Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much!
Together we have achieved so much in the last few months just by turning up and being present! To say that Term 1 2022 has been action-packed for our community would be an understatement! Each day has had a liveliness all its own, and to step into the School you see our students thoroughly engaged in a multitude of activities. Additionally, our staff attendance for both teaching and professional support staff mirrors this. Each a proof point that our community is engaged and present.
So, what have we been up to this term? I thoroughly enjoyed the recent MGGS celebrations in International Women’s Week. Firstly, our Year 12 Father-Daughter Breakfast at the Terrace Restaurant, in the Botanical Gardens was a wonderful and well-attended occasion. Guest speakers, father and daughter team Carlton AFL legend and AFLW history-maker and OG, Andrew and Abbie McKay (2018) gave us a candid insight into the world of competitive football and the closeness between these two sporting celebrities was clear to see, reminding us all of the joy of parenthood and of the precious moments daughters bring. Secondly, I accompanied 10 senior school leaders to the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia annual IWD Breakfast at Queens Hall in Parliament where we listened to an inspiring address by the formidable Lord Mayoress of Melbourne, the Honourable Sally Capp, who encouraged us all to ask for what we want and not to be afraid of pushing gender boundaries. This event was hosted by the Honourable Georgie Crozier, who also spoke to young women from 15 different girls’ schools about the importance of having gender balance in parliament and challenged all to consider a career in politics.
Thirdly, the School also hosted an International Women’s Day Breakfast in the T-Bar early on Monday 7 March with guest speakers Heidi Holmes and Lucy Lloyd (2000). They spoke of their international company Mentorloop, the importance of entrepreneurship and the courage to believe in yourself. A truly inspirational choice of speakers by our Alumnae and Community Engagement Co-ordinator Kaushini Fernando. Heidi and Lucy also spoke at the Merton Hall IWD Assembly on the same day and challenged all Grammarians to think of what their passions were and to be themselves. And finally, 100 members of our MGGS community celebrated at the IWD lunch. Hosted by the Old Grammarians Society, this year we doubled our numbers of attendees who gathered at the Alexandra Club on Wednesday 8 March. It was another stellar event celebrating the courage, compassion, integrity and self-determination of MGGS women. Our 2021 Emily Hensley Award recipient, Dr Melissa Yang, gave an inspiring address as did our School Captain, Ms Ahelee Rahman. Ahelee’s piece was published in The Age which you can access here. How fortunate are we as a community to have such fantastic guest speakers who gave generously their time and spirit to address our students? On behalf of our community, we are most grateful for the individual messages they contributed for IWD week and their inspirational leadership.
On Friday 11 March, our senior Grammarians joined in with Melbourne Grammar students to pick up litter for the Clean Up Australia Campaign. As part of our focus on the environment and caring for our planet, it was terrific to see the large numbers giving up their time at the beginning of the long weekend.
On Thursday last week, the ELC, Morris Hall and our Merton Hall Grammarians all celebrated Harmony Day honouring multicultural diversity and inclusion. A touch of orange could be seen right across the School. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of respect. While on Friday 18 March, our pets came to Morris Hall. Thank you to our indefatigable Chaplain, Reverend Kirsty Ross (fondly known as Rev Ross) for so capably blessing all the animals at the Morris Hall Pet Chapel. The old saying, “be careful working with children and animals” belies the fact that they are just so entertaining! We all thoroughly enjoyed this happy occasion, and it was delightful to see so many students proudly displaying their furry and four-footed friends at school.
Congratulations to our entire Rowing extended family! The sense of community and camaraderie at the Head of School Girls Regatta over the weekend was inspiring. Overall our teams performed exceptionally well with 22 of our 24 crews making A Finals — the most in a single HOSG Regatta in the School’s history. The squad also won 19 medals — five gold, 9 silver and five bronze — from the 22 appearances in A Finals. The message we strongly communicate to our Grammarians is that the joy of participation and teamwork are the most important keys to any sport. Thank you to our families for supporting their daughters in the rigorous training and build up for the event, and thank you to Angus Seller, Sally Bailey and all the rowing coaches who have worked with our Grammarians this season. Additionally, thank you to the many staff and alumnae who travelled down to Geelong to join the ‘Merton Army’ in cheering on our crews. Furthermore, we wish our senior teams attending the Nationals in Nagambie in a few weeks all the very best; we know that they will be outstanding ambassadors for MGGS. Bravo!
On behalf of MGGS, I attended the Australian Heads of Independent Schools Education Forum titled Health of a Nation in Canberra on 17 March. At this event, as school leaders, we were able to come together to discuss reconciliation, e-safety, student and staff wellbeing, and how the economic forecasts are impacting school communities. I was particularly inspired listening to the University of Western Australia’s Professor Donna Cross’s presentation titled Goldilocks conditions for student safety and wellbeing. The impact of the last two years has been considerable, and I left the forum with new insights on how we can collectively support our community.
This conference also brought to mind how important it is for us to support our Grammarians in being safe and modelling the right behaviours. In this we also need to consider the public with whom we share our wonderful location atop the Anderson Street Hill. Cyclists, joggers and walkers remind us of how important it is to remain fit and healthy. It also draws attention to the rush and myopia we can sometimes have in the morning at drop off. I urge those amongst our community who drive their children to school to abide by the traffic rules, not park over driveways and bike paths, and to remember that U-turns in front of a school are actually illegal! This also applies to what we show our younger Grammarians at Morris Hall.
As we head into the last weeks of Term 1, I hope that your daughter has enjoyed returning to the ‘buzz and hum’ of being at school. As we have ridden the roller coaster of Rapid Antigen Testing every Monday and Wednesday, we have seen the positive cases of COVID-19 in our community begin to slow down which has been well received by all. Thank you for your ongoing support and for communicating with our Executive Directors of Sub Schools so well. To protect us all, please continue to be vigilant with testing and immunisation. Take care, stay well, and enjoy this wonderful Melbourne autumn!
Yours in learning,
Dr Toni E Meath