Lucis 2023 Spring-Summer

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The Magazine of the MLC School Family

Spring/Summer Edition 2023

incorporating Collegiate

MLC School’s goal for each girl when she graduates is to be:

– Compassionate to herself, interacting with others with kindness and celebrating diversity



– Courageous in her pursuits, expressing herself honestly and with integrity to live a life with purpose

– Capable of navigating change, showing leadership in adapting to the multiple paths that her future will take

– Connected to the legacy of MLC School, using it to inspire her to be an agent of change in her world

EDITORIAL Michele Dunn Barbara Hoffman Amelia Morgano

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nicole Anderson Wendy Chung Tracy Mock Amelia Morgano Maria Rulloda MLC School community



SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram YouTube

Contact Us Ph 02 9747 1266 General enquiries

Office Hours MLC School hours are 8am to 4pm weekdays

MLC School acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the School is located, the Wangal people of the Eora Nation, and pays respect to Elders past and present.



Cover photo: 16th Sydney Opera House Concert, Stories
















from the


Having had time away for some study during a recent sabbatical, my eyes are fresh to the extraordinary life of the School, for students, parents, staff and Old Girls, portrayed in this edition of Lucis. The stories here detail the many and varied ways that MLC School plays a central part in so many lives. The School is an active, interconnected community. It’s undoubtedly true that our core ‘business’ is, and has always been, the education of young women. This edition canvasses some aspects of what that means today in broader terms, such as: providing outstanding facilities, extending our partnerships, offering study support, seeking international experiences, and engaging students in a range of performance opportunities at some of Sydney’s landmark venues. The shape of an MLC School education constantly evolves but remains of the highest calibre. The School’s strong performing arts programs were most notably celebrated with a long-awaited return to the beautifully renovated Sydney Opera House for our iconic Concert; and the colour and movement of the Dance Showcase. Each iteration raises the bar higher; and the capacity of these events to galvanise students, staff and the community is undeniable.

Sharing experiences with parents and Old Girls is key to the vibrancy of School life, and vital for the support of our students. The Parents and Friends Association’s 'Parent Forums' focus on topical issues and provide a resource for families to navigate the changes that come with the growth and development of their children. November’s Forum with 2023 Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt is a mustattend event! Leading educational academic, Professor Andrew Martin has specially written an article for this edition and this continues our commitment to delivering broad insight to assist parents and carers. The generosity of the School community was once again displayed on Giving Day, and the love for MLC School was visible for all to see. Support for our Indigenous programs, which include Scholarships, is now embedded in our DNA and I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made together. Finally, this issue farewells the Class of 2023, and we hope to see them all back as part of our Reunion program in years to come.







A WEEK FULL OF JOY AND TEARS FOR THE CLASS OF 2023 Year 12 students will fondly remember their final days before leaving for their exams. They were filled with a host of event, including the Battle of the Bands, House farewells, the Final Assembly, the Paver Ceremony, Valedictory Service and Assembly and, of course, the Valedictory Dinner. Students gave thanks for the opportunities they had been provided and celebrated their time at MLC School. It was their turn to show appreciation for the staff members who guided them along their journey, along with the support offered by their peers and families. For those families also leaving the School, some who have been part of the community for many, many years, the Valedictory celebrations were bittersweet. As these young women go out into the world, we are confident they will continue to ‘walk as daughters of the light’ and look forward to staying connected with them as Old Girls.









A Kindergarten group (including boys) inside of Abbeythorpe in 1941

To mark the opening of the refurbished Junior School, we look back at the history of the education of young students at MLC School. From the time of its inception, the intention at MLC School was to provide a superior level of educational experiences for all its students, from the very youngest right through to our graduates. MLC School has always been at the leading edge of educational concepts. Shortly after the opening of MLC School in 1886, our founding Principal Rev Dr Charles J. Prescott, who firmly believed in the importance of educating very young children, persuaded the School’s Council to establish a kindergarten. This was a very significant innovation in the history of education in Australia.

The Kindergarten Movement, which was based on ideas developed in Germany by Friedrich Froebel, was in its early days in Australia and was struggling to gain support. Rev Dr Prescott’s vision placed MLC School at the forefront of educational practice when it established a kindergarten in 1889. The success of the kindergarten at MLC School was evident within its first year, leading the School’s Council to approve the 1890 construction of a ‘one-storey wooden structure with a wide verandah’ to house the new kindergarten. This, the first purpose-built kindergarten in Australia, stood at the corner

of Rowley and Grantham Street until the early 1920s when it was removed to build Potts Hall. MLC School’s dedication to resourcing the education of young students is a constant theme throughout its history. In 1923, Abbeythorpe was purchased by the School Council to accommodate Kindergarten and Primary classes. Abbeythorpe, a ‘handsome, two-storeyed Italianate building’ located between the School’s sports field and Burwood Park, played an important role in the life of the School for almost 50 years. In 1924, Kindergarten and Primary classes were held downstairs, while weekly Boarders were housed upstairs. Abbeythorpe was demolished in 1977 and in 1978 the Gymnasium – still located within the Aquatic Centre – was built on the site.



Abbeythorpe in approx 1960 (view from Park Road)

With the junior population at MLC School expanding, ‘a handsome two-storey house’ Youngarra on the corner of Rowley and Gordon Streets was purchased in 1949 by the School. The building was renamed Kent House in memory of the Kent House that once stood on the corner of Rowley Street and Park Road (which was purchased by the Wesleyan Church in 1885 to launch MLC School). Kent House (Youngarra) was then occupied by the kindergarten and lower primary school, with the upper primary school located in Abbeythorpe.

‘Youngarra’ renamed Kent House in the early 1960s, taken from Rowley Street near the Mt Pleasant Ave corner

The junior classes quickly outgrew the space in Kent House (Youngarra), so it was demolished to make way for our third Kent House, the Kent House Junior School, which opened in 1966. The new Kent House contained nine classrooms, an assembly hall and library and allowed for the primary and infant departments to finally be located together. This Kent House is now the home of MLC School’s Design, Art and Technology (DART) department.

Kent House in 1966, taken from Rowley Street near the Mt Pleasant Ave corner

Enjoying lunch in picnic smocks outside Kent House in 1977


In May 2009, the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, declared the new MLC Junior School on Park Road officially opened. The following are photos taken just after its opening:



The vision for the new MLC Junior School on Park Road was to develop a learning environment where the flexibility of space inspired new ideas and practices; where indoor and outdoor spaces blend and learning environments are stimulating. Very soon after its opening, teachers noticed greater student independence, more positive interactions between students with enhanced levels of student engagement. The young students themselves constantly spoke of their love for their new school with its playful, light-filled studios, saying they ‘wouldn’t want to be anywhere else’. For over 137 years, MLC School has consistently been able to offer its students of all ages exceptional learning environments by remaining at the forefront of innovative teaching methods and by evolving our educational spaces for all our students.






The building of the award-winning Senior Centre has also brought great benefit to the girls in the Junior School. With the relocation of the Maintenance department from the Junior School campus to the Senior Centre, an opportunity arose to extend and renovate the Junior School to meet the growing educational needs of the youngest students at MLC School.

General learning areas have also benefitted from the renovations. Modelled on our successful Year 6 structure, Year 5 students now have their own dedicated studio with a large common area referred to as Year 5 Central. One Year 5 student described it as ‘big and spacious, so it is great to meet there as everyone can fit.’ Year 5 Central provides a space for the entire grade to gather or use as a flexible, open learning space.

Officially opened by the Chair of Council, Dr Paraskevi (Eve) Tsironis in June, the newly constructed wing of the Junior School provides state-of-the-art performing arts facilities that reflect the emphasis on a quality performing arts education at MLC School. The popularity of the School’s music education programs has grown significantly, with many young girls taking up the opportunity for individual onsite tuition for a wide variety of instruments. The renovation extended the number of practice rooms to cater for this increased demand, and provided two purpose-built music classrooms. From a student’s perspective, ‘it is a fun, big and bright room to learn music and has a piano to accompany you…’

The relocation of Year 5 to the new wing of the Junior School building has provided the opportunity to further reconfigure the Year 1 to Year 4 studios. The Junior School campus now has newly constructed, large and bright learning spaces with Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) located on the upper level of the building, with Stage 2 (Year 3 and Year 4) below.

The School’s performing arts programs were further enhanced with a purpose-built drama studio, incorporating new audio-visual facilities, a green and mirrored wall, and purpose-built soft flooring which students love, ‘the curtains are good because they can also be a green wall for videoing.’ The opening of our Drama Studio coincided with the appointment of a designated Junior School Drama teacher. MLC School Sydney Opera House Concerts, Dance Showcases and drama productions rest on the strong foundations developed in the Junior School. Furthermore, it is a delight to see our instrumental programs, music programs, cocurricular music and dance programs take place in these wonderful facilities.

According to our Junior School girls, a favourite addition to the beautiful renovation and extensions is the brand new (and very impressive) canteen. Even the parents are impressed with the quality coffee available, allowing them to sit at the café tables, watch their girls play with school friends and catch up with one another in the mornings.





By-gone stories of the Sydney Opera House Concert The very first MLC School concert at the Sydney Opera House was held on 19 June 1986 as part of the Centennial Year celebrations. The ‘Grand Concert’ was an evening of serious music provided by our talented students and Old Girls. The Sydney Opera House was an excellent venue for our soloists, choirs and orchestra. The Junior and Senior choirs, Madrigal, Orchestra, Woodwind and many talented soloists performed admirably. In 1990, Principal Barbara Stone announced that the School was launching a program to stimulate interest in music within the School and to widen community contact with MLC School.

the Concert Band’s rendition of Under the Boardwalk and Toy Symphony, to name but a few. Each student was involved in this intricate Program by their involvement in the various year choirs.'

individual performances. The concerts routinely featured works by traditional composers, with composition diversity provided by performances of original works often devised for the concert by the School’s students.

This initiative led to what was to become a biennial event: the first ‘Musical Evening’ at the Sydney Opera House was held in June 1991. The Head of Music, Karen Carey, reported in the 1991 Excelsior that 'among the many magnificent and varied performances from different nationalities and musical periods, were the Indonesian and Renaissance dances,

Since 1991, the MLC School Sydney Opera House Concert has been held every two years (except for the COVID-19 lockdown year of 2021). These concerts display the School’s excellent musical standard. Orchestral, choral and dance pieces are performed by students across the School, with its bands, choirs and ensembles supplemented by outstanding

The biennial MLC School Opera House Concerts provides students with the opportunity to perform on one of the world’s great stages. It dramatically demonstrates the depth of participation in Music at MLC School and provides students with a greater appreciation of a broad spectrum of music that is an intrinsic part of an MLC School experience.












Sydney Opera House Concert

A Welcome Return This year’s 16th Sydney Opera House Concert was long-awaited, and the first experience at the iconic venue for many girls from Year 5 to Year 12. Every concert has a theme, and this year it was 'Stories', which brought together MLC School's outstanding musicians – students from Year 5 to Year 12, and staff – to dazzle the sold-out audience of parents, family, friends, invited guests and Old Girls. All the music linked to stories in some way, with three combined items that framed the message of the concert. The opening piece harked back to the oldest stories known to man. Silhouette, was an evocative piece marrying the work of First Nations poet, Laniyuk, with original music by the School's Head of Composition, Tristan Coelho.

‘It was ultimately for our young people that I wrote this poem. To remind them that sometimes we won’t see our seeds grow immediately, but that doesn’t mean we don’t plant them or water them every day. Sometimes it will take years until those trees are big enough’ Laniyuk shared. Following the performance, Lanyiuk took to the stage and said, ‘I have to admit I’m shaking a little bit… I’m feeling a little emotional that the first time I’m here [at the Opera House] and witnessing my art’. While a long way from her small hometown in Darwin, she shared valuable personal insight into her own plight to increase access for children who are less fortunate. Moved by MLC School students’ performance, she was even further touched by the full-circle moment

that this community provided to her, ‘to have the hope you write into the world be performed by young people, the very people that I wanted to speak to…’ The poignant Our Story at the conclusion of the first half, spoke of our connection as part of one story. The night finished with Dream On, an Aerosmith hit from the 1970s. We witnessed the many talents of students and staff involved in the Chamber Choir and Orchestra, Concert Band, Senior Choir, Taiko ensembles, Sinfonia, Stage Band, Symphonic Wind Band, Symphony Orchestra, soloists, dancers, backstage crew, and of course the power of our massed choir in a welcome return to this iconic event at one of the world most recognised performance venues.


Masterchefs in the 2000 Wade Building kitchens


COOKING INTO THE FUTURE On 7 June 2023, the generosity of our School community was demonstrated with the official opening of The Meryl Hilda Wright Food Technology Kitchens. The Design, Art and Technology (DART) department staff and our Facilities team spent countless hours collaborating on the design of the new kitchen spaces located in the Wade Building to ensure they would provide excellent learning experiences for our students into the future. This collaboration has resulted in spaces that rival many professional commercial kitchens with their contemporary food production technologies.



THE HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL WADE BUILDING KITCHENS In February 1960, a ‘more contemporary’ addition to MLC School was approved by the School Council. A little over a year later, the tennis court between Potts Hall and the Sutton Building was replaced by the Wade Building, a modern twostorey brick building with feature façade panels highlighting the architectural fashion of the time. The building, noted for its contemporary internal finishes, provided a wellappointed domestic science room on the ground floor.

The original architectural plans for the 1961 Wade Building show that our current kitchens are located where the original ‘cookery room’ and staff room were situated


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A cookery class in the Wade Building in 1966



The Wade Building kitchens in the mid-1990s

GENEROUS BEQUEST PROVIDES FUNDS FOR NEW KITCHENS The 2023 kitchen upgrade was made possible by funds from a bequest made by Lawrence Hinchliffe in memory of his beloved wife Meryl Hilda Wright, in recognition of her love for MLC School. Meryl attended MLC School for her whole school life from the age of six in 1916, right through to her completion of the Leaving Certificate in 1927. In 1931, Meryl met Lawrence on a blind date. In his words, he saw ‘a dream, I fell in love immediately, danced with her only the whole evening and on Monday I sent her a bunch of roses. We lived for each other.’ They were married two years later. Meryl and Lawrence had no children and as a way for their memory to carry on, Lawrence left a gift to MLC School in his will, ‘in memory of my dear, late wife’. They were a devoted and loving couple; it is a privilege for the School to be the holder of the memory of this wonderful marriage. Lawrence’s gift to MLC School first established the Meryl Hilda Wright Prize, awarded to a food technology student ‘in recognition of the skills acquired by my late wife at the School’. A further generous gift from the Meryl Hilda Wright fund resulted in our magnificent new Meryl Hilda Wright Kitchens.



Verdict from our MASTERCHEFS According to Renee Willemsen, Food Technology Teacher and Head of Department – Technology and Applied Studies (TAS), ‘MLC School students are fortunate to have such incredible new food technology facilities that are the envy of many well-known chefs, not to mention other schools. The new kitchens have added another dimension to food practicals and food science experimentation, allowing Food Technology students to take their skills to the next level. ‘It has been an exciting couple of months since we opened the doors, turned on the gas for the first time, and had our first run with the ovens, stovetops and dishwashers in our state-of-the-art new kitchen facilities’ adds Renee. Students have thrived in their new environment which is evident in the pride they have shown with their knife skills during mise en place and the level of growth they have shown in their food preparation skills. They have added an array of incredible recipes to their repertoires – from sushi and temaki, to risottos, crème caramel and passionfruit souffles; not to mention the mass production of a few hundred fondant-covered cookies to celebrate Giving Day 2023! ‘It has been equally rewarding to watch Year 8 enter the kitchen for the first time. They too have risen to the occasion and have worked extremely well to develop basic preparation and teamwork skills in the kitchen’ says Renee.

Year 11 and Year 9 Food Technology students were thrilled when they first gained access to use the rooms. Renee recalls that ‘students quickly adjusted to their new kitchen environment, learning how to work as a kitchen brigade and to manage the use of new ovens, stoves, dishwashers, alongside different ways of communicating and working as a team’. Of course, it’s best to hear from the students about their impressions of the updated Food Technology kitchens at MLC School. Year 11 Food Technology students Dakota Dodd and Matilda Banfield spill the beans on the next page.



These facilities have brought a sense of awe and excitement, and foster an exceptional learning environment for our lessons. Having had the privilege to experience these new kitchens, we are eager to share our thoughts and highlights about them.

and inviting atmosphere encourages collaboration and sparks our desire to continuously improve our cooking skills. Not only have we developed our culinary expertise, but the rooms have played a key role in teaching us teamwork, time management and attention to detail.

One of our most remarkable experiences was the opportunity to partake in producing special cookies for Giving Day 2023. Learning to craft professional-quality fondant-covered cookies over two weeks was a truly enriching experience. Under the guidance of our skilled teachers, we delved into the art of cookie-making, learning various baking and fondant techniques, while perfecting our culinary skills. This project not only honed our abilities, but also instilled in us the value of giving back to the community. The joy of sharing our delectable treats at the official opening and on Giving Day was a memorable experience.

Our heartfelt appreciation goes to MLC School, especially the late Meryl Hilda Wright, an MLC School Old Girl and her late husband Lawrence Hinchliffe for their generous contribution towards the new kitchen facilities. We would like to also extend our thanks to Ms Moloney, Dr Tsironis and the MLC School Council, Mr McGirr, Mrs Marks, Ms Willemsen, Ms Emms and Natalie Adaimy for their assistance in making these incredible kitchens a reality.

We are particularly fond of the abundance of new, shiny Smeg ovens and the other new appliances in the redesigned kitchens. These have opened a world of possibilities in the classroom for us. With ample space and a diverse range of modern appliances at our disposal, we are now able to experiment with complex recipes and explore an array of cuisines. This has not only enhanced our lessons but is undoubtedly equipping us with skills that will extend beyond the classroom. The new kitchens have become a hub of creativity where we can explore our passion for culinary arts and cultivate essential life skills. The warm

These cutting-edge facilities are having a profound impact on our learning journey. We look forward to the endless possibilities that lie ahead as we continue to explore the world of gastronomy in these exceptional surroundings. We are immensely grateful for this remarkable opportunity and eagerly anticipate the culinary adventures that await us in the future. By Dakota Dodd and Matilda Banfield, Year 11 Food Technology students




JAPAN The Japan Enrichment Tour, which took place in the April school holidays, was the first cross-departmental international trip following pandemic restrictions. 32 students from the Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) departments embarked on a nineday trip to the land of the rising sun. The trip brought to life concepts and topics that students study in their respective subjects. A variety of activities facilitated this, including a guided tour of the Japan National Stadium where the 2020 Olympics were held, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a sumo wrestling training session. Students visited the Ukishima Recycling Facility and Kawasaki Mega Solar Power Generation Plant and took in the hustle and bustle of the famous Tsukiji Outer Market. A trip to Japan would not be complete without a rich array of cultural experiences such as an overnight trip to Hakone, to stay in a Japanese ryokan (traditional inn), and bathing in traditional Japanese hot springs. The girls ticked off a visit to the famous Shibuya crossing, a boat trip taking in the spectacular sight of Mount Fuji and (whilst not entirely unique to Japan) a day at Tokyo Disneyland. Sarah Papachristoforou, Head of Department – PDHPE marvelled that ‘it was a privilege to be a part of the inaugural tour and witness the deep disciplinary learning and knowledge students obtained. It prompted them to be curious, open-minded and develop a wider understanding of the world around them’.





Japan from the eyes of our students Exploring Japan with MLC School was an exhilarating experience. The opportunity to immerse myself in a country I’ve never visited before helped me gain a deeper appreciation of the Japanese culture and absorb rich knowledge of their lifestyle.

dynamic fashion, aesthetics and the heavy influence of Japanese pop culture. Ultimately, we explored the fusion of Japan’s preservation of traditions, whilst also embracing change and modernity.

Another way I was able to immerse myself more into the trip was by visiting a local Japanese girls school. We were able to bond with schoolgirls who were our age by talking about our interests and doing school activities together. This experience revealed the vast differences and common elements of our lives, whether it was about academics or life in general.

We experienced the traditional aspects of Japanese culture such as visiting Meiji Shrine, a Taiko workshop, woodcraft coaster-making, staying at a ryokan and partaking in a tea ceremony. These activities immersed us in a peaceful mindset, reflecting the tranquillity and beauty of Japanese customs surrounding spirituality, harmony and nature. As we partook in the preservation of culture and knowledge, we also toured modern aspects of Japan too. Some of these activities included going shopping on Takeshita Street, Shibuya, and in the Akihabara District. Shopping in Tokyo was especially exciting as I was introduced to their

Furthermore, surrounding ourselves in a different social environment allowed us to learn about the behaviour of Japanese society, especially the significance of ensuring politeness and respect. With an emphasis on establishing positive social relationships, we experienced this throughout the trip such as the HSIE business etiquette class; having to take off shoes before entering places in respect for cleanliness and care; and the extremely considerate and helpful customer service in Japan. By actively participating in these practices, we quickly noticed how maintaining the customs of respect and politeness created a harmonious atmosphere.

I had the opportunity to attend one of the first overseas trips since the COVID-19 pandemic. We travelled to Tokyo, Japan where we stayed for nine days; exploring the country, its rich customs and traditions while applying our Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS)/ PDHPE knowledge to real-life scenarios. This cultural immersion in Japanese society was a unique opportunity to consolidate some key course concepts in my courses, as well as an opportunity to discover a new environment and traditions. The trip gave us the chance to step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves in a foreign place with a different language and customs. We learnt the unspoken rules and expectations of Japanese society. In retrospect,

(while exploring Tokyo) we adapted to several adversities as simple as using chopsticks for all meals, although after spending a week there we almost mastered our chopsticks skills! Additionally, we stayed a night in a traditional ryokan in Hakone up in the mountains where we tasted traditional meals, slept on a futon mat and wore traditional Japanese clothing. The diet also differed, with rice being the main staple, and a typical Japanese meal including rice, protein or fish, vegetables and soup. We also completed a Taiko workshop and a Karate workshop, both of which showcased the three energy systems studied in SEHS, the impact of sports on the human body and the demands different sports require of athletes.

Other highlights of our trip include the visit to the famous Meiji Shrine, the iconic Shibuya crossing, Shibuya tower (which allowed us to see Tokyo from above), seeing Mt Fuji and the Japan National Olympic Stadium where the 2022 Olympics were held. Our trip ended magically in Tokyo Disneyland, leaving us with unforgettable memories of an exceptional country. Overall, the 2023 Japan Trip was beneficial for my SEHS knowledge; it also gave me the chance to learn about a new lifestyle, improve my ability to adapt to foreign environments and enhance my life skills which have helped me grow as an individual.

Tailored for our subjects, the trip acquainted us with Japan's customs, traditions and cultural marvels. As an IB Sport Science and Business Management student, it was a perfect blend of learning and adventure. We visited the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, experienced a business etiquette workshop, and watched a compelling sumo training session. These experiences deepened my understanding of Japan's sporting and business systems, allowing me to apply and enhance my existing knowledge.

Spending a night at a traditional apanese inn was a highlight, where we wore yukatas (bathrobes), enjoyed a hot spring, slept on tatami mats and ate traditional Japanese meals. We tried a variety of foods including some unexpected ones like snail sashimi.

and sustainability. In conclusion, the trip was an invaluable experience that enriched our lives in countless ways. It gifted us lifelong memories, new friendships and a deep appreciation for the beauty of diversity. The journey taught us the immeasurable worth of stepping outside of one's cultural bubble, immersing oneself in another way of life and embracing the transformative power of cross-cultural experiences.

We also visited popular tourist destinations like the Meiji shrine, Shibuya crossing, Hakone shrines and Disneyland. But the true immersive experience went beyond that. We got to know the Japanese way of life by visiting a local school, trying activities like kendo and calligraphy while making new friends. We embraced the Japanese language by using simple greetings we learned along the way.

The value of immersing in another culture became evident in every encounter. Engaging in age-old traditions, such as partaking in a traditional tea ceremony or spending a night at a ryokan, fostered a profound appreciation for the rich history and customs that shape Japan's identity. Each experience offered us a window into the Japanese ethos, emphasising the importance of harmony, respect and mindfulness in daily life. A unique reward the trip gave us was the ability to learn a new language, eat new food and most importantly, observe and be inspired by a society that has built itself off core values of respect, harmony, strong work ethic

In essence, exploring Japan fostered an immense appreciation for differences between language, customs, and traditions. Visiting different surroundings expands your knowledge of the world and provides eye-opening experiences in understanding other cultures and lifestyles. Overall, I was fascinated by the diversity of fun experiences in Japan and will always be grateful for this opportunity. Jody Feng (Year 11)

Sally Obaid (Year 11)

Anikah Sanan (Year 11)



Spotlight on

DANCE The Dance, Drama and Entertainment (DDE) department have been busy yet again, paving the yellow brick road for a new line-up of performing arts stars. Dance at MLC School is deeply rooted in character education and individual exploration. A huge round of applause is in order for the Senior Wakakirri team which has received three state awards as part of this year’s entry, ‘Beyond the Walk of Fame’. Wakakirri Ambassador, Scott Irwin credits it as a ‘stunning and emotional journey through the life and times of Judy Garland!’ MLC School is proud to receive a state award for Mental Health Awareness (this award underscores the power of art in addressing critical issues) and The Spirit of Wakakirri

Award for Storytelling (highlights the performances' emotional resonance), with this being presented to just one school which underpins the mission of Wakakirri. The Senior team returned to the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)’s Parade Theatre in September to qualify for national recognition. This extraordinary national nomination performance followed the 2023 MLC School Dance Showcase and the Senior School Athletics Carnival, demonstrating not

only their artistic prowess but also their unwavering dedication, commitment and resilience. The girls achieved nomination at the national level and there is much anticipation ahead of the national awards announcement scheduled for late October. Whatever the result, MLC School students definitely shone brightly! The collective efforts of dedicated dancers and crew was the embodiment of teamwork, tenacity and courage at this year’s Wakikirri.

Wakakiri photos by WinkiPoP Media



Wakakiri photos by WinkiPoP Media

Junior School’s Year 3 to Year 6 Junior Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz Ensembles explored a celestial adventure which reminds us to nurture and reflect on our actions for our precious home in ‘Goldilocks and the Three Planets’.


Hundreds of excited performers also took to the NIDA stage as classic silver screen goddesses and modern-day icons in the 2023 Dance Showcase, Spotlight: Women of Hollywood. ‘NIDA has provided MLC School students with an authentic and professional venue to showcase their talents since 2015, while celebrating their growth,’ said Jenna Skepper, Dance Coordinator. Curriculum and co-curricular dancers honoured trailblazing women, who have broken barriers, shattered stereotypes and forged paths for countless aspiring talents. Showcase celebrated the indomitable spirit, talent and grace of leading ladies such as Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Andrews and contemporaries such as Margot Robbie, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer and more. Tributes to much-loved characters like Mary Poppins, Cat Woman, and from the Wizard of Oz had the audience starstruck. MLC School’s ongoing partnership with NIDA offers a valuable work placement opportunity to VET Entertainment students, where they gain hands-on experience in managing backstage operations while being mentored by industry professionals. According to Jenna, the girls behind the curtain ‘flawlessly navigated the challenges of time management, costume changes and backstage coordination, ensuring the success of this year's Dance Showcase.’




STUDY SUPPORT FOR SUCCESS IN THE SENIOR SCHOOL MLC School’s aim is to place the girl at the heart of everything we do, and with this focus comes a commitment to support all students to achieve personal excellence through the creation of a positive environment which promotes academic and social success. ‘When it comes to study, there is no one-sizefits-all approach’ says Penny Pachos, Deputy Head of Senior School – Academic. Students in the Senior School are supported beyond the classroom in their academic study through homework clubs that are offered during lunch breaks every week. Students can drop in to seek one-on-one assistance with their studies in English, Mathematics, Science and PDHPE (to name a few of the subjects on offer). Year 12 students also gain access to masterclasses, workshops and extra revision classes held during the school holiday periods,

to help them with, for instance, practicals in the laboratories or assistance with their individual projects. In some instances, teachers offer Year 12 students additional support before and after school. The School’s Learning and Enrichment team offer specialist support and can help with Individualised Learning Plans and assessment provisions. Students are often seen in pods throughout the Senior Centre being assisted with their homework or working through further consolidation.

The importance of academic integrity and information literacy is emphasised from the beginning of Year 7. The Head of Library Services, Louise Piggot, takes students through the process of referencing, defining plagiarism and how to discern good resources from bad. Students are continually guided through the research process and the ongoing assistance offered by the Library team is often taken up by students when they are in the throes of an assignment.



MLC School’s Academic Care Program The Academic Care Program was launched in 2021 and aims to enhance the academic success of our girls through a bespoke approach to support, relevant to the year group. Where appropriate, external expertise is utilised to assist students in their academic development. Moreover, targeted skills-building programs are developed with both curriculum and pastoral care leaders to enhance the capacity of our students, whilst understanding that academic success is seldom achieved without personal well-being. For instance, as part of the Year 7 orientation program, students attend an enhanced learning education session with Dr Prue Salter, a specialist in the areas of study skills and self-regulated learning. Prue helps students to develop the skills they need to be effective and efficient with their learning. ‘Prue’s past experience as a secondary teacher and year coordinator means she has an insider’s knowledge about the struggles students face’ says David Posker-Hill, Academic Care Coordinator and Head of History and Religious Education. Throughout the session, students are supported to develop the tools, skills and

strategies to manage their time effectively and to study efficiently. There are also useful tools for parents to enable them to support their daughters. Identifying issues relevant to each year group is key to delivering a tailored program. For example, seeing the need to enhance the IT capacity of our girls, the Year 7 Academic Care sessions in 2023 have been targeted towards the online organisational skills; understanding how to engage with the online platforms utilised at MLC School; and breaking down assessment task notifications, criteria and feedback. In Term 3, Year 7 students will enhance their collaborative and movie-making skills through the development of an anti-littering campaign. This activity, and those to come, takes a project based approach with the intention of embedding skills with real-life scenarios. We believe such hands-on learning paradigms will lay the platform for the future success of our girls. For Year 10, students engage in the Preparing for Senior Studies program as they transition into Year 11. Students are supported to manage the challenges they may encounter with the

rigour of the Higher School Certificate (HSC) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) pathways. Senior students have also had the opportunity to engage in the Study Without Stress program. This evidence-based program equips students with knowledge and practical tips on how to approach and overcome the stress associated with heavy workloads and exams in their final years of high school. ‘There is strong evidence that suggests students who are better supported in all facets at school have higher academic achievement and better outcomes’ shares Andrew Taylor, Deputy Head of Senior School – Pastoral. According to Andrew, ‘Our care for the whole student is reflected in the many varied programs and clubs offered at MLC School, which aim to enrich their experience in many ways. We value the balance between maintaining positive social interactions, alongside study schedules and school homework.’ ‘Importantly, the School knows that academic and pastoral success for any student comes from a strong partnership with parents and carers.’





and how to help students overcome it

Specially written for this edition of Lucis, Professor Andrew J. Martin, a registered Educational Psychologist and Scientia Professor of Educational Psychology from the School of Education at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) shares his researched-based insights into building academic courage and resilience in our students. Andrew is also Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and specialises in motivation, engagement, achievement and quantitative research methods. He has published numerous books and hundreds of academic papers and is highly acclaimed for his research in education. Andrew has delivered over 200 invited/keynote presentations and his work has been featured in over 500 radio, television, newspaper, newsletter and web outlets.

School can be difficult. As students progress from one year to the next, the amount and complexity of schoolwork and assessment escalate. Many students respond to this in positive ways and flourish. However, there are other students who can be quite fearful and unsure about their capacity to meet these challenges.

In this article, I want to unpack the fear of failure and explain where it sits in the scheme of students’ academic lives. I also want to make the point that students are not stuck with their fear of failure. I will share some practical steps for helping them develop more courageous responses to school and schoolwork.

Fear of failure and what it looks like at School Fear of failure sits under the broad umbrella of academic motivation and engagement. I developed the Motivation and Engagement Wheel shown here to represent the major parts of students’ motivation and engagement—including their fear of failure.

Motivation and Engagement Wheel The Wheel has four themes, each comprising specific motivation and engagement components: • Positive motivation (self-belief, valuing, learning focus) • Positive engagement (plan & monitor, task management, persistence) • Negative motivation (anxiety, failure avoidance, uncertain control) • Negative engagement (self-sabotage, disengagement)

Motivation and Engagement Wheel (Reproduced with permission and downloadable from


Fear of failure plays out via the negative parts of the Wheel Negative motivation refers to: • Anxiety: the extent to which students feel nervous and/or worry when they think about or do their schoolwork, assignments or tests. • Failure avoidance: when the main reason students do their schoolwork is to avoid performing poorly or disappointing others. • Uncertain control: when students are unsure and doubtful about how to do well or how to avoid doing poorly. Negative engagement refers to: • Self-sabotage: when students do things that reduce their success at school, such as procrastinating or investing little or no effort when an assessment or performance approaches. • Disengagement: students’ sense of helplessness and inclination to give up and detach from school and schoolwork. In each of these ways, students are thinking and feeling in fearful ways (anxiety, failure avoidance, and uncertain control) or behaving in fearful ways (self-sabotage and disengagement).


What are the effects of a fear of failure? I separate fear of failure effects into two groups: process effects and outcome effects. Process effects refer to a student’s personal experience of school—such as their enjoyment, enthusiasm, aspirations, a willingness to challenge themselves and take safe risks. The negative motivation factors tend to adversely impact these most. This is because they affect how students think and feel about themselves and their abilities. Outcome effects refer to things like task completion, academic results, and final school attainment. The negative engagement factors tend to adversely impact these most. This is because they involve active responses to fear of failure, such as withdrawal of effort, giving up, etc. For what it’s worth, I believe process effects are the most important in the scheme of a person’s life course. Students will remember their journey and personal experiences at school for the rest of their lives. The specific marks they receive, although important at the time, are typically long forgotten.



Professor Martin's strategies to reduce students’ fear of failure The good news is that there are some practical steps that can be taken to help reduce a student’s fear of failure. Here are five ideas for starters:


Develop courageous and constructive views of mistakes and poor performance.

When students see mistakes and poor performance as information to help them improve next time, they are not so frightened of making mistakes or performing poorly. When they are not so fearful of mistakes and poor performance, they are less anxious and less inclined to engage in avoidance strategies like self-sabotage.


Develop courageous and constructive views of effort. It takes courage to try.

When students try, they are putting themselves on the line and risking mistakes and failure. One way to help students push through in the face of this is to suggest they see effort as the key ingredient for improvement—and not, for example, something that makes them look dumb if they perform poorly.


Reduce the link between self-worth and academic performance.

If students believe their worth as a person is dependent on the marks they get at school, then every test and assessment becomes a test of that worth—and increases a student’s fear of failing that test or assessment. When students are able to separate their self-worth from their academic performance, they are not so threatened by the possibility of poor performance—whether they get a good mark or a poor mark has no bearing on their fundamental worth as a person. The same applies to parents—whether their child receives a good or poor grade should not affect the approval or love that child receives. By reducing the link between a child sense of worth and their academic performance, their self-worth is no longer at risk, and the child is not so fearful of failing.

Through these approaches, we can help reduce students’ fear of failure and support them to enjoy school more and learn to their potential.


A personal best (PB) approach to safe risk-taking.

Fear of failure can also get in the way of a student’s personal potential. Their self-doubt means they do not stretch themselves or engage in the type of safe risk-taking that is important for optimal development. One way to help a student with this is to encourage personal best (PB) goal striving. This is where a student raises the bar on themselves and aims to outperform a previous best effort. This might involve asking to join in on a new game or social group, answering a question in class or asking a teacher for help (when previously these were avoided), or trying a new extra-curricular activity. PB goal striving helps students tackle and overcome fear in a safe and scaffolded way.


Address specific issues or challenges that heighten fear of failure.

There are some specific issues or challenges in students’ lives that can put them at increased risk of poor performance and underlie a fear of failure. These may be learning-related disorders such as attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder; specific reading, writing or numeracy difficulties; or mental health issues such as clinical anxiety or depression—all of which will benefit from professional support (e.g., psychologists). There may also be subject-specific difficulties that can be addressed through additional instruction or tutoring.

Further information • Martin, A.J. (2003). How to Motivate Your Child for School and Beyond. Random House. • Martin, A.J. (2023). Personal Best Goal Striving Worksheets. Lifelong Achievement Group. Other publications can be accessed via ResearchGate.



Keeping your tweens safe Michelle Mitchell is an educator, award-winning speaker, and respected author on tweens and teenagers. Michelle was the Term 2 guest speaker as part of the Parent Forum series sponsored by the School’s Parents and Friends’ Association (P&F). Michelle started her career as a teacher and went on to develop a special interest in wellbeing and helping young people and their families through her charity Youth Excel. She has published a book, called Tweens, and we are fortunate to be able to share some of the content here for all readers of Lucis. Maggie Dent, bestselling parenting author and host of the ABC podcast Parental As Anything describes Tweens as, ‘A book full of wisdom, compassion and guidance that I believe will help families, schools and communities everywhere take better care of our tweens.’ Below is an excerpt from Michelle's book, Tweens. Discussions about Online Safety The following is a perfect example of how tweens take risks online. A Year 6 class used OneNote as a tool for class learning. A boy added a folder in OneNote called ‘Personal, Not for Teachers to View’, with all his tween-ish, mildly inappropriate stuff saved in it. Taken at face value, it’s somewhat cute, but what happens when the stakes are higher? What happens when tweens bring that same naivety to interactions with ill-intending peers or unsafe people? What happens when they get caught in a rabbit warren of filth or darkness? Sadly, this is too often the reality.

Recently I was contacted by a parent whose daughter’s best friend attempted the blackout challenge, which encourages users to hold their breath until they pass out. She tragically died. The first thing the police did was trawl through her phone and social media history. Again, I am reminded that at 12 most kids do not understand the finality of death or do not realise that hard times don’t last forever. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach to hear stories like this and to hear how tween suicide, self-harm and other risky behaviours are continually linked to technology.

Tweens are incapable of assessing the risks because they haven’t developed formal thinking that allows them to comprehend abstract concepts. Understanding that unsafe people exist is one thing, but it’s an entirely different thing to comprehend that someone you haven’t met can really harm you. Most weeks I meet tweens (especially boys) who brag about being able to ‘break’ the school safety software. They convince their friends that they outsmarted a paedophile because they gave them a fake name and address. They might even believe that if they send pictures of their private parts, the harassment will stop or they will get the public recognition they desire.


I’d like to suggest four conversations to have with your tween, all of which will support their online safety. Define online friendship Discuss what constitutes an online friend as opposed to a friend in real life. Because tweens are literal, you have to clearly define what an online friend is, and don’t assume that they understand who should or shouldn’t fall into that category. Does their aunty or uncle? Does their aunty and uncle’s friends? Does a friend of a friend? Who tweens add as a friend and follow will impact their newsfeeds. Again, because of tweens’ concrete cognition, we have to keep drawing a separation between real life and the online world. These are some critical questions for tweens to answer to help them see if the friendship is secure or if the effort required for that social media streak is worth it. Ask your tween, out of all the people you have an online relationship with: • ‘Which of them would contact you if they hadn’t heard from you in a few days?’ • ‘Which of them would wait for you while you’re in the tuckshop line at school?’


• ‘Who would try to visit you if you were in hospital?’ • ‘Who notices when you’re absent from school or when you don’t seem yourself?’ • ‘Would liking their social media post matter if a huge change happened in your life or family right now?’ Fear can be helpful Another concept that we need to help kids understand is the role of healthy fear, which tries to warn them of danger. When they are riding their bike down a hill and it starts to pick up speed, healthy fear tries to step in, telling them to brake so they don’t fall. It’s their body’s way of telling them that it is time to modify their actions, to be cautious or to retreat and find help. We want tweens to feel a sense of healthy fear when using technology, knowing it can hurt them if used unwisely. Fear and excitement can feel similar, so it is easy for tweens to confuse them. I could tell endless stories of tweens who confused the two feelings and made train-wreck decisions that were completely uncalculated. Know that if things hit the fan, there is always a recovery plan and a path to restoration. Your relationship with your child is the most important thing to protect.

Please also remember that when your tween leaves the house, they may be exposed to things they wouldn’t be exposed to at home. That’s reality. You may be able to minimise this, but I guarantee that you won’t be able to eliminate it, which makes your relationship with them the only thing you can 100 per cent rely on. Scary, rude or nasty I break internet dangers into three simple areas – things that are scary, rude or nasty. These words are kid-speak for harmful online behaviours such as image-based abuse, insult tagging, cyber-ostracism, negative bystander behaviours, catfishing and impersonation, grooming and unwanted contact, sexting, extortion and blackmailing, scamming, stalking, problematic gaming and exposure to pornography. What’s important is that we lift the shame that tweens might feel when stumbling on these things, and that our kids know exactly how to respond when they do. The safety net Although we must filter the internet for tweens, that filter isn’t 100 per cent effective, and that is why education and how-to plans come into play. I talk to tweens about the internet being


like the sea, which has a lot of sharks in it, and safety software being like the net that stands between those sharks and swimmers or surfers. Occasionally, the net gets broken or doesn’t do its job. Sometimes sharks are strong enough to bite through it. Some platforms or games have their own safety net. Some have a more effective safety net than others. The software we add to computers only strengthens this safety net. At the time of writing this book, TikTok is of great concern


to me, because it is almost impossible to filter. Leigh, mother and social media agent, says, ‘OMG, I couldn’t agree more. My 10-year-old daughter has friends who are on TikTok. I spent one day on it to check it out and there is no way she is getting on that platform. And I own a digital agency, I work in social media, I understand the platforms. This is one of the worst and I despair about all the children using this. And I can’t believe parents actually let their young children on it.’

Bullet Point Takeaways The following are practical bullet points for easy digestion, all endorsed by cyber safety educators who are passionate about protecting our kids’ wellbeing in this tech-saturated age. If your tween is asking for their own smartphone, social media or gaming account, you can no longer dodge, dismiss or sidestep the topic. You must be decisive in what you want, or you will find yourself following rather than leading. • Delay access for as long as possible. Once devices become portable, risk increases. • Technology should be owned by you. It should never be a gift. This simple shift in power ensures you are the captain of the ship from the very onset. • Anything to do with tech is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with responsibility. • Establish a contract with your tween. Digital contracts or agreements are all about managing expectations and making sure everyone is on the same page. Always reserve the right to have the final say or change your mind. • Once you set a boundary, your challenge

is holding that boundary. Nothing will challenge that more than technology. • If you aren’t ready to talk to your child about pornography and paedophiles, you aren’t ready for them to be online. Preventive education and a clear ‘what to do’ plan are essential. • You can reduce risk, but it is impossible to get rid of it altogether. You know your child and if they are ready for that responsibility. • The internet must be filtered. Parental controls are essential. • Regular open communication is essential. Any parental control that you put on a device is a guardrail only. If tweens (or, more likely, teens) want to get around them, they will – or they will use the device of a friend who isn’t burdened with the same restrictions. Being a digital parent is all about realising this and not relying too heavily on safety software as the absolute answer. • The health of social media newsfeeds needs to be consistently assessed. Try to help tweens evaluate their newsfeeds and encourage them to unfollow, block or delete

This is an edited extract from Tweens by Michelle Mitchell, published by Penguin Random House Australia.

accounts that are not playing a positive role in their lives. It’s important that our tweens regularly consider who holds their attention and time. Ask them, ‘How is it helpful? How does it make you feel?’ • For most, tech-free night-time and sleep routines promote better sleep habits. • Try and encourage positive tech time by building it around their interests and dreams. Remember too, if your tween has been interested in cooking since they were 13 and posts about their efforts on social media, it becomes a track record for employees to look at. • Be honest about your own tech habits and what you are modelling for your tween. Come on, parents – do you sleep with your phone in your room? Do you have uninterrupted family time without it? Do you feel addicted to technology?



PARTNERSHIPS BUILD A STRONGER FUTURE Developing an authentic, collaborative partnering culture to inspire students and staff is a core pillar of the 2020–2024 MLC School Strategic Plan. Over the last eighteen months, MLC School has worked closely with The Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AISNSW) and their Pathways and Partnerships consultant Angela Schumacher, to develop a new research-based framework, outlining bestpractice School, Industry and Organisation partnership programs. According to Cathryn Moore, the School’s Strategic Projects Leader, our current strategic rationale aims to ‘actively seek, develop and nurture reciprocal partnerships that are enduring and sustainable. In walking hand-in-hand with organisations that reflect MLC School’s mission and values, we look to inspire authentic learning and teaching experiences, foster creativity in students and staff, support the holistic development of wellbeing, and act as positive change makers within and beyond our School.’ This strategic rationale closely aligns with pillar seven within the 2020–2024 MLC School Strategic Plan: ‘We will continue to build and enhance partnerships with individuals and organisations that enrich our student and staff experience. Opportunities that encourage creativity, sustainability and innovation will be prioritised.’ Our framework’s guiding principles enables the School to determine the best partnership fit, suitability and opportunity for our girls.

Any prospective partners must support the MLC School Values of Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth. Each party will provide reciprocity for common goals, allowing mutual and equitable benefits in a sustainable way. ‘We acknowledge that trust and accountability can be fostered over time as we are interested in embarking on partnerships for the long term,’ said Cathryn. Several existing relationships align strongly to the overall guiding principles and remain a key focus of the work happening in the partnership space. These include the School’s partnership with The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (AECG) which is a notfor-profit Aboriginal organisation that provides advice on all matters relevant to education and training, with the mandate that this advice represents the Aboriginal community viewpoint. Director of Indigenous Education, Tim Lennon, a member of the partnerships team, regularly meets with the local AECG committee to ensure a dialogue between our communities and families, as we proudly continue to increase the opportunities for Indigenous students to join the School community, supported by funding from Giving Day and the scholarship program. Similarly, the Design, Art and Technology (DART) department, has continued to host artists from Alice Springs and the Hermannsburg area of Northern Territory’s

Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Centre Artist-inResidence program, in collaboration with Michael Kempson, Master Printmaker and Director of Cicada Press, following the initial visit in June 2022. The group was warmly welcomed back to Kent House in Term 1 this year; and offering even more about their practice, culture and creativity to our History, Visual Arts and Photography and Digital Media students who documented the experience by creating a documentary-style video of the events over the last two years. 2023 has been the ideal year to kickstart a wide range of new relationships and initiatives across both the Senior School and Junior School. In May, MLC School signed a Memorandum of Understanding celebrating an official partnership with Celestino Developments Pty Limited which is developing the future Sydney Science Park (SSP). Bordering the development area for the new Western Sydney International Airport, SSP is being designed to be an epicentre for research and development in education, health and high-tech industries. This world-class facility will be supported by a retail centre and social infrastructure, including schools, healthcare facilities, universities, a research and STEM centre, industry, residential and open spaces. All will be underpinned by Smart City technology. Mel Bye, a partnership team member, teacher and Year Coordinator (Year 2), along with Cathryn have led this project which offers MLC School girls an unparalleled opportunity to work on a real-world project for innovation,


creativity and entrepreneurship. SSP has been designated one of CSIRO’s Urban Living Labs, an environment where the next generation can think differently about designing, building and living in cities. This includes concepts such as exploring new energy systems, smarter water management, transformative healthcare, transport, how circular economies can assist and more. MLC School students are taking part in the annual Sydney Science Park CSIRO Urban Living Labs Schools Challenge, which is an authentic Project Based Learning experience that will have a definite effect on the planning of SSP. The transformative educational experiences on offer through SSP will improve the quality of STEM engagement, interest and student outcomes. Year 9 students have finished their first challenge, which involved a field day onsite working alongside industry experts, researchers, scientists and other schools. Year 6 students are developing a new unit of work ’Humans manage environments to create liveable and innovative places’ while currently liaising with industry specialists before they also participate in the challenge. The challenge will enable the girls to collaborate and problem-solve on an authentic challenge question that revolves around complex issues in the planning for infrastructure at SSP in a transdisciplinary way. They will learn valuable communication and collaboration


skills across different education systems, while developing confidence in their research skills, innovative thinking and entrepreneurship. Linda Emms, Head of Learning and Teaching sees the development of sustainable partnerships with industry and tertiary organisations as ‘key to preparing the MLC School girl to be ready for the world of work that she will enter. Involvement in these projects will ensure the development of the skills and knowledge that will position students at the forefront of innovation, whilst applying appropriate lenses of social responsibility to their work.’ Education mentoring A second partnership collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has culminated over the last 12 months in the signing of a Letter of Intent earlier this year. This project has been led by Susan Rowley, a partnership team member and Director of Teacher Accreditation, along with Cathryn. This partnership is focused on the area of initial teacher education and the development of a mentoring program with MLC School. The School aspires to be an educational leader by offering pre-service teachers meaningful practicum experiences, while at the same time building our teachers' capacity to be effective mentors.

The past year has seen many visits between UTS and MLC School campuses to write online learning modules for teachers and pre-service teaching students with Dr Pauline Kohloff, Director of Professional Experience for Initial Teacher Education and Dr Joanne You, Senior Lecturer of Professional Learning and Master of Teaching in Secondary Education Combined Degrees Course Coordinator. MLC School ran the first cohort of seven students and 11 mentor teachers through the program in Term 2, which involved completing the modules, running feedback sessions, conducting surveys and successfully completing a four-week practicum. The pre-service students benefitted immensely and they shared the following comments: ‘My placement at MLC School has been such a unique experience and a great way to be introduced to the teaching profession.’ ‘I am extremely grateful for the opportunity provided by MLC School. I can say with the utmost confidence that I have not only changed as a teacher, but as an individual over the course of my stay.’



All of the pre-service teachers ardently said the mentoring had allowed them to grow in confidence, share their anxieties and doubts, as they begin to find their own individual presence as a teacher.

Henry Wijanto’s further insights as a mentor

The work aligns with the values of MLC School and UTS, as Dr Kohloff from UTS said, ‘it was a privilege to collaborate with MLC School on the construction of a course for both beginning teachers and their within-school mentors. After piloting the course with our teacher education students, we [UTS] noticed a significant increase in their awareness of how they can seek and act upon guidance from experienced teachers.’

‘The program paired me with Anissa, a bright and enthusiastic pre-service teacher who aspires to become a humanities teacher. Learning modules, for both parties, served as the foundation of our mentorship journey. Modules and discussion platforms were thoughtfully designed, with ideas on how to explore feedback, expectations of the mentor-mentee relationship and the nature of the students in our School context. Such discussions assisted us to establish rapport and alleviate some of the anxiousness that comes with teaching for the first time, before even stepping onto the School grounds.

In the words of Dr Joanne You, ‘quality initial teacher education revolves around effective mentoring opportunities within professional experience. The MLC School and UTS mentoring partnership pilot project has been a wonderful initiative in setting up both MLC School (supervising or mentoring) teachers and participating UTS pre-service teachers for success!’ MLC School’s 11 mentor teachers gave their all and were extremely passionate about working closely with their pre-service mentees and for the opportunity to give back to their profession. Dr You noted that ‘MLC School teachers' generosity, professionalism and deep love for their students has established a strong foundation for UTS pre-service teachers. Even in a short period of time, we have watched them become more capable and confident in their practice.’ While the time commitment was high, MLC School staff expressed that they valued the work and personal growth from the shared experience: ’It has been so nice to be a mentor to someone and show them how amazing teaching can be…this has taken me back to our core business and really shown me why I love teaching’ – Kate Schurch, Teacher, Science department ‘(A highlight has been) the opportunity to both teach and learn alongside an enthusiastic and reflective young preservice teacher’ – Tim Curry, Head of Department – English ‘(This experience has) nudged me into reflecting more deeply on my own practice prior to mentoring the preservice teachers’ – Henry Wijanto, Acting Head of Department – Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)

Wondering what it’s like, we asked Henry to share more about the behind-the-scenes of his rewarding experience as a HSIE mentor teacher.

The process of mentoring was far from onesided, making me reflect on my teaching practices and keep up to date with the latest developments in education. To effectively guide Anissa, I had to adapt my mentoring style to accommodate her learning preferences, strengths and areas for improvement. Reflective meetings with others in the program added another layer of enrichment, and provided a supportive community in which to share our successes, challenges and best practices. Collaborating with other mentors allowed me to tap into their expertise and gain valuable insights into mentorship techniques I hadn't considered before. In turn, I contributed my own experiences, which led to mutual growth and improvement among all participants. The mentorship journey also taught me the significance of empathy in the learning process. Understanding Anissa’s fears, doubts and aspirations allowed me to provide more personalised guidance. Empathy played a pivotal role in creating a safe space for my mentee to take risks, learn from her mistakes and ultimately thrive.' As this partnership progresses into 2024, the School will continue to reflect on ways to improve the work and to focus on supporting the industry’s newest teachers to flourish in their chosen profession, in-step with UTS. Dr Kohloff said, ‘The teachers at MLC School were particularly generous with their time, and demonstrated considerable ingenuity and insight in how they implemented different mentoring strategies.

We hope that our joint effort will support a new generation of young teachers to understand how to further their own pedagogical development, and grow to become confident and compassionate mentors in their own right’. Dr You seconded this, ‘we look forward to refining this project to generate an even greater positive impact on the teaching and learning community!’ Overall, Cathryn Moore is excited by the plans that the Partnerships team have to deliver more inspiring projects into the future. ‘There are some great conversations underway – it will be wonderful to look back in a year’s time to see how they develop into fruition. For instance, we’re very keen to see how initial pilot programs with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in our DART department can translate to empowering our girls to consider alternate career paths and shape the future of women in the workforce too.’



Y A D G N I V GI On Wednesday 7 June, MLC School turned all shades of pink for the second Giving Day fundraiser event, a chance for the entire community to show their for MLC School. Pink symbolises compassion, love, hope and friendship; the perfect representation of the shared goal to provide an MLC School education to others through the provision of more Indigenous scholarships. The goal was set at $180,000 and the target was smashed by the end of the school day due to enormous support for the cause; MLC School is most appreciative of the commitment made by the OGU and P&F towards matching donations dollar for dollar. A total of 335 donors contributed to the fantastic total raised for Giving Day 2023. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Particular thanks to all our matching donors who provided funds on a dollar for dollar basis, meaning every dollar donated became $2! The School Council and staff members also deserve recognition for their invaluable financial support and efforts to make the day a success. Together, we raised $217,000!

MLC School is grateful for all volunteers who assisted with the occasion, whether it be parents and Old Girls stationed on the phones making community calls, or those who spread the word amongst family and friends to share their love for MLC School with others. Abigail Latham (Year 12), Sutton Vice-Captain, shares her compassionate learnings from the experience below: ‘Participating on MLC School Giving Day as House Captains in the House Coin Heart Competition towards scholarships for new students taught us a lot about the act of giving and about how to encourage others to be generous. Throughout the event, we also learned that giving is a complex act that extends far beyond monetary contributions. As House Captains, we took on the main role of encouraging the girls in our Houses to donate, spreading awareness within our Houses about the importance of Indigenous scholarships and spreading House spirit. We learnt that to encourage generous giving, we needed to be actively engaged in the activity and advocating for the cause.

By emphasising to the girls that giving is not limited by the size of the donation and by encouraging them to bring in as many coins as possible, we were able to accumulate a large collection of coins to create our hearts and contribute to the fundraiser. Giving is also about the unity created, as we worked with many members of the House to design the best heart possible. This not only allowed everyone to feel like they played an active role in the Giving Day celebrations, but also fostered House spirit and connections between year groups. Witnessing the entire School community coming together to support the initiative demonstrated the immense potential of collective action in creating positive change. In conclusion, the event taught us about the uniting act of giving; the power that creating activities such as designing a coin heart holds in encouraging those who donate to actively participate and become passionate about the cause at hand.’





Thank you for your generous support

MLC School would like to recognise and thank all members of the School community who generously donate to the School. 650+ total donations were made to the School during the 2022/2023 financial year towards the School Building Fund fee statements or by choice, those who have given to the MLC School Scholarship Fund, for Giving Day 2023 and those who have simply reached out and offered gifts to be used at our discretion. Gratitude also extends to the donors who preferred to give in an anonymous capacity. MLC School is most appreciative of the commitment made by all those who were matching donors, including the OGU and P&F, who matched Giving Day donations dollar for dollar. You have collectively contributed to providing an exceptional education and learning environment for the girls at MLC School, now and in the future, and gave the Indigenous Scholarship program significant impetus to change more young lives. Thank you for your generosity.



FATHER'S DAY CELEBR ATIONS Students from all year groups, father figures and other special role models in their lives, shared breakfast and heart-warming moments to celebrate Father’s Day. Over 500 bacon and egg rolls flew off the tables and the coffee carts were busy all morning.




Engendering a love of reading is a key focus in the Junior School.

Important events on the MLC Junior School literary calendar include National Simultaneous Storytime and annual Book Week celebrations. This year’s chosen National Simultaneous Storytime picture book was Speedy Sloth by Rebecca Young, which was read on the same day at the same time in hundreds of schools and libraries across Australia. Girls from PreKindergarten to Year 5 were captivated by the parade re-telling of Spike’s story alongside music performed by the Speedy Sloth Orchestra. Junior School Book Week celebrations were full of energy and joy. The week ends with the highly anticipated Book Week Parade, where the opportunity to dress up as a favourite character is embraced with gusto by students and staff alike. Staff inspired our girls with their delightful Little People, Big Dreams costumes, encouraging imagination and conversation in response to the Children's Book Council of Australia’s theme ‘Read, Grow, Inspire’.



The value of connecting with Old Girls We recently received an email from Old Girl and 2022 Alumnae Award winner, Associate Professor Kristi Jones (1984) who was delighted that a current student, Kirsten Tran in Year 11, had reached out to her to get advice on study and career paths.

Dear Barbara, I just wanted to let you know how your Eminent Alumnae list on the MLC School website is reaching the girls. I was recently contacted by Kirsten Tran in Year 11, who is interested in a range of fields – genetics, psychology and science, to name a few. She found me on the Eminent Alumnae list and the Children’s Hospital website, and then contacted me on LinkedIn! It was such a great surprise to have a contact like that. I have just spent a lovely hour or so chatting with her on Zoom, about what she likes doing, what she is interested in and what her future career thoughts are. Also, about what I do, how I got there, what other areas and professions I thought she might be interested in and what paths she could take to get there. I showed her some of the interesting pre-implantation genetic testing pictures I use to talk to couples. We then morphed into general mentoring-type discussions – she noted that I was School Captain and wanted to ask all about that. Kirsten was lovely, interested and inspiring. I really enjoy that sort of mentoring and am always happy to have these connections with MLC School girls. I hope we catch up again! Thank you. Kind regards, Kristi MLC School Old Girl, Associate Professor Kirsti Jones (1984)

Impressed by Kirsten’s ingenuity in locating and then reaching out to Associate Professor Kristi Jones, we asked her to tell us a little about that process below. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to connect with an esteemed alumna of MLC School, Kristi Jones, who graduated in 1984 and served as the School Captain during

her time at MLC School. At The Children’s Hospital in Westmead, Kristi is a Clinical Geneticist. She leads the Kids Neuroscience Centre Neuromuscular Clinical Trials Unit and

is a Senior Staff Specialist and Head of the Clinical Genetics department, as well as a Clinical Professor at The University of Sydney. After hearing her story regarding her journey to achieve such success in her career, I was left feeling genuinely inspired and passionate about pursuing a similar career path.


This experience began when I was researching potential careers in genetics, a topic that I have always been interested in. Through a stroke of serendipity, I stumbled upon Kristi’s name on the Westmead Children’s Hospital website and recognised her as one of our MLC School Old Girls featured on the Eminent Alumnae page of our School’s website https://www.mlcsyd.


This motivated me to reach out to her in hopes of learning from her experiences.

During our conversation, Kristi shared her remarkable journey of becoming a Clinical Geneticist, highlighting both the challenges she encountered and the triumphs she celebrated along the way. Her passion for her work as a paediatric geneticist was evident and she spoke eloquently about the vital role played by the genetic counsellors she worked alongside. I found myself getting increasingly enthusiastic about the prospect of becoming a genetic counsellor myself, as she spoke about the profound impact they have on individuals and families.

In early March 2023, I managed to find her contact details through LinkedIn and reached out to her. To my delight, Kristi responded warmly and promptly, welcoming my inquiry. Although our schedules took a few months to align, I was privileged to finally meet her on a Zoom call during early Term 3 and the conversation that followed was truly eyeopening and profoundly inspiring.

Beyond invaluable career advice, Kristi provided insights into various genetic issues that she deals with as part of her career and offered guidance on educational pathways postgraduation, helping me to navigate potential universities and courses that best suit me. Her willingness to share her knowledge has given me a clear direction to pursue a future in genetics.

This experience has not only helped me in my studies, but also made me realise the value of connecting with our School alumnae. They are living examples of the heights we can reach, and their mentorship can guide us towards success. As we continue our educational journey, I encourage all students to connect with some of our MLC School Old Girls as I did, and initiate an opportunity to learn more from our experienced alumnae. Kirsten Tran, Current Year 11 student

AN OA R - S O M E EXPERIENCE Old Girl Inez Kritzler (2021) recently competed in the Henley Women’s Regatta held at Henley-on-Thames, England and is the first woman from King’s College, University of Queensland to row at an overseas rowing event. Inez rowed for The Fiona Dennis Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of Aspirational Lightweight Single Sculls. She was also Head of Boats for the King’s College team with a crew of eight boys and five girls, which competed in inter-university regattas with Oxford and Cambridge. ‘After months of hard work, dedication and training, I had the opportunity to enter The Fiona Dennis. It was tough time-trial-style racing, with competitors from around the world, fuelled by the thousands watching and cheering along the course. It was a race I will cherish for an eternity. ‘I am so grateful to MLC School and the MLC School rowing coaches for setting me up for this success; they sparked my passion and love for rowing, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for me in this event,’ said Inez.




It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of members from our community. Vale to all those in the MLC School community who have gone from our lives. As daughters of the light, they are in our thoughts and prayers.

were also students at MLC School. Pamela passed away peacefully and leaves two sons and her daughter Janice. The family remembers her as a very special and much-loved person.

Marcia Wheeler (Rofe, 1939) Marcia Wheeler (Rofe, 1939) passed away peacefully in her sleep on 5 February 2022, two months after celebrating her 100th birthday on 7 November 2021. Marcia commenced at MLC School in 1931 at the age of eight as a Day Girl. Marcia’s older sister Betty Foster (1932) was also a student. Her daughter said that right to the end, Marcia spoke of her fondness for her ‘old school’ and was still in contact with the daughter of her oldest school friend, Ailsa White (Malcolm, 1939). Frances Lawson

Frances Lawson (Abbott, 1949)

Bessie Wynne Warr

Bessie Wynne Warr (Barter, 1941)

Get in touch We value being able to recognise Old Girls who are no longer with us. To get in touch, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on +61 2 8741 3214, or email Scan to read about the lives of our late Old Girls online

Bessie Wynne Warr (Barter, 1941), who was known as Wynne, passed away peacefully on Saturday 1 July 2023, just two months shy of her 100th Birthday. Wynne started at MLC School on 9 February 1937 at the age of 13 as a Day Girl. She was a beloved member of the MLC School community and regularly attended our Sapphires’ Luncheons; often honoured as the oldest Old Girl in attendance. Wynne had three children including Old Girl Helen Male (Warr, 1970) who sadly passed away in December 2020. Her 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren remember her as a dearly loved person who lived life to the fullest.

Frances’ daughter, Diana Murphy (Lawson, 1976), has told us that their dear mother, Frances Lawson (Abbott, 1949), died on 10 June 2022 on the far south coast of NSW, where she and her husband retired after living in Beecroft for many years. A gentle, generous and genuine person, she is dearly missed by her four daughters, Kerrie, Virginia, Diana and Camilla, all of whom attended MLC School, her son James, and her 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A more detailed tribute can be found on the community website at https://community.

Pamela Williams (Masterman, 1949)

Julie Boyle

Pamela’s daughter contacted the School to let us know her Mum had passed away in June this year at the age of 90. Pam enrolled at MLC School in 1944 at the age of 11 as a Day Girl. Her aunt Rhoda Masterman (1919) and younger sisters Beverley McAllister (Masterman, 1952) and Margaret Brian (Masterman, 1958)

Julie Boyle (Larkins, 1950) passed away surrounded by her loving family on the 2 December 2022. Julie’s daughter Susan wrote that her Mum was a very proud MLC School Old Girl. In 2017, when Julie was going through challenging rehabilitation after a broken femur, she found strength as she struggled through difficult physio sessions by saying she is an

Julie Boyle (Larkins, 1950)



MLC School Old Girl and she `dares to be more´. In fact, the bag with the `Dare to be more´ wording that she received at a Sapphires’ Luncheon was always hung in a prominent position in her home. Julie was adored by her four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and she was a much-loved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend of many.

accepted a Teachers College Scholarship and went on to become a successful teacher. In her later years she attended university as a mature age student and received a Bachelor of Psychology. Wendy loved her MLC School days and the life-long friends she made. She was an active and happy member of the organising committee for various Old Girl reunions over the past 60 years.

Barbara McDonald

Barbara McDonald (Rae, 1955)

Pamela Archer

Pamela Archer (Hawkins, 1951) Pamela, who had been living at Tumut for many years, died peacefully at her home on Monday 27 February 2023 at the age of 87. Pamela completed her final three years of high school at MLC School. At School she was part of the Athletics, Senior A Basketball and Senior A Cricket teams, and was a member of the Sports Committee. In her final year she was a Senior Prefect and the Head (Boarding) House Prefect. Pamela had three children and two grandchildren. Pamela’s daughter Diana says she is sadly missed and will be forever in their hearts.

Mary Willis (Seaman, 1952) Isobel Mary (known as Mary) Willis (Seaman, 1952) passed away on 8 July 2023 at the age of 87 in Goulburn, after spending most of her life in Crookwell. Mary’s daughter contacted the School during the preparations for Mary’s thanksgiving service, requesting the sheet music for the MLC School Song, 'Here in This House.’ Mary had requested that this be played at her service. Mary and her husband Leon were married for 66 years. She was beloved by her three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Barbara’s husband, Rev Ross McDonald, wrote to say that Barbara died peacefully, and surrounded by her family, at Sydney Adventist Hospital after a stay of less than 24 hours on Thursday 27 April 2023. She had been reasonably well in the months prior to her death and her family takes solace from the fact that she did not have to go through a prolonged period of illness. Barbara leaves behind her loved husband Ross, and her four dearly loved children and nine grandchildren.

Diane Alchin

Diane Alchin (1958) Diane Alchin (1958), MLC School Old Girl, OGU Executive member, and Kent House Headmistress, died on Saturday 2 July 2023. Old Girls and staff who knew Diane as a classmate, a teacher, or through the OGU, attended Diane’s funeral to celebrate Diane’s life and to honour her many contributions to MLC School.

Diane Tucker, MLC School English Teacher Wendy Long

Wendy Long (Hille, 1956) Wendy passed away on 25 November 2022. She is survived by her loving husband Don, her two children Mark and MLC School Old Girl, Sarah Field (Long, 1990) and their families. Wendy attended MLC School from 6th grade in 1951 to the Leaving Certificate in 1956. Overcoming a number of health issues during her primary school years, she gained a scholarship to complete high school at MLC School. Wendy excelled in advanced Maths, English and Science and despite being offered a University Scholarship she instead

Diane Tucker, who was the MLC School Third Form English teacher in the mid-1970s, passed away suddenly in May 2023. Diane taught at MLC School from January 1973 to December 1976, leaving due to a move to Queensland with her family. Daughter Amanda Tucker (1987) was at MLC School for Kindergarten and 1st Grade in 1975 and 1976. A student of Diane’s, Debra Wilkes (1978), posted that she was sad and devastated to hear that her “amazing English teacher” had passed away.

Slight change to the Vale section of Lucis We have streamlined the printed Vale section in Lucis to include a smaller printed notice. Where there is more information in the tribute, this can be seen on our website All tributes are available online so we are able to provide more timely and comprehensive information to the community. We can also include photos, links to relevant articles and resources, and personal tributes from family and friends. We recognise that the Vale section is an invaluable way for the School to honour and remember our Old Girls who have passed away, and we want to continue this tradition.



Across the decades



MLC School welcomed Old Girls back for their reunion years on Reunion Saturday, held annually on the first Saturday in May. As always, the venues were filled with the sound of reminiscences and plenty of catch-up stories. Many also took the opportunity to tour the new facilities and see how their former classrooms are now being used.







ing Celebrat from Old Girls

SAVE 1974, 1984, 04 THE 1994, 2004 MAY DATE and 2014







MLC School P&F

PARENT FORUMS Each year, the MLC School P&F supports a series of speaker events for parents on a range of topics. These discussions aim to help with parental challenges, promote debate, inform on current issues and engender community connections amongst the School’s parents. MLC School is most appreciative of the commitment of the P&F to the Parent Forum program.




Monday 13 November 6pm–7.30pm THE DAPHNE LINE HALL

Taryn Brumfitt is the founder of the global Body Image Movement and was recently named the 2023 Australian of the Year. She is co-Executive Director of The Embrace Collective, a bestselling author and an award-winning filmmaker/director of the inspiring documentaries Embrace and Embrace Kids. Taryn is passionate about empowering students, teachers and parents to appreciate and be kind to their bodies; setting students up for a life free of judgement and shame about how they look. Taryn will cover several topics in her presentation, including why embracing your body is your superpower. She will detail the importance of ‘move, nourish, respect, enjoy’ and how these four pillars play a pivotal role in body acceptance and appreciation. Taryn teaches resilience, how to stay positive through adversity, how to be your authentic self and more. Learn more: @bodyimagemovement Photo credit: Taryn Brumfitt

REGISTER NOW Via the ‘Events’ section on the My MLC School Portal




2023-24 Dates to Note

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Term 4

We very much encourage and welcome your news and love to receive photos.

Speech Day/Speech Night

Thursday 7 December 2023

Term 1 Commencement Day Start of Term for all Year 7 and new students in Year 5 to Year 12

Thursday 25 January 2024

Returning Year 1 to Year 12 commence

Monday 29 January 2024

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten commence

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Academic Excellence Assembly

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Parent Welcome Evening

Friday 9 February 2024

MLC School Tour Day

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Old Girls Events Old Girl’s Union (OGU) Meeting

Wednesday 1 November 2023

OGU AGM and General Meeting

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Intergenerational High Tea

Sunday 3 March 2024

Back to College Dinner and Alumnae Awards

Friday 3 May 2024

Reunion Saturday Class of 2014 10-year reunion Class of 2004 20-year reunion Class of 1994 30-year reunion Class of 1984 40-year reunion Class of 1974 50-year reunion

Saturday 4 May 2024

OGU Meeting

Wednesday 22 May 2024

OGU Meeting

Wednesday 24 August 2024

Sapphires Chapel Service and Lunch

Tuesday 22 October 2024

OGU Meeting

Wednesday 6 November 2024

To get in touch, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on 02 8741 3214, or email

2024 SCHOOL TOUR DATES Tuesday 27 February 2024, 10.30am Thursday 30 May 2024, 10.30am

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JOIN THE ONLINE NETWORK FOR MLC SCHOOL OLD GIRLS Like to reconnect with former classmates? Want to find out what’s happening?

Update your contact details and mailing preferences, expand your network, attend events such as Reunions, Old Girls’ Union meetings, School events and lots more. Scan to join and stay connected today! Or visit




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