Gippsland Grammar news: Dec 3, 2021

Dec 3, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

In many ways it is hard to believe that the end of the 2021 school year is almost upon us. It is an exciting and busy time for our staff, students, and families. This week has had some wonderful ‘in-person’ events at Garnsey, such as a full school assembly and chapel service. Bairnsdale and St Anne’s have enjoyed some special activities at The Abbey and some camps. Our final week is blessed to have even more special events for our students and families. I am looking forward to attending the end-of-year activities and functions across all three campuses.

Today, I spent some special time with our Foundation and ELC classes doing Christmas craft. If you should see any bright, sparkly lights coming from Gippsland Grammar, it may well be me; I am sure Mrs Burgess and her team save up all their glitter for the days that I come in to do craft! Not only is it a fun afternoon, but it is a time that I reflect on all our students – how much fun they have had, how much they have grown and especially how much they have learnt.

I have already been impressed with our Year 12 students and leaders as they have been swift to set the tone at Garnsey with their collaborative approach and desire to assist our School Community. I look forward to watching their leadership capacity emerge. And I look forward to sharing the results of our 2021 Year 12 students in the coming weeks with you all.

It has been lovely to receive so many notes of appreciation from parents over the last few weeks. The notes reflect gratitude for a wide range of things, and I can’t commend the staff more to our Community; their desire and passion to do all that they can for our students is impressive. I am looking forward to hosting many more events next year and engaging further with the Gippsland Grammar Community.

Chaplaincy News
I shared with you in early September that Rev Nikolai and Dean Susanna were returning to Canberra to reunite with family at the end of this year. We have appointed Rev Dr Tim Gaden to join our Chaplaincy team at Gippsland Grammar.  Rev Tim has been a post-doctoral fellow at King’s College, London, the Principal of the Trinity College Theological School, training ministers lay and ordained for the Anglican dioceses of Victoria, and the Mother Esther CHN Canon Theologian for the Diocese of Ballarat.

Rev Tim comes to Gippsland Grammar from Ballarat where he has held the positions of Rector of St Peter’s as well as Senior Chaplain at Ballarat Grammar. He has overseen the Chapel life of the school as well as teaching VCE Philosophy and Latin.  

Rev Tim is looking forward to being part of our community and he will meet many of our Garnsey students next year as our RAVE teacher and Chaplain.  

Please keep Nikolai, Susanna, Tim, and Selina in your prayers as they transition into their new communities.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess  
There was plenty of activity around the Early Learning Centres this week as we prepared for the end of the 2022 school year.

Bairnsdale Reception Group by teacher Mrs Sommer Lea Collins
Recently the Reception children were able to revisit their learning about community and emergency services that began earlier in the year. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, our incursions were cancelled in Terms 2 and 3. However, we were pleased recently to participate in a Zoom learning session with two police officers from our community. The children travelled over to our junior school campus library, where we used the smartboard. Police officers Ryan and Sarah were able to share valuable information with the children, including what a police officer does, how they keep the community safe and how to seek help and support when you need it.

The children have also welcomed an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ to the ELC. After we read the story, a cheeky Elf was discovered in the ELC Christmas tree! The children decided his name was Jack and on Tuesday morning he arrived with little hampers to share with our Music teacher and Mrs Evans. The children had a wonderful time presenting them with the hampers and added their handmade baubles. It was a lovely way to spread Christmas joy to our wider School Community.

St Anne’s Transition Groups by teacher Mrs Danielle Carpenter
Our Transition ‘Swans’ students have enjoyed their orientation sessions at St Anne’s junior campus over the past couple of Fridays.  The children each attend the classroom where they will be next year with their new Foundation teacher. It is a lovely time of the Transition year as the children get to know the other students in the classes and bond with their 2022 teacher. The children have also been very busy turning the classroom into a Christmas wonderland, full of beautiful decorations, and they are looking forward to the Christmas break up party with their buddies next week and a party on the last day to celebrate their time at ELC.

St Anne’s Reception Group
by teacher Mrs Kristy How
St Anne’s the ‘Cygnets’ have been wrapping up the year with a flurry of Christmas crafts, singing and playing. Children show an emerging sense of connectedness at this point in the year, spending much of their time in small groups playing games, making collaborative art such as a giant cubby house, and singing carols or sharing stories. The children enjoy the wonderful sense of belonging that comes from shared traditions and celebrations. As educators, we begin to step back and observe the enormous change that has taken place throughout the year and look at our very youngest students as the capable, caring, fun and special people that they are. We conclude the year ever so grateful for the trust and support of families throughout another rollercoaster of a year. Mrs Banwell, Mrs Whitfield and I send our sincere thanks and very best wishes for the new year ahead.

Bairnsdale Transition Group by teacher Sharon Smith

The term is quickly coming to an end and the children are busy working on their end of year surprises. As the year has progressed the children have continued to develop their social skills and their ability to work together on a common project. They were able to demonstrate this when the group decorated the ELC Christmas Tree. Together they were able to take turns, share tasks, help and celebrate the season with each other.

Blessings to all.

The Monday/Wednesday ‘Cygnet’ group explore ‘the big school’ (top); Armana nd Mason are excited about Elf on the Shelf (above left); and Isla and Clemence paint together (above right).

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Our students have enjoyed the lovely weather this week, playing outside happily, enjoying each other’s company and experiencing the joy of being together on excursions. Year 6 commenced their week with the challenge of bike riding along the rail trail from Bruthen to the old quarry. I witnessed teamwork, encouragement, laughter and the feeling of success. It was a terrific day for all, and it was lovely to enjoy it with our leaders.

Our Early Years students were excited to return to The Abbey, to reconnect with the environment and each other in such beautiful surroundings. Finding the three tawny frogmouths amongst the trees proved a challenge; however, those little eyes are very observant, and our students quickly pointed them out to me. It was a day that was most appreciated by all, simply enjoying learning and supporting our wellbeing.

As a campus we have entered the East Gippsland Community Christmas Treasure Hunt.  Our students led by Alyssa Witham and Charlotte Snow have created a tree made of pinecones that has now taken pride of place at the front of our school for all to see. Thank you to all those students who contributed pinecones; it was a combined effort, and it looks terrific.

This morning we welcomed our new students for 2022 to our campus as all students experienced transitioning to the next year level, including our Year 6 students to Garnsey. They have met their teachers for 2022; they know their peers and understand the expectations going forward. The purpose of transition is to familiarise the students with their new learning environment, and from what I saw, they all looked very comfortable.

On our final day of term we will continue our tradition of enjoying Christmas lunch together. Orders can be placed via your My Student account of by using the paper form with a cash payment. Please see VOS for further details. Please note that all orders need to be placed by Monday morning. Parent help will be welcomed on Thursday around midday to help serve the lunch. If you would like to come along and you are fully vaccinated, please let the office know at  Today is the final day of normal Tuckshop orders. There will be no Tuckshop available on Wednesday December 8. We are so thankful to our Tuckshop manager Anne Smith, who is retiring at the end of this year.

We have been fortunate to have Mr Brett Glover as our music teacher for the last three years. He has decided to take a position closer to home in Sale and to be nearer his family. We wish him well and thank him for his contributions to our school, particularly his commitment to our productions. I look forward to announcing our new music teacher for 2022 very soon. 

Speaking of productions, I encourage you all to join your child at the designated times to view our revised version of Charlotte’s Web, filmed under challenging conditions, edited by Ms Lucy Leeming and of course starring our students.  I am more than proud of all those involved for their commitment to completing the task that began in Term 1, to endure the uncertainty of the performance throughout Term 2 and 3 and to finally complete it in a medium with confidence and enthusiasm a mere week ago.

Wishing you well for the weekend ahead.


Fun at Raymond Island (above left); and the Year 6 bike ride (above right).

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
I am writing this week’s newsletter from Camp Coolamatong on the Banksia Peninsula. Our Year 3 students flourished during their two days on camp. As a School, we strive to provide memorable moments for our students to make the most of a challenging year. Our Year 4 students slept at school last night and enjoyed a camping-like experience on the school grounds. Year 5 students rode to the historical Sale Swing Bridge on Thursday.  We have also planned a range of fun activities for our Foundation to Year 6 students next week.

Christmas Celebrations
On Monday of this week, we began our Christmas celebrations by holding our annual Christmas concert. Though we would have preferred to have parents and friends join us for this annual event, that was not possible this year. Being in the hall with all students from our ELC to Year 6 singing and celebrating the meaning of Christmas was energising. Our Chamber Strings ensemble, St Anne’s Singers, Junior Choir, Oscar Wilkins, Ella Lamb, and Sophie Moy also performed during the concert. St Anne’s, the Early Learning Centre, Bairnsdale, and Garnsey campuses have combined to perform ‘Deck the Halls’ in a string spectacular. Thank you to Mrs Germaine and our Music Captains, Jadyn Gomez and Vida Yanez, for running this event.

On Monday, our Foundation Nativity play will be watched by our students. This performance takes weeks to organise, and due to the restrictions recently in place, we decided to create a pre-recorded Foundation Nativity play. Congratulations to all our Foundation students, Mrs Rebekah Tayler, and Miss Bree Alexander, for producing this year’s Nativity play. 

2022 House Captains
Today we announced our 2022 House Captains. We are looking forward to providing a range of opportunities for our student leaders in 2022. Some of the House Captain responsibilities include organising lunchtime activities for our students and assisting staff and students at key House events. This also includes helping marshal students for their events during House Athletics and Swimming, preparing, and presenting at Fellowships and providing positive encouragement of House spirit throughout the year. Each applicant needed to make a speech to their House peers from Years 3 to 6. Then students from Year 3 to Year 6, and our staff, voted on who they thought would best represent each House. As communicated earlier, we will be inducting our Campus and House Captains early in 2022. We will also begin the process for our other Year 6 leadership roles at the beginning of next year. Congratulations to our 2022 House Captains:

Wellington Binks: Ella Lamb and Sophie Moy
Blundell Bogong: Milla Lazzaro and Vanessa Buhagiar
Tisdall Hotham: Cruz Duck and Ashley Tayler
Cranswick Dargo: Oscar Callanan and Isabella Spoljaric

Important Dates
Year 6 End of Year Celebration – Tuesday 7 December
Citizen of Term – Wednesday 8 December
Year 4 Jump and Climb Excursion – Wednesday 8 December
Year 6 Goolagong RAAF excursion – Wednesday 8 December
Year 5 Sale Pool excursion – Wednesday 8 December
Year 6 Valedictory and Last Day of Term 4, 2021 – Thursday 9 December

Yar 5 students at the Swing Bridge on Thursday (above left); and Year 3 students waiting for the bus to go to camp, also on Thursday (above right).

Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Kate Ray
This was our last full week for the year and what a week we have had. We reintroduced a number of our important school traditions and routines with our return to in person Garnsey Campus assembly on Monday.

With our new team of 2022 prefects to support us, Mrs Harper, Mrs Wakeham, Rev Blaskow and I were onstage to present awards and to applaud the recipients. We talked about the importance of these traditions to our school values and culture. How we need to embrace these traditions and treat them with the respect and sense of occasion that they deserve. We need to be proud of our school and our students. Looking out at the sea of faces I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

Our combined band performed a processional and a recessional ably conducted by Ms Chilcott, we sang in unison to the national anthem. The first time this has happened in a long while. And the best part was that we got to do this again on Wednesday. Fr Blaskow and our Chapel Captains led the Chapel service in Garnsey Hall. The second last Chapel that Fr Blaskow will hold as our Chaplain, and it was wonderful that we were all able to be together for this.

But we haven’t done away with Zoom altogether. On Monday evening Mrs Henderson and the Year 7 team gave a warm welcome to our Year 7 2022 families during our Year 7 Information Evening. We spoke of our unique transition program for our 2022 cohort. These students have had to miss out on a great deal of time with their Year 6 classmates due to lockdown and many of them had important rites of passage or events that were being held this week. With this in mind, we had a one-day introduction today where all of our Year 7 2022 students came to the Garnsey Campus – some for the first time, to meet their mentors, tour the school and familiarise themselves with their 2022 classmates. These students and families will still have a full Transition experience – it will continue in 2022 with our Year 7s being the only students onsite on Monday 31 January with their families joining us too so we can talk to the parents or guardians and share with them what it means to be a ‘Garnsey parent’. From the Tuesday our Year 7s will embrace their new timetables, meet all their teachers, participate in House events and experience life as a Garnsey student. We look forward to these upcoming events.

Our new timings for 2022 have already enabled us to run some important sessions with our students during their morning mentor time. Mr Henderson, our Careers/VET & VCAL coordinator shared the following insights from his session with Year 12s this week:

This week I had the chance to speak with the Year 12 Class of 2022 as they participate in rollover into their chosen Year 12 classes. I think this is an exciting time for the students as they get a feel for their teachers, classes, and structure of life as a Year 12 student. My message to the students this week centred around the difference between ‘what is easy’ and ‘what is enjoyable’.


In the 70s, physiologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi proposed the Positive Psychology concept of ‘Flow’. This is a concept that describes those moments where you’re completely absorbed in a challenging but doable task. Sometimes referred to as “in the zone”, flow occurs when your skill level and the level of challenge are equal.

In exploring ‘what is easy’ vs ‘what is enjoyable’ we considered this chart. We discussed that something that is easy would usually be low in challenge where at best, our engagement would be boredom or relaxation. Generally, these are demotivating factors when it comes to learning, to work and to life. The purpose of the discussion was to encourage the students to work to their potential, challenge themselves healthily whereby they can work in a state of arousal and control, aiming for the state of Flow.


When we experience things that are easy, it doesn’t always equal enjoyment. To experience enjoyment, we need to challenge ourselves healthily. This means trusting our teachers, trusting their feedback, and believing in ourselves.

I’ve been listening to “The Howie Games” podcast created by sports journalist, Mark Howard and came across an interview with V8 Supercar great, Jamie Whincup. 

Whincup offered two pieces of advice that area valuable for everyone, though I believe even more valuable to our students embarking on Year 12. He talks about…

  • Don’t focus too much on the end goal. Have a dream of course, set goals for sure, but try to maximise the here and now by focusing on what you can do today
  • There’s always someone better off, and there’s always someone worse off. I never made it to Formula 1 racing, but o the other hand there are thousands of kids that I used to race go carts against that didn’t make it to the highest level in Australia. Don’t compare yourself to others and always be grateful.

Celebration Assembly and final day of 2022
This Thursday we will be holding our Celebration Assembly – this was formerly an evening event, but we made changes to this last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and have seen the benefits from keeping this event as a daytime celebration. It enables all our students to be together to celebrate the success and achievements of their peers together. In the past due to space limitations, only a select few Year levels and award recipients could be in the Hall.

Parents and guardians won’t miss out though. We will be live streaming and recording this event. The link will be available on VOS on Thursday for the livestream and afterwards to access the recording.

As this is a formal occasion and there is no Sport on Thursday, students are expected to wear their full Summer uniform. School will finish at the normal time of 3.20pm

Catch up on last week’s newsletter here:


Gippsland Grammar background:
Gippsland Grammar is one of Australia’s leading co-educational Anglican schools, with a tradition of excellence in education extending almost 100 years. Located in the heart of Gippsland, the School has more than 1100 students across three campuses including St Anne’s junior campus and the Garnsey senior campus, both at Sale, and the Bairnsdale junior campus in East Gippsland. Enrolments at both junior campuses begin with a 3s and 4s kindergarten program at their respective Early Learning Centres (ELC) and Garnsey caters for students from Years 7-12. Gippsland Grammar is also the only boarding school east of Melbourne’s suburban fringe and is a home-away-from-home for students from far East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Victoria’s High Country and the Latrobe Valley as well as for a cohort of international students.

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