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Senior School

In this edition of CamNews there is much to celebrate as we highlight the incredible achievements of some of our Senior School students.

In particular Maddie Wood, Year 8 who last week met with the Queen Consort in London as the Junior Winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Essay Prize.  The Queens Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools.  It is a pleasure to be able to share Maddies poem, ‘Catalina’ and also her own reflections of this outstanding achievement in this final edition of CamNews for 2022.

Our three Year 10 students Laura, Katrina and Heidi who are the 2022 Winners of the Videos for Change in both categories for their 1 minute video “Quicksand”. Please read the article written by Mrs Dunwoody in the Principals section of CamNews.  We are also delighted to announce our 2022 Kwong Lee Dow recipients Grace Barnes and Sophie Chang.  On behalf of the school community I am so proud to share these student highlights with you.

Today our Year 9’s have also hosted 28 students and 3 staff from Nanyang Girls High School as part of our SAGE schools partnership. The students who have been buddied with a Year 9 student and commenced emailing each other as pen pals are in Melbourne for a 12 day tour to explore bilingual and bicultural experiences through the lens of history, social and economic development and international relations. Today the students took part in our Year 9 Service Learning Conference and on Monday will travel to Healesville Sanctuary with Murrundindi. We hope the program we have developed for our visitors has assisted them in their studies.

Lasts are always challenging and emotional as we grieve what we have known to be safe and what has been our being. But change is inevitable, healthy and necessary for us all to grow. And so, as I write my last CamNews introduction to the Senior School section of this publication, I am joined by the Year 12’s who have experienced their last days of life as a student at CGGS.

Over the past few weeks, like the Year 12’s I have been experiencing my own lasts including a very special assembly this time in Junior School. Much like the surprise “This is your CGGS Life” assembly that took place on Tuesday 8 November in Senior School, the students and staff at the Junior School also overwhelmed me with beautiful cards from each year group. I will treasure these forever. The Year 6 students too are about to embark on a new journey, and I wish them all the best for their own next steps.

And so, as I write this final piece I wish to say an enormous thank you to all the students, present and past and also their families, plus all the staff I have had the pleasure of working alongside, for providing me with so many memories, so much joy and happiness at CGGS. Teaching is such a privilege and the community of CGGS has been my extended family and that of my family too. My own daughter attended CGGS as did my son in EL3, and my husband has been to more events along the journey than I can count. CGGS is therefore a huge part of our lives and will always be our extended family.

Helping to shape the hearts and minds of the next generations has always been such an honour, and our CGGS values of Integrity, Respect, Commitment, Hope and Courage as well as our motto, Utilis in Ministerium have certainly acted as my guiding principles throughout my time at CGGS.

Thank you to all the CGGS community.

Cathy Poyser
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

Maddie Wood – Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition

Following the announcement of the winners of the Queen’s Commonwealth essay competition, I was invited to London for ‘Winners Week.’ I spent four days with the other winners, going all over London and the West Midlands. Over the week, we did four workshops with acclaimed authors and actors, we met local students and numerous diplomats.

One of the first things we were lucky enough to do was have a private tour and lunch at parliament house where we met with the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle. He was very down to earth and extremely personable. When one of us asked about his pets, he even went and brought his cat for us to see. It’s a gorgeous cat, though it’s extremely big for only an 8 month old cat. To conclude the first day, we had a tour of the BBC where we got to record our entries in one of their studios. From there, we headed to the Singapore High Commission for dinner.

Over the next two days we visited Stratford upon Avon, had a private tour of Westminster Abbey and the British library, met with journalists from the Evening Standard and met with the Australian High Commission. It was an enriching experience, where we were encouraged to ask as many questions to the experts that accompanied us, and to cultivate connections for the future with the people we met.

To conclude the week, we had a poetry workshop with Gyles Brandreth at the old English club, the Reform Club. All the workshops we did throughout the week, in particular this one, taught us to think on our feet and to write from different angles and styles. Gyles also accompanied us to Buckingham Palace where we were given a tour before the awards ceremony. We met privately with the Queen Consort before the presentation and she was extremely graceful towards us. After the presentation we were encouraged to talk to the authors, ambassadors, and diplomats in attendance.

The Senior Winner and I did an interview for the Evening Standard, and then made our way through the gallery to talk to many of the people. I was very lucky to speak with Philippa Gregory whose work is one of the main reasons for my interests in British history, the topic my entry was based on. I also spoke with Sam Reese, a New Zealand author who was on the final judging panel and was able to give me some insight into this year’s judging and feedback. I was also very fortunate to speak with Dame Susan Hill who judged my piece and gave me some feedback on it and some advice if I was to pursue writing. During our visit of Buckingham Gyles invited the winners to record a poem we had written earlier in the day on his podcast.

To conclude the week, we visited the Tower of London. Winners Week was a great opportunity to further our knowledge and writing abilities as well as create connections for our future. We saw the type of careers writing can offer, as well as the journeys of the diplomats we met with. We learnt an invaluable amount while touring all over London, it was truly a priceless experience.

Maddie Wood
Year 8

Kwong Lee Dow

This year we congratulate Year 10 students Grace Barnes and Sophie Chang who are the recipients of The University of Melbourne Kwong Lee Dow Award.

The Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program is a prestigious academic enrichment program designed to support high – achieving Victorian secondary school students.

The first Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars were named in 2007 and since that time over 8000 students from more than 500 participating schools have been recognised. Professor Kwong Lee Dow OAM is a former University of Melbourne Vice- Chancellor, a distinguished scholar and a contributor to curriculum reforms internationally.

The Kwong Lee Dow Award provides the recipient with a taste of university life, the chance to meet and connect with other students, the opportunity to develop leadership and community involvement skills and access to The University of Melbourne resources, academic teachers and events.


During the month of October, 12 students from years 7 to 9 took on the challenge of creating one Ink illustration per week. Provided with random prompts, students took their time to create individual works of art. Thank you to all students who joined the challenge. Inktober is about learning, expanding creativity, improving skills and most importantly taking a break from screens and other distractions.

Congratulations to our winners and to all who participated.

First Lego League

Picture the scene: a custom-designed EV3 or Spike Prime robot navigating LEGO constructions on a large game board, attempting to complete challenges within a given time frame. Tension is high. Will the robot perform as it did in training? Will the structures stay in place or create additional barriers to completing the tasks? How might the judges react to the proposed solutions in the innovation project? Team members look on intently as over the course of two and a half minutes, months of problem solving, programming and perseverance come to fruition, and later proudly share their ideas, learning journey and reflections with a panel of judges. However, First LEGO League is so much more than a competition.

First LEGO League is an annual event consisting of three different divisions, depending on the age of the students (4 – 16). Last year, more than 600,000 students competed from more than 100 countries around the world. First and foremost, the aim of the event is to build an interest in STEM through collaborative, real-world, hands-on challenges.

The playful element of First LEGO League cannot be underestimated. While there is good awareness of the importance of play for young children, there is a body of research which highlights the importance of play for adolescents too. Adolescent brains are still developing, so play helps with executive functioning skills such as decision making and memory, as well as the development of creative thinking, social interaction skills and independence. First LEGO League provides students with the opportunity to engage in both cognitive and social play, creative expression and demonstrate competence.

Students at Camberwell Girls Grammar School have participated in First Lego League for the past four years. It aligns with our Design Principles of Making Sense of the World and Adding Value and provides practical application of important transferable skills, such as teamwork, critical and creative thinking, and communication. This year we entered four teams from Years 6 – 9 who were ably supported by past First Lego League participants, Katherine Mason and Emily Price. At our recent regional final, every team represented the core values of the competition, and they were great ambassadors for Camberwell Girls Grammar School. We brought home three awards: Innovation Project, Core Values and Rising Star. Our Year 9 team, the Brick Chicks, advanced through to the National Championships South which will be held on Saturday 3 December. We wish them all the best at this level of the competition.

Dr Charlotte Forwood
Director of Learning Design and Development
First Lego League Coach

2022 Science Talent Search Update

The Science Talent Search (STS) is an annual, science based competition open to all primary and secondary students in Victoria. This year the Science Talent Search theme was Glass: More than meets the eye. Students could enter a project in a range of categories, including creative writing, games, scientific posters, photography and experimental research. This year, we had 29 senior school students enter the competition. Some of these students were required to attend the Judging Day in August where they presented their project to some judges. It was pleasing to see the high level of scientific research and the effort that students put in to creating and finalising their projects.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Science Talent Search competition this year. We are delighted to announce that 6 students were awarded Major Bursaries for their projects and 7 received Minor Bursaries. There were a further 16 projects awarded Distinctions or Merits.

Students will be presented with their certificates at an assembly next week and those students who have been awarded a Bursary have already received their medals and bursaries in an online awards ceremony held last week at school.

Projects entered for judging were as follows: 

Creative Writing

  • Isuli Perera – My glass is Bioactive (Major bursary)
  • Mai Ly Corker – My glass is Bioactive (Distinction)


  • Amber Chia and Zoe Lim – The new cycle of glass (Major bursary)
  • Elise McLean – Brink of extinction (Major bursary)
  • Ana-Sofia Jimenez-Perez and Hannah Ng – Ion exchanges: The process (Merit)

Scientific Posters

  • Phoebe Plummer and Nicola Pandeli – Glass Saving Lives; Fire Safety Glass (Minor bursary)
  • Sharon Tjioe – Optoelectronics (Merit)
  • Anneka Sinnappu – Touch Screen Glass (Minor bursary)
  • Emily Wong – Glass: Past, Present and Future (Distinction)
  • Megan Au – Innovative uses for glass (Major bursary)
  • Ruby Edge and Amalia Pandeli – Fire resistant glass (Merit)
  • Wendy Yin – Glass: Past, Present and Future (Minor bursary)
  • Rivya Nambi Subramaniyan – Innovative Uses For Glass (Merit)
  • Christina Weickhardt and Sophia Zeitoune – Glass Saving Lives: Bioglass (Distinction)
  • Summer Zhu and Maya Conn – Glass Saving Lives: Bulletproof Glass (Distinction)
  • Isabella Ta – Glass as a Power Plant (Minor bursary)


  • Abbey Marcou – Various Perspectives, Various Factors (minor bursary)

Experimental Research

  • Usha Nadarajah – How do different beverages affect teeth? (Minor bursary)
  • Madeleine Wood and Alyce Law – Barefoot vs Asics Gel Kayanos (Merit)
  • Madeleine Huynh and Rithanyaa Prakash – How Can the Arrangement of Materials Affect the Strength of Modern Infrastructure? (Distinction)
  • Elise Orme – Are eco-friendly clothes stain remover sprays effective at removing stains from cotton? (Major bursary)

All students are encouraged to participate in the STS in 2023. Students should speak to their Science teacher in Term 1 if they’re interested in getting involved.

2022 Empower Agents of Change Leadership Global Conference, hosted online by Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore

From November 14 – 16, five Year 9 students attended the 2022 Empower Agents of Change Leadership Global Conference, hosted online by Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore. CGGS has been involved in this annual event for the past two years, as both schools are proud members of SAGE – the Strategic Alliance of Global Educators network. The conference was designed to bring students from across the globe together to empower them to be positive leaders within their school and wider community.


All year 9 students were given the opportunity to nominate to attend the conference with students selected based on their written application. For the majority of the conference, participants worked collaboratively with a team of 10 other students from different schools to explore the notion of “Soaring Through Adversity”, investigating what it looks like and how it can be defined using five key practices: Model the way, Inspire a shared vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart.


This was achieved through by investigating important female role models as case studies, each of which were exemplary leaders of their times in the areas of the Arts, Social Work, the Environment, Business, Science and Politics. These case studies, including Margaret Thatcher, Marissa Mayer and Mette Frederiksen, were used as a catalyst to challenge gender inequality and gender stereotypes that exist, prompt discussion, and encourage problem solving, with each group presenting a pitch or set of strategies to challenge discrimination and promote female empowerment and representation in leadership globally.


We congratulate and thank Dina Mohd Ghazali, Disha Moloney, Jasmine Rees, Aashi Singh and Sunny Sun for their contributions during this conference, and for representing themselves and the school so well.


Participant Reflections – by Dina, Disha, Jasmine, Aashi and Sunny

Five Camberwell Girls Grammar students were involved with a Women’s Leadership Conference hosted by our sister school, Nanyang Girls’ High School, which involved interacting with local schools in Singapore and various other schools internationally, during a period of three days from Monday 14th November to Wednesday 16th November.


Over the three days, more than 120 students from all over the globe researched case studies on empowering women and created a presentation with other students whom we had met for the first time just a few days before. We dedicated much of our days to bonding sessions with our team members, as well as discussion and research sessions to collaborate on our allocated case study and final product. In the end, we were able to create skits, game shows, and songs to present to other groups, with final products being judged by teachers from Nanyang Girls High School – with a range of fun prizes awarded at the end!


As the students participating, we would highly recommend stepping out of the regular classroom environment to take on opportunities to socialise and connect with many students internationally. Working on your own schedule, while meeting amazing people from other countries, is not something you experience every day and it is a great platform for the future. It was an honour to take part in this conference and we hope future Year 9 students will participate.

House Sports Day

In week 6, CGGS hosted their very first House Sports Day. Consisting of multiple different activities including Swimming, Relays, Just Dance as well as House Challenges, Netball and Volleyball. All four houses had a strong involvement with participants enjoying the sun, music and support from fellow students and teachers. All teams across the year levels were incredibly competitive and all had a strong chance of winning, however Taylor was just too good. The finals had high spirit and energy and it was a great success with students having the opportunity to participate in sports and connect with fellow house mates.

On Wednesday the 9th of November divers from Years 7-11 took part in our House Diving Competition. It was great to see all the hard work and the many early morning training pay off. The spirit, enthusiasm, and commitment that our divers brought was incredible on such short notice. Congratulations to all girls who competed in senior diving, junior diving, and the team event.

Part of the 2022 House Sports Day was House Swimming! Whilst we couldn’t spend the whole day at the pool like originally planned, all the year levels brought the same level of enthusiasm, excitement, and house spirit. Everyone had a great time cooling off in the water, racing their friends, and having lots of fun. The atmosphere was amazing, there was lots of cheering and support across the houses and some extraordinary results from the day. Well done Taylor for winning the Swimming Cup, we’re super proud of everyone who participated and can’t wait for House Swimming next year!

The House Relays were a lot of fun! Each house team competed in the CGGS survivor relay. This consisted of an egg and spoon relay, some tactical bean bag tossing, challenging our minds with a quick riddle, practising our soccer skills with some infinity loops and then the grand finale of a speedy tunnel ball relay!

House Just Dance was another new attachment to the day that consisted of one person from each house at a time competing in a dance. The rest of the year level danced, sang along, and cheered on their house mate while they competed. The excitement from everyone made it an amazing event and the house chants in between dances showed the fun competitiveness of the day.

The House Challenge involved taking various pictures of coloured things around the school that matched your house team, taking a creative team photo and making a symbolic shape linking arms. It was lots of fun and encouraged us to think outside the box. It was great to be able to have some more fun, casual competitions in between the intense swimming and sports matches.

The encouragement and spirit showed throughout the two days of house diving and sports day was unbelievable. Watching everyone come together and support each other was truly incredible to see and made the days that much better. The spirit never ceased throughout the day and started with house chants in the morning and continued with the uplifting cheers with every event of the day including the presentations. Having everyone participate and motivate each other revealed the embodiment of the school values of hope, courage, commitment, respect, and integrity.

Well done to all houses for the participation and enthusiasm shown throughout the day and congratulations to Taylor and Schofield on their wins. Thank you to all students for making it a fun day and a special thank you to Ms Law for making this happen at the last minute.

Written by – School Sports Captain, Sasha Feldmann, School House Captain, May Du, House Sports Captains, Emily Price, Sofia Pandeli, Imogen Morriss, Charlee Johnson, Isla Harvey, Ashleigh Western, Emma Daffy and Meghan Chaffey


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