Through focussing on their selected character strength of ZEST, our three School Captains – Nikki, Stephanie and Ellie, together with the School and House Captains, are highlighting and promoting ZEST in various activities throughout the year. It is their vision that this strength will encompass the school community whilst also aligning with our values. I am very pleased to include their article below to give an insight into their commitment as Captains this year.
With best wishes,
At the conclusion of Term 1, we put together our reflections, what we had achieved throughout Term 1 and our goals for the rest of the year. For this year, we wanted a theme that would not only encompass our own personalities, but also encapsulate our wonderful school community. Hence, the character strength ZEST came to mind. We chose zest because we want to spread energy and enthusiasm throughout our school community. Zest is all about the wholeheartedness of living, looking to the edges of our horizons and living passionately with happiness and fulfilment.If you’ve got a zest for something, you put your whole heart and soul into it. By injecting these qualities into our everyday lives and into the school community, we have surrounded ourselves with great energy and positivity and have found satisfaction in the things we do.
By utilising the pre-existing ‘wonderwall’ as an interactive medium to promote our theme of zest, we encouraged staff and students to share their zestful encounters and gratitude for members of our school community by writing weekly shout-outs. These shout-outs are displayed on our Wonderwall and some are read out during assembly. Although a seemingly small gesture, after these acknowledgements are shared, a sense of connection and appreciation spreads throughout Barbara Sutton Hall, leaving everyone with a vitalising buzz.
THEMES AND INITIATIVES
Term 1 – Zeal
The first letter of zest, ‘Z’, represents the quality of zeal, which was our focus for Term 1. We perceive zeal as having great liveliness or passion in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
Our first major initiative was the Valentine’s Day Stall, where we sold roses that staff and students could buy for each other and write an accompanying ‘love letter’. The roses were a big hit as our Year 12 cupids diligently delivered these special surprises, sent from their secret valentines. The aim of this stall was to spread positive energy and love throughout the school and by the end of the day, we were left with an overwhelming sense of warmth.
Continuing on, we hosted a Year 7 school uniform fashion parade! With the cooperation of one of our most zealous teachers and Year 7 Coordinator, Ms Caruso, we put on a marvellous runway show. Our models, the Year 12 Captains, fervently dressed in exemplar school and sports uniforms to demonstrate to our newest members of the CGGS community how to wear our uniform with pride.
In Term 1, we were also fortunate enough to assist in hosting the Inaugural International Women’s Day Breakfast. We were able to hear the perspectives of four incredible CGGS old grammarians Georgina Imberger, Cate Robertson,Christine Willshireand Amie Herdman, who started a charity ‘The Piano Project’. The Piano Project offers free music lessons to refugees and new immigrants. Their stories were inspiration to us all to live with zeal and courage and to pursue what we love.
As a way to add some spice into our weekly assemblies, we piloted our first episode of The NES Show. The show’s name was inspired by the catchy acronym of our names, cleverly thought of by Mrs Poyser. As one of our main goals for this year is to strengthen our school community, we thought it would be suitable to feature members of the CGGS community on our talk show. Our special guests were Miss Tan (Maths teacher), Mr Loff (Maths teacher) and Mr Clark (Geography teacher), A.K.A TLC! We thought TLC would be perfect to feature on our show as they are all new teachers to the school this year. Throughout the show, we discovered some fun facts about them, and discussed how they perceive our theme of this term, ‘zeal’, in the school community. TLC shared their admirable observations about our girls’ positivity and enthusiasm towards participating in recent events such as House Dance and House Athletics.
Furthermore, House Dance and House Athletics were perfect examples of zeal in our school community. The energy and passion that was displayed through eager participation fulfilled our vision of a zealous school community.
Term 2 – Empathy
‘E’ stands for empathy and is our chosen theme for Term 2. We believe empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
In Term 2, we plan to introduce a variety of quadrangle activities such as live music performances from various bands, minor sporting games and creative workshops. These activities are intended to connect all members of the school community and strengthen bonds and henceforth develop a sense of understanding towards one another.
Another main initiative is ‘Big Sister, Little Sister’, a buddy program between Year 7s and 10s. Not only will this enhance school spirit, but it will also create natural and meaningful inter-year level connections. Furthermore, we believe ‘Big Sister, Little Sister’ will be a way to help the Year 7 girls with their transition into senior school and the Year 10 girls in developing their leadership skills and ability to share empathetic conversations.
Continuing to encourage togetherness, we are also planning a whole school picnic, where staff and students can enjoy lunch together and have meaningful conversations. We hope that this picnic will create an open dialogue with all girls in the school and allow us to reflect on both the individuality of each girl and the school spirit that unites us all.
Another event that we had the opportunity to assist in, was the Mother’s Day Breakfast. A heart-warming video that showed girls describing their mum in one word was played at the beginning of the breakfast, put together with the assistance of Mrs Jepson and Mr Perkins. This was followed by guest speaker and CGGS old grammarian, Jill Bales, who spoke about Dream Stitches – a community-based sewing program which aims to teach migrant and refugee women sewing skills, while enabling them to develop friendships in their new country. It was wonderful to see all the girls enjoying a morning with their mothers, whilst being able to continue our support and wonderful working relationship with the Dream Stitches organisation.
Term 3 – Sincerity
‘S’ stands for sincerity and is our chosen theme for Term 3. We see sincerity as being genuine, honest and having integrity.
Thus, we are looking forward to organising a Respectful Relationships Forum which will include neighbouring schools. In this forum, we hope to create a safe space for open discussions and work together to assist all our schools in further nurturing the relationships that we all share with others. This links to our theme of sincerity, as we believe it is vital for students to be true to themselves, which will allow them to form genuine connections with others. This is a quality we think is essential to our school community as we feel that it is the special connections that staff and students share that makes CGGS unique.
Continuing the annual tradition of Camber-wellbeing week, we look forward to holding many forums, activities and workshops relating to positive mental health. Term 3 can often be a stressful time, hence we believe it is crucial to maintain a positive headspace and remain optimistic.
Term 4 – Teamwork
Finally, ‘T’ stands for teamwork and is the theme for Term 4. We believe that teamwork is all about working collaboratively and effectively with others in order to achieve a common goal.
Working together has been vital in allowing us to achieve all that we have thus far. The core of achievement comes from a productive and effective team, who all respect each other and share a common vision. We have all been able to combine our strengths and act as each other’s support system.
We are so grateful to be able to share this experience with each other. In Term 4, as we hand our position over to the 2020 School Captains, collaboration and cooperation will be the greatest power and we trust that they will use it graciously and resourcefully.
We would also like to thank the rest of our team – the other captains and staff. To the captains, thank you for all the work you have done so far and your endless support and energy has invigorated our community and driven our achievements. To the staff, notably Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Mrs Robinson, Mr Maycock and Mrs Watkins, your help has been invaluable to us so far and our roles would be impossible without you. You have all been perfect examples of true leadership and have inspired us to recognise the worth and value of each member in a team.
Each person has a unique zest for life, we hope that you embrace it, cherish it and hold onto it. During our time as leaders, we hope to inspire everyone to find their own zest for life and to live with zeal, empathy, sincerity and teamwork.
With best wishes,
Nikki Chen, Ellie Zhou & Stephanie Lysikatos