Gippsland Grammar news: Week 6, Term 4

Nov 11, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

At the midway point of our final term there is much going on. Our Years 10, 11 and 12 students all sitting their exams, our campuses are finalising the next year’s student leaders  and our teachers are finalising reporting communications with families. It is also almost the start of Advent, which is the start of the liturgical New Year for many Christian churches including the Anglican Church. And, of course, the Christmas paraphernalia is already in the stores.

It’s easy to look at this time as moving toward the end of the year, when we often feel like we are limping to the finish line. We can be tired, short-tempered but but another angle is to look at this time as moving toward the start of a new year. I would like to encourage us all to look forward to finishing well over the next month or so, so we can enjoy the holiday period, which will give us a much-needed rest and set our resolutions for 2023.

New Year is not really just one second of the clock ticking over from 11:59:59 to midnight on December 31 to January 1; it is a whole season of reflecting on the past and preparing for the future.

Our Garnsey Campus is moving into Rollover shortly, which means our students will finish our subjects from this year and look towards at the subjects we will be pursuing next year. This certainly brings up a time of reflection for us as we analyse what we know and what we perhaps don’t know, yet.

When many of us receive our results it can be a time of celebration but for some of us it can be a time of disappointment or questioning. If it is a time of celebration, I would like to encourage everyone to reflect on how we got to that point; what we did to achieve the results we are happy about; what we can do to keep that momentum going or even help improve further. If it is a time of questioning or disappointment, there can be both internal and external factors at play. Internal, being what we can control. External, being what we can’t control but what we might be able to control our response to.

If they are internal factors, what can we do to work on that subject next time? How can we focus on the things that we are good at and apply some of the skills to be successful in other areas? Who can we turn to for help when needed? How can we choose a pathway that best uses our strengths?

If there are external factors, how can we adjust the way we respond or operate to help us negotiate the things we can’t control?

In just under two weeks Thanksgiving will be celebrated in US. Americans see this as the start of their New Year journey. They reflect on things such as what I have mentioned, good and maybe not so good, and they give thanks.

So let us give thanks for our School, our Students, our Staff and our Community.

I wish the Gippsland Grammar Community a reflective lead up to the end of the year and a celebration of what we have achieved.

Warm regards,
Michele Wakeham
Acting Principal

Whole-School notices  
Grammar’s ‘Gippsland Dozen’ returns
As you would have seen in our recent email, we are pleased to announce the return of Gippsland Grammar Foundation’s fundraising initiative: Grammar’s ‘Gippsland Dozen’, for 2022. This annual fundraiser sees us partner with four local wineries with associations to our School to offer carefully-curated boxes of half dozen or dozen premium Gippsland wines in either white, red or mixed selections. This fundraiser is organised by our Foundation, which was established in 1985 as the fundraising arm of our School with a purpose of raising money for capital works. Over the past three years this fundraiser has sold more than 300 boxes of wine and raised a significant amount of money for our new Art & Design Centre at our Garnsey Campus. Profits from this year’s fundraiser will go towards future capital works across our three campuses. Orders close on Sunday November 20 and the wine will be ready for delivery or pick-up from our Garnsey Campus from Monday November 28.

Click here to see the combinations of wine offered and to place your order:
Click here for more information:

With the aforementioned Christmas season almost upon us our Music Department is excited to present Choralfest, a service of lessons and carols at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday December 2 from 7pm. This Lessons and Carols service has its roots in the 19th century but came to greater prominence in England after World War I as a way of using the Christmas story and the beautiful canon of wonderful Christmas music to bring people together, to remember what was lost, and to hope for brighter years ahead. As an Anglican school, Gippsland Grammar looks forward to marking the beginning of the Christmas period with a beautiful and uplifting service that prepares us again to hear the Christmas story and each of the nine readings featured has specially selected music that amplifies the themes of the spoken text, presented by Gippsland Grammar’s choristers and musicians from across our three campuses.  This is one way that music helps to bring our Community together. So please gather your family and invite your friends to join our students for this special event, which is scheduled to finish at about 8.30pm.

Wellbeing Committee
Our Wellbeing Committee includes Virginia Evans, Jie Van Berkel, Rohan Jayatilake, Stuart Llewellyn, Rev Tim Gaden and Ceci Broughton and has been meeting regularly and part of our time together has included developing our School’s Wellbeing Framework. We are also introducing an online wellbeing resource called School TV. This is an excellent central resource where members of our School Community can find relevant and evidence-based information about topics such as cyber safety, positive parenting, school transitions and trauma, among others. This resource – which includes videos, mental health expert interviews, fact sheets and quizzes – can be accessed via the following link or the widget on our School website. Click here to discover more:

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
The past two weeks have been especially busy around our ELCs as we prepare the children to transition to new rooms or to the Junior school. We also welcomed our 2023 families to Gippsland Grammar and the ELCs at Parent Information Nights at our St Anne’s and the Bairnsdale campuses. It was a joy to meet parents in person and I can honestly say that I hope that I never have to do this event via Zoom again!

There was a happy buzz in the air as everyone enjoyed meeting each other and building new connections. As I pointed out on the night, the sense of community and belonging makes Gippsland Grammar a very special place. A big thanks to our educators who spent time helping families prepare for the beginning of their child’s education. We understand this it is a very big step for first-time families. However with such a great beginning, we are sure that the transition will be enjoyable and seamless.

For this newsletter, I have asked all our teachers to share what has been happening in their groups. For more in-depth educational program details, families should remember to check in with your class VOS page and read the Weekly Reflection.

Bairnsdale Reception teacher Sommer-Lea Collins:  The children were fortunate to have a visit from the local CFA. Firefighters Allan and Nellie were able to role model what happens when they receive a callout to a fire. The children learned about the uniform, the equipment and the material used to help fight the fire, and they were able to use the high-pressure hoses. To celebrate Children’s Week, we had a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. The children decorated invitations to share with their families. At the picnic, the children could introduce their teddy bears to the group, do some craft activities, sing teddy bear-themed songs and have a picnic together. We read some special bear books, such as The Very Cranky Bear and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.

St Anne’s Reception (Mon/Wed) teacher Tammy Lopardi: This term the children have been enjoying experiencing a range of physical activities including climbing, kicking and catching balls, carrying, and balancing. We have also loved dancing and games that improve coordination. The children have participated in increasingly challenging activities to develop their skills. Movement helps children work on the big muscles for standing, walking, running, sitting up, drawing, and writing.

St Anne’s Reception (Tue/Thu) teacher Elise Edgar: The children thoroughly enjoy their weekly music lesson with lots of singing, dancing and playing instruments. The children love to choose their instrument and are doing a fantastic job playing in time to Mrs Germaine’s songs. I love to see their excitement and enthusiasm for music. This week we are very excited to begin our preparations for Christmas. The children have started practising Christmas carols and working hard on Christmas decorations. They take pride in their creativity and are excited to share it with their families.  

Bairnsdale Transition teacher Sharon Smith: Children love art and the opportunity to be creative. Over the past few weeks, the children have been busy making their Van Gogh-inspired pieces for the Bairnsdale Campus Art Show. The students could look at Van Gogh’s famous paintings and decide which one they liked the best. Surprisingly the children particularly enjoyed the painting Bedroom. We researched the mystery of Van Gogh painting his bedroom several times and changing the image of the painting hanging on the wall. They decided to recreate Van Gogh’s Bedroom and display their works as Van Gogh did all those years ago. A big thank you to all the parents who attended to view the children’s display. We are so proud of their amazing efforts.

St Anne’s Transition teacher Kristy How: The White Swans have really ‘got their teeth’ into learning about dinosaurs. The children’s curiosity has exploded and led to much rich play and investigation. Following the children’s interest, there were fossils made from salt dough, gooey bogs, dramatic paintings and explosive volcano reactions. The volcanoes were made from lemons but the children wanted a more significant impact so we took science to the sandpit with bicarb soda and vinegar. The children loved predicting which way the lava would flow and loved the excitement of waiting for the eruption. Throughout this exciting unit, the children have made literacy connections, learning about the letter D and making their own dinosaur booklets.

St Anne’s Transition teacher Danielle Carpenter: We have been following up on our Museums Victoria visit at the end of the last term. The children have enjoyed listening to both fiction and non-fiction books about dinosaurs. We have continued the question, ‘What happened to the dinosaurs?’. There have been lots of great ideas from the children. We have begun looking at the different types of dinosaurs and learning their names. We have focused on fossils. Our presenters from the museum bought in some fossils for us to examine. To extend this, we used salt dough to make a surface where we could create our very own dinosaur fossils. We also made a dinosaur swamp complete with chia slime to challenge their sense of touch. We had fun making a triceratops headband to wear home.

As you can see, it has been a stimulating and rich few weeks of learning for your children.

(Clockwise from top left): Billy makes a volcano in the sandpit, Ella is delighted to see her art in the Bairnsdale Campus Art Show, Hanna and Lara help firefighter Nellie to use the hose and Harper plays the claves in Music.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
My previous newsletter alluded to special events happening in Term 4, including camps, Celebration Day, a family dolphin cruise and our Art Show. I am now happy to report that each of these events were a sound success because of the detailed planning and, importantly, the enthusiastic and supportive response from our families.

Since the beginning of Term 4, students from St Anne’s and our Bairnsdale campus have combined at various camps across Gippsland including Gelantipy, near Buchan (Year 6), Coonawarra, near the Den of Nargun (Year 5) while our Year 4 students experienced Camp Rumbug, near Foster. And last term you may recall our Year 3 students also joined with St Anne’s to attend a camp at Camp Coolamatong on the Banksia Peninsula.

Our students’ experience at camp was one that built resilience, connectedness, and an opportunity to flourish as an individual, just as our well-being statement suggests. I personally thank the staff and parents that enabled this success through their commitment to our students and giving up their time to attend camp.

Celebration Day
We welcomed 14 of our School’s Year 12 students who began their schooling at our Campus back to Bairnsdale to share in our campus’s 17th Celebration Day. It was a lot of fun – particularly the Trivia quiz where the Foundation students were quick to answer – however, Year 12 student Amelia Norman’s rendition of her house chant was a highlight for all.

Dolphin cruise
Though the day was overcast for our ‘family dolphin cruise’ around the Gippsland Lakes, our spirits were high. Many of our families participated in the day, enjoying learning about our lakes, particularly the Burrunan dolphins. A BBQ at the Metung Park concluded the morning perfectly. Matt Montemurro from the Marine Mammal Foundation was thrilled to be there and gratefully accepted a healthy donation from Floss Law who independently raised money in an effort to protect our environment.

Art Show
More recently we were very proud to present our Bairnsdale Campus Art Show to the community (pictured below). Liz McConchie worked tirelessly in creating what was an inspiring display of our students’ creativity and talents. We are grateful to Cara Schaefer and Geoff Stagg for their music and the pizzas from Stuart and Emily Derham, which were well received at the opening, which was a huge success. Our students heard so many congratulatory comments made, including a particularly special one from a local artist Don Wordsworth – who happened to be Ms McConchie’s lecturer at university – who summed it up beautifully with the following:

‘The Art Show at your school is brilliant, an exhibition of which you and your teachers can be very proud. On reflection I think that, if I had to declare this exhibition ‘open’ I could have been lost for words and my emotions very close to the surface. It was wonderful to see so much work based on topics such as, wellbeing, current works, Country and recognised great art of the past. You are fortunate to have such an inspiring art teacher. As I said, the show was brilliant.’

To conclude I am so very proud of our School Community and to our students, thank you for ‘bringing your best self to school each day’.

Wishing you well for the remainder of the term.

(Clockwise from top left): Georgi at Year 3 camp, Adanna trying archery and Ayla on the obstacle course at the Year 4 camp, Year 4 boys at camp, the Year 5 girls on camp and Tate climbing in caves at Year 6 camp.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Remembrance Day
This morning at 10.55am, St Anne’s held a Remembrance Day service and students and staff stood for a minute’s silence on the lawn under the oak tree. The Year 6 Defence students lead the service and the wonderful Brad Cruickshank played the Last Post/Rouse. In Mrs Canfield’s words, ‘I’m very proud of the Year 6 students for their leadership and responsibility running the service on their own’. Thank you Mrs Canfield.

House Handwriting Competition
This morning we held our House Handwriting competition. This competition is an opportunity for our students to demonstrate their ‘personal excellence’ through handwriting. The key criteria included correct formation, sizing and placement of letters, with our older students including joined writing. Overall, it was a tight competition, with Wellington Binks winning this year. Congratulations to our students below who came first for their year level.

Foundation: Elizabeth Keen
Year 1: Annie Van Berkel
Year 2: Emily Millar
Year 3: Lexie Elliman
Year 4: Charlotte Greenwell
Year 5: Milla Said
Year 6: William Edgar

Grandparents & Special Friends Fellowship
We had overwhelming support for one of our most important Fellowships of the year, our Grandparents & Special Friends Fellowship, which was held last week and even included visitors travel who travelled from interstate for the occasion. Our guest speaker Don Burns shared his wonderful insight into being a grandparent. He spoke about how grandparents ‘slow’ things down for their grandchildren in such a busy world. Don spoke from the heart and shared his special connection with his three grandsons. Our Junior Choir and Strings ensemble performed for our extensive audience and our special guests were invited to visit classrooms after Fellowship. Small picnic packs were also organised for our families to share; the food was delicious and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience as it took longer than expected to get these packs to our families. The feedback from our Grandparents is that they loved the opportunity to spend some special time with their grandchildren. Thank you to those who helped organise the day and to those who attended.

Between newsletters, we have also had wonderful Fellowships from McCubbin, Barton and Bradman students. These Fellowships have focused on resilience, personal excellence and treating others how you wish to be treated. Our Fellowships allow our St Anne’s community to come together. They are student-centred and include a key message, musical items and prayer. Afterwards, our visitors are encouraged to have a cup of tea or coffee and an opportunity to socialise with other parents.

2023 staffing
Planning for 2023 has been well underway. I am excited to announce our teaching staff, which includes some new teachers joining our School Community.

Anna Duffield will teach in Foundation, Kate Burgess in Year 1, and Jackie Schuback and Shauna Drew in Year 4. Sadly, we also have some staff leaving us at the end of the year. Louise Sullivan has already started her maternity leave and we are super excited about the impending arrival of her new baby!

Linda Vale is also retiring at the end of this year after a long and distinguished teaching career and Liz Foat, Amy Laverty and Ellen Condron have resigned as they seek a range of different opportunities and adventures. I will be communicating more about our leaving staff closer to the end of the year to outline the positive impact they have all had on our students and culture at St Anne’s.

For the remainder of this year, Nicky Roberts will continue in her role as Acting Deputy Head of St Anne’s, Shauna Drew will teach Foundation Mawson and Anna English will continue to teach Year 3 (Tasman). I am delighted that we have two experienced teachers who are able to step in at both Mawson and Tasman and I thank these teachers for liaising closely to ensure continuity of learning for all students.

The teachers for next year are as follows:
Foundation: Bree Alexander and Anna Duffield
Year 1: Sophie Keen and Kate Burgess
Year 2: Sarah Wheeler and Rebekah Tayler
Year 3: Nicky Roberts and Kristen Rich
Year 4: Anna English/Katie Howard and Jackie Schuback/Shauna Drew
Year 5: Liz Dawson and Lisa Goode
Year 6: Julie Jago and Toni Hutton
Art: Louise Hulls
Music: Katie Germaine
Library: Eliz Noble
P.E: Simone Langshaw
Japanese: Jan Chalmer
Digital Technology: Evan Lamb
Learning Support: Linda Lothian, Louise Anderson, Michelle Thompson and Vanessa Walsh

Sporting Success
We had seven students recently represent Gippsland Grammar at the Sports Victoria State Athletics Carnival. This is a huge achievement for these students to compete against the top athletes in the state. Melina Beanland ran the 100m and came 7th; Ryan Berton competed in the high jump and cleared 1.36m to finish 10th; Cruz Duck came 14th in the 800m and 7th in the 1500m; Jack McLay ran the 100m and placed 12th; Henri Duggan came 3rd in the 200m sprint and 5th 1500m; Charlie Strachan came 8th in the 800m and 9th in the 1500m and Charlie, Fletcher Wynne, Henri and Jack ran the 100m relay and finished 4th in a close race. A huge congratulations to these students!

Camps Program
As you have already read in our Bairnsdale Campus section of the newsletter, our School’s camps program for our Year 3 to Year 6 students provide unique experiences for our students. Since the beginning of Term 4, students from St Anne’s and our Bairnsdale campus have combined at various camps within Gippsland including at Gelantipy, near Buchan (Year 6), Coonawarra, near the Den of Nargun (Year 5) and Camp Rumbug, near Foster (Year 4). As our camps program was paused during Covid, which also led to many students having had minimal sleepovers during this same period, spending multiple nights away from home was challenging for many students.

The aims of our camps are to: 

  • Broaden our students’ understanding of themselves.
  • Foster growth in resilience, self-esteem, confidence, independence, leadership, and the ability to get along with others.
  • Gain an increased ‘natural awareness’ through extended exposure to their natural world. 

Feedback about our camps program from our teachers, students and families has been very positive. Personally, I would like to thank the staff and parents who provided the organisation, care and support for our students during these camps.

Spring Concert
Our St Anne’s Spring Concert will be held on Thursday November 17 in the Lorna Sparrow Hall from 5.30pm. This event is a wonderful celebration of music that will showcase our junior campus ensembles and choirs including: Foundation to Year 2 Choir, Junior Choir, St Anne’s Singers, Rock Band, Year 2 Strings, Year 3 Strings, Year 4 Training Band Chamber Strings and Concert Band. All of our students have been working with enthusiasm and dedication towards this much anticipated event and we look forward to sharing the growing talent of our St Anne’s Campus musicians with our whole School Community. 

Important Dates
* Spring Concert: Thursday November 17
* Staff Professional Learning Day (student-free day): Friday November 18
* ELC Christmas Concert: Friday November 25
* 2023 Year 7 Orientation Week (November 22-25)
* St Anne’s Orientation Day: Friday December 2

Staff and students gathered for this morning’s Remembrance Day service; and Spencer and his family at the recent Grandparents and Special Friends Fellowship.

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Rohan Jayatilake
The warmer weather has brought with it an energetic and positive vibe to our campus. With activities taking place across all year levels of the school, it can be hard to contain the excitement and enthusiasm that organically develops at this time of year. As we step closer to Christmas, this joyful and festive season provides a valuable opportunity for our students (and community members) to reflect on progress, celebrate achievements and prepare goals for 2023.

Examinations have been a focal point for students and teachers. Currently, we have our Year 12 students completing their VCAA exams which will culminate in our Valedictory celebrations in Week 7 (next week). We also have our Year 10 and Year 11 students completing exams, which will be a valuable learning opportunity for future external examinations. We understand that this time can be extremely challenging for our students, but also for our parents and carers who support their children through the stress and anxiety that can be experienced. HeadSpace provides a useful resource for families by outlining strategies that can help reduce stress during examinations (please click here to access the resource).

Student voice
We are constantly searching for ways to further student voice within our school. Most recently, we have welcomed a Year 7 and Year 8 student working party which is drafting landscaping designs for the entrance and land adjacent to the new Art and Design building. We want this space to celebrate student creativity and innovation, as well as be a welcoming environment that enhances student learning and wellbeing. We are very excited to see the designs our students create over the coming weeks.

2023 student leaders
We have also finalised our Captains and Prefects for 2023. Following an extensive application process that included: letters of application, interview and speeches to the students and staff, we are very pleased to welcome the following students as leaders next year:

School Captains: Emily Thai and Ed Courtier
Vice Captains: Monty Richardson and Sophie Alexander
Community & Culture Prefects: Lailah Moore and Nathaniel Shelton
Wellbeing & Care Prefects: Chris Kelsey & Isabel Lestrange
Curriculum & Learning Prefects: Jonathan de Kock & Samithri Kaluarachchi
Sport & Experience Prefects: Austin Bauer & Ella O’Doherty
Creativity & Expression Prefects: Leah Brutovic & Georgia Shell

We are very confident that these young leaders have the values, skills and approaches necessary to create positive change within our community, as well as being responsible role models to younger students. 2023 will surely be an exciting year for all students to be actively involved in the direction and progress of our school.

Seven students from Garnsey represented Gippsland Grammar in the 2022 State Chess Finals. To qualify, all students were required to win at least five out of seven games at an approved tournament during the year. Our team started off very strong, winning six out of seven games, an excellent start considering the quality of players at the competition. Connor Rogalsky and Josiah Levchenko played well above their year levels, finishing the day with 5 points and 4.5 points respectively. Overall, we finished 13th out of 36 schools, only missing out on a top 10 spot by half a point. The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were able to learn so much by playing against such strong opposition. As always, Friday chess club continues in the ISC and new players are always welcome.

On October 17th, students from Gippsland Grammar competed in the Wellington Clay Target shooting competition. Each shooter had a series of 20 targets to shoot, with each successful hit going towards the team’s total score. The Gippsland Grammar team was split into three squads, which all performed extremely well. Luca Di Corleto shot especially well, with a final score of 18 out of 20, placing him into a shoot off for first place. He managed very well and hit all four targets, winning him first place overall in the Senior Boy’s grade. Another impressive performance was shown by Ella O’Doherty, who competed in a shoot-off for third place in the senior girl’s grade. Despite a great effort, Ella narrowly missed out on making the place but was an inspiration to the team. Overall, Gippsland Grammar had a very successful day as two of our Grammar squads achieved first and second place. Our first-place squad finished with a score of 81 out of 100, while our second-place squad were just shy of 80 targets. Congratulations to all our shooters!

The buzz of Term 4 will continue with many exciting and engaging activities. We will be welcoming to our campus, once again, our Year 7 cohort and families for 2023. They will be here with us on campus for four days, learning more about life in Year 7, establishing friendships and connecting with teachers. Our Year 9 students will have completed their Electives camp and will commence their Peer Support training. Furthermore, we will enter our ‘rollover’ period, allowing our students to commence new courses and programs before the break.

We wish all the best to our students and families!

Year 7 and 8 students have formed a working committee to design the landscaping around our new Art & Design Centre; and our shooting team had a very successful day at the recent Wellington Clay Target Shooting competition.

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.

Join our Community:
If you’d like to join our Gippsland Grammar Community please phone us on 56143 6388 or email to request a Prospecus, book a campus tour or simply inquire about a future enrolment. Or click here to read our Gippsland Grammar Information Book.

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