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Foreward Great schools value and promote participation in academic, sporting, cultural and community endeavours. “Merrimac Moments” highlights our achievements across a diverse range of activities. These achievements build upon our school aims of Preparing for the future, Respect, Valuing difference, Accepting responsibility, Participating and Succeeding to deliver on our motto “Pride in Excellence”.

Curriculum ABW Regional Winner “Raindrop Retreat” Merrimac’s winning Australian Business Week team won the Gold Coast City ABW Regional awards. Our ABW team, led by CEO Milly Arsic, Harry Keil, Jaydene Baguley, Chantelle Barsby, Joshua Cleary, Shane Mathews, Brock Mcgrath, Emma Schafellner and Georgia Zaghoreos won the best TV Commercial for the region, came second in the Oral Presentation and Trade Display, and finished off taking the Grand Champion title. Throughout the experience, their teacher mentor, Mrs Sue McConnell, watched and facilitated the group as they negotiated their way through the wide range of challenges presented to them. ABW provides an opportunity for teamwork, leadership and interpersonal skills to be developed.


Highflyers Merrimac State High School provides a myriad of opportunities for students to become involved in academic competitions, cultural groups and community and sporting organisations. As a school we are proud of our students personal achievements among which we list Maya Arsic; Junior Mayor of the Gold Coast, Jaimi Henderson; Australian Backstroke Age Champion, Chiara Sullivan; Gold Coast Junior Council Executive Member, Steven Ambrose, Shannen Fawdrey, Nicole Barnaba, Rachel Flowers, Aaron Thompson, Joseph Gibb, Rayce Bukacia accepting the Kokoda Challenge, Jesse Dixon; a National Formula Ford Racing Driver, Nicole Barnaba; State Soccer, Milly Arsic; member of the United Nations Youth Association, Youth Member for the Queensland Youth Parliament, Lucy Hopkinson; Queensland representative at the National Constitution Convention and Tammy Bingham our undefeated National Age Taekwondo Champion

Duke of Edinburgh The Duke’s Award has continued to be an integral part of the fabric at Merrimac during 2008 and 2009. At the end of 2008 Danielle Purdy from Year 12 and three Year 11 students, Milly Arsic, Lucy Hopkinson and Chantelle Barsby received their Silver Awards at the Awards night. At the same time many students from the Special Education Unit were working towards their Bronze Awards, and two Year 11 students continued towards their Silver Awards. During 2009, several Special Education Unit students have been working towards their Bronze Awards while Erin Thomas in Year 11 joined the Duke’s Award and worked as an assistant leader at the Exploration undertaken to Underwater World during term 2. The Award has been run in the school by Mr Steve Strong, supporting Mrs Cassie James with her work with Duke’s Award participants in the Special Education Unit.

Curriculum (cont.) Apprenticeships - Tallebudgera The Principal and Head of Department Home Economics participated in negotiations with Tallebudgera Beach Outdoor Education School in term 1 2009. This employer provides health and recreation camps for primary and secondary schools and sporting associations. The aim of these discussions was to provide a program of work experience for Year 10 hospitality students; potentially leading to school-based apprenticeship opportunities in their commercial kitchen. Four students with very good kitchen skills and aspirations of becoming chefs, were selected for trial work experience. All students were commended on their performance at the trial’s conclusion. In Term 2 2009 Matthew Power and Lenni Thompson accepted their offer of school-based apprenticeships in Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery).

Accelerated Pathways All students have specific learning needs. A range of accelerated learning options are available through our Gifted and Talented Program. Additionally, students have access to specific acceleration programs in English, Mathematics, Arts, Sport and Technology. Many students with a strong academic focus, add Year 11 subjects into their course of study in Year 10, and when in Year 12 have the option of enrolling in the authority subjects of Extension English and/or Extension Music. Students in Years 10, 11 and 12 also have access to Work Experience, entering Trade and Certificate courses, or becoming School-based Apprentices and Trainees.

Certificate in Musical Theatre 2010 will be the beginning of an exciting venture for Merrimac State High School. We will be the only school in Queensland to offer a Certificate IV in Musical Theatre. This course aims to provide an exceptional quality, industry focussed course, specialising in musical theatre performance. Classes will include training in singing, acting and various styles of dance, and will be delivered by external professional performers and teachers. Enrolment will be offered to Year 11 and 12 students as well as graduated students looking for tertiary training. The prestigious Actors College of Theatre and Television (ACTT) based in Sydney is the Registered Training Organisation. The college will be ‘specially built and equipped on the grounds of Merrimac SHS. Auditions will take place in November.

Primary Links To assist in strengthening our primary to secondary transition program, Merrimac State High School has extended our Primary Links program. This program offered students from our local primary schools some very exciting opportunities to extend and accelerate their learning across a range of curriculum areas. The Link programs included the Extension English program in which 18 Year 7 students were able to hone their writing skills through the creation of a family biography. It also included the Extension Maths program where 20 very switched on students extended their mathematical skills. The Arts program involved 100 students in the areas of dance, drama, music and visual arts. This program will culminate in the performing arts participants providing the pre-show entertainment for our school musical “Barnum” . In addition, there were around 20 budding scientists who investigated serious real life problems in the school laboratories. The Link Program also involved a Performance Tour in which a number of Merrimac’s Music and Dance performance students toured the local primary schools. Finally, we hosted a Lightning Carnival for 200 primary students where students played an all day round robin competition in Netball and Soccer.

Middle Phase At Merrimac SHS we have introduced a Middle Phase for Year 8s that encourages students to be empowered and ‘switched-on’ to learning through ‘strong meaningful connections’ with their peers and teachers. These connections (or relationships) come from two aspects of school life: the connections involved in the process of students building understanding through higher order thinking and the connections involved in collaborative and collegial learning. The introduction of our 4 team leaders (Maree Gibbs, Lori Falchi, Kees Nyssen & Josh Ryan) and dedicated POD teachers have resulted in a supportive environment that encourages students to develop new skills, master new tasks and understand new approaches to problem solving. In 2010 the middle school phase will extend to our Year 9 students to provide an innovative learning environment that gives our students the skills to achieve in the 21st century.

Cohort Barnum A spectacular Merrimac High production of Barnum will be staged at the Gold Coast Arts Centre on the 24 July. The success of this production will be the result of a combined effort from Merrimac’s talented teachers. The show will be directed by Lynn Dyer, musically directed by Geoff Willis, choreographed by Kim Reynolds and acrobatics choreographed by Kristie Barfoot and Nathan Pugliese. A cast of 85 students, will be supported by 40 primary school students providing the pre-show entertainment. Dan Knight trained students in plate spinning, hoop and fire twirling, tightrope walking, devil sticks, juggling and ribbons, whilst Angela Collins worked with the acrobatic girls at Aerial Angels on aerial silk routines. Based on the true story of PT Barnum, the famous circus showman, this production will be filled with great musical numbers and spectacular circus performances.

Essential Ingredients Essential Ingredients was a program developed in 2008, with the purpose of addressing the skill shortage in the hospitality industry. Merrimac was fortunate enough to be adopted by Mariott Resort and Spa. The program included valuable work experience and an interschool cooking competition. The cook- off was judged by the Australian Culinary Federation. Awards and prizes were given for categories such as presentation and cleanliness, best teamwork, presentation of dish, accuracy of written submission and overall winners. Home Economics teacher Katie Birmingham trained the Merrimac entrants, Beth Holzapfel and Rachelle Harris who cooked a fantastic dish of sumac spiced lamb cutlets with a handmade rocket aioli and won four of the six categories including the overall winner. Beth has since secured a traineeship at Conrad Jupiters Casino at the completion of year 12. Year 10 students, Zac Draper, Heather Shrimpton and Alicia Williams have been training to defend the title for 2009.

LEO’s The Merrimac LEO Club, an off-shoot of Lions International has been running in the school since 2007. During 2009 membership of the club passed the 20 mark, making it one of the largest LEO Clubs in Queensland. The members have undertaken two main service activities during the year. The first was collecting soft toys to be sent to the Children’s Ward at Dili Hospital in East Timor. The second is an ongoing project collecting small change from students and staff, anything under 20 cents, to go towards assisting students and families in need. Recently, money was donated for petrol use by a family receiving specialist medical care in Brisbane for their student. The management committee comprising Ashlee Drew, Kim Slattery, Makayla Thompson, Liz Watson, Tayla-Jade White, Paula Hopkinson and Erin Thomas, assisted by the Lions Advisor/Teacher, Mr Steve Strong and other teachers Mrs Jeanette Keenan and Mrs Wendy Harrison not only give voice to the LEO motto “Leadership, Experience, Opportunity” but also the unofficial motto “Let’s Enjoy Ourselves”.

Facilities Laptops Merrimac’s success in the Federal Governments ‘Digital Education Revolution’ grants will see the implementation of a ‘One to One’ Laptop program for our Year 9 – 12 students in the near future. Stage One commences with a ratio of 1:2, an improvement on the present ratio of 1:4 computers per student. We are presently trialling 50 Laptop computers to collect data on their performance. The Merrimac vision is to have all students participate in a ‘Take Home Program’. This plan will involve students, (for a nominal fee), taking ownership of the Laptop that will eventually be their own. This is a huge educational advantage for our students. Committee members are well into planning and researching ‘best practice’ from existing schools from around the world. The educational landscape is changing at an incredible speed. Web 2.0 tools are now common place in our classrooms with Web 3.0 expected shortly. This Revolution is truly shaping up to be a ‘once in a century’ event.

Library Upgrade The Resource Centre/Library, shall be receiving a $652,000 facelift shortly. It is anticipated that this redevelopment shall take into account the shift in educational trends and become more interactive and technology reliant. While books will always have a place, there is a need to marry existing resources to the future needs of our students. The existing facility was based on a 1975 design and built in 1979. The new design is planned to have quiet reading spaces with independent study areas and Laptop lounges. Multimedia and class research areas will be available to groups. It is an exciting time for the centre and many suggestions are forthcoming from both students and staff.

National School Pride Merrimac State High School has been successful in obtaining $200,000 from the Commonwealth Government’s National School Pride Program. The program provides for minor refurbishment throughout the school. Our program will renew and replace the student desks and chairs throughout the school, replace up to 237 fans in classrooms and repair much of the outdoor seating and shade structures. Such an injection of funds has allowed us to fast track these improvements and further enhances the quality of our learning environments.

Staff Cuddlebug Award Cuddlebugs Playtime Playgroup, a community playgroup which is affiliated with Playgroup Australia, first commenced in 1997. Since then senior students have run the playgroup as part of their studies relating to early childhood. In 2009 both the playgroup and the founding teacher, Annette Tanks, were recognised by Playgroup Australia, by receiving Gold Awards for dedicated service and commitment to the community.

ICT Pedagogical Licence Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are now integrated into teaching and learning at Merrimac State High School. Teachers and students learn together through technologies such as laptops, data projectors, digital cameras, video cameras, emailing and in ‘Virtual Classrooms.’ The days of ‘chalk and talk’ and the concept of the teacher being a font of all knowledge, are well and truly gone. To best utilise these new technologies Education Queensland encourages all teachers to achieve a Pedagogical Certificate. This Certificate indicates that the holder has a comprehensive understanding of how technology can enhance educational outcomes for students. Currently, 50% of Merrimac’s staff hold this certificate with many others awaiting accreditation. The next level of accreditation is the ICT Pedagogical Licence, which acknowledges the teacher’s ability to integrate technology and new pedagogical practices. Daniel Ricardo and Karen Farrow are holders of the Pedagogical Licence, and Sonya Palmer is awaiting moderation of her portfolio. Daniel Ricardo, an EQ Smart Classrooms facilitator and previous State Moderator, has been instrumental in mentoring staff. Technology ensures that our students’ learning can now occur anywhere, anytime.

Community U3A The school is proud of its long standing partnership with the University of the Third Age (U3A). U3A are welcomed into our school community weekly to pursue learning across languages, music, philosophy and technology using our IT and other facilities. In addition to their learning at Merrimac SHS, U3A participants draw upon their wealth of life experience to support some of our students in a mentoring capacity aimed at improving individual student outcomes. Students of our school have presented short courses to U3A members to improve their mobile phone usage. In some small way, our partnership with U3A reflects the value and wealth of knowledge to be passed between generations. We are proud to support our local community in the pursuit of excellence in learning.

Alumni The mission of the association is to promote and further the interests of Merrimac State High and to foster beneficial relations amongst its Alumni. Membership is open to all graduates as well as current and past Merrimac staff. This is our inaugural year and we hope to attract many past students to the association. Our goals are to keep all alumni connected to Merrimac through events, reunions, communications, fundraising and assisting current students with job opportunities. An Alumni committee will be formed to organise activities in conjunction with a school representative. If you are interested in being a part of this committee, please let us know by emailing or contacting Arlene Wood at

Merrimac State High School Gold Coast, Australia

Dunlop Court, Mermaid Waters, Q 4218 07 5595 8666 tel 07 5595 8600 fax

Merrimac Moments 2009  

Our annual magazine called Merrimac Moments

Merrimac Moments 2009  

Our annual magazine called Merrimac Moments