As we reflect on the celebration of National Reconciliation Week at CGGS, we are filled with pride in the enthusiastic ways our students, staff, and community embraced reconciliation. The 2023 theme, ‘Be a Voice for Generations’, resonated deeply with the student body. This week, as we explored the significance of cultural sharing, aimed to strengthen our commitment to creating a more just and equitable future for all.
Monday’s Assembly was a powerful experience that left a lasting impression on many. Since 2020, CGGS has been working on several impressive giant puppets, that were skillfully brought to life on stage by our creative and talented students. Under the leadership of Keria Lyons and with narration by Murrundindi, the assembly commenced with a captivating retelling of the Wurundjeri Creation Story featuring Bunjil the Eagle. These puppets beautifully embodied Indigenous culture, community, and storytelling, leaving the audience in awe. Our Assembly also featured a Reconciliation Panel which provided students with an opportunity to engage in conversation about the importance of connection to country and sharing of culture.
The Brooksbank Library buzzed with activity as students were invited to create artwork using Indigenous symbols, creating a visually impactful representations of our commitment to reconciliation. In celebration of Indigenous storytelling, these symbols will be used to adorn the bookshelf housing the Indigenous texts in our school library. Indigenous music also filled the main courtyard, creating a vibrant atmosphere enjoyed by many, accompanied by traditional instrumental sounds. Additionally, Murrundindi led a boomerang throwing activity on the oval, giving students a fun yet challenging hands-on experience.
We were delighted to host a special NRW lunch with esteemed guests, including old Grammarians Ruth Dunn and Maryellen Abbot; MITS alum Annie Carruthers and Allira Brown, and Wurundjeri senior elder Murrundindi. This gathering provided an important opportunity to commemorate NRW and recognize the significant roles our guests play in promoting reconciliation.
As the week drew to a close, students were invited to gather in the labyrinth around a warm fire to enjoy Lemon Myrtle cookies and tea. The atmosphere was one of warmth and unity as students gathered to enjoy these traditional treats, fostering a sense of community and togetherness.
National Reconciliation Week 2023 served as an important opportunity to build understanding and develop a stronger more interconnected community. Through the collective efforts of our students and dedicated staff members, we were able to create a memorable week that honoured Indigenous culture and furthered our commitment to reconciliation. Together, we can continue to be the voice for reconciliation and work towards building a more inclusive and harmonious nation for generations to come.
Head of Middle School
When we think of school camps, what comes to mind? The enormous swing? Canoes, giant ropes courses? The big things, right? What we don’t fully remember are the small moments, the ones where someone’s socks were saturated, and a friend let you borrow theirs. The memories of riding a bike for the first time, and although you were petrified, you achieved something beyond what you thought you were capable of. You forget the little conversations you had with someone new. All these beautiful memories big and small, will hopefully be ones that our Year 7 cohort cherish, for many years to come.
On Monday 22 May, 8 staff and 75 students set out from Camberwell Girls. Parents cheered, I mean, solemnly waved farewell and suddenly we were off. Singing songs on the bus and arriving to Grantville with gusto.
After the flurry of settling into rooms and picking which bed would be home for the next few days, our Year 7s set out on a myriad of adventures. We met Koalas and Dingo’s; Murrindindi came to visit to share his wealth of knowledge with us too, which was something incredibly special. Most importantly we spent time, learning and immersing ourselves in the environment and world in which we live in. We were challenged in the ways we had to make difficult decisions, we leaped outside our comfort zones and most importantly we spent time with those we hadn’t quite gotten to know so well just yet.
From a teacher’s perspective, it was a truly humbling and heart-warming experience to see such wonderful young adults, fully adapting to the challenges they faced all whilst being kind, caring and thoughtful to those around them.
Year 7 Coordinator
Our annual Winter Sleep Out is conducted in support of the Salvation Army, raising awareness of homelessness and disadvantage in our local community. On Friday 2 June, students from Years 9 to 12 gathered to learn more about these issues and take action. We welcomed Norman Gale from the local Camberwell branch of the Salvation Army, Stephen Milliken and Natalie Johnson from the Homelessness Eastern Team, and Julia Malone from Salvos Schools, who provided insights regarding those in need or experiencing homelessness in our community and answered student questions in a Q & A session.
CGGS students were delighted to donate to Camberwell Salvos knitted and crocheted beanies and blankets made by our knitting club. Students then engaged in further practical service, purchasing essential items most needed by the Camberwell Salvation Army. While students did go without on the evening, eating a simple meal of noodles or soup, and sleeping outdoors, these activities simply helped to develop empathy and understanding of the experiences of others. Thanks to Service Captains Bella and Jacq, students enjoyed each other’s company with a cosy night of quizzes, crafting and boardgames before going to ‘bed’ in the Quad.
Head of Service Learning
On 6 June, Jess Wilson MP, Member for Kew, hosted a Senior School Leaders’ Forum at Parliament House. This forum gave secondary school students in the Kew electorate an opportunity to raise and discuss issues that they are passionate about and that affect their communities.
Attendees shared local and state issues that are important to them as high school students and as young people. These included mental health support, the impact of COVID-19, the importance of student voice in politics and the wider community, the housing crisis and the impacts of climate change. Jess Wilson facilitated an insightful and empathetic discussion between students about their experiences of these issues. She also shared about her role as an MP and the work she does in Parliament.
Reconciliation Captain, Helena (Year 11) and Service-Learning Captain, Jacqueline (Year 12), attended the forum on behalf of CGGS. Helena and Jacqueline surveyed the CGGS student body about issues that are important to them. They found that 97% of students don’t feel that “young peoples’ voices are being heard in politics right now.” 50% of students surveyed suggested increased consultation with, and education for, community members about issues that are important to them as a solution to address this.
Helena and Jacqueline discussed these findings at the forum and shared CGGS students’ desires for greater consultation with young people and the need for more accessible mental health support.
This forum was a wonderful opportunity for Senior School leaders to learn from each other about their experiences with, and responses to, a range of issues. Helena and Jacqueline are grateful for this platform to voice their concerns to the school’s local MP. It was empowering and inspiring to be a part of this first step in affecting the change they hope to see in State Politics.
Global Politics Teacher
This week Anglican clergy were invited to take part in a workshop entitled, ‘Listening and Learning from students in our Anglican Schools.’ This was part of the 2023 Anglican Diocesan Ministry Conference, when students from 8 different Anglican schools across Melbourne spoke to delegates about their experience as students of faith in Anglican schools. They were also asked to speak on the question, “What would you like to say to the Church?”.
Camberwell Girls was ably represented in this forum by Nektaria, a Year 12 student and our School Wellbeing Captain. Nektaria spoke with passion and clarity about how central faith is to her life, and how faith calls her to include and embrace. This outlook resonated strongly with the other speakers, who expressed their hope that the Church would be a place of deep acceptance.
See below for a part of Nektaria’s eloquent speech.
“As we move forward in this complex world that is evolving socially and politically, it is imperative that we continue to place our hope in God, even when it can be challenging at times, that he will guide us through our adversities. However, it is also imperative, that in spite of our differences, we endeavour to exude the endless love that God Himself has for each and every one of us. When we don’t ‘label’ people, when we aren’t quick to judge a book by its cover, we are able to foster an inclusive environment that is underpinned by the pastoral and spiritual teachings of the faith, communicating God’s word, and God’s love throughout the world”.
CGGS recently celebrated the Careers Information Evening ‘Women in Emerging Technologies.’ Our goal was to introduce students and parents to some of the emerging technologies our students will be using in their jobs of the future. These included Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, Drone Technology, Law & New Technologies, Robotics and Sustainable & Renewable Energy. Students and parents also gained some insight into the world of women currently working in these areas. We had a fantastic line-up of speakers, some ‘not-so-old’ old grammarians, and they shared their experiences and insights into these emerging technologies. Students left the evening with a wider appreciation of the emerging technology landscape.
In addition, we officially launched our HEX @ CGGS partnership. HEX founder, Jeanette Cheah was the keynote speaker, and she had the audience enthralled as she detailed her career journey and what led her to the start-up of HEX.
The HEX partnership is a trailblazing program which offers CGGS students from Years 9-11 a dynamic space to explore career pathways and develop future-ready skills. This program includes a series of four engaging interactive mini degrees, consisting of Innovation, Future, Money and Tech – all designed to upskill our students with in-demand future capabilities.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with CGGS to truly embed a new kind of education. The world is changing at such a rapid pace, and it’s important for young people to be exposed to new technologies, futurist mindsets and emerging career paths early. It’s clear that CGGS, under Principal Debbie Dunwoody’s leadership, is the right environment for this important initiative,” says Jeanette.
Alumnae Relationships Coordinator
Representing Croatia and Slovenia, seven Year 9 – 12 students (Rithanyaa, Maddie, Sophia, Isuli, Amber, Grace and Salome) researched, crafted and negotiated resolutions within different UN committees, including the Economic and Finance Affairs Council and the Committee on Population and Development, as part of Harvard University’s Model UN Security Council, run online over four days in June.
It is the first time Harvard has run a Model UN in Australia, so our students were privileged to have the opportunity to engage in such a prestigious event. The students demonstrated excellent teamwork, organisational skills and initiative as they navigated the challenges of diplomacy and global problem solving.
Dr Charlotte Forwood
Director of Learning Design and Development
How do you bring together a country with people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures? How do you celebrate diversity in a way that includes everyone? These were some of the questions underpinning the Ideation Challenge for our Year 8, 9 and 10 teams representing CGGS in the State Finals of the Da Vinci Decathlon, a national team event challenging teams of eight to complete 10 complex tasks across a day. We had great success in the challenges that required problem solving, creativity, and understanding of the design thinking process, skills developed within our core curriculum as well as our Upskill program.
Year 8: 3rd Ideation
Year 9: 2nd Ideation
Year 10: 2nd Ideation, 2nd Engineering, 1st Art and Poetry
Congratulations to each of the students who represented the school so admirably and in the spirit of the event, demonstrated perseverance, high quality thinking, collaboration and a sense of fun.
Dr Charlotte Forwood
Director of Learning Design and Development
On Tuesday, 30 May, a group of fifteen Year 9 students took part in a leadership development day faciliated by the organisation, yLead. Throughout the day, the students explored the ‘Keys to Unlocking Potential’ and connected and networked with like-minded peers. Alongside broadening their community, the students heard from three fantastic guest speakers who shared stories about courage, social change and inspiration.
Altitude Day was a great experience where we were encouraged to act on the issues we are passionate about, strengthen our abilities to persevere, and build our personalities. One of the presenters, Ben Pettengill, was a great inspiration and taught us a lot about bouncing back and showing courage. He was only 16 when he lost 98% of his eyesight. He told his story of becoming a speaker and being the only legally blind person to compete in a spartan race, untethered, and trekking the Kokoda track multiple times. He was passionate about resilience and not living in denial but taking on the challenges in life. It was an inspirational day.
Ruby E, Year 9
Altitude Day was a great privilege to attend. We were incredibly fortunate to hear from three presenters, all with unique stories and experiences. A presenter who stuck with me was Krushnadevsinh Ravalji. Through his advocacy in multiculturalism and racial equality, Krushnadevsinh won the Future Changemaker Award in 2022 and is to speak in parliament in July this year. Through sharing anecdotes and stories of his childhood, he taught us how to be courageous, to be resilient, and what unconscious bias is. I would certainly recommend the program to all who have the opportunity.
Erika T, Year 9
The Year 9s represented our school with poise and grace, asking insightful questions and collaborating with peers from other schools. We are looking forward to seeing the students put the learnings from the day into action as they prepare and apply for future leadership opporunities.
Year 9 Coordinator
Head of Middle School
On Friday 19 May, Year 10 students studying the Exercise Sports Science elective went on an excursion to the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) in South Melbourne and the Australian Sports Museum at the MCG.
The excursion provided an opportunity for students to learn about the VIS Olympic and Paralympic training facilities and training methods, meet VIS athletes, experience the training load of athletes and tour the strength & conditioning gyms, testing labs and recovery areas.
Students were guided through the facilities by Domonic Bedggood (2 x Commonwealth Gold Medallist & Olympian in Diving) who shared his personal sporting journey and achievements.
They were also lucky enough to be able to watch the Australian Taekwondo team as they participated in one of their final training sessions before competing at the World Championships in Azerbaijan where one of the athletes, Leon Sejranovic, won a bronze medal.
Students also observed elite athletes Catriona Bisset (Athletics) and Jaryd Clifford (2 x World Championship Gold Medallist in Para-Athletics) conducting their training sessions under the watchful eyes of their VIS strength & conditioning coaches in the gym and undertook a fitness testing activity measuring their own muscular power output.
After lunch, the afternoon was spent at the Australian Sports Museum at the MCG. Students were able to test their sporting prowess with a variety of physical and interactive challenges and compare their performance to a selection of Australian elite athletes and each other. The final part of the day allowed students to explore the vast collection of historic artefacts, memorabilia and sporting stories, from grassroots to elite, from some of the great moments in the story of Australian sport.
Sports Science Teacher
On Tuesday 30 May, thirty Year 8-12 students attended the annual Reconciliation Sports Carnival at Worawa Aboriginal College, Healesville as part of 2023 National Reconciliation Week. This year, the school entered teams into the Netball and Volleyball round robin competitions.
CGGS has a proud tradition of participating in the carnival which offers students and staff the opportunity to come together in the true spirit of Reconciliation by encouraging sport, cultural and social exchange between all participants. Proudly wearing the CGGS Indigenous jumpers and bibs, our students demonstrated great spirit and sportsmanship and celebrated success on the courts with both the Netball and Volleyball teams winning matches throughout the day. In fact, the Netball team remained undefeated throughout the tournament with 3 wins and 1 draw.
Other highlights of the carnival included a Welcome to Country and Traditional Smoking Ceremony, walking through the Dreaming Trail, longest kick competition, Basketball shooting competition, Grand Final sprint, traditional Indigenous games, face/body painting, BBQ, and musical performances. Staff and students thoroughly enjoyed the day’s festivities, and we look forward to competing at the Worawa Reconciliation Sports Carnival again in 2024.
Science & PE Teacher
The GSV cross country season wrapped up with the Championship Carnival at Cruden Farm, Langwarrin. This is the only carnival where all 24 GSV schools compete together, and it truly is a remarkable sight.
Under the expert guidance of our middle-distance coaching staff – Jo and Tom, ably assisted by CGGS staff member Tom Clark, the small but dedicated group have trained twice weekly throughout Term 2. On the day of the carnival, CGGS had a full team of 30 students across the Junior, Inter and Senior age groups.
We congratulate every single runner for their efforts and commitment to the team and for competing to the best of their ability. We are thrilled to share the results from our senior team in particular with 3 students having a top 10 finish in our division;
Bella F, Year 11 – 1st
Tara R, Year 12 – 5th
Sasha F – Year 12 – 6th
Senior Team – 2nd overall Division 3
A special mention also to Sienna M who finished 4th in the Junior division. A fantastic result.
As we continue to build our middle-distance running program, we look forward to continued success in 2024.
Head of Sport
Congratulations to the Intermediate team who participated in the Vic College champs last week at Nunawading Stadium. A win in the final game of the day was a great way to finish.
Thursday, 1 June saw 10 Year 7 & 8 students travel to Nunawading Basketball Complex to compete in the Vic College Basketball competition against four other schoolS in Division 2. The team had been formed after a number of early morning trials and all students who participated in the trials should be encouraged to participate in future years. Under the guidance of Mr Jarred Wills, CGGS Deakin Associate Teacher, the team would find themselves in a pool against schools all of whom have dedicated Basketball Academy Programs.
The focus of the day for CGGS was on fun, learning and being good sportspeople. It was with this mindset, that after a loss in the first game, the team bounced back to end the pool round with 3 wins and that one loss. A particular highlight was the whole team performance and grit shown during the last pool game to grind out a three-point win against the second placed team at the time and that maThe Grand Final was a repeat of the first game of the day, undefeated St Monica’s College versus CGGS. Unfortunately, St Monica’s were too strong again for CGGS running out 9 point winners, however, it was a much improved performance by CGGS students.
Congratulations to Year 8 Students Anthea V, Scarlett S, Chloe W, Emily L, Harper D, Alex K, Olivia L, Alexia S and year 7 Students Audrey N and Jessica M on their team performance and the spirit in which they played the games.
Health & Physical Education Teacher
In only the second appearance from a CGGS team in this event, it was with great excitement that we arrived at Jells Park on Saturday morning amongst the rain and mud in true cross-country conditions. It was a sea of colour with school flags and marquees and hundreds of students in their school racing uniforms.
Our team participated in the Under 20 Girls event against both GSV, APS, AGS and State schools with a total of 17 teams. An awesome effort from the senior team of Bella, Sasha, Tara and Issy with a 6th place finish over a 4 x 4km gruelling course. I couldn’t be prouder of how they competed and represented CGGS.
Head of Sport
Our VCE Music students recently spent an immersive day on campus at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. The interactive program included practice advice from the Conservatorium staff, tips for developing a confident approach to presenting live performances and individual masterclass feedback. Students were also provided with the opportunity to hear many of the Conservatorium staff perform VCE repertoire on their specialised instruments, as well as receive some insight into their performance careers. Pathways for tertiary studies at the Conservatorium of Music were presented, providing our students with a greater understanding of potential career choices in music and other creative arts disciplines.
I had the opportunity to perform to Brent Miller, the Conservatorium percussion teacher, and was given insights into the intricacy of moving around the marimba, as well as techniques and exercises that I can use to further improve my skills.
I was fortunate to participate in a masterclass with the Conservatorium’s French Horn teacher, Carla Blackwood. I received lots of beneficial and encouraging feedback regarding my performance. Overall, I learnt many valuable things during this excursion and found the experience very inspiring.
I was able to ask questions in my field of interest and received expert feedback from voice specialist, Stephen Grant, on my selected repertoire and discuss plans for the future. Additionally, I got to meet new people who have similar musical interests and practice performing in front of an appreciative audience.
Director of Music – Curriculum