School Chaplain

CamNews

School Chaplain

December 4, 2020

The Season of Advent and the God who waits.

The season of Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas Day) has traditionally been a season of expectation:  a time to listen, again, to the promises of God, and to consider what those promises mean for us today. It’s also a time of waiting.  The parts of Scripture that we listen to over these weeks give us a sense of all the people, throughout history, who have waited, often in dark and uncertain circumstances, for  God’s promises to be fulfilled in their time.

We don’t need to use our imaginations much this year to reflect on what it feels like to wait.  In many ways 2020 is a waiting year like no other.  Waiting for the daily briefing by Dan Andrews.  Waiting for the borders to open. Waiting for the election result of a country far away from here. Waiting for a vaccine.

In the midst of all the waiting, 2020 has also been a year when we’ve faced some truths about our human condition, that have, perhaps, not been so clear to us before.  We’ve noticed the fragility of life, and not just human life faced with a nasty virus.  We have also noticed the vulnerability of the planet (remember the bush-fires at the start of the year?)

In many ways it’s been a sobering year, a year when our wings have been clipped.  But I would also say that 2020 has been a time when our sense of what matters has become more fine-tuned.  One of the things I loved seeing during lock-down was families together in parks, mucking around together, “wasting” time together.  I’ve had quite a few conversations  about the beauty of the season, or about how simple are needs really are. I’ve heard students appreciating their teachers in new ways too!

I’d also say that 2020 has been a time when many of us have wondered more about God, and how God is involved with us.  A time when we might have sensed God’s presence in the beauty of the earth:  in Autumn leaves, or sunsets or bird song, or the tranquility of a garden.  And a time when we might have had a fresh sense of how God chooses to be involved with us:  not with grand gestures, pushing aside all that impedes us – but in utter humility.  God walking quietly beside us, helping us to face what is there,  encouraging us in the big and small dramas of each day, inviting us to lean on God’s strength when we have felt incapable of anything much at all . . . and always, always, waiting for us.

So, while we might think about Advent as a time of us waiting for God, there is also much to be said about how God waits for us.  The God whose incarnation we celebrate at Christmas is the God who waits for us so patiently and humbly.  Waits for us to put aside the distractions and the busy schedules that are sometimes a substitute for real life.  Waits for us to open the doors of our hearts to the divine love.  Waits for us to lean in to God’s strength and goodness.  Waits for us to discover that life together – life for the flourishing of every part of creation – is the best kind of life there is, and that we want to play our part.

I hope that as we prepare for Christmas, we hang on to some of what we have learned of ourselves and God this year.  May we approach Christmas with a sense of the fragility and magnificence of life, may be celebrate with light-hearts, and may we revel in the love that waits to change the world.

May God bless you and your loved ones this Christmas.  Those who have lost loved ones this year will be particularly in my prayers on Christmas Eve.

Reverend Helen Creed
School Chaplain

Principal

CamNews

Principal

November 20, 2020

Educating our students for their future…BY DESIGN

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Eighteen months ago at Camberwell Girls Grammar School we made a commitment to design a learning architecture that would enable us to distil our purpose and intention in our curriculum and development of programs. In educating young people for their future, we wanted to ensure that our educational offering was designed to reflect this.

At CGGS, we understand the importance of the development of transferable skills alongside discipline-specific knowledge and skills for young people. A worthwhile education must also provide opportunities for the learner to be curious and creative and have the opportunity to apply their learning to new situations. We want them to grapple with new ideas and concepts and not be afraid of making mistakes when challenging new ideas.

In educating the whole person, we also recognise the importance of wellbeing in all aspects of a young person’s development. This includes the development of character through connection, growth, grit and sustainability. It also recognises the importance of how we take responsibility for our relationships and our learning.

Whilst our initial focus in using BY DESIGN has been predominantly in Senior School, this architecture can be used across the whole school. It gives us consistency in our language and approach to curriculum and program design. It will also be invaluable when inducting new teachers into CGGS, as well as helping students and parents understand how and why our programs are developed.

Many teachers have used components of BY DESIGN during the developmental phase, including trialling the BY DESIGN App that we have developed to enable the process of curriculum and program development and documentation to be more streamlined.

At this time last year, Senior School departments used BY DESIGN to focus on their Year 9 curriculum review and renewal, and in the coming weeks they will extend this to other year levels in preparation for 2021. As our Junior School has undertaken a complete appraisal and redesign of their curriculum during the last two years and will now use BY DESIGN for ongoing review.

I am now delighted to share with you our BY DESIGN booklet, to give you an overview of our architecture. I am sure that you will find it a helpful reference. I certainly welcome any feedback from parents.

As a community of learners at CGGS, this architecture reflects who we are, how we design and what we do, honouring what we believe is important in a high-quality education for young people.

I would like to thank all of the staff who have contributed to the development of this important work along our journey including members of the BY DESIGN Development Team: Dr Charlotte Forwood, Ms Kate Manners and Mr James Henderson, as well as Summer Howarth from Eventful Learning Co who has been our strategic assistant and constructive critic from the beginning of the process. Mr Keith Melder, our Multimedia Coordinator has really brought our ideas to life in this booklet so that we can share it with both the CGGS and broader educational communities.

I hope that you are as proud of this work as I am.

 

Parent Survey

As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improving the school, we believe it is critical to seek each parent and guardian’s opinion on a range of issues relating to Camberwell Girls Grammar School. Your feedback is very important to us as we continue to build a successful school and strengthen our reputation as an ‘educator of choice’.

As such, we have again engaged the professional services of MYP Corporation (MYPCorp) to undertake a strictly private and confidential School Results Survey on our behalf.The survey should take approximately 10 – 15 minutes and will need to be completed online between 30 November 2020 and 11 December 2020.

At the end of next week, you will receive survey instructions and a personalised login to complete the survey. While we encourage you to participate, the survey is not compulsory. If you decide that you do not want to complete the survey, simply click ‘unsubscribe’ in the instruction or reminder email. Thank you for your assistance in helping to shape the future direction of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.

 

School Masterplan 

As a school, we remain committed to providing the very best possible learning facilities by constantly maintaining and refurbishing key areas of both Junior School and Senior School.

Prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the school engaged external consultants to undertake the design of a refurbished Barbara Sutton Hall, incorporating a new Music and Drama Centre. This design work has, and continues to, focus on the school’s long-term planning.

In order to have the proposed design assessed, it has been necessary to lodge an addendum to the existing masterplan with Boroondara Council. Part of this process requires Boroondara Council to publicly advertise the school’s planning permit. This advertising commenced on Monday 16 November 2020 and I wanted to bring this to your attention as you may notice signage has been recently placed around the school.

Whilst CGGS remains committed to completing the design and planning permit process, no further decisions have been made as to when the refurbishment project will commence. I will certainly keep you updated on any developments.

Have a restful weekend.

Regards,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

November 6, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

A few months ago, I read Julia Baird’s best-selling book, Phosphorescence and found it to be an inspiring book to read in lockdown.

Julia painted beautiful pictures of where we find phosphorescence in the natural world and then used it as an example of our need as humans to ‘find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light’. As I was reading, I also thought of the theme of ‘GLOW’ that our 2020 School Captains developed this year and the idea that we are often drawn to those people who emanate this – people who radiate warmth, a sense of goodness and joy.

Being forced to change our daily routines and practices during lockdown certainly made me think more clearly about my own priorities and I am sure that I was not alone in doing this. I am very energised by people (and particularly young people) and I gain great satisfaction from seeing others at their best; seeing them glow. So what makes people glow?

In Phosphorescence, Julia talks about the four powerful lessons for what makes people glow and they are all integral to our philosophy of developing the whole person at CGGS. These four lessons listed below, are embedded in our diverse programs, size of school and culture of our community:

> Paying attention – the importance of being present in the moment and really experience each interaction and opportunity

> Not underestimating the soothing power of the ordinary

> Seeking awe and nature

> Things like showing kindness, practising grace, embracing friends, imperfection, being bold and having faith

In witnessing the joy of our student and staff community reunite over recent weeks, it has again reinforced to me the importance of school communities and the richness of the relationships that are formed within them. Whilst there has been great debate over many years about the relevance of schools and the possibility of moving to an online mode, this year we have experienced first-hand why this type of change would not be ideal.

School communities are where relationships and shared experiences play a pivotal role in shaping the formation of young people. We value being connected and belonging, and this is not the same in an exclusively remote environment. The experiences gained throughout this year will certainly assist us to develop more blended models of learning, but school communities cannot be replaced. Even as I write this editorial, I am hearing the excited voices of young people outside my office engaging with each other and their teachers.

In both Junior School and Senior School, initially some students were nervous about resuming school onsite, but many have returned with a greater sense of independence and confidence in themselves and have settled well. We know that they have learnt some important lessons in self-regulation and building resilience through remote experiences this year.

Our students have definitely not lost seven months of schooling. Through the two phases of remote learning, we have not only provided continuous access to programs but have also adapted to changes in the learning environment. We have continued to provide rigorous, research-informed literacy and numeracy programs and the necessary resources to enable students to develop their skills. In older students, we have also sought to develop self-regulation skills through evidence-based approaches.We are very pleased with the progress of students across all year levels and have supported individual students as needed.

Some parents have asked about the Tutoring Program that is being financed by the Victorian Government. This program has been set up to support disadvantaged students. This includes students in low SES areas and/or where they have not had continuous access to learning programs. These students may have had limited or interrupted contact with their teachers, resources, internet access and other support.

Our students were fortunate to have had continuous access to purposefully designed learning programs alongside tailored wellbeing support and therefore will not qualify for this funding.

Whilst engaged in their academic programs, we will continue to focus on the development of the whole person at CGGS. The idea of us all being the best versions of ourselves so that we can glow, is an exciting part of our purpose as educators – as is the renewed valuing of connectedness and community in our schools.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

October 22, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

An annual tradition that we have at CGGS is the final school bell for our Year 12 students as they congregate in the quadrangle near the clock tower with others watching on. It is significant because as a ‘bell-less’ school, we only ring the bell twice each year – one for the commencement of the Year 7 Welcome Ceremony and the other for our final Year 12 class.

Continuing to modify our practices in 2020, in early August, as we were entering into the second phase of lockdown, we rang the bell for the Year 12 students as they stood in the quadrangle, unsure if we were able to celebrate this tradition in October. Fortunately, we will be able to repeat it early next week!

Our Class of 2020 have led the school with great enthusiasm and dedication, not easy in such a disrupted year. They have shown their strength of character, ability to adapt and tackle hard things. We are very thankful for their legacy, including as role models for younger year levels. I am also very grateful for the staff who have supported and assisted them in re-designing opportunities.

With courses, enhancement programs and trial exams completed, as well as a number of oral and performance exams already done, our Year 12 students and teachers are now focused on the final examination assessments and final celebrations.

Tonight, our pre-recorded Years 10-12 Presentation Evening will showcase the talents and contributions of our students and their achievements as we reflect on 2020. Next week we look forward to our adapted Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner (we have partnered with Ten Minutes by Tractor, a fine dining restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula for a dining at home experience) connected by technology.

Many staff have worked incredibly hard over months to re-design these important milestone events and I am very grateful to Mrs Poyser and her Senior School Team for their work in this area. In particular I would like to mention Victoria Hargreaves for her oversight of all aspects of each event and Kim Perkins for endless hours of preparing pre-recorded segments and producing final programs, including live feeds and links.  These will certainly be events to remember!

In 2020, our students have been led with great energy, enthusiasm and compassion by three incredible young women, Felicia Spiridonos, Laurya Dang-Nguyen and Loren Palma. It is during challenging times that you see the integrity and strength of leadership. Like their theme GLOW, they have really radiated hope and optimism this year as they redesigned ideas and initiatives and supported others. We could not have asked for more.

As our Class of 2020 prepare for their final examinations, over 23% of the cohort have already received early offers into a number of different universities. This is testament to their hard work as well as commitment to other interests and co-curricular activities including service learning. We wish them well for these final weeks.

Feedback from Parents
In reviewing our remote learning and re-designed programs, we are also looking to the future to see what elements we should continue or continue to refine that enable greater learning opportunities for our students. I invite you to participate in a short survey to share your thoughts and ideas.

In addition, throughout this term we will be working with small focus groups of parents from each year level to gain greater insights into your daughter’s experience during remote learning and opportunities for the future. These focus groups will be facilitated by Mrs Glenda Bushell, our former Head of Junior School via zoom and it is our plan to work with a group of 6-8 parents in each year level from Early Learning 3 through to Year 12. If you are interested in participating in a focus group you will also have the opportunity to indicate this on the survey or email Mrs Bushell directly on gbushell@cggs.vic.edu.au

I am so excited about welcoming our Years 8, 9 and 10 students back to school next week. Another significant milestone this year!

Warm regards
Debbie Dunwoody

Principal

CamNews

Principal

October 9, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we emerge from the Stage 4 Restrictions in Melbourne it is vital that our children continue to re-engage with physical activity and connectedness with the natural world around them.

A number of years ago I heard Richard Louv, Author and Chairman Emeritus of the Children and Nature Network (an organisation supporting the international movement to connect children, their families and communities to the natural world) speak about the importance of nature in the development of young people. He asked the audience to think about the special memories that we had as young children growing up – the places that we now find in our hearts.

I thought about those times of freedom, exploring outside after school, on the weekends and during holidays. The times when, with friends and our bikes, we would spend hours outside and return home having experienced a variety of adventures in our local area including parks. I also thought about camping and bush experiences or times collecting tadpoles or fishing for yabbies. He then challenged us to think about whether our children will have these types of places to go to in their hearts and for us to consider the implications of this; the impact on their health, development of creativity and connectedness to the world that sustains us.

We are hardwired to be emotionally connected to nature. Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers and had strong connections to the land. Louv spoke about the impact of nature, particularly on young children. Over a number of years, he has brought together work from studies and argues that direct exposure to nature is essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development, as well as their ability to learn. Louv has coined the term ‘nature-deficit disorder’, not as a medical diagnosis, but a description of the growing gap between human beings and nature, which he argues has implications for health and well-being of the current and future generations.

Whilst there are still many ways that people can be connected to nature, rapid urbanisation has certainly had an impact on the way this happens. Our children do not have the freedom to play and explore as we did when we were young (less open space and the fear of ‘stranger danger’) and whilst we must always have their safety as a priority, as Louv says, we must be careful not to create ‘containerised kids’. We must also be careful not to make our children fearful of nature. Our local parks connect people with nature and urban nature is just as important as wilderness to give our children the opportunities for outdoor independent play.

In his article ‘Do Our Kids Have Nature Deficit Disorder?’, Louv argues that studies in California and across the United States have shown that schools that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education such as camps, saw significant student gains in a number of other subjects across the curriculum. He also stated that researchers at the Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois have discovered that children as young as 5 showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder when they engaged with nature.

Recent studies have also suggested a connection between the decline in outdoor activities and the rise in both childhood Vitamin D deficiency and myopia. Studies have also suggested a similar link with childhood obesity.  Camps and opportunities to learn outside will continue to play a pivotal role in an education at CGGS.

Similarly,we are all aware of the benefits of developing physical skills and fitness through regular physical activity. Research highlights the important links between physical activity and improvement in academic performance. Being active improves blood flow to the brain and oxygenation levels enhancing levels of concentration and the ability to process, store and retrieve information.

The correlation between physical activity and positive mental health is also important when considering a young person’s wellbeing. This can occur by boosting energy levels, relieving stress, improving sleep, improving self-esteem and confidence and building meaningful relationships with others.

As we emerge from a period of significant restrictions due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important that we prioritise encouraging and supporting our children (and ourselves) to continue to reconnect with physical activity and exposure to nature. Even with our current limitations, there are still many local options for exercising and family connection in our local areas.

In the coming months nurturing our health and wellbeing will continue to be important in our recovery andcan be greatly enhanced by the connectedness to physical activity and the outdoors – in doing so we also connect with the gift of nature that sustains us.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

September 11, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As the end of the term is now upon us, I want to thank you for your support in this important partnership in education. It is incredible to think that many students have not experienced learning at school for the whole term, yet they have been involved in a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities.

Yesterday we enjoyed the Ormiston Creative Arts Festival with a morning of Music and Speech and Drama performances from Early Learning 3 to Year 6. We were also able to view the Junior School Art Show in the virtual gallery that was set up by Mrs Gibson. It was very exciting to see so many girls performing, as well as the wonderful art that has been completed during remote learning.

Today, in Senior School we held the House Celebration Day which has included a wide variety of creative tasks run by staff as well as the Performing Arts Festival in the afternoon. Congratulations to our Dance, Drama and Music Captains for their creativity and perseverance in putting together such an inclusive program.

Thank you to the teams of staff who have organised these virtual events to showcase such a broad range of student initiatives and work.  It is a very exciting way to conclude the term.

I would like to acknowledge Mrs Jennifer Sui and Mrs Fiona Gibson, who will be taking Long Service Leave for the whole of Term 4. We hope that they have a well-deserved break and, as the term progresses, enjoy experiences further afield. We look forward to welcoming them both back in 2021.

Today is also the final day for Mr Mark Corrie, our Director of School Operations and VCE Coordinator. Mr Corrie commenced at CGGS in 2013 and has overseen a number of key aspects of our operations including the diary, excursions, emergency teachers and emergency management, as well as teaching Physical Education. We will miss Mark’s friendly and welcoming demeanor and wish him well in his role as Director of Education Operations at Peninsula Grammar.

Last weekend, we were featured in an ‘Innovation in the Classroom’ supplement in The Age. Please click onto the button below for the article.

This week there has been media attention about online safety as inappropriate material was circulating on a number of social media platforms. Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) run a number of seminars for parents and there is one next Monday about online safety for your consideration. Please see the information below:

Online safety – The Parents Website webinar

With the issue of the online safety of young people at the forefront of our minds this week, ISV is hosting a webinar for parents and carers on the subject this coming Monday, 14 September, between midday and 1.00 pm.

Virtual Childhoods – keeping our kids safe online will be presented by Caroline Ellen, a social worker, parenting coach and founder of Stronger Safe Kids. The event is free, but registration is essential. Full details are available on The Parents Website.

This is the latest in a series of webinars presented by ISV’s The Parents Website to support parents, carers and their families during these challenging times.

Even with significant Stage 4 restrictions in place during the holidays, I hope that you are able to have enjoyable moments together as a family. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family as well as time in the garden to unwind, relax and re-invigorate, ready for Term 4.

Take care.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

September 4, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In education and many other industries, this current time is being viewed as an opportunity to review our practices and consider what should be reduced and what should be prioritised as we move forward.

The ongoing debate about the relevance of the single rank of an ATAR score, and the need to recognise and celebrate the development of the whole person is gaining greater traction and focus during this pandemic. A number of universities are already using supplementary evidence in ranking students for their entry into some courses.

During this term we have been continuing to refine our …BY DESIGN learning framework that many of our Senior School teachers are using. We purposefully designed curriculum and learning opportunities that not only focus on essential knowledge and skills, but also on the transferable skills, the ability to apply knowledge and concepts to new situations as well as activate wellbeing, amongst other important design principles. This approach has been integral to the success of our remote learning program.

Scores and ranks also send an important message in what we value in education and schools. As this landscape is changing, there is now greater attention on what we are measuring and reporting on. This is not just about simple improvements, but about fundamental change if we are to enable young people to demonstrate their capabilities and uniqueness.

At CGGS, we have been working for some time now on looking at a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their mastery and success. One of the ways gaining greater traction is that of ‘Credentialing’. Credentials provide proof of a person’s abilities and experience and come in many forms including badges, certificates, diplomas and degrees. Technical and transferable skills can be credentialed by the school or external organisations. We are close to releasing our first credentials during  Term 4 in some Senior School programs and I look forward to sharing these with you at the time.

Dr Charlotte Forwood, our Director of Learning Design and Development, has prepared some information on credentialing and I attach it below for your interest.

There are many exciting possibilities that are emerging from Remote Learning that we will be able to retain and further develop as we re-emerge to face-to-face teaching. Next term I will also be asking for your thoughts on new possibilities.

In the meantime, as we slowly contemplate the next announcements and hopeful emergence from the current restrictions, stay safe and well.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I was checking my Twitter last night and saw a post saying, ‘Looking forward to precedented times again.’ I couldn’t agree more!

It is interesting that, during our school terms, we often feel a cycle of energy – times of real flow and other times when it feels like you are pushing against a tide. At this stage of Term 3 it is usually the latter and I am wondering if you are also experiencing this at home.

During these times at school, we often need to encourage and motivate the students as tiredness begins to set in. This is certainly much easier to do when you are in face-to-face teaching. Often it can be as simple as prioritising time for more joyful activities, having a bit of fun and bringing humour into your day, exercising or even just spending time outside as the natural environment plays an important role in our wellbeing.

As we move towards the end of term, I am focussing ahead to the impending announcements on 13 September, and there may even be further ones during the holidays. When the time is right, I am particularly looking forward to enjoying the sounds of friends reuniting and students playing together.

Our teachers are planning for both remote and face-to-face learning next term and we are doing the same for our trial VCE Examinations in the holidays. Plans are also underway for alternative Presentation Evening, Leaver’s Service and Valedictory celebrations for our Year 12 students.

I would like to say thank you to our CGGS parents and guardians. Thank you for your work in supporting your daughter’s education at this time, whether she is 3 years of age or 18 years of age. This is one of those critical times when we all need to work together for our children. I have always believed that school communities are about partnerships, and this could not be more important than right now.

I don’t underestimate the challenges that families may be facing including working from home whilst supervising your children. I have also expressed this gratitude to our teachers and professional services staff, many of whom are in a similar situation.

Please stay safe, stay connected and know that we are here to support you. We are never more than a phone call or email away.

I hope you enjoy the sunshine this weekend – within the Stage 4 restrictions of course!

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 21, 2020

In our centenary year and in a year of constant change, during remote learning our three School Captains – Felicia, Laurya and Loren, together with the School and House Captains and School Leaders, captured our student body with their “GLOW“ of positivity and enthusiasm throughout the year. They could not have foreseen the way in which 2020 was to unfold however they have continued to lead with great optimism throughout this change. I am very pleased to include their article below to give an insight into their commitment and work as Captains this year.

 

With best wishes
Debbie Dunwoody

 

School Captains Reflection

Whilst in the midst of Term 3, we have collated our reflections, initiatives and our intentions for the rest of the year.  

As the school turned 100 years old this year, we wanted to choose a theme that would encompass the sentiments of celebration, positivity and passion. Our chosen word, ‘GLOW’, is defined as discovering how we can be the best versions of ourselves by radiating positivity and enthusiasm, and by living generously. It is a word that we felt not only encapsulated the school’s motto and values, but also had the power to strengthen our school community through the attitude that ‘when you glow, the world will glow with you’. After asking our community ‘What makes you glow?’, we created the brand of ‘2 Cents’ which focused on spreading inspiration, encouragement and motivation through posting quotes and inviting everyone to share their ‘2 Cents’. Additionally, our virtual shout-outs have provided an opportunity for the community to continue to give gratitude, love and appreciation to one another, despite being apart.

Our community’s ‘glow’ has never shone brighter and the challenges we have faced this year is a testament to our amazing, close-knit school community that we are so fortunate to be a part of.  

Term 1 – Girl Power 

Especially in the world we live in, the theme of ‘GIRL POWER’ for Term 1 emphasised the need to empower the women around us and particularly young women to be supportive of each other and courageously fierce. 

From the beginning of the year, we hoped to encourage inter-year level empowerment and therefore, adapted the ‘Big Sister Little Sister’ program to involve buddies for girls in Years 7, 11 and 12. We see this program as a way for ‘Big Sisters’ to form a genuine, compassionate bond as an inspiring mentor for their ‘Little Sisters’ in Year 7, from the beginning of their high school journey. To strengthen the bond between buddies over the course of 2020, we had the Big Sisters send introductory letters and check in emails, hosted a buddy quiz competition, organised a buddy ‘get-to-know-you’ lunch and prepared small group Zoom catch-ups and games during Remote Learning.  

Furthermore, it was fitting that International Women’s Day was celebrated in Term 1 whilst we delved into the importance of women lifting each other up. A small group of Year 12s travelled to Parliament House for the annual breakfast hosted by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia. In a room full of young women, the contrasting portraits, all except two, of former male Premiers stood out to us whilst discussing various topics including women in politics, gender-biased language and equality.  In addition to this, we were delighted to assist in hosting Camberwell’s own International Women’s Day breakfast and have Old Grammarian Kim Henderson speak on her journey of becoming a women’s rights activist with some highlights from her extensive work experience.  

Putting our spin on Valentine’s Day, we decided to celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day’ instead and the compassion and love in our friendships! We are very appreciative of the students and staff who helped us prepare packets of mini heart-shaped sugar cookies in time for the ‘Galentine’s Day’ Stall. Not only could the cookies be purchased, but the girls were given the opportunity to write special notes of gratitude for their peers to be delivered later in the day and this further spread joy and positivity throughout the school! 

Term 2 – Legacy

As we celebrate our school’s centenary year and honour the history and traditions that came before us, ‘LEGACY’, our theme for Term 2 reminds us to learn from the past and envision the future to make the most of the present.  

The three of us wished for our legacy to be driven by giving back to the community and being thoughtful and selfless in service. This inspired us to work with World Vision by using the funds raised from the Galentine’s Day stall to sponsor a girl. The purpose of this initiative was to highlight to the students how fortunate we are to receive the education we do and the power of community in being able to support another girl with her education. It was then that we introduced CGGS to 9-year-old, Chanda from Cambodia and ‘Letters to Chanda’ was born. Throughout 2020, student representatives wrote letters on behalf of their year level to update Chanda on CGGS school life and get to know her hobbies, siblings and favourite subject.

We hope that the future School Captains continue this legacy, supporting Chanda through her schooling years and strengthening this connection whilst it serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting the women we meet with each day, to the women around the world. 

Commencing Term 2 with remote learning came with its challenges, as we had to re-invent the activities that we had initially planned for. We shifted our focus towards maintaining a sense of community and school spirit while everyone was physically distanced through heavily using our school Instagram account, @wearecggs. Pivoting off our hashtag, #TogetherApart, we made a Netflix starter pack, which included movie and TV-show recommendations and a Spotify playlist called ‘QuaranTUNES’, filled with uplifting and motivating songs. Whilst these initiatives were small, they acted as a reminder for the girls that we were very much in this together.  

Along with other various captains, we formed a Wellbeing Committee, guided by Ms Woolcock, and organised Wellbeing Wednesday activities, such as yoga sessions and making gratitude jars. This provided an opportunity for the girls to step away from their devices and invest in their mind, body and soul.

Overjoyed that we were returning back to school after six weeks in remote learning, we couldn’t wait to see everyone face-to-face. We welcomed everyone back in a GLOWing manner, with streamers, balloons, music in the courtyard and chalk signs, as well as positive messages on the lockers. Click below to expand the photos to see how we welcomed back our peers.

Before transitioning back on site, we wanted to recognise and thank our fellow captains for their amazing efforts in helping to sustain our Camberwell energy in an overwhelming and difficult period. Hence, we held a ‘Leading in Lockdown’ lunch, organising the tables to allow captains who don’t usually work together to connect and reflect upon their own legacy they created as role models of the school.  

We continued to show our gratitude, welcoming the teachers back with a card left in their pigeon holes that we made on behalf of the students of CGGS to thank them for their dedicated, ongoing support. We also coordinated a special card for the Year 12 teachers that had a picture of our cohort doing a love heart sign, as our way of recognising their tirelessly efforts to ensure that we were prepared to tackle this demanding year.  

Term 3 – Originality 

During term 3, we explored the letter ‘O’ which represents originality. ‘Originality’ celebrates diversity and each individual’s unique qualities, encouraging everyone to stay true to themselves.   

In the midst of our second lockdown, we introduced the ‘2 Cents Podcast’, which aimed to keep the community connected whilst we were physically apart. In sharing the opinions and the insights of our school community, we have been able to shed light on important issues such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. In addition to raising awareness, the podcast has sparked discussion in topics of self-care, wellbeing and expressing individuality. In coming episodes, we will invite various guests to share their ‘2 cents’ on areas such as leadership, empowering women, careers and managing money. The podcast has contributed to the legacy that we want to leave with Camberwell, as we hope that this initiative will continue to develop and grow over the years under future captains. 

You can listen to the first episode of the podcast via this link below.

sptfy.com/dv2O

Another initiative, which showcased the community’s originality, was the introduction of ‘Fun Fridays’. Each Friday, we selected a theme to spice up our outfits on Zoom and spread some fun and positivity. Thus far, the Year 11s and 12s have worn pyjamas to school and we have had a Year 7-12 ‘beanie bonanza’.

Our intention for Term 3 was to create a visual representation of individuality and connection within our community by constructing a fingerprint mural that included everyone in the school. Our hope is that this mural will be created as soon as all year levels return to school.   

Term 4 – Willpower 

In Term 4, ‘willpower’ will delve into mindset and perseverance as everyone is inspired to give it their all until the very end of the year! 

Having faced many hurdles throughout this year, we understand that at times, especially throughout remote learning, our motivation levels dipped and therefore it is beneficial to explore ways we can improve our focus and productivity to best see us through our end goals. For students sitting end-of-year assessments and VCE exams, this will be imperative this year. Willpower also captures the perseverance that the three of us, along with all school leaders, have required when working through the changes and challenges of leading during a pandemic!  

The three of us are so honoured and grateful to have shared this experience together in our school’s centenary year! We could not have achieved our goals this year without the support of our families, friends and teachers. Furthermore, we are very proud of all the 2020 leaders for their creativity and resilience and thank them for leading by example! We also wish to extend our gratitude to Mrs Dunwoody, Mrs Poyser, Mr Burnell, Ms Woolcock, Mrs Robinson and Mr Perkins. With each new unknown, we felt your support and thank you for guiding us, believing in us and trusting us with our creative endeavours. To the future leaders of the school, we are confident you will embrace your unique qualities, lean on each other for support and continue to lead our community with courage and integrity. 

‘Glow’ reflects CGGS’s vibrant and optimistic attitudes. ‘Glowing’ encompasses how a Camberwell girl radiates her passions. ‘Glow Gals’ make up the Camberwell community, stick together and conquer what lies ahead. 

As the terms progressed, it seemed that the year kept throwing us curveballs that lead us from starting with Plan A and ending with Plan Z but nonetheless, we hope that we inspired and continue to inspire CGGS to always GLOW no matter the hurdles that present itself.  

With best wishes,

Your 2020 School Captains, FL2
Felicia Spiridonos, Laurya Dang-Nguyen and Loren Palma 

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that this edition of CamNews finds you well. I thought that it would be appreciated to share a video this week rather than more things to read. It’s hard to believe that we are now just over half way through Term 3 and I hope that you are able to share some lovely family moments over the weekend.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal