Senior School



Senior School

This past fortnight we have been thrilled to see the number of girls, in particular the Year 7s, our newest members of the Senior School, undertaking auditions for House Dance and playing their first GSV sporting matches in Tennis, Indoor Cricket and Softball. They’ve been signing up for the 2019 School Production, ‘The Secret in the Wings’ auditions to be held tomorrow as part of the Summer Spectacular and also already fully immersed in the school music ensembles and rehearsals. The strong connections of students to these activities is very evident already.

Our Chinese New Year celebrations concluded on Tuesday 12 February with our annual Lion Dance performance, enjoyed by many students and staff, this year in the gym due to the wet weather. Many thanks to both the International Captains, Tracy Chen and Cherry Lin and Head of Chinese, Ms Lin Zhang for their organisation of a wonderful week of events. Our Senior School students enjoyed this week thoroughly and learnt more about The Year of the Pig and Chinese culture in general.

In Senior School we conducted two parent information evenings and in both cases special presenters provided information relevant to the year levels. The first of these was psychologist, Dr Tom Nehmy who spoke to the parents of girls in Year 8 about the Healthy Minds Program he and his colleagues will be running with our girls throughout 2019. Please see a summary of the information Tom shared about his program later in this edition of CamNews. All the parents who attended the evening agreed that Tom’s work will be of particular benefit to their daughters. Tom has worked in many schools across Australia and said that CGGS has an ‘Invisible Thread’ that binds its community and provides a special feeling certainly swelled the staff and parents present on the night with great pride.

On Thursday evening, Paul Dillon, world renowned Drug and Alcohol expert spoke to our Year 10 – 12 parents having addressed the girls of these year levels during the day. This is the fourth year that Paul has spoken to our girls, and he never ceases to amaze them by remembering their names from one year to the next. His messages about staying safe, looking after your friends as well as providing sound and reliable information about drugs and alcohol is really reassuring. Again, it was a highlight for the staff and parents alike to hear that Paul, who speaks at countless schools throughout the year and presents worldwide, stated that there is a genuine warmth and connection in the students and love that radiates in the school. Paul said, as a visitor once per year, he can feel the support and care of all members of the school community.


Class of 2018 Celebration Assembly

On Tuesday we had the privilege of inviting back to a special assembly, 11 students from the Class of 2018. This year we recognised, as in previous years, the four top awards for ATAR ranking. We also had the great honour of asking back three students who shared their own journey of VCE and what the year had meant to them. Kate Sturzaker, Jordyn Beggs and Joy Zhou provided our current Year 12s with words of encouragement and advice for the marathon that is Year 12.

The Louisa Taylor Memorial Award for the Dux of School is named after the first Principal of Camberwell Girls Grammar School. Miss Taylor was Headmistress, as was the title of the position in those days, of the school between 1928 and 1959. The Dux of School is presented to the student who achieves the highest ATAR in their year and it was my pleasure to announce Damie Ing as the 2018 Dux of School. Damie also spoke to the assembled audience about her time at CGGS, having arrived at the start of Year 11 asa student from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The GD Lawrence Award like Lawrence House is named after Mr George Douglas Lawrence, a lawyer who was a member of the founding School Council. He was an active member of the School Council for 20 years. This award recognises the Dux Secondus or second highest ATAR result. Again it was my pleasure to announce Janice Soo as the GD Lawrence recipient for 2018.

The RM Westcott Award is named after Mr Ralph Westcott who was the father of two old grammarians Wendy and Judith. Mr Westcott was a member of the School Council between 1950 and 1959 after which he was elected as a Life Governor of the School by the Council. The RM Westcott Wing was named after him in 1983. The RM Westcott award is presented to the third highest ATAR result and in 2018 there were three students who shared this honour. We congratulate Alanna Chew-Lee, Selina Duan and Jane Lin.

Mr and Mrs Yuncken were very generous benefactors to Camberwell Girls Grammar School in the late 1930s and 1940s. At this time they provided a Kindergarten room with a terrace and a cloak room for senior students, new toilets and a front fence in brick were all built as a consequence of their generous contributions. They also established the first scholarships at CGGS. Mr and Mrs Otto Yuncken were most supportive of the school in its early days. The Otto Yuncken Award for 2018 was presented to three students who all attained the fourth highest ATAR result. Congratulations to Meg Hua, Chloe Wu and Zoe Zhan.

Our special guest speaker and OGA at this year’s Celebration Assembly was Savindhi Perera-Jaindeen (Class of 2009). Savindhi spoke magnificently and so passionately about her time at CGGS. She also spoke about her time since leaving the school – her work as an Economist and her personal commitment to programs and organisations which promote the success of young Sri Lankans living in both Australia and Sri Lanka. So engaging was Savindhi’s speech that I am pleased to share a copy of it here with you and would encourage you to take a moment to read her words. On behalf of the current students, thank you so much for speaking at the Class of 2018 Celebration Assembly.

Summer Spectacular

The Summer Spectacular is finally here and the weather and all other elements required to make tomorrow a successful day are in place. The students, staff and parents have been working hard on the stalls to ensure we have much to offer the community from the very youngest visitors to the eldest. The list of acknowledgements is too extensive to include here and so to all who have been involved in making the day a great showcase of CGGS, we thank you.


Chinese New Year Celebration at CGGS

2019 is the Year of the Pig, which began on February 5 and continued for two weeks until the celebrations draw to a close on 19 February. The pig is the twelfth Chinese Zodiac animal. In Chinese mythology, the Pig represents good fortune, bravery, compassion and generosity. It is often said that people born in the Year of the Pig are fun-loving, happy, trusting and brave.

More than one billion people across the globe celebrate Chinese New Year every year. At CGGS, the Chinese Department and the International Captains have organised a range of activities including Chinese Lantern making, calligraphy, knotting and lion dancing. Throughout the week, there was also a different Chinese dish every day in the Fig Tree Cafe. Among those activities, our favourite has to be the activity called ‘guessing the lantern riddle’, it is a very popular game in China, during New Years. They often contain messages of wisdom and good fortune, and give people, especially children, the opportunity to have fun while practicing language and problem-solving skills.

Riddle: What’s full of holes but still holds water?

Answer: a sponge

Riddle: This lovely maiden eats no meat but eats leaves. She labours each day spinning and weaving for the benefit of others. Who is she?

Answer: Silkworm

So many people showed up to participate and everyone was trying their best to figure out the answers and win the prizes. Even Mrs Poyser and Mrs Dunwoody gave these lantern riddles a go!

Healthy Minds at CGGS

We are proud to be partnering with clinical psychologist Dr Tom Nehmy and his team to deliver the Healthy Minds Program at CGGS in 2019. The Healthy Minds Program was developed by Dr Tom Nehmy and his colleagues and was the first evidence-based program to show a measurable prevention effect for symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Our Year 8 parents were fortunate to hear directly from Tom at the recent Year 8 Parent Information Evening, during which Tom shared the ‘7 Secrets to a Healthy Mind’. Centred on developing a whole school culture of wellbeing, the Healthy Minds Program will see an intensive curriculum delivered to Year 8 students, along with parent modules and extensive teacher training. Furthermore, Year 10, 11 and 12 students will participate in “Resilience Booster” workshops throughout the year, and Junior School Parent Forums are also planned.

We strongly believe that equipping our students with the proactive and personalised healthy thinking skills will benefit them in all aspects of their lives. At CGGS, wellbeing is visible and purposeful and we are committed to, and recognise the value of promoting student wellbeing. We know that this provides a catalyst and sets the preconditions that enable our girls to grow, flourish and achieve their personal best. Ultimately, we are all striving to create an environment where students have resilient and courageous mindsets and are engaged and motivated learners.

Please click below to read the two-page summary of Tom’s recent presentation ‘7 Secrets to a Healthy Mind’. Parents may also read more about the program and subscribe to the parent newsletter ‘Thrive’ at

Have a lovely weekend and I hope to see you all at the Summer Spectacular tomorrow!


Cathy Poyser