 5’s Choice (Voted by the St Anne’s Year 5 students as their most favourite exhibit.)

Kuvam Dua, George Roberts and Shahryar Bhatti for Which gender has the fastest reaction time?

Head of Garnsey Choice Award (Awarded by Mr Jayatilake and given to the most creative or influential idea.)

Ella Lamb, Sarah Magee, Tara Lambert for I’m a Barbie girl in a Stereotypical world: How do stereotype misperceptions vary with age and gender?

ICCES CROSS COUNTRY & SEISA CROSS COUNTRY by Director of Sport Andrew Nicholas
On Tuesday July 25 we took a team of athletes to Bundoora to compete at the ICCES Cross Country. This was a great day out for those that attended, enjoying one of the driest and sunniest days we have experienced at this competition. There was a lot of cheering and excitement for each other as the kids were starting and finishing. The support and encouragement for each other was excellent. Some of the outstanding results included Cassie Farley achieving first in the Juniors, Debbie Husodo first in the Seniors, Cruz Duck first in the Juniors and Louis Lazzaro second in the Juniors. The team placed third overall on the day.

Our second event this year was the SEISA competition held at Newhaven on Thursday August 31. Again, our students represented Gippsland Grammar with esteem. It was another great day out for everyone. Some good results were Vida Yanez achieving first in the U/13 Girls; Cassie Farley first and Emily Kanavan third in the U/14 Girls; Kate Edgar second and Maizy Duck third in the U/15 Girls; Charlie Young second in the U/12 Boys; Cruz Duck first in the U/13 Boys; Louis Lazzaro first in the U/14 Boys; and Sen Goold second in the U/17 Boys. Gippsland Grammar placed fourth overall on the day. Well done to everyone involved.

GIRL POWER IN ENGINEERING by Year 9 student Isobel McAllister
The Girl Power in Engineering and IT program is a University of Melbourne program which promotes female participation and engagement in STEM. To be considered for the program there was an application process where applicants are required to write responses to a few questions which demonstrate their passion for the subject, how they have been a leader in the past (this can be anything) and that they are self-driven and hardworking. Applicants were also required to obtain a teacher/school recommendation letter. Successful applicants are provided with activities tailored across Years 9-12.

As a part of the Year 9 component of the program, students participate in a four-day camp during the July School Holidays run onsite at Melbourne University’s Parkville campus. An exciting aspect of the program was that the student accommodation location was at the actual University College. Everyone got their own private room with an ensuite, and the dining hall had delicious food and treats. This is one of the places that real university students reside and staying here for the three days provided a potential example of somewhere to look forward to living in as a future University student.

The real highlight of the four days was the engineering-related activities. These activities included, a micro-bit coding workshop, sustainable housing challenge, bridge building challenge, geomatics (drones and surveying) session and making a hydraulic robot arm. As well, there were fun nighttime activities such as trivia night, movie night and careers/networking evening which provided great opportunity for social networking. Some key takeaways that I received from this program were: There are way more opportunities out there that you don’t know of yet. And take every opportunity because who knows what you will succeed in.

All in all, the Girls in Engineering and IT program was an extremely fun and interesting program where students get to meet lots of new people in the current, and future areas of Engineering and IT. If you are interested in engineering, building stuff or having fun this is definitely the program for you. Applications open in March next year to the female Year 9 2024 cohort.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION by co-head of Outdoor Education Cass Booth
Year 9 students have spent this term testing their resilience by camping and skiing in the alpine environment. The year level all spent four days on the Darn program (Darn is the Gunaikurnai word for snow) consolidating their Outdoor Education skills in the challenging environment. Though snow levels where not what we were all hoping for, students where shuttled higher up the mountain to make sure they still got the full experience. It was great to see how much the students developed their environmental and cross-country skiing skills throughout the program.

“My highlight was skiing in Mount Hotham, it was good. The food was amazing but I should have taken more pairs of gloves and thermals.”
- Asha Janowiak

“I enjoyed building a snowman and I’m proud of myself for trying skiing even though I fell a lot! I improved because I learnt to pizza stop!”
- Lilly McInnes

“My highlight of the week was the amazing view and the giant snowball fight.”
- Hudson Ray-Daminato

For this program to run successfully we had a lot of support from both staff and students. I want to thank Mentor teachers Eva Clark, Jaime Mack and Ed Wilsons for coming on the program and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. We had four Year 11 leaders throughout the programs; Gretel Harms, Tali Oates, Will Martin and Archie Treasure. Having this extra set of hands and eyes supporting staff, as well as displaying positive role modelling to our Year 9 students, is such a positive addition to our program. My last thank you goes to a group of our Duke of Ed students who have been coming into the Outdoor Education department every week during Term 2 and 3, helping prepare and now pack up from the program; waxing skis, hanging rain jackets, washing dishes, packing trailers, and more. For this I would like to extend a big thank you to Hamish Arnup, Jarvis Mumford, Tayla Ireland, Himesh Rajapakse and Henry Storer.

ESA YEAR 11 LEADERSHIP FORUM by Head of Year 11 Richard Kemp
Gathering at the Melbourne Convention Centre in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD on Monday 21 August, the Ecumenical Schools Australia Young Leaders program provided an opportunity for young leaders currently completing Year 11 to strategise, connect and discuss the effective tools to lead change in their communities.

Gippsland Grammar once again attended this 175-student strong annual event with twelve of its own young leaders. The focus of the day was engaging with what it means to be a leader, in both formal and informal capacities, examining the typical qualities that make up an effective leader and an amount of self-reflection to identify the unique characteristics and traits that each participant can bring to such a role. Throughout the sessions, attendants engaged in cooperative learning with peers from various schools – with workshops from Project Rockit and a keenly-received keynote address from author Tim Cope.

Overall, participants were praised for their willingness to participate, challenge and extend their own thinking. Gippsland Grammar’s students more specifically were commended for the conveyance of their own distinctive characteristics and in upholding our school’s values.

DEBATING by teacher in charge of Debating Zoe Hilliar
2023 saw more than 50 debaters across 10 teams compete on behalf of our school. In Berwick, three of the four Grades were won by Gippsland Grammar teams who were undefeated. Another five teams won four of their five debates.

This year, topics ranged from the those that impact the lives of our debaters (That we regret the rise of participation awards and that extra-curricular activities should be compulsory.), to those that might not impact them directly, but they probably have an opinion on (That medical professionals should not be able to strike.), to those that they had never considered before looking at their topic (That we should raise the retirement age in Australia.). The C-Grade loved their first secret topic (That cooking class should be taught in all schools.), the A-Grade won the hotly contested secret topic (That we should abolish monarchies.), while it was an economics secret topic (That Australia should become a low tax economy.) that ended our B-Grades run at finals. 

We are so proud of our debaters, who take on tricky topics that they don’t always agree with and argue their case with intelligence, creativity and excellent teamwork.

This year we are particularly sad to say goodbye to our A-Grade team, a small but forceful unit who have hardly lost a debate. Jared Lamb joined in 2018, and as a D-Grader for three years who often jumped into debate for more senior teams, it would be difficult to find anyone in the state who has debated as many times as him!

Last week we ran the final extra-curricular debate for the year - a demonstration debate at St Anne’s. The interest and enthusiasm shown by the Year 5 and 6 students suggests a strong future, and we can’t wait to welcome them in coming years!

Rohan Jayatilake

Head of Garnsey Campus