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Secondary School

As we welcomed back our students and staff last week there was an unmistakable buzz of anticipation in the air. Settling into the term, it’s also been wonderful to hear from our students about their experiences and memories made on the Lake Mungo Trip and the USA Space Tour, as well as students and staff who spent quality time with family and friends while on holidays.

This term promises to be a culmination of all the hard work, growth and achievements of our students throughout the year and it is a time when they will have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge, creativity and progress through many activities, initiatives and projects.  We are looking forward to witnessing their continued dedication and success and celebrating these with families throughout the course of the term.

This week the Secondary School has celebrated the final week of high school education for our Year 12 students, a monumental milestone that symbolises the end of their school days and the threshold to adulthood. It is a junction where they transition from the familiar confines of high school into a realm of limitless possibilities and newfound responsibilities. These transitions hold immense significance and are steeped in tradition and history, and we have been excited to witness them unfold and celebrate in their joy. Next week, the events continue, with the Year 12 Celebration Day, the Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner. We then say farewell to our Year 12 students as they focus on their final exams and embark on the next exciting chapter of their journey. We wish all our Year 12 students well over the next few weeks, knowing that they have confidence, purpose and a solid foundation for success, alongside the support of the entire CGGS community.

Kath Woolcock                        
Head of Senior School              

Kate Giles
Head of Middle School

Year 10 – 12 Presentation Evening

On Wednesday 11 October we celebrated our annual Presentation Evening for students in Year 10–12.  Joined by nearly 300 parents, Year 10–12 students and staff, we recognised and celebrated the incredible academic, citizenship and co-curricular achievements of 2023. Throughout the evening we were privileged to hear some extraordinary musical performances, along with reflections from students on their highlights across the year.

During the evening we presented many prestigious school awards. Congratulations to all our Academic Award recipients who were recognised for the diligence and academic excellence they have shown this year. The presentation of our Outstanding Citizenship Awards are an important recognition and acknowledgement of those students who embody the CGGS values as well as our school motto, and we congratulate all students who were recipients of this prestigious award.

The evening also provided an opportunity to reflect upon both individual successes and the collective achievements of the Class of 2023, the soon to be Year 12 graduates. Throughout the course of this evening, each Year 12 student was invited on stage and recognised for their valuable contributions to the CGGS community.

Presentation Evening is the result of the hard work of an incredible team of staff and students, and I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone involved.

Kath Woolcock
Head of Senior School

Year 12 Celebration Week – Five Days of Fun

As the countdown continued for our Year 12 students this week, they have been attending all classes as normal with a not so normal approach to their uniform. Labelled the “five days of fun”, each day has had a theme which has brought colour and energy to the community and has set the bar high for years to come.

Monday was the very traditional CGGS ‘Pigtail Day’ where students recreated their prep photo, wore high or low pigtails and generally looked incredibly young again! Students who started in Ormiston also had the opportunity to visit Junior School and see the teachers, classrooms and play on the equipment. 

Tuesday saw a “uniform swap” that has also become an eagerly anticipated day and there was a plethora of different school uniforms on display. Staff joined in and revealed some old school uniforms or parts thereof which the students enjoyed.

A new addition was Wednesday’s “Bring anything but a bag day” and the creative thinking on display here was incredible. Suitcases, eskies, blow up boats, trolleys, toy tubs and almost everything else you can imagine accompanied our students to class.

Our adopted mascot for 2023 was Dr Seuss and “Things 1 and 2”. Each Year 12 student has a “Thing” number from 1-92 and this was their dress up theme for Thursday. The finale on Friday was uniform alteration day with a touch of pink.

There has been a sense of belonging and unity amongst the year group and they are to be congratulated on embracing the week’s activities in this way. 

Nareen Robinson
Year 12 Coordinator

2024 Student Leadership Team

At CGGS, the vitality of our student leaders stands as one of our most valuable strengths. During Assembly on Tuesday, 10 October we seized the chance to extend our gratitude to the 2023 School Leaders for their exceptional contributions in their diverse roles and portfolios.

The 2023 cohort of School, House, and other Leaders displayed remarkable courage and honor in guiding our student community. They have worked together to enhance the supportive atmosphere that thrives at CGGS. Through a multitude of inspiring initiatives, events, and individual moments, they have crafted a legacy that they can be truly proud of. I wish to take this moment to commend and thank each leader for their efforts.

During the assembly, we also introduced the 2024 School Leadership Team, which includes the School Captains, School Positions, House Positions, Captains, and Mentors.

The selection process for leadership is thorough, adhering to a clear set of eligibility and desirability criteria founded on past involvement. This process involves individual and group interviews, written applications, and votes from students and staff. It is a transparent, comprehensive process that would not be possible without the devoted teachers responsible for leadership positions, particularly the Heads of House. I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the staff involved.

I would also like to recognise and congratulate all the Year 10 and 11 students who put themselves forward for consideration in a leadership capacity. Whether appointed to a formal position of leadership or not, we want all students to understand how much they are valued. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with them in various capacities in the future.

Warm congratulations to our 2024 Student Leadership Team, who will be skillfully led by our School Captain, Emily P along with School Vice Captains Sara R and Jessica T

Kath Woolcock
Head of Senior School

ADF Long Tan Awards 2023

It was my pleasure to announce the ADF Long Tan Award recipients for 2023 at our Secondary School Assembly on Tuesday 3 October.

There are two categories for this prestigious award: the Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award and the Future Innovators Award. For each of these awards, students are selected by their school based on rigorous criteria, with the school selecting one student from Year 10 and Year 12 for each of the two awards. Recipients receive a certificate and a financial reward – $250 for the Year 10 student and $550 awarded to the Year 12 student.

The history of the award is an interesting and poignant one. The Battle of Long Tan holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Australians. In recognition of one of the defining moments in Australian military history, in August 2006 the then Prime Minister announced the award as a fitting tribute to the Long Tan veterans, as the very traits they demonstrated such as determination, mateship, teamwork, tenacity, compassion and leadership, are the same attributes we hope to encourage and recognise in students across Australia.

The ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Awards recognises students who demonstrate leadership and teamwork within both the school and the broader local community. At the same time, they recognise those who display strong values, such as doing one’s best, respect for others and “mateship”, characteristics that are integral to Australian society. In 2020, the ADF Future Innovators Award was introduced to recognise students with strong abilities and a passion for science and mathematics, and the value the Navy, Army and Air Force place on STEM skills and STEM career opportunities within Defence.

The awards are an important initiative by the Australian Government in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force designed to encourage senior students – tomorrow’s leaders – to actively participate in the life of their schools and local communities. 

We congratulate the following recipients of the ADF Long Tan Awards for 2023:

Future Innovators Award

Year 12 – Natalie C

Year 10 – Lucy C

Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award

Year 12 – May D

Year 10 – Atara P

Kath Woolcock
Head of Senior School

Lake Mungo Living Culture Tour

Going to Lake Mungo was an extremely enriching and rare opportunity to learn about aboriginal culture on country. Traditional custodian Uncle Mick and Uncle Ben brought the group onto the Rick Farley Reserve in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area and taught us about the mallee country and aboriginal culture. Having caring, intelligent, and respectful people to guide us on this journey was one of the most important things. Valuable lessons taught and some unforgettable experiences included:

Being on Country

Connecting to nature and the earth was a huge contrast to suburban life. Camping out surrounded by red dirt and mallee trees, beautiful wattles, and tea trees was a highlight.

Our student group surveyed an endangered species called Harrow Wattle and more than 50 plants were located.Active Mallee Fowl (bush turkey) nests were explored too. The raised nest was constructed of red dirt, limestone, and sticks.

Ceremonies & Cultural Learning

We experienced a smoking ceremony to welcome us to country. During the ceremony the elders, burned a native plant with coals and people took turns immersing themselves in the smoke, cleansing and connecting themselves. 

The Mallee fowl ceremony was a highlight, where the story was shared about how the different aspects of the bird worked together. We learned to trust our gut and that sometimes your heart can be misleading. We were taught the four core values of humility, love, trust, and respect, to be humble, to love one-another, and practice deep listening.

We identified and tasted bush tucker, medicinal plants, learned the cultural life cycle, and how culture continues to live on today.

Students had the opportunity to sit together during “Women’s Business” and discuss life matters that we could relate to which gave us a chance to be open. 

Charlotte P and Audrey K

USA Study Tour 2023

The biannual USA Study Tour is now firmly established in the CGGS calendar.    

This Tour is meticulously crafted with a focus on enhancing the students’ overall experience, placing great emphasis on hands-on and immersive learning opportunities.  A prime example of this approach is their unforgettable time at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.  During this exceptional experience, out students engaged in the demanding Advanced Space Academy training program, immersing themselves in astronaut life for a week.  Activities included building rockets, performing space walks, undertaking missions, practicing space shuttle landings and even experiencing zero gravity.

In addition to this extraordinary space adventure, our students had the opportunity to partake in other enriching experiential activities, such as swimming with the manatees in Crystal River, Florida.  This unique encounter not only allowed them to appreciate the importance of human activity on aquatic habitats but also discover ways to protect these fascinating creatures. Furthermore, the tour encompassed a visit to Universal Studios, where students had the chance to explore the fascinating realm of physics principles intertwined with the design of thrilling amusement park rides.

The Tour prominently features a historical aspect, allowing students not just to learn about history but to truly immerse themselves in it.  Our primary focus was to visit museums and historical sites that not only recounted the profound stories of the American Civil Rights Movement but also demonstrated how this history significantly influences contemporary activist movements. 

Our journey took us to Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, both of which played pivotal roles in the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality, spanning from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and continuing to have a profound impact on the current Black Lives Matter Movement.  Our highlights included:

  1. A tour of Arlington, an original plantation home
  2. Visiting The Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park
  3. Exploring The Legacy Museum
  4. Paying tribute at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
  5. Delving into the inspiring history at the Rosa Parks Museum


This historical component of the Tour was designed to provide students with a deep and meaningful connection to the past, offering valuable insights into the ongoing pursuit of social justice and equality.

In essence, this Tour underscores the invaluable significance of genuine, hands-on experiences.  It is crucial to recognise that such a profound and authentic learning environment could never have been replicated within the confines of a classroom in Australia.

The tour extended student learning well past what would otherwise be limited to words and pictures on a page. It offered our students the remarkable opportunity to engage with experts in the field, cultivate both new and honed skills, and expand their horizons by providing a glimpse into the boundless possibilities that their futures may hold.

As an observer, I couldn’t help but swell with pride as I witness their growth in confidence and ability.  

The students had an amazing trip, returning with many precious memories and stories to tell. We hope that this little teaser will inspire our current Years 7, 8 and 9 students to consider this Tour in 2025.  

Many thanks to the 37 participants who gave their all every day and to my fantastic travelling colleagues, Mrs Anderson, Ms Manners, Ms Hepworth and Mr Pasinati.

Karin Lemanis
Head of History, USA Study Tour Leader

Wonderful News from the French Department

This year was the 129th year of the Alliance Française Poetry and Oral competition.

We are delighted to congratulate four CGGS students who have won top awards for their glorious French speaking.

Year 8 1058 students from across Victoria participated in the poetry competition, with 132 finalists. Natasha C was awarded first prize overall with Natasha O being awarded second prize.

Year 9 – 939 students took part with 127 finalists and Camille C took away third prize.

In Year 12 students initially have a 9 minute conversation in French and then finalists have a 4 minute chat. 569 students took part, with 85 finalists and Madeline G was awarded second prize.

We are proud of all our French students for stepping out of their comfort zone to learn a French poem and recite it or prepare for a French conversation. Congratulations to the finalists and prize winners.

The Alliance Française will be holding a prize giving ceremony at St Kilda Town Hall later in November for prize winners, families and teachers.

Dr Jo Rittey

Head of Languages

Congratulations Kiki

During the holidays Kiki P from Year 11 travelled to Adelaide to Chair Umpire for the Australian Junior Tennis Championships. Training hard all year, this was the first major competition for Kiki, umpiring some very intense and challenging matches. The Australian Junior Championships is held for national level players who are competing at a young age, and interestingly, Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex Popyrin all won this title when they were all approximately 14 years old.

We are incredibly proud of Kiki and her dedication to her own professional development, and passion for tennis. We look forward to seeing her as the Chair Umpire in the Australian Open Final in years to come.

Kath Woolcock

Head of Senior School

My Time at Space Teams Academy

During the semester break, I went to RMIT University to complete a week-long course in Space Teams Academy from the One Giant Leap Foundation.

Students from Victoria were selected by completing a written application and a 2-minute video about why they should be part of the Academy. We used state-of-the-art technology and programs to help support our learning. One activity was to land a spaceship in a square, but we learned the science of aerodynamics and velocity change to apply in the program. Another activity was nurturing seeds that were once on the International Space Station (ISS). We carefully planted and observed the growth of these plants even after the program was over.

A highlight for me was using VR headsets to simulate the ISS and to experience a zero gravity effect. Although some people left the room looking a bit pale, including myself, I am glad I gave it a go. We also created mission patches in our teams and presented them at our mini graduation at the end of the week. Our mission patch had little turtles in space and our team’s name was “Turtely Space”.

Overall, this was an amazing and out of this world opportunity that I won’t hesitate to try again next year.

Eshani N – Year 7 Student

VCE Art Show

The annual VCE Art Show was a resounding success this year, showcasing the remarkable talents and unwavering perseverance of our dedicated students. The exhibition was a testament to the extraordinary artistry, creativity, and dedication of the young artists at the school.

The VCE Art Show displayed a diverse range of artworks, from intricate paintings and sculptures to stunning photography and thought-provoking installations. It was clear that each piece was a labour of love, and the dedication of our students shone through in every brushstroke, every captured moment, and every carefully constructed structure.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the parents and staff who played a crucial role in the success of this event. Your unwavering support and encouragement have been instrumental in nurturing the creative talents of our students. It is your commitment to their growth that makes moments like these possible.

In addition to the incredible artworks on display, the event was made even more special by the enchanting music provided by the CGGS quartet. Their melodious tunes set the perfect ambiance for the evening, enhancing the overall experience and making the event even more memorable.

We are incredibly proud of our students and grateful to all who contributed to the success of this event. We look forward to witnessing their continued growth as artists and celebrating their future achievements.

Rachael Miller
Head of Art and Design

Care Packs for our Year 12s Bring Joy

The Youth Group at St Mark’s Church, supported by the Mustard Organisation, prepared “care packs” for each of our Year 12 students, which were handed out at Chaplain’s Assembly last week.

The purpose of the packs was to encourage every student as they move through their last weeks of school and included chocolate, sweets, an exercise book, a highlighter, and a bible quote. 

Our Year 12s were both surprised and delighted by the gesture – That is so thoughtful, The pack came at just the right time for me, I can’t believe they would go to so much trouble. The packs offered a much appreciated fillip to our students.

Year 12 Coordinator, Mrs Nareen Robinson said, “This was a very unexpected, but delightful gesture. The students are so grateful”.

A big “Thank You” to the Reverend Tim Collison at St Mark’s and Mrs Lara Ruddle at Mustard.

Helen Creed
School Chaplain

Saturday Netball

What a wonderful season we have had at CGGS Saturday Netball.

13 teams across both Junior and Senior School, 115 students attending weekly training and games no matter what the weather decides to do.

Our CGGS Saturday Netball has been and continues to be supported by our parents, our grandparents, special friends, and many CGGS staff. We are extremely proud of our coaches who deliver exceptional coaching to our students.

CGGS Saturday Netball had a very successful Winter competition, where 8 teams made their finals series in their respective divisions, 4 teams making the Grand Finals, with 2 teams being crowned Champions. Congratulations to all students.

We celebrated our CGGS netball community recently, with the Netball Awards Evening. We had a wonderful attendance and were able to reward and recognise students and teams for their efforts this year.

Congratulations to Nini C, Zara D, Hannah Y, Sophia Z, Sienna P, Lynn L, Grace K, Lizzy C, Laura T and Mia G awarded Most Valuable Player for their team.

Congratulations to Panya S, Grace G, Alisha A, Amalia P, Abbey M, Rui M, Aathana S, Lily M, Genna S, Cate L and Lily Dawarded the Coach’s Award.

Congratulations to Amelia S being awarded the Umpire Recognition Award and to Rehana P who was awarded the Coaching Contribution Award.

Lastly, we recognised and celebrated our Year 12 Students, Mia G, Lucy B, Greta T, Monique T, Lily D, Emma CJ, Jasmine M and Catia C – thank you for your contribution to the CGGS Saturday Netball Program. These students have been incredible role models for our younger netball players coming through.

We finish our year with Spring Fling where we welcome new players and teams to the CGGS Netball Program. A great way to finish a fun filled year of netball, where students have shown hard work, commitment, and most of all ‘smiles’ on their faces for a job well done.

Thank you for all the support this year to the CGGS Saturday Netball Program.

Alexia McConnell
Netball and Sports Coordinator


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