Issue 3 2023

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Issue#3 | 2023


Be the best we can be in 23.

It has been a busy month for both students and staff at Braemar, with various activities such as EXEAT events, sports competitions, music performances, and language recitals all occurring in past weeks. These events, supported by the College staff and leaders, have been student focussed, and a number of events would not have been able to occur if parents and guardians had not supported them.

Moreover, Term 2 has seen some changes in the staff and leadership roles. Mr Horne has been appointed Principal of Hamilton and Alexandra College, while Mr Horvat has taken over as the Head of Operations. Ms Emma Grant has moved to the position of Assistant Head of Senior School for the remainder of 2023, while Ms Lisa JayneLacy has taken over as the Dean of Learning and Teaching. These decisions have resulted in some class changes, which will be communicated to the students and families affected by the Heads of School.

So with that said, I hope you enjoy reading this month’s Buzz, which showcases the diverse and vibrant nature of our College.

2 3 Magazine
3 Contents Welcome Mr Russell Deer Exeat Update Head of Middle School Mr Rob Jenkins Head of Senior School Ms Lisa Fritz Director of Sport Mr Matt Ellis Dean of Wellbeing and Culture Mrs Emma Grant Dean of Learning and Teaching Ms Emily Ryan Director of Music Dr Jacky Ogeil Get to know us... Introducing our staff Trips - Nepal Infrastructure at Braemar Trips - Cambodia Old Collegians Reading Passport Scholarship Recipients SchoolTV Special Report: The State of Youth Mental Health 2 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 13 14 14 15 16 16 17 18

Exeat Update

The College’s Exeat program is nearly finished for the current year. After the recent Year 6 Exeat program, the Year 5 students will soon make their way to Sovereign Hill, while the Year 8’s will be the final group to participate in Exeat later in the year, in the Grampians.

Exeat is a crucial part of a student’s educational journey at the College, as it provides opportunities for growth beyond the traditional classroom setting. The programs are founded on the College’s values, and they challenge students to develop in various ways.

The Year 6 Exeat program successfully accomplished this goal, with students engaging in a range of activities. We extend our gratitude to the leaders and educators whose unwavering support is integral to the success of these programs.

Pictured below: Year 6 Exeat adventures


The opportunities for students in the Middle School to connect through experiences have continued to grow as the year goes on. It is so pleasing to see students from across the College embrace the amazing opportunities that are presented to them each and every day, whether that be through engaging learning experiences in the classroom or through activities that are connected to the curriculum.

This term we have seen our Year 8 students engage with activities through the Live4Life community initiatives where they have not only learnt about strategies to improve their mental health, but supplemented this learning with activities in the local area. Groups engaged in excursions that involved bushwalking, golf clinics, lawn bowls, swimming and fitness in an effort to connect their understanding about mental wellbeing with their own physical wellbeing.

Our Year 7 students were lucky enough to share a day with Monga and Fitina who shared their experiences of living in the Congo and Tanzania before journeying to Shepparton in their childhood. Their experiences highlighted the real-life experiences of those who have faced challenges in Africa around conflict and lack of water, forming a connection with the students’ Encounter studies.

In Year 6, our young people ventured to Rawson Village in Gippsland to undertake their Exeat experience. The early reports from their time away include the excitement of the zipline, the climbing wall and mountain biking around the local area.

In speaking with some Year 5 students this week, one highlight in recent times has been a focus on friendships in their Thrive sessions. The students mentioned that they have been interested to learn about how to better foster relationships with their peers and how to tackle some of the challenges that often arise in social situations.

Bunjil Trophy

Our Middle School House competitions continue as students strive to win the inaugural presentation of the Bunjil Trophy. Throughout the term students have competed in netball, soccer, T-ball, volleyball, music and drama, earning points for their Houses and sharing in some truly enjoyable experiences. It was also fantastic to see the enthusiasm and connection that flourished at House Cross Country, with students from across the College cheering each other on as they navigated the landscape of Woodend Campus.

“Alone we are strong, together we are stronger.”

The second term has already been busy, with the Senior school students developing a solid understanding of expectations, tasks and requirements. As a school, I have discussed my focus on respect with the students, for themselves, those around them and our College environment.

The Students in Year 11 have prepared for and attended the College ball, which is the one opportunity in the life of students at the College; they can celebrate with extended family attending. The students presented themselves beautifully last Friday evening, and I know they made their parents proud. The Year 12 students also celebrated their formal, with the experience of stepping outside the busy demands of school and focusing on spending time with friends and their cohort, making memories within their final year of schooling. I thank the Year 11 and 12 students and their families for their flexibility and support around these events. In addition, students in Years 9 and 10 have attended incursions and planning for the Year 9 City week, and Year 10 work experience is well underway. These events provide valuable lessons, learning experiences and memories for the senior school students during their time at the College.

Student voice and initiatives are also well underway, with the students and leaders within the Senior school working on various projects and focus groups, including inclusion and wellbeing planning, mental health focus and supports such as the weekly walking group, push-up challenges or antibullying campaigns and sporting competitions also.

Within the next few weeks, Senior school students will also begin planning for their Semester 2 subjects, and students in Years 9 to 11 may choose to change subjects should they no longer wish to complete their previously selected subjects. Detailed information will be provided to students about their subjects, and I encourage parents and guardians to have positive conversations about the student’s academic planning, progress and goals. I look forward to the remainder of the term.

Stockdale trophy

The introduction of the Stockdale trophy has been fantastic in bringing together the College houses and students across the Senior School. Student leaders have worked with their Houses to each develop and lead an activity or task they can complete during. These House events have included high student participation, with students working collectively with broader cohorts demonstrating their active support, participation, enthusiasm of each other and encouragement shown at these events, keenly noticed.

The events completed thus far have included the hotly contended paper plane competition, using recycled paper to design and participate in, or the recent Art Wars, where houses ‘battled’ with other houses to complete selected art themes and projects for an ultimate Art winner. Other upcoming events include talent shows, digital games, sporting activities and Just Dance-offs, to name a few competing to take the first Senior school Stockdale trophy. The wide variety of events led by student leaders promote positive relationships and demonstrate our students’ vast skills and abilities.

Orienteering - The Victoria Cup

The World Health Organisation (WHO), defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Further, WHO defines wellbeing as “a state in which an individual can realise their own potential, cope with normal daily stresses, work productively, and contribute to their community.” Therefore, being well, is not just about good health, it is the ability to function well in all aspects of our lives.

Making choices surrounding one’s wellbeing involves SKILLS that are developed through KNOWLEDGE and SELF-AWARNESS, along with COMMUNITY SUPPORT. Valuing the essential worth and potential for growth in all individuals, the treatment of all individuals with respect and dignity, diversity, inclusion, and equity in the pursuit of social justice, communication that is open, honest and direct and the powerful role of education in all our work will create a purposeful, safe setting to support our students understanding of themselves, their role within the school community, and the beginnings of their journey to be agents of change and active contributors in life beyond the College.

At Braemar College, a young person’s journey is one of self-discovery, unearthing who they are or wish to become, their passions and purpose for learning and life. A focus, in all learning spaces, on the development of the capabilities necessary to thrive, contribute and respond positively to challenges in an environment that allows them to achieve their full potential is at the heart of this journey. The ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations is a key competency in any one person’s life. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals.

Learning to manage oneself, being able to be responsible and play an active role in advancing one’s own wellbeing, by understanding and integrating all the dimensions of wellbeing into their lives: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, occupational, and financial, sets one up to achieve their full potential.

A Well-Being Wheel, like this one from the University of New Hampshire, offers a holistic way of considering wellbeing and is a excellent tool to check in with oneself. It allows greater understanding of what is going well and what may be challenging in the moment.

We can think of wellbeing as a wheel with separate spokes and each spoke is critical for the wheel to keep turning. This perspective allows us to see how these “spokes” are interconnected and contribute to the quality of life we live. Learning to build the habit of a regular check in with the well-being wheel into our routines and adjust when necessary, will allow us to thrive while continuing to discover the best version of ourselves.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Braemar College will once again be participating in the world-renowned ICAS competition this year. ICAS is an opt-in, online academic competition that is designed to assess students’ higher order thinking and problem-solving skills in a range of areas.

This year, we are offering participation in the English, Mathematics and Science tests for students in Years 5 – 10.

Each assessment celebrates students’ accomplishments by providing opportunities for recognition and development. Every student who participates will receive a printed certificate and an online results report. Top performers will be eligible for medals.

How to participate in ICAS

If you wish for your child to participate in ICAS this year, please:

1. read about ICAS subjects and prices here

2. read the terms and conditions here

3. go to Parent Portal to purchase tests here

4. enter our school’s access code – SQQ714

5. enter your child’s details, select the tests you would like to purchase, then proceed to payment.

After payment is made via the Parent Payment System, you will receive an order confirmation email, please keep this for your records.

The final date to sign up is Monday July 31, and the tests will take place in mid to late August.

We are proud to offer ICAS and look forward to some fantastic results later in the year. Please do not hesitate to contact me at if you have any questions or require assistance.


With the recent Coronation we were reminded of how essential music is to creating a sense of occasion, and how it is used in life’s big moments. If you happened to watch the Coronation, can you imagine what it might have been like if there had been no musical performances? This event reminded us about how music expresses ideas and emotions in a way words cannot, and accommodates and celebrates diversity. Music unites and creates interactions between the generations and between differing cultures. At Braemar College, music is present at all our occasions of gathering, and student performances are central to creating a sense of occasion.

Students learning music at the school helped celebrate the Parents and Friends’ Mothers’ Day afternoon tea with performances throughout the afternoon. This beautifully presented and catered afternoon was enhanced by the performances of Ari Scheltema (piano), Matthew McKay (piano), Cameron Shumack-Smith (piano), Edie Bruce (guitar), Chloe, Joe and Amelia Evans (Corn on the Cob Band), and the Middle School String Ensemble with Julia Sykes, Eloise Carden, Lauren Ho and Lucy Sykes. Well done to all who were involved in this beautiful afternoon celebrating Mothers, and to our fabulous musicians!

This term our new instrumental music tutors have joined the Braemar music team, and lessons are now underway. I would like you to meet…

Maddison Carter, drum kit and tuned percussion

Maddison is a percussionist, drummer, and composer. He has performed nationally and internationally with the likes of Nat Bartsch, Eugene Ball, Andrea Keller and Tamara Murphy, and works across the art music spectrum from free jazz to minimalism, as well as in folk, West African and pop genres. He has written commissions for the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra and Beautiful Fragments project, and has taught percussion and drum kit throughout Victoria for many years.

Edwina Cordingley, ’cello

Edwina was a full scholarship holder for three years at the Australian National Academy of Music, where she studied under Howard Penny. After a brief interlude trekking around South America for six months, Edwina moved to the United Kingdom to further her studies and perform. She studied Baroque cello in Edinburgh with David Watkin before moving down to London when she was awarded an apprenticeship with Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Edwina went on to tour Europe with Sir John in his ensembles, The English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, and to perform and tour Europe as Principal Cello for The Gabrieli Consort and Players. Back in Australia Edwina plays with many wonderful ensembles and musicians both baroque and modern, and loves teaching the next generation of players.

Jacob McGuffie, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and double bass

Jacob McGuffie is a Macedon Ranges based guitarist and music teacher. He studied improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts and tours and records regularly in the Jazz, Folk, Pop and Country genres. Recordings that Jacob has played on have been nominated and shortlisted for ARIA, AIR, Victorian Independent Country and Golden Guitar awards and are heard regularly on radio stations such as JJJ, ABC National, PBS, RRR, 4ZZZ, FBi and Stereo 974.

you hear the

Charlotte Ryssenbeek, violin and viola

Charlotte studied in Brisbane with Elizabeth Morgan, and then attended the Aspen Music Festival as a student of Dorothy DeLay. She also obtained a Masters in violin performance with Bill Hennessy at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. During that time and until now, Charlotte has performed with the Queensland, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and has had an extensive freelance career. She has taught privately, and in many private schools in Melbourne, and tutored at the Riverina Summer School for Strings. She currently performs with Orchestra Victoria.

Tiffany Speight, voice

Helpmann Award winner Tiffany Speight’s performance career has been extensive across multiple art forms with her main body of work in the opera/classical/music theatre genres and across Australasia and Europe. As Program Director (2019-2022) for Opera Scholars Australia, a youth-based vocal development program, her main focus was on vocal/ mental health, strong technique, and facilitating performance opportunities appropriate to the student’s development.

A reminder to support the restaurant nights and lunches, and to put these dates in your diary. These provide another important opportunity for music students to practise their performance skills in the very beautiful and intimate surrounds of Jackson Hall and for the College community to unite and mix. Bookings are necessary and they do sell out!

The Woodend Winter Arts Festival (WWAF) is just around the corner on the King’s Birthday long weekend 9-12 June. Events kick off here at Braemar with two school incursions: Japanese Drummers performing for the Middle School, and former Chief Scientist Alan Finkel addressing Years 11 and 12.

WWAF’s Fireworks display this year will be to synchronised music and with more free entertainment. Saturday night includes an outdoor art projection display of local artist Mary Larnach Jones’s artwork on the significant heritage buildings of High St Woodend, and there will be a marathon of choirs from across Victoria. All for free for our local community to embrace and celebrate the arts.

Braemar College is hosting an old favourite – bringing the remarkable Scotch College Orchestra back to the school with national treasure Max Gillies as narrator, to perform Peter and the Wolf at Heyward Hall on Monday 12 June. Bus transportation will be provided by Organs buses. Again this event is part of WWAF’s school education program, which has been running with the Festival since its inception in 2004.

Oh and if you like Handel’s Zadok the Priest — performed in every Coronation since 1727 and the music to which the Australian Danish Princess Mary walked up the aisle — you can hear it performed live here in Woodend as part of the Woodend Winter Arts Festival — Music for the King. See details at

Yours, with good vibrations,

Ours Students entertained the guests at the recent Parent & Friends’ High Tea

Get to know us...

Hello! I am your library tech at Braemar, you’ll always find me up at the MNIRC. If you have the tower from 2015-2020 you may spot me as a student. I am so happy to be back for my second year up at the library, creating an inclusive space for students. I am an avid reader and will always be up for a chat about all thing’s books!

I moved to Australia permanently 12 years ago from Manchester, UK. I have been a senior VCE and IB Economics teacher for the majority of that time, most recently at the St Kilda Road Campus of Wesley College. I enjoy playing football and have played at Gisborne Soccer Club for the last 5 years.

My name is Belinda Taylor and I’m looking forward to teaching here at Braemar College. My family and I have lived in the Macedon Ranges for about 17 years. I have a daughter who starts Year 11 this year and a son starting Year 9. I’ve been a teacher for about 20 years and have taught in a couple of the primary schools in the local area. I have taught all year levels in P-6 and enjoy getting to know my students and their learning styles. Let’s have a great 2023!

My name is Josiah Garisto. I am 26 years old and have taught Physical Education, Outdoor Education and VCAL in both Primary and Secondary school settings. I love anything to do with the outdoors and play football for my local club on the weekends. I am very excited to join the Braemar community and look forward to meeting you all.

Ms Grace Vandenham Mr Sam Allen Ms Belinda Taylor Mr Josiah Garisto

In late November of this year following VCE exams, a group of year 12 students, along with Mr Deer and supporting staff, will head over to Nepal for a once in a lifetime experience.

We will visit temples and places of historical and cultural importance in Kathmandu before flying to Lukla and beginning the trek to Ghat where we will support the community by continuing to build and renovate the primary school. We will then complete the gruelling trek to Everest Base Camp.

As part of this experience the group has to fundraise $3000 to buy materials and fundraising began recently with, a ‘wood raffle’ that was run at the May Woodend Farmers Market. We are so excited and grateful to have this opportunity especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s something to look forward to after year 12!

Infrastructure at Braemar

The College is constantly improving its infrastructure on both campuses through various projects, both big and small. While it's not possible to provide updates on all of them, here are some of the latest developments.

At the Woodend Campus, our Multipurpose Hall is making progress with the installation of stumps and sub-flooring, ongoing plumbing and drainage work, and the completion of large concrete seats outside. Roofing work is slightly delayed due to the challenges of coordinating trades and materials on a building site.

Meanwhile, on the Mt Campus, the Tyler Hall entry at the turning circle is being transformed with a new awning and landscaping, creating a beautiful entryway to the refreshed classroom. The interior furnishings have been updated with the same materials as the Woodend Campus, and heating has been changed to a reverse cycle system for better temperature control.

The driveway to Braemar House is also being refreshed with stone toppings to reduce mud, and the exterior cladding of the music classrooms has been renewed with double-glazed windows for better insulation. The old Year 9 Centre, also known as the Homestead, has been removed, and new male, female, and non-binary toilet areas are being renewed.

We extend our appreciation to the local builders, sub-contractors, and our Maintenance Team for their hard work in bringing these projects to life.

Braemar Schoolies Alternative - Nepal Isabella Lane and Toby Birkett

Get Ready for an Unforgettable Adventure to Cambodia!

Excitement is reaching new heights at Braemar as we gear up and begin to prepare for an extraordinary journey to the enchanting country of Cambodia. In September this year, a group of lucky Year 11 students will embark on an 11-day adventure filled with aweinspiring sights, meaningful community engagement, and unforgettable experiences.

Cambodia, a country steeped in history and culture, is renowned for its ancient temples, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. Our students will have the opportunity to explore the world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex, accompanied by expert local guides who will help unravel the mysteries of this architectural wonder. As they wander through the citadels and wats (temples), they will witness the rich heritage that has captivated visitors for centuries.

But our trip is about more than just sightseeing. It’s an opportunity for our students to make a difference in the lives of others. In partnership with the Treak Community Centre, we will engage in a three-day community project, lending a helping hand to improve the lives of those living in challenging circumstances. Whether it’s assisting with educational initiatives, participating in the Community Support Scheme, or working in the community garden, our students will experience firsthand the power of compassion and community.

One of the most exciting highlights of the trip is the “Keeper for a Day” program at the Free The Bears sanctuary in Phnom Tamao. Here, students will get up close and personal with rescued bears, learning about wildlife conservation and the importance of preserving our natural heritage.

Cultural immersion continues as students join a cooking class in a local village, savouring the flavours of authentic Cambodian cuisine. They will also witness the internationally acclaimed Phare circus, where acrobatics and storytelling combine to create a mesmerising spectacle.

A visit to the National Angkor Museum will provide a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s history, while exploring Phnom Penh, the vibrant capital city, will offer a glimpse into modern Cambodian life. Students will also visit The Killing Fields and Tuoel Sleng Genocide Museum, confronting Cambodia’s tragic past and fostering empathy and understanding.

On the last day of their travels, students will visit the night markets and learn how to barter!

This remarkable opportunity to travel overseas is made possible by the incredible support of our school community. Thanks to the generosity of students and their families, our recent fundraiser at the house cross-country event raised a whopping $1640! Special thanks to Miss Cruickshank and her team for organizing the snack stalls, which were an absolute hit.

I’m sure our College wishes our Year 11 students an unforgettable time in Cambodia. May this trip broaden their horizons, deepen their understanding, and inspire them to become compassionate global citizens.


Old Collegians

Our Old Collegians are a valuable and rich source of support for the College. These cohorts have learned in the same buildings and classrooms, ventured around the grounds and participated in many events that remain recognisable in today’s calendar.

The disruption of the past years has interrupted our usual pattern of old collegian engagement. While the reunions and events could not occur, work was being undertaken in the background to gather and nurture these past students.

Guided by our 1982 College Captain, Mr Todd Langtry (OC’1982) and Miss Emily Jones (OC’ 2008), our Old Collegians platform has been revamped. The platform has been built to focus on reconnecting. Currently, there are over 60 Old Collegians who have registered. They range from members of the class of 83 to the class of 2022. The platform will be used to announce news and upcoming events, including reunions.

If you are an old Collegian, we would love you to sign up for the new platform. Please use the following link.

Reading Passport

The Classics Reading Passport encourages students to read classics books with the incentive of a prize with every five or so books read. Upon finishing books students can fill out their passports and complete a quiz (to make sure they’ve read the book) and receive a stamp.

The idea is that reading classic literature exposes students to new words and vocabulary in a way they will be able to contextualize.

The library can provide students with a range of classic reads in both paperback and eBook format, also encouraging students to visit their local libraries.


Scholarship Recipients

The College announces Academic Scholarships every year. These scholarships are promoted widely at the start of each year and are awarded based on the results of the academic scholarship test, which is administered by Academic Assessment Services. The test takes place at the beginning of each year for admission to the following year.

This year, the College is pleased to welcome six academic scholarship recipients, three for Year 7 (2023) and three for Year 10 (2023). Xavier Colborne, Caelan Cram, Lulu Harding, Harrison Izzard, Qays Moiz, and Edie Raybould are the recipients of these scholarships. We extend our sincere congratulations to them.

We would also like to acknowledge the hard work and effort put in by all the students who applied for the scholarship but were not successful on this occasion.

Lulu Harding absent from group photo
Scholarship Student recipients pictured with Principal Mr Russell Deer, Right to left: Caelan Cram, Qays Moiz, Harrison Izzard, Edie Raybould and Xavier Colborne

SchoolTV Special Report: The State of Youth Mental Health

Parents and carers can play a crucial role in their children’s mental health. As a result, staying informed on the current state of youth mental health is vital, as it not only affects individuals, but also families and communities. According to recent research, the frequency of mental health disorders among young people is increasing, with anxiety, depression, and self-harm being among the most common challenges.

One of the reasons being attributed to this rise is the heightened stress and anxiety that many young people face in today’s society. Academic success, social media, and family issues are all influencing factors. Many young people are still suffering the long-term consequences of the pandemic, such as social isolation, uncertainty, and loss.

Parents can play an important role in their children’s mental health. Creating a safe and open environment for your children to talk about their emotions, thoughts, and feelings is vital. Encouraging healthy habits like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper sleep can help reduce their stress levels and boost your child’s overall mental health. There are also many resources and services available to children, adolescents, and their families, such as school counsellors, various mental health organisations, support lines, and of course, mental health professionals. It is important to remember that seeking help is a show of strength, not weakness, and that early intervention is critical in addressing young people’s mental health difficulties.

This edition of SchoolTV, discusses some of the major mental health issues affecting young people and how to support a child experiencing them. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback.

If this raises any concerns for you, a loved one or the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.

| 2023
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