Strathcourier 2020

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IN THE GARDEN OF DREAMS Artist in residence and students create


OSA members share their stories


Rising to the challenge S T U D E N T S A DA P T A N D T H R I V E T H R O U G H CONTIN UOUS ONLINE LE ARNING

To become unstoppable, a girl must first be set into motion... Strathcona is the catalyst of a life-shaping momentum, ensuring each girl discovers a trajectory as unique and full of potential as she is.




Upon their respective journeys, Strathcona girls break the stereotypes of private education — and we are proud of it. Action, meaning and fulfilment take precedence, and are aptly expressed in the School motto: ‘Bravely, Faithfully, Happily.’ Through a culture of academic excellence and a rich selection of co-curricular activities, girls grow and thrive. Strong, resilient, empowered — at Strathcona these are more than just words. We imbue them with impetus tied to each girl’s uniqueness and personal ambitions.

As a student’s voice and identity emerge, so does her character, and it’s here that Strathcona truly sets itself apart. A Strathcona girl is balanced in mind, body and spirit. Her robust sense of self is founded upon respect, integrity, compassion, courage and genuine community spirit. Being ready for life isn’t about bettering others — it’s about improvement within. In essence, Strathcona affords its girls the opportunity to discover who they really are, and to pursue their life’s potential by being themselves.

Or, put another way: unstoppable girls begin at Strathcona.


Contents Principal’s Message: Community resilience at a distance


OSA Acheivements: The front line of our pandemic


Duces of 2019: Taking their own path


School Captains: A year like no other


Staff Health & Wellbeing: All in it together


Strathcona Reunions


Strathcona Centre For Learning Futures: The future never stands still


Community Relations: Keeping us together while we are apart


Junior School Thinks Big: Creating a culture of thinking


Redesign of Year 7 & 8 Centre: Agile learning spaces


2019 Strathcona Award Recipient: Catherine Beaufort OAM


Strathcona Parent Seminars


Middle School Musical: Hakuna matata


Starting Year 7 in 2020: Q&A with Eleanor Smith


Premiers’ Awards and Top Class Theatre Studies: In the spotlight


Outdoor Education: Rising to the challenge


Life After COVID-19: What will emerge?


Mindful Colouring: The power of love in FAMILY


OSA Updates: Past students’ news Obituaries

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In the garden of dreams: Artist-in-residence Nicole Van Dijk


Staff Profile: Meet Mrs Lisa Miller, our new Head of Junior School


House spirit: Strengthening our bonds


Continuous Online Learning: When the world changes


Continuous Creativity: Highlights from our Continuous Learning Program


Early Learning Centre: The value of play


Unlikely student remembers Strathcona A generous gift from Beryl and Peter Hardy-Smith 49

2020 Bushfires: Message of hope


Strathcona Swim School: Learn to swim


Best STEAM Initiative

Best Use of Technology

Innovation in Curriculum Design

Girls Unstoppable: The Podcast Inspiring girls and women to become unstoppable. This is what Girls Unstoppable is about. Hear topics that the younger generation of girls want to unpack — from the juggle of career and motherhood to selfcare and so much more. Empowering you to overcome opposition of everyday life to become unstoppable. #girlsunstoppable girls-unstoppable-podcast


Best STEM Program



P R I N C I P A L’ S M E S S A G E

Community resilience at a distance

¤‚¤‚ what a year it has been. The world is in the grips of a pandemic as the COVID-⁄· virus spreads and the School pivots to continuous online learning. We have become accustomed to speed of lightning change, although of course, this does have an impact on wellbeing especially for those less comfortable with change.

In the early stages of the planning and execution of moving education online, the energy, drive and optimism of key leaders was exciting and energising as each staff member used their individual skills and experience to contribute to making it work online for our students and staff, which we did, and successfully. We gauged this through surveys, but also the many generous, supportive emails and comments. Also, we experienced increased enrolments owing to word-of-mouth messaging as families compared different school experiences. Critical to success was the combination of a suite of high levels skills and the collaboration — often across evenings and weekends — of very talented staff, particularly the Senior Leadership team at the outset, and Head of Digital Technology and Innovation (Ms Michelle Dennis) and our teacher in charge of Staff Wellbeing (Ms Amber Sowden).

All teachers were quite amazing at moving online so quickly — even those less comfortable with technology. Teaching online is far more onerous than F2F (face-toface) as it requires about double the preparation time — but our teachers do it — and the students are so supportive, kind, hard-working and mostly well-engaged. Additionally, we sought feedback from teachers, students and parents and adjusted delivery as we discovered what was best in terms of learning, and student and staff wellbeing. We are fortunate to have had a strong, relevant digital architecture put in place in the last few years. Microsoft Teams was the platform used owing to its higher levels of security. Despite the fact that technology was our friend during this time of need to ‘close’ schools and deliver education, there is no doubt that people miss each other and the need for human connection in real time is strong, and electronic connection is no replacement. We were also concerned about how much time was being spent in front of screens, mostly for our young people, but also for our teachers. Unsurprisingly, the whole Strathcona community has been stellar through all this. According to the Australian Government’s Social Inclusion Board: ‘Community resilience means the capacity of communities to respond positively to crises. It is the ability of a community to adapt to pressures and transform itself in a way, which makes it more sustainable in the future. Rather than simply ‘survive’ the stressors of change, a resilient

community might respond in creative ways that fundamentally transform the basis of the community.' Strathcona has proven that it has ‘community resilience’. Even more than this, it has shown that it has strong connections of care and compassion criss-crossing between all the ‘stakeholders’. Our Old Strathconians and Family Associations, have banded together with the Board to create the Strathcona Family Support Fund, acting with urgency and purpose to support the Strathcona families doing it the toughest. Those of you in a position to contribute, I encourage to take the opportunity to donate whatever you can to this fund to help those families experiencing deep and enduring financial hardship. As a community, we have responded positively and proactively to each challenge we have been faced with. That is not to say that we got it all right at all times, nor does it say that all of us felt strong all the time or that no one became frustrated. But together, we have made it this far and we have a great deal of which to be proud. Bravely, Faithfully and Happily — with courage, faith and optimism.

Mrs Marise McConaghy Principal


3 At times, it feels like we are living in a strange, almost dystopian world with a constantly shifting landscape. When I think of the start of the year — those first weeks — it seems like another age. We had just had the bushfires rip through large parts of the eastern seaboard and we were starting to read about this thing called COVID, but I for one did not engage with the developing situation early on, in January. Then it was upon us and, in the context of so many unknowns and contradictory advice, decisions had to be made swiftly. That state of constant decision-making and pivoting has not stopped since the first prelockdown in March.


THE FRONT LINE of our pandemic



During the first few months of the pandemic we caught up (virtually) with a few of alumnae who work on the health services frontline. The four share their experiences of working in an unknown and fast changing world scenario.

Sarah Miller (‘‚°) HIGHLY SPECIALIST PHYSIOTHERAPIST University of Melbourne – Doctor of Physiotherapy (2013-2015) University of Louisville Bachelor’s Degree, Science Major; Business Adminstration Minor (2009-2012)

Sarah is King’s College Hospital National Health Services (NHS) Foundation Trust Team Lead, a respiratory specialist during the COVID-⁄· pandemic as Team Lead to trust wide response whilst simultaneously completing an operations internship. A modern-day war, well at least that’s what it felt like when all of this kicked off. As a physiotherapist in a London hospital, and currently with “the NHS”, we act as one piece of the puzzle alongside many of our healthcare peers. We each play a role in managing the recovery for our patients. Most people know physiotherapists to work in a private practice clinic, supporting elite athletes or everyday warriors, however life in a hospital is a completely different ball game. As a respiratory physiotherapist, the management of COVID-19 is my core business, and I spend most of my day in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Respiratory physiotherapists help you to breathe better. This means working with

doctors and nurses to optimise or progress the settings on life support machines, various techniques to clear lungs and exercises to control breathing. In critical care, if you are on a life support machine for a long time, you may require an artificial airway to progress your recovery off the machine. This allows you to talk and cough independently as you begin to wake up from being on life support, and so we work with the speech pathologists to manage this process.

of my positive COVID-19 experience is testament to the people at Kings College Hospital. Being an asthmatic, sometimes I feel like I am walking into a death trap but I am motivated by knowing that at Kings College Hospital, we have reached almost 2000 discharges for our COVID-19 survivors due to the wonderful team I work with. It is so satisfying to see your patients discharged and reunited with their loved ones, some after weeks on life support.

I also support the physical recovery, which is particularly important for COVID-19 patients who can spend around a month on a life support machine. Rehabilitation starts in critical care, so for both your breathing and deconditioning, even if you are on the life support machine, we get you moving. As you improve and move out of critical care and into a ward environment, there may be a number of issues that impact your recovery, and thus we work with various members of the team to support your return to normal life.

The support I have received from friends around the world means a lot (with a special shout out to my Strathy ladies from Melbourne). Thank you! And my final message — thank you for staying home. You’re not only helping to protect you and your loved ones, but also helping us on the frontline to do the best job that we can in this modern day war.

Finally, potentially the largest part of my role in the management of COVID-19 has been to support not only the physiotherapy department, but also our wider hospital team as a Clinical Educator — an incredibly rewarding experience. but in some ways no different to our regular day jobs in healthcare. A big part


Every day all of us make hundreds of decisions. Even where we buy lunch, commute and have contact with others. COVID-⁄· has focussed our attention on how this affects us and other people. As a medical registrar, my job has always involved deciding if the patient described on the other end of the telephone call needs a hospital bed or whether they would be safer at home. My job has not fundamentally changed. I am there to comfort and reassure, to offer advice and support and to make treatment decisions. Right now I feel sadness and grief for all the innocent people and health workers whose lives have been lost. Sometimes guilty, that my current role doesn’t involve direct contact with COVID-19 cases, or that I have the opportunity to leave my house for a valid reason and have contact with others. I am more grateful for seeing patients present with what seem like “minor” conditions — a back pain or a rash on the leg. Yet my job reminds me why I do what I do in the first place — the fact that I love to find the best possible solution, working seamlessly with my professional colleagues to make a palpable difference to someone’s life. I am somewhat conflicted about healthcare workers being referred to as heroes. On one hand, these are some seriously underappreciated women—the majority of hospital doctors, nurses, therapists and cleaners—who are finally being recognised appropriately by broader society. However, I am just here to do my job, the vocation I chose when I made the Declaration of Geneva years ago during my medical graduation, when I pledged to dedicate my life to the service of humanity, and which has been largely unaffected by outside circumstances. We are the last lines, the ones who try to help those who have already fallen ill. However, the real responsibility to halt the spread lies with every individual, to stay at home. People who are sacrificing their jobs, juggling full-time work while looking after their children who are no longer at school, people who never chose or imagined this path. Their names and faces will never be seen or remembered, yet they are the real frontline heroes. Together, we have all faced an extraordinary challenge.


Graduated from Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery/Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) at Monash University in 2016. Vanessa is now working at Eastern Health.

Ella Duckworth (‘‚¤) CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST B.A, B.Sc (Psych Hons), MPsych(Clin), IMHAT, MAPS



Ella was School Captain in ¤‚‚¤ and since then has gone on to establish her own business – Minding Mum ( The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly magnifying mental health triggers for new and expectant parents. As if creating a new life wasn’t daunting enough, pregnant women are now preparing to give birth amid concerns over how hospitals will cope. It’s little wonder expectant mums are reporting growing anxiety about their impending labour and the safe delivery of their baby. For those already caring for children, the juggle between work and caregiving has become even more overwhelming. Parents feel guilty for the work they are not doing, and ache for the way their children need them to be present and calm. They feel like they’re failing at both. And they cannot have anyone outside their immediate household help. It really is hard. Kids are behaving in challenging ways, abandoning the routines, they already had, dropping naps, sleeping less, doing less, having far more screen

time than parents ever thought they’d tolerate. Forget homeschooling success, most parents are struggling to get their kids to do the basics — me included! With two parents in secure employment, it’s frightening to think that this is actually the best-case scenario. Parents of children of any age are having a tough time at the moment, but parents of infants and young toddlers have particular concerns: How will social distancing affect my child’s development? How do I keep them away from screens, as advised? How will they develop social skills and gross motor skills if we are all locked inside? And perhaps more than most: how will I get through the day?! The good news is there is nothing your child needs that you are not capable of giving them within the four walls of your home. All they need is a secure base — that is, to know they are loved and safe. But it’s not just about them. Parents have to be well in order to care for their young children. Depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness can affect our ability to do this. That’s why self-care

"The good news is there is nothing your child needs that you are not capable of giving them within the four walls of your home. All they need is a secure base — that is, to know they are loved and safe."

isn’t frivolous; it’s a priority. It means carving out any time for yourself that you can in this new world order. A walk by yourself, a long hot shower, an early night, laughing at memes that hit the nail on the head, a call to a friend, switching off the news, relaxation strategies, linking in with professional help, lowering expectations of what you can achieve at home and at work. For me, I try to focus on the silver linings as much as I can — the possibility of flexible work arrangements being more accepted in the future, the decrease in pollution, a slower pace of life with my family. And if all that fails, the reminder that this too shall pass.

Micol Tunley (‘·¤) PARAMEDIC

On 6 April, I woke to my first day back at work after annual leave. I did not sleep well, I was entering a “COVID-19” dawn. In preparation I had read all the Ambulance Victoria COVID-19 updates. For me this mainly focused on what to do if we are dispatched to a patient with symptoms/circumstances that meet pre-hospital coronavirus criteria. Thankfully many callers to 000 can answer some screening questions over the phone and be ruled out as being a potential risk. With these jobs it's “business as usual” however nothing is usual. I am wearing a P2 mask, goggles and gloves to every job. These are the basic PPE requirements now and I embrace the clear consistent way in which they are implemented. I’m also still attempting to maintain social distancing where appropriate and reduce any unnecessary use of equipment whilst providing the best clinical care and reassurance that my patients need and deserve. With a COVID-19 job I am wearing a tyvex suit with a hood, booties, mask, gloves and goggles. Very quickly I realised these suits hide my face and my uniform, they muffle my voice and fog up my glasses. I am usually the paramedic that will enter your home with a smile (if appropriate) a kind gesture, a

squeeze of the hand. I would be the one to feed your dog or give you a shower, sing ‘row row the boat’ with toddlers or admire your family photos, in order to reassure you, console you create calm in the chaos, distract you, and of course, treat you.

I know this pandemic has created fear and anxiety for our community but I am heartened by people's patience and understanding. I know that the social distancing and self-isolation, meticulous hygiene rituals and compliance with the state government guidelines is working.

Initially I felt like a robot, an intruder unable to easily put you at ease with my body language or gestures. But after three weeks back at work I have found a rhythm. Ambos are resilient and funny and there is humour to be found especially when you are in it together.

I’m so proud to be a paramedic at this time. A collective global tragedy like this has created positive social response and for me and my work colleagues a deep human connection to each other and our patients.


Since graduating in ⁄··¤ Micol travelled and lived in London as a nanny for ⁄‚ years where she married and had two sons. After returning to Australia, Micol returned to Monash University and studied to be a paramedic in ¤‚‚∞.




We are incredibly proud of our Class of ¤‚⁄· and excited at the direction their future individual pathways will take. BY MRS MARISE McCONAGHY Principal


Taking their own path We welcomed back our ¤‚⁄· Duces, Bronte Coxhill and Tamsyn Lovass, who spoke at our Leaders and Scholars Assembly and shared their journeys and advice to the next generation of senior school students. Here are each of their speeches and words of wisdom.

A Strathcona girl is balanced in mind, body and spirit. Together we work with families to create strong, resilient, empowered young women. Women who are humble, kind and courageous. Women whose sense of self is founded on respect, compassion and community spirit. Our excellent VCE outcomes are a result of us working together with students and families to reach a balance between the academic and pastoral care. To us every girl is unique and each girl is given the opportunity to discover who they are in a safe, supportive environment. Through a culture of academic excellence and our diverse selection of co-curricular activities, a Strathcona education is the catalyst of a life-shaping momentum, ensuring every girl discovers a trajectory that is as unique and full of potential as she is. As our Class of 2019 go out into the world, their full stories of achievement and contributions will be told over time, their unique journeys will continue to be told as alumnae of Strathcona, and I could not be more proud.





P E R F E C T S T U DY SCORES OF 50 IN • Chemistry • Economics • Health and Human Development • Further Mathematics • Mathematical Methods • Psychology • Theatre Studies


90.4 was the median ATAR score

“Your journey is likely to look very different to mine and those around you, and that is perfectly okay as there is more than one way to achieve VCE success.” B RO NTE COXH I LL , DUX OF 2019

Where students have been offered Where students have been offered a place place in in Where students have been offered a Health Info Health 20% 20% Info Tech Tech 3% 3% a double with Arts (eg. Law/Arts aWhere indegree a have double degree Arts Where students students have been been offered offered awith place a place inor aplace double degree with Arts (eg. orin Health Health 20% 20% Info Info Tech Tech 3%Law/Arts 3% Commerce/Arts), the career interest area has a double a double degree degree with with Arts Arts (eg. (eg. Law/Arts Law/Arts or or (eg. Law/Arts orthe Commerce/Arts), Commerce/Arts), career interest Science & & Psychology 3%area has Science Psychology 3% Engineering 19% been allocated to the the other degree. Commerce/Arts), Commerce/Arts), the career career interest interest hashas Engineering 19% been allocated to the other degree. the career area has been Science Science & &interest Psychology Psychology 3%area 3%area Engineering Engineering 19% 19% been been allocated allocated to the to the other other degree. degree. Performing Arts 3% Performing Arts allocated to the other degree. 3% Humanities Humanities 17% 17% Health 20% Humanities Humanities 17% 17% Health 20% Business 15% Health Health 20%20% Business 15% Health 20%

Performing Performing ArtsArts 3% 3% Info Tech Tech 3% 3% Info Education 1% Education 1% Info Education Info TechTech 3% 3% Info Tech Education 1% 1% 3% Psychology 3% Psychology 3% Media & Media & Communication 1% Psychology Psychology Communication Psychology Media Media & & 3% 3% 1% 3% Performing 1% Arts1% 3% Communication Communication Performing Arts 3%

Science Business Business 15%& Science &15% Engineering 19% Creative Arts19% 12% Engineering Science Science & && Creative Arts 12% Science Engineering Engineering Creative Creative Arts19% Arts 12%19% 12% Engineering Humanities 17%19% Law 6% Humanities 17% Law 6% Performing Performing ArtsArts 3% 3%Arts 3% Performing Humanities Humanities 17% Education LawHumanities Law 6% 6%17% 17% Education 1% 1% Business 15% 15% Business Education Education 1% 1% Education 1% Business Business 15% 15% Business 15% Media & & Media Creative Arts Arts 12% 12% Communication 1% Creative Communication 1% Media Media & & & Media Creative Creative ArtsArts 12% 12%12% Creative Arts Communication Communication 1% 1% Communication 1% Law 6% 6% Law

Swinburne University University of Swinburne Swinburne 7% 7% 7% University of of Melbourne 31% Swinburne Melbourne 31% University Swinburne Swinburne 7%7% University University of of Swinburne 7%7% University ofof Melbourne 31% Melbourne 31% Melbourne Melbourne 31% Melbourne 31% ACU 3% Swinburne Swinburne 7% 7% University University of 31% of ACU 3%3% ACU Monash Melbourne Melbourne 31%24% 31%24% Monash ACU 3%3% Monash 24% ACU ACU 3%3% ACU Monash 24% Monash Monash 24% 24% Monash 24% Other 6% 6% ACUACU 3% 3% 6% Other Other (1 student student per per institution*) Deakin University 22% Monash Monash 24%24% Deakin Uni 22% (1 Other 6% Deakin University 22% Other Other Other 6%6% institution*) (1 6% student per (1 student per institution*) Deakin University 22% (1 student (1 student perper institution*) per institution*) (1 student institution*) Deakin University 22% Deakin Deakin University University 22% 22% Other Other 6% 6% institution*) (1 student (1 student per institution*) per institution*) RMIT 7%7% Deakin Deakin University University 22%22% RMIT RMIT 7% RMIT RMIT 7% RMIT RMIT 7%7% 7% RMITRMIT 7% 7%

Law Law 6%6% 6% Law

28% of study scores were 40 or above

15% of students attained an ATAR of 98+ (Top 2% of the state)

51% of students attained an ATAR of 90+ (Top 10% of the state)

78% of students attained an ATAR of 80+ (Top 20% of the state)

It is a great honour and privilege to be one of Strathcona’s Duces for the Class of 2019. It is only with hindsight that I have come to appreciate Year 12 for the year it is. Although, yes, it is characterised by a lot of hours of gruelling study and stress, it does entail a lot more than that. It is a balance of fun, dedication, friendship, work and a lot of momentous and final occasions. It is a year where you must be prepared to put in the honest hours academically without forgetting that it is also a year that culminates your time at Strathcona.

I did. Although I was surprised with my achievement, I consider it to be the reward for the time and effort that I dedicated towards my studies. During my final year I was driven by the motto that “hard work pays off”. It was this motto that motivated me to work hard, and I believe it was this mentality that helped me achieve the results I did. Although many people argue that VCE is unfair, I personally believe that the system does reward the hard workers, those who are willing to put in the extra time and effort and embrace the challenges that Year 12 throws at them.

Whilst I had always hoped to do well in Year 12, I never could have expected achieving the results that

Although Year 12 is very much a journey as an entire cohort, I encourage you to take your own





path. There is no one size fits all approach to Year 12 as ultimately each and every one of you will have your own personal goals and a different perception of what a successful year might look like. Guided by this criteria it is up to you put in the necessary work and effort to achieve the outcome that you are seeking. My pathway involved studying in the library before and after school often being the first there and the last one to leave, watching all the Edrolo videos for certain subjects, going to bed at 9.30pm most nights, enjoying lunch times with friends and participating in a lot of sport. But your journey is likely to look very different to mine and those around you, and that is perfectly okay. Whatever your year may look like, my advice to you is find your own outlet that you can retreat to, something that you enjoy and that allows you to switch off from school. My greatest tip to all of you is make use of your teachers, they are a better study tool than any textbook you might have and I can guarantee they want you to succeed just as much as you do. Never be afraid to ask for help as it is those that are prepared to seek extra assistance that often do the best, and this applies to all year levels. I encourage you to attend any extra tutorials and be prepared to organise one on one appointments with your teachers when you don’t fully understand. Ms Herft would jokingly tell our Spesh class that each night she would wait at her laptop for our emails, and I think she can testify that I would send her email upon email with questions. I would often meet Mr Hamilton before Physics SACs to go over any areas I had not yet mastered and I would repeatedly hand in practice economic questions to Mr Lawson, until they were worthy of full marks. I guess I was never satisfied until I had fully mastered

“The thing about goals and dreams is that you can’t always just grab them from where you stand. You have to reach out and stretch your limits. You have to extend yourself.” TA M S Y N L O VA S S , DUX OF 2019 I am honoured to be one of the Duces of the Class of 2019, a year level of brilliant and hardworking girls. However, tomorrow, I’m leaving this all behind and driving up to Canberra, where I’ll be studying the Bachelor of Philosophy in Science, at the Australian National University, for the next four years. Whilst this obviously isn’t everyone’s dream, it was mine. The thing about goals and dreams is that you can’t always just grab them from where you stand.

the concept or idea in question, and it is this intrinsic desire to continually improve that I regard as the key to success. I am truly grateful for the many hours that my teachers dedicated to help me and the entire Class of 2019 achieve our best. Year 12 is your final academic schooling year but it is also your last year with those around you, the last year that you will be all be bound together as a cohort. One of my good friends referred to our cohort as a sisterhood that we had crafted,

You have to reach out and stretch your limits. You have to extend yourself. I believe it’s by extending myself that I’m standing here today as a dux and departing tomorrow to follow my passion for science, at an interstate university. Now, when I say that, I don’t mean to extend yourself by exhausting the textbook of questions and completing 60 practice exams per subject because, quite honestly, most people can’t do that. I certainly couldn’t. I could

which I think captures the essence of how close and connected you truly become as a year level. The shared experience of the incredible highs and draining lows of Year 12 unite you together, and I think you will find that it will be those sitting around you that make the challenging year ahead worthwhile.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”

to extend myself, and whether encouraged by Strathy or simply by my own passion, I chased every opportunity I could grasp to foster my area of interest and achieve my best. I would encourage everyone to do this. My knowledge grew, my friendship circle expanded and I discovered even more opportunities.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m your stereotypical science nerd, who’s much more comfortable solving equations and playing with lasers in the Physics lab, than I am up here talking. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe you love public speaking, music, drama, sport, languages, humanities, art or writing. No matter what you love, and it can certainly be more than one thing, find ways to extend yourself, and nurture your interests. Name any science or mathematics extension activity and I’ve probably tried it. Maths Olympiad, ICAS, RACI titrations, Melbourne University Maths Extension Program, Chemistry Olympiad Summer School and so many more. This is how I chose

Now, after this monologue of me listing some smart sounding stuff, the real question comes down to how to follow this pathway of extending yourself and thus succeeding at school and beyond. There are two main things I would recommend. First of all, really do make the most of your teachers and all those whose role is to help you achieve your best. As repetitive as it may sound, they are incredible and so passionate not only about helping you all, but about their own subject area. Make the most of their knowledge and seek them out. Although conversations do sometimes turn into chats about holiday destinations and formal dresses, if you go in with targeted questions, you will never leave disappointed.

I would encourage Year 12s to cherish every last occasion as although at times school may seem like a never-ending road of assessments and SACs, it will ultimately come to an end. And it is not the memories of that one bad SAC or hours of study that remain but the memories of quizzes in English, the games of hangman in Economics, the exhilaration of winning that last House Athletics 4 x 100m relay and the fun of dressing up on Celebration day with your friends.

At the start of the year my Mum told me to make the most of Year 12 as it would go quickly and it is only upon reflection now that I have realised how quickly not only Year 12 but my entire Strathcona schooling has gone by. I can still fondly remember my eldest sister’s first day of Year 12 six years ago, she arrived at school having forgotten her pencil case. Luckily for her it was also my first day of Year 7 and being the eager and organised person I was, I thankfully had some pencils and pens she could borrow. It is hard to

Secondly, something some less than ideal circumstances taught me is that you cannot blame your teacher, textbook or anything else for how you go. The reality is, one style won’t work for everyone, but don’t give up and condemn a subject to being just one of your bottom two. Be proactive and use other textbooks, have a night watching Edrolo instead of Netflix, ask other friends including those from other schools or maybe find a tutor. Whatever method works for you, make the most of the other resources available, that we are so lucky to have access to. So if something fascinates you, pursue it. Don’t use fear or other commitments as an excuse to let an opportunity pass by. Without extending yourself, you will never know what you can achieve and what you may discover is out there. Let yourself be surprised by the extent of what you can do. No matter where it leads you, to Canberra or beyond, follow your dream, your passion, and you will excel.

believe that this was six years ago and that my time at school is now behind me. To all of you, the Year 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s and 12s make the most of your days in that blue checkered summer dress as soon it will hang untouched in your wardrobe like mine, as no longer an item that is worn but simply a hanging reminder of your time at Strathcona.

For the full version of Bronte’s and Tamsyn’s speeches, visit our website:


stand here and talk to you about working hard and promising that the more time and effort you put in, the better you would do. Some of that is what school is about and to some extent it’s true. But what I have noticed is that overwhelmingly, you will simply do better at what you enjoy.




A year like no other What a whirl-wind first semester we have all had. Overwhelming. Tiring. Challenging. But filled with rewarding successes and a new-found gratefulness for life as we knew it, but also for life as we continue forward- perhaps a more simplistic and slower version of what we once knew? BY KARA McKENZIE, SARAH PATIENCE AND EVA WILLIAMS School Captains

The shutting down of schools posed many challenges and questions. How will we continue learning? What do we do now that our lives have come to a grinding halt? How will we cope without our friends? Without our School community? A concern for all was the breakdown of our Strathy community, of our bond, of our ‘sisterhood’ due to extended periods away from our home base at Scott Street. Technology consumed us as it became our only means of communication and thus, the only way to maintain our deep connection together. In an attempt to keep up with this very millennial way of doing things, we posted weekly videos throughout the ‘lockdown’ period following the very mundane lives of the three of us… We aimed to stimulate a sense of acceptance for the situation

we found ourselves in but also to inspire everyone to take hold of this very unique opportunity we were given to ‘reset’ as well as to provide a laugh and some familiar faces. We had many of the other captains and leaders appear in the videos to sprinkle some wisdom or show us their latest exercise routines which gave the girls a great feeling of still being at School whilst benefiting from constant access to the pantry and lunch time naps! We believe that the girls, teachers and families alike have been able to adapt to this new way of life- something we would not have ever guessed would have happened as we began this year. We hope you all continue forward in a healthy and happy spirit.

“Technology consumed us as it became our only means of communication and thus, the only way to maintain our deep connection together.”


All in it


BY MRS AMBER SOWDEN Head of Health and Physical Education / Head of Staff and Student Health and Wellbeing Programs

The year began with a renewed focus on the health and wellbeing. My focus in my new role was to continue building connection and shared experience across all three campuses. We have wonderful and supportive staff at Strathcona, and the aim was to provide more regular opportunities for people to connect, share expertise and be acknowledged for the great and often quiet work, they do to contribute to our community. Our first whole staff wellbeing afternoon was held in March, where a ‘Choose your own Wellbeing

Adventure’ was planned. The session allowed all staff to invest positively in their mental and physical wellbeing through yoga, fitness, an art workshop, a cooking class, book club and meditation. The afternoon was successful in bringing the various departments and campuses at Strathcona together through shared interests and creativity. A lot can happen in one school year! Fast Forward and I am writing this piece from home, where I have been teaching and working from since the last few weeks of Term 1. It seems unthinkable that the whole

Strathcona staff have been away from the campus this long. Together we have been through something so unexpected. There was initial shock and enormous challenges associated with moving all operations offsite. Our staff in the matter of days changed their whole work lives, invited the community into their homes and committed to staying connected at a distance whilst online. The wellbeing of the staff has been central to the School’s response during the pandemic. A deliberate and comprehensive whole staff wellbeing fortnightly check-in is being carried out by our wonderful team leaders. Meaningful opportunities for staff to connect have happened in our Staff Wellbeing Microsoft Team. This has provided a regular platform for all staff to access self-care links, meet for coffee catch ups and end of term celebrations. Many a care package has been sent, thanking staff for their incredible work, or offering extra support to them and their families during this time. Together, during COVID-19, the Strathcona staff have quite literally built the plane whilst flying it, and they have done a brilliant job. Being physically distant has bought us together, fostering deeper connections and collegiality that only come through adversity. We have a lot to be proud of.


At the end of January, the staff at Strathcona returned for another School year blissfully unaware of what ¤‚¤‚ had in store for us.





The future never stands still The Strathcona Centre for Learning Futures is an initiative to respond to a critical challenge facing our young people. BY MR ROSS PHILLIPS Senior Dean of Learning Futures

The world of work is changing at a rapid pace meaning that now the jobs that will be available to our current students when they are ready to enter the workforce are unknown. Those jobs that will exist will not be the same as they are today, and new jobs will appear that nobody has heard of yet. So, the classic question asked of children “what do you want to do when you grow up?� is challenging and even the value of asking the question itself is being challenged.

To help keep the thinking of students, parents and teachers informed about the future of work, the Centre for Learning Futures invites those with expertise on the future of work from various angles to share their insights, knowledge and skills in public seminars and workshops. To date, we have had a strategist from a global corporation, a teacher of design thinking, a radio host who interviews experts about work for a living, and a sociologist who studies young people transitioning into work.

Some of the key insights from our guests: HEAD OF STRATEGY AND PORTFOLIO AT BP AUSTRALASIA Kenneth used the future of the energy industry as a metaphor for the future of our work. The future is uncertain, we do not know what will happen but some aspects are certain or probable that we can prepare for. A key challenge of the energy industry is in the future we will need more energy but greatly reduced carbon dioxide emissions. If you join the energy industry you should expect certain uncertainty, increasing complexity, disruptive innovation and rapid automation. This would be echoed in other industries. Ken also encouraged the audience to seek a career that energizes them.

Michelle Dennis

“We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it.”

STRATHCONA ALUMNAE (‘98) AND STRATHCONA’S HEAD OF DIGITAL LEARNING AND INNOVATION Michelle introduced one of the dominant processes used in business today for dealing with unknown or poorly understood problems. Michelle made use of the Strathcona version of design thinking that she developed with Eleni Kyritsis from the Junior School called the Tinker Train. This is used both in our Junior School and in Years 7 and 8. Schools, like ours, are teaching Design Thinking, and it is used in companies around the world to help them be creative and develop solutions for their clients. It is a skill not found in the Victorian Curriculum, but one that empowers our students to be work-ready, whether in their own enterprise or to have something to offer as an employee.

Lisa Leong

HOST OF ABC RADIO NATIONAL THIS WORKING LIFE Lisa shared her fascinating story of how she came to be doing what she does. Lisa told of how creative and entrepreneurial she needed to be. She was finding success as a lawyer but not the satisfaction she wanted. She took risks, sacrificed income, made things work that seemed hopeless, reflected on what she was good at and what she enjoyed and worked very hard to make those things into a career. She listed the qualities needed as curiosity, courage, creativity and connection. She inspired her audience to think not about what they wanted to be, but who they wanted to be. And added a lot of fun.

Associate Professor Hernan Cuervo

UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE In May, in place of a hall full of people it was Hernan speaking solo to a camera, physically distanced from the only other person in attendance – me. This highlighted how quickly the world can change and that we need to be adaptable and agile. To our many viewers of the webinar, Hernan presented several studies into the future of work. He stressed that there is no crystal ball but one message was clear, the less education we have, the more likely our jobs will be automated. In fact, he stressed that we need to engage in life-long learning. This is a familiar message and one that stresses the importance of learning to learn at school. We need to be able to keep learning after we have left the support of our teachers.

Future events will include an entrepreneur and more design thinking. We will consider how schools can best prepare students for the future of work. School is not just job training but we certainly hope by completion of their schooling our students are equipped with a growth mindset and the skills and knowledge that will help them find their way in the world, whatever that world might be.


Kenneth Kong




Creating a culture of thinking Thinking builds the foundations to enable us to make connections, be creative and apply critical thinking. The better you are able to use your thinking skills to explore new topics and develop a deep understanding of related concepts, the more you are able to shape new ideas. BY MRS LISA MILLER Head of Junior School

Students make meaning and develop an understanding of concepts by being provided with routines and tools that enable them to advance their reasoning abilities and provide them with strategies to solve increasingly complex problems. Professor Ron Ritchhart from Harvard University highlights the importance of creating places where thinking is valued, visible, and actively promoted. Through his collaboration with Strathcona we are strengthening the capacity of our girls to solve multifaceted problems that they will come across in the future. This begins with our youngest members of the community in the ELC and is developed through each transition in the school.

“We are strengthening the capacity of our girls to solve multifaceted problems that they will come across in the future.”

To develop understanding in a topic or subject area, students need to engage in authentic learning experiences. By exploring a variety of thinking dispositions teachers and students move beyond surface learning that focuses on memorisation of knowledge and facts, to more deep and reflective learning, developing understanding through more active and constructive processes. Think, pair, share is often used to stimulate curiosity and set the stage for an inquiry. Included here are some careful observations and thoughtful interpretations from our Year 3 students. In the Junior School at Strathcona, opportunities are endless to engage with and promote active problem solving, be it in Mathematics, English, Art, Science, Digital Technologies and even through play.

2 0 1 9 S T R AT H C O N A M E D A L R E C I P I E N T

Over the course of her Radiation Therapy career Catherine has also specialised in an area called brachytherapy, focussing particularly on prostate cancer. She set up a national training course for Radiation Therapists, Medical Physicists and Radiation Oncologists running out of The Alfred. Catherine also mentored a Malaysian urologist in prostate brachytherapy and was then engaged to set up a training course in Malaysia with the commencement of a prostate brachytherapy programme at the National Cancer Institute in Kuala Lumpur. She has mentored teams at Canberra Hospital and the Canterbury Regional Cancer and Haematology Service in Christchurch, NZ. Catherine also implemented a program in Gippsland, based out of the Alfred’s Radiation Oncology department at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Catherine Beaufort OAM Radiation Therapist, Class of ‘·‚

When not at work, Catherine is passionate about sailing. This passion commenced with a voyage on the Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour at the end of Year 12. Since then she has competed in local and overseas short course racing as well as ocean races including the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Identifying that sailing is a male dominated sport, Catherine has spent many years engaging women to participate in sailing. She has volunteered on committees at her own yacht club, as well as, with Yachting Victoria to promote the sport of sailing to women and establish pathways for girls and women to get involved.

Catherine was recognised in the Australia Day Honours List for ¤‚⁄‡ for her dedication in caring for patients and significant contributions to the medical sector and international relations.


Catherine spent her career working as a Radiation Therapist, primarily at Alfred Health. Several years into her career, she undertook a Master of Public Health when an opportunity came up to volunteer for three months at Papua New Guinea’s only cancer centre in Lae. In 2011 Catherine travelled to Lae to train the three local Radiation Therapists on their recently installed planning computers and assist in technique development. During this time, she worked with the University of Technology PNG to assist in setting up a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy course.




Hakuna Matata No worries, Strathcona can bring to life a musical with actors from across age groups to entertain the masses. BY MR JASON PARKER Middle School Musical Director/Producer



In 2019 Strathcona started a new performing arts journey with the inaugural middle school musical, Lion King Jr. The production featured Year 7 lead actors and an incredible ensemble filled with all the Year 5 and Year 6 students. Additionally, there were also a large number of Year 7 students on percussion playing African drums throughout the show and other Year 7 and 8 students assisting with backstage roles. One of the many goals of the middle school musical is to provide a link between the Junior and Senior campuses. This cross-campus cast allowed students to socialise and work with girls from both campuses in a creative environment.

The production featured all the wonderful Disney songs including Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata, He Lives in You, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight. The Year 5 students were superb in their roles as the dangerous and dark Hyenas with the Year 6 students playing Lionesses or Jungle Animals. The production was wonderfully supported by Mrs Anna Miller as the Junior School Musical Director and liaison, Ms Tori Wood as the vocal coach for the Year 7 lead actors and Mrs Jenny Meacham assisting on percussion. The cast of 90+ students also performed a memorable medley of Lion King Jr songs at the Strathcona’s Presentation Night at Hamer Hall.

Be prepared for the ¤‚¤‚ Middle School Production, Disney’s Aladdin Jr.



With Artist in Residence Nicole Van Dijk BY MS ERIN-MAREE HORSLEY Head of Art and Design

As part of the artists in residence program at Strathcona, the Art and Design department engaged artist Nicole Van Dijk to work with Year 7 students during Term 4 2019.

This combined with a working background in Graphic Design and Education, Nicole was a perfect fit to enhance our creative visual art program at Strathcona in 2019.

Nicole Van Dijk is a local artist who has held a love of drawing and painting from a young age. A dedicated painter, with a vivid style and approach, Nicole was selected as Glover Prize finalist and was one of BP's Centenary Artists.

The idea for the project germinated from a discussion on how as a department we would like to creatively mark the end of our girls' first year at secondary school with a collaborative painted mural. Year 7 Art Teacher Ms Vicki Bradly worked

alongside the artist and our students to create an artwork celebrating their imagination, hopes and dreams as 11-13 year old girls. Nicole introduced the classes to her personal artmaking style and through her masterful use of colour and shape and from this the imaginative work grew. Nicole shared her personal art making process with the students and how she uses critical and creative thinking processes. She gave the students insight into this by, demonstrating how this begins with research and idea generation, followed by the development and refinement of ideas and visual imagery. This fits neatly into what is taught in the visual art and design curriculum in

Year 7. It also creates the opportunity for the girls to have a real-life experience of creative thinking and collaborative working practices, and to see clearly how to use Design and Visual Thinking practices taught explicitly at Strathcona. Nicole felt strongly, like our art teachers, that it is important for students to have creative input into collaborative artworks, rather than just helping paint an already decided artwork. To do this, Students were introduced to the visual language of late Melbourne artistic icon, Mirka Mora as inspiration. With Mora’s Naïve wide-eyed angels, symbolic flora and fauna, bold patterns, colours and linework, students researched and then explored the

visual elements as a starting point, to create an artwork expressing their own ideas. These artworks then contributed to the design and refinement of the finished work. The large beautiful artwork, titled, In the garden of dreams, celebrates the imagination and hope for the future for the girls involved, as they transition into their teens and secondary school life. The mural will be on display in the Shirley Bourne Gallery later this year, as part of the 2020 Student Exhibition program.

Also keep your eyes out for an artwork ‘extension’ of this work appearing as a mural on Canterbury Road near Maling Road.


“With Mirka Mora’s Naïve wide-eyed angels, symbolic flora and fauna, bold patterns, colours and linework, students researched and then explored the visual elements as a starting point, to create an artwork expressing their own ideas.”



Meet Lisa

Our new Head of Junior School Mrs Lisa Miller joined us at the start of ¤‚¤‚. She is a dedicated educator with outstanding achievements in curriculum design. She has a warm personality and calm nature which has set her in perfect stead for the year of ¤‚¤‚ as she has guided our Junior School students through online learning. Below is a short interview with Q&A with Lisa. What drew you to teaching? When I was in Year 11 and 12, to earn some extra pocket money, I taught children how to ride horses. I was fascinated how they all needed different instructions to learn the same skill. This then became a focus of my master’s study. I am still driven by this today and my strategic vision invests heavily in the development of schools as place where thinking is valued, visible and supported by all.

What does a “good education” look like to you? A good education is inclusive of all children regardless of their background or ability. Individual growth rather than comparison is what drives the success. Children’s personal academic goals are tracked, assessed, and celebrated and the development of thinking skills underpins all curriculum. Relationships are nurtured and fostered, and children

are empowered to be resilient and strong by teaching them the necessary developmentally appropriate skills. Positive behavior is modelled, valued and recognised and as a school community we are all invested in this journey together.

only equal opportunity but every opportunity, from leadership to a tailored curriculum and immersion in an environment that is empowered by inspiring role models.

What is the most important thing you have ever learnt?

Strathcona has a unique community where we all value and support each other. This includes both the staff and children. Girls of all ages play and learn together, and our families are incredibly warm and welcoming. This was certainly my experience when I began earlier this year.

How to take risks and learn from my mistakes. It is not always easy, but the personal growth certainly makes the risks worthwhile.

What is your favourite thing about teaching? Knowing you make a positive difference to the academic and wellbeing outcomes for children.

What have you enjoyed most about Strathcona?

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self? Slow down and take note of the beauty and wonder around me.

Why a girls' school? A girls' school provides a unique environment for girls to take risks, make choices and be challenged free from bias. Girls enjoy not

If you could have dinner with any two people, past or present, who would they be? Jacinta Ardern and The Dalai Lama.


Strengthening our bonds Wattle Park

It was remarkable to see the House spirit and competitiveness was able to stay alive through these various challenges and kept us connected whilst physically apart. This is a true reflection of the strength of the House spirit at Strathcona: a pillar of strength that enabled our students to stay motivated, keep active and stay in touch with our community throughout our continuous online learning.







Mont Albert North




Our Virtual Cross Country witnessed high participation numbers from all Houses and included some of our students becoming creative with their House spirit by producing maps of running courses outlining their House name. It was Findlay and Gilbert who were in a tight contest with each other across the two weeks, with Gilbert ultimately taking over the lead in the second week of the competition to win the Virtual House Cross Country Competition for 2020.




Box Hill North



Staying active and connected being a priority for us all during lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sports department were able to build on House spirit with challenges and competitions throughout continuous online learning with participation in each challenge and competition earning students House points. One challenge was the weekly 'move and stretch' incorporating choreographed dances, skill challenges and 'iso-athletics'. Another was the House challenge, incorporating a Strathy Shootout and Strathy Juggling Spectacular and lastly, we held a Virtual House Cross Country competition across two weeks.



Burwood SOMER S ST






Camberwell TOORA K RD

This year we were presented with a unique opportunity to keep our community together in ways that we have never done before.




When the world changes This is an exciting and challenging time for education, as we strive to support our students through unforeseeable events. BY MS MICHELLE DENNIS Head of Digital Learning and Innovation

In a time when many things seem out of their control, we wanted our students to feel like school was a familiar constant. This is why we adopted the term continuous learning: we wanted to place an emphasis on what would still be going on. Our delivery structure may have changed, but the Strathcona community continues to communicate, support and learn together. That looks different at each year level according to their needs and capabilities. While we have long been using our MyStrathcona platform to share news, learning activities and feedback with our families, we knew very early that we would need to provide more in this new learning environment. For many of our students, relationships are what makes school a safe place for them. Girls, in particular, flourish in a collaborative learning environment and this becomes even more important in

a time of social distancing. To create a safe place where this could happen, we introduced the Microsoft Teams platform for students in Years 4 to 12. Every classroom has a place in Microsoft Teams to meet by video. This is a valuable opportunity for our teachers to maintain their connection with students and introduce the learning activities for each class. Our teachers have embraced the challenge of adapting their approach to engage students, from Food Technology’s hilarious cooking tutorials to our drama teacher’s Play School inspired videos on the women of Shakespeare. We might be physically distant, but it felt like we became closer together as a community as we shared this experience. Students in ELC to Year 3 are still learning how to navigate the world and need an active style of learning. To cater for this, our students in ELC to Year 3 were given a daily package of activities accompanied with a videos from their teacher. We knew that many of our parents will be working from home themselves, so this asynchronous approach allowed parents to structure these learning activities around their family’s specific needs. We are proud of the way that our staff, students and parents have embraced continuous learning at Strathcona. We certainly have lived up to our tagline: girls unstoppable!

“In a time when many things seem out of their control, we wanted our students to feel like school was a familiar constant.”


As an independent school, we have been fortunate to have the freedom to start planning early and develop our approach to learning in this unique environment. This meant that we were able introduce and trial our model for continuous online learning when both staff and students were at School. We were able to move agilely to train staff and students, fine-tune technical issues and set key expectations about the safe and responsible use of technology. This has proved invaluable in our development of our program and allowed us to trial it, survey stakeholders and adjust to fit our community’s needs.



Highlights from our continuous online learning program Smithsonian Hall of Fossils With online tools, learning from home can sometimes actually result in broader horizons. Our Year 5 and 6 students found this when they went on a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian Hall of Fossils. These online field trips will be an ongoing part of our second round of continuous online learning, as Mrs Eleni Kyritsis leads the Junior School students in their journeys across the world. Along with widening their horizons, these field trips will help our students develop a wide range of skills including science, literacy, and numeracy.

Poppy the Prep Fairy To add a bit of magic to their continuous online learning program, our Prep teacher, Miss Kate Morgan, introduced Poppy the Prep Fairy. Students would mail in their letters to Poppy and when they logged in would see the letter appear outside the fairy door. This was a very successful way to engage some of our youngest students in creative writing from home.

Digital Technology

Physical Education Teachers have been looking for new and interesting ways to give students the ‘classroom’ experience. In Year 8 Physical Education, Mrs Michelle Holding, created a graphic classroom which contained links to a variety of activities. There is a lot of evidence that when students have choice in their learning, they are more engaged.

During the first round of continuous online learning, our Year 7 and 8 students had the opportunity to work with a small team in an online hackathon. These full-day events allow our students to develop both digital technology skills — in this case, engaging with both the technical and ethical aspects of Artificial Intelligence — and being explicitly supported in the skills needed to work together as a team. By the end of their hackathon, every team had developed a pitch for a tool that would use Artificial Intelligence to ethically create a better world. Two more hackathons are planned for Year 7 in 2020.

Performing Arts

Photo: David Caird, News Corp Australia

Mathematics An important part of teaching is to monitor your students’ progress, so you can intervene and assist them when needed. In the classroom, this is often through walking around and interacting with students. In the online environment, new ways needed to be found to do this ‘over the shoulder’ check. Ms Megan Bates did this using a variety of different tools including FlipGrid. With this tool, students would record their answer to a mathematical question in a video, talking through their thinking. The result is a wealth of resources as students can learn from each other and benefit from making their learning explicit.

The Year 10 Play Production unit moved from a stage adaption of the play Little Women to an audio play. With the help of Mrs Jenny Meachem, Head of Performing Arts and with direction from Mrs Marisa Rowlands, the students learnt how to use an online program called Soundtrap to capture their performances in a multi-track format. Film is another option to stage performances, and Strathcona led the way with the Co-video Festival. With the theme of ‘connection’, this short film festival was designed to give young people a voice and share their experiences in the age of COVID-19. To help our students develop their skills, our Head of Productions, Mrs Claire Johns, organised speakers from industry including directors and film editors. The festival was open to other young girls across Australia and the final films are available on YouTube:


Moving to a remote program certainly had classroom plans disrupted, particularly in the Performing Arts Department. Drama teachers had to rethink their approach and how they may reach an audience for their performances.




The value of


BY MRS JO DOWLING Director of Early Learning Centre

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.� Fred Rogers

Upon our recent return to the ELC after initial COVID-19 restrictions, we noticed a strong desire amongst the children to reconnect with each other, to return to a place that offered uninterrupted time for children to just be with each other, to converse, to laugh together and once again, be part of a respected and social space. A place of rights and differing perspectives; a place which has room for dialogue and critical thinking and a place that challenges them and values practices and knowledge.

A place to be and most importantly, a place to play.

We believe that it is important that our program provides uninterrupted time for play, to foster these ideal conditions for learning and allow children time to settle into a natural rhythm of engagement. Play also reflects social and cultural values and teaches children ways of being together, and how to work effectively in a group. In play there is an “opt out’ clause, a freedom to choose to leave the group if children feel that it is is no longer meeting their expectations. It can provide opportunities for those children who are usually silent, to feel comfortable in these situations

“Play involves an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind because it is focussed on the means.” Dr Peter Gray According to research professor and psychologist, Dr Peter Gray, play involves an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind because it is focussed on the means. This is an ideal state of mind for creativity and learning where children feel free to learn new skills, use their initiative or incorporate different perspectives. In play, goals may have an intrinsic value, but the process required to achieving the goal is the focus. For example, constructing a castle or performing an impromptu concert, requires a negotiation of ideas, trial and error, creative thinking, and freedoms to imagine. As the attention is focused on process more than outcome, the mind is not distracted by fear of failure. So, the mind at play is active and alert, but not stressed. This process leads to children working together, generating a social construction of knowledge regardless of the outcome.

to speak their mind or share ideas. This, in turn, provides opportunities for a democratic resolution, building both leadership and interpersonal skills in finding confidence to assert themselves, whilst also being mindful of others. By providing a program that offers a platform for free thinking in play, then it is likely that we will see the attributes of improvisation, problem solving and peacemaking. It becomes an enriched learning experience where children can play and construct together to navigate the unforeseen and be surprised and delighted by the unexpected or unintentional outcomes. Our role as educators is one of thoughtful and considered approach to play situations. We are always observing children’s collaborative efforts to resolve

a situation or problem that has arisen during play. Sometimes, from the scope of conversations and many questions from the children, it can make it very tempting to step in and provide our answer to the problem. However, by doing so, we have not respected the children’s own ability to problem solve, to test their own theories and empower them to find a solution themselves. This does not mean our role is a passive one, but rather one where we observe, stimulate, take notes, repropose ideas, examine and provide thoughtful intervention when required. When we set aside time for uninterrupted play it is more than likely that children may find an outcome that we do not expect, which brings extraordinary and rewarding moments to what may seem to others, everyday play.


The emphasis placed on building relationships within our ELC provides a strong social bond and shows the importance of community. As such, we nurture an environment where children’s curiosity, theories and research are accepted and listened to. When children play, they develop confidence to provide suggestions in a safe and respected environment. Children express their understanding and application of things they learn through play as it gives children freedom to choose, invent and experiment. It is an opportunity to make mistakes, problem solve and to also value the input of others and different points of view.




As students started the school year they wanted to take action to help those affected in our home state of Victoria. Our Service Leaders, Charlotte Neo and Jess Parris, report about the actions the School took to help those in need. During this tough time for many Australian families, we wanted to do our part in supporting the firefighters in regional Victoria. They do more than just battle the blazes; they work tirelessly to ensure that our community is taken care of. This is why we chose the CFA in East Gippsland to let them know we appreciate the brave and selfless way they perform their duties. On Friday 28 February at lunchtime, the Senior School organised a barbeque and stalls to raise funds. All the profits from this event went towards the CFA in East Gippsland. The fundraiser helped to provide aid for the firefighters following the devastating effects of the bushfires which affected Australia over the past few months. We are proud to say that as a community we raised $1,800 surpassing our goal of $500. The money will go towards a Thermal Imaging Camera for the rural Brigade. The stalls ranged from selling handmade key rings, scrunchies and hot glue geodes to delicious koala cupcakes, honeycomb, slices and cookies. We had so much fun selling drinks and food at the stalls

and watching everyone eating and enjoying themselves.We would like to thank the students from all year levels and staff members that contributed by bringing in handmade gifts and fresh baked goods, as well as volunteering at the barbeque and stalls or even buying something. We appreciate the generosity and support of everyone in the Strathcona community. We acknowledge how important it is to come closer in difficult times and we are proud of how everyone enthusiastically supported such an important cause. One of our School service goals is to show how service as a community can create a positive change. We think that this was visible through the fantastic outcome of the stalls and barbeque and look forward to upcoming fundraisers. Strathcona families also donated to Baptist World Aid contributing $2,304 for bushfire relief. We thank you for your support.



Record breaking temperatures witnessed devastating fires power across Australia as ¤‚¤‚ began: an epic disaster by world standards and left a nation reeling in disappear.

12.6m hectares burned


number of lives lost

2,779 homes destroyed


animals lost


Australians were affected by smoke


tonnes of CO2 emitted.*






Class of 2000 20 Year Reunion Thursday 12 March 2020

Class of 1995 25 Year Reunion Thursday 12 March 2020

Class of 2018 1 Year Reunion Thursday 28 November 2019

Class of 2005 15 Year Reunion Sunday 1 March 2020, Auburn Hotel

Class of 2014 5 Year Reunion Sunday 11 August 2019, Auburn Hotel

Pre-⁄·6‚ Luncheon


Thursday 14 November 2019

Strathcona, due to the COVID-19 outbreak in March, decided to postpone reunions for the remainder of 2020. This decision was made to ensure the safety of the community and we thank our alumnae for their continued support during these challenging times.




Keeping us together while we are apart While dealing with all the issues and problems associated with ¤‚¤‚, the Community Relations Department has made every effort to stay in contact with many members of the Strathcona community. BY MRS JO WILSON Director of School & Community Relations

Since the last Strathcourier edition, we have had some wonderful events before the arrival of COVID-19. The Spring Racing Lunch at Leonda in October witnessed over 150 mothers dressing up for the occasion with Jo Stanley (‘90) as our excellent guest speaker. The Welcome Coffee Morning for parents on the first day of Term 1, the Strathcona Family Association Parents Welcome Drinks, the Year 7 Family Picnic and

BBQ and the Father’s Day Pub Night with Melbourne Cup winning jockey and Strathcona father, Craig Williams all contributed to the life of the School. COVID-19 has reminded us all how important our community is to the lives of our students, staff and families. We will continue to reach out during these difficult times and, when normality returns, we will have a wide range of activities and events for us all to share and enjoy.

Strathcona Business Directory

Acts of Kindness Project The Community Relations Department engaged with the Early Learning Centre (ELC) in the development of our Acts of Kindness project. The project aimed to encourage our youngest students to express love and concern for members of our older alumnae. The children created hearts to share a message of love with these ladies who were socially isolated in the first lockdown period. The hearts were mailed with a special card and we received some lovely feedback including: “To my delight I received a heart-warming card and beautiful folded Red Heart from a 5-year-old student, such a lovely project for the children to do in this difficult time ... It was touching to receive my “Rainbow of Love” from the ELC ... I have been missing my own eight grandchildren during this time and to receive this is very special.”


Strathcona has a strong family-school partnership and we were able to assist our families in a variety of ways. In particular, we were keen to support those families who operate local small businesses and have experienced tough times during the current pandemic. The creation of the Strathcona Business Directory was a valuable initiative encouraging the whole Strathcona community to support such businesses in these very challenging times.




Agile learning spaces In recent years, a transition to agile learning spaces has gained momentum in many educational settings. BY MS SIMONE BOLAND Dean of Teaching and Learning

In contrast to traditional classroom layouts, agile learning spaces are designed to be fluid, adjustable and flexible. The redesign of Strathcona’s Years 7 and 8 area has emphasised this, as well as our student-centred approach to learning. This is intended to promote classroom discussion and collaboration, improve student engagement and enhance creativity and critical thinking. Multimodal spaces also empower students to be effective

lifelong learners who engage in deep learning, being more likely to persist on complex, non-routine, unfamiliar problems in an authentic environment. It is this learning that best reflects the skills, competencies and character traits that we want our graduates to have, and that will best meet the needs of a range of pathways and the world of work. Research also suggests that learning environments can improve academic performance.

• Considers studentcentred learning • Considers social learning • Considers emotional development • Leaves room for individualisation • Stretches students • Considers assessment for learning • Builds horizontal connections


“I love the new Year ‡ and 8 areas because of how open it. This makes it easy to communicate with other people in your year and not only know girls in one class.” SOPHIE, YEAR 8 In the new light and open areas, we can see adjustable and moveable standing/sitting desks (with writeable surfaces), curved couches, beanbags, cushions, breakout spaces, smaller quiet nooks, and the popular Socrates Space, otherwise known as the Conversation Circle used for discussions, and indeed, Socratic dialogue. The most significant difference is that learners move around, both inside and outside the classroom and into the adaptable spaces, exploring many different types of settings and experiences, sometimes within the same day, making many connections across their year level. These areas also allow staff more options with their teaching, and to encourage team teaching. It shifts the teacher’s position from authority of power, to leader of learning, and as there is no set ‘teacher’ desk, removing the notion of the ‘front’ of the classroom. The pedagogy and activities being embraced are also intimately linked to digital technology. Given that all Years 7 and 8 students now have their BYOD laptop this too enables multiple points of focus and diverse teaching and learning strategies. We are witnessing in an organic

way how the protocols for use of the devices are naturally meshing with the processes of activity within the learning space. Interactive projectors and whiteboards are offering teachers the ability to write and overlay geographic diagrams, underline and write on texts, or to draw coloured shapes and ideas through mind-mapping using their stylus to immediately share that with a group or the class. Mathematical applications to engage the modern learner can be done using whole walls of whiteboard, or they can be

“The classrooms are never the same, over any two days. The movable furniture, the different sizes and shapes of desks, means that they are easy to transform for our purposes.” LUCY, YEAR 7 moved into discrete ‘three-sided’ spaces/nooks for small groups. Importantly, there are always quiet reading and working zones, especially for students who do need some time out. Thus, offering students more choice and control over their learning.As such, the creative use of this wonderful new environment further demonstrates Strathcona’s commitment to providing dynamic teaching and learning, which will allow each student to learn and perform at their best.


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) identified seven key aspects of an Innovative Learning Environment, each of which is hampered by the design of traditional classrooms:



Parent Seminars Once again Strathcona has offered our parents access to some of the community’s best experts in their fields. Strathcona’s ethos is centred on a joint teacher and parent journey to enable our students to be girls unstoppable. BY MRS KERRI RHODES School Psychologist

The Parent Seminar Series for 2020 was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. We have been grateful for the expertise the presenters have shared and for the flexibility they have shown in adapting their talks to a media that has allowed parents to access the seminars from home and at their convenience, while still offering a sense of Strathcona community. As always, parent support for the Series has been valued and appreciated. The year started with the insightful Andrew Fuller’s parent seminar. Andrew presented on how understanding your child’s pattern of learning strengths can assist in capitalising on areas of competence and gaining insight into areas yet to be developed. Areas of strength can be used to maximise performance and awareness of how to prioritise learning strategies. Success in life is not about being good at everything. Learning about the areas of competence we have, enhancing these strengths and utilising them to support other areas is a powerful way forward and can also reduce performance disabling anxiety. Young people can lose motivation if they expect to excel at everything because they fear making mistakes

and are less likely to take positive and curious learning risks. Andrew encouraged parents to discover their child’s learning strengths and assist in using these to enhance progress in other areas, in order to bolster confidence and motivation. Andrew’s analysis is available at Dannielle Miller’s Raising Amazing Girls: Creating Connection when Physically Disconnected provided information, inspiration and strategies for parents to support the wellbeing of their daughters through this period of uncertainty and social isolation, as friendships are pivotal. Parents can assist in fostering connections and facilitating these to be positive. Dannielle outlined how altruism, or thinking of others beyond ourselves, involves kindness, compassion and gratitude. Altruism is also linked to happiness. Further, assisting daughters to appreciate that although we may not have control over events in our lives at times, we do have control over how we view situations, how we choose to behave and how we treat others. Associate Professor Glenn Melvin, presented on school attendance and mental health in the time

of COVID-19. Glenn considered the benefits of regular school attendance on young people’s development and wellbeing and indicated these are broader than academic attainment alone. In the transition back to school on site, young people may have mixed emotions and a wide range of responses. The psychology of COVID-19 features uncertainty and effort to regain a sense of control over our lives. While some anxiety is normal and healthy, a lot of anxiety can be distressing and the social distancing can for some result in loneliness. Most will be resilient and bounce back after difficulties, but for some there will be a longer period of adjustment, and we will need to monitor for those who have been significantly impacted. Experiencing positives as well as negative aspects to the COVID-19 restrictions and being able to communicate and process these is important. Each seminar works on building the understanding, knowledge and resources parents and teachers can use to assist and guide our students through their schooling years, building strong emotional intelligence foundations.

Starting Year ‡ in ¤‚¤‚ Q&A with Year ‡ student Eleanor Smith and her parents Philip and Vicky Smith (Perry ‘·¤)


39 39

What made you choose Strathcona? Eleanor: I didn’t! It was my parents’ choice! But when they took me to Open Days, I loved the look of Strathy and was very excited to be a part of the Strathcona community! Plus, my mum is an Old Strathconian! Parents: There were several factors in our decision. We wanted a school where she would be encouraged to try lots of activities and explore different aspects of her personality. We wanted a school that would nurture her Christian faith. Strathcona has always been very strategic and forward thinking in the way they teach girls so that was significant too. The Tay Creggan program was definitely influential in our choice.

How has the start of the Strathcona journey been? Eleanor: I felt very welcomed at Strathcona — even during the transition days last year. I was the only girl from my primary school to come to Strathy but I have been able to fit in well. Parents: The start was excellent, and we loved the way the new Year 7s were really welcomed by those coming up from Strathcona’s Junior School. There were so many programs and activities at the end of last year and the start of this year which were aimed at helping the students settle in and make new friends and become part of Strathcona. Early in Year 7 is perhaps one of the more difficult times to

have a big interruption to school. But throughout the isolation period Mrs McConaghy and the staff have gone out of their way to plan ahead and make things very clear, giving excellent guidance to the students and helping them through this difficult time. The staff have worked extremely hard and we are very grateful. I will never forget being around while Mrs MacKenzie was teaching 20 girls to cook in their own kitchens via Microsoft teams with an amazing positive attitude and an incredible amount of patience!

You have had a unique start to your senior schooling. What have you enjoyed the most so far? Eleanor: Meeting all my new friends and building relationships with them. It has been challenging during the

time when we have been doing online learning because I wasn’t able see them in person at School (seeing them on the screen is just not the same!). Parents: It has been lovely watching her settle into secondary school and accepting the increased challenges and independence that come with that. We have loved meeting her new friends and hearing about all the new opportunities she is experiencing.

What are you looking forward to? Eleanor: I am looking forward to School going back to normal and making more memories at Strathcona with all my friends! Parents: We are looking forward to watching her continue to grow into the person she was made to be!




IN THE SPOTLIGHT It is with enormous pride we acknowledge the commendable results of ¤‚⁄· Unit ‹ & › Theatre Studies class which attained the top results in the State of Victoria. BY MRS MARISA ROWLANDS Senior Drama Teacher

Both of the two perfect scores accomplished in Victoria were from Strathcona Girls Grammar, achieved by Talana Kitchen and Juliette Milne. In the entire State four Premiers’ Awards were granted in Theatre Studies and three went to Strathcona students, Talana Kitchen, Juliette Milne and Adam Sarkin. An outstanding 75% of the class achieved 40 and above for their study score and 75% of the

students were invited by the VCAA to audition for Top Class Theatre Studies, which showcases the most outstanding monologues in Victoria. We were thrilled by the VCAA announcement that Kate Dyer, Talana Kitchen and Juliette Milne were selected to perform in Top Class Theatre Studies. Kate’s monologue was the character Hood from Angela Betzien’s play

Hoods. Kate’s superb monologue utilized rap, stylized movement and transformation of character and time to convey a dark contemporary Hansel and Gretel story of survival and solidarity against a backdrop of poverty and family violence. Kate’s commendable manipulation of heightened movement and seamless switching of characters made for a dynamic and captivating performance.

Talana recontextualized Chekhov’s Seagull into a poignant and beautifully nuanced performance set in contemporary Russia. Music by Pussy Riots, scenes from the Chernobyl disaster and inspiring images of Greta Thunberg and the Climate Change revolution made for a poignant, topical and thought -provoking performance.


Juliette Milne chose the character Mrs Lovett from Sondheim’s macabre musical Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Her performance, set in the grimy dog-eat-dog world of Industrialised London included masterful use of song, stylized movement and transformation of character to covey a corrupted and heartless character. We are enormously proud of the impressive accolades achieved by our Theatre Studies students.

Hitting the high notes Natasha Looi (Year ⁄¤) completed VCE Music Performance Units ‹ & › in ¤‚⁄· while in Year ⁄⁄. A talented and experienced violist she was selected to perform during the season of Top Class concerts held in March this year. BY MRS JENNY MEACHEM Head of Performing Arts

To be invited to perform as a musician in one of these prestigious concerts, students will have demonstrated outstanding musicianship and artistry in their final externally assessed VCE Unit 4 recital. Natasha performed Truckin’ Through the South by the modern American composer Aaron Minsky in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the Melbourne Recital Centre in the afternoon concert of Friday 13 March to great acclaim. These concerts are always very popular and this was no exception being a sold out event. Natasha was fortunate to be able to perform in this series, as the following week concerts were cancelled with the closing of performance venues due to covid restrictions being introduced. During her time at Strathcona, Natasha has made an outstanding contribution to the music program through her contributions to numerous ensembles such as String Orchestras, Orchestras, Quartets, Chamber ensembles and as a soloist, in addition to her contributions to her House as a leader and piano accompanist.




Rising to the CHALLENGE Strathcona’s ELC to Year ⁄‚ Outdoor Education Sequence is an exploration of the Girls Outdoors BY MR BIRCH BEHMANN Head of Outdoor Education

“I was surprised how much I liked the food.” “The giant swing was really scary but I overcame my fear to do it.” “The water was freezing but our raft guide was so funny I forgot about how cold I was.” “The pack was so heavy. I am not sure how I carried it so far.” There is always a great variety of responses in the feedback from the camps and journeys. This makes complete sense when you consider the wide range of interests and physical and emotional readiness that meets the challenges of the outdoors and camp life. Across all students, we have observed one universal form of engagement and connection. Exploration. Whether it is on the bush and bike tracks, beaches and waterways of Strathcona outdoor experiences, students are exploring. In the Girls Outdoors sequence at Strathcona, some form of walking and exploring the environment is planned as part of every experience. By the end of Year 10, Strathcona students will have walked and

explored the tracks and trails of the Mornington Peninsula, Anglesea, Marysville, Eildon, Warburton, the Grampians and East Coast Tasmania. There is a universal ‘like’ in feedback for walking and exploring. Girls Outdoors experiences are founded on making this type of primary connection to self, others and the environment. Walking gives the mind freedom to connect and live the moment with classmates — the creation of memory maps.



“Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind and walking travels both terrains.” Wanderlust - A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Gather any senior students or Strathcona alumnae from the same year and introduce the topic of camps. The conversation takes off under its own power with inevitably someone saying, ‘Do you remember how soaked we were when it rained all day and…’ The shared memory map is easily the most important and enduring part of an outdoor education sequence. The collective connection is to a shared challenge — typically the “worst” part of the experience. The sequence is designed to enable students to meet and be supported to overcome physical and mental obstacles using strategies like growth mindset,

mental toughness and emotional resilience. Telling a Strathy girl to ‘go take a hike’ is more of an exciting offer than it is a brushing off. The girls intuitively yearn for that unstructured, unscheduled time and space. The walking track is not just for the feet — it is a pathway for the brain to wander, observe and reflect. The higher order thinking skills needed to process and synthesise challenging outdoor experiences aka emotional trauma into coping strategies require an open end to the story — like that found in good company on a walking track.




What will emerge? Despite the economic and social ravages the COVID-⁄· pandemic has wrought, perhaps there are aspects of ¤‚¤‚ we might see as positive. BY MR SCOTT SWEENEY Head of Humanities and VCE Coordinator

What a transformation we have seen in education! Strathcona’s teachers have become technology experts in a handful of weeks ­— upskilling that would ordinarily take years in a school environment. Teachers have had to completely transform the way they teach content, ranging from science experiments beamed live from the kitchen table with plush toys to virtual fieldwork in Geography. And while this transformation has been exhausting, it has forced teachers to rethink their pedagogy and become better teachers. Of course, 2020 has been most challenging for our VCE students. Adapting to remote learning has been challenging, but so too has the uncertainty and the constantly changing rules, not to mention the social dislocation. But my experiences with the VCE students in 2020 has been overwhelmingly positive. Indeed I am full of admiration for Strathcona’s class of 2020. The students have learned skills that futurists have identified as crucial to success in the 21st Century workplace. Every student has shown adaptability and problem solving skills during their online learning, not to mention an improvement in their communication skills across a (once unfamiliar) medium. But there are two skills our VCE students have demonstrated this

year that will set them up for a lifetime of academic and personal success. The first is a combination of initiative and self-direction. While Strathcona’s teachers have always been present and accessible, the nature of online learning this year has meant that teachers are not the drivers of hard work or study. There has been no one standing over the shoulders of our VCE students this year — it has been up to them.

“It’s been hard, certainly, but the willingness of our Strathy students to take responsibility for their own learning has seen a concomitant acceleration of their own learning.” Strathy’s class of 2020 will be very well placed to cope with the selfdirection and initiative required for success at University. The second skill is one popularised by Angela Lee Duckworth (Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania) — grit. Duckworth studied key factors and predictors of future success, and found that grit was more important than what we had traditionally identified as key factors, things like socio-economic

status and IQ. Duckworth describes grit as “sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement” and her studies all showed this was highly predictive of future success. All our VCE students have had to learn grit. Under demanding and unfamiliar conditions, our VCE students have demonstrated sustained persistence in pursuit of their VCE achievement. They have shown maturity and resilience beyond their years and I am incredibly proud of their doggedness and grit — all the while supporting each other emotionally and maintaining good humour. Older generations often lament the younger generations as being somehow inferior. I could not think of a better group of young people to send out into our society to shape the future. When the Bubonic Plague (sometimes known as the Black Death) arrived in Italy in 1347 it devastated Europe, causing the deaths of up to 60% of the population. But the horrifying pandemic of the 14th Century also marks the end of what Historians call the Middle Ages and sees the birth of a new era — the Renaissance — perhaps the greatest era in the development of arts, science and reason. Out of great crisis came great understanding. I wonder what else will emerge once our own pandemic has run its course?


The power of love in STRATHCOURIER 2020



Here is a colouring opportunity for you to rest and reflect on the power of love in your family. The family that we are born into is a bit like the nose on our face, we don’t have much choice, we get what we get. Yet, families are one of the very first ways that we learn the importance of grace and forgiveness because no family is perfect.

Regardless of whether your family are biological or what shape and size they come in, I pray that you will find joy in noticing the special things about each member of your family to admire and respect. That you can learn to look past the faults and love each person for where they are at right now despite their weakness.

You have recently been locked in your home with your family for months on end, and will understand the way that nobody can quite know us in the same way that our families do, this is evident by their ability to upset us so easily if they choose to!

“Above all, love each other warmly because love covers many sins.” 1 PETER 4:8

This is a gorgeous inspiration of artwork by Charlotte Pearse, Year 8.

Shana Besanko








Gigi Silk


Births LUCY COTÉ (Dear ‘03) and René welcomed their son, Finley, born on 2 February 2020. A brother to Lachlan (6) and Isla (3). In an interesting twist, alumna Kat Weitkamp (‘16) followed Lucy‘s pregnancy as part of her studies to become a midwife. NICOLE KENNEDY (‘05) and her partner, Tim Sullivan, welcomed their son, Hugo Kim Sullivan on 24 August 2019.

Engagements LOUISE MUIR (Johnston ‘09) and Andrew welcomed their daughter, Lucy Muir, on 30 March 2020. Lucy was born at the Mercy Hospital in Heidelberg. KATE MACKAY (Oldland ‘10) and James welcomed a son, Louis Benjamin Peter MacKay, born on Anzac morning, (25 April 2020) weighing 3.48kg. A brother for Jack.

GEORGIE TOBIAS (‘13) became engaged to Austin Anthony on 11 April 2020 and will be married in 2021.

Jessica Gumley


Christina Tsakiris Rachel Lim

Ingrid Holyoak

Helen Gillies

CHRISTINA TSAKIRIS (‘08) married John Anthony on 22 February this year at St. John‘s Greek Orthodox Church Carlton followed by a reception at The Glasshouse Melbourne. Frances Tiktikakis (Lee-Archer) was a bridesmaid with guests including Demi Papigiotis, Stacey McArdle and Jessica Griffiths. All Class of 2008. GIGI SILK (‘08) married Danny Meehan on 25 January 2020 at St Johns in Portsea followed by a reception at Portsea Golf Club. Alumnae Elle Bartnik and Sophie Coldwell were part of the bridal party, and Jess Wilson, Jessie Russell and Amy Wellington (all ‘08) were guests. RACHEL LIM (‘09) married Timothy Lee on 7 September 2019 in Fitzroy North. Her maid of honour was her sister Joyce Lim (‘14) and her bridesmaids included Sarah Ho (‘09) and Tim‘s sister Stephanie Lee (‘15), who also attended Strathcona. A happy union of two Strathy families!



INGRID HOLYOAK (‘86) married Nick Mahon on 3 August 2015 after meeting at a nightclub in 1985. They have two children, Jack and Georgia and the ceremony was in the Canterbury Gardens followed by a celebration in Camberwell. SHANA BESANKO (‘06) married Andrew Kovacs whom she met at Melbourne University while they both were studying Engineering. They were married on 7 December 2019 at Terindah Estate on the Bellarine Peninsula. All Shana‘s bridesmaids were Strathcona alumnae: Ali Besanko (‘10) Shana‘s sister, Emily Jenkins and Laura D‘Ambrosio (both ‘06). JESSICA GUMLEY (‘06) married Mitchell Jager on 23 November 2019 at Butterland, Newstead. Alex Finemore (’06) was in Jessica’s bridal party and Pru Joss (’06) was a guest. HELEN GILLIES (‘07) married Nick Kings in January 2020 at St Kilda Botanical Gardens followed by a reception at The Stokehouse. Her three bridesmaids were Strathcona alumnae: Catherine Gillies (‘13) Helen‘s sister, Catherine Jensen and Isabel Ley (both ‘07).


48 ETHEL JOYCE HUGHES (Joyce) (Crook ‘32) passed away on 19 October 2019 aged 105. Joyce‘s sister, Nance Phillips (deceased), also attended Strathcona. Joyce was a long-time resident of Bairnsdale and the East Gippsland News published an article covering her 105th birthday celebrations in June last year. A quote from the article, “Joyce was a very bright and diligent student and consequently won two scholarships, which enabled her to complete her secondary education at Strathcona (now Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School), a school established by its founding principals in 1924, with a small number of pupils.” PAT PALMER (Simpson ‘42), sister of Valerie Hayward ‘38 (deceased) passed away on 12 May 2020 at the age of 94. Pat first joined the WRANs in 1942 and then went on to join the Navy. After training on the HMAS Lonsdale she was drafted to the code-breaking unit and worked on IBM computers deciphering the Japanese code. Pat received a special badge from the Queen for her work which she wore with pride. ELSPETH DIGBY (Pardy ‘43), sister of Marie Pardy ‘41 (deceased) passed

away on the 31 May 2020. She will be sadly missed by her husband of 70 years, Geoff, her four sons and their partners, her ten grandchildren and her four great grandchildren. Elspeth was School Captain in 1943. KAY GRIFFITHS (Watters ‘54) passed away on 11 December 2019 aged 82. A celebration of Kay‘s life was held at Ashburton Baptist Church. Kay was the mother of four children and her daughter, Katrina (‘86) attended Strathcona. Kay was a retired school teacher. ELIZABETH ORR (Archer ‘56) sadly passed away on Australia Day this year. The celebrant at her memorial service was an exStrathcona student, as was the funeral director. During Elizabeth‘s pictorial tribute, there were several photographs of Elizabeth with Strathcona teams, which she coached. JOAN SCOTT (Morley ‘56) sadly passed away in November 2019. Joan‘s sister, Judy Deeble, sadly passed one week after Joan died (please see below). Joan was a very strong student who loved writing poetry. She was Deputy School Captain in 1954 and School Captain in 1955.

JUDY DEEBLE (Morley ‘57) peacefully passed away on 21 November 2019. Judy was a much loved and highly respected member of the Class of 1957 and Head Prefect of the class of 1958. Judy was a true friend and active member of the Old Strathconians‘ Association. Judy‘s peers from the Class of 1957 said of Judy ‘Deeply caring, generous, loyal, fun-loving but at the same time committed to the betterment of society.‘ ROBINA DRANE (Bednall ‘58) sadly passed away unexpectedly on 2 February 2020 after an illness. Robina sister, Jennifer Beardsley (Bednall ‘61) also attended Strathcona. Robina was the beloved mother of six children and an adored grandmother. A service celebrating her life was held on 14 February at Le Pine Funerals in Burwood. LESLEY LOVELL (Purnell ‘68) sadly passed away on 11 September 2019. Leslie was Arnold House captain in 1968. Lesley lived in Halls Head Western Australia. In Lesley‘s memory, donations to Silver Chain, a not-for-profit organisation delivering community health and aged care services across Australia, were gratefully accepted.

JOAN PYE passed away 10 September 2019 aged 88. Joan started teaching at Strathcona in 1975 and introduced American History to the curriculum. She taught History and English and was Head of Tay Creggan 1980-82. Joan then became the Year 10 Coordinator before she left at the end of 1983.

Joan‘s two daughters attended Strathcona - Gillian Graham (Pye ‘76) and Judith Brasier (Pye ‘79) who sadly passed on 5 February 2019. Joan and her husband, John, attended the celebration of Mr Ken Lyall‘s 90th birthday celebrations at Tay Creggan in 2017.

Staff Obituaries BEVERLEY KOEHLER sadly passed on 30 December 2019. Bev was a valued member of staff over many years and her two daughters, Dr Belinda Koehler (‘95) and Lauren Koehler (‘97), attended Strathcona. A number of past staff members, who have very fond memories of Bev, attended her funeral.

Unlikely student remembers Strathcona with generous gift

BY MRS ELIZA GODING Development Manager

Born in Melbourne in 1931, Peter Hardy-Smith began boarding school as a 5-year-old boy, returning home on weekends to the family home in Frankston which overlooked Port Phillip. “My father was a Yorkshireman who started a business in Melbourne after the Second World War. On Fridays, I would be picked up from school and taken home for the weekend”. Peter is the grandson of Mrs Florence Livingstone, joint founder of Strathcona. “Aside from my mother Edna, ‘Granny Livingstone’ had three other children and when her husband died young, she went about starting a school (Strathcona) with Miss Hughes (Miss Henrietta Hughes, co-founder of Strathcona)”. “Granny had a love of the natural world and would often come to visit us in Frankston on the weekends, which was largely bushland back then. She’d take me on rambles along the beach and bush, showing me plants, insects and animals. She inspired a love of nature in me too and I began collecting bugs and beetles, butterflies and plants. I began pressing flowers and documenting them”. From time to time, when Peter’s parents went away, Florence would take Peter to Strathcona to stay for a few days. “I remember the School as an old house with a big peppercorn

tree. Granny Livingstone was a very kind person. She took the time to show and explain things to me and would help me navigate the dining room where I’d eat with all these big girls – it was quite an experience!” “Granny Livingstone had so many nature books and I would love looking through them. I’m sure my passion for science started at a young age with Granny Livingstone and Strathcona”. After a recent visit to Strathcona, Peter was impressed and inspired by the School and how it had changed. “When I came back to Strathcona after so many years I thought: ‘What a wonderful place to go to School!’” After his schooling, Peter went on to study Medicine at The University of Melbourne and then Ophthalmology, having a long and successful career within his specialty. “Obviously, I didn’t attend Strathcona for my formal schooling, yet I owe a great deal to Granny Livingstone and time spent at Strathcona because I believe it really did steer my life course”. “Leaving some money to Strathcona in our will felt right to Beryl and I. My Dear Beryl has now passed away, but I still reflect on the many things I learned from Granny Livingstone and how it shaped the person I am today. It’s quite amazing how even the simplest things learnt can be

traced back to school days. Time at school is the time when we learn how to handle our lives, learn what our values are, and these serve us well into the future. The more I look back on my life, the more I realize how much I owe to the great schools I attended and inspiring teachers like Granny Livingstone”. Strathcona would like to sincerely thank Beryl and Peter for their generosity.

Planned gifts and bequests are a gift for the future, beyond your own lifetime, that help Strathcona’s mission to give our girls the life shaping momentum they need to be truly unstoppable women. Please contact the School if you are planning on leaving a gift to Strathcona in your will (however big or small) as we would love to connect you with likeminded community members and invite you along to our special events. If you would like to know how to remember Strathcona in your will after first looking after your family members, we invite you to contact the school for more information.

Unstoppable girls start at Strathcona and unstoppable people are behind them.


A life changing connection inspired Beryl and Peter Hardy-Smith to remember Strathcona in their Will. Surprisingly, it was not Beryl’s relationship with the School that inspired the gift.




LEARN T SWIM An important skill to not only keep children safe around water but a sport that you have throughout life to keep you healthy in mind and body. BY MS KYLIE WOOD Aquatics Manager

The Strathcona Swim School provides small group lessons and private lessons with qualified swimming instructors for children four years and older. Children coming through the program will progress through six levels, first becoming familiar and confident in the water through to pre-squad level. Our first four levels have a maximum of four students (with the teacher in the pool with them). Levels five and six can have more students in the class (with the instructor teaching from out of the water).

Once these six levels are complete, students are encouraged to join the Junior Squad. Here swimmers are introduced to what squad swimming is like in a relaxed noncompetitive environment. The focus is on improving technique and giving swimmers the skills required to compete if they desire to move in that direction. The Swim School teaches both stroke development and water safety. We don’t wait for one week per term to focus on water safety, it is incorporated into each lesson and builds on the skills throughout the levels.


Once the requirements of each level are met, a student will progress to the next level. We have an additional teacher on each shift who assists whole classes or individual students as required. You may also see extra staff in the water that have completed their AustSwim certificate, gaining teaching experience and then becoming staff within the program. We have students from the Early Learning Centre and Junior School attend the swimming program. For the Junior School girls that are booked in at 3.45pm, if requested, we are able to collect the students from class and walk them to the pool for their lessons. Some students take longer than others to warm up and may need extra time in a particular level, but it is great to see their confidence grow and then progress quickly through the levels. Swimmers are extended in the program with enjoyment being a high priority. We want swimmers to develop their skills as well as a love of the water.

Strathcona Swim School is an ever-growing program. For up-to-date details and availability, please visit our website:


It keeps the heart rate up, but is low impact. It builds endurance and improves muscle strength. It benefits the brain and can relax the mind. It is Swimming.

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Early Learning Centre 34 Scott Street, Canterbury VIC 3126

Junior Campus 173 Prospect Hill Road, C anterbury VIC 3126

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Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar

A Child Safe School

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Middle & Senior Campus 34 Scott Street, C anterbury VIC 3126