Designing the Future - CGS Impact Report 2023

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designing the future


ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF COUNTRY Canberra Grammar School acknowledges the traditional custodians of the country on which it stands, the Ngunnawal people. We offer respect to elders and to the heritage of countless generations.


From the Chair & Head Of School


The Canberra Grammar School Foundation


Giving at a Glance – Insights into Our Annual Donations


A Celebration of Giving – Honouring Our Supporters


Transcending Limits – A Scholar’s Journey


Honouring Memories – Nurturing the Next Generation of Leaders


Musical Notes – A Letter of Thanks


Sculpting a Bright Future – How the Gift of Art Can Inspire Change


Words of Giving – Thoughts From Our Donors


Changing Lives – The Transformative Power of Bursaries


Flying High – Fuelled by Ambition


Leaving a Legacy


Getting in Touch


Canberra Grammar School Foundation Board



from the Chair & Head of School –1–

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FO RE WO RD We are delighted to introduce the very first CGS Foundation - Impact Report for 2023, a crucial stepping stone in our journey as we approach a significant milestone in the history of our School. As Head of Canberra Grammar School & the Chair of the CGS Foundation Board, we are proud to present this report alongside the leaders and educators who have played an integral role in our School’s continued success. As we open these pages, we embark on a journey through stories of impact from our students and community, an expedition that underscores the vital role that philanthropy and generosity play in our School’s ability to thrive. With moments such as our first annual CGS Giving Day and the Celebration of Giving donor event to look back on, we recognise that our success is made possible through the heartfelt support of our community, for which we are truly grateful. Each story within this report is a testament to the boundless potential of our students, and the unwavering support from individuals and organisations who believe in the power of education. As we move closer to our School’s centenary, we are not only celebrating our rich history but also looking ahead to an even brighter future. The CGS Centenary Project plan has set forth a clear vision for our institution as we approach this momentous occasion. The work of the CGS Foundation has been instrumental in guiding us toward our objectives and enabled us to lay the foundation for a stronger, more vibrant future for Canberra Grammar School. We encourage you to join us in celebrating the collective efforts that have made these stories of impact possible. Consider the lives that have been changed, the barriers that have been overcome, and the bright horizons that have been unveiled. Thank you for being an integral part of our journey. It is your support and your belief in the power of education that make these stories not just possible, but profoundly meaningful. Sincerely, James Willson Chair of the Foundation Board

Dr Justin Garrick Head of School



the Canberra Grammar School Foundation –3–

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In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Canberra Grammar School has emerged as a beacon of academic excellence and holistic development. The CGS Foundation and its donors endeavour to make a significant difference in the lives of students and the wider community. From fostering a dynamic learning environment to implementing immersive and engaging educational experiences, this report highlights our journey towards creating a meaningful and lasting impact.



Scan QR code to view our donor list, and find out about the CGS Foundation and the Centenary Project.


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OUR SINCEREST THANKS TO YOU The inspiring stories that follow are examples of what supporters like you have made possible. We are grateful for the generosity and commitment we receive from our community and all that has been made possible by the sheer fortitude and dedication of our supporters.



giving at a glance –7–

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$ $601,979






















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a celebration of giving – 11 –

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HONOU RI N G OU R SU PPORTE RS Our Annual Celebration of Giving event held at the School is an opportunity to thank our valued donors for all the support and patronage they have shown the CGS Foundation and the School over the years. It is also a perfect opportunity to showcase the impact and influence that giving has made in the lives of students who have benefited from scholarships and support from the foundation. Mikayla Helms (Year 12), has been a boarder at CGS under the Indigenous Scholarship Programme since the start of 2022. She is particularly grateful for the cultural and academic opportunities that Canberra Grammar School has provided both her and the other Indigenous Scholars. — Opposite page from left: Ben Monro, Deklan Barford and Mikayla Helms at the Celebration of Giving event —

At CGS, I’m surrounded by like-minded people who also want to do the best they can in life, which encourages me and pushes me to try my best. The School also cemented my decision to become one of the 400 Aboriginal doctors in Australia. – Mikayla Helms

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Ben Monro, a recipient of the Tim Murray Music Scholarship, is also in Year 12 and sees his music scholarship as an opportunity to perform, learn and develop as a person. The gift of a scholarship empowers students by offering them resources, support, and recognition apart from the obvious financial relief. They pave the way for personal growth, academic achievement, and future success, ultimately contributing to a more educated and thriving society.

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Thanks to the contributions of our donor community, we have been able to achieve remarkable milestones and create opportunities that would not have been possible without their involvement.

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transcending limits – 15 –

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A SCHOL AR’ S JOU RN E Y Deklan Barford is an Indigenous Scholar who began his journey with CGS in 2022. He gave a heartfelt talk at the School’s recent Donor event. Below is an excerpt from his speech. My name is Deklan Barford and I am a proud Yuin man and a Year 10 student at Canberra Grammar School. Attending CGS is an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for and one that has shaped me to be the man I am today. I have only been at CGS since 2022, and it has already given me many more opportunities to better myself than I could’ve received at home. Home for me is a little south coast town named Ulladulla. Moving to CGS and being a boarder has pushed me past limits I never thought I could overcome and allowed me to achieve goals beyond my imagination. Before coming to CGS, I was faced with many challenges, these included a poor learning environment due to the continual disruption in classes, followed by my home being burnt down in the 2020 bushfires. This led to my whole family having to couch surf with other families while I started Year 7.

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COVID-19 made it much more difficult for me as a student, from not truly getting to experience high school to not having a reliable Wi-Fi source at home. This meant pretty much living at friends’ and family’s houses just to attend school. Then, in 2022, it all changed. I was determined to attend CGS, I wouldn’t take no for an answer. It took a whole PowerPoint presentation to convince my parents to let me apply for the scholarship. That was the greatest decision they ever made! Canberra Grammar School has been one of the best things to happen to me, a light at the end of the tunnel. My education and future have been looking the best it’s been in years. I would like to recognise that none of the above would have been possible for me without the Indigenous Scholarship Programme that CGS offers. For me, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity of a lifetime without the support of everyone who made the Programme possible and gave me the chance to be a much better person than when I entered CGS. I have given inspiration to many younger students, including my younger brother. It would be an honour to be a boarder alongside him, watching him grow as a young man. I hope he can experience the same opportunities and more that I have experienced thus far. The impact the scholarship has had on me, as well as my family, has been so positive. My family are incredibly proud of my achievements. I now aspire to a future in physiotherapy. I have spoken with many people to help and support me to achieve this goal, and I’ve begun steps to develop myself to get to this dream of mine. — Opposite page: Deklan visiting Ulladulla on term break —

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The areas at CGS I enjoy most are the friendships that I have built, the culture within the School to strive to be the best that you can be, whether this be in the classroom, on the sporting fields or as a person. – Deklan Barford

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honouring memories – 19 –

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N U RTU RI N G TH E N E X T G E N E R ATI ON OF LE AD E RS Ben McGinnes graduated from CGS in 2016 and was awarded the Robert Poate Scholarship for Years 11 and 12. The Robert Poate Scholarship for Leadership was established in 2013 to honour the memory of CGS Alumnus Robert Poate, who was tragically killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Together with the Poate family, Canberra Grammar School aimed to establish a scholarship in Robbie’s memory that commemorated his exceptional leadership skills and provided support to outstanding students in their studies at CGS. “It was an amazing honour for us as a family” said Ben when asked about how he felt about receiving the scholarship. As part of the scholarship experience, scholars were given the opportunity to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) in the USA, an immersive leadership experience.

I am very thankful that as part of the Poate Scholarship, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference. This opportunity was a valuable experience to develop leadership and negotiation skills, as well as connect with young leaders from all corners of the world. These memories will stay with me for a lifetime. – Ben McGinnes

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Through his time with the School, Ben developed a close relationship with the Poate family and has kept in contact ever since. “To learn about the Poate’s deep connection with CGS, Robbie’s heavy involvement in school life and post-school career, as well as the characteristics he displayed, were a reminder of how lucky I was to receive a scholarship in their name. Their devotion and passion towards everything they did, both inside and outside CGS, was a quality I wanted to embody in my final 2 years at school and beyond.” The Poates continue to grow their bond with the Canberra Grammar School and the CGS Foundation. They take particular interest in every generation of Poate scholars that come through the School and are keen to learn how they are progressing whilst taking a personal interest in their well-being. Ben has since studied a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Canberra, which led him to become a private-practice physiotherapist with an interest in sports physiotherapy and concussion rehabilitation. He hopes to further develop his skills in these particular two areas over the course of his career and is always grateful for his past opportunities. “The opportunity of a scholarship may or may not change the trajectory you envisage for your life, but it will change your thinking and open up new options you never thought possible!”

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We see so much of our son Robbie in the scholars that we meet at the School, from their leadership skills to their outlook on life. It is evident in the way they conduct themselves that they are young leaders in the making. We hope to keep our strong association with the School to continue to encourage and grow the next generation of leaders. – Hugh & Janny Poate

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musical notes a letter of thanks – 23 –

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Dear generous donor, I hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirits. I write to you to express my deepest and most sincere gratitude for the incredible opportunity bestowed upon me. Your generous sponsorship of my music scholarship to Canberra Grammar School has truly been a life-changing gift, one that I am deeply grateful for. From a young age, music has played an integral part in my daily life. By providing this music scholarship for me, you not only lighten the financial burden on my family but also further nurture my passion for music. This love for music allows me to share what I hold close to my heart with others who may feel the same. Canberra Grammar School offers world-class facilities like individual sound-proof practice rooms, temperature-controlled instrument lockers and the new Snow Concert Hall, in which I have performed with my peers a few times during assembly. I have also made many like-minded friends with whom I share the gift of music. I have also achieved many academic successes throughout the year. I recently was awarded the academic excellence award and achieved first place in the ACT for the Australian Geography Competition. These significant achievements are the results of a lot of hard work and support from caring teachers from the School. In the future, I wish to study medicine in the UK. Once again, thank you for the generous support - you opened doors I couldn’t have alone. You inspire me to go above and beyond in what I do so that one day, perhaps, I can inspire others to do the same. With thanks,

Oscar Wu

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From a young age, music has played an integral part in my daily life. By providing this music scholarship for me, you not only lighten the financial burden on my family but also further nurture my passion for music. – Oscar Wu

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sculpting a bright future – 27 –

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HOW TH E G I F T OF ART CAN I N S PI RE CHAN G E In a world often marked by bustling lifestyles and worldly demands, the power of art to inspire the values for life, like peace, love and belonging is immeasurable. This sentiment was brought to life in the form of a remarkable art installation entitled ‘Galambany’, gifted to the School community, by Dr Naren Chellappah and his family. ‘Galambany’ – means ‘We, Including You in the Ngunnawal language. It is hoped to encompass the attitude of Oneness, Respect and Reconciliation. Dr Chellappah has been a long-standing member of the CGS community, beginning his relationship with the School as a parent. His son Nihilesh commenced his Primary School education at Canberra Grammar School and graduated in 2005. He and his family share fond memories of their time at CGS and often attribute the enduring connection with the School to the support and guidance Nihilesh received from the faculty and community. — Opposite page: Naren and his family during the ‘Galambany’ unveiling —

We will always be grateful for the gift of pastoral care embedded in every facet of his life at the School. Along with a robust and holistic education, it was just as important to see Nihilesh develop into an independent, confident, and caring individual with a broader understanding of the world. – Dr Naren Chellappah

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“Our relationship with the school grew into more of a friendship largely owing to the people who made our journey one that we will forever value. These memories adorn the walls of our home; awards, certificates, house and year group photos. They represent not just accomplishments but cherished hallmarks.” Naren saw it fitting to show his appreciation through his fondness for art. The ‘Galambany’ sculpture stands as an awe-inspiring testament to the transformative power of art. Comprising four wave-like figures that intertwine sitting on a labyrinth base, the installation is meant to evoke a feeling of peace. The Indigenous artwork at the base is to symbolise the rich Aboriginal culture and heritage that forms the Foundation upon which Australia is built. Since the unveiling of the ‘Galambany’, the impact on the school community has been profound. The strikingly modern structure graces the lawns of the School and offers a quiet place for the community to contemplate and meditate with the soothing sounds of Tibetan bells that emanate from it. It is often a place where students are seen communing and enjoying a sense of calm and unity. “The sculpture is more than just a representation of peace & unity; it is a way of life” says Naren, who has reinforced these values through the ‘Galambany Award’. This initiative, an extension of the sculpture, encourages students to explore the diverse tapestry of values that shape our existence. Each year, an overarching theme centred around ‘values for life’ – Truth, Love, Peace, Right-conduct and Non-violence - will guide students in their submissions, in which they share their unique perspectives on how these values influence their educational journey and family life. Supported by workshops conducted by inspirational speakers, the experience aims to foster personal growth and development. It is hoped it will help them consider Seeking and identifying one’s goals in life, Aspiring to attain these goals with principles, Inspiring others by their example and becoming role models, in short – Seek, Aspire, Inspire (SAI). — Opposite page : Naren at a ‘Galambany’ workshop with students —

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The ‘Galambany’s’ poetic purpose of art inspiring change makes this gift a source of perpetual inspiration for generations to come.

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words of giving – 31 –

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THOUG HTS FROM OU R DONORS When Scholars leave the gates of the School their impact, their involvement in the community and contributions to society is enough for us. This is what gives us joy, seeing these young individuals’ leadership skills being honed and sharpened and put to good use out in the world. – Hugh and Janny Poate (past CGS parents)

Although my support is quite modest, I still want to be involved in the School Foundation as I have seen lives improve through education. I believe when my time comes to an end, my deeds will conclude, but hopefully, my contribution, even though small, will continue to have a positive ripple effect. – Erum Hamza (current CGS staff) – 32 –


My time at CGS had a more profound impact on me than any other six years of my life – the things that I learned, the experiences that I had, and the lifelong friendships that I accumulated. I am hoping that my support of the CGS Foundation helps future generations of students to have the same opportunities that CGS was able to offer me. – David Tonuri (CGS 1986)

My husband, Mathew, and I believe in education as paving the way for a bright future and we are very fortunate to be able to send our daughters to CGS. We also want to help a community that gives our daughters so much, and give back in a small way to show our appreciation. – Cassandra Fox (current CGS Parent) – 33 –

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The school has always genuinely embraced ideals such as service (as in helping others), integrity, and a holistic approach to each student’s development. Underpinning this we felt was a commitment to excellence. We felt a need to express our feelings in concrete form. This money is donated from our hearts and with our pleasure. We wish the ‘The Centenary Project’ all the best and trust it culminates successfully. Knowing the school as we do, that outcome is guaranteed. – Mark Francis (past CGS parent)

Recruitment Hive has donated to the CGS Foundation and the Indigenous Scholarship Fund, primarily to assist in providing quality education to Indigenous youth so as to assist them develop the capability to become leaders within their communities. – Ben Ashman (current CGS parent) – 34 –


changing lives – 35 –

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TH E TR AN S FO RMATIVE POWE R OF BU RSARI E S In life, the power of opportunity is invaluable. For many students and families, the financial hurdles of pursuing higher education can often seem insurmountable. However, bursaries have emerged as beacons of hope, offering not only financial relief but also the chance to realise aspirations that might have otherwise remained a distant dream. Bursaries can alleviate the strains that weigh heavily on both students and their families by providing financial assistance for tuition, books, and other educational expenses, This relief allows students to channel their energy and focus on their studies, unencumbered by the stress of financial instability. Beyond financial relief, bursaries empower students to dare to dream bigger and reach higher. These opportunities send a powerful message:

potential is not limited by economic circumstances. Over the years, the CGS Foundation has had the privilege of being able to positively impact the lives of many a student and their families faced with financial burdens, health crises and personal hardships. The ability to offer this comprehensive support creates an environment where families feel genuinely cared for and understood.

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Through the COVID-19 period, the Foundation has seen many students through financial difficulties, offering support to families that struggled to afford fees and boarding and even co-curricular opportunities. The Foundation often also accounts for our farming community & families based in rural areas who are affected during drought periods. Many families grapple with reduced income and increased expenses during these times. Providing assistance through tuition or boarding support can be a significant and welcome relief and allows students to continue their education, uninterrupted and undeterred. On occasions that our students are faced with unforeseen, traumatic circumstances, including the loss of loved ones or distressing situations, the Foundation has been able to step in and assist in alleviating the financial strains felt on school fees or boarding, offering the support that will tide families over through hard times.

Embedded within the impact of bursaries are stories of resilience and triumph that embody the true essence of these gifts. Our students, who have faced personal or wellness challenges, have risen above adversity, achieving not only academic success but emerging as stronger individuals.

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flying high – 39 –

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FU E LLE D BY AM B ITI ON Olivia Scholten is a current Year 11 student and a scholar on the Peter Hazlehurst Scholarship for Science and Technology at CGS, she is also part of the IB programme. Olivia began her journey with CGS in 2022 as she was seeking a school that offered STEM related subjects and a more challenging academic programme. Olivia always felt a strong affinity toward Science, Engineering and Technology and was keen to look at ways to attend CGS so that she would have the opportunity to explore and expand her knowledge in these subject areas. “I put in my application for a scholarship to the School in the hope that I would be able to study at CGS. I did my research and knew that the facilities and opportunities I would receive at the school would far surpass my other options.” — Opposite page from left: Olivia Scholten, Peter Hazelhurst & Jack Bashford at a CGS Insight Masterclass —

The biggest opportunity the scholarship has given me is access to the school, its state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding faculty. It has been the ticket that has allowed me so many new and exciting opportunities. – Olivia Scholten

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Olivia enjoys Physics and is specifically fascinated with nuclear systems and energy solutions. “I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful teachers. My Physics teacher Mr Pask, has been more of a mentor. He is a brilliant teacher and a true inspiration. I would like to pursue Physics and engineering after I graduate as I find them akin to my career goals.” One of her most memorable experiences was having the opportunity to meet Scholarship donor Peter Hazelhurst while he was on a visit to the School. She was able to connect with him and ask his advice, as well as meet past scholars and learn from their career trajectories. “It was enlightening to speak to students with similar goals and pathways to learn how they have made the most of their scholarship opportunity.” Beyond the classroom, Olivia has discovered another passion, a hobby that has taken her under the wings of the Australian Air Force Cadets. This extracurricular pursuit is where Olivia truly shines. Her recent cadet promotion solidifies her goals. She hopes to continue her progress at ADF as it utilises her leadership skills and fuels her love of flying. Here, Olivia has embraced a uniqueblend of leadership training, physical fitness, and aeronautics education. Tuned into the potential synergies between her academic pursuits and her passion for the Air Force Cadets, Olivia hopes that at some point in her career, she can somehow make her interests meet. “I am keen to pursue my interest in physics and engineering at university, but who knows what could be on the horizon, nuclear physicist or aerospace engineer! I am open to all possibilities.” With all she has going for her, it seems for Olivia, the sky is the limit! — Opposite page: Olivia attending Air Force Cadets —

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leaving a legacy – 43 –

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As you reflect on your own journey and the values that matter most to you, we invite you to consider the profound difference you can make through a legacy gift. A bequest to Canberra Grammar School is more than a financial contribution; it’s a commitment to the education of future generations. Your bequest can support scholarships, enhance educational programmes, provide state-of-the-art facilities, and empower students to pursue their dreams.

CG S E DWARDS SOCI ET Y As a bequestor, you become a valued member of the CGS Edwards Society, established in honour of the School’s first Headmaster, Dr W J Edwards. The CGS Edwards Society is made up of an inner circle of donors who have made provisions for CGS in their will and who have notified CGS of this intention. We are enormously grateful to those who have bequeathed any portion of their estate to CGS and thank all of our CGS Edwards Society members for their support and their generous commitment to the success of CGS.

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T YPE S OF B EQ U E STS A bequest is a simple and powerful way for you to make a difference, in a way that may not be possible during your lifetime. There are several ways you can choose to leave a gift to CGS in your will.




A gift of the remainder of your estate after provision has been made for family & other beneficiaries.

A nominated amount or specific gift such as real estate, shares, artwork or other assets.

A nominated percentage of your total estate.

It is important that your intended gift is directed where it matters to you most. You can choose to support a specific purpose or for the CGS Foundation and Head of School to decide where your gift will meet the greatest need.

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GE T TING IN TOUCH If you have any questions, please contact our Alumni & Philanthropy Manager who can provide you with advice on the direction and impact of your future gift. We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal advice for your estate planning and to ensure your will is validly executed and up to date. +61 2 6260 9665

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Canberra Grammar School Foundation Board




Claire Dawson joined the CGS Foundation Board in August 2021. She is currently Executive Manager of Community Investment at the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) with responsibility for the bank’s ‘Next Chapter’ program focused on addressing domestic and financial abuse.

James Willson founded CRE8IVE, a strategy-led communications and creative company, back in 2001 and enjoys his position as Managing Director. Today the business employs about 30 people and has clients across most of Australia, mainly in the ACT and NSW.

Prior to joining CBA, Claire spent over 20 years working in federal government, consulting and campaigning including 4 years working for Prime Minister Howard and more recently, as Director of Government Affairs for the marriage equality campaign.

James has a passion for business and clearly understands the Canberra and Sydney business marketplace. In addition, he has a solid comprehension of the private sector, NGO’s, and local and Commonwealth governments. James sits on numerous boards, including the National Capital Authority, CIT Solutions, RSPCA ACT and Crewcible Studios.

Claire holds a BA (majors in international relations, government and art history) from the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course. In addition to being Non-Executive Director on the CGS Foundation Board, Claire is Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the National Women’s Safety Alliance and a member of the FIAP (Financial Inclusion Action Plan) Advisory Group.

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Tom Kenyon is a Senior Investment Adviser at Shaw and Partners, one of Australia’s prominent investment and wealth management firms. Tom is an alumnus of CGS (Class of 2003) and joined the CGS Foundation Board in July 2022.

Dr Justin Garrick became Head of Canberra Grammar School in 2011. Educated at Sydney Grammar School and Sydney University, he also has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of New England. He undertook his PHD as a Cambridge Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and he has an MBA from the University of London.

Tom holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Victoria University with a Major in Financial Risk Management. He also holds a Masters of Stockbroking from the Stockbroking and Investment Advisers Association and is an authorised Tax Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.

He has taught at Sydney Grammar School, St Paul’s School in London, Oundle School and Wellington College UK, where he was Head of English and the Deputy (Academic) prior to joining Canberra Grammar School. He is a Board member of the AISACT and AISNSW.

Before setting up the Shaw and Partners office in Canberra with colleagues, Tom was an investment adviser at Macquarie Bank. Tom has built a strong business advising a number of high-profile charities in the Canberra region and surrounds.

At CGS he has led the School’s transition to full co-education as well as the introduction of the International Baccalaureate at Primary and Senior levels, bringing an explicitly global perspective to the School’s curriculum and co-curricular experience.

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40 Monaro Crescent, Red Hill ACT 2603, Australia | T +61 2 6260 9665 | E |

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