Gippsland Grammar news: Nov 27, 2020

Nov 27, 2020 | Community News

Like many of you, I am a passionate reader. While I spend considerable time reading about education, teaching and learning, I also really enjoy reading biographies to provide me with messages of hope and inspiration.

The book I wish to share with you was one that I couldn’t walk past. Both the title and the cover caught my attention as it had a face on it that smiled back at me. The book was The Happiest Man on Earth, which is a powerful, heartbreaking and, ultimately, hopeful memoir of 100-year-old Eddie Jaku.

Eddie Jaku is a Holocaust survivor who shares his amazing story, despite seeing some of the darkest parts of life and the worst side of humanity. He has chosen to live a life shaped by gratitude, kindness and hope.

After I read his book, I Googled Eddie to learn more about his story and I came across a TEDx talk that he gave in Sydney last year at the age of 99.

I share this with you today because it connects with the importance of slowing down and enjoying today. Eddie is a man who promised himself that he would: smile, be polite, be happy, be helpful and be kind. This is despite the fact he is a man who had every reason to be none of these things.

I encourage you to spend five minutes listening to Eddie’s story to hear what he has learnt in the 100 years of his life. Here is the link:

However, if you don’t have time, here are some of his quotes:

  • “I do not hate anyone – hate is a disease – which may destroy your enemy but will also destroy you in the process.”
  • “I am doing everything I can to make this world a better place for everyone and I implore you all to do your best too.”
  • “I made the promise that from that day until the end of my life – I promised to be happy, smile, be polite, helpful and kind.”
  • “Happiness does not fall from the sky; it is in your hands.”
  • “One flower is my garden, one good friend is my world.”
  • “Tomorrow will come but first enjoy today.”
  • “For me when I wake up, I am happy because it is another day to enjoy.”
  • “I was at the bottom of the pit so if I can make one miserable person smile, I am happy.”
  • And his final words:
    “Please do not walk in front of me, I may not be able to follow.
    Please do not walk behind me, I may not be able to lead.
    Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

What a wonderful man and an inspiring soul. Every one of us has someone beside us right now in our life. If we do nothing else today, let’s walk beside that person and be their friend.

Have a lovely weekend,

Leisa Harper

The Transition classes at both campuses have been learning about water conservation and the impacts of pollution in our waterways.

For Bairnsdale’s Transition group, sustainability continues to be an important part of the program. The children were recently able to help tell the story of ‘Pollution in the Mitchell River’ with the help of some props. This story demonstrates how easily the waterways can become polluted through everyday actions such as washing oil down the sink, not disposing of fishing waste or washing the car in the driveway, and how this can affect the animals that rely on clean water.
When the children saw the river, they were able to link the impact of this human activity to the degraded environment. The children were then encouraged to use recycled items to construct a ‘scoop’ to help clean the river. Each child then demonstrated how their scoop worked. Working together, the children gave each other suggestions on how to make the scoops stronger and more effective. It was a wonderful morning of interactive learning and fun. A huge thank you to East Gippsland Water for allowing the ELC to borrow their resources.
(by Mrs Sharon Smith, Transition teacher)

At the Sale ELC the White Swans Transition class has been exploring the damage that plastic pollution does to sea life, in particular to turtles and dolphins. The children showed great empathy and concern for the plight of animals injured by articles such as plastic bags and straws and were able to link this to their prior learning about reducing our use of these items in everyday life. We can’t underestimate the importance of lessons such as these from an early age, and we are very proud of our future citizens and their mature understanding of their role in a more sustainable world.

This week both Sale Transition groups participated in a mini athletics carnival and the children thoroughly enjoyed activities such as a sprint, long jump, shot put, hurdles and a sack race (pictured below). Many thanks to Mrs Laverty for organising a fantastic finale to the year’s PMP lessons.

As we appear to be in a spell of warmer weather may I remind all our ELC families that the children require their sunhats every day. We only have a small supply of spare hats so we would appreciate some donations of unwanted hats when your child moves onto school next year.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Professional Learning
After a three-day weekend due to a staff professional learning day on Friday, our students returned to School this week feeling refreshed. The learning day was also a great opportunity for our staff to gather, take time out from our busy schedule and to revisit our approach to reading.

Consultant and trainer Karen Starkiss shared her knowledge of the ‘Science of Reading’ in an engaging and informative presentation. Reading is the foundation for all curriculum and we are pleased that Karen will continue her work with us next year at both of the junior campuses. I acknowledge and thank Pathways teacher Tracey Grubb for her efforts in organising the successful day.

2021 Class Structure
2021 will begin with a small change in classroom structure and teaching staff. As a staff we have chosen to have a straight Year 3 and Year 4 class next year as we felt would be beneficial for our current Year 2’s to have a year together to consolidate their learning after a year of disruption. Each year we assess the needs of each cohort coming through and respond accordingly. Please see below for the 2021 class structure.

Year Level Class name Teacher
Foundation Acacia Mrs Libby Crowe
Year 1/2 Banksia Mrs Joy Hay-Smith
Year 1/2 Correa Ms Anna Whelan
Year 3 Melaleuca Mrs Penny Rankin
Year 4 Kurrajong Mrs Amanda Jenman
Year 5 Grevillea Mrs Fiona Carr/Ms Lucy Leeming
Year 6 Blackwood Mr Todd Cook

Campus Captain Interviews
I spent a delightful day on Tuesday interviewing the Year 5 students who have applied for our Campus Captain positions for next year. Their pleasant confidence and obvious preparation was commendable. While it was called an ‘interview’, in reality this process was a wonderful opportunity for me to hear their student voice, their thoughts on our School and their desire to lead responsibly. Regardless of the outcome, I am confident our 2021 Year 6 class will lead us competently. Please see below some responses to what they believe the ‘Spirit of Gippsland Grammar’ to be.
Gippsland Grammar has a strong community spirit where everyone feels included, safe and encouraged to be the best they can be. We also have a strong team spirit where participation is the key.”
The ‘Spirit of Gippsland Grammar’ is about having excellence in education, being part of a community where we all work together and enjoy learning.”
“The Bairnsdale Campus is one of acceptance and individuality. I feel this leads to a happy and safe environment which encourages students to do their best work.”

The 2021 Foundation class completed their transition process with enthusiasm and confidence. Greeting the ELC children at the gate each morning throughout COVID-19 has allowed me to interact with them daily and commence building the important partnership with their parents and carers. Mrs Libby Crowe with the assistance of Ms Lara Benton ensured their time at School was happy and productive, creating a sense of belonging, an essential element for a successful educational experience.

Kurrajong Fellowship
The Kurrajong class have been learning about neologism and explained in their Zoom fellowship that these are new words that are being used, but are not properly recognised as a word. Sometimes neologisms become a real word and make it into the dictionary. The students have been reading the book Frindle, which is a story about a boy named Nick who makes a new word for pen, which he calls a ‘frindle’. The class proudly presented their dioramas that were created from each chapter in this book. Thank you to Mrs Jenman and Kurrajong for sharing your learning with us.

Hands Up to Change the Story
Once again, we participated in ‘Hands Up to Change the Story – East Gippsland says no to violence’. The Year 5 and 6 students decorated hand prints and recognised the importance of this movement.

Keep in our prayers
We continue to keep Archdeacon Brenda Burney and her family in our prayers after hearing the sad news of her husband Rod’s fatal accident. Brenda is an integral part of our community and we share in her sadness and support her in our prayers.

God of love and mercy, embrace all those whose hearts today overflow with grief, unanswered questions and such a sense of loss.
Grant them space to express their tears.
Hold them close through the coming days.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
St Anne’s Campus Captains 2021
Congratulations to Mia Goold and Louis Lazarro who have been elected St Anne’s Campus Captains for 2021. Our Campus Captains have a major role within our School  Community and I am very excited to assist them and to see the positive impact both Mia and Louis will have at St Anne’s in 2021.
To our students who were unsuccessful candidates for these roles, thank you for going through the process and I appreciated your honesty and willingness. Please take away the positives from this experience and continue leading by example.
At St Anne’s Campus, we see all our Year 6 classes as both leaders and School ambassadors. This involves setting a good example to all other students in the school and representing our School within the local community. Our two Campus Captains will display the Gippsland Grammar CLERR values of Compassion, Leadership, Excellence, Responsibility and Respect. Our House Captains will be announced on Friday December 4 after their speeches this coming Tuesday.
We also said goodbye to Edison and Aurora Talbot this morning. The Talbot family have been an integral part of our School community during their time at Gippsland Grammar. We wish the whole family all the best as they relocate to the ACT and remind them that they will always remain a part of our Community.

Change to Gate Entries and Exits
From Monday November 30 until the remainder of the School year, we are going to trial allowing students to enter and exit the gate that best suits them. Students may enter and/or exit via the main gate (Raymond Street), Kukun Kalak gate (McMillan Street) or the back gate (South Gippsland Highway). Our ELC students must still enter via the McMillan Street car park.
We will be monitoring the flow of students and adults around these gates to determine how our entries and exits will work in 2021. If we feel our School Community’s safety is compromised during this trial, I will make the decision to revert back to our ‘House Gates.’

Camp Experiences
As our Year 3 to Year 6 students missed out on our camps this year, we decided to bring the camping experience to them as COVID-19 restrictions eased. With the assistance of our Head of Outdoor Education Dave Arnup, we were able to map out the key activities that normally happen on a camp and we had year levels go white water rafting, canoeing, bike rides and beach combing. This year has given us another opportunity to ‘think outside the box’ when providing our students with broad learning experiences.

Athletics Day
In line with COVID-19 guidelines, our students across the campus have had their own Athletics day. Utilising our expansive School grounds, and on different days, students from ELC to Year 6 took part in high jump, sprints, discuss and long jump to name a few. Thank you to our Physical Education teachers Kate O’Toole and Amy Laverty, for organising our Athletic Days.

Uniting – Gifts for Students in Need
This Christmas, St Anne’s is supporting Uniting’s ‘Gift for Families.’ We all know that many families are doing it tough after such a challenging year. If possible, families are asked to bring in a Christmas present (unwrapped) for children and families less fortunate. Students may bring in a gift from the suggested list and age group below. We will have collection areas at the front office and classrooms. The gifts will be sent to Uniting in the lead up to Christmas, and distributed to families in need.

Babies and toddlers

Toys – rattles, plush or bath toys

Blankets and bedding items

Building blocks or Duplo

Story or educational books

Clothes, pyjamas, bathers, shoes


Children 4-8 years old

Outdoor games – frisbees, balls, cricket sets

Board and card games

Plush toys, dolls, action figures

Cars, trucks or train sets

Building blocks or Lego

Story or colouring in books

Craft supplies – paint, pencils

Clothes, pyjamas, bathers, shoes

Dress up outfits and accessories

Children 9-14 years old

Board and card games

Reading and activity books

Outdoor equipment – skateboards, bikes, scooters

Fun stationery and stickers

Headphones or speakers

Clothes, pyjamas, bathers, shoes




Make up – lip gloss, nail polish, gift packs

Body lotions, perfume, aftershave or deodorant

Accessories – headbands, jewellery, hats, scarves

Handbags, backpacks, wallets or purses

Gift cards

Sports and fitness


GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry
I must commend all our students and staff on the successful first week of Rollover; welcoming new students into classes and with lots of enthusiastic learning, it has been a relatively smooth transition to a new School year for the Garnsey campus. It was also a treat to see our 2020 School Photographs finally being taken today and I thank John Ansell Photography for their willingness to take photos at all our campuses this week.
I am pleased to notify families that our annual Celebration Night, which includes our Prizegiving, will be reimagined in a Celebration Assembly commencing at 1.45pm on the afternoon of Thursday December 10 and live-streamed via Zoom to students in classrooms across the campus. The traditional evening event will not be held in 2020.
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 provide 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.

Netball Clinic in Gippsland
I encourage families to make the most of the opportunity to participate in upcoming netball clinics featuring Gippsland Grammar Old Scholar Lara Dunkley from the Firebirds and Vixens’ Premiership Captain Kate Moloney, to be held in mid-December, just after the end of term, across Gippsland. The sessions are two hours and costs $45 with age groups including 13 and under, 15 and under and 17 and over. There will be prizes and giveaways, a Q&A session, specialist attack & defence coaching, games and match play. Register at

Friday December 11: Yarram (from 3.30pm)
Saturday December 12: Sale (9am, noon and 3pm)
Sunday December 13: Bairnsdale (9am, noon and 3pm)
2 Hour Session @ $45  (age groups)

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