A warm welcome to Term 4 and particularly to our Year 12 students who are back on campus; I can’t wait for our other year levels to join us. There is something very special about seeing everyone together again. As mentioned in my email to you over the break, the return to campus is staggered. We ask that parents take note of the days and time for their children to return to campus and assist them in the hybrid learning that will occur over the next few weeks.
Last week, our Grammarians undertaking a Unit 3/4 Study Design returned to Merton Hall to sit the VCE General Achievement Test (GAT) – a test of literacy, numeracy, and general knowledge that is used to moderate and support examination results. I have never seen students so excited to be on campus to sit a three-hour exam! The strictest of infection controls are in place including the wearing of face masks during the exam and tables placed 1.5 metres apart.
As you are aware, directions have now been made by the Chief Health Officer making mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for staff to work in schools, childcare, and early childhood services. As a School, we are required to collect, record, and hold the vaccination information about our whole staff vaccination status. You have received information regarding the recent audit of our ventilation across the School. We also have put in place a staggered on-campus regimen for the School Executive team to ensure that there are senior staff on site every day. Teams have been identified to rotate to ensure that I am on site when the Deputy Principal is working off site and vice versa. This is to mitigate risk associated with infection as we manage living and working with COVID. Heads of sub-schools are on campus each week.
This has been a difficult year for many, but for our graduating Year 12s, it has truly tested their resolve and patience. Currently, our Year 12 students are counting off their ‘lasts at MGGS’. This is a time of mixed emotions for our senior students as they prepare for their final VCE examinations and begin to farewell the School. For 11 Grammarians – Evie Anderson, Josie Burns, Tiffany Chiang, Fleur Hardisty, Sophie Piggot, Dede Prappas, Latasha Townsend, Sophie Waller, Emma Woo (3YO ELC), Abigail Heitbaum, and Yohansa Samarakoon (4YO ELC) – this marks the end of 14+ years at the School.
The 2021 Year 12s have been a wonderful cohort; remarkable Grammarian representatives in every way and great role models to our younger students and I thank them personally for their fine contribution to their School. I have observed them over the last term putting in the hard work required for personal best and I know that their teachers and families have wrapped much support around them. They are a united cohort and they have lived the values of the School.
Over the coming weeks, they will be studying hard with the support of their teachers so that they are well prepared for the upcoming exams. For some Valedictorians, examinations already have commenced (Language orals, and Performing Arts). We wish all our Grammarians well. As our Year 12s sit their VCE exams we seek to provide them a sense of calm, quiet, and separation so they can focus on the task at hand. I wish to thank the outgoing School Captains, Lili Ingram, and Vice-Captains Mimi Barnes and Tiffany Chiang, the 2021 Student Executive Council, and the entire cohort for their fine contribution and legacy to the School. We wish them well as they head into the VCE examination period, and I know that they are well prepared not only for the exams but for life.
I am pleased to formally announce to the community the SEC for 2022. Please join me in congratulating the following Grammarians:
- School Captain: Ahelee Rahman
- School Vice Captains: Anna Boreham and Claudia Casson
- Batman Captains: Emma Chamberlain and Alexandra Williams
- Clarke Captains: Amelia Kogler and Sophia Waters Rooke
- Hensley Captains: Caitlin Chew and Eloise Faulks
- Mungo Captains: Alexandra Conroy-Ryan and Harriette Templeton
- Taylor Captains: Grace Hopkins and Jessica Swan
- Boarding House Captains: Gabby Cameron and Victoria Lee
- Art Captains: Ella Grant and Zsa Zsa Laurie
- Community and Environment Captains: Isabella Boffa and Grace Koczkar
- Drama Captains: Charlotte Clark and Hannah Hamilton
- Music Captains: Nicole Yeh and Alexandra Zhang
- Sports Captains: Ruby Jones and Chloe Waddell
- STEM Captains: Olivia Cox and Alexandra Leonards
I would like to express sincere gratitude to all Grammarians who applied for a leadership role. I look forward to our 2022 student leaders representing our community next year.
While these Grammarians strengthen our student community, our parent community at MGGS role models the importance of service through volunteering. Under the leadership of Tammy Read, President of the Parents Association, an energetic and vibrant group of parents support the School in helping bring our parents together and provide opportunities for engagement and feeling a sense of belonging. There are three vacancies for roles in 2022. If you are interested in building a stronger connection with your daughter’s school, I would encourage you to put your hand up. Details can be found in the Community section of this newsletter.
As a school, we value our teachers and their fine contribution to the establishment of a great foundation of learning. To this end, we will celebrate World Teachers’ Day this term when all staff are all back on campus. Teachers make a difference daily to our Grammarians. I would, however, like to acknowledge the fine contribution every staff member has made to the School – teachers, sports and wellbeing coaches, specialists, and support staff. Each has genuine regard for their profession and a collective passion to make learning at MGGS exciting, innovative, rigorous, and the very best it can be for your daughters.
Last week marked a major milestone in the history of MGGS. Led by our student leaders in 2020 and 2021, the School undertook a referendum to determine if we should change the name of Batman House. Many of you will be aware that this attracted media attention and there was some chatter in the social media space also with individuals voicing their opinion. The naming of entities or groups is always a complex matter and MGGS has been fortunate to have the benefit of historical records in its archives to highlight how decisions regarding our houses have shifted over the history of the School. Batman House has been in operation since 1965 (post the DJ Ross era), when houses were reinstated. For those of you interested in learning more about this, I encourage you to visit the MGGS website. I am incredibly proud of our Grammarians and our alumnae for getting involved in the voting process over 24 hours last Thursday and Friday, to cast their vote for or against in accordance with a true democratic process and drawing on their learning and engagement over several months around this decision. It has been important, and each individual has had the opportunity to put forward their view without peer pressure or undue influence. Results are currently being verified by an external party before a formal announcement to the community.
As the term rolls out, I sincerely hope that we will have the opportunity to reconnect in person for some significant events that mark the Term 4 calendar each year. Until then, stay well and safe.
Yours in learning
Dr Toni E. Meath