This past fortnight we have enjoyed many celebrations in person for the first time since 2019 and although each is reported on in other sections of this edition of CamNews, I too wish to highlight the importance of these events in connecting our community.
Being back at St Mark’s Church last week for the Founders’ Service was a very moving experience for all with the singing of the School Anthem written for the Centenary by the choir showing how much we have all missed the opportunity to sing. House Music next Friday will no doubt also be another example of the passion our students and staff have for singing.
On Friday 13 May the 2000, 2001, 2002 – 20 Year Reunions and 2010, 2011 and 2012 – 10 Year Reunions, again reported on in the Community section of this CamNews were a joy for me and other staff who have been at CGGS throughout that timeframe. Chatting with the young women about their memories of times at school, and their journey since leaving CGGS was invigorating, and we have so much to be proud of as they continue to live the school’s values and motto in all their endeavours.
The most recent School Captains Assembly was the perfect lead in to our highly successful Diversity Week we have just celebrated, and which is summarised below. Teagan Diep, Isabel D’Souza and Charli Lincke spoke magnificently about the their Term 2 Theme “Ambition”. At the beginning of the 2022 school year our School Captains introduced their theme of CARE for the year ahead and they have been leading the Senior School wonderfully with the “C” from the acronym being their Term 1 goal and standing for “Connection”. In the assembly they introduced the Term 2 Care Bear – Superstar Bear, who is described as being a ball of energy always aiming to do their best with a positive attitude. They went on to speak about accessibility and advocating for those impacted by a lack of accessibility in our world. As you will read below our Captains of the various areas responsible for organising activities in this week have all worked closely together to ensure our understanding of the many spheres of diversity have been brought front of mind. Congratulations and thank you to all for a “Superstar” week.
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School
Celebrating Diversity Week
CGGS’s Celebrating Diversity Week is a highlight for students and staff, as we come together to acknowledge, learn, support and embrace the vast and wonderfully diverse community not only present within our school but also within the wider world. A student led and driven event, the inspiration for this week stems from an understanding that in acknowledging and learning about our differences we can create a safe and inclusive environment for all.
To begin the week, all students and staff were presented with a 2022 CGGS Diversity Badge designed by Daleney Ing (Year 12), one of our International Captains. We also celebrated Religious Diversity with an interactive quiz that explored various world religions such as Taoism, Buddhism Judaism and the Dreaming, and information posters were displayed around the school. Our Mustard Group also held a special forum to explore Faith and Creation Stories and learn about the Make a Ripple Challenge.
On Tuesday, in recognition of IDAHOBIT Day (The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) students were able to wear a touch of rainbow to celebrate and show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. At lunchtime, students and staff were invited to create pride flag bracelets in the MakerSpace, and were educated on the various pride flags via infographics on our interactive screens.
Wednesday’s activities centred around International and Indigenous Cultures, where students were invited to participate in an International Club quiz that tested knowledge on floral emblems around the world, and their cultural meaning. Additionally, Mrs Clarkson hosted a workshop on Indigenous seeds, and students were able to create their own take home newspaper planter box.
On Thursday and Friday, our School Captains explored Neurodiversity and accessibility, to create better awareness, empathy, understanding and amplify the experience and voices of those most impacted. At lunchtime on both days, students were invited to the MakerSpace to a specially designed Sensory Lab, to build fidget toys such as sensory blocks, stress balls and sensory gel pads. Further to this, Friday also saw Mrs Iskander host an Auslan workshop, which is the sign language of the Australian Deaf Community.
The School Captains also hosted a Neurodiversity discussion for the entire school community during Period 5 on Thursday, which included guest panellists Associate Professor Lisa McKay-Brown (Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Melbourne University), Dr Charlotte Forwood (Director of Learning Design and Development at CGGS) and Dora Sarzektakis (Year 9 student). The panel spent time reflecting and sharing their experiences and perspectives on how we can change ourselves, and our environments to be more accessible to all people.
There are many wonderful students and staff that contributed to our Celebrating Diversity Week and we are so grateful to the entire school community for supporting the initiative.
In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the following students and staff: Rev Creed, Mrs Wood, Mrs Clackson, Mrs Iskander, Mr Perkins, Georgia Bennett, the Library, Charity Tu, Teagan Diep, Charli Lincke, Isabel D’Souza, Emily Wu, May Du, Siena Yap, Daleney Ing, Shuhan Zeng, Bella Bruce, Sarah Sun, Salwa Saiba, Annie Liu, Anya Trikha and Jaya Akritidis.
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing
On Wednesday, 11 May, we celebrated the foundation of our School 102 years ago, with a beautiful service of worship at St Mark’s Church, the place where the first students gathered all those years ago. Students from years 6, 7 and 12 were present at St Mark’s (the first time we have gathered at St Mark’s since Christmas 2019!), while students in years 8 to 11 tuned in via a live-stream.
The theme of the service was “United in Service”, an opportunity for us to reflect on the way that our school motto, “Utilis in Ministerium” (Useful in Service) not only acts as a challenge, but binds us together. We were pleased to welcome the Reverend Michelle Trebilcock, Chaplain at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, to offer a reflection on the meaning of service, along with Year 12 student Emily Wu and Year 6 student Asha Bhattacharjee. Mrs Cathy Georgiev directed a choir of Senior School students who sang the (new) School Anthem with great strength and beauty.
Year 8 Wellbeing Day
On Wednesday 18 May our Year 8 Students took part in a purposefully designed Wellbeing Day which centred around the exploration of Character Strengths as part of their Term One wellbeing curriculum. Across the day, students participated in a series of workshops which were carefully curated by the wellbeing team to respond to emergent trends in issues facing students of this age group, drawing upon the Year 8 Wellbeing theme of ‘Self-Discovery.
Take a Seat Initiative & Challenge Games
The morning was spent engaging in a range of challenging competitive games and thought-provoking questions to provide students with an opportunity to be curios, engage and connect with their peers in a new way. The activities were designed to encourage students to seek information, understanding, collaborate and learn more about themselves and those around them.
Body Image in the Digital World
The second session was delivered by experts from the Butterfly Foundation, an organisation that supports the promotion of healthy body image in young people. The presentation provided practical strategies to support body confidence, empowering our students to reach out for help and prompted discussion and critical thinking about the role social media plays in body image of young people. The session also enabled the students to create personal boundaries and challenge the cultural norms that are portrayed on social media and explored the collective power that young people have in changing the narrative.
Radiant Readers and Zine Creation
Led by the Year Level Coordinator, Maria Litchfield, this ‘Radiant Readers’ program spanned across the Year 8 wellbeing program in Term One and culminated in the Wellbeing Day activity. Students focused on their individual character strength by exploring and unpacking inspiring and hopeful texts. The students created their own final product, a zine, that showcased a key strength in a creative and meaningful design. These zines are now on display in the Year 8 Level area and represent the goal of collective strength and celebrating personal values.
Ribbon of Strength
The final session of the day further reinforced the collective strength of the Year 8 cohort, exploring the power that each student has in making informed decisions about where they focus their attention and how they support themselves and their peers. In recognising the diversity that exists and committing to embracing this, each student made a ‘Friendship’ bracelet for one of their peers as symbol of their support and solidarity.
As part of the Year 8 Wellbeing curriculum for Term Two, students and their teachers will continue to explore these themes, looking closely at the problems with perfectionism, the power of failure and the skills that we develop in the process. In August, the second Year 8 Wellbeing Day will take place, in which students will work closely with the organisation ‘Flourish Girl’.
Year 8 Testimonials
“Today was really fun day and i definitely talked to a lot of people that i have never talked before!!”
“I really enjoyed today and loved how interactive everything was and how I got to hang out with everyone – even my peers in different classes. All of the activities I participated in I found really enjoyable and fun to complete. Overall, today was a really fun day and I definitely had a great time”
“I enjoyed the well-being day heaps. And can’t wait for the next day of fun.”
Kath Woolcock, Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing & Maria Litchfield, Year 8 Coordinator
This year for the first time, students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sat NAPLAN (National Assessment Program of Literacy and Numeracy) online. They joined all schools across Australia to access their four tests electronically over a nine-day testing period.
The move to a digital format has enabled the semi-adaptive assessment of skills. This means that the types of questions being asked over the course of the assessment were able to be adjusted up or down, depending on a student’s response. This type of testing provides a more detailed picture of a student’s skills in the areas being assessed: Reading Comprehension, Conventions of Language (including grammar and punctuation), Writing and Numeracy, compared with the previous paper format.
Each assessment was completed in one of the school’s computer labs, and students were supervised by experienced CGGS staff and VCAA examination invigilators. Students embraced the new format and seamlessly adapted to the transition from paper to electronic assessments. Those who were unable to sit a test had the opportunity to complete it later within the testing period, if practical.
Charlotte Forwood, Director of Learning Design and Development and James Henderson, Director of School Operations
Melbourne Wind Symphony
Earlier this year Chloe Wong (7) successfully auditioned for Melbourne Wind Symphony (MYWS), which is an ensemble being part of the Melbourne Youth Orchestras. The orchestras rehearse weekly and for the first time in a very long time the MYWS performed a concert on Sunday 15 May at the Iwaki Auditorium.
Chloe has reflected on her performance:
My concert experience was very positive. I played some wonderful pieces and thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Iwaki Auditorium, where it was a completely different experience to what I am used to. The auditorium had much more echo than a normal rehearsal room as the space was much vaster.
I enjoyed playing all the repertoire and playing in front of a live audience once again after so long of not being able to.
One of my favourite pieces was ‘I Am’ by Andrew Boysen Jr, because it was a unique composition with a very special story behind it as the music was written in response to a young high school musician who tragically died in a car accident.
A few days prior to the accident, the student had written a poem, which was where the name, ‘I Am’ came from. ‘I Am’ is a dedication to and a celebration of the life of this student.
A link to all the pieces MYWS played in the concert.
It is wonderful that a member of the CGGS community was able to engage with music making in such a special and meaningful way and in a well-regarded musical institution such as the MYWS.
GSV Sports Leaders Breakfast
Each year GSV invites the Sports Captains along with other school sport leaders to attend a networking breakfast that aims to celebrate and empower students from each of its member schools. This year it was held at St Kilda Football Club – RSEA park.
The CGGS leaders that attended on the day were School Sport Captain Ella Robinson, and Year 12 GSV Captains Bianca Coles, Ava Hu and Emma Peak.
Upon arrival, we were allocated to tables of ten students from a range of different schools. First we had a presentation from the St Kilda Football Club CEO, Matt Finnis, who broke down the journey of AFLW at St Kilda from its start to successful growth, ending on high hopes and aspirations for where the future leads for both the club and broader possibilities for women’s sport, reminding us that we are the future.
Next we heard from the Captain of the AFLW St Kilda Football Club, Hannah Priest. Hannah is known for being the glue that held the team together both on and off the field this year, exceeding all expectations in her maiden season as a leader of the club. She is known for her defensive skills and being calm under pressure which provides great leadership for her team. The AFLW Team of the Year inductee was at her best when the Saints were under pressure, with her displays against accomplished opposition holding her in high regard across the competition. Along with a top-10 finish at St Kilda’s Best & Fairest, Hannah Priest was awarded the AFLW Crest Award for upholding the values of the club.
Whilst casually interviewing her midfielder teammate Olivia Vesely, we learnt that Olivia had been unable to play for majority of the last season due to injury; and how she overcame that hurdle. She believed that maintaining presence and spirt in the team was essential, and to always be at trainings even if she was doing separate rehabilitation exercises, emphasising that you can always be valuable to your team.
After the speaker presentations, each table group was given a school sport related scenario we had to solve, such as how to get more students to sign up for GSV or how to handle a coaching a team when their original coach is away. This allowed us to share our experiences and ideas whilst workshopping different solutions, ultimately adding to our resource bank for the future.
To close, students and staff were taken on a brief tour of the Danny Frawley Centre, featuring multiple exercise rooms and a newly added pool. The Centre’s vision is to continue Danny Frawley’s legacy where everyone is welcome, where everyone looks after their health & wellbeing.
We’re so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to implementing what we’ve learnt into our leadership positions throughout the year.
School Sport Captain
Taekwando Black Belt
On Friday of last week Year 9 student, Sarah Chan, after practicing the art of Taekwando since the age of 6, finally achieved her Kukkiwon 1st Poom Taekwando Promotion Test certificate from the World Taekwando Headquarters based in Korea, earning her the black belt she has been working so hard towards.
In Grade 1 Sarah commenced taekwando as an outlet for her high levels of energy. Taedwondo is a form of Korean martial arts, directly translating to “the way of the hand and foot”. It focuses mainly on self-defensive hand and foot techniques, as opposed to attack and offense.All students commence as a white belt and complete a standard grading assessment before moving to the next level. The levels progress through yellow, blue and red before black, with each belt colour consisting of three “dans” (stripes), each one of which is earned after a single grading process. This process therefore requires a huge commitment between each layer of progress. The content becomes more difficult to learn and memorise and the gradings take longer to prepare for.
Sarah prepared for her blackbelt grading for over a year, as it requires a lot of dedication and practice. Her preparation was a little different to standard, as the majority of her training was conducted via Zoom classes twice a week in her bedroom! On occasion her coach would meet Sarah and her training partner at the local park to practice. It was definitely an experience she will never forget.
Sarah has had the same coach ever since she commenced, learning a lot from both him and the other blackbelt holders that have supported the younger students throughout their taekwando journey.
Congratulations Sarah, on this significant achievement.
Preliminary Cross Country Carnival
Last Tuesday, 32 students participated in the GSV Preliminary Cross Country Carnival held at Yarra Bend Park. It was a cool but sunny afternoon for everyone to complete the course which consisted of 3km for the juniors and 4km for the intermediate and senior students.
Ribbons were awarded to the top 10 places and we had some outstanding results from Bella Fary who finished 2nd in her race as well as Sasha Feldmann and Anika Selvaratnam who both finished 10th. Tara Rastogi was also close behind in 11th position.
Thank you to our Head Coach, Jo Bowden for preparing the girls so well for this competition.
We look forward to seeing the team compete again next Friday at the Championship Carnival which will be held at Cruden Farm.