From the Principal: 27 May 2019

From the Principal: 27 May 2019

The role of a Principal is a diverse one with no two days the same. In my schedule at present, I am busy collecting and reading data for our Strategic Review. Parent, student and staff focus groups have started and I am listening closely. The MGGS staff have been surveyed on their thoughts of our three key Strategic Review questions and we are slowly compiling a clear picture so that we can develop a strong 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Additionally in my role I receive many letters from our community and this week I received a very special letter on behalf of one of our school’s oldest inhabitants – the significant elm tree in front of Merton Hall. The letter was written by Hao, Year 1. The envelope was addressed to ‘Big Elm Tree, Merton Hall’. Hao wrote: 
Dear Elm tree, How old are you? What do you like? What is your favourite food? What is your favourite song? From Hao.

Our Year 1 students are currently focussing on the theme of sustainability, and who else to ask questions from but the very source! At Morris Hall, we use provocations such as ‘sustainability’ to draw out the 5C’s – curiosity, creativity, collaboration, courage and critical thinking. So, this letter is a wonderful and tangible example of a young mind contemplating and empathising with a tree. I am looking forward to the upcoming Morris Hall performance of Wind in the Willows which is also being directed and produced with sustainability as the focus! 

The Athletics Carnival was a day supercharged with energy and I think the winning House of Batman are still enjoying the feeling of success. All Houses competed fiercely on a very cold and blustery day at the Melbourne Lakeside Athletics Stadium. Attendance and school spirits were high as Grammarians from Years 5 – 12 competed in their age events. This sports arena is an ideal venue and it was a happy day with many parents in attendance supporting their daughters. Thank you to Sally Bailey, Director of Artemis and our talented coaches who led the day and to our House Captains, Jasmine (Batman), Julia (Clarke), Olivia (Hensley), Eliza (Mungo), Olivia (Taylor) and Sports Captains Claudia and Mia.

This week also announced the commencement of our Annual Giving Campaign and many of our community have already shown their generosity. The 2019 Annual Giving Campaign provides a wonderful opportunity to support Melbourne Girls Grammar and the educational experience of both current and future students.  A donation to the MGGS Annual Giving Campaign helps to reinforce our strong culture of philanthropy, through supporting the ongoing development of new buildings and improved facilities, as well as providing opportunities for current and future students through equity scholarships. In this year’s campaign, it is possible to donate to our Building Fund or scholarship funds, including our 125th Anniversary Scholarship Fund. The 125th Anniversary Scholarships were established in 2018 to commemorate 125 years of education at MGGS. Our aim is to raise funds to create an endowment that will enable us to award these scholarships for future generations and provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to attend MGGS. I invite you to join me in making a tax deductible donation and leave a message of support for MGGS through our dedicated Giving website. Our entire community can make a significant impact on the future of education for our Grammarians.

The June Fowell Mother-Daughter Memorial Dinner at the Kooyong Tennis Club on Thursday 16 May was a delightful evening where  Year 12 students shared a special time with their mothers. The guest speaker, Alice Wright (2006) delivered an inspiring address reminding us all of the importance of following your passion and enjoying life. Mother and OG Jane Goddard shared a delightful poem – an offering long ago from a second generation Old Grammarian to her third generation daughter …

Whatever you are, be that.
Whatever you say, be true.
Be honest in fact, straightforwardly act.
Be nobody else, but YOU.
Give every answer pat,
Your character true unfurl,
And when it is ripe, you will then be the type
Of a typical GRAMMAR girl!

Thank you to our Year 12 mothers Helen Gaffney, Debbie O’Halloran, Gaye Morris, Jeanine Froomes, Chris Mavronas and Penny Dimitroulis for organising this annual event.

There are many special moments that happen in the busy schedule of the school day. Two of these were recent assemblies. Kindness was the order of the day for our Middle Years students at the Assembly held on Friday 17 May. There were many special moments throughout the assembly including Year 7 students Yier and Elly performing a duet on violin and piano, the Year 7 ‘Toolangi ‘s Got Talent’ performers and much more. We were also treated to a stellar video of our Prep students singing a song about kindness.

Our Reconciliation Assembly on Monday 20 May also highlighted the respect we have for our indigenous heritage in Australia as a community. Beatrix, Vice-Captain opened the assembly by setting the focus and explaining why we acknowledge country and the focus and purpose of Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June. Our senior indigenous scholars, Lilli and Chaquira both spoke eloquently of the importance of this week for healing, and presented me with the framed Sorry Speech delivered in the Australian Parliament by the then Prime Minister The Honorable Kevin Rudd on 13 February 2008. Sorcha (Year 10) and Sophia (Year 9) reflected on their Year 8 Arnhem Land Experience, and Cristina (Year 8) spoke excitedly of the preparation her year level were doing for their upcoming trip. Our Merton Chamber Voices performed a wonderful piece in language titled Galnya Nginak. It was a very special assembly and it reflected our MGGS values of compassion, integrity, courage and self-discipline.

Our Grammarians are in the ‘thick’ of rehearsing for Radium Girls. Under the guidance of our dedicated and talented Head of Drama Mr Ryan Bowler, they are working hard to polish their performances ready for opening night. It is going to be a highlight of the MGGS calendar!

Global connections are an important part of learning and I am delighted that we have our inaugural exchange program to The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto, Canada planned for December. If you are a Year 10 student and you are contemplating being involved in this opportunity, please seek support and information from Mrs Renee Jackson, Student Enterprise Manager. Furthermore, next week our MGGS ambassadors will be leaving for our sister school in the United Kingdom, The Goldolphin School. The Goldolphin School is an independent boarding school for girls at Salisbury in Wiltshire and is known for empowering young women. MGGS and The Goldophin School have enjoyed a long and happy relationship as a reciprocal exchange and I look forward to visiting at some stage over the next few years. We wish our students safe and swift travel and many wonderful learning opportunities.

In writing my final sentence for this Messenger I have just had the joy of a gaggle of Grammarian athletes come bounding in to my office in the highest of spirits with trophies in hand! It seems as if we have scooped the pool in the winnings for the GSV Cross Country Preliminary Carnival today at Yarra Bend Park. We have won Senior and Intermediate Competitions, arrived fourth for our Juniors Competition and were awarded winners overall. This has not happened since 2015. This result qualifies us to compete in the GSV Division 1 Championships on Friday 31 May. Over the 19 year history of the GSV competition, MGGS is only one of three schools (out of a total of  24 participating schools) to qualify and contest the Division 1 Championship every year! Bravo Grammarians!

Author

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal