After a three week holiday it was wonderful to welcome the students and staff back to Term 4. Hopefully all families enjoyed the extended break and were able to re-charge their batteries ready for the next 10 weeks.
This term we have welcomed 4 new families to the Senior School and it is pleasing to say the girls have settled in very well. I extend my thanks to their student buddies who always carry out this responsibility with great pride.
Our two overseas trips, to Cambodia and the USA were both immensely successful and I feel sure many of you had the pleasure of keeping up-to-date with the experiences and travels either via the school Facebook or Twitter pages. Many thanks to all the students who represented the school and themselves magnificently on these tours and, of course, to the staff who organised and conducted the trips.
This past few mornings some families may have noticed me welcoming students at the Torrington Street entrance. For me this is a lovely way to start the day and I hope to continue this as much as possible. I take this opportunity to respectfully ask that all our Senior School students are dropped off in the adjoining streets, rather than in the staff car parks. We need to ensure the safety of all our students and the main entrance and driveway is a walkway for our community.
In Senior School Assembly last week we acknowledged the outstanding achievements of Victoria Xiao, Isabelle Brisk and Chloe Law, who have succeeded in accomplishing their A Mus A Diplomas this semester. Victoria has achieved her diploma for cello, Isabelle has achieved her diploma for violin, and Chloe has achieved her diploma for piano. Chloe has also become only the second student at CGGS to achieve her A Mus A on two different instruments – congratulations Chloe! Emily Wu was the first student to achieve this incredible feat at CGGS only a few months ago.
We now have six students who have achieved their A Mus A diplomas this year. The girls will all receive their diploma certificates at a special ceremony later in the year. We would like to acknowledge their hours and hours of commitment and dedication to their music and celebrate the depth and talent of our CGGS musicians.
On Wednesday 9 October we had the great pleasure of welcoming Kate Eddy, Melbourne Vixens Netballer to speak to our students and their parents and to present our awards to the 2019 Saturday Netballers. Please see the full report of the evening and the recipients of the awards later in this article. I do take this opportunity to thank our volunteer coaches, past student coaches, our umpires and our CGGS Saturday Netball Coordinator Lexie Joyce for all the encouragement of our students throughout the year.
On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 our Year 9 students were involved in a Pop-Up Learning experience titled “World of Work”. Again, a more detailed summary of the days features later in this article. Again, we thank the many guest speakers, Trish Dolan our Careers Counsellor, Nirvana Watkins, Year 9 Coordinator and Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing (Curriculum and Programs), Kate Manners, Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning and Dr Charlotte Forwood, Director of Learning Design and Development for their organisation of these exceptional days.
On Friday night the annual VCE Art Exhibition was formally opened and all present enjoyed the magnificent Studio Art and Visual Communication Design pieces created by our Year 11 and 12 students. Thank you to all in the Art Department and Maintenance Department as they brought Robinson Hall to life as a gallery. Also, many thanks to the Parents and Friends Association for providing the supper on the night.
This week in our Senior School assembly we had a guest presenter, Dr Vanessa Palmer, Adult and Paediatric Dermatologist, who spoke to us all on the topic of “The benefits of sun protection and why we should all be wearing hats”. Since hearing Dr Palmers compelling reasons for us all to take more care of our skin, I have invited expressions of interest from students wishing to be part of a working committee to discuss the importance of this message for CGGS. A number of students have replied positively to join this committee.
Nancy Huang Year 9, played a magnificent piano solo or Elegy Op.3 No .1 by Sergei Rachmaninov. We also acknowledged the Chinese Debating Team on their success in the Wei Cup. This is the largest Chinese High School debating competition in Victoria. This year, more than 200 debaters from 27 schools participated in the competition. This is the third year in which CCGS has joined the debate with 6 students coming from years 9, 10 and 11. The debate runs for over two months and we have successfully progressed through 5 rounds to reach the semi-final. With tremendous preparation, training and research, our Chinese debaters achieved third place this year and they are honoured to have been invited to compete in the Chinese Debating World Championship, held in Malaysia this coming December.
The Chinese debating captain, Christine Guan received a prestigious personal award as the best speaker for 2019 Xin Wei Cup. Congratulations to our talented debaters Christine Guan, Helena Liu, Suzy Zhu, Selina Wang, Lydia Wang and Angela Zhang for their enthusiasm and dedication. We wish them all the best for the World Championship in Malaysia in December.
We then had the pleasure of presenting House Badges to students who have contributed 30 points toward their House and School Badges to students who have shown 3 years commitment to one specific co-curricular area of Sport, Music, Drama or Service. The awards of House Colours and Blazer Pocket and Full Colours for School activities being awarded later in the week at our Year 10 – 12 Presentation Night.
This past week we have shared with our Year 12 cohort many lasts – their final Senior School Assembly led by the School Captains, Nikki Chen, Ellie Zhou and Stephanie Lysikatos (NES), Presentation Night where numerous students in Year 10 – 12 were acknowledged for their Academic, Citizenship and Co-curricular achievements throughout this year. And today the Year 12 students ran their own assembly with the theme of Jungle. The celebrations of the Class of 2019 were clever, humorous and extremely well planned. All-in-all it has been a wonderful week and we thank the Year 12 cohort for their fun-loving energy.
The initiatives implemented by NES throughout this year were quite unique and connected the school in a way that has been delightful to see. I have particularly enjoyed the quadrangle music performances and the intimacy of the connections between our most senior and junior students. I wish our three Captains, the extended leadership group of students, and indeed the entire Year 12 cohort the very best for their up-coming examinations. In time, I’m excited to hear of what is next in their adventures beyond CGGS.
In order to plan for 2020, the Uniform Committee, which includes staff and students have been considering over the past year all items of uniform and a decision has been made to phase out the 3/4 length sleeve sports top and the sports hoodie. From the end of 2020 these items are not to be worn by our students as part of their uniform. In their place there will be new House tops, and a 1/4 zip pullover to take the place of the hoodie.
We have completed surveying the CGGS community about digital wellbeing. Thank you to our students, teachers and families for your participation, which has helped us gather current data about our community’s technology usage and perceptions, including any concerns.
Now we begin the process of examining this data. It will be used to help inform our next steps as we work together to promote digital wellbeing. Our teachers have begun this process, by looking at some data trends and considering their implications. We have also had initial student focus group sessions and will be running more of these as we look at refining our shared expectations of device usage for learning. We are grateful that many parents have expressed an interest in participating in digital wellbeing forums and focus groups. Details of these opportunities will be published in upcoming editions of CamNews as well as results from our student, teacher and family surveys. We look forward to continuing our community’s focus on digital wellbeing throughout this term and in 2020.
Cathy Poyser and Felicity Carroll
Cambodia Service Learning Immersion Tour
During the term break, eighteen intrepid CGGS students in Years 10 and 11, accompanied by Ms Watkins, Ms Gordon and Miss Cheong travelled to Cambodia for the annual Service Learning Immersion Tour. The Tour supports our ongoing partnership with Green Gecko Project, an NGO based in Siem Reap which works with former street kids and their families, providing educational and employment opportunities. Students participating in the Tour participated in cultural exchange with the Green Gecko students, visited the temples in the Angkor complex and learnt to count and write their names in Khmer, as well as a few moves in the Khmer martial art of Bokator. CGGS students also had the opportunity to share prepared lessons in Art and STEM with the Geckos.
Our partnership with Green Gecko is supported by year-round fundraising efforts and this year students participating in the Tour raised nearly $12,000 to support Green Gecko. The significance of this opportunity for our students is reflected in the number of students who applied to be part of the program this year, and consequently we have two groups travelling to Cambodia this year: one in September and one in December.
As part of their itinerary, students had a chance to explore Khmer culture through a boat cruise at Lake Tonle Sap, a visit to the Phare Cambodian Circus, which trains performers in acrobatics and circus, and two days in a village homestay in the Kulen Mountain National Park, 2 hours north east of Siem Reap. While at the homestay, students had the opportunity to debrief with their tour leaders, reflect on the insights and connections that they made, and plan for opportunities to share their service experiences with the wider school community.
Included below are some of the students’ daily reflections from during the Tour:
Visiting the temples was an amazing experience and we loved being able to share this with our new Gecko friends. Getting to know their stories and having fun through jokes, allowed us to form new friendships, and we hope that these will grow throughout our trip and at home. The temples were absolutely breathtaking and definitely worth the walk through the heat!
Belinda Lemanis and Eloise Holwill
Today we had such a busy day. We visited the Banteay Srey temple (women’s temple) and this temple contrasted the others as it is made of pink sandstone rather than grey sandstone. Next we visited the Cambodian Landmine Museum, for a lot of us, this experience was confronting yet eye-opening and reminded us of our mission for this trip and why we are all here. A volunteer who has been involved with Aki Ra and the museum since he was injured by a landmine spoke to us about his story and the need for help in ensuring safety across the country from uncleared landmines left from the conflict. A shocking statistic that was shared with us is that 1 in 300 Cambodians are affected by land mines. Despite the first half of the day being challenging, the second was filled with fun and bonding as a group. We visited the Made in Cambodia market which was later followed by a visit to the Jaya House River Park Hotel, which is a 98% plastic free hotel. We spent the night at Phare Circus having dinner with the Geckos which was not only fun but gave us a chance to further make connections with them. This is only the 4th day of our trip and already have learnt so much and we can’t wait for what’s to come.
Claire Tremewen and Hannah Shillington
The most impactful moment for me today was when we went to the farm. As well as having so much fun playing with the Gecko kids, seeing them smiling, laughing, singing and screaming together while playing with the mud, made me realise that while materialistic items can bring you joy it’s the connections you make with other people and the time you spend with them that really mean the most to you.