From the Principal: 20 May 2024

From the Principal: 20 May 2024

We often describe our School as scholarly. But what does this truly mean? What does it mean to engage in scholarly pursuits? Or to be a scholar? The definition of scholarliness as an adjective can be described as:

adjective: scholarly

  • involving or relating to serious academic study.
    synonyms:    academic, educational, scholastic, professorial, pedagogic, pedagogical
                         “a young woman aspiring to a scholarly career”
  • having or showing knowledge, learning, or devotion to academic pursuits.
                         “a scholarly account of the period”
    synonyms:    learned, erudite, academic, well read, widely read, intellectual, literary, lettered, well educated, knowledgeable, cultured, cultivated, highbrow; 
    antonyms:    uneducated, illiterate, ignorant

In simplistic terms scholarliness means to be theoretical, to value learning, to pay attention to analysing, synthesising and research. However, we know it as so much more. For us it means to be curious, to challenge, to wonder why, to never settle for less, to pursue precision and to seek truth. At MGGS we see this as playfulness and determination, a willingness to stand on the shoulders of the great minds that have gone before us and to think in new and different ways. I use this artefact as symbol of academia – it is about shedding light and so essentially, a scholarly approach is an enlightened one. As a child, I loved school and as a teenager I loved it even more. I was blessed, like so many with great teachers. I can still remember their names and I am sure you also remember your favourite teachers. How did they make you feel? What did you learn most from them?

Education is dynamic and schools need to be continuously evolving. MGGS is an academic school with a proud history of scholarliness. This is an iconic school in the fabric of Melbourne and Victoria with an international reputation. The very nature of an academic school is a sense of scholarliness, high level and rigour. Being scholarly means that we don’t settle with current thinking, we ask questions, we challenge, we provocate. We ask why? And why not? We look for ways through – it is not ‘no’ but ‘how’?

Thank you to those who have completed the Parent Satisfaction Survey and/or participated in our Focus Groups. We are gathering excellent data to inform the writing of our next Strategic Plan. As an academic school that has implemented significant change across history and invested in strong wellbeing, curriculum, and co-curricular programs, we are well placed for the future.

Our amazing Chair of Council, Mr Mark Burgess stepped down from this position at the recent School’s AGM. Mark has served MGGS with distinction over many years. We thank him for his wonderful generosity of spirit, financial acumen, wisdom and the stability he has given to the MGGS School Council in the last six years.

We celebrated Boarders’ Week and Language Week with gusto. Our guest speaker at Assembly was Old Grammarian Natalie Burne (2010). Natalie spoke inspirationally about her love of languages, especially Portuguese and of travelling in South America and engaging in wildlife rescue in the Amazon Rainforest. Our Grammarians loved listening to her and enjoying the colour and vibrancy of this special week. 

At our Dark Arts Festival on Tuesday 14 May, the Merton Hall Campus came alive with the magic of visual and performing arts and our community joined in with gusto. The Art on display, the Drama and the Music were sensational. There was such as excitement in the air, it was interactive, engaging and inspiring. The Grammarian talent on show was brilliant. This event has grown beautifully since inception in 2019 and although there is so much work in planning, setting up and executing, events such as these are enjoyed by many and highlight that at MGGS we really do live and love the Arts! Thank you to all who played a significant role, especially our Heads of Department and their teams and our fabulous Arts Auxiliary led by Franca Lepre and parents. Bravo!

At our Annual June Fowell Dinner for Year 12 Grammarians and their mothers (and mother figures) on Thursday 16 May, we celebrated the legacy of June Fowell, a well-known and respected member of MGGS staff for thirty years, and Head of the Religious Education Department from 1992 to her passing in 2001. June is described as a statuesque woman with a sense of presence, a powerful intellect, desire for life and an often-acerbic sense of humour. June was a lover of the outdoors, travelling and camping often with her parents. Sadly, while June was attending college her mother fell ill and passed away. June continued the legacy of her mother’s bold and carefree nature, travelling the world to remote places. Miss June Fowell took on a pastoral role upon her arrival at MGGS, holding such roles as a Boarding House mistress, Year 12 Co-ordinator, House Tutor of Mungo, and running the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. She travelled with students to Malaysia, New Guinea and Central Australia. We celebrate June Fowell, and all our mothers and mother-figures and the power of female mentorship at this special event every year. 

Our guest speaker, Old Grammarian Perri Rea (2013),  a Veterinary Neurology/Neurosurgery Resident at Animal Referral Hospital Brisbane, delighted the audience with her story. After graduating from MGGS in 2013 and being accepted into a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at James Cook University, Perri decided to take the jump and move to Townsville, Queensland. Here she spent five years studying to become a veterinarian, graduating in 2018. As a new graduate, Perri decided to swap the heat for the cold fresh air of Tasmania, where she worked at a mixed animal practice. In this role she was required to treat companion animals, livestock, zoo animals, shelter animals, and plenty of local wildlife. Whilst here, Perri was also involved in founding the first ‘Pets in the Park’ Launceston, a charity which provides free veterinary care to homeless and housing-insecure people. An intrepid spirit, just like June Fowell!

In closing, a reminder to all to continue supporting your daughters to wear their unform with pride, arrive at School on time and apply themselves to their learning. The importance of routine and structure at home and School cannot be underestimated. It sets young people up for success!

Yours in learning,

Dr Toni E Meath