Gippsland Grammar news: Feb 5, 2021

Feb 5, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Reflecting on the start of the new year, I wanted to share this message from Denzel Washington’s University of Pennsylvania graduation address. I found his speech fascinating as what he said included important messages for all of us when he speaks about the importance of taking risks and ‘failing forward’.

It made me reflect that we prepare for and manage risks in life all the time; we take an umbrella just in case it rains; we take spare shoes just in case our new ones give us blisters, and so on. We often manage risk by not doing anything at all – we do not go up and speak to a person in case they think we are silly or a nerd. And when it comes to work and careers, we are sometimes told to study a subject or a course at university even if it is not something we want to do, just so ‘you have something to fall back on’.

We are risk-averse. And sometimes it limits our achievements and stifles our dreams; we avoid risk by focusing on ‘the worst thing that could happen’, whereas perhaps we should focus on ‘the best thing that could happen’. What would happen if you consistently applied yourself in class and to your studies? Just perhaps, you could fulfill your dreams. How good would that be?

In the recording of his university graduation speech, Denzel Washington talks about risk and failure and then says – don’t think of falling back on something in case you fail, instead if you fail, fail forward – don’t give up and persevere.

The key message is ‘to get something you never had; you have to do something you never did’.

If students are serious about academic achievement and want to achieve more, it is time to do things a little differently. Perhaps pay more attention in class, revise regularly, seek support of your teachers, ask questions, and complete all work.

There are many important attitudes which lead to success. It is a great conversation starter with our young people as we commence the new year. What will you do differently?

Have a lovely weekend,
Leisa Harper

VOS is Gippsland Grammar’s Learning Management System, which supports the learning of our students, and also enables parents and guardian to interact with their child’s learning more than has been possible in the past.

To help families access the full benefits of VOS we have organised an information session, which will introduce the main features of VOS including:

  • How to access news items
  • How to keep updated with your child’s progress (‘continuous reporting’)
  • How to access your account balance, statements and make payments
  • Update your child’s information
  • Approve excursions
  • Looking ahead with calendars

This session will be held online on Tuesday February 9 from 4-4.45pm. Click here at this time to participate.

Gippsland Grammar is currently recruiting for a number of positions, including for a part-time (FTE 0.26 – two hours each weekday during School terms) receptionist at our Garnsey Campus. Please click here for more information.

Monday February 8: 11am Garnsey Leadership Induction
Tuesday February 9: Garnsey Swimming Carnival
Tuesday February 9: VOS Information Session via Zoom (4-4.45pm)
Tuesday February 9: Meet the Teacher Evening at Bairnsdale (from 5pm)
Wednesday February 10: Year 12 Camp begins
Wednesday February 10: St Anne’s parent information evening
Wednesday February 10: No school for Foundation students at St Anne’s and Bairnsdale
Thursday February 11: Year 9 Melbourne Campus Information evening via Zoom (7pm)
Friday February 12: Yr 12 Camp concludes
Friday February 12:
St Anne’s Welcome Picnic
Friday February 12: Bairnsdale Campus House Swimming Carnival

Each new Gippsland Grammar student receives a School badge to wear on their blazer and
earlier this week the St Anne’s student leaders presented that campus’s new students with their badges.

I’d like to pass on a very warm welcome to all our new and returning families! With nearly 120 children beginning their early education at the Bairnsdale Campus ELC and the St Anne’s Campus ELC, our ELCs are certainly very busy places to be at this time of the year.

All our Reception children have spent this week doing their orientation program, which has allowed them to get used to the learning environment, their peers and their new educators. At three years of age, it can be a huge step into the unknown for children and parents however, I know our dedicated and experienced ELC team members will be at hand with plenty of positive strategies and ideas about how to best support your child as they make this first important transition into formal education. Some children will complete this transition with ease; for others, there may be tears or anxiety. Please rest assured that this is normal for this age group and try not to be too concerned. Feel free to speak to your child’s teacher as they will be able to give you valuable feedback about how your child is settling in. The goal for us all at this time of the year is to ensure that children feel safe, secure and supported as they begin to become a part of our School Community.

One part of this ‘settling in’ process is the photo books sent home last year for families to fill with pictures reflecting the people and things most important to your child. The photo books are an important tool for reassuring an anxious child, and they also help our educators get to know each child as an individual. Staff members regularly spend lots of time snuggled up next to children, looking at pictures of family pets and holidays. It can soothe and calm an anxious or upset child and is the beginning of the process of building strong and trusting relationships between children and educators. If you have not yet had time to complete and return your photo book, please try to do so next week.

At our St Anne’s ELC, the Transition group children in the ‘White Swans’ and ‘Black Swans’ groups enjoyed their first day together on Friday. Many thanks to those families who bravely completed their ‘sunflower’ projects. We are looking forward to seeing the results as they begin to flower in the weeks to come. This project is somewhat of a tradition in Sale, and I know that there are families still growing sunflowers many years later from seeds given to them when their children were at the ELC. Each of the children will be sharing their sunflower growing project with their class and this also allows us to begin to know each child and their family a little better. Even if you had no success with growing the seeds, I would urge families to help their child create their story poster to share. Sometimes the alternative story about why they weren’t planted or didn’t grow because they were eaten by cockatoos or flooded, make the most exciting stories. They also allow the children to think deeply about why this affected the seed’s growth. This creates so many opportunities for learning as we begin to explore the magic of the natural world in the coming year.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks as I travel between both campuses. Today I enjoyed spending the morning with the Bairnsdale Transition group as they participated in their first Japanese lesson. It was lovely to see how quickly the children spotted my Gippsland Grammar badge and were able to identify that I was someone who belonged to ‘their’ school.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
We have experienced a bright and joyful return to School as we’ve welcomed in the 2021 School year. We learn much from our students every day however the positivity, the independence and the terrific attitude the students bring with them as they pass through our School gate is commendable.

As a staff we are grateful for your trust in us which allows our students to transition smoothly through their School years. Walking about the campus this week; I have heard laughter, I have seen acts of kindness, I have seen focussed students, and I have seen committed staff. I thank them all for a terrific start to the year.

Today we celebrated together as a Community with our Welcome and Induction Fellowship. It was unique in nature as we gathered under the huge dome on the basketball court to enable our Community to join us safely. Our Year 6 leaders adapted to the change and organised it beautifully, already showing signs of a united Year 6 cohort. Our Foundation students took the starring role once again by enthusiastically clicking and clacking to the song Happy Sticks. The Honourable Mr Tim Bull MP was our guest speaker today and spoke of leadership and the importance of having a voice. We welcomed to our campus, 18 Foundation students and nine new students across the campus along with their families. We were joined by many parents which made for a lovely morning.

Foundation students proudly display their ‘Welcome to Gippsland Grammar’ certificates. Photo: Lisa Baker

It is always a pleasure to acknowledge our Year 6 leaders and to announce our SRC and Greenteam representatives. Mrs Hay-Smith and Mr Cook look forward to working with the following students to better our community in many ways.

Campus Captains: Parker Soulsby and Avin Mirabolfathi
Bus Captains: Holly Callaghan, Bill Prior, Heidi McInnes and Tom Campbell

SRC 2021
Representing Blackwood: Arlo Britten, Henry Knight, Alyssa Witham, Heidi McInnes, Oscar Blake, Bill Prior and Mia Kantzides
Representing Grevillea: Olive Linley, Lacey Scott, Angus Morton, Niko Ni
Representing Melaleuca: Omar Aly and Edward Knight
Representing Kurrajong: Maddie Evans and Mia Stephenson 
Representing Banksia and Correa: Jesse Trewin

Green Team 2021
Representing Blackwood: Riley Whelan, Damon Veldhuizen, Grace Smith and Charlotte Snow
Representing Grevillea: Indigo McKay, Tayte Cooper, Taylor Dennett and Beau Newman
Representing Melaleuca: Asher Smith, Juliette Khoo, Morgan Soulsby, Theodore Ding
Representing Kurrajong: Lenny Dullard, Leo Kantzides, Layla Verde-Shepherd, Ella Veldhuizen
Representing Year 1 and 2: Chloe Ashley

Assuming the weather is favourable tonight, we will finish our week celebrating as a Community with our annual Welcome Family Picnic. I look forward to seeing our families spread out across the lawns enjoying conversations and interacting with each other, building our Community of support.

Bairnsdale Campus Captains Parker Soulsby and Avin Mirabolfathi. Photo: Lisa Baker

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
As a School, we focus on building a greater connection with our Community, particularly after a disjointed 2020. Starting 2021 in a positive fashion has been an essential goal for us all at the beginning of this year and we have strived to make sure our students feel safe, connected and ready to learn.

During the middle of this week, we have had to pause and change some of our COVID-19 safety measures. Thank you for your understanding as we limit adults coming onto the School grounds in the morning. This has enabled our students to begin their social, emotional and academic learning right on time. Our parents and carers are encouraged to come onto the school grounds from 3pm to pick up their child and speak to our teachers.

This morning’s Fellowship, we acknowledged and welcomed our new Foundation students and their families. Each student was presented with our symbolic school badge and was accompanied by their Year 6 buddy. We also presented our Year 6 students with their badge. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we could only have our Foundation and Year 6 students in attendance, along with our Foundation parents.

Each week we will invite a year level’s parents and carers to join us for our Fellowships. Please keep an eye out for our email invitations and Fellowship information on VOS.

Left: Foundation student Misha Patel with her Year 6 ‘buddy’ Maizy Duck. Right: Foundation student Mason Harper, Year 6 student Alex Andrew, Campus Captain Louis Lazzaro and Foundation student Daniel Jansen Van Rensburg at Friday’s Fellowship.

Our Parent Information Evening will be held on Wednesday February 10 via Zoom. The key timings are below, and parents will be able to access Zoom links and pre-recorded videos via VOS. Teachers will be focusing on providing key information for both students and parents. We also have our VOS expert on hand to pass on tips and answer individual questions. Zoom links and the essential information will be available on VOS by noon on February 10.
5.30pm: Specialist pre-recorded videos and opportunity to speak to our VOS expert
6pm: Foundation to Year 2 information sessions (live on Zoom)
6.30pm: Year 3 to Year 6 information sessions (live on Zoom)

As a School, we are looking for more opportunities for our Community to come together within COVID-19 guidelines. Next Friday  February 12 from 5.30pm, families are invited to our annual St Anne’s Welcome Picnic. We will be using the grassed area near the Lorna Sparrow Hall, with access to toilets available. Families are reminded to socially distance and adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines.

VOS is Gippsland Grammar’s online Learning Management System and it plays an integral part in how we communicate with families. I cannot stress enough the importance of parents and carers access VOS regularly via a computer or the phone app to stay up-to-date with School news and announcements.

I know some parents have started Facebook pages and messaging groups for classes and year levels however I strongly encourage parents not to solely rely on these unofficial pages and groups for key information about the School. The information shared in these forums may not be correct and it places undue pressure on the parents administering these pages. Instead, if you have any questions please refer to VOS or contact your child’s classroom teacher, which you are always welcome to do via email or a phone call.

VOS is the best place for families to:

  • access key information
  • read your child’s academic reports (‘continuous reporting’)
  • Access the up-to-date calendar
  • View School account details

If you have issues accessing VOS or require assistance with the app, please contact our Gippsland Grammar ICT helpdesk on 5143 6364.

We have revised the Summer Uniform guidelines for 2021 only. In Term 1 if students are wearing their School shorts, and they have been able to purchase a green shirt, they need to wear this. If they haven’t been able to purchase a green shirt due to supply issues, they can wear their white shirt, but it MUST be worn tucked in. By Term 4 we expect that all students will wear their green shirt with their shorts. We thank you for your patience while we continue to work with our suppliers to provide our families with a uniform in a timely manner.

St Anne’s students arrive on the first day of school for 2021. Photos: Lisa Baker

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
This week has been a wonderful opportunity to meet our new Garnsey students and to reconnect with all staff and students.

While visiting Year level assemblies on Monday morning, I was impressed to see the attention the students were giving to their Heads of Year. A number of these assemblies focussed on goal setting and preparing for the year ahead as well as to how best to start out as you wish to continue. Miss Dyke spoke to our Year 11 students about controlling their own destiny – treading their own path. The students were encouraged to consider the opportunities before them over their final two years of schooling and step out of their comfort zone by becoming involved in co-curricular or House activities – that these were the opportunities and experiences that they will remember in the years to come, and not perhaps how many hours they spent studying each day.

This week I have also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with our Prefects and House leaders, who have already shown themselves to be focussed on those around them and what they can do to support our students and our School Community.

It is hard to believe that it was only a week ago that our Year 7s successfully completed their first day of secondary schooling. We welcomed the students and their parents to the campus and while the students spent time getting to know their classmates and their mentor teachers, their parents participated in a number of rotations which each had a different focus. For many it was their first opportunity to visit the campus in person and see the facilities and meet the staff who will be working with them to support their child’s learning over the next few years. As well as welcoming our new cohort of Year 7s last Friday, we also welcomed two new students on Monday. Cadel has joined us in Year 8 and Tammie in Year 9. We look forward to getting to know them and their families over the next few weeks.

Please continue to connect with us by reading the newsletter each week, checking VOS news items frequently and emailing your child’s mentor teacher if you have queries or concerns. Keeping informed through these avenues will enable you to connect in your child’s learning and provide you with prompts for discussion at home too.

Looking for a School?

Request a Gippsland Grammar Information Pack