Gippsland Grammar news: Sep 3, 2021

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

I am thrilled that I received confirmation this morning of some important news to share with you all, just in time to include in this week’s newsletter.

On Monday evening, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts Michael Grose will be joining me for our planned online parent night to discuss how we can help our children, and ourselves, during lockdown.

I have worked with Michael previously and I know that parents who have attending presentations from Michael in the past have been very impressed and felt that his advice was practical. I don’t think there’s much on television on Monday night so please pop this event in your calendar at and 7pm join us on Zoom as we hear Michael’s presentation on ‘How kids can turn their anxiety into resilience.’

I know the pandemic continues to bring worry and anxiety to children and young people. Fortunately, there are many things families can do to assist. While children and teenagers are the special focus of this presentation, the messages of hope and resilience are just as pertinent for parents and teachers.

In this presentation Michael cover: 
– The origins of anxiety and why it’s so prevalent today 
– Essential tools to help children and young adults self-regulate their anxiety and stress 
– Ways that adults can effectively respond rather than react emotionally to their children’s anxious moments 
– The parenting style children and young adults need when they’re anxious

This presentation will be high in learning, interaction and community connection. Please refer to today’s VOS news item and earlier email for more details and for the Zoom link.

If you would like to familiarise yourself with Michael’s work before Monday, you might like to look at Michael’s website

The Parents’ Website
While I am sharing resources, I wondered if you were aware of the Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) parent website, which provides relevant and up-to-date information for the parents of students enrolled at independent schools.

On this website, ISV has explored issues as diverse as how perfectionism hurts girls, why children are being turned off maths, building resilience in children, and ‘mindful’ parenting. They have also featured expert practical advice on starting secondary school, supporting your child through the stresses of VCE, study tips and strategies, and teenagers getting their first job.

Visit The Parents’ Website HERE or you can subscribe by filling out this simple form, and get regular email updates on the latest postings on the site.

One of the tips I have read on the website about is the importance of planning little events for your family during lockdown. One presenter shared they had a picnic in their backyard and that everyone had to make something to bring. One family I know have organised each of their children cook dinner one night a week, and another has asked younger children to pick flowers for the table. What event might your family celebrate this weekend?

Garnsey virtual Open Evening
Next Friday our Leadership team will host a virtual open evening for our Garnsey Campus, so families who would like to gain some insight into our School can still do so in a way that still respects the current and anticipated COVID-19 restrictions at that time. The program for the evening will showcase all aspects of our School life including a virtual tour of Garnsey, presentations from our Leadership team, each Head of Year and each Head of Department, a snapshot of what life looks like at Blackwood House and the opportunities offered by the Rowing program and our Performing Arts department. This event will appeal to families with children in Year 6 who will be attending Garnsey for the first time next year, as well as any families who are not yet part of our School Community but who may be considering a Gippsland Grammar education. Please share this event with anyone in your network who you think may be interested.
Read more about this event here:
Register for this event here:

Online art show
Another exciting upcoming event for our School Community is our online art show Art Online, which will feature works from more than 30 renowned Gippsland artists, including mother and daughter duo Dawn and Crystal Stubbs, Frank Mesaric and Rehgan De Mather. Art Online will run from September 13-October 8 and will raise money for our brilliant new Visual Arts & Technology Centre at our Garnsey Campus. So far more than 100 works have been submitted for the exhibition with prices ranging from between $45-$8000. So please put this event in your calendar also as you will be able to browse (and buy!) the artworks via our website from September 13.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper


Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess  
This week, children of Authorised and Essential Workers attended the ELC while others stayed safely at home, as per the current order Victorian Government restrictions. Our teachers are supporting children and families in both circumstances with the support of our fantastic team of co-educators. During this time we have been reaching out to families via VOS, phone and email, and the children at home have been enjoying watching their teachers read stories to them online. At the end of the week, all at Learn@Home students also received a pack of great activities to keep them busy.

In St Anne’s Transition group, children at home and at school have been immersed in the Story of ‘The Gingerbread Man’. There have been many fun activities centred around this traditional tale, including making puppets, collage, and baking delicious gingerbread people.

We love receiving the Learn@Home photos, so please keep them coming in.

Save the date (Bairnsdale ELC families)
Thursday September 9 from 7-8pm: Getting Ready for School parent evening via Zoom
Join Bairnsdale Transition teacher Mrs Sharon Smith for an information-packed session on helping to prepare your child to make this critical transition.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Fox tells the story of The Gingerbread Man with puppets; and Harvey does science experiments with his mum during Learn@Home.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
When I reflect on the week that has been, I am drawn to the many conversations I have had with our parents, both current and prospective; with staff, both on campus and at home and with our students. I am drawn to the value of interaction, the sharing of thoughts and feelings and as a common thread through all conversations the strength of our Community and genuine compassion for one another. We will continue to face our challenges together.

Tournament of Minds (TOM)
We received wonderful feedback for our two teams that were entered into the Tournament of the Minds Regional competition.

In particular, our team Krafty Kids, which included Henry Knight, Indigo McKay, Andrew Mikheil, Grace Smith, Holly Callaghan, Charlee Latham and Charlotte Snow, received the following feedback: Congratulations on a creative reimagining of Peter Rabbit. We loved the way you brought him into the modern world and incorporated a range of plot features…. We loved the way you tied it all together in a summary.”

Our second team Social Scientists, which included Mia Kantzides, Avin Mirabolfathi, Stephanie Johnson-Turner, Olive Linley, Ari Rozite, Heidi McInnes and Alyssa Witham received the following feedback: “Characters well chosen, spanning over time…. Your research of the characters was good…”.

Excitingly, the Social Scientists received an Honours award for their submission. We are all so very proud of their efforts.

Puppet Parade acknowledgements
Our students are always willing to be involved in creating, designing and demonstrating their individuality. I thank and congratulate all our students for their time and effort in designing such wonderful puppets for us to enjoy. All students will be recognised for their entries and year level awards are as follows:



Year 1/2

Year 3/4

Year 5/6


Gemma Dennett

Spencer Pearce

Layla Verde-Shepherd

Indigo McKay


Natalie Smythe

Frieda Tadrous

Mia Stephenson

Stephanie Johnson-Turner

Most like book character

Casper Saik

Tess Roach

Piper Jankowiak

Owen Roach

Most original

Perri Smith

Simon Lynch

Blake Maxwell

Tessa Newstead

Father’s Day Fellowship
Today our Year 6 leaders today presented Fellowship focusing on our fathers and special friends in our lives. Despite being online, we were able to celebrate and acknowledge all that they do for us and share with us. Bringing humour to the celebration with some poor dad jokes was well received, including the old favourite:
Why do fathers take a spare pair of socks golfing?
In case they get a hole in one!

Avin shared a beautiful poem by Joanna Fuchs:
You may have thought I didn’t see,
Or that I hadn’t heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.

Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we’d grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It’s written on my heart.

Without you, Dad, I wouldn’t be
The person I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.

I’ve grown up with your values,
And I’m very glad I did;
So here’s to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid.

Our dads and special friends joined us online and we wish them all a happy weekend ahead along with all our families.


Bella and Blake with their puppets for the Puppet Parade.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
At the beginning of today’s Fellowship, I asked our Campus Captains Louis and Mia how their families have been thriving in lockdown. Their answers were different but shared the theme of connecting with family. Mia’s family has been learning new skills, such as sewing. Louis shared that his family try to get outside and exercise daily. My family have started having extended family Zoom quiz nights. I am sure many in our Community are utilising a range of strategies to survive and thrive during the lockdown. During last year’s lockdown, we had a group of parents and teachers create several podcasts titled ‘Keeping Connected.’ The purpose of these podcasts was to speak to experts in different fields on how to thrive during lockdown. School families can access the podcasts via VOS.

Father’s Day Fellowship
Today we celebrated Father’s Day at St Anne’s. We started the day with a live Fellowship via Zoom. Our Campus Captains shared their insights. Mia spoke about the importance of Father’s Day and recognising the positive impact fathers have in our lives. Louis spoke about his dad and the special things he does as a father. Louis mentioned that his dad is great at listening. I spoke about my own father, who I look like and share a similar personality. I also spoke about my Dutch grandfather, Opa. He came to Australia with his young family after World War II. His friends called him ‘Ox’ because he would drag a plough through the hills of Monbulk, planting bulbs. Though he died when I was young, I still remember him well. He taught me the importance of working hard, loving your family, and making sure you have fun along the way.  School families can access the pre-recorded Father’s Day Fellowship on VOS.

Footy Colours Day – with a twist!
On Wednesday September 8, we will be celebrating Footy Colours Day at the St Anne’s Campus and online within our classes. There will be some online games, trivia and football fun, both online and at school.  Students are encouraged to wear their footy colours, be it Netball, Soccer, AFL, or Rugby. Footy Colours Day is all about raising awareness and fundraising for Kids with Cancer. 

We are also very excited to introduce a new addition to our Footy Colours Day … the trick shot goal competition!  What is a trick shot goal competition? Students and adults are encouraged over the weekend to record themselves doing their most imaginative trick shot. Maybe you might kick a footy into a garbage bin that’s 10m away or shoot a netball over an obstacle into a goal. It does not matter if you are into soccer, rugby, netball or something else, you can choose. Don’t forget to get someone to record your moment of greatness and upload it to the Footy Colour Day page on VOS.

We will have two special guests that will judge the winner of the competition; the winner will be announced at Fellowship next Friday September 10, which will include a highlights reel of our top trick shots. Submissions close on Wednesday September 8 at 9am. Good luck!

Finally, I would like to wish all fathers, grandfathers and the adult males who have a positive impact on young people.

Garnsey Campus news by Head of Campus Kate Ray
Road safety session
Our Year 10 students attended an online RoadSafe session on Tuesday afternoon. This was an invaluable session which our students made them most of and feedback from organisers was that our students were engaged in the session and were contributing questions and responses during the sessions. 

Gippsland Grammar Chess team report 
On Tuesday our Garnsey Chess team enjoyed the opportunity to play in the Gippsland Regional Online Chess Tournament.  Our 11 players competed fiercely, winning more than 50 per cent of our games over the day against some tough competition. Overall we finished in second place to St Michael’s Grammar. Highlights included Josiah Levchenko with 4.5 / 7 and Kate Edgar scoring a big upset win early on.  This means we have qualified for the Online Victorian State Finals in October. 

DAV Online Debating Finals 
Last night both our A and B Grade teams were involved in the DAV Finals. While both teams were defeated, they spoke really well on the topics ‘That we should ban unpaid internships’ and ‘Australia needs a Bill of Rights’.  Thank you to Ms Hilliar and Ms Patton for the work they have done with the team both online and in person this year. 

Digital Ambassadors 
A group of Year 7 students participated in a Digital Ambassador online workshop today. This workshop was run by PROJECT ROCKIT –an organisation that creates spaces where all young people have access to respect, acceptance, creative expression and real leadership skills. We send highly trained, passionate young presenters into schools to run workshops that empower students to lead positive change at school, online and beyond. 

The workshop was encouraging our students to be positive agents for change – how to use their online power for good – being united and ready to choose kindness and empathy using some of the following strategies: 
Take control of online space
2/ Shutting down hate or inappropriate behaviour
3/ Connecting with empathy 
4/ T
aking positive action 

House Debating will also take place again today and we look forward to announcing the overall house debating winners next week. 

It has been another rewarding and, at times, challenging week of Learn@Home for our Garnsey students. I encourage all of you to take a break from your screens over the weekend.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron
In the Arts, there are many works about the change of seasons.  In music, pieces have been titled to reflect these changing times in the year – ‘The Four Seasons’, the ‘Spring Symphony’ and Haydn’s massive late oratorio ‘The Seasons’.  In all these works, and many other examples throughout art and literature, spring is always a time of warmth, brightness, and optimism.  I hope that the change of season this week has lifted the spirit and encouraged a brighter mood as we continue to walk through our days and make our art.

House Music Eisteddfod
It was exciting to receive the first online submissions this week for the House Music Eisteddfod – thank you to all our students who will be participating.  We hope that our musicians will enjoy the opportunity to make an individual contribution to a House competition – but more importantly, enjoy having an opportunity to keep working on some repertoire and achieve a performance goal.  All details are available at the VOS Eisteddfod page and competed videos may also be uploaded there also.

Virtual Choir Project
As for the House Music Eisteddfod, the first completed submissions for our virtual choir project have also arrived!  Members of Schoir and 789 Chorus are working with me to produce a virtual choir project with the aim of recording individual contributions to make a combined project (that will be greater than the sum of the parts!) to help uplift our community with some inspiring music.  We look forward to revealing the result of our virtual art making before the end of the term.

Catch up on last week’s newsletter here:


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