At this time of year, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and recognise the social, political and economic achievements of women throughout the world.
At Melbourne Girls Grammar we will be celebrating IWD in many different ways, throughout the whole School. On Monday 4 March I was fortunate to accompany a group of very impressive senior students to the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA) IWD Breakfast at Queens Hall, Parliament House. The guest speaker, Ms Catherine O’Sullivan, CEO, RMIT Training was inspiring and encouraged us to be more powerful together, recognising the important role we all play. She urged us to work in collaboration and across that which sometimes divides us, breaking down perceptions of gender to create a world where women and girls everywhere have equal rights and equal opportunities. Our School Captain, Lexi graciously thanked Ms O’Sullivan for her address and presented her with flowers on behalf of AGSA.
A joyous collective it was at the Whole School Cocktail Party on Thursday 14 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 first three early observations of MGGS are that it is a happy school, a loved school and that the professionals in care of our Grammarians are able to articulate clearly their roles and responsibilities.
I was delighted to be invited to the Leadership Assembly at Morris Hall and listen to our Year 4 students pledge their loyalty and conviction to the School as leaders. 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 Class of 2018 High Achievers Assembly. The High Achievers’ assembly recognises those 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 VCE high achievement it 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 Dr Judy Tisdale presented the 2018 Gilman Jones Scholars (all with perfect ATAR scores of 99.95) Isobel Nicholls, Alexandria Un and Sarah Gigante 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 6th Principal of MGGS (1916 – 1938). Miss Gilman Jones was Principal for 22 years. She was a noted feminist believing that Grammarians should have the right to choose and direct their own path in life.
School Captain, Lexi and I were fortunate to be invited and to attend the launch of The Hansen Scholarship Program at Government House on Thursday 21 February. The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria hosted the launch and welcomed us warmly in to Government House. We were privileged to hear Jane Hansen speak of the thinking behind this very generous scholarship supported by the Hansen Little Foundation. This is a new flagship equity scholarship for The University of Melbourne offering twenty exceptional students from around Australia an opportunity become a Hansen Scholar.
The Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre (ELC) Open Morning on Saturday 23 February was well attended and afforded our ELC team a chance to share our programs and facilities with visitors. Thank you to our Director of Early Years, Kellie Morgan, Coordinator of the ELC, Margaret Sellar and their team for implementing this special morning.
On Tuesday 26 February very (very) early in the morning I arrived at Boathouse Drive for my first experience of rowing. An experience it was! Nothing could prepare me for the magic of my first foray into rowing as an onlooker. Melbourne glistened in the early morning light and seeing the city from the river was an absolute treat. The rowers impressed me with their approach to team work and resilience. To me, as an observer it seems quite Zen – that is, almost meditative in execution and there is a spirit to it that is quite compelling. The work of rowing reminded me of Psychologist Csikszentimihalyi’s (1997) Theory of Flow. Csikszentimihalyi defined ‘flow’ as a state of concentration or complete absorption with an activity, when time seems to disappear. Being in a state of ‘flow’ is the optimal state of intrinsic motivation, learning and engagement. Our Grammarians were definitely in the ‘flow’, their concentration was fierce; they were focused and in the moment. Thank you to our Head of Rowing, Angus Seller and to coaches, Alistair Matthews and Olivia Honore for giving me a tour and for explaining this mysterious art to me. I will choose to watch from afar although I am looking forward to the highly anticipated Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta on the Barwon River, Geelong in March. This is the largest single sex regatta in the southern hemisphere and I will be cheering our MGGS rowers on!
Congratulations to our past scholars, OG2018, who were recognised at the High Achievers Assembly on Monday 18 February including Matilda Longbottom, Alexandra Bortolussi, Esme Muller, Kate Martin, Ella Best, Sophie Butcher, Dawn Lee, Alana Komesaroff, Yen Sim, Alexandria Un, Isobel Nicholls, Sarah Gigante, Olivia Fairchild and Isabella Barclay. Additionally in 2018 we had two Year 11 students who gained perfect Study Design scores, Jessica and Maddy. We are very proud of all of the graduating class of 2018 and especially delighted to recognise the high achievers.
Ahelee will be the International Women’s Day Key Note speaker for the Pretty Foundation on Thursday 7 March. We wish her well!
Congratulations to not only the students who have been selected as Year 9, 10 and 11 Captains for 2019, but also to the students who put their hand up to lead. The volition to lead is to show courage and valour, so regardless of the appointments of student leadership, simply by being in the running speaks volumes of the individual. Bravo to all!
To our four stunning actors in the MGS Quad Play, Richard III – Bella as Elizabeth, Annabelle as Lady Anne, Anay as Margaret and Lexi as the Duchess of York – you all gave truly outstanding performances. I was delighted to attend on the closing night and it was an inspirational production of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In closing, our 6th Principal, Miss Gilman Jones was famous for the following remarks:
“We cannot regard any girl as educated unless she has acquired the power of learning by herself” and “A Grammarian cannot be a real student unless she enjoys her work.”
To that end, I hope that you are seeing your daughters coming home, full of love for their learning and that they are developing the skills of independence that will serve them well for an unknown future.