‘Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel’ – Socrates
Throughout Term 1 and over the last few weeks this historical quote from Socrates has rung true at MGGS. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the engagement of students in the classroom, in the playground, and within and beyond the red brick walls of Merton Hall. Our students have been out and about at excursions, engaging with visiting artists, and representing MGGS at Girls Sport Victoria (GSV) swimming. Our Senior Drama students are well into their rehearsing for our 2019 play, ‘Radium Girls’, and our junior students are engaged in their learning and happily getting to know their new member of Morris Hall, Bili the bearded dragon. It is definitely all systems go here at MGGS!
The Merton Hall High Tea held on Tuesday 19 March was a wonderful event and it was fabulous to see many Old Grammarians join us on this special occasion. Our MGGS musicians thrilled the audience with their brilliant musical recitals and seamless transitions from one performance to the next. From the Merton Singers, to the Guitar Ensemble, to the Merton Chorale and Chamber Voices, to the many wonderfully executed piano duets and indeed every piece, the High Tea was a chocolate box of treats.
Although it is still autumn, I thought that soloist Year 8 student, Chelsea and the Senior Strings might just summon in winter with vengeance when they performed Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto No.4 in F Minor or Winter. The strength of this piece was inspiring and a testimony to hard work and practice. A special mention must go to harpist Year 7 student, Yier for her performance of La Gimblette by Bernard Andres. For me it was a great joy to witness the many different ensembles collaborate to create wonderful music.
Thank you to Hannah Shin (OG 2017), for returning to accompany our students on both the piano and harpsichord. Thank you to our Director of Music, Elizabeth du Blet, our Music captains, Rachel and Clara and our talented MGGS teachers for their musical guidance and expertise. Finally, thank you to our community members who came to support the music program. Bravo!
Merton Hall was most fortunate to have international renowned indigenous Yirrkala artist, Marrnyula Mununggurr visit us from Arnhem Land. I joined in with the Middle School students to learn the ancient art of preparing paint and brushes from natural sources. Over her two day artist-in-residence experience, Marrnyula shared with us her language and culture. Our Year 8 students will have the opportunity of meeting up with her during their trip to Arnhem Land later in the year.
Our Year 7 Grandparents day held on Thursday 21 March was delightful. It was clear that the Year 7 students thoroughly enjoyed hosting their grandparents and sharing their learning at Merton Hall. On this day we also celebrated Australia’s cultural diversity by acknowledging Harmony Day.
The 2019 Rowing Dinner on Thursday 21 March was a celebration of a successful season and our rowers received their medals – there were many to hand out. Thank you to our Rowing captains, Claudia and Charlotte for inspiring our Grammarians and motivating them to be their best! Thank you to our Head of Rowing, Angus Seller, Director of Artemis, Sally Bailey and to our coaches for scaffolding the learning. Heartfelt appreciation to our Rowing Auxiliary President, Tim Bennetts, Vice President, Maureen O’Keefe, and the entire Committee, our rowing parents and families. Most of all thank you to our rowers who have lived the 2019 season with the values of MGGS – compassion, courage, self–discipline and integrity.
March has also been a time for reunions and reuniting with old school friends for our Old Grammarians. The Celebration Day on Saturday 23 March was well attended and a first for our Old Grammarians Society (OGS). I enjoyed meeting many alumnae and engaging in conversations and answering a multitude of questions at the ‘Q and A’ session. Melbourne Girls Grammar is a much loved school and we were happy that so many past scholars returned for this very special celebration. We hope that they enjoyed revisiting Merton Hall and have many fond memories of their time here as a student. Thank you to President, Trudie Horsfall and the Old Grammarians Society Committee and the Community Office – Robyn, Alexis and Kelly – for initiating and implementing these celebrations.
The Wildfell Cabaret was a showcase of fine performances presented by Year 5 and 6 students of Merton Hall on Thursday 28 March. The students had polished their pieces to perfection and delighted the audience with their enthusiasm. I particularly enjoyed ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ from Mary Poppins and also the solo performance of ‘Electricity’ from Billy Elliott performed by Anabelle. A big thank you to all the staff who supported the students in this endeavour, especially Mr Alex St Vincent Welsh (Musical Direction), Ms Amy Arnott (Choreography) and Ms Robyn Cochrane (Piano Accompaniment).
Our best wishes go to our Grammarians and staff who are about to set off for the Middle Years Science and Enterprise Tour to the U.S.A. and the Senior Years Design and Enterprise Tour to London, Paris, Berlin and Europe. Travel is a great ‘teacher’ and I hope that each and every one of these fortunate students makes the very most of this wonderful opportunity.
In closing, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community of Christchurch after the recent devastating events. The personal nature of this tragedy is very sad and an important reminder to us all of the preciousness of life and the role we each play in contributing to community harmony.
Have a safe and happy term break, enjoy our marvellous Melbourne autumn and take time to care for yourself and each other.