It only feels like a short time ago I was welcoming the CGS community to the 2019 school year. I can hardly believe that we’re now at the end of the year and about to break for the summer holidays.
With our Junior and Senior Service of Thanksgiving and Presentation of Awards evenings held this week, I was reminded of how busy but also and rewarding 2019 has been. I’m proud of each and every one of our students for the dedication and effort they’ve put into not only their studies but their commitment to their extra-curricular activities and building their peer relationships.
Upon reflecting on 2019, my list of highlights was many and varied. I found it difficult to reduce my list to just a few, but there were some standouts that I wanted to share with you.
Our House system grew to new levels of support and enthusiasm. At the Junior and Senior Swimming and Athletics Carnivals, it was brilliant to see each of the Houses come together in their colours, creating House chants to sing and encourage their peers competing. Early in the year, our Junior School Heads of House hosted House evenings for students and their families to attend after school, meeting and mingling with other families as well as sharing a themed dinner.
The number of camps increased in 2019, providing students with more opportunity to learn essential life skills. In the Junior School, our Year 6 students travelled to the nation’s capital, Canberra. The students travelled to Canberra by coach and returned by plane, the first plane trip for some of our students. Our Year 5 students travelled to Camp Gundiwindi in Silvan. For the first time, we had to consider the threat of natural disasters with the Gippsland bushfires burning nearby. I was so proud of the way in which our teachers took every precaution to ensure our students were never at risk and had a brilliant time. I was also grateful to attend and act as the Trivia Quiz emcee. Our Year 4 students participated in an overnight City Stay and our very excited Year 3 students were given the opportunity to stay on campus overnight - the first night away from their families for many students.
In our Senior School, our Year 7 students started the year with a three night camp to Phillip Island whilst our Year 8’s travelled to the Otways to explore the National Park. Finally, our Year 9 students were given the opportunity to apply to travel to Central Australia and participate in the Lilla community service. The students met and worked with remote communities and got to experience firsthand, our unique Australian landscape whilst making memories I’m sure they will never forget.
Our students excelled academically throughout 2019. For the first time, NAPLAN was conducted online and despite some initial connectivity delays from the NAPLAN server, our students shone achieving above state mean results in all four year levels. In both Junior and Senior assemblies, I enjoyed presenting awards to students who had been recognised as excelling in their studies. Special mention to Georgia Schlfhout and Tanysha Hogan who were just two of 22 students selected nationally to travel to Sydney to participate in the ANSTO Big Ideas Forum.
This year’s production of Matilda the Musical was a huge success and received rave reviews. Our performers and overseeing staff put in countless hours of rehearsals both after school and on weekends and their hard work was evident in their polished performances over three nights. The show was so much of a success that the cast was invited to perform at the Monash Children’s Hospital and took out first place in the Premier Division of the Schools on Stage competition at Bunjil Place.
We had some very special friends visit us from Kaichi Junior and Senior School. They immersed themselves in our daily school routine learning about Australian slang, our array of animals and what makes Australia unique. It was fantastic to see our students engage with our new international friends and I understand some of our students still keep in regular touch. Although the visit was only short, we look forward to building on the concept of student exchange in the coming years and providing our students with an opportunity to study and learn overseas.
With 2019 coming to a close, I’m pleased to announce that we have put the final Junior School staffing pieces in place for 2020. Mr Shane Bell has been appointed to the newly created position of Head of Upper Primary (Years 3 - 6). The position will take on an active and comprehensive leadership role within the Junior School and lead teaching and learning in the upper primary team and working closely with the Heads of House.
Shane’s appointment has left vacant the Head of Leaver House (Junior School) and the appointment of Mrs Leanne Evans to Principal of Clyde Grammar, has left vacant the Head of Booth House (Junior School). I’m pleased to announce that Mrs Bronwyn Kyne has accepted the position of Head of Leaver House and Mrs Sarah Nolan, the Head of Booth House. I wish all of the above staff, the very best of luck in their roles.
Joining Mrs Evans at Clyde Grammar next year will be Ms Laura Papettas, Mr Tim Medlyn and Mrs Adelle Batey, who returns from maternity leave. Replacing these teachers are the following:
Miss Holly Waugh - Holly worked at the prestigious Anglican Church of Grammar School (Churchie) in Queensland as a Learning Assistant before following her passion and completing a Bachelor of (Early Childhood) Education. Holly relocated to Melbourne in 2017 and has been teaching in the Early Years since then. Holly is a devoted, enthusiastic and passionate teacher who focuses on the development of the whole child. She is thrilled to be joining our CGS staff and looks forward to relishing the opportunity to make a considerable and positive contribution to our school.
Miss Kayti Hore – We’re thrilled to have secured the services of Kayti, many of our students and families will already know her through her 2019 coordinator’s role at TeamKids. Kayti holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences and will complete her Masters of Early Childhood and Primary Education soon. She prides herself on having a passion for student wellbeing and providing her students with a holistic education. She is motivated and eager to join our staff and begin her career at CGS.
Mrs Sharyn Keating - Sharyn holds a Bachelor of Education and is a passionate educator who has many years of experience in teaching in the local area. She is an innovative teacher who has a commitment to excellence in classroom pedagogy and ensuring the wellbeing of the students in her care. She strongly supports the development of cutting edge holistic education and is looking forward to joining CGS and forging strong relationships with students, parents and colleagues.
I have no doubt that in 2020 we will only continue to build on what has been an exciting 2019 and set the bar even higher again. Our staff are already working hard behind the scenes putting in place plans for our second Kokoda trip, the Central Australia/Lilla Community Tour and the Junior School production just to name a few.
To our class of 2019 who received their VCE results yesterday, congratulations and what an amazing achievement. In 2019 we improved on last year’s median ATAR and maintained our highest ever record median study score of 30. 17% of our ATAR students received an ATAR score above 90 and 32% achieved a score above 80. A separate letter has been emailed to the Casey Grammar community recognising the achievements of our students.
To our staff, a very special and sincere thank you. You provide our students with exceptional opportunities to learn, grow and thrive and without you, CGS would not be the amazing school it is. Take time over the summer to recharge your batteries in anticipation of returning in 2020 full of new ideas and enthusiasm.
To our CGS families and community, I wish you a safe and joyous holiday period spent with those dear to you. I look forward to seeing everyone return in 2020.
Take care and Merry Christmas.
Mr Richard Baird MBA, B.Ed, ASAM, MACE, MACEL