It was wonderful to connect with so many families at the recent Parent Information Evenings, as well as at the vibrant Spanish Soiree hosted by the PFA last Friday.
We have now well and truly found ourselves in full swing of the school year. After a very arduous three years, a greater level of consistency in school is making for a joyful, settled and engaged atmosphere amongst our students. The first two weeks have seen students relish in the challenge of navigating new learning spaces, mastering the combination lock, learning the intricacies of the timetable, organising their locker, and interacting with a variety of new faces. To add to this, we have been delighted to see such high levels of participation in many co-curricular opportunities such as House Dance, House Music, GSV, Connect and Upskill Days. The diverse range of interests and passions have also been noteworthy, and we are excited to see students continue trying new things and discovering what makes their heart sing.
In this week’s edition of CamNews, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kate Manners, celebrates the experiences and learnings that have emerged from our first Upskill Day for 2023.
Kath Woolcock Kate Giles
Head of Senior School Head of Middle School
Our first Upskill Day for 2023 took place on Thursday 16 February for students across Years 7-12.
The name Upskill means to expand your existing capabilities and develop new ones and at CGGS we’re conscious of the need to support students to build their currency in this regard. Whether it’s now as they apply for part time jobs or later as they look forward to seeking early entry or scholarships to tertiary degrees, students need tangible examples of their proven capacity in a range of transferable skills alongside their demonstrated ability to be self-aware, self-regulated life-long learners. This is what the CGGS Upskill program is designed to achieve.
At Year 7, under their year level learning spotlight of Belonging, the focus for the day was upskilling in the things that support them to be grounded in their secondary schooling. A workshop from Elevate Education, with a focus on Time Management, an essential skill in life and learning, was then followed by Mr Wilkins, who completed the first of several Digital Literacy sessions with the students’ Ipads with a focus on collaborative digital tools. Finally, a wellbeing check with YLC Miss Friend and Head of Middle School, Ms Giles, was an opportunity to recalibrate, reflect and reset some of the routines that have been established in these first weeks of the school year.
For our Year 8s, Upskill provided the opportunity to rotate through two or four sessions, which will repeat on our February 22nd Upskill. One of these is our Food Studies program which will have the Year 8s spend time each term in the kitchen under the guidance of Ms Goad. Linked to a theme of making with the intention of giving across the year, in this first foray into the kitchen, the students made mixed berry jam. The session also touched on themes of using seasonal produce and how preserving is a way to minimise food waste. Also rotating today was the first of several LeadUp sessions, with the Year 8s being lead by both Mr Rock and Year 10 Mentors as they explored the importance of clear values and vision in leadership. Our third rotation is a new program called Exceler8 where students, with Mrs McEwan at the helm were introduced to foundational skills in the spreadsheet and business program, Excel. In completing this program, the Year 8s will also be digitally credentialed, providing formal recognition of their new skillset to share with future employers. The final rotation in this block of four sessions was led by our Library team, taking the students through a research skills session and providing the opportunity to explore the CGGS collection.
At Year 9, this first Upskill day contained sessions on Service Learning and the Science of Learning. In a prelude to their planned Dignity Conference in March, lead by Ms Wighton and a great supporting team, the students explored the experiences of uncommon communities within Boroondara. With a focus on understanding others with the intention of forming relationships that work in service with and not to communities, this program seeks to amplify recognition and connection to those whose life experiences are different to our students. Following, the focus for the Year 9s turned more inward, with Dr Forwood leading the students through a session all about the Science of Learning where cognitive and behavioural science and strategies for learning were explored.
For our Year 10s, Upskill began with a creative and brave group of Year 10 students who lead their peers in a LeadUp session. Focused on communication and art of rumbling and debate, the students both designed and delivered the session. Not only was this a great leadership touchpoint for the cohort but for these students a great opportunity to put their ideas into action and gain on the ground leadership experience. From there, again, a session from Elevate Education called Study Sensai, provided the intermission. This program shared study techniques and strategies with a focus on organisation and revision. Finally, to round out the program, we welcomed Ali Larkey a former staff member back to CGGS, to present the first of several Financial Literacy workshops with the students. In preparation for parttime work and their exciting foray into work experience, the session was focused on Fair Work and Curve Balls, two things that are essential for students to understand as they move into the work force.
Our VCE students began the day with scheduled classes before engaging with presentations from Elevate Education. At Year 11, Time Management was the focus, with students learning strategies around finding time, prioritising and creating study groups. In Year 12, whose workshop was on Student Elevation, a program designed to sharpen self-motivation, self-efficacy and develop the mindsets to support growth and achievable goal setting. Finally, both year groups were the first to undertake our new CGGS Learning Commission, a project with the objective to action student voice and agency. Lead by Summer Howarth, students worked with a range of data, including our own school data, choosing their own focus areas. The Year 12s whose year level spotlight is Connection and Opportunity, unsurprisingly, chose to unpack data related to the future of work, whilst the Year 11s whose spotlight is Independence worked with student perception data unique to CGGS. Collectively, their thoughts will contribute to discourse on education both internally at CGGS and more broadly.
The schedule for our next Upskill day on February 22 is prepped and ready to go and we’re looking forward to students upskilling in a variety of different areas, from flying drones and graphic recording to debating, leadership and Careers Education and much more.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
On Friday 17 February, the CGGS Community celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Day.
Random Acts of Kindness Day is an initiative founded by ‘The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’, a social movement and non-for-profit organisation. The foundation creates resources educating students and adults alike, about kindness and respectful behaviour, and seeks to encourage all individuals to act with respect and kindness in order to make the world a better place.
This year, the theme of Random Acts of Kindness Day is ‘Make Kindness the Norm’, which calls on the community to consider how they can display acts of kindness to others in their everyday lives.
Every student in Years 7-12, and all senior school staff, received a note as a prompt, which describes an Act of Kindness that they were encouraged to do not just on Random Acts of Kindness Day, but every day. Examples ranged from helping a stranger in need, to getting to know someone new, or writing a positive comment online.
We were thrilled to see the CGGS community embrace the Random Acts of Kindness challenge, and hope it continues to create a movement going forward.
School Wellbeing Captain
The Galentine’s Gala was born out of the desire to do something meaningful for the Heart Foundation as well as to spread the love on Valentine’s Day. Our captaincy team was keen to carry on the tradition of having a fun-filled day for students and staff to participate in love-themed activities. The treasured Valentine’s Day activities; chocolate toss, handwritten letters, hand painting and guess the number of lollies in the jar returned and we were proud to support the Heart Foundation again this year.
Making its debut was the activity ‘Minute to Skip It’ where the students had a minute to get as many skips as possible. This initiative was created to spread awareness about the role physical activity plays in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle which is highlighted by the work of the Heart Foundation.
What made the day so special for us was seeing our school community, both students and staff, embrace the activities, support the event and really get involved. We were so happy to see the smiling faces of the students at the various activities and we hope the day spread joy and love. We are so grateful to every student and staff member who contributed to the Galentine’s Gala because we couldn’t have done it without them.
The Chipmunks / School Captains
It gives me immense pride to share the wonderful news that Bethany Orme, Class of 2022 has been selected by a VCAA panel to present at the VCE Season of Excellence ‘Top Talks’ event. Bethany is one of only four students across the state to be selected.
Top Talks showcases exceptional oral presentations from VCE Extended Investigation students. Selected students share their original and rigorous independent research and findings through an 8–10 minute presentation followed by a Q&A. Held at the State Library of Victoria on 24 February, in front of a packed audience, and live streamed throughout the nation, Bethany will share her findings from her investigation.
Bethany’s research aimed to quantify the amounts and types of microplastics found in mineral springs and tap water from the Hepburn-Daylesford region. In very concerning news, Bethany’s key finding was that all mineral spring water tested contained microplastics. And not just a few pieces – she found hundreds of microplastics in each water sample!
Extended Investigation is unlike any other subject offered in the VCE. It gives students the opportunity to investigate a topic of their own choice in a detailed and extended fashion. Students are empowered to develop and demonstrate personal and professional expertise through the conduct and communication of their own research. At the end of the year students submit a 4000 word research report and then defend their findings in a 20 minute presentation.
Tickets for the live stream are free and you can register via this link:
The CGGS community is so proud of all students that undertake Extended Investigation and we congratulate Bethany on her well deserved achievement.
Head of Digital Learning and Innovation
Congratulations to School Music Captain, Sarah Park, who was selected to audition for the VCE Top Class Music Concert series for 2023. Sarah’s exceptional results for VCE Music Performance last year placed her amongst the top five students in the state.
Sarah’s passion for the subject, along with her dedication to prepare and interpret a wide range of violin repertoire, enabled her to perform at a high level in the performance assessment. In addition to preparing a 25 minute live performance for external assessors, Sarah completed SACs throughout each unit of study and applied the diverse theory, aural and listening analysis skills required for the end of year written exam.
Sarah continues to share her passion for music through her leadership role this year and provides ongoing inspiration for all of our CGGS musicians.
Kate Savige and Rohan Mack
Directors of Music
Sarah’s VCE Music Performance Reflection
Music Performance was always a natural pick for me as one of my VCE subjects. Whilst learning the violin, I enjoyed crafting and interpreting various pieces as well as delving into the theory and aural aspects of music. I soon discovered that Music was one of my key strengths and passions, so I was certain that Music Performance was a subject that I would really enjoy and reach the best of my abilities.
Having many opportunities to perform my repertoire pieces in front of an audience, whether it was in front of Ms Savige and Mr Mack for feedback, at assemblies or in front of a large group of parents and students during the Winter Concert, was a memorable highlight for me. These experiences allowed me to gain the confidence to overcome the pressures and nerves when performing. The development of these skills helped me enormously with my final performance exam.
School Music Captain – Co-Curricular
Students undertaking VCE Theatre Studies are ultimately working towards a practical response (either performance or design) in the Monologue exam at the end of the year. This exam enables students to independently and discerningly apply a breadth of skills obtained across the course of their schooling. Exemplary performances are invited to audition at the end of the year for Top Class – a show case of students demonstrating excellence in their practice. We are thrilled to announce that Isabel D’Souza, Class of 2022 (and one of the 2022 School Vice-Captains) has been selected to perform at The Malthouse Theatre on Thursday March 16th at 10am, as a part of this event. Isabel undertook the performance, ‘Man Coverts Bird’ – an eclectic piece of contemporary monologue theatre, demonstrating an extraordinary versatility in physicality and voice and a wonderful ability to transform space.
Tickets can be purchased here: https://tickets.malthousetheatre.com.au/production/8159
Congratulations to Isabel om this achievement and to all of our Performing Arts students.
Head of Drama and Theatre
At a sun swept Metropolitan Golf Course, four students from CGGS competed in the annual GSV Golf Event on Tuesday 14 February.
Megan and Michelle Kwong (Year 10), Chloe Lau (Year 8) and Jessica Maycock (Year 7) represented the school in a 9-hole stroke format against 16 schools in the region. Open to competitors with and without handicaps, the competition reached full capacity for the first time since 2001, making for a competitive day of golf.
The CGGS team battled a testing course, full of sloping greens and bending fairways. Jessica and Megan putted strongly, holing in putts from over 10 feet away. Chloe played an impressive short game, while Michelle’s consistency along the fairways ensured she was in prime position to make par on most holes. In true CGGS fashion, the team displayed a strong sense of sportsmanship and had plenty of fun on the day.
It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Megan Kwong who finished 1st in the handicap event, with a net score of 33.5. Megan won the competition in only her second appearance in the tournament. Megan is a regular golfer from Riversdale GC, and we are very proud of her success this year.
These students’ commitment to golf is to be commended as they dedicated many lunchtimes to improving their skills and knowledge of the game. CGGS would like to congratulate all competitors and we look forward to the 2024 Golf Event.
Results – Handicap Event
Megan Kwong – 1st place
Michelle Kwong – 6th place
Results – Non-Handicap Event
Chloe Lau – 18th place
Jessica Maycock – 21st place
GSV Golf Coach
2023 has seen the introduction of Connect Days at various points throughout the year to support the House program and wellbeing of students. These days run on a slightly compressed timetable, allowing students to complete their five academic classes (Period 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6) before lunch and inserting an extra period, Period 7, in the afternoon.
This term, there are five Connect Days scheduled, and so far we have held two very successful programs.
Thursday 9 February saw the House Dance Group B students rehearsing, and our remaining Year 7 students took Period 7 as an opportunity to learn the wonderful novelty races in anticipation of their first House Athletics Carnival on Friday 24 February. The rest of the students participated in one of two mini tournaments, either Volleyball or Netball. Expertly run by the fabulous PE department, we saw some competitive gameplay and fun was certainly had by all.
Our second connect day was on Monday 13 February and saw the House Dance, Tech and Visual Arts Captains preparing the House Boards and rehearsal. This time, our fabulous House Captains, under the guidance and leadership of our of School House Captain, May Du, designed activities for their House students. The school was filled with the sounds of cheer practice, followed by laughter and love being spread as the students created Gal-entines cards in their House groups.
We have three more Connect days coming up this term, Monday 20 February, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March. These sessions will continue to support the House Dance followed by House Music programs, and provide our students with the space and support they need to achieve their very best.
Director of Co-Curricular Programs