Gippsland Grammar news: May 21, 2021

May 21, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

It has been an amazing jam-packed week across all three campuses and I thank our staff and parents for supporting our students in their endeavours.

In particular, there have been many great activities at Blackwood House as part of our celebrations for National Boarding Week (May 16-22). Thank you to all our students and staff who make the Blackwood House community, a special place. And sincere thanks to Ann and the Catercare Team who provide wonderful food to our boarders.

It was a delight to attend the Unit 3 Theatre Studies production of Little Women at Garnsey Hall during the week. My sincere congratulations to all the students for an amazing production. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and the opportunity to be finally watching a live theatre production was not lost on anyone.

Tonight I will be one of many in our Community who will enjoy the Autumn Concert. As the concert sold out very quickly, our staff moved swiftly to secure a livestream, which means everyone in our Community can enjoy the performances. I have no doubt we will all be blessed to hear our musicians perform and I would like to thank our Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron and the music staff in anticipation of the night.

I would also like to pay tribute to our Audio-Visual Technician Mr Anthony King. Mr King’s role at Gippsland Grammar was instrumental during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions as he assisted teachers and staff familiarise themselves with online learning. With the two nights of Little Women this week as well as tonight’s Autumn Concert, it has been a big week behind the scenes and I would like to stay thank you, Mr King, for your support of our students and staff.

I am very proud of the leadership of our Prefects with the Abbey Family Fun Day at Raymond Island coming up next weekend (see the ‘Save the Date’ section below for more details). The Family Fun Day will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together and create a special garden at The Abbey; a place where Gippsland Grammar students have been visiting since Miss Lorna Sparrow’s time at our School. The Abbey also has accommodation available and as part of our ongoing collaboration, Gippsland Grammar families can receive 10 per cent discount when booking.

We are blessed to have an authentic collaboration with The Abbey. If you haven’t marked it on the calendar, please do.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Tonight’s Autumn Concert can be livestreamed from 7pm tonight via this link:

Our School Prefects invite everyone from the Gippsland Grammar Community to join them next Sunday (May 30) at Raymond Island’s The Abbey for a Family Fun Day and tree planting working bee. Our School has had a longstanding collaborative partnership with The Abbey and as this partnership flourishes, we’d like to see the native vegetation on the site flourish too. Students and staff and their families are invited to join Abbey Priest, Reverend Edie Ashley to pull some weeds, plant some trees and enjoy a sausage sizzle lunch. So please put Sunday May 30 from 9am-noon in your diaries and we hope to see you there.

Gippslanders are invited to join Principal Leisa Harper for a ‘Tour and Tea’ at our Garnsey Campus on Wednesday June 2 from 9-10.30am. Together with Gippsland Grammar’s leadership team, Mrs Harper will welcome visitors to the School to show them around before enjoying a casual morning tea. With enrolments still open for Year 7 next year, this event will appeal to students and parents looking at secondary school options for 2022 and beyond so we ask all current families to share this event with those in their network who may be interested in this opportunity. For catering purposes visitors are being asked to RSVP to Gippsland Grammar Enrolments team on 5143 6388. You can read more about this event here:

The Garnsey Junior AFL students had a bye in the SEISA competition this week so the team enjoyed the chance to train at Stephenson Park instead. The students worked on their basic skills and completed some one-on-one drills before a full squad game of ‘half court’. Next week they travel down to Philip Island to take on Newhaven. Pictured are Gus Rich and Wil Stasinowsky (above left) and Riley Blackwood and Lachlan Harrison (above right).

On Wednesday of last week, about 30 families from both ELC campuses joined us on Zoom for the ELC ‘Need to Read’ purposeful reading presentation. It was a very comprehensive and educational session run by Speech Pathologist Michelle Sands. Over the course of the evening, Michelle shared many tips for families on how to make reading to, speaking and listening with young children a way of enriching their future skills as readers and writers.

Michelle modelled how to choose and read picture books with children to enhance their vocabulary, letter/sound awareness, grammar and help build positive attitudes to literacy.

The evening’s central theme was about building our children’s ‘capital’ before they enter School. For those who missed it, a recording will be placed on each class VOS page and I would strongly encourage everyone to make the most of this opportunity. Those families who already have older children in the early years will also find that it gives a clear outline of the skills that children are mastering as they begin to do the complex tasks of reading and writing. The presentation also covers what normal speech development looks like and what age children should be when producing sounds or be intelligible in any context.

As Michelle pointed out during the evening, it is the things we do now during the early years when little brains are developing that can alter a child’s later trajectory. Reading doesn’t begin just in Foundation but builds on the speaking and listening skills that come before.

The following stages of the ‘Need to Read’ program will happen next week when both ELC’s host a ‘Getting Ready for School’ evening for Transition families on Thursday, May 27, from 6.30pm. With input from our current ELC Transition and Foundation teachers, families will be provided with lots of ideas and information about what ‘school readiness’ looks like and how to enhance their child’s success at school.

Our three-year-old Reception students will soon begin their ‘take home’ library program. Our green ELC ‘Need to Read’ bags will contain information from the parent Zoom evening, and each book will come with specific learning ‘cues’ or ideas that you can use to enrich your child’s literacy experience.

As a teaching team, we are committed to supporting our families engagement with, and confidence in, supporting your child’s learning. We also continually refresh our professional knowledge. On our Student Free Day next Friday (May 28) the educators from Sale and Bairnsdale ELC’s will be coming together for further training on children’s emotional wellbeing and language acquisition.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Once again, our students have connected to the joys of The Abbey on Raymond Island. Foundation, Year 1 and 2 students were blessed with blues skies on Wednesday for their retreat to The Abbey, to focus on wellbeing; spiritually, emotionally and physically. Students celebrated time for themselves, with their friends and with the uniqueness of their surroundings. They enjoyed cooking damper and hot potatoes and excitedly spotted five koalas and saw three kangaroos. Then Grevillea and their ELC buddies travelled to Raymond Island again on Friday, with their focus to build on their friendships to assist the ELC students in their transition to school and for our Year 5 students to demonstrate both responsibility and leadership.

Considering that our Foundation students have been at school for only 62 days, their confidence and collaboration in presenting Fellowship last week is to be applauded. We can take much from their example, particularly their enthusiasm and their intrinsic motivation to learn. My highlight was Hudson Whelan supporting and guiding his peers when necessary. Congratulations Acacia.

National Simultaneous Storytime is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association and the event sees a picture book written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. This year’s event saw 1.8 million students from across Australia – including students from our Bairnsdale and St Anne’s campuses – simultaneously gather on Wednesday to listen to Give me some space! by author and illustrator Philip Bunting read by astronaut Dr Shannon Walker from the International Space Station. Dr Walker read a special copy of the book that was designed to survive at zero gravity, so it truly was a unique experience for all and one that was enjoyed by our ELC students through to Year 6.

The students first watched a clip about Dr Walker’s career path to becoming an astronaut. Theo from Year 3 was impressed with Dr Walker’s hard work and dedication to become an astronaut, saying “She has been through a lot! Going to the International Space Station is a big opportunity for her. When they go up to space they need to take a lot of things with them and it’s great that they remembered to pack this book to read to everyone.”
It was extra exciting because 9 News came to interview the students about their experience.

Mr Todd Cook and I will travel to Melbourne with our Year 6 students on Sunday to attend the Halogen Leadership conference on Monday at ‘Jeff’s shed’. We will listen to inspiring stories from four presenters and my hope is that each of our students will come away with a greater understanding of leadership, responsibility and the role they play in achieving  success.

Thank you to Grevillea for presenting Fellowship today, and I wish you all a lovely weekend ahead.

Year 1 student Odette planting a tree at The Abbey on Wednesday; and Charlee Latham being interviewed by 9 News about Simultaneous Storytime from Space, which saw more than 1.8million Australian students listen to a book read by astronaut Dr Shannon Walker.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
This morning we acknowledged and started celebrating Reconciliation Week for 2021. Our Flynn students, with the guidance of Ms Alison Fraser, delved into the meaning of Reconciliation Week. National Reconciliation Week runs from next Thursday (May 27) until June 3 each year and commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey. Firstly, the successful 1967 referendum where First Nations people were allowed to vote and secondly the Mabo High Court decision of native title.

At the beginning of each Fellowship, we start with an Acknowledgement of Country: ‘We acknowledge meeting here on the traditional land of the Brayakooloong people of the Gunaikurnai nation and pay respect to their Elders both past and present. We would also like to acknowledge other Elders present with today.’

As Max in Flynn shared this morning, as we are not Traditional Custodians of the land we are on, we use the Acknowledgement of Country. An Acknowledgement of Country can be said by anyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. This is because it’s about respecting the Traditional Custodians, their Country and their history. When you Acknowledge Country you also acknowledge the Elders of that group and their traditions, promising to respect them and their land while you’re on it. 

Cleo poignantly stated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continue to experience exclusion, discrimination and oppression. Acknowledging Country is a good step towards reconciliation between non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

On Thursday our Year 2 Chisholm and Year 2 Barton students headed off on an adventure to explore the Den of Nargun in East Gippsland. The students focused on the connections that the Indigenous people have with this significant place and reasons for preserving it. As students and teachers sat by the Den of Nargun, they listened to the sounds of the natural environment and were delighted to see a wallaby, some parrots, waterfalls and a rushing river as they walked along the track. After a well-deserved lunch, students broke into small teams to build a Year 2 hut community using small sticks from fallen branches. Miss Sarah Wheeler and Mrs Ellen Condron commented they were lucky enough to be accompanied by Mrs Thompson, Mrs Cliff and Mrs Warren, who helped to make the day a huge success.

As you may have already read in the Bairnsdale section of this newsletter, on Wednesday our campus participated in National Simultaneous Storytime, which is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association and sees a picture book written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. This year more than 1.8 million students from across Australia simultaneously gathered to listen to Give me some space! by author and illustrator Philip Bunting read by astronaut Dr Shannon Walker from the International Space Station. Dr Walker read a special copy of the book that was designed to survive at zero gravity, so it truly was a unique experience for the Foundation to Year 2 St Anne’s students. Our campus has taken part in this initiative for some years. It is essential to demonstrate how much fun reading is to our emerging readers!

The Year 2 students visited the Den of Nargun on Thursday; and Mrs Sherryn Ray read Give me some Space! on Wednesday as part of National Simultaneous Storytime.

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
Yesterday more than 90 Garnsey students and staff attended the ICCES Athletics Carnival at the Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park. All students performed to the best of their ability and Teacher in Charge of Athletics Miss Jenny Dyke commented that she couldn’t have asked for more from our students. Our School finished in third place overall, which was a fantastic achievement.

A highlight this week has been the number of events held in Blackwood House as part of National Boarding Week. Mrs Harper and I visited the staff and students in Blackwood House on Tuesday to present them each with a gift to commemorate the occasion. There were a range of different activities and competitions on throughout the week – including a pool competition and a table tennis competition, a ‘best decorated room’ competition as well as a special afternoon tea on Thursday. All Garnsey staff were invited by Mr Llewellyn our Head of Boarding, and the boarders to join them for afternoon tea. For a number of the staff who attended it was their first opportunity to visit our students in their ‘home-away-from-home’. We all enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea and tours with the students. Thank you to our Head of Boarding Mr Llewellyn for organising these events.

There has been a number of events at Blackwood House this week as part of National Boarding Week including a table tennis tournament (won by Hamish McLeod, pictured far right) as well as a double birthday celebration for Ella Hall and Ash Grech.

Another group of Year 9 students have spent the most part of this week in the beautiful Alpine National Park as they completed their four-day bushwalk. This grade 4 bushwalk is described as ‘the ultimate challenge’ and this week’s group enjoyed stunning weather; it was very cold (with some snow and ice!) but also moments of warmth with bright blue skies.

Gippsland Grammar hosted the 2021 SEISA Cultural Festival on Tuesday, featuring competitions in Chess, Public Speaking and Debating.  Our chess team managed to secure second place early after a strong start and thanks to a great last-round effort by Year 7 student Josiah Levchenko (who held on for a draw with just a king and bishop) we also finished in second place behind Beaconhills Pakenham. Year 8 student Rahzel Samawi was our top scorer for the day with wins in five out of seven games. A tremendous effort against students from Year 7 through to 12.

Our Debating team again travelled to St Margaret’s in Berwick on Thursday night for Round 3 of the DAV competition. It was a very successful event for us with six out of eight teams winning and five students awarded Best Speaker. Congratulations to our Seniors who won all of their Secret Topic debates last night, the topics for which are released only one hour beforehand. They certainly put to use the skills they’ve developed over four to five years of debating and should be very proud of themselves.

After including the notice about these awards in last week’s newsletter The Weekly Times received a number of nominations from within our School Community, which is fabulous. To remind you, The Weekly Times is currently running a special campaign called the Heart Volunteer Awards, which celebrates volunteers in rural communities. Nominations are currently open in the categories of Sport, Emergency Responders, Community and – new this year – Juniors. The Junior category recognises volunteers under the age of 21 and is particularly relevant for our School Community. The awards run in partnership with the Powercor Country Festival and the Geelong and Essendon AFL clubs and the winners for each category will be honoured at a ceremony at the Geelong-Essendon game in Geelong in July. If you know of someone in that age bracket who may be suitable for nomination, you can do so via this link:

It was bright blue skies at Lake Tali Karng this week, as enjoyed by our Year 9 students; and the victorious C-Grade debating team of Sophie Alexander, Samithri Kaluarachchi, Leah Brutovic and Jared Lamb.

Performing Arts news with Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron
The Music Crew at Gippsland Grammar are very excited about the Autumn Concert this evening.  The concert has been SOLD OUT for some time due to COVID-19 restrictions – but we are very pleased to advise that there will be a special and exclusive LIVE STREAM of the concert for members of the Gippsland Grammar community.  We look forward to entertaining you – either virtually of in person – this evening.  Here is the link for the live stream:

Week 5 has been a flurry of activity in the Performing Arts, with performances and assessments being a major focus. VCE Theatre Studies and VCE Music have been in performances and SACs, the Schoir gave its first performance in Chapel services this week after the COVID-19 silence, and the Autumn Concert has been in the final stages of preparation.

Congratulations to all members of the Unit ¾ Theatre Studies class for their most enjoyable season of Little Women.  My evening at the theatre was a most enjoyable one after so long away from either doing or going.  It was particularly pleasing for me to have met and worked with a good number of these students in our ensembles or in Matilda and to see them perform in a completely different context.  Thank you to all members of the cast and Ms Kyriakou for a memorable evening.

The first Garnsey music soiree will be presented on Wednesday May 26 in the Chapel of St Anne from 6pm.  This concert will feature solo and vocal performances presented by students in Years 10 and 11 in a short, twilight concert setting.  All welcome.

Final preparations are underway for the production of Charlotte’s Web at the Bairnsdale Campus.  The performances will be presented on Wednesday June 9 and Thursday June 10.  Tickets can be booked via this link:

Preparations for our senior school production of Matilda – the Musical have been underway since the beginning of Term 1.  Have you secured your diary dates for this not-to-be-missed production?  The season runs from Thursday 29 – Saturday 31 July.  Further information for ticketing will be released soon.

Did you miss out on last week’s newsletter? Catch up here:

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