June 25, 2021

It is my pleasure to introduce the lead article for CamNews this week. Our three School Captains – Sophia, Eloise and Ashley, with the support of School and House Captains and Student Leaders have embarked upon their theme “SAIL“ as they navigate the waves of 2021.  Their goal this year is to reinforce the sense of belonging and embrace all that is Camberwell Girls.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all families for their support this term and I hope that you all have time to relax and recharge during the holiday break.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

Following the rollercoaster year of 2020, we – Sophia, Eloise, Ashley (SEA), have been entrusted with the role of School Captains of Camberwell Girls Grammar School in 2021. We stepped into our positions eager to make a difference, while apprehensive of what the year ahead would bring as we navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are excited to host the postponed centenary events celebrating this significant milestone during the school’s 101st year.

When deciding upon our theme for 2021, we wanted to embrace the challenges we have faced whilst also adopting a positive outlook towards the future. Our chosen theme for this year, “SAIL”, which stands for, Support, Authenticity, Inclusion and Love – all values we want to embrace in 2021.

As we SAIL to a brighter future for 2021, we focus on understanding the presence of our strong support network, catching us when we fall and praising us on our achievements and individuality. We give ourselves the opportunity to be authentic, in a safe and encouraging environment with those who support us.

To further broadcast this theme, we have utilised the ‘Wonder Wall’ and the school captain Instagram page. When on campus, we encouraged staff and students to express their permeating gratitude and kindness for other members of the CGGS community through ‘Shout Outs’. When at home, we continually showed support through the virtual ‘Shout Outs Padlet’, to promote the love and warmth characterised by the community. Through SAIL, we discover the best aspects of our school and unite to face any hardSHIPS that 2021 may present.

Term 1 – Support

The letter ’S’ stands for Support, which we focused on during Term 1. We believe support means to always be there for one another and encourage everyone’s endeavours.

Our first initiative as School Captains was coordinating our Valentine’s Day stall. We organised a hand painting stall and a game of “guess the amount of heart chocolates in the jar”. We also offered a ‘rainbow’ painted heart option in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. This initiative helped the CGGS community celebrate the love we have for one another. The colourfully-clad Year 12’s exuded considerable amounts of spirit which bolstered the success of the day.

To introduce the 2021 Student Leadership Team, we produced a video to announce our passionate leaders. Inspired by the introduction of the classic TV show ‘Friends’, the high-spirited video enabled staff and students across all year levels to meet their student leaders. The video was so popular it was also uploaded to the @CamberwellGirls Instagram and Facebook for the wider community to view.

As a new strategy to invigorate staff and students between classes, we created an initiative titled ‘Find the Fish!’. The hidden miniature replica of the Centenary mosaic fish in the CGGS water feature created an engaging hunt, assisted by a cryptic clue sent out to hint at its whereabouts. The influx of photos we received was sensational, illustrating the active participation of the CGGS community.

Term 2 – Authenticity

The ‘A’ in “SAIL” stands for Authenticity, reflecting how we define ourselves and the way in which we choose to live. Our Term 2 theme highlights how displaying your true self and leading your life according to your desires is important, alongside expressing yourself authentically.

Knowing how to listen to the stories of others is just as important as sharing your own. Inspired by this, we implemented ‘CGGS Speaks’ to enable Camberwell staff and students the opportunity to present on a broad range of topics they are passionate about. As a community, we learnt of a candle business, a bread making passion, a fitness journey and even had a teacher become an author over lockdown! We hope that the community has been enthused by these mini speeches at assembly, motivating and encouraging all to have a voice on topics that matter to them.

We heard from Kathy Kaplan from ‘Impact’ during the International Women’s Day breakfast, our inspiration for creating ‘Watch Week’. During this week, students had the opportunity to wear red – the symbolic colour of ‘Impact’ which raises awareness of women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. CGGS was flooded in a SEA of red and raised over $787! A group of staff and students also set the food tech lab alive with their baking skills and the items were sold at the popular bake sale, staff and students had the opportunity to write positive messages on a paper chain as a symbol of solidarity, along with chalk messages to fill the quadrangle with more awareness and love. From this, a further $497 was raised!

During mid-April, we officially commenced our “Soul Siblings” program with a Year 7 and Year 9 student pairing up and taking part in various activities as “siblings”. This initiative aims to help the Year 7 students settle into their life at Senior School, while providing the Year 9 students with opportunities for leadership before entering their senior years. Through collaborative games on campus and via zoom, we hope that these inter-year level friendships are ones to be cherished.

Term 3 – Inclusion

The ‘I’ in “SAIL” stands for Inclusion and is what we have chosen to explore during Term 3. Lady Gaga once mentioned that “[she] believe[s] in a passion for inclusion”, a characteristic we strongly relate to and have worked earnestly to incorporate into our projects for this term.

Given the circumstances of quarantine during 2020, the CGGS community was largely unable to physically connect amongst ourselves or others externally. We are therefore looking forward to resuming the annual CGGS v CGS Netball Match and from this fundraising event intend to donate goods to ‘Impact’. We hope to include as many students as possible in the orchestration of this event to allow girls to have an opportunity to extend their leadership skills.

Throughout this year, we have continued “Season Two” of the ‘2 Cents Podcast’, originally instigated by FL2, the 2020 School Captains. For the podcast this year, we have had the vision to share our ‘two cents’ on a variety of social topics, to engage student voice and yield advice to everyone in our school community. In Term 1, we focused our episodes on our theme of ‘Support’ and created an episode about our theme SAIL, a sleep episode and one regarding stress. For Term 2, we discussed social media and the top ten ways to be our authentic selves. In Term 3, we will invite guest speakers to gain wider perspectives on different topics.

This podcast is a wonderful platform to engage with our peers. We have learnt many new skills from hosting this season and we hope the episodes resonate with many.

Term 4 – Love

Our focus for Term 4 will be ‘L’ – Love. We chose love because we wished to project a positive legacy that embraces the whole school community like that of family.

Ultimately, having compassion and caring for each other is necessary to succeed in orchestrating initiatives and exploring our leadership qualities in the best way possible. Having the ability to play to our strengths drives our achievements and builds upon the loving support network around us.

As a trio, we have been blessed with the opportunity to experience such an amazing leadership role. This journey would not have been possible without the support of our fellow captains and crew mates. We also wish to express our gratitude to Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Ms Woolcock and Mrs Robinson. As our mentors they have taught us so many valuable strategies, encouraged us to work collaboratively and to acknowledge our individual strengths.

Sailing is about exploring your strengths yet moving out of your comfort zone to chase growth. When a Camberwell girl steps on board the CGGS ship and sets sail, it is her opportunity to navigate her own journey. She will recognise and call upon her support network to back her own authentic path, including everyone on her voyage through compassion and love. During our time as School Captains, we hope we have in some way inspired everyone through our theme of SAIL.

Be the captain to chart your own journey and never be afraid of storms. For you, are learning to sail your ship.

With best wishes,

Your 2021 School Captains, SEA
Sophia Giagoudakis, Eloise Webster and Ashley Olsen