It was a great joy to attend the Autumn Concert in Garnsey Hall on Friday night. The students had been preparing for many weeks, including the annual music camp at Rawson. The Autumn Concert is the first concert for the year and has a more casual and fun flavour to it, however the quality of this year’s performance was outstanding. All of the students contributed to the various ensembles to produce sound that was harmonious in every respect. The singing at the Autumn Concert is always a favourite, with performances from the Choir, Schoir and the grand finale of the Camp Choir. Every musician contributes to the final number, their voices soaring under the expert tutelage of Stephen Taberner.
It was with absolute pride that I watched our students revelling in their performances on Friday night. It is always wonderful to see students achieving their own level of personal excellence, and even more heart-warming to watch them supporting and encouraging each other to do well. I am proud to be part of a school where it is OK to be good at things and to follow your dreams; where the school community supports and applauds individual endeavour; where others won’t mock you or make fun of your particular passion.
I had a similar feeling of pride when I attended the Bairnsdale Schools Shoot on Monday to watch our team compete. Over 125 students attended from local schools; our shooters achieved amazing results, finishing first in the Open A division. Many of them attaining great individual results that contributed to our overall team effort. Once again, our students were able to achieve their own levels of personal excellence.
On Thursday this week the Athletics team travelled to the Lakeside Track in South Melbourne to compete in the ICCES Athletics Carnival. Inspired by Ms Dyke they achieved a wonderful result for the School and some outstanding individual efforts.
It takes great effort to train and prepare for each of these events, as well as many hours travelling, performing and competing. There is also an element of risk, as our students give their best but still face failure; however, it is through participating that we develop character and resilience, and forge strong friendships with other students.
As a school we are truly blessed to have committed teachers and members of our broader school team who continue to inspire and encourage our students to give their best and to take risks. I commend the work of Mr Goss and the music team, Mr Kuch and the shooting team and Ms Dyke and the athletics team. Well done and thank you.
Suggestions on hosting and attending parties
Growing up in our complex society today is no easy matter. Young people have more temptations to face, including drugs and alcohol, more opportunities to exercise their independence with cars, mobile phones and credit cards, and more exposure to anti-social behaviour from television and videos. Today’s young people find life’s choices are more perplexing and tantalizing than any previous generation did.
Our school shares with parents the responsibility for the development of our young people and their ability to make sound choices. If either avoids responsibility then the other becomes relatively powerless to provide effective influence. Our experience indicates that parents are not uniformly aware of the issues and problems and consequently, we have prepared this statement in the hope that it will be helpful.
At Gippsland Grammar we strongly recommend that parents do not allow underage children to drink alcohol.
Students, parents and the Police regularly report to us incidents of parties getting out of control often with serious consequences for hosts and guests. It is for these reasons that we would like to share these suggestions with you.
Advice to parents who are giving a party:
- It is natural to be concerned about having a party for young people, but this does provide a good opportunity to talk to your young person about how to party safely
- Clear agreement on limitations and expectations is an important initial step.
- Keep the size of the party manageable and restricted to a confined area.
- Invitations should be issued in writing to a particular person and numbered, with a clearly stated start and finish time.
- Advise your children not to give the impression among friends that their party is to be an “open house”.
- Include the name and phone number of the host on invitations to encourage other parents to seek further information.
- The party should not be advertised publicly or on the Internet.
- Gatecrashers should be asked to leave immediately. Call the Police if they do not leave.
- Provide only one entrance or exit and you may consider hiring a licensed security person.
- Responsible parents must be in attendance and exercising supervision. (Older siblings are not sufficient).
- Guests should not be permitted to leave the party and return later.
- Young people should be delivered to the door and collected personally by parents and not left standing on the footpath or disturbing the neighbours.
- If the party is to be held in a public hall or sporting facility, inspect it beforehand. Avoid facilities with close public transport access and avoid buildings with multiple entrances.
- If alcohol is to be permitted at the party, discourage guests from bringing their own. This will enable you to control to whom it is distributed and how much they have.
- A mix of older and younger children at a party makes the control of drinking very difficult.
- Ample quantities of non-alcoholic drinks and food should always be available.
- You can inform the Police of the details of the party. They may then patrol the areas that night.
- Advising neighbours about the party can avoid problems with parking and noise complaints later.
- Emergency contact numbers should be readily at hand.
- It is now against Victorian law to serve alcohol in a private home to anyone under 18, unless their parents have given permission.
- Adults who break the law face fines over $7,000 - the same amount a licensee would be fined for selling alcohol to a minor.
How will this be enforced?
The law will be enforced where the police have evidence that it has been broken. It's important to remember that the laws about minors and alcohol are complicated. Often, situations in which the laws may have been broken are emotional and tense, such as after a minor has been injured as a result of alcohol consumption. If you're not sure in a situation where minors and alcohol are involved, it's best to steer clear of any possible wrongdoing.
Getting parents' permission
If parents plan to serve or supply alcohol to your underage friends in their home, they will need to get permission from guest’s parents or legal guardians. They will need to be confident that this permission is genuine, because if challenged they will need to prove that the parent of the child had actually given permission.
REMEMBER that this is YOUR party it is YOUR right to set the standard of acceptable behaviour and to see that it is maintained. You also have the right to ask people to leave. Be aware that you may be legally responsible for any injury or damage that occurs at your party.
Have at your disposal the phone numbers of local Police, ambulance and taxis and use as your first resort. Remember you can register your party with the local Police.
Advice for parents before allowing their children to attend a party
- Establish a policy with your children about your expectations of their attendance at parties or sleepovers. This may include always contacting the host, being clear on starting and finish times and the nature of the party.
- It is your right to insist that your child doesn’t drink at parties. You will not be the only parent who feels this way and other parents will appreciate your support.
- Networking with the parents of your child’s friends can establish a consistent approach, ensuring easier parenting.
- Establish whether alcohol will be available or consumed at the party- this may influence your decision.
- You may wish to leave your phone number and contact details with the host of the party. Make sure that you have the name, address and telephone number of the hosts.
- Make sure your child can contact you in an emergency, or if they feel uncomfortable at the party.
- Be aware that your child might be exposed to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. They should be aware of the consequences of their consumption.
- Ensure your children are aware of the alcohol content in different types of drinks. A VB stubby has around 4.9% alcohol, while spirits like Bourbon contain 40% alcohol.
- Ensure your children are aware of the future health consequences of smoking and drug use. Tobacco is addictive and it is OK to say “no”.
- The law prohibits the so-called soft drugs as well as hard drugs. Many parents do not appreciate that drugs are often easily and freely available at parties. First-time users of marijuana usually do not pay.
- Attending parties with alcohol increases the likelihood of risk taking behaviour.
- No function will be arranged in the name of the School without the School’s formal approval.
- Deb parties” are not endorsed by the School and the association of the School’s name with such functions is a misrepresentation.
- Ensure safe transport to and from parties and make your children aware of the often fatal combination of driving and alcohol.
TRUE OR FALSE – SOME MYTHS WORTH CLARIFYING:
TRUE Nothing reduces blood alcohol content. Time is the only thing that helps you sober up.
FALSE Exercising, having a cold shower or drinking coffee sobers you up.
TRUE It takes about one hour for every standard alcoholic drink to pass through your system.
FALSE Vomiting or urinating sobers you up.
TRUE All drugs can be addictive including marijuana and alcohol.
FALSE Drinking milk before a night out stops alcohol entering the bloodstream.
What a week it has been. Since returning from holidays, the School has been abuzz with a diverse range of activities and opportunities for our students. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with students from across all three campuses as they participate in the life of our School and the broader community.
As I mentioned last week, many of our students were involved in ANZAC Day ceremonies last Tuesday. We had students representing our School in Traralgon, Sale, Stratford, Maffra, Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Metung and Rosedale. Many people contacted the School this week to congratulate our students on the way they represented the School and honoured those Australians who have served our country in the Defence Forces.
On Thursday I attended the SEISA athletics carnival at Casey Fields. This was a wonderful event, despite it being a wet and wintry day. Students from Bairnsdale, St Anne’s and Garnsey competed and Gippsland Grammar was the overall champion school on the day. Well done to Ms Jenny Dyke and her team for their success and for representing the School with such respect and humility. We wish them well as they compete in the ICCES athletic carnival on 18 May.
Our shooters also competed on Wednesday at the Lilydale Clay Target Competition. Once again, the team were ably guided through the rigours of competition by their inspirational leader, Mr Kuch. Our students finished a very credible second and Aaron Barling achieved second place in the boy’s senior division.
On Wednesday evening our debaters travelled to St Margaret’s in Berwick to compete at the DAV debating competition against schools from across Eastern Victoria. Gippsland Grammar presents a formidable team as the students arrive in large numbers to compete in all divisions and age groups. We achieved 11 wins on the night. Ms Monger prepares our students thoroughly for their debates and it gives me great pride to watch the confident manner in which they competently dissect complex topics to deliver well-structured and organised arguments.
Many students assisted with the Gippsland Grammar stand at the East Gippsland Field Days on Friday and Saturday. It was great to see students performing and interacting with members of the public who were interested in the School, or simply interested in our students. As in previous years, I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback I received from those who visited our stand. Thank you to Mrs Marji Craven and Mrs Jade Willox for preparing the exhibition, and to Ms Jan Henry and Mrs Virginia Evans for preparing the students.
The 2017 Year 11 Ball was held last Friday evening at Sale Memorial Hall. The students had been rehearsing for many weeks and presented beautifully on the night. Their dances were executed with ease and the parents who danced performed admirably. This night is an important rite of passage for our students and a significant milestone in their journey towards adulthood. The students looked amazing and had a wonderful night. Many thanks to Mr Nicholas, the Year 11 Mentors and Mrs Kelly Warren for preparing the hall.
All of these events are important to the life of our School and the education of our students. They are the many and varied opportunities that we often speak about; opportunities for our students to excel and to connect more deeply with our School community. It is through these opportunities that our students will find their passions and their own levels of personal excellence. It is also through these opportunities that we, as parents and teachers, develop our ongoing sense of pride.
Well done to all of our students who participated in these events and best wishes for our musicians who head off to Music Camp this weekend in preparation for the Autumn Concert.
On Tuesday this week, 25 April, we recognised ANZAC Day—one of Australia’s most revered national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War 1.
ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance, a day of mourning and a day to acknowledge the many thousands of ordinary Australian men and women who have gone to war and faced many perils so that, as a nation, we can remain free. We came together to remember those who have served, those who have fallen and those who are currently serving. Since the First World War, 102,825 Australians have been killed in military conflicts. This includes 61,531 in WW1, 39,652 in WW2, 340 in the Korean War, 521 in the Vietnam War, 4 in East Timor, 42 in Afghanistan and 2 killed in Iraq, including Private Jake Kovco, father of Tyrie in Year 9.
To express the sorrow of a nation, Laurence Binyon penned his now famous poem:
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)
At assembly at Garnsey Campus on Monday, St Anne’s Fellowship last Friday and Bairnsdale Fellowship today, our School commemorated ANZAC Day in a dignified and respectful manner. This included the Last Post, a minute’s silence and the Rouse.
In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. It is also sounded at military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to his final rest, as well as at commemorative services such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. We remember those that have fallen during a minute’s silence; flags are usually lowered to half-mast to make way for death’s invisible flag.
After one minute of silence, the Rouse is sounded and flags are raised from half-mast to the masthead. Rouse and Reveille are used in the military to galvanise the soldiers for the day, or to wake them from their sleep. Today, they are strongly associated with the Last Post at all military funerals, and at services of dedication and remembrance.
On a happy note, I would like to thank the School community for the many well wishes received after Noah Cantwell’s accident on Monday afternoon. I am delighted to report that Noah is recovering well and looking forward to returning to School.
I send my best wishes to those students participating in tonight’s Year 11 Ball. I know that the students and their parents have been practising hard to ensure that everyone remembers their dance steps and the night is a great success.
The East Gippsland Field Days are on again this Friday and Saturday. Staff and students will be in attendance at the Gippsland Grammar stand. The Field Days represent a great day out for all, and provide a valuable opportunity for the School to interact with the broader community, as well as those families who are in the process of selecting an educational pathway for their children. We look forward to meeting them and many others over the next couple of days.
Welcome back to all students and families as we begin Term 2. I trust you had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed the superb Autumn weather. Like many, I took the opportunity over the holidays to catch up with family and friends; I hope you feel as refreshed and enthusiastic about the upcoming term as I do.
You may already be aware that Mr Colin Iversen relinquished his role as Director of Performing Arts at the end of last term, in order to focus on our accomplished strings program. As such, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Mr Matthew Goss as our new Director of Performing Arts. Mr Goss was previously the Director of Music at Dulwich College in Shanghai. He and his family join our school community after a busy term in China. Mr Goss is an accomplished saxophonist and brings a broad range of experience to the role. He is looking forward to engaging with our extensive band program across all three campuses, ever mindful of the role music can play in the cognitive development of young people.
There is much research to suggest that learning to play an instrument, performing and ultimately composing, have a great impact on the brain’s development and the ability to develop conceptual thinking skills. Gippsland Grammar’s music program offers students the opportunity to begin, continue or enhance their understanding and appreciation of music, as well as their musical skills and ability to perform and compose. Over the next few weekends our musicians will be attending music camp at Rawson Village, in order to refine their performance program for the Autumn Concert on Friday, 12 May in Garnsey Hall. I encourage you to attend if you would like to be entertained and enthralled by our students and their exceptional abilities.
We also welcome Mrs Sharyn Henderson this term, who joins our PE staff, as well as Mrs Jane Baker, who will be teaching science while Mrs Caithness enjoys Long Service Leave.
The beginning of Term 2 marks the launch of the Old Scholar’s ‘Be Your Potential’ Fee Raffle. The raffle is the major fundraiser for the Be Your Potential Scholarship Fund, designed to support students who would not otherwise be able to attend Gippsland Grammar. The Fee Raffle comprises just 500 tickets at $100 each. The winning ticket entitles the holder to a 2018 Tuition Fee for a nominated student - present or future. Tickets are available now from reception at all campuses. The raffle will close on 21 September and be drawn at 9am on Friday 22 September.
Finally, next week is Open Week at our Bairnsdale Campus. There will be a range of fun activities on offer, providing an excellent opportunity for members of the community to visit. Full details are available on our website. I encourage you to spread the word among family and friends, or invite them to attend with you for a great day out.