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‘Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.’

This quote from Helen Steiner Rice truly encapsulates the Christmas spirit that has been abundant at the Garnsey Campus. Even though this is often the busiest time of year, students have still taken time to reflect on their growth, appreciate the opportunities given, and show gratitude to their families, friends, loved ones and teachers. When speaking with students across our campus, the most common themes spoken were the ‘gift of giving’ and ‘family’. In a modern age full of distractions and influences it can be easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas, so it is comforting to know that our students still hold these values close to their hearts. It is even more comforting knowing that these values are not just demonstrated at Christmas, they are embedded in all that we do at Garnsey by our students, staff and families. It is this Gippsland Grammar spirit, as it is in Christmas, that is with us every day at Garnsey.

One of the most recognised events of the year is the Year 12 Valedictory which was hosted only a few weeks ago. We were fortunate enough to hold this event on campus, in the ‘transformed’ Laurie Payne Sports Centre and surrounding gardens. It was a beautiful ceremony, followed by a very social and interactive dinner and drinks. Students, staff, parents and carers came together as a community to celebrate the achievements of this special group of young people. There were many smiles, some tears, and a lot of joy shared by all. We wish all the best to our Year 12s. Though they are now embarking on new adventures, they will always remain part of the Gippsland Grammar family.

Movember and WNBL Boomers
We have been fortunate enough to have many other wonderful experiences at Garnsey this term. Our Year 11 students, led by Mrs Bullers and Austin Bauer, did a fantastic job in organising Movember. This saw a number of our Year 11 students grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s’ health issues. Despite the range of ‘successful’ moustaches, we were truly impressed by the willingness of our students to go above and beyond to support an important cause. In Week 8, we were fortunate enough to have members of the WNBL Boomers team speak to our Year 10 and Year 11 students. In addition to viewing an episode of the feature documentary ‘Sidelined – Women in Basketball’, students were able to learn about the very real issues around gender inequality that still exist within professional sport and other industries. This was an eye-opening experience and we hope that this inspires the young people of our school to become future leaders who fight for equality for all.

Year 7 orientation
Year 7 Orientation was a huge success, and it was so pleasing to hear the positive feedback from our students and parents. It has been several years since we have been able to host a thorough program, where students and families interact on our campus as part of the transition process. Head of Year 7 Sharyn Henderson, along with a team of supporters including our Year 7 mentor team, Prefects and other staff, supported our incoming Year 7s through four days of activities and learning. Though the week was full of targeted and purposeful challenge, the students responded positively and we were so impressed with the effort and progress displayed by each individual child. We are so excited to be officially welcoming these students to our campus in Term 1.

International exchanges to France and Japan
Last week, we said ‘Bon Voyage’ to our exchange students who departed for France and Japan. Despite a few tears when saying goodbye, our students were all very excited and eager to start their journeys. They have all arrived safely at their destinations, and we hope they have a fantastic experience.

Of the students in France, Sonia Duggan reports: The flight to Hong Kong took nine hours. We had just enough time to walk to the right terminal and got onto our next flight, which was a 14 hour flight. Once we landed in Paris, we were picked up by two vans and we arrived at our sister school, Lycée Jeanne d’Arc, at 10:30am on Saturday.

The weather has been cold so far with a minimum of three degrees overnight and eight degrees during the day. It is overcast and snow has started to fall in different parts of France. While it was forecast in Caen, we haven’t experienced snow yet.

The students are adapting to a 10-hour time difference, waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to go back to sleep. The constant French around them is another reason for them feeling tired.

The students made it to their
first day at school and as I’m writing, our students have received their new timetable and are sitting through their first lessons.

Edward has already had the opportunity to visit Obama Beach and the American cemetery. He reflected on how moving this experience was. Our students will see for themselves the places where the D-Day landing took place. As the Deputy Principal and History teacher at Jeanne d’Arc said, going to these beaches highlight what a suicidal plan this was but it worked.

We thank all students and families who supported the ChoralFest at St. Paul’s Cathedral last week. It was a beautiful event and as always, it was so pleasing to have our students participating and performing throughout the evening. These performances take a great deal of preparation, and our Music Department are to be sincerely thanked for their efforts in supporting our students and community.

We wish the Garnsey community a safe and Merry Christmas and, of course, a very happy New Year!

Pictured below: This week two groups of students began their international exchanges to France and Japan.

Rohan Jayatilake

Head of Garnsey Campus