Gippsland Grammar news: Dec 4, 2020

Dec 4, 2020 | Community News

As the school year comes to an end, there are many special times to be shared at each campus, such as last night when we said farewell to our senior students at the Valedictory.

In preparing for their farewell, I thought about the need for all of our students to have courage. I am a great admirer of Simon Sinek, who says, ‘All good leaders have courage’ and I believe this is one of the traits our students have developed during their years at Gippsland Grammar.  I believe this because courage doesn’t only belong to the person who stands up and challenges existing norms (and I am pleased to say we have plenty of those at Gippsland Grammar) but courage can also be witnessed in that person who takes part in the swimming carnival, knowing full well they are going to struggle to finish a length, or the person who auditions for the musical, knowing they cannot hold a note, the student who picks up a piece of litter thrown down by a peer, or a parent desperately wanting to step in and solve their child’s problem, but allowing them to work it out and learn from the experience. 

Most often, courage happens when nobody other than yourself, is watching.  It is in those moments when you challenge your comfort zone and manage to step outside its safe embrace that you display courage.  It takes unbelievable courage to do the important things ahead of the urgent things, to resist the outside pressures ahead of our own value system and it takes unbelievable courage to ‘do the right thing’, just for the sake of doing the right thing. 

Sinek says you develop courage when you have people around you who believe in you and support you.  Friends, family and colleagues.  You develop courage when, feeling down or less than perfect, a colleague says, “I believe in you, I’ve got your back”.

As a Community, we have had to overcome challenges, and we have done so admirably and with courage. I hope that as you remember the year, the memories of the difficulties will fade, and the memories of friendship and family time remain strong.

I encourage you to read this article on a special friend of mine, Wilson the Therapy Dog at Bairnsdale. The article outlines how Wilson has increased self-esteem and encouraged students with their reading.
It can be found at this link:

I also commend the Staff Q&A on PE teacher Mrs Sharyn Henderson. Sharyn’s insight on how she connects with her Year 12 Mentor Group, and how she not only teaches but also learns from them, is truly inspiring. Read Sharyn’s Q&A here:

Have a wonderful weekend as we approach the last week of the School year.

Warm regards,

Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by Director Mrs Lisa Burgess
As each year comes to a close, I always find it of use to try to find the time to reflect on what has come to pass in the last 12 months. So many challenging events of concern to the whole human race have dominated the landscape of 2020, that it could have been easy to miss the little ‘threads’ of what gives real meaning and richness to our everyday lives.

During a year in which early childhood educators became ‘frontline’ workers in a global pandemic, the teaching staff at the ELCs purposefully chose to focus on the little things, embracing every moment that we have spent learning and growing together with your children this year.

Seeing the wonder on the face of a child mastering a new skill, the excitement during Book Week dress-up day, singing, dancing, gardening, doing puzzles, becoming independent and making new friends; we have been truly blessed to be able to share this wonderful year of fun and learning with your children. It has been a year of remarkable lifelong learning for the smallest members of the Gippsland Grammar family, and we have woven the little ‘threads’ of 2020 into a meaningful year of fun, joy and achievement despite the larger challenges.

As I write this both ELC’s are in a flurry of last-minute preparations for Christmas. Seeing the love on the children’s faces as they prepare gifts for their families and their excitement as they discuss the arrival of a certain visitor in red is simply a lesson in relishing each moment as a precious time in a child’s life.

We are also in the middle of a special ‘Farewell Friday’ at the St Anne’s campus as we acknowledge the service and dedication of Mrs Jenny Gaskill, our Transition co-educator who has been employed by Gippsland Grammar for more than 30 years. I feel very privileged to have worked with Jenny for the past 17 years and to have learned the power of embracing each day from her. Jenny begins each day with the statement ‘I’m excited’. She has always taken the time to mindfully anticipate with enthusiasm the day ahead with the children and families and embraced the possibilities each day offers. Jenny has been farewelled by the school formally and was thrilled today to be able to plant a tree alongside the Year 5/6 oval (pictured below). Her tree will join others in the row that were planted by former Gippsland Grammar long-serving staff members.

I would also like to acknowledge the service of Mrs Annette Dilks at our Bairnsdale campus. Annette has been at the ELC since it began and her commitment, diligence, loyalty and professionalism is one of the reasons for its success. We wish you well Annette and thank you for all that you have given us during your time at the school. We also farewell Mrs Carly Williams, who has been a Reception teacher at St Anne’s for the past two years. It has been a delight to have Carly with us as she began her teaching career and I know that the families and children will miss her. We wish Carly and her family well for their move to Canberra. We also wish Tammy all the best as she heads off on maternity leave and look forward to meeting baby Lopardi in the New Year.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our wonderful ELC staff members and you, the families, for helping us to make this a very happy and successful year for the children despite the challenges. Thank you for your positivity, even at drop off time when lining up with masks on, in the middle of a freezing wet winter morning! But most of all, for the trust you put in us to care for your children. You are the essential ingredients in the fabric of our school.

Enjoy a happy, joyous and relaxing Christmas and New Year. Enjoy each moment!

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
We are working to put the final touches on the celebrations to conclude our year and with that there is an air of excitement and anticipation. Our Christmas tree (pictured below), which is a part of the Bairnsdale Community Treasure Hunt, is in the front garden and a highlight of our preparation for Christmas this week. This will hopefully bring much enjoyment to our school families and the external community as they drive by. I commend our students and staff on collaborating to make the decorations and produce a magnificently decorated tree.

Excursions have continued this week in a variety of forms, with the intention always to be about student wellbeing through friendship and connectedness. I joined Blackwood on their mountain bike riding on Monday (pictured below) which challenged all at some point and heard wonderful reports on the Early Years trip to the Abbey on Raymond Island.

The Early Years staff and students shared these reflections of the day.
The Abbey has become a special place for our younger students, who with their teachers, take time to leave school and retreat to this beautiful space on the Gippsland Lakes. On each occasion the intention of the day is to focus on every person’s wellbeing; spiritual, emotional and physical. Rev. Edie Ashley was thrilled we had come and she took time to share the Christmas story. In return, the students shared with her what was significant to them about Christmas. Many reflected on the importance of spending time with their family, celebrating the birth of Jesus, remembering loved ones, going to church, giving gifts, thinking of others, caring and being kind.

During the day we played on the beach, created sand, shell and rock constructions, paddled in the water, enjoyed a picnic lunch and played games under the shade of the trees. We all eagerly await a return to The Abbey in 2021.

The students were eager to share their highlights.
My favourite part was cooling my feet off in the water because it was a really hot day. Odette
I also liked going to the chapel because it looked beautiful. Hayley.
When we left the ferry, I liked seeing the cute baby koala on its mother’s back. Ella
My highlight was after building our sand castle, I could take off my socks and shoes and have a little paddle in the lake because it was very hot.  Reuben
I enjoyed going into the water because the rocks felt slimy and hard under my feet. James

Service Learning
We would like to acknowledge our Year 5 student Holly Callaghan, who will cut her hair on December 12 in support of the members in our community who are challenged with cancer. It is a brave and most worthy act of service learning and we are very proud of Holly. Holly and her family are hoping for this event to take place at Patterson Park in Metung, hosting a sausage sizzle where family and friends are invited to join them. Please look for confirmation of this event on Facebook.

Transition morning was a success as all students moved into their classroom for 2021, meeting their teacher and readjusting their thinking as they move to the next level. Our students are very familiar with all the teachers and we place much value on providing information to their new teacher that will enable a smooth transition for each child. We work closely as a staff and understand that they are all our responsibility and we all want what is best for them. 

Christmas Break
Our Bairnsdale Campus reception will close on December 18 and reopen on January 18. Phone calls will be answered by staff at the Garnsey Campus in the week prior to our campus office re-opening if any assistance or information is required during this time.

As the year concludes I personally thank you all for your support, your trust and your commitment to our campus. I wish you all the most well-deserved happy Christmas and wonderful times with family and friends over the break.

 St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Today was a day full of anticipation as our students found out their teacher, peers and classroom for 2021. A lot of thought and effort has gone into creating each class, with our teachers taking into account many factors when placing them. For the past two years, we have used a computer program that enables us to get the right balance for each class. Our students have brought home an envelope addressed to their parents with details of their teacher for 2021. I am excited about our teaching teams, along with our Specialists and support staff.

Our Staff for 2021
Foundation Mawson: Mrs Rebekah Tayler
Foundation Bass: Miss Bree Alexander
Year 1 Bradman: Ms Louise Sullivan
Year 1 McCubbin: Mrs Kristen Rich
Year 2 Chisholm: Mrs Ellen Condron
Year 2 Barton: Miss Sarah Wheeler
Year 3 Flynn: Ms Alison Fraser
Year 3 Tasman: Mrs Linda Vale
Year 4 Freeman: Mrs Liz Foat and Mrs Katie Howard
Year 4 Kingsford Smith: Ms Lisa Goode
Year 5 Hollows: Mrs Nicky Roberts
Year 5 Cuthbert: Mrs Elizabeth Dawson
Year 6 Goolagong: Miss Prue McNaughton
Year 6 Mackellar: Mrs Julie Jago
Library: Mrs Elizabeth Noble
Art: Mrs Louise Hulls and Mrs Katie Howard
Physical Education: Mrs Simone Langshaw and Mrs Kate O’Toole
Japanese: Mrs Jan Chalmer
Music: Mrs Katie Germaine and Mr Brett Glover
Pathways Coordinator: Mrs Linda Cooper-Lothian
Learning Support: Mrs Michelle Thompson, Ms Vanessa Walsh, Miss Claire Henry and Mrs Louise Anderson
Speech Pathologist: Mrs Michelle Sands
Deputy Head of St Anne’s: Mrs Sheryn Ray
Front Office: Mrs Kelly Braden and Mrs Sue Davies
Gap Assistant: Miss Ella Baker-Horan

House Captains for 2021
This morning we announced our House Captains for 2021 differently. Using Zoom, we projected into each classroom this morning with our current House Captains announcing their predecessors. Every student from Year 2 to Year 5 had the opportunity to vote for their House Captain on Tuesday morning. Our House Captains play a significant role in our school Community. They provide leadership, enthusiasm and encouragement during our many House Competitions. These include Athletics, Swimming, Cross Country, Singing, Public Speaking and Handwriting. I want to thank all students who applied and congratulations to the following students:

Blundell Bogong: Xavier Plant and Oscar Wilkins (pictured top left with current House Captains Gus and Jessica)
Cranswick Dargo: Alana Crawford and Harry Stephenson (pictured top right with current House Captains Olivia and Hayden)
Tisdall Hotham: Daniel Neilan and Maizy Duck (pictured bottom left with current House Captains Ewan and Anna)
Wellington Binks: Luca Keppitipola and Aleisha Turnbull (pictured bottom right with current House Captains Molly and Hayley holding the Rash Shield. The Rash shield, donated by the Rash family, combines the results from all House competitions this year.)

Foundation pre-recorded Fellowship
We have had to reimagine our Foundation Fellowship this year and we have combined our Bass and Mawson experiences this year to help create this week’s Fellowship. This is a celebration of the amazing experiences and learning our youngest students have had throughout this year. School families can view the Fellowship on VOS.

Key Dates
Monday December 7: Christmas Service (students to dress in Christmas-themed causals)
Wednesday December 9: Citizen of the Term
Thursday December 10: Year 6 Valedictory
Thursday December 10: School reports available via VOS (late afternoon)
Thursday December 10: End of Year 3:15pm

St Anne’s 2020 Campus Captains Jonah and Gracie with next year’s Campus Captains Louis and Mia.

Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Jan Henry
Valedictory Dinner farewells Year 12 students
On Thursday evening we held a wonderful reimagined Valedictory service and dinner to honour and farewell our Year 12 students. Reverend Nikolai Blaskow spoke at the service to begin the evening and students and staff enjoyed a three-course meal in a beautifully decorated and transformed Garnsey Hall. Each student was recognised with a graduation certificate. Awards for achievement, improvement and citizenship and School colours were also distributed. While I was sad not to be able to share the event with parents, many of whom have been associated with the school for many years, the live-streaming of the event so that parents and other family could be part of it was very successful.
We wish the Year 12 students well as they begin a new adventure beyond our School gates.

Prefects 2021
This morning I was delighted to announce our School Prefects for 2021, which were selected after a vote, a written application and an interview.
The Prefects are:
J’Amela Bitar   Jack Burton
Ben Crozier     Harry Davis
Kate Finlay       Fergus Grubb
Taryn Grubb    Will Hall
Connor Hare    Ashton Hicks
Molly Howard Ruby Luckie    
Kai McDonald Hannah Ng

Duke of Edinburgh Awards
The Duke of Edinburgh award is a challenging program of personal goal setting. It was a pleasure to present a number of awards this week to the following students:
Camille Japhary (Bronze Award)
Sophie Alexander (Bronze Award)
David Ng (Silver Award)
Hannah Fairweather (Young Award Leader)
Molly Howard (Young Award Leader)
Hannah Ng (Gold Award)

All these awards are a fine challenge. I would especially like to congratulate Year 12 student Hannah on the exceptional achievement of the Gold Award. This requires students to undertake 52 weeks on each activity which is a remarkable commitment.

Hannah’s activities are shown below:
Skill: Preparation and completion of Grade 8 piano
Physical Recreation: Swimming
Service: Playing music at nursing homes, but due to COVID10 she shared in making a CD and video recordings for residents.
Adventurous journey: Bushwalk and Hotham alpine hike
Residential project – Camp Coolamatong Youth Camp
Congratulations to all Hannah and all these awardees. A fine effort.

Arrangements for the final week
I remind families that our annual Celebration Night, which includes our Prizegiving, will be reimagined in a Celebration Assembly commencing at 1.45pm on Thursday December 10 and live-streamed via Zoom to students in classrooms across the campus. This will be instead of the traditional evening event.

We are currently finalising the awards for our Years 7-11 students which will be presented at the afternoon assembly, prior to dismissal and the normal bus arrangements for the end of the term. This is the final day of School for 2020 and will be a great opportunity for all students to share in the celebration of our year.

We will send a link to a video of the presentation of the awards in the week following the assembly, so that families have the opportunity to share in this event and view this celebration of the 2020 School year. I commend the video of our Celebration Assembly to all families.

Christmas wishes
I wish all families a safe and Merry Christmas. I thank all families for your support in what has been a challenging year for all.

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