Senior School


Senior School

November 26, 2021

Last week we celebrated and farewelled the Class of 2021 in our Leavers Service. It was wonderful to be able to be together and congratulate the Year 12 students on their hard work throughout this year and all their years in the Senior School. There are always so many highlights of this service including hearing the students make their own speech of gratitude to their parents and teachers with very genuine thanks, the Year 7 and staff guard of honour as the Year 12 students make their way down the main driveway and out of the Torrington Street gates, this tradition actually forms part of our school hymn, “so when the gates swing wide and through the larger world our way we choose” and also of course the 3:25pm final bell.

This too has become more significant now that we only have two bells each year. One at the commencement of the Year 12 school year and one at the end. At this time, the Year 12 students gather in the Quadrangle, sing hymns and countdown to 3:25pm. I want to again congratulate every Year 12 student on their amazing efforts and resilience this year. We are so proud of each of them and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

Recently some of our staff and students had the opportunity to spend the day with Murrundindi at Healesville Sanctuary and Coranderrk. This was a very special occasion for those who attended, as Murrundindi shared some history, indigenous culture and sites that are very significant to him, his family and his culture. It was great to spend time in nature and appreciate our Australian history and land. We are so thankful for Murrundindi continuing to be a part of our CGGS community and appreciate him teaching and sharing with us.

Cathy Poyser
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

Year 9 Service Learning Conference

Seeking to be useful in service is an important part of our DNA at CGGS. Last week, the Year 9s took part in their Service Learning Conference where the focus was ‘community.’ Over the two days we sought to amplify our ability to serve others by hearing the experiences and journeys of Old Grammarians: Amanda Mandy (OAM), Helen Parker (OAM), Dianne Dick, Andrea Brown, Lis Sandbach and Georgie Herbert. Hearing from these members of our CGGS community led the students to think about their own skills and passions as a springboard for how they might contribute to communities they are part of. A focus was how we might connect with people around us, reacting to their needs, seeking to be proactive in using our skills to serve others. Please see below some of our student reflections from the conference.

Jennifer Gordon
Head of Service Learning

I really enjoyed lots about the Service Learning conference. A lot of students and I loved the self-care session, especially the Pilates class run by Alicia. I loved making the Christmas cards, it was great making something with our hands for others. Learning about different social issues was very informative, and fun and engaging. Overall, this was a great learning experience for us all! 

Sofia Pandeli, 9C

I really enjoyed the Year 9 Service Learning conference! I loved that we got the chance to give back to our community and help those in need. I particularly enjoyed writing festive cards to others in our society, it was awesome that we got to actually be a part of an act of service. The conference has inspired me to look for more volunteer opportunities in the future and our whole year level appreciated this amazing initiative!

Emily Price, 9B

During the Service Learning conference my classmates and I were exposed to many activities to strengthen our connections with the local community, stories from the experiences of Old Grammarians, and small acts of service to others in order to improve our understanding of the communities around us and the support that we can provide within them.

One of my favourite experiences was the making of the Christmas cards that my friends and I created to be sent to Prague House and Crossroads, two groups within the local community, to service those around us through a small gesture of kindness this Christmas. Many of my peers furthered this experience by creating festive biscuits to be gifted alongside the cards, and through this experience, I felt as though the community of my schoolmates had been brought together through the service of the Prague House and Crossroads communities. It has strengthened my understanding of the importance and appreciation for service within my local environment.

Overall, the two days of the service conference opened my eyes to the small steps, gestures, offering of time and skills that we can provide in order to service the communities around us while strengthening our own.

Grace Barnes, 9D

Music Achievements – Emily Wu

The Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) has awarded their high achievers for 2020. We are thrilled to announce that Emily Wu (11B) is one of only four students who successfully completed a Diploma examination on two instruments:

> LMusA (Piano)

> LMusA with Distinction (Cello)

The Licentiate in Music, Australia (LMusA) is a diploma awarded by examination to outstanding musicians. Candidates must perform repertoire from the prescribed lists of works and are tested on their general knowledge of the selected pieces. The “award with distinction” is very rarely given and reflects Emily’s many years of conscientious commitment to practice and exceptionally high level of performance.

Emily was presented with her certificates for the multiple diplomas at the AMEB studios this year, in recognition of her outstanding achievements. The CGGS Music Department, along with Emily’s family, are very proud of her accomplishments. Emily persevered during Melbourne’s series of lockdowns to memorise a significant collection of musical works in preparation for the two highly demanding performance examinations.

This year, Emily has continued to immerse herself in her music passions at CGGS, completing VCE Unit 3 and 4 Music Performance and involvement in many co-curricular Music groups. Emily is to be congratulated on her dedication to learning, ability to respond positively to the many challenges faced and for maintaining her motivation to achieve specific music goals. What an inspiration for all of our student musicians!

Kate Savige and Rohan Mack
Directors of Music

Zoo Youth Leadership

One of the great things about being back together at CGGS has been the continuation of our partnership with Zoos Victoria and our Zoo Youth Leadership Program. The opportunity to partner with Zoos Victoria, who are considered to be global leaders in STEM based learning experiences, wildlife conservation and research, is both a unique and exciting one.

As participants, students have been actively contributing to wildlife conservation research and action, and Zoos Victoria have been benefitting from the insights of our CGGS students who are being shaped into the next generation of conservation leaders.

This week saw students undertake three amazing immersive experiences that have seen them visiting seals at Philip Island, going backstage at the Zoo with giraffes and zebras and visiting Port Phillip EcoCentre at St Kilda Beach. Working alongside experts in wildlife conservation, our student participants have been learning about animal enrichment and marine conservation, as they look to complete their final projects and leadership journeys.

Kate Manners
Head of Strategic Initiatives

Videos for Change

We were delighted to have two teams as finalists in the Senior High School National Videos for Change competition. Videos for Change is a way for young people to develop confidence, practice social advocacy, and build valuable 21st Century skills they need for a better future.

Following on from this, we are excited to announce that ‘Disconnected’ by Scarlett Giang and Natalie Chung has been named a joint winner of the competition and has also received the competition’s inaugural Mental Health Awareness Award. This second award was chosen by mental health for youth organisation Headspace and recognised the important amplification of this issue that has taken place over the past 18 months. Over 70% of submissions to this year’s Videos for Change competition, addressed this theme.

Scarlett and Natalie’s video was selected from hundreds of videos submitted from across the country, which went through two rounds of initial judging before a final round of external judges with expertise in social media, mainstream media and film, and documentary making.

To watch the winning announcements and hear from the students themselves, including Salwa, Nektaria, Salome, Jaya and May, our second group of finalists with their video #strideinyourstyle, click the link below.

Kate Manners
Head of Strategic Initiatives

Global Youth Forum

During Term 4, 10 Year 9 students participated in a Global Youth Forum run by the Asia Education Foundation at The University of Melbourne, High Resolves and The Department of Education and Training. This leadership program, run over 3 days, provided Year 9 students in Victoria with the opportunity to explore global citizenship in the context of their communities through engagement with students from Asia, including China, Japan and Indonesia. Students heard from experts, explored stories across the Asia-Pacific, examined global citizenship and debated with peers issues facing education and schooling in the current global context.

Dr. Charlotte Forwood
Director of Learning Design and Development

CGGS 2021 Election

Yesterday was a big day for our Year 9 students, as the eight political parties forged in a semester of learning in Commerce battled it out for glory in our annual CGGS Election.

The Equal Opportunity Party, Vitality Party, SUS Party, Amogus Party, The Justice League Party, The Bake Boss Party, The Australian Wellness Party and The Brainy Bunch Party all did a sensational job. Not only did they present their Parties in effective visual form, but they lobbied hard on Election Day, ‘working the queues’ to inform voters about the policy choices they could make at the Ballot Box and making sure that formal voting protocols were followed.

Only one vote distinguished the SUS Party from the Bake Boss Party in the Primary Vote count and, while congratulations go to all parties for their valiant efforts for election, after the distribution of preferences, a clear winner emerged. This year our collective congratulations go to The Bake Boss Party who took line honours with an absolute majority of 143 out of a possible 260 votes.

The Election is always an energy-charged and truly hands-on way for students to experience the pressures, dramas, highs and lows, and the logistics of ‘running for office’ on a small scale. There is no doubt these young women will approach the Ballot Box as adults in a more informed way as a result of their participation in this task.

Our thanks go to the staff who assisted and supported this activity on the day. We have loved working with this year’s Year 9 students and look forward to doing in it all again in 2022!

Alexandra Larkey and the Year 9 Commerce Teaching team
Head of Commerce

2021 Empower Agents of Change Leadership Global Conference

The 2021 Empower Agents of Change Leadership Global Conference, November 15 – 17, was hosted by Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore, a partner school in the SAGE (Strategic Alliance of Global Educators) network of which CGGS is a proud member. The conference was designed to bring students from across the globe together to empower them to be positive leaders within their school and wider community. The theme for 2021, ‘Rising by Lifting Others,’ provided a platform for students from various international schools to nurture, encourage and strengthen their connections and leadership skills.

All Year 9 students were given the opportunity to nominate to attend the conference with 10 students selected based on their written application. With over 150 student participants internationally, the conference had several keynote presentations, including an inspirational discussion held by Professor Paulin Tay Straughan, a sociologist from the National University of Singapore who served as a Nomination Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2012.

For the majority of the conference, participants worked collaboratively with a team of 10 other students from different schools to explore ‘exemplary leadership,’ investigating what it looks like and how it can be defined using five key practices: Model the way, Inspire a shared vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

The teams also explored important female role models as case studies, each of which were important leaders in the areas of the Arts, Social Work, the Environment, Business, Science and Politics. These case studies were used as a catalyst to challenge gender inequality and gender stereotypes that exist, prompt discussion, and encourage problem solving, with each group presenting a pitch or set of strategies to challenge discrimination and promote female empowerment and representation in leadership globally.

Please see below a reflection written by students who attended the conference.

 Kath Woolcock
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing

From 15 to 17 November, 10 students participated in the Empowering Agents of Change: Women’s Leadership Conference. This conference was held by our sister school Nanyang Girls High School in Singapore. Schools from all over the world attended the conference and learnt about women in leadership. The conference focused on empowering women and learning about gender differences in leadership roles. Through collaborating with students from across the globe, and hearing from key speakers and prominent women leaders, our girls applied leadership skills and connected with new students.

Over the course of the three days the students were split into groups with other girls and boys from across the world including Singapore, China, The Philippines, and Australia. While in these groups the students completed many ice breaker activities where they got to learn more about each other. The students also participated in many discussions about how as a community we can encourage women to step into leadership positions and be able to thrive while being leaders. We learnt about the 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership, which are; model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.

On the second day we collaborated with our group members to create a presentation reflecting on everything that we had learnt over the conference. The groups also discussed how we can support our current and coming women leaders and how we can enable them to feel empowered and influential. Overall, this experience was insightful and informative. We all learnt new leadership skills, heard from enlightening presenters, and made connections with other international students.

‘My highlight of the conference was meeting new people who share the same values as me. I have learnt more about women in leadership and how to be an effective leader. With my group, we discussed the five practices of exemplary leadership. Learning about these enabled me to better my collaboration with my peers and empower myself as a woman leader’. – Mia Paulse

Eva Papadopoulos, Grace Barnes, Helena Maunder, Isabella Wood, Mia Paulse and Tyra Dawson, Year 9

Die Modeschau – the German Fashion Show

This term, our two Year 7 German classes held a Fashion Show! We put together stylish and unique outfits to present to the class. On top of this, we created our own fashion label and collections. From pyjamas to casual clothing, each group put together something new. In groups of three to five, we walked down the red carpet modelling our outfits to the class.

Other members of our group introduced and described the models in German.

The collections were:

> Schwartz und Weiß [Black and White] by Modern [Modern]

> Warme Katze [Warm Cat] by Kleine Katze [Small Cat]

> Pyjama Kollektion [Pyjama Collection] by Vasp

> Typisch Frühling Kollektion [Typical Spring Collection] by Melbourne Wetter [Melbourne Weather]

> Die Neue Sommerkollektion [The new summer collection] by ANEC

> Cool und Bequem [Cool and Comfortable] by AMCA

> Frühlingskollektion [Spring Collection] by Four Seasons

This was an innovative and engaging activity that was worth all the time and effort we put into it.

Anais Portbury, Selina Guan and Audrey Kerr
Year 7 German Students

First Lego League

‘Coopetition’ – a word that most people are unfamiliar with, but a word 20 of our Year 6 – 9 students know as it plays an important part in the First Lego League Challenge. The First Lego League Challenge is a global competition which last year attracted more than 600,00 students from around the world! While the First Lego League is a competition, it is also an event that values cooperation over being the best and rewards ‘gracious professionalism’ – positive interactions between teams and team members.

This weekend, three teams are competing in the Regional Finals. The theme for this year is Cargo Connect – all about transportation. Each team has four tasks:

> Complete an innovation project which uses design thinking to develop a solution to a problem related to the theme

> Design and build a robot

> Program a robot to complete as many missions as possible on a robot game board

> Demonstrate the core values of First Lego League: Teamwork, Impact, Inclusion, Innovation, Discovery and Fun

Our teams have created solutions to problems such as reducing packaging waste and isolated communities accessing medication during floods. They have tapped into large reserves of perseverance as robots have misbehaved. They have taken on board feedback about their innovation project designs from external professionals and created multiple iterations of ideas. The students have enjoyed working together, learning new skills and most importantly, enjoying each other’s company!  

Dr. Charlotte Forwood
First Lego League Coach

Click below to expand the images.

Music Work Experience: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Chloe Law and Megan Kuo recently enjoyed an action-packed three day online work experience placement with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. They engaged with meaningful real-world performing arts projects during the placement and gained a deeper understanding of the many and varied career options within one of Australia’s largest arts organisations. Please see their reflections from the three day work experience below.

MSO Work Experience Reflections

The Organisation
The performing arts industry is very fast-paced, with many people working together to achieve a collective goal. There are nearly 200 permanent career options within the MSO company, many of which are logistical and administration roles. Many of those involved with the management side of things still have a background in music studies, and they can maintain this connection with their passion through their role in the MSO. There is a lot involved in the planning and execution of a live concert; venue logistics, budgeting, repertoire selection, artistic planning, marketing, booking of artists, transport of equipment and personnel, broadcasts, recordings, copyright permissions and much more.

The Musicians
The professional musicians who perform in the MSO undergo a vigorous and thorough audition process to become a permanent member of the orchestra. Multiple stages of the audition process are required, through ‘blind’ auditions, where the audition panel know which instrument they will hear but do not know who the candidate is. Successful candidates move through the audition process based on their abilities and sound. Permanent and casual performance positions are regularly on offer, alongside pathways for leading teaching artist opportunities within their community music programs.

The Music
As an audience member, it can be difficult to fathom how much work goes on behind the scenes. All we see is the final performance and the musicians delivering amazing music presentations on stage. We learnt that if you do not notice the supporting staff members on the night, they’re doing their job to the highest level! This aspect was hard to imagine without experiencing it first-hand. We now have a broad understanding of the many diverse roles that exist within this industry, alongside a deep appreciation for the cultural significance this iconic orchestra plays within the city of Melbourne and around the world.

The Experience
Overall this was a very valuable experience, and we learnt a lot about this very creative industry. We highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who has any interest in the performing arts world. You don’t have to be an exceptional musician or want to make music your career to learn a lot and be involved.

Chloe Law and Megan Kuo, Year 11

Year 8 Service Learning Afternoon – Making Christmas hampers for Djirra

As part of a Christmas Service Learning project, the Year 8s were asked to bring in a specific, long-lasting food item to contribute to a number of hampers we were making. The hampers have been sent to Djirra, an organisation that helps Indigenous Australian women who seek support. The whole year level had lots of fun designing and decorating boxes to put our food items in. Not only were we lending our service to the community, we had lots of fun with friends and learning to work together. It was a fun and enjoyable experience, and I’m sure I speak for the whole year level when I say we would love to do this again.

Sarah Chan, Year 8

During Period 5 & 6 on Wednesday 24 November, we made hampers for Djirra which is an organisation that supports women who are survivors of family abuse. We thoroughly enjoyed filling the hampers with non-perishable items like pasta, rice, cereal and more, to make these women’s Christmas more enjoyable. We also had lots of fun decorating the boxes with bright colours and origami, to deliver festive spirit as well as food to those women. Overall, it was a really engaging experience and we are glad to have a positive impact this Christmas!

Aliyana Rajakulendran, Lucy Ruddle, Nonie McLean, Lily Grant and Hannah Lin, Year 8

Djirra is a place where culture is shared and celebrated, and where practical support is available to all Aboriginal women and particularly to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence or have in the past. It was wonderful to be able to support Djirra as the Year 8 Service Learning focus is Indigenous Australian living culture.

Jennifer Gordon
Head of Service Learning