Senior School


Senior School

This week on Wednesday we held our Annual Founders’ Day commemoration service at St Mark’s Church. Celebrating our 96th year, the service was attended by all students from Years 6 – 12. This day commemorates the establishment of Camberwell Girls Grammar School, recognising the Founders’ for their vision in providing girls with the same high quality education that had previously only been available to boys.

The service started with Tallis’ Canon, sung with strength by The Preston Singers and then the Vicar of St Mark’s, Archdeacon Greg Allinson, welcomed us into the newly renovated church. Sarah Lai and Jorgia Goulopoulos introduced the theme, “Into the Unknown . . . with Confidence” and this theme was explored through readings, hymns, poetry, and reflections by three students: Prinyanshi Shah (Year 6), Michaela Robinson (Year 8) and Karen Zhang (Year 12). Our guest was the local poet Cameron Semmens, who threw fresh light on the meaning of the 23rd Psalm. Our students sang the School Hymn with gusto and we are grateful to Frances Lu and Yvonne Gin for providing the piano accompaniment.

Our School Captain, Karen Zhang shared some wonderful sentiments on the Service’s theme. Michaela Robinson, Year 8, also shared her thoughts on being courageous. And,  Prinyanshi Shah Year 6, stood in front of the service and shared her thoughts too. To read these, please refer to the bottom of this article.


Senior School Assembly – Anzac Day

On Tuesday 19 April, at Senior School Assembly, Molly Ewens Year 10 addressed the assembly ahead of ANZAC Day. Following her Term 1 holiday travels to Europe as a part of the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac International Tour, Molly delivered a presentation to the assembly, sharing some slides and talking about her experiences gained as part of the Anzac Tour.

Molly’s travels included meeting with Greek high school students in Lemnos to discuss what the ANZAC spirit meant to them, how significant Greece and Australia’s partnership was in war time, and how it has continued today. A focus of the trip was also to visit a number of cemeteries, a firsthand experience of the price of war and how individuals of all ages, faiths and circumstances were affected.

At the East Moudros Cemetery the group noted the ages of those buried, commonly only 17, 18 or 19, with personal epitaphs written by loved ones back home. It was challenging to see the number of deaths caused by war, in one cemetery alone, and the many personal inscriptions were hard to read.

In West Moudros they visited a Muslim monument where 170 unidentified Egyptian laborers and 57 Turkish prisoners of war lay. They were all buried together because they all followed the Muslim faith, which specifies that after dying your body has to be facing towards Mecca.

At Portianos Military Cemetery they again questioned the loss of so many young lives, but on this occasion in a greater number. This visit brought to light another important role in the Gallipoli campaign, which is often forgotten: the nurses of Lemnos. Two Canadian nurses are buried at this cemetery, and even though they would not have been at Lemnos treating Anzac soldiers, their presence led to a broader conversation on the impact of nurses during wartime. The group agreed that it is important to acknowledge their medical assistance and perseverance for the soldiers because, sadly, the nurses’ contribution was often overlooked.

It was wonderful to hear of Molly’s experiences and we appreciated the opportunity to share in her reflections ahead of our wider acknowledgement of ANZAC Day here in Australia.


ANZAC Commemorative Service for Nurses

On Sunday 17 April Mrs Dunwoody attended a commemorative service at the Nurses Memorial Centre in St Kilda. Following on from observations by Molly Ewens and her group during travels in Greece, this service was an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of nurses.

The service was to honour Victorian and other nurses who made sacrifices of life and health, both in times of peace and war. Mrs Dunwoody, together with Celeste Staaf Year 11, laid a wreath at the memorial from CGGS. Mrs Dunwoody was also delighted and surprised when she realised that both Laura Cookson and Anita Karanasio, Year 11 were also officiating in the service as members of the Surrey Hills branch of the Australian Army Cadets.


Parent Education Session

Parents please note that the next Parent Seminar will be held in Barbara Sutton Hall on Tuesday 10 May at 7:30pm.

Parents attending this Parent Education Seminar will learn about the biology of sleep, the challenges of sleep during adolescence, and evidence-based approaches to improving sleep in adolescents. The talk will be engaging and interactive, with attendees encouraged to share their own experiences and thoughts about sleep. Attendees will be provided with a comprehensive handout to support discussion with adolescents about improving their sleep.


Premier’s VCE Awards 2016

The Victorian Premier’s Award Ceremony was held at the Palladium at Crown on Thursday 28 April in the presence of Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau AM and the Hon James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education.

The annual awards recognise students who have achieved exceptional study scores in one or more subjects.

Daisy Yang, Class of 2015 was awarded a Study Award for her outstanding achievement in German. She was among a total of 289 students who received 312 awards across 83 subjects, including 283 Study Awards, 26 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards, and three Top International Student Awards.

It was a very inspiring ceremony and in pre-recorded interviews students acknowledged the support they had received from their families, teachers and principals. They also read letters to their 50 year old self, contemplating a life that was lived to make a difference and leave the world a better place.

Daisy is to be congratulated on her outstanding result.


National Semi Finalist – BHP Science Awards

Veda Surapaneni, new to Year 10 at Camberwell Girls in 2016, has been selected as a semi-finalist in the 2016 BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for her ‘Cloud Chamber’ project.

In March of this year Veda received a letter announcing that she had been chosen as one of the 100 national semi-finalists in Australia for the BHP Science Awards. The award was in recognition of an experimental research project that looked into what materials most effectively stop minor radioactive decay.

Veda said that the project gave her a different perspective than what she had previously thought science was all about.


ZONTA Club Award Recipient

Last week we were pleased to receive advice that our School Captain, Karen Zhang, has been selected as the winner of the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra Young Women in Public Affairs Award for 2016.

As part of the selection process Karen had to provide references as well as addressing the judging panel on the most important and rewarding aspect of her leadership role as School Captain. In Karen’s response she expressed her passion for social justice causes and her enjoyment at being able to inspire other girls to be the best they can be.

At the presentation ceremony on the 11th of August at the Amora Riverwalk Hotel in Richmond, Karen will be delivering an address to the guests via a 10 minute talk on a given topic.

As the Victorian winner, Karen’s application will be forwarded to the judging panel for the Zonta International District 23 Award, the results of which will not be known until August.


Top Acts 2016 – Olivia Staaf

Top Acts is the culmination of the VCE Season of Excellence, which runs annually from February to July. The concert showcases exemplary works by students of design, technology, and the visual and performing arts.

Concert-goers will experience exceptional performances comprising original and interpretations of existing works from across the performing arts. Pieces are selected from over 130 performances from the eleven Top Class concerts. This year, only 25 performances have been selected for Top Acts.

Our own Olivia Staaf, Class of 2015 is one of these 25 performers. Olivia is performing and directing a piece titled Nellie from Salt Creek Murders. Congratulations to Olivia, this is an outstanding achievement.

This year Olivia is studying Science/Arts (Monash University) after receiving a scholarship

Top Acts 2016 will take place at 7.30pm on Friday 6 May 2016 at the Melbourne Recital Centre in Southbank. The public are able to purchase tickets to the evening and it would be wonderful if members of our CGGS community were able to support Olivia in her performance   Tickets can be booked via


Year 9 Camp

Last week the Year 9’s set off to Merricks for camp. It was a week filled with many challenges, fun activities and learning experiences that pushed us out of our comfort zones.

Monday morning we all excitedly met at School, ready and eager to go to Merricks. After the short bus ride we arrived ready to take on the week. For me, my first activity was the camp out. We had to do a 5km hike to the camp site before setting up for camp and cooking our own dinner. The next day, after the cold night outside, we packed up our tents and packed our bags to hike back to the main camp.

We all participated in many more activities such as the tree climb, where we climbed a 20 metre pine tree, orienteering, meditation and yoga but my two favourite activities were snorkelling and surfing.

For snorkelling we got into our big wetsuits, fins and snorkels and headed to Rye Pier where we jumped in and went exploring under the pier. We were very fortunate to see many different types of sea animals such as star fish, jelly fish, hermit crabs and many different types of fish.

Surfing was one of my most memorable highlights on camp. It was exciting heading to the beach and trying to catch some waves. After a quick tutorial and lesson from the surf school we set out into the ocean to try to catch some waves and stand up. It was so much fun, even though we wiped out quite a lot, as by the end everyone in my group had managed to catch a wave.

After a long week filled with numerous activities, lots of fun and many good laughs it finally came to an end. Camp was such a highlight and has been my favourite part of year nine so far. Everyone had such a great time and I can’t wait to camp next year!

The Year 9 girls would like to thank all the staff who attended camp with them, in particular Mr Shane Maycock, Director of Education Outdoors and Ms Liza Stevens, Year 9 Co-ordinator.

View the Year 9 Camp gallery 

Victoria Pearson
Year 9


German Exchange Students

For the past six weeks, we have had two German exchange students as part of our study body. Anna Krautenbacher was hosted by Isabella Nielsen and her family and was a member of 10B.   Luisa Merkl was hosted by Kaitlin Pekin and her family and was a member of 11B.

This week Anna has shared some of her thoughts on her time here at CGGS. She was very enthusiastic about all aspects of her trip, participating widely in all opportunities provided to her here at CGGS, as well as greatly appreciating all the efforts her host family went to in showing her so much of Melbourne, Victoria and even interstate to Sydney.

What are the greatest differences between attending school here in Australia and at home in Germany?

I think the greatest difference between attending school in Germany and here at CGGS is that at home we don´t have a school uniform. To be honest, I like the school uniform a lot because you don´t have to think about what you are going to wear that day and in my opinion it looks really nice if everybody is wearing the same clothes. You immediately feel part of a big community. Another big difference is that you are able to choose so many different electives here, so you can decide what you want to do and learn things you are really interested in.

What have you enjoyed most about your time here at the school?

I most enjoyed meeting so many incredibly nice people and that I could get to know a totally different country and school system and to see many places, especially landscape that you would never see in Germany. I loved doing the creative subjects like visual communication design, as you would never be able to choose this subject in Germany.

What parts of Melbourne/Victoria have you enjoyed visiting with your host family?

I´m very grateful that my host family took me to so many very beautiful places in Melbourne and even to Sydney! The trip I enjoyed the most was the White Night celebration with a visit to the National Art Gallery on my first weekend in Australia. It was amazing to see all the lights everywhere and so many people out on the streets walking peaceful next to each other. Then there was the trip to Sydney and especially enjoyable was the bridge climb. To see the Opera House from such a short distance and the ferry ride we took to darling harbour were real treats. Being able to visit to the city and have a look at all the parks and different parts of the city (I enjoyed china town a lot) was a really special experience.

What are you looking forward most about hosting your exchange “sister” later in the year?

First of all I am just looking forward to seeing Isabella again and to be able to show her wintery Germany around Christmas time. I’m looking forward to showing her a completely different country with lots of perhaps strange tradition and for her to experience a totally different school system. I am also looking forward to introducing her to my friends and to her having a good tine in Germany.

At the end of the year we will look forward to sharing some recollections from Isabella about her experience in staying as an exchange student in Anna’s home.

Founders’ Service Student Reflections 

Karen Zhang

common concern for many Year 12’s is having that dream of what they want to do in the future, but not knowing if they’ll get the ATAR for it, and if they don’t, does that mean they’ve failed themselves? Sometimes it’s okay to not know what you’re going into, and to not let fear or uncertainty deter you from stepping into the unknown and just giving things a try.

Thinking about life after secondary school, used to conjure up feelings of only fear and doubt. But now, it’s kind of an exhilarating feeling, a feeling of excitement of not knowing exactly what to expect but just being willing to enjoy a surprise or two and embrace the moments when you do have to overcome challenges on the spot, and of course – being grateful for what you have in this current moment.


Michaela Robinson

Don’t follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. I love this quote because what it means to me is that it’s good to be different from everyone else and to just be out there and explore the world and new, different things that no one else would think to do or explore.

In Year 6 we had to find a quote for our graduation and I chose this one. I thought this quote was perfect because we were all going our separate ways but most of my primary school friends were going to the same secondary school together except for me because I was going to be one of the only girls to come to Camberwell Girls Grammar. I was very scared because I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know whether I would find new friends but it also meant I had a chance to follow a new path, make new friends and try new things.

Now I am in my second year at the school and I have made lots of friends and have had so many great opportunities. I am glad that this quote inspired me to follow my own path.


Prinyanshi Shah

The first time I moved to a new country I was 4 years old and that country was Australia. I was in a completely new country, a completely new community and a completely new environment. At first I was very curious and, I have to say, scared. I didn’t know who all these other people were or where my grandpa, grandma and family were. This place wasn’t home. Why were we here? I didn’t know.

There were so many thoughts and questions going around in my head but I didn’t say anything. I took everything in. I came to the realisation that nothing was really the same as India. Everywhere in India there was noise, honking and traffic jams. Nobody followed the rules, nobody listened. In the morning you’d hear people selling fruits and vegetables on a trolley with wheels yelling out; come get your vegetables nice and fresh! All the colour and the noise, I loved India and it was home.

Sometimes when my mum, dad and I would go out in Melbourne, I would look at all the people surrounding us, all the people in their cars, all the people in the shops. Who were they and what language did they speak? They definitely didn’t speak a language I could understand. My mum and dad, on the other hand, seemed to be able to speak that language exceptionally well. Over the years I heard my mum and dad speak English and, slowly, I could speak it too. By the time I was 6, I could speak fluent English and I had adapted to the new world I lived in although we would also visit my grandparents and extended family in India every year.

Right now, after living here for 8 years, I feel like a true Australian, because I have got an Australian citizenship, but also mostly because I’ve lived here so long it’s like my second home. Having said that, in the bottom of my heart, India still welcomes me every year, because it was where I was born and it has a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to find out what the future holds for me. Life for me is still slowly unravelling as the years go by. Thank you!

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend and I look forward to sharing breakfast with many families at next Friday’s Mother’s Day celebration. If you haven’t  already booked your tickets for breakfast, please do so across the weekend.

Cathy Poyser
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

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