As we come to the final week of 2020, I would like to take the time to express my gratitude and appreciation for the varied achievements, celebrations and highlights that we have experienced at Girls Grammar this year.
Academically, we have accomplished so much over the last 11 months, with our students’ dedication and talents recently showcased at last week’s Speech Nights. Their passion for learning has further been reinforced through high participation rates in a range of clubs and activities including STEM, musical theatre, young playwrights, art and drama clubs and academic competitions. I congratulate all our students for their personal successes, and I thank our teachers for their commitment to providing stimulating, challenging learning environments and opportunities throughout the year.
I would also like to acknowledge all the time and effort dedicated to ensuring our seniors were well prepared for the demands of their final year under the new senior system. This has required our teachers to engage in hours of professional development, develop new assessment and understand the new quality assurance processes. Dr Fry has led our subject specialists through this process, ensuring our girls were supported to understand and succeed and, consequently, our Year 12s approached their external exam block with confidence. I wish our graduating class much success in their future learning and endeavours. Girls Grammar is very proud of what they have achieved this year and over their time at the School and we look forward to seeing them return as members of the Alum.
Over the year, a great deal of work has also gone into the review of our pastoral care program. Mr Cheers and the Wellbeing Team have read research, discussed best practice and reviewed our current offerings to bring about quality wellbeing and pastoral outcomes for the girls. Part of this has been to review our camp structure, to provide a developmental program that provides challenge, real world connections and team support, all of which facilitate personal growth. We look forward to implementing this program next year.
Our vibrant co-curricular program has also provided a great forum for our girls to achieve much and create memorable moments in so many areas including equestrian, netball, athletics, cross country, touch football, Oztag, STEM, visual and performing arts and music. The diversity of offerings available at Girls Grammar ensures that every girl has the opportunity to participate and contribute her talents to our community.
The holiday period will provide a good opportunity to undertake capital works and repairs. We will be commencing work to repair the damage done to school roofs from a hail storm earlier in the year and learning spaces in the CAB, together with a number of classrooms in Luck, will be renovated. Jackson House will have new furniture, fresh paint and air conditioning installed, a new classroom will be prepared for the Year 6 class and, pending the availability of the cabinetmakers, our Uniform Shop will be relocated to Paterson House.
I would like to take this opportunity to farewell some of our teaching staff who are leaving us at the conclusion of the term:
Mr Ryan Cheers and Ms Nora Hanasy-Cheers are relocating to the Wide Bay region in order to be closer to family.
Ms Louise McSherry and her family are moving to Bundaberg.
Ms Jules Hadok will be retiring but will continue to be a regular presence in the school through supply teaching and attendance at school events.
We thank these staff for their commitment to the school over many years and wish them well as they commence the next stage of their lives.
I hope that over the holidays everyone is blessed with the opportunity to take a well-earned break to refresh and rejuvenate. Students are also encouraged to engage in the following activities:
Reading is a great holiday activity because reading fiction aids relaxation but also builds vocabulary, improves reading comprehension and develops written expression, all skills that will assist in future learning. Importantly, reading can also provide media-saturated students with a vital break from technology.
Physical activities such as walking, bike riding, going to the beach, going to the gym or playing sport all have great physical benefits but will also aid memory function and thinking skills.
Keeping a journal is a great way to sketch, make lists, keep track of notes, create mind maps, store memorable quotes or pictures or ideas. It doesn’t really matter what is recorded – by regularly putting pen to paper, students become introspective, think actively and document their thought processes, all habits that help in learning.
Crosswords, word searches, puzzles and Sudoku books are also great activities as they require you to work through the steps to reason and reach a solution which all help challenge the mind.
I wish everyone a safe and restful holiday, and a joyous Christmas, and look forward to seeing you in 2021.