From the Principal: 26 February 2024
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From the Principal: 26 February 2024

It was a joyous collective at the Whole School Cocktail Party on Thursday 22 February and I was pleased to meet many parents and engage in some brief discussion. Events such as these provide us with an opportunity to welcome new parents and to start the year feeling affiliated with this very special school. As I said on the night, my observations for the start of 2024 are that our Grammarians have returned from summer break ready for learning and already fully engaged in their co-curricular opportunities.

The recent Middle and Senior Years Information Nights, Junior School ‘Meet and Greet’ events, ELC Parent Welcome Mornings and Parent Association Meeting were well attended. It is heartwarming to see strong parent, grandparent, and guardian engagement, right from the start. You will hear me say it many times over, but it does ‘take a village to raise a child’ and the partnership between home and School is an important one. 

As we enter the sacred time of Lent, as an Anglican School we commence the religious rituals preceding Easter and consider our own humanity. We began with Shrove Tuesday, which precedes Ash Wednesday, and our Grammarians enjoyed sharing pancakes and learning of the history and the symbolism. Our Ash Wednesday Chapel Services provided an opportunity for our Grammarians to reflect on how they were travelling and to receive a blessing or a cross of ashes to their forehead, by their choosing. The ashes symbolise our mortality and are given with the words ‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return’.  At MGGS we have Grammarians and staff of many different faiths, and of no faith, however, these ceremonies are shared and transcend what it means to love and be loved and contemplate humankind. 

I was delighted to be invited to the Year 4 Leadership Assembly at Morris Hall and listen to our Year 4 students pledge their loyalty and conviction to each other as the new leaders of Morris Hall. School Vice Captains, Sophie Johnson and Amelia Banks, gave an inspiring address, as did our special guest speaker Australian Olympian, Jemima Montag. It was a very special gathering with parents and families witnessing these young Grammarians receive their leadership badges and I am confident that they will wear them with pride.

Another example of our recognition of leadership and high performance was on full view at the 2023 VCE High Achievers Assembly. The High Achievers Assembly recognises students who have excelled in the VCE and have gained an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) above 99 and/or a perfect Study Score of 50. To achieve at the highest level in any pursuit requires persistence, courage and dedication. For high achievement in the VCE, one requires a single-minded, conscientious approach to study. It is waking each morning with the determination and grit to engage in learning, revise, revise and then polish. At this Assembly, Old Grammarians Margaret McNaughton and Emeritus Professor Pip Patterson presented the 2023 Gilman Jones Scholars Chelsea Hinh and Rosemary Nguyen with their scholarships. The Gilman Jones Scholarship is awarded each year to the highest achieving Year 12 Grammarians to assist their study at university. It was established in 1942 by donations from Old Grammarians who wanted to honour their recently retired headmistress, Miss Gilman Jones was the sixth Principal of MGGS between 1916 and 1938. 

Congratulations to our past scholars, OGs from the Class of 2023, who were recognised at the High Achievers Assembly: Chelsea Hinh, Rosemary Nguyen, Zoe Vlahos, Zoe Fourlanos, Eloise Bisley, Jessica Li, Sophie Jensen and Audrey Choi. We also acknowledged those who achieved a perfect Study Score of 50, I congratulate Zoe Fourlanos (English) and Rosemary Nguyen (Physics) from the Class of 2023. Additionally in 2023 we had three Year 11 students who gained perfect Study Scores: Esther Nastri (Drama), Zoe Paul (PE) and Ondine Thompson (Psychology). At this Assembly we also acknowledged our Monash Scholars for the Class of 2025, Chanara Aberathna, Cecilia Xu and Isabelle Gelder. As well as the University of Melbourne Kwong Le Dow Scholar for the Class of 2025, Isabel Zhang. MGGS Gold Field Awards were presented to Harriet Ellard, Indigo Jellis, Cecilia Xu, Lydia Giles, Shuying Jiang, Chanara Aberathna and Stephanie Fourlanos. Blue Field Awards were presented to Celeste Mielimaka, Scarlett Wilson, and Meagan Barrow. We are very proud of all the graduating Class of 2023 and especially delighted to recognise the high achievers in our Senior Years.

In closing, I congratulate our Senior Rowing Co-ordinator Ms Bella Logie-Smith on the naming of a boat in her honour. Bella has brought great success to the MGGS Rowing Program, both as a student and now as a staff member and has shown an exceptional commitment, drive and love for Merton Hall Rowing for over 10 years. Bella was a student in the program between 2012 and 2016 and rowed her two Senior seasons in the 2nd VIII (her boat will be the 2nd VIII). Bella began coaching in 2016 as a Year 12 co-coach before becoming the Junior Co-ordinator for 2021 and 2022. Since 2023 she has been the Senior Co-ordinator, leading the Senior program with the best results in the program’s history – including the 2023 National Championship. Bella epitomises the School values year on year and is tireless in her dedication to improving the program through the student experience. Bella’s name has been extremely well received by the current students, especially those who will be in the boat, and more broadly by the rowing community. Bravo Bella!

Currently my days start and end observing our rowers running up and down Anderson Street! So much energy and such conviction! Our rowers are on track for a strong Head of Schoolgirls Regatta on the Barwon River in mid-March and hopefully then onto to represent MGGS and Victoria in the Australian Rowing Championships in Sydney. Watch this space!

Yours in learning,

Dr Toni E. Meath
Principal