Last weekend, our community was treated to another example of our students’ spectacular creative talents. It was clear the girls had a lot of fun and loved performing our 2021 musical, Annie Jnr. Whether they were in a lead role, a member of the chorus or one of the backstage crew, every individual had a key role to play and every person seemed to relish the experience of being part of a team who had worked together to entertain the audience. At the same time, they were gaining so many other benefits. The opportunity to participate in a musical helped to build confidence, promote self-expression, overcome fears related to public speaking, develop memory, improve problem solving and fine tune teamwork and social skills. These life skills will extend well into their adult lives.
I would like to thank our director, Ms Laryssa Anger, and musical director, Ms Jessica Dawes for all their organisation and hard work and, importantly, for providing our students with an opportunity to develop their skills doing something they love. Congratulations and thanks also to Mr Matthew Cook, our IT Manager, who not only took on a lead role as Mr Warbucks but helped with the IT needs and other requirements of the show. Sincere thanks also to the staff and parents who volunteered and provided support in so many other necessary ways.
Over the weekend, we also showcased our students’ visual arts talents. It was wonderful to reflect on the way the students had perceived the different themes and to see their creative communication and self-expression. From the quality of the work, it is obvious that we have many talented artists, and that our students have a clear passion for artistic expression. Their work was, quite simply, amazing. I would like to acknowledge Ms Michelle Boicos, our Visual Arts teacher, for her encouragement of our students and for providing such wonderful and creative lessons which have allowed the girls to experiment with their skills. I also thank her for all the work that went into setting up and displaying the girls’ works. It was a wonderful exhibition of Girls Grammar talent.
This week, our Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 students will make choices about their subjects for 2022. For younger girls, this means continuing on with core subjects, which form the foundation of their skill and knowledge development, and selecting electives which they enjoy and would like to pursue in more depth. For Year 10s, the process is more significant, requiring consideration of their intended learning pathway, leading to informed and realistic subject choices based on interest areas, academic performance, prospective careers and pathways.
On Wednesday’s assembly, we also celebrated those students who excelled in their Semester 1 studies. We acknowledged the girls who have received Full and Half Colours based on high academic achievement and we also recognised those students who have shown academic growth by improving their Grade Point Average over the last six months. I would like to congratulate all those students from Years 4 to 12 who attained academic recognition. They worked hard and their attitude to studies reflects the Girls Grammar values of diligence, respect for self and excellence. It was wonderful to see so many girls acknowledged on Wednesday.
The assembly also gave us an opportunity to reflect on what we view as success. Academic success goes beyond achievement data, beyond A grades and beyond ATAR or other scores. During my time at Girls Grammar, I have met many Old Girls and heard some impressive stories of their achievement and success. Behind their post-schooling success is a story of the impact their Girls Grammar education had on their lives. Their stories reflect their tremendous character and persistence, their courage and commitment, their determination and their endurance. Each one has shared recollections of their Girls Grammar experience, of how much they appreciated their time, the opportunities, and the care and support they received from their teachers, the staff and the school. Many have told of struggles, but they also talk of rising above the challenges, of the strength they discovered and the resilience they developed. They talk about how the disappointments helped them not only grow but prepared them with the confidence and determination to pursue and attain future opportunities.
Success at Girls Grammar is not reserved for those students who attain A’s. Success is available for every girl who goes out and lives up to the school’s song to ‘be your best’. It is for every girl who approaches her classes and her studies with a willing and determined attitude, with a desire to develop her capacity to be critical thinkers, to push through difficulties rather than giving up, to challenge herself and to commit to being a lifelong learner. It is the realm of students who actively engage in their lessons, who ask for help, who attend tutorials. Success is there for every girl who is determined to pursue it and prepared to take advantage of every person, resource and opportunity given to her at Girls Grammar.
Good scholarship is at the heart of Girls Grammar values. Developing academic success is as much about the development of lifelong skills as the academic result. Those students who approach their studies with a determined, committed attitude, who maintain a holistic balance, who seek and accept help and who recognise their own growth areas will not only grow academically, they will leave school better prepared for the challenges and opportunities that await them. Not only for school but for life we are learning.