As part of their VCE Literature course, Year 12 Students had to respond creatively to a text, making stylistic and thematic links to the original. Our students worked very hard and rose to the challenge in order to achieve some excellent results. On Thursday 19 October, we had a book launch for our self-published collection of Year 12 Literature students’ writing called ‘Split Ends’, inspired by the short stories of multi-award winning Australian author Cate Kennedy entitled ‘Dark Roots’.
Our girls were in fine spirits and amazed to see their own creations put together in an edited book format, with a colourful cover designed by Ayrlie Lane and collated by our librarian Gabrielle Wong and my fellow Literature teacher Katherine Barton. Four of our students graciously read aloud passages from their own short story to the sheer delight of the audience.
However, who else would have been in a better position to comment on their writing than the author herself! Little did they know that Cate Kennedy was to make a surprise guest appearance live via Castlemaine to share her own enjoyment of their creative work. Indeed, the author they had studied and read, had in turn very kindly read their work and was full of praise. Cate Kennedy spoke to our girls for about ten minutes who was “so knocked out by the quality of their stories”. In her own words, Cate wanted to “thank the students for such a sensational project – quite a few schools have used the collection as a launch for some creative writing, but nobody else has done anything like this, or with such range and verve.”
It was a special message of empowerment and acknowledgement to our girls, as well as an honour to witness Cate Kennedy’s concerns being echoed through time to a new generation, using her voice to find their own. Cate’s incorporeal apparition epitomised the enriching and stimulating environment offered through our Literature program and provided our students with such a positive affirmation of their ability to write with might and flair. I hope they will cherish this moment for a long time.
Christopher Taylor, Head of English at Melbourne Girls Grammar