From the Principal: 10 October 2022

From the Principal: 10 October 2022

Young people. They care. They know that this is the world that they’re going to grow up in, that they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in. But I think it’s more idealistic than that. They believe that humanity, human species, has no right to destroy and despoil regardless. ― David Attenborough

It is so good to see many Grammarians cycling to school. We encourage our Grammarians to be active, and for those who live close by, this is the perfect answer to bookending the day with exercise and reducing carbon emissions.

The opening quote relates directly to all our Grammarians and especially our outgoing cohort of Year 12s. The world is in very good hands indeed, and the comfort I feel in the preparedness for this cohort being ‘ready to fly’ is strong. Over the last two weeks, I have shared some very special moments with the Class of 2022 as they prepare to leave our red brick walls for the big wide world. Our talented Librarian, Mr Gavin Jones, led a very special reading session with our Year 12 and ELC4 Grammarians. One of the treasured books he read was ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ by Doctor Seuss, and it was lovely to witness our youngest and oldest students enjoying the moment. On the same day, in the evening, the Year 12 Drama performances held in our black box theatre were exceptional. The careful learning and rehearsing of these pieces were evident. I’m confident they are going to impress the VCE examiners with their presentations. On Wednesday 5 October, a special breakfast was held for our Year 12 students who had begun their schooling journey with us at the ELC and Morris Hall. It was delightful to listen to their reflections of learning in their formative years.

At our Term 4 Commencement Assembly, we were delighted to welcome Melbourne Writers Festival highlighted author Claire G. Coleman to speak. Claire is a Noongar writer, born in Western Australia and now based in Melbourne. Her family have been from the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the south coast of WA since before time started being recorded. Claire wrote her Fellowship-winning book ‘Terra Nullius’ while travelling around Australia in a caravan. ‘The Old Lie’ (2019) was her second novel, and in 2021 her acclaimed non-fiction book, ‘Lies Damned Lies’, was published by Ultimo Press. ‘Enclave’, published this year, is her third novel. You could have heard a pin drop as Claire fully engaged our Grammarians with her personal journey in becoming a highly regarded Australian author.

On Saturday 1 October, the School Council held its annual strategy planning day. Critical friend Kylie Maher, Moore Australia, facilitated two sessions, including one on the new Child Safety Standards, Ministerial Order 1359 and our risk appetite as a school. The MGGS Executive also presented how MGGS was implementing innovation in education across the whole School and our achievements to date in meeting the outcomes in our Strategic Plan 2020-2025. The day allowed for discussion, clarification and questioning around child safety, risk and innovation. Our Strategic Plan 2020-2025 is comprised of four major elements, including Culture, Learning, Environment and Community, set in concentric rings. When we overlay the School values of compassion, courage, self-discipline, and courage on top of these rings as a quadrant, we get a layering of purpose and focus. This plan positions the School on the continuing path of innovation, strengthening the programs in place, and it focuses on culture as the lever for exceptional practice. With the learner at the centre of our plan, the visioning is one of support and growth. It places a spotlight on the importance of the quality of learning and teaching in every classroom at every developmental stage so that our Grammarians are engaged in a contemporary curriculum and pedagogical framework. This plan acknowledges that we need to continue to invest in the environment as the third teacher and, finally, that our community is connected, interconnected, and wraps around everything we do.

As a School, we value our teachers and their fine contribution to the establishment of a great foundation of learning. To this end, we celebrated World Teachers’ Day at the commencement of Term 4 with a lovely morning tea to recognise our staff. Teachers make a difference daily to our Grammarians, and on this day, we shared the famous Shulman quote as part of our festivities. Shulman’s (1986) celebrated words, embraced by teachers around the world, “those who can, do [and] those who understand, teach.” I would like to acknowledge the fine contribution every staff member has made to the School. Each has a genuine regard for their profession and a collective passion to make learning at MGGS exciting, innovative, and rigorous. 

It was a great joy to attend the Celebration of Sport Dinner in our Artemis Centre on 6 October. Our guest speakers, Eliza McNamara (2020) and Olivia Vesely (2017) inspired us with their stories of entering the world of competitive sport. Thank you to Ms Sally Bailey, Executive Director, Artemis, Anthony Bruhn, Head of Sport, and our wonderful Heads of Programs and coaches for providing a strong season of participation and competition across many sports.

As a feminist school, our thoughts and prayers are with the women of Iran. Recently, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in an Iranian hospital days after being detained by the regime’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the country’s hijab regulations. Amini was travelling with her family from Iran’s western province of Kurdistan to the capital, Tehran, to visit relatives when she was reportedly arrested for failing to meet the country’s strict rules on women’s dress. In response to Amini’s death, Iranians are demanding an end to mandatory hijab laws and burning the scarves in powerful displays of refusal. Across Iran, protesters are chanting, “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Exhibiting one of our School values of courage, Year 8 student Parnian Jeirodi wrote to me expressing her alliance with the women of Iran. A link to her engaging narrative can be accessed here

Yours in learning

Dr Toni E Meath