Grammar Gazette- Issue 1, 2007


Brisbane Girls Grammar School

grammar gazette Autumn 2007

inside Leadership

Antipodeans in India


grammar gazette autumn 2007 Contest of the Houses

Cover Image: Greg Gardner Photography

Letters When you get a Christmas card from your ‘buddy’ in Year 12 before you even step through the gate, and when you do, she actually becomes your friend, you know you’re off to a good start. When you want to redecorate your room from red to pink, you feel you belong to something important. When you can email your maths teacher with a problem and get an almost instant reply, you know you have amazing teachers. Alexandra has had the most wonderful start to High School Life. She has made great friends and just loves every minute. While I’m sure there will be ups and downs ahead we are confident with our choice and look forward to them being wonderful years. (Ms Gunn – Year 8 Parent) Thank you so much for organising the Year 8 Mother’s Dinner. I appreciate how much work goes into organising such wonderful functions. It was a lovely opportunity to meet some of the mothers of the girls my daughter comes home every day talking about. (Mrs Norton – Year 8 Parent) I was driving on the Inner City Bypass a few days ago and I suddenly noticed the Creative Learning Centre in all its glory. It looked fantastic and I am so excited about it opening officially. It will be a great asset to the School and while I am very proud of it, I am also very jealous that it wasn’t Congratulations and thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining Gala evening. It was testimony to hard work, passion, dedication and professionalism on the part of all. The whole arrangement of the performance was cleverly connected. What a wonderfully talented and well disciplined assembly of young people and some who are just a touch older!! My guests were so impressed. This performance has inspired my daughter to re-join the choir. Thank you again for a magnificent evening’s entertainment. I am so proud to be a parent at Girls Grammar. (Mrs Mackenzie – Year 9 Parent) My daughter just emailed me the Volume one, Issue one of Alumni News . It was just fabulous and so very exciting. I found the information to be relevant for the intended reader and at the same time short and diverse enough to retain our attention. I am confident that this initiative will be most successful. Congratulations to everyone involved. (Mrs Anthony – Past Parent) there when I was at Grammar! (Lucy Byrne – Alumnae 2004)

grammar gazette: Autumn 2007 edition

Grammar Girls......................................... 13 Learning Initiatives................................. 15 Sport........................................................ 16 Snapshots................................................ 17 Alumni..................................................... 18 Old Girls Association............................... 19

From the School Leaders........................... 2 From the Principal..................................... 3 Leadership................................................. 4 Challenge................................................... 5 In Focus...................................................... 6 Creative Learning Centre......................... 10 Staff Profiles............................................ 12


Our theme for 2007, Create the Bonds, has been well embraced in Term I. In developing this theme we were looking to challenge Grammar girls to enhance unity within the School and create connections with the community. The enthusiasm with which this challenge has already been met has surpassed our expectations. The bonding began with a ‘Summer Sausage Shindig for a Shave’ in celebration of the last day of summer. This involved a fun-filled lunchtime of music, dancing, a sausage sizzle and a summer atmosphere. There was a good reason for this partying, as proceeds went to Rebecca Conrick (10W) who shaved her head to raise money for cancer research. The way in which the School supported Rebecca and her cause was incredible and the unity created has set the standard for the year. To further encourage bonding within the School, the Sports and Arts captains came up with the innovative idea of a Grammar Pride ‘loyalty card.’ Similar to a retail loyalty card, the cardholder (students) will be rewarded for supporting major school activities. The Student Council has introduced another new initiative this year, entitled ‘Grammartime’, inspired by MC Hammer’s song, Can’t Touch This . In addition to funds raised over the year, the time that girls spend doing things for others is also going to being counted. Something else that has been generating great excitement has, of course, been the construction of the Creative Learning Centre. With its completion looming closer, it is Create the Bonds

looking spectacular and is sure to become an integral part of the School campus and identity. We are very fortunate to be students at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, with great teachers, fantastic facilities and resources and all the opportunities we have. Not everyone in our community shares those same opportunities. This year the School has chosen to support Kummara, a Women’s Organisation based in West End that facilitates strategies to enhance Indigenous family functioning and well being. Even today, retention rates of Indigenous children in Queensland schools are very poor. Kummara believes that starting school with all the necessary equipment makes for a positive beginning to education. The funds Grammar girls raise this year will go exclusively towards school resources for Indigenous children. Following the success of ‘Blue Day’ and ‘Grammar’s Got Talent’ many more fundraising activities will be held in support of Kummara. Term I has been filled with much bonding, fundraising, and celebrating, and if we continue the momentum, 2007 is going to be a landmark year at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Sarah Cowley and Sally Fry, Head Girls

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FROM THE PR INC I PAL Effective Education

Excellent teachers are crucial to the success of any educational institution which seeks to facilitate enthusiastic and effective learning for its students. When appointing academic staff at Brisbane Girls Grammar School we look for proof of intellectual rigour through superior academic qualifications and professional associations, and confirmation of an ability to actually teach effectively, evidenced through excellent teacher training reports and references — but it is also the answer to one very important question during the interview that makes all the difference: “Why do you enjoy teaching teenaged girls?” The student care programme at Girls Grammar is central to approaching the holistic education of our girls. We believe that if our girls feel they belong, feel ‘looked after’ and know we respect their development as young women, then they will be motivated to enjoy learning, achieve the best outcomes academically and be positively involved in the wider co-curricular life of the School. In other words, they will like to come to school and be optimistic about their own holistic education and learning development. To achieve a consistent approach to student care amongst our staff, we teachers themselves should be the product of a first rate teacher education experience. 1 Schools are increasingly complex institutions expected to meet multiple goals and to respond to shifting social and political agendas. To make schools effective, to create the kind of enabling and flexible environments in which students can flourish,

12 mentors, engage in numerous House events and find out about all the wonderful co-curricular activities they may wish to experience. Parents enjoy a welcome cocktail party and are encouraged to meet staff early on to monitor the progress of their daughters over the first few weeks. In other words, the School understands how important it is for our new families to feel welcome, settled and part of the Girls Grammar community. In this way, the students have the enthusiasm and excitement to work hard in the classroom, make new friends, try new activities and form an attachment to their School. They feel cared for, supported and happy. Brisbane Girls Grammar has one of the best staffs I have encountered in any school; they are dedicated to the profession of teaching, conscientious in their work ethic, leaders in their field and, most importantly, deeply committed to educating — in every sense of the word — the young women in their care. Ms Amanda Bell

employ a number of strategies. For new staff there is a comprehensive induction and mentoring programme to introduce them to the School’s culture, programmes and policies; for existing staff there is an on-going professional development regime tailored to each teacher’s specific roles and responsibilities in the School. Girls Grammar and the senior management team invest a significant amount of time and resources into these strategies to ensure our teachers are well positioned to care for our students, in the same way we ensure they have the necessary formal qualifications, skills and on-going professional development to teach their subject area in the classroom. Our new Year 8 girls are similarly inducted and mentored when they first experience Girls Grammar. Starting at a new school and commencing secondary school can cause some apprehension, so we are careful to ensure the girls feel welcome and part of the whole School. The House afternoon teas in the year prior to commencement are the ideal ‘ice-breakers’ for the girls, where they meet their prospective classmates and their parents can begin to make those all important community connections. Once here, the Year 8 students meet their Year

1 Top of the Class , Report on the inquiry into teacher education, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training, The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, February 2007

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Leadership A profile of Ms Elizabeth Jameson, newly elected Chair of the Board of Trustees Elizabeth Jameson entered Brisbane Girls Grammar School in January, 1978 as a Year 8 day girl. Her grandmother, Laura Horn, was a student at the School from 1907 to 1914 but unfortunately Elizabeth’s mother was unable to attend due to the circumstances of World War II. Lively and spirited, with boundless energy, she gave the impression that she planned to grab her Girls Grammar opportunity with both hands and not waste a minute of precious time. Of course, as with most successful Grammar girls, there was always the sense that she would also have a great deal of fun along the way.

governance consultancy, Board Matters, and associated legal practice in February 2002. In this role, she combines her many years of experience as a corporate/commercial solicitor, with practical board knowledge and experience gained from sitting on a range of boards. Board positions that she holds, or has held, include MAP Funds Management Ltd, the Queensland Music Festival Pty Ltd, Ergon Energy Pty Ltd (until November 2006), the Association of Independent Schools of Queensland (until February 2006), the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast and Qantm Pty Ltd. As a result of her work on these boards, amongst other things, Elizabeth is a tutor for the national Company Director Course offered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Almost thirty years after entering the gates of Brisbane Girls Grammar School for the first time, that boundless energy, enthusiasm and passion for the School have not waned as Elizabeth Jameson embarks on the first year of her journey as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Her depth of commitment to the School’s Aspiration, ‘to be respected internationally as a leader in the education of young women’, has never been stronger. In a newspaper article, Friendship before influence: Does the old school dress advance professional women’s careers? which appeared in The Courier Mail in March, 2005, Ms Jameson stated, “You come up against the old boy network all the time. I think it used to matter . . . Now I don’t feel it influences who gets ahead . . . For women, I don’t think the old school tie works that way . . . But we are very good at mentoring other younger women”. These comments illustrate her deep understanding of the importance of mentoring in the professional sphere and the significance of modelling leadership roles for our young women. At the Towards 2007 Leadership Conference for our Year 11 students in November, 2006, Elizabeth explored her idea of the five Ls of Leadership — live, love, learn, laugh and lead. Our current Year 12 girls have readily accepted this maxim and are diligently following her advice. Perhaps one or more of these girls will emulate Elizabeth’s example of thirty years’ (and more to come!) service to the School. Elizabeth Jameson would appear to be a very worthy successor to Dr Cherrell Hirst, who provided exemplary service on our Board of Trustees for sixteen years and conscientious leadership as Chair for the past ten. Elizabeth’s extraordinary dedication to the School and the Board of Trustees, as well as her outstanding intellect and wisdom, should help to ensure that Brisbane Girls Grammar School will have an extremely bright future. Ms Jan O’Sullivan Head of Griffith House and English Teache r

As Elizabeth’s English teacher in Year 8 (Form 2E) in my first year at the School, I recall her being a vibrant, enthusiastic participant in class discussions, writing imaginative stories, relishing any drama work we might do, whilst noting down statistics of the frequency of ‘fashionable’ words used by her teacher. “Ms O’Sullivan, did you know you used ‘unreal’ six times today?” In hindsight, I cannot quite believe that I used such terms in an English lesson. It was, however, the late seventies, I was ‘a bit of a kid’ myself at the time, and occasionally now, I do hear our young people using the word, ‘cool’. Elizabeth’s Girls Grammar opportunity evolved in an outstandingly successful way. Having received a Prize for Academic Merit in Year 9, and Speech and Drama in Year 10, she was awarded Prizes for Japanese, Public Speaking and Service to the School in her Senior years. In conjunction with her extensive academic schedule she became heavily involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, attaining both a Bronze and Silver Award. Elizabeth’s leadership career progressed from being voted by her peers into the position of Class Captain in Years 9 to 11, to her appointment as Gibson House Captain and Head Girl in Year 12. Being a talented Drama student, her role as Head Girl enabled Elizabeth to manage School Assemblies like a professional, revealing an extraordinary presence in front of her audience. Teachers of that era fondly recall her great rapport with both students and staff in the old Auditorium where she often demonstrated her excellent oratory skills, her sense of humour and her natural ability to entertain. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts (with a double-major in Japanese) from the University of Queensland in 1985, she attained an Associate Diploma (Teacher) of Speech and Drama in 1986, followed by a Bachelor of Law (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland in 1987 and, in the same year, had the added honour of being awarded the Una Prentice Prize for Top Woman Law Graduate at the University of Queensland. Elizabeth completed her Articles of Clerkship at Morris, Fletcher and Cross, was admitted to the Queensland Supreme Court to practice as a solicitor in 1990 and continued her career at Morris, Fletcher and Cross until she joined Holmans. In 1994, Elizabeth was appointed to the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Board of Trustees, an initiative that stemmed from her wanting to repay the School for receiving such an outstanding education. Having been re-elected in 1998, 2002 and 2006, her commitment has moved forward to the stage where she wants to contribute to the future of girls’ education in Australia. After fifteen years in private law firms, Elizabeth resigned her position as a partner of a national law firm to establish the

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sophisticated community. Here we were exposed to many aspects of a male dominated society and a community consisting of vast financial extremes. We experienced the confronting ritual sights of animal sacrifice, a thrilling ride on a rickshaw, and the peace and tranquillity of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity where her memorial museum and tomb is situated. Kolkata provided us with a variety of both, exciting and moving experiences in preparation for our subsequent three weeks in the already captivating country of India. Our picturesque trek through the Indian Himalayas included various challenging and memorable elements such as negative temperatures, snow, a significant lack of showers and electricity, as well as extreme walking distances. The highest point on the trek was 3600m, which for some will be the highest point of the world they will ever physically conquer. Witnessing the sunrise behind three of the four highest mountains on earth was surreal and inspirational. For five days we combined a community service project in Gangtok with the adventure of our journey and it not only turned out to be a highlight of the trip but became our home away from home. Whether girls were painting the community hall for the Tibetan Women’s Association or transporting rocks for the Thi Sambhuda Tibetan School, the Grammar girls were immersed in the heart of the community and their culture. It was an extremely gratifying feeling knowing how much the community appreciated the help. Whether it was little notes from the children at the school or the tearful cries of ladies from the Tibetan Women’s Association, it was with sadness and trepidation that we left our home away from home. The expedition to India provided all of us with interesting and challenging goals as we learnt the principles of leadership, became involved in a community project and experienced first-hand a fascinating culture. Throughout the twenty-four days of exploring and discovering India, we came to appreciate the beauty of the country, the diversity of its people and the culture they embrace. From witnessing some of the world’s worst poverty to actually touching the Taj Mahal, the expedition was an eye opening experience to a different part of the world, different people, a different culture and a different way of life. For all of us who participated in the Antipodeans Abroad trip, not one experience was the same. We were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to be exposed to such a diverse culture. It was an unforgettably rewarding and inspiring experience that words cannot explain.

Antipodeans Charlotte Boyte (12B) and Phoebe McRae (12B), recount the challenging journey taken by a group of Years 11 and 12 students on their Antipodean Expedition at the end of last year. in India

For forty-eight adventurous girls, the opportunity to travel to India with staff members — Mr Seaha, Miss Martel, Ms Boyle, Mrs Hann, Ms Hennessy and Miss Axelsen, was one of a lifetime. The girls had chosen to join the Antipodean Expedition for a number of reasons; they were motivated by their desire to serve India’s community, the associated physical challenge and the excitement of spending a month in a foreign country experiencing a different culture. Upon arriving in India, the sharp senses of the Grammar girls, ready for an adventure,

were met by potent smells, harsh spicy food and loud and persistent car horns. Intense co-operation between group members was required to navigate and explore the bustling streets. The vast range of experiences in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was exhausting and exhilarating. An excitable seventy-one year old man who has worked in the tourism business for forty-one years guided us on our first tour of the rich Indian culture. Believed to be the ethereal abode of the goddess Kali, who embodies fortitude and strength, Kolkata is home to a joyous, cerebral and

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The orientation activities which are implemented for our Year 8 students provide them with the opportunity to view themselves as part of a community. We believe that an individual’s well-being is linked to the group of which they are a part. Experience indicates that for Year 8s their “connectedness” within the School community is a major determinant of their successful transition to secondary schooling. Fostering positive relationships within the group begins with a focus on their House Group and gradually expands to include their year group, their House and indeed the School as a whole. In this way the students gain the sense of belonging which is fundamental to their ability to develop and grow socially, emotionally and intellectually. The connections which are so important for the girls to establish when they enter the School begin with their first meeting with Ms Bell and their Head of House when they are still in Year 7. At this interview

Ms Samantha Bolton, Year 8 Level Co-ordinator and Head of Woolcock House.

Beginning Secondary School is a significant milestone in the lives of young people. New uniforms, new books, new travel arrangements and new friends all bring with them feelings ranging from excitement to anxiety. Accompanying this emotional roller coaster are the physical, intellectual and psychological changes of early adolescence. Schools must meet students’ needs at this time by providing orientation programmes which engage them, through a mixture of fun, thoughtful and reassuring activities. Such activities help them to develop the skills to face the demands of their new situation and allow them to be personally enriched through the process.

grammar gazette autumn 2007

Ms Sarah McGarry, Head of England House, with her Year 8 House group

afternoon tea where they are able to meet the other members of the class. Thus, the connections which will be nurtured throughout the following year are initiated. On their first day as students of the School our 200 plus Year 8s gather as a group for a formal greeting from the Principal, Ms Bell. They are addressed by the Head Girls who reminisce about their own feelings when they sat in the same building five years earlier. This is an exciting time for everyone involved and there is a palpable sense of anticipation and promise. This year Mrs McConaghy, one of the Deputy Principals read the girls a wonderful story, Imagine a Day by Sarah L Thomson which encouraged them to seize the opportunities being offered yet acknowledged the uncertainty and newness of their situation. With the words of the book still fresh in their minds the girls divided into their House Groups and moved to the rooms which were to be their base during morning House Group time for the rest of the year.

The role of a House Group teacher is particularly significant for Year 8s. These teachers monitor the day to day progress of the girls within their care, managing a multitude of situations as they arise and pre-empting many concerns felt by their students. Each Year 8 group has two House Prefects appointed from the Year 12 group of the same House who act as role models for the younger girls. They contribute to the feelings of connection through their acknowledgement of birthdays, achievements and qualities. As well as having their Prefects, each Year 8 girl has a Year 12 buddy from their House. This buddy relationship is rewarding for both the younger and older girls, allowing one to see where they are going and the other to see where they have been. It is difficult to define the responsibilities of a “buddy” as the relationship tends to be shaped by the individuals involved. Each Year 8 girl receives a welcome card from her “buddy” during the Christmas holidays before they

they experience their first taste of the Girls Grammar approach to life and learning. A personal interaction with the Principal makes the occasion an auspicious one and establishes each individual’s importance to the School. This is a fundamental principle of our approach to orientating our new students — that is, that they are and feel that they are, seen and known within the School community. Each student’s first meeting with her Head of House is crucial in establishing a relationship of trust which will develop throughout her five years at the School. The sense of belonging to a specific House is deepened when they visit again on Open Day where they experience a House display focussed on welcoming them to the School. It is particularly appropriate that these displays are planned and created by the incumbent Year 8 group — almost seen as a rite of passage. Towards the end of the year preceding the girls’ entry into the School each Year 8 House Group is invited to attend an

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to orientation is embedded within every aspect of the School. The quality of the Year 8 experience is largely determined by the nexus between the pastoral, the academic and the co-curricular. Although the School is organised so that there is a group of people whose core business involves overseeing the pastoral strand of the girls’ education, the provision of care and the development of student well being is the domain of every teacher in every classroom. This ensures that our Year 8 girls receive a truly holistic education. As part of this education the girls are engaged in a structured Student Care programme which addresses their needs at this time. Research suggests that effective Student Care programmes result in “improvements in educational attainment and behaviour” 1 . It can be asserted that building “quality relationships of trust and care in the school is the foundation and springboard for long term sustained educational outcomes”. 2 Our Year 8 Student Care programme is organised in four units which coincide with the four School terms. It is flexible so that the specific needs of a group or indeed an individual may be considered, although there are themes, such as self-esteem, resilience and friendship which are considered essential. These themes are not the basis of discrete units but rather are connected and revisited over the four terms. They are also reinforced in the students’ academic classes. The classroom teachers of each House Group meet fortnightly as a team to discuss their students’ development and how they can provide them with the best possible experience in their subjects. In the initial weeks of first term there is a great deal of emphasis on how well the Year 8 girls are settling into their group. The creation of a culture based on respect which nurtures each individual by valuing their differences is an excellent way to promote the security of the students. This is promoted and encouraged in each classroom by engaging the girls in discussions about well-being in both an individual and group context. Underlying the core business of teaching and learning is a complex, dynamic and pervasive approach to the pastoral care of the girls. This enables them to develop a sense of well-being which is based on the capacity to enjoy their successes and the resilience to grow through their difficult times. A beginning such as this goes a long way towards ensuring a good ending.

One of the reasons why the transition to Year 8 at Brisbane Girls Grammar School is so successful is because the approach to orientation is embedded within every aspect of the School.

Once the Year 8s have experienced their House party they are well and truly converted to their particular colour. This sense of belonging is heightened later in first term through the Interhouse Volleyball competition, an event restricted to the Year 8s yet so rewarding and memorable that there are frequent requests to run it at other year levels. Every girl in the House Group takes part in the game — at the same time — and although Volleyball purists might shudder at the loose interpretation of the rules this does no harm to the popularity of the sport which has plenty of girls trying out for the serious teams later in the year. The most important outcome of this competition though is the feelings that it engenders within each House Group. It is wonderful to see the girls encouraging and supporting each other regardless of the success of their “team”. One of the reasons why the transition to Year 8 at Brisbane Girls Grammar School is so successful is because the approach

begin at the School. This communication contributes to the excitement of starting a new phase in their lives. The House system is a clearly visible part of the School at Interhouse events. At these times the array of colours (nine of them) can be overwhelming, while the creativity of the girls’ costumes is a source of wonder and awe to the newly arrived Year 8 cohort. For most of the latter their previous experience of Houses and a House system is restricted to such competitions. However, while the fun and frivolity of the events mentioned are important they are underpinned by a philosophy of student care which is facilitated through the House system. This system allows each individual to belong to a specific group within the School from the moment they arrive. It is with this end in sight that a great deal of energy goes into organising a party for each House in the first few weeks of term. The result is an afternoon of bright colours, silly party games and tasty party food.

1. Keown, P., Parker, L., & Tiakiwai, S. (2005). Values in the New Zealand curriculum: a literature review on values in the curriculum. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved March 15, 2007, from 2. Lovat, T. (2005, May 2-3). Values education and teachers’ work: A quality teaching perspective. Keynote Address: National Values Education Forum. Australian Government Department of Education Science and Training. National Museum Canberra. A version of this paper appeared in New Horizons in Education , 112 (2005). Retrieved March 16, 2007, from http://www.

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IN FOCUS Developmentally, where are Year 8 old girls?

and are endlessly discussed, burgeoning sexuality and physicality are managed. They give themselves freely to friends and experiment with different relationships and different personality ‘roles’ within their peer groups. They seek out and try to immerse themselves in the vicissitudes, whether supportive or dubious, of group life because group membership, of whatever kind, shields the vulnerable adolescent from intense insecurity about who they really are as individuals and where they fit in. It is a time characterised by desire, doubt and enthusiasm. Parenting at this time can feel very difficult and surprisingly lonely as parents are required to question their previously held beliefs about their adolescent, to bear not knowing, to examine themselves, to tolerate rejection and assist the adolescent as they take their first uncertain steps from self consciousness and self doubt towards self certainty.

As thought becomes more abstract the principles of formal logic begin to be incorporated. The ‘formal operational stage’ gives adolescents the ability to reason contrary to fact (for example, they will argue that day is night) which is an important part of their progression to developing problem solving capabilities. Abstract thinking allows adolescents to reflect on their thought processes in an objective manner. This may lead to premature confidence in their reasoning abilities and disdain for others’, particularly adults, ability to think. Confidence leads to risk taking, thinking becomes self-centred but the brain is not yet fully equipped to deal with the situations which arise. Adolescents find themselves caught in an ‘in-between time’, a torrid state of wanting to assert independence while needing to feel a sense of belonging. They look to their friends more than ever for acceptance and understanding, finding security with others who are going through the same experience. New kinds of friendships develop

Perspective – House Group Teacher Year 8 is unique. For girls at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Year 8 means engaging with a new school environment, new peer groups, new adult mentors, and new learning experiences as well as negotiating the minefield of intense emotional and physical change. The role of the Year 8 House Group teacher is as unique as this experience. The House Group teacher needs to provide information at a rate at which the student can process it, as well as a secure environment in which the students can learn to manage new challenges. Most importantly, the teacher has a responsibility to help students establish connections with each other. Students from diverse backgrounds need to develop into a supportive and cohesive group; one that cares for the individual yet can negotiate the pathways of secondary school as a team. The House Group teacher needs to manage the balance between the fun: “birthday cakes, games, competitions” whilst reinforcing to the students respect for the Code of Behaviour of the School. Each Year 8 student is valued and as a House Group teacher, the experience is challenging but always rewarding. Mrs Jenny Winter House Group teacher 8W Developmentally, students in Year 8 are at the beginning of adolescence which is often experienced as the most conflict laden, bewildering and challenging of all years. The focus at this time is on independence, identity and acceptance. It heralds the beginning of an intimidating and intoxicating rite of passage which is met in a wide variety of ways. The central occupation is one of ‘Who am I?’ The working through of this, one of the most important of the tasks of adolescence, enables the transition from place in family to place in outside world and society to occur. At this time the adolescent is physically growing more rapidly than at any other stage except in the womb. Puberty has begun or is about to begin bringing with it body changes, anxieties of old emotions and new feelings and a confusing mix of self doubt and self assurance. Students at this age are enduring the losses of childhood, testing boundaries and changing interests. The endocrine glands are in full gear, releasing hormones everywhere, but the brain is a ‘work in progress’, still in the process of moving from concrete to abstract thinking.

Mrs Karen Belbin School Counsellor

Buddies Being in Year 12 is all and more that it’s glorified to be. One of the rewards for Year 12 students are the extra responsibilities of having a Year 8 buddy to guide for a year. Many students when starting at Brisbane Girls Grammar find having someone to help them out in their first year is particularly beneficial, especially in their first week of school when finding their way to and from classes and trying to understand Girls Grammar’s unique traditions. As their relationship grows deeper,

both girls find a new, fresh pair of eyes through which to view the School and the outside world. For the Year 12s, the 8s are particularly special as they show us how far we’ve come since we first stepped through the picketed fence. For the Year 8s, the 12s reveal to them that it is possible to make it through high school … Shanti Mistry (12O) and Katrina Couzens (80 ) grammar gazette autumn 2007


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Reflecting on images of the original site where the six-storey Creative Learning Centre now stands, it’s hard to believe that in only eighteen months the School’s campus has changed so dramatically. The entire School community has been involved in someway in this exciting journey and now that the long anticipated opening of the Creative Learning Centre draws near, a great sense of pride flows through the School. Capturing the images of the Creative Learning Centre’s construction has formed a significant historical record for the School.

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2006 Staff Awards Each year the School recognised three staff members who have made a special and significant contribution to the School. The recipients are nominated and selected by their colleagues.

The exceptional standard of musical performance for which Girls Grammar is renowned has been developed over the last ten years by Mark Sullivan and his seventeen specialist staff. During this time Mark and his team have developed a dynamic and innovative programme that caters for all student’s skills and talents and has cemented the School’s position as a leader in the field of performance music. Feature events such as the Gala, the Cathedral Concert and Speech Day are truly professional productions which are the result of detailed planning, tireless effort and exceptional musicianship. Over 500 girls participate in the weekly programme which includes 32 groups comprising of bands, string, orchestras, choral, jazz, percussion, chamber music and contemporary ensembles. Mark said: “I am constantly inspired and motivated by the exceptional talent of the girls that I teach and the level of performance that can be achieved. Encouraging young musicians to discover and nurture their talent is the most thrilling aspect of being a music educator.” seen a great many changes both to the School and to his role. In 1980 the School employed two full-time carpenters who maintained the buildings and also crafted many of the fittings and furniture required by staff and students. Rob is a qualified carpenter and his work can be seen in a wide variety of projects throughout the School including the creation of sets for drama productions, bringing to reality the installation dreams of visual art students, relocating faculty staffroom and general repair and maintenance requirements. With two campuses and 1150 students and 150 staff — it is a demanding job. Rob’s talents extend beyond carpentry and his enthusiasm and problem-solving ability have made him a valuable member of the Facilities team. Rob says he enjoys the daily challenges of his job and the contact he has with staff and students — “they show their appreciation for the assistance I give them and that makes it all the more enjoyable” he said.

Mr Mark Sullivan, Director Instrumental Music

Ms Louisa M c Garry, History and Study of Religion Teacher Award for Professional Practice by a Recent Graduate in Teaching This Award recognises exemplary development in teaching practice and enthusiastic contribution to the wider life of the School by a recent graduate. Louisa was appointed to the School in January 2006 and has proven to be an exemplary classroom practitioner. Louisa has been responsible for the Year 11 Study of Religion syllabus; she has demonstrated enthusiasm as well as a critical sense of how the course could be developed to cater for the changing needs of her students. Her decision to introduce an excursion into the course has provided the students with a vehicle by which to further understand religious difference in our community. Probably never before has such a tolerance of religious difference been so important in the Australian community and Louisa is passionate about developing such tolerance in her students. Louisa says she enjoys being involved in many aspects of school life “One of the good things about working at Girls Grammar is that there is always so much happening with plenty of opportunities for staff involvement” she said. Louisa attended the Leading Learning Conference at the Kings School (Sydney) in 2006 and returned with an added vibrancy for her classroom practice. Louisa has proven to be a valuable contributor to the SES Faculty and she will no doubt develop into a superb practitioner.

Award for Excellence in Education This Award is for an academic staff member who has displayed consistent and dedicated service to teaching and learning in the School. The recipient will have contributed in a significant and or innovative way to the enhancement of our educational provision for young women above and beyond expectations.

Mr Robert Vogler, Carpenter Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School This Award is for either an academic or general staff member who has made a sustained and significant contribution to the provision of educational services in the School. In the twenty-six years that Rob has been employed as the School’s carpenter he has

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Stephanie Carter (12E) has been selected as the World Vision Youth Ambassador for Australia. Stephanie’s commitment began two years ago when she spent a week at Moorooka State School working with Sudanese refugee children. After completing a World Vision 40-hour Challenge, she applied for the Youth Ambassador role. Though her first application was rejected, she was invited to join Vision Generation and go to the National Youth Summit in Melbourne. “I reapplied for the Youth Ambassador program and eventually got the call.” As a junior Queensland representative of World Vision, she travelled to Laos to see the charity’s projects first hand. She will continue her ambassadorial role for 12 months. “I would love to study teaching and eventually teach in a developing country,” she said. Stephanie enjoys the work she does with World Vision and Brisbane Girls Grammar School’s Community Service Programme and although she is very busy with her studies and other activities she said it has all been worth it. “The two weeks that I spent in Laos observing the conditions and meeting with many families in both urban and rural areas, were incredibly eye opening and often quite confronting. It was an experience that gave me an insight into the lives and culture of the Lao people and one that allowed me to gain a greater understanding of poverty in a global context. Through my role as Youth Ambassador this year, I have the opportunity to share the stories of the Lao people with Queensland youth and to create further awareness of the global issues that I encountered in Laos,” Stephanie said. A Community Vision

Debating Her State

She joins a team of three other members and two reserves that will represent the State at the National Championships to be held in Melbourne late in May. We extend our very best wishes to Sarida in the National Championships. Sarida is the third Grammar girl to be selected to represent the State since 2001. Sarida, who has been debating since Year 8, said she not only enjoys the challenge of a debate and the variety of topics and opinions discussed, but its social aspects. “I spent a lot of time researching and building my general knowledge in preparation for the selection trials and having made it to the final twelve last year, I had a good idea of what to expect this year,” said Sarida. Sarida McLeod (12L) was selected to be part of the 2007 Queensland Schools Debating team following selection trials that were held in March.

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National History Challenger Jacinta Livingstone (11R) was recognised as Queensland’s Young Historian of the Year as a result of her entry on John Curtin’s foreign policy in the 2006 National History Challenge. She flew to Canberra in November to receive the award from the Federal Education Minister, Julie Bishop. Jacinta was also awarded joint Year 9 and 10 national winner and the Life and Times of John Curtin prize.

Ms Hennessey, Brisbane Girls Grammar School’s Head of History (2006), said Jacinta’s paper on John Curtin’s foreign policy was insightful and academically rigorous. “She argued a strong case and supported it with detailed historical evidence,” said Ms Hennessey. Jacinta is the third Grammar girl to achieve the Premier’s Young Historian of Queensland Award since the competition began in the late 1990s. “I chose to write about John Curtin and his New Year statement for 1942 ‘Australia looks to America’ because it was such an important turning point for Australia in World War II and for our foreign policy in general. Also, the war in the Pacific was run from General MacArthur’s headquarters right here in Brisbane and I feel we do not know enough about the importance of that as a community. History teaching in Years 9 and 10, is one of the big strengths of Brisbane Girls Grammar School. All young Australians need to know about our nation’s history and about the major events in History so we can understand how they impacted on the world and us. It’s one of those subjects that when you finish the assignment you still want to keep reading about,” said Jacinta. Physics Fanatic

Jacinta Livingstone and the Hon Julie Bishop, MP.

Kathryn Zealand (11R) won a Gold Award for Physics after being placed first in Queensland in the 2006 Australian Physics Olympiad National Qualifying Examinations.

Billiton Science Awards Ceremony held in Melbourne. “I think that knowledge makes you understand and appreciate everything more; I always want to know why. Physics is the study of why things happen, mathematics is the language of physics. I love learning about physics because I find it exciting realising the reasons why a particular phenomenon happens or suddenly realising a symmetry in the world, which wasn’t obvious before. I particularly like the research side of physics because you have to think very hard about why something happens, test your theory, and most of the time something unexpected happens, so you have to go back and try to explain it. It is very exciting when something finally works” said Kathryn. The BHP Billiton Science Awards reward young people who have undertaken practical research projects, which demonstrate innovative approaches and thorough scientific procedures.

Kathryn, as one of the top twenty students in Australia, was invited to attend the Australian Science Olympiads Scholar Training School that was held in Canberra in January. The Training School was Kathryn’s next step in being selected as one of the final five students that form the Australian Team for the Asian Physics Olympiad to be held later this year. “I think that knowledge makes you understand and appreciate everything more; I always want to know why.” Kathryn was also one of the youngest members to be selected to represent Australia last year at the 19th International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) held in Europe. Her team was awarded the bronze medal. As a result of the research she carried out in the IYPT programme, her work on thermo acoustic instabilities in pipes earned her a finalist position in the BHP Billiton National Science Awards. She was one of the top fifteen entrants in the country and attended the BHP

Photo: Mark Fergus, CSIRO

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Tapping into the “Screen Age” World The adage, times are a changin’ , has almost become the norm rather than the unexpected in modern society. In particular, technological change occurs on such a scope that no occupation or field of study is immune. The rate of this change also shows no sign of abating. This is why we must provide our students with those life skills that will allow them to engage purposefully with technologies that have not even been invented yet.

Teachers must create the environment that will help our young women become complex problem solvers, progressive thinkers, adaptable to change and open to new technologies. This would be nearly impossible in a stagnant and unchanging atmosphere. Fortunately, the environment in Technology Studies is far from a bleak reality mired in the thinking of the past. The purchase of twenty new robotics kits and the latest software has provided the junior computing curriculum with the means to enthuse and animate the students’ experience as they immerse themselves in a dynamic and challenging classroom environment. The Technology Studies Faculty is currently investigating pathways for the girls to extend this interest beyond the classroom through co-operation with Brisbane Grammar School and entry into the national robotics competition, Robo Cup Challenge. Another progressive area of study in the realm of computing is mobile technology. Mobile phones iPods, and PlayStation portables are integral to the youth culture of our current screenagers . These technologies have been perceived predominantly as entertainment but future units of study will involve students in developing streaming pod casts, games programming, digital animation and film technology for applications on these mobile devices. The Innovative Design curriculum has also been reviewed following feedback from Year 9 students. It continues to maintain its focus on sustainability and the built environment but with added emphasis on 3D spatial development utilising technology. Our student designers have begun a rigorous yet satisfying journey through engineering, architectural and computer-aided drafting, sustainable town planning,

landscape and interior design. They have access to the latest conceptualisation resources and software and their ideation and effort will culminate in scale model replications of their visions. We are looking forward to showcasing some exciting and innovative products in the near future! Mr Shane Skillen Technology Studies Teacher

From Apprentices to Performers

During Term III, last year, English teacher, Mrs Rachael Christopherson and the Year 10.2 English Elective class were invited to participate in a valuable Queensland University of Technology education project.

Rachel was selected to participate as a result of being the recipient of the 2005 English Teachers’ Association of Queensland Peter Botsman award for excellence in classroom practice. Although the project has not been fully implemented and evaluated, Dr Jetnikoff reported that the verbal feedback from QUT teaching staff and students so far has been highly positive.

exemplary secondary English teachers planning, interacting with their students and reflecting on their teaching, and to make the edited videotaped resources available to QUT pre-service secondary English education students within their curriculum subjects. The resources may also be used in the professional development of Queensland secondary English teachers. Dr Jetnikoff and Dr Morgan interviewed Rachael about her approach to teaching English and throughout the term they filmed many of the 10.2 English lessons, providing opportunities for the students to reflect on their learning, and for Rachael to reflect on her teaching practice.

Entitled, ‘From apprentice to performer in secondary English classrooms’, the project was undertaken as part of a QUT Teaching and Learning Grant project, Work-integrated learning: Approaches across education. The team leaders for the contributing project, ‘Apprentice to Performer’ were Dr Anita Jetnikoff and Dr Wendy Morgan. The purpose of the project was to videotape

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