Gippsland Grammar news: March 26, 2021

Mar 26, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Earlier this week, I shared with our Garnsey students the importance of stepping outside their comfort zone. Below are some of the things I spoke about.

‘I wanted to talk to you about a little saying that you will be familiar with: ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’. This phrase sounds like it comes from a simple observation one might make when watching the flocking behaviour of many birds, and then later, this sort of behaviour was applied in a metaphorical sense to people. Have you ever wondered what goes through your mind when you choose where to sit in a new classroom? Or in a waiting room full of strangers? Or on a bus?

Researchers have found out some interesting facts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we tend to move closer to people like ourselves. Girls sit by girls and boys sit by boys. Adults sit together and young people choose another young person to sit near. It truly goes further than this. We even choose to sit near someone who looks like us. People with glasses are more inclined to sit near other people with glasses. People with long hair sit closer to other people with long hair.

We seem to believe that people with similar physical traits will share similar attitudes and we are more likely to be accepted by people like ourselves or even, we think we may be safer with people who look like us. Sometimes that’s true, sensible as it sounds it’s also a pity if we always stick to the same people, and the same crowd. The danger in always staying in our comfort zone is that we just recycle the same opinions, the same tastes and ideas and the same fashions.

We lose the chance to learn something new, find out interesting things, hear fascinating stories, and discover differences. ‘When birds of a feather stick together’, how can we ever break down barriers and banish the ignorance that too often leads to prejudice and even fear? If we want to live in a society that thrives on diversity and variety, here’s another saying – ‘be the cat among the pigeons’.

Move out of your comfort zone. Open your mind to seeing that diversity is a great thing. Go and sit next to someone different. And don’t just sit there in silence. Say hello. Ask a question. Start a conversation. That’s how we make friends. That’s how we learn about people. That’s how we open our minds to new ideas.

On Harmony Day, celebrated on March 21 around Australia, let us remember the overall message of Harmony Day … to promote social cohesion and racial harmony.  Let us remember this celebration through community participation, inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, respect and belonging.

Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of respect for everyone who calls Australia home. We are so blessed to live in the country we do and the people who live here, make it better, simply by being part of “our Australia”.

I ask you all to be the cat amongst the pigeon and look for new ways to learn more about other people, especially those outside your usual flock.’

Enjoy the weekend.
Leisa Harper

Breaking news: our entire School Community was thrilled this morning as two of our rowers competing at the Australian Rowing Championships in Tasmania were crowned Australian champions.

Year 11 students Lindsay Hamilton and Billy Osborne narrowly beat Redlands and Ballarat Grammar to finish in first place in the under-19 double scull final. Lindsay and Billy were part of a 13-student team of rowers who travelled to Lake Barrington in Tasmania’s north for the National Championships which continue until Sunday.

Director of Rowing Nick Bartlett excitedly reported from the banks of Lake Barrington where he was cheering Lindsay and Billy on, that the duo’s trophy-winning performance was an amazing achievement after many months of intense training, which the two VCE students managed alongside their studies.

“I’m really thrilled for the boys, the program and the School,” Mr Bartlett said. “Everyone wants to win a national title and to do it in such style from start to finish was great to see. We’re already looking forward to hitting the water next season to start our preparation for the defence of the title in Perth 2022.”
Mr Bartlett and the rowers will return to Sale early next week where they will prepare for the state rowing trials on Thursday and Friday.

Year 11 students Billy Osborne and Lindsay Hamilton are presented with the Tim Hawkins Memorial Trophy after the pair won the under-19 double skull final at the Australian Rowing Championships at Lake Barrington in Tasmania on Friday.

It has been another busy week in the school’s Early Learning Centres. In particular at our Bairnsdale Campus where we welcomed families into the building for the first time this year for the ‘Stay and Play’ evenings. The feedback from those who attended was a feeling of relief in finally being able to see the beautiful learning environments the children spend their days in and how much everyone enjoyed getting to know our educators a little better.

Next term, we will recommence our roster for Transition families to come in and spend time with their child at the ELC. Families will have received a flyer outlining the process for signing up as an ‘indirect Volunteer’ via VOS. If you don’t have a current ‘Working with Children Check’, please apply for this now. As you will need to do this and complete the online process before you can attend as a classroom visitor.

We always delay having visitors to the classroom a little later with the Reception children as they do need more time before they are ready to have other adults enter the room. We anticipated that it would take some children longer to settle in after the year of lockdown and less social interaction, which has proven to be the case. We ask for your patience as we support our three-year-olds to make the happiest transition possible into our care.

This week I have asked all our teachers to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the learning going on in their classes.

Sharon Smith: Transition at Bairnsdale Campus
The children have been exploring the use of ‘no fire’ clay to make baskets. They have been decorated using natural materials gathered from nature or recycled plastic pieces.

Kristy How: Reception at St Anne’s Campus
The Cygnets Room is alive with learning. Children are working on pre-writing skills through a range of activities. They draw and paint, shape playdough, thread beads and sort small objects. These activities encourage children to use their fingers, hands, arms and body position to coordinate their movements which will become a foundation for drawing and writing with more control. As children experience success with these tricky tasks, it builds a great sense of wellbeing, which has also been a focus this term.

Lisa Singer: Transition/White Swans (Tuesday) at St Anne’s Campus
The White Swans have been expressing a keen interest in colours and the rainbow. To extend this, we have been investigating colour mixing with dye, paint and cellophane. Our first investigation was with blue and yellow, and what wonder and excitement were expressed when we opened our paint pressing to discover a new colour amongst our blue and yellow paint – green! It was a delight to witness the wide-eyed joy of the children. Further to this activity, we have now created all the rainbow colours from our three primary colours. 
Danielle Carpenter: Transition/Black Swans at St Anne’s Campus
This week in the Transition room, the teachers added various new items to enhance the children’s building in the block area. We also included small clipboards, paper and pencils, and encouraged them to draw a plan of what they wanted to build. The block corner became very popular, and the Black Swans enjoyed exploring and using the blocks’ different sizes and shapes and adding the other loose items (glass pebbles, fabric, wooden animals, coloured perspex blocks) to their creations.

Sommer-Lea Collins: Reception at Bairnsdale Campus
The group have been working on creating a classroom book titled ‘All About Me’. Each child has contributed their own page, which details them as individuals, displays their photo, and has been decorated creatively. The children have worked with us to share information about their families, what they enjoy playing, things they are good at and what makes them special. At group times, the pages have been shared and read like a story. The ‘All About Me’ book’s objective is to support the children to develop a strong sense of their own identity, building awareness of others in the group and encouraging them to acknowledge similarities and differences.

St Anne’s Campus Transition Groups – Easter Hat Parade and end of term afternoon tea

  • Black Swans – Wednesday, March 31 from 2.15-3pm
  • White Swans – Thursday, April 1 from 1.15-2pm

All families are most welcome and our Year 5 ‘buddies’ will join us for this event.
Next week is our last week of term. The centres will have an early finish on Thursday, April 1. Please check your class VOS page for more details.

Edie Liston uses recycled plastic pieces to decorate the clay basket she has made using ‘No Fire’ clay (left) and Evie Dowse threads coloured beads (right).

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
The wet week has not dampened our spirits too much as we have enjoyed a few interesting events despite the rain. An indoor picnic wasn’t the plan for our Year 6 leaders Charlee and Charlotte however, with the rain they had to adapt to Plan B. In discussing the success of the shared lunch Charlee reflected that it was much more work than they thought, and that next time they would be organised earlier. Identifying challenges is part of learning in leadership as well as identifying the positives. Of course, the positives were being together, meeting other students from other year levels and the icy poles! Well done Charlee and Charlotte!

Our senior students responded with enthusiasm and interest to the Garnsey music tour when the Percy Code and Dulcie Holland Concert Bands visited this week. It was a marvellous opportunity for our students to experience the joy of music while also acknowledging the talents of our senior musicians. Gippsland Grammar’s Director of Music Dr Kevin Cameron encouraged the students to take up an instrument, spoke of the importance of regular practice and demonstrated that being part of the music program is most rewarding.
Music Captain Emily Jackson shared details of her journey at Gippsland Grammar – from beginning at the ELC to Year 6 at the Bairnsdale Campus to Year 12 and the important part music has played in her life.  Her advice to students: ‘get involved, keep at it, and practice a lot!’


The combined Percy Code and Dulcie Holland Concert Bands from Garnsey Campus visited the Bairnsdale campus on Tuesday.

Next Monday morning from 9-9.30am we invite interested parents and students to our own Bairnsdale campus music showcase to learn more about our music program and the opportunities available.  This will feature a performance by our Show Band and individual performances from a selection of our instrumental music students. Students who are interested in starting a new instrument are also invited to attend this event with their parent/s. This is an excellent opportunity for families who are considering music lessons for their child, to see the program in action and to meet with Mr Glover and some of the instrumental teachers.
We continue to accept enrolments into our Instrumental Music Tuition Program. Applications may be submitted using the following link:

Today we have had our House Cross Country event by the Mitchell River. We had many keen participants who relished the opportunity to run alongside their friends, after last year running in our virtual cross-country during lockdown. The efforts of our students were rewarded with cheers and encouragement and the finish line was a welcome sight for many. Running long distances is not an easy task and I congratulate all our students for their determination to complete their challenge.

Students Bella, Spencer and Hayley (all Year 1) and Hannah (Year 2) with their medals at the House Cross Country (left) and PE teacher Mrs Elisha Froud ticks off students at the event (right).

To develop a deeper understanding of the Easter story, and to celebrate this significant season in the Church calendar, a special outing has been arranged at The Abbey on Raymond Island on Thursday 1 April, the last day of Term 1. During this service, the children will learn about the Easter story, gently focusing on new life and the meaning of the symbols and colours of Easter. 

On this day, we will depart at 9.45am, travelling by bus to Paynesville, walking onto the Ferry and then to The Abbey. The children will enjoy outdoor games (weather permitting) and will enjoy a shared lunch of fish and chips, which will be provided. Following the service, we will return to the Bairnsdale Campus, arriving back around 2pm. Please pack your child’s drink bottle of water, snacks, and fruit as usual. Sports Uniform should be worn on this day. Year 6 students (only) are asked to wear their House coloured polo tops. All other students are to wear their School polo top please. The indemnity completed at the beginning of the year will cover this excursion, so no further permission will be required. We look forward to this reflective time together.

Families are reminded that Term 1 will conclude on this day at 2.15pm.
As we move closer to the end of term, I ask that we all continue to have high expectations of our students in presentation, behaviour, and academic endeavour. Thank you for your support.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
This morning we celebrated our ‘Citizen of the Term’. For our new families, ‘Citizen of the Term’ is awarded to students who consistently demonstrate our CLERR values (Compassion, Leadership, Excellence, Respect and Responsibility), or have strived to improve in one or more of these values. Though it is challenging to select just one student from each class, we also appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge those whose actions speak louder than words. Congratulations to the following students who are our Citizen’s of the Term:

Bass: Baylin Said

Mawson: Lilian Strachan

Bradman: Imtinaan Muhammad

McCubbin: Seb Jones

Chisholm: Marley Spoljaric

Barton: Flynn Vines

Tasman: Blair McDougall

Flynn: Frankie Balfour

Kingsford-Smith: Erin Smith

Freeman: Adelaide Ripper

Cuthbert: Leila Grattan

Hollows: William Edgar

Goolagong: Oscar Wilkins

Mackellar: Jadyn Gomez

I am excited about our Open Day at St Anne’s tomorrow from 9-11am when we will welcome all prospective ELC and St Anne’s families to our campus. The Open Day’s purpose is to provide an opportunity to show the wider Gippsland community everything that our School has to offer. Throughout the morning we will demonstrate our Specialists programs as well as live music performances from our students. Our Principal Mrs Leisa Harper, ELC Director Mrs Lisa Burgess, student leaders and teachers will be available for tours. Complimentary coffees and BBQ will be on offer for our visitors. Please remind any families in your own networks who may be interested in learning more about coming to Gippsland Grammar that they are welcome to attend.

This week Gippsland Grammar provided two great opportunities for our students to experience and perform their musical talent. On Tuesday our Garnsey campus bands visited both Junior campuses to demonstrate and encourage students to learn an instrument. The musical performance for our students was engaging and entertaining. The members of the bands were delighted with the enthusiastic response of our audience. A highlight was some of our St Anne’s students, who play with the Garnsey bands, were able to perform in front of their peers.

On Thursday at the Chapel of St Anne our musical soiree showcased our Junior School’s musicians. Providing authentic opportunities for our musicians to perform is an important element in our music program. We are fortunate at Gippsland Grammar to have a very accomplished and committed team of teachers working with our students.

Regional Swimming
: Gippsland Grammar students starred at the Regional Swimming Championships held at the Sale Pool with 20 out of our 24 swimmers returning home with medals. Our under-12 Boys Relay, consisting of William Doube, Kody Said, Obi Vardy and Zayden Burton, came home with two gold medals and secured a relay position at the State Championships. Both Max Williamson and Adelaide Ripper swam beautifully, winning their respective breaststroke races. Congratulations to all the St Anne’s swimmers for a busy few weeks of swimming carnivals. Good luck to our six swimmers progressing to School Sport Victoria State Swimming Championships in Melbourne in April.
Sale and District Tennis – A team of nine students competed at the Sale and District Tennis competition in Sale last week. All the students played beautifully. We have 6 Students that will progress to Regional Tennis in Traralgon in April. Congratulations to Mia Goold, Lexie McNaughton, Milla Lazzaro, Louis Lazzaro, Dylan Board and Judah Levchenko.
AFL clinics – We were lucky enough to have a representative from the AFL visit us last week and help run some AFL skills clinics for the Foundation – Year 2 students. It was an excellent opportunity for the students to learn some new skills and be introduced to another sport they may wish to play. We also used this opportunity to collaborate with our Garnsey students who came down to help assist and support on the day.

Finally, a reminder that Term 1 finishes this coming Thursday, 1 April, at 2.15pm.

Adelaide Ripper (left) and Zayden Burton, William Double, Kody Said and Obi Vardy at the Regional Swimming Championships.

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
Our students have once again been doing a fine job of representing Gippsland Grammar out in the wider community through sporting, music, and other events.

Dr Cameron and our musicians had a busy day on Tuesday setting up and playing three concerts at each of our campuses. This was well received by all audiences. The aim of this day was to promote our ensemble opportunities for our students and also provide a live audience for our ensemble performers. Both audiences and performers spoke highly of the value of the day and we look forward to more of these opportunities in the months to come.

We continue to stay updated on our Rowers who are competing in the Nationals, with many staff eagerly tuning into the livestream this morning to watch Lindsay Hamilton and Billy Osborne win their under-19 double scull final, making them Australian champions (see the earlier mention for more detail about this event).

Our students have also been out in the community promoting our School with a pop-up stall in Gippsland Centre Sale yesterday and today. Students from our St Anne’s and Garnsey campus spent time in their lunchbreaks talking to shoppers and meeting a number of Old Scholars or parents of Old Scholars who were interested to stop by and hear what has been happening at Gippsland Grammar and reflecting on the experiences they had, or their children experienced during their time there.

Next week is our last week of Term and we have certainly managed to include a lot of events into this term, and our final week is no exception:
– Our Year 10 students are participating in a Year level excursion on Monday to Sandy Point where they will not only spend time connecting while they walk the beautiful coastline, but also participate in surfing lessons.

– Year 7 and 8 students will be involved in workshop sessions on Monday with Project Rockit. Project Rockit is an organisation with a focus on providing quality digital content for young people with practical strategies, real experiences, and creative exercises to grow digital literacy. Students and staff have found these sessions very informative and useful in the past. I am sure our current Year 7 and 8 students will too.

– Wednesday will be our House Athletics Carnival. Students will need to wear their PE Uniform with their House polo shirt. There will be a sausage sizzle on the day too so students are encouraged to bring some money if they would like to purchase a sausage and a drink.

And, finally, we have an early finish on Thursday afternoon for the end of Term 1. As the Athletics are occurring on Wednesday this means we won’t have our usual Sport on Thursday afternoon. This will instead be replaced with our Chapel Service and Extended Mentor session to send us into holidays. Students will be required to wear full school uniform on Thursday.

Garnsey prefects at the Gippsland Centre this week promoting the benefits of a Gippsland Grammar education.

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