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strathcourier News from Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School | Winter 2015

new horizons

contents From the Principal


Meet the Principal


Contemporary Learning Centre


New Staff


Learning Highlights


Class of 2014


Creativity at Strathcona


Social Service


Global Links


Health and Wellbeing


School Community


Sport Report


OSA News


Front cover: The new Wheelton Knowledge Exchange Production and Editorial: Michelle Newell, Online Communications and Publications Manager

from the principal

from the principal My first Semester at Strathcona has flown by with so much happening across all our campuses.


n Term 1, as she stood sketching the changing square around her at the main entrance, our Artist in Residence commented that she felt she was in the middle of the metamorphosis of the School. I certainly felt much the same way myself, peering from my office at times through clouds of swirling dust as sandblasting occurred and new building features emerged. Over the Easter break, in a seamless execution, the portable classrooms were decommissioned and craned from the site, the builders packed their toolboxes and drove off, the contents of the library and science laboratories were decanted to their new home and our beautiful Contemporary Learning Centre emerged from its hoarding, fully functional and ready to take its place as a centre for research and learning for Strathcona students and staff. Not only has the physical landscape of the campus here at Canterbury changed significantly this year, but there is also a strong sense of heightened energy and creative opportunity. Professors Erica McWilliam and Peter Taylor, our Visiting Scholars this year, pointed out the rich opportunity recent changes have afforded the School for renewal and growth. Their work with our staff has centred on classroom practice with the intention of ensuring our teachers are well-prepared for the new horizons emerging on the educational landscape. There is no doubt that technology breakthroughs have prompted paradigm shifts around pedagogy, assessment and scholarly research. Assumptions of how and where learning takes place have been upended and the student-teacher dynamic, function of libraries and museums, and the role of scholars as creators and curators of knowledge have shifted.

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Strathcona is well-positioned to reconsider questions such as how and what we teach, what value the bricks and mortar experience adds, and the extent to which technology should underpin and inform teaching and learning. The Wheelton Knowledge Exchange on the ground floor of our new Contemporary Learning Centre demonstrates the discernment with which the School has not just reacted to – but been proactive in – using the forces of change and innovation as a means to deliver Strathcona’s philosophy of girls’ education. Our intention is that our girls leave the School well prepared in mind, body and spirit to navigate what we know is a rapidly changing world. While it is impossible to predict what is over the horizon, we believe that by providing our girls with a rigorous academic curriculum, wide-ranging choices in the co-curricular and service programs and a deeply thoughtful and committed approach to nurturing them spiritually and emotionally, we are establishing a strong platform from which to navigate their adult lives, and whatever they may encounter personally and professionally in their future. The changing physical landscape of our Canterbury campus and the evolving pedagogies and innovations are both exciting and inspiring, but as we progress forward, the enduring values of this School in its 91st year live on. We are drawn ever onwards, bravely, faithfully and happily, to be the best that we can be. Marise McConaghy Principal


meet the principal

q&a with our principal 4

Strathcona is an unpretentious and generous kind of place and the girls are gorgeous!

Students at Strathcona get to know their new Principal better with ten questions – both serious and light-hearted.

strathcourier | winter 2015

meet the principal

3. Given your son is Angus 7. What is your most

and dog is Fergus, is there some Scottish connection? (Class 11B)

Definitely a Scottish connection! My husband is very proud of his Scottish heritage and will lecture anyone about it who stands still for long enough.

4. What is your favourite

thing about Melbourne so far? (Clare, Year 10)

I love the way the leaves change colour as the season changes – Scott Street has been glorious and it still delights me. We don’t have such a dramatic visual reminder of seasonal change in Queensland – it just gets a bit colder and you wear slightly warmer clothes for a short period. I love the ‘feel’ of Melbourne. While for me it is a new city, it feels comfortable, safe and solid. I love the architecture – the old and the new. I have not had time yet to explore the food and culture as much as I would like but it is there waiting for me!

1. What is your motto? (Jackie, Year 10)

Sometimes it’s ‘two steps forward and one backward’ and at other times it feels like ‘one step forward and two backward’ – but keep going as you are moving forward! The other is ‘always do what you believe is the right thing to do – trust your instincts’.

2. What is your favourite

book? (Class 11B)

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. And I loved teaching Hamlet to Year 12s.

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embarrassing moment? (Class 11D)

My most embarrassing moment was when I was in Year 8 and I was riding my bike to school (it was probably the last time I did) and I was so busy talking to my friend that I rode into a parked car. Sadly, it was right in front of what was then Rockhampton Boys Grammar School and some boys out the front fell about laughing (as did my friend!).


What do you think of AFL football? (Brianna, Year 9) I am not a mad sportsperson and seemed to have always been chatting to people and missed the moment my children did anything significant on the sports field. I love that Melburnians love AFL but it is early days for me. They jump a lot and everyone gets terribly excited.


What subjects do you teach? (Class 11C)

5. Where do you purchase

I teach English and Drama. I used to teach Dance also. I would love to learn more about Art History.

Anywhere there is a good sale and a good pair of shoes. I am not fussy. It has been fun to have a good reason to buy boots!

Why did you choose Strathcona? (Rachael, Year 7)

your shoes? (Class 11B)

6. What was the hardest

thing about moving to a different state? (Alana, Year 10) The hardest thing was moving away from my two daughters. They are grown up and have their own lives but I miss them coming over for meals and a chat and debrief of the day. We talk a lot on the phone. I miss my old coffee buddies too – very old friends with whom you can laugh about life’s ironies.


I chose Strathcona because it is in a city I wanted to live in and because it is an all-girls school from Early Learning to Year 12. It balances its academic and pastoral care for the girls in a way that leads to the development of strong, thoughtful and spiritually aware young women who are able to contribute well to the world. It is an unpretentious and generous kind of place and the girls are gorgeous! I felt that Strathcona was the right school for me to be Principal and that I was the right person for Strathcona. And the time was right. A natural synergy. 5

contemporary learning centre

the new centre of interest The Contemporary Learning Centre is a responsive and agile facility designed to support Strathcona well into the future. With learning and community core Strathcona values, architecture firm pmdl were tasked with designing a new learning centre that created an active and vibrant heart for the whole School – a place to learn, meet and connect.


ate in 2010, Strathcona revisited its Strategic Plan envisioning a future-focussed and innovative School that would bring out the best in each girl. The masterplan design process then identified specific needs within the Main Campus that should be addressed to fully realise this vision. A review of timetabling pressures highlighted a need for additional learning spaces, and more importantly, a variety of learning spaces, to support the delivery of the curriculum and diverse learning needs. Previous works on the campus had delivered a much loved Senior Centre along with specialist learning areas for Food Technology, Creative and Performing Arts, and Physical Education. For this next phase of growth, a need for a specialist Science area, as well as general learning areas within dedicated home bases for Middle School (Years 7 and 8) and Year 10, were identified. Almost all needs could be addressed in the creation of a new building, with Year 10 being catered for in a uniquely refurbished zone above the Senior Centre. The concept of a new ‘learning centre’ integrated within a ‘learning street’ running along the north-south axis of the site, was made possible through the demolition of the Spicer and Hopkins buildings, which provided new possibilities to link the newer facilities on site and strengthen connections throughout the campus. The concept was a relaxed structure with blurred boundaries, promoting enquiry and discourse and providing flexible but discrete, connected learning environments. A three-storey building design emerged, the Contemporary Learning Centre, accommodating a new Knowledge Exchange and Café, Middle School and Science Discovery zone.

The spaces and furniture give students and staff greater input and control over their environment and a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for their own learning. Modern LCD screens, Wi-Fi, mobile device charging stations and integrated sound systems represent the best in technology available to support learning. Strathcona’s continued commitment to the environment and sustainability influenced and informed design decisions throughout the process. The energy efficient design incorporates a building management system which allows the School to easily monitor and control the temperature of the indoor environment, whilst lighting is activated only when rooms are in use. Environmentally friendly and sustainable materials are incorporated extensively throughout the building. The new Contemporary Learning Centre closely connects staff and students at the heart of the campus and makes learning more visible and accessible, thus offering improved opportunities for interaction and pastoral care. The building has been well received by students, staff and parents alike, and will host many generations of Strathcona families to come. Donna Payne, Director, pmdl

The ground floor Knowledge Exchange and its learning street are a fluid hub that act as both destination and thoroughfare connecting administration services, the new Café and the sports field to the north. The open design creates social spaces to interact, relax, and share whilst enjoying distant views of the Yarra Valley Ranges. On each floor, various sized and equipped areas, along with lightweight, mobile furniture, enable the creation of a variety of learning settings.


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contemporary learning centre

supporting enquiring minds Scientific Discovery is the apex of our new Contemporary Learning Centre.


they share ideas, information, charts, images, animations, audio or video. Learning is much more powerful with a broad range of content to support a variety of intelligences.

Theory based lessons are conducted in light spaces supported by large whiteboards, which provide a focal point for note-taking. Pull-down screens for projection and a large plasma TV offer teachers a whole new dimension in how

Hands-on learning is a key feature of girls’ science education, giving them confidence in their ability to ‘do’ science. The layout of the practical areas promotes inquiry based learning by allowing students to conduct experiments and talk about the science inherent in the activities. Each workbench is generously equipped with facilities needed for experiments in all science subjects – the typical hot and cold water supply, gas and power, but also data points for an internet connection and a truly modern, industry-standard science experience.

tretching over the entire third floor, our five classrooms and a central prep room have been eagerly embraced by students and staff. Each classroom is comprised of a practical work zone that blends into an adjacent theory area. Students are able to move seamlessly from theory areas to laboratory areas as they learn, explore and test scientific concepts. The generous spaces and streamlined layout of the practical areas are the equal of many tertiary science laboratories.

Student feedback has shown that the girls are delighted with the modern open spaces and light, bright environment. They feel they can hear, see and learn anywhere in the room. The new desk and ergonomic chair combinations have been given full marks for colour and comfort. Teachers and students have appreciated the quietness of all the rooms and the incredible amount of storage space each area provides. The demonstrations and activities in which the girls will participate in these new spaces will ideally take them on a journey of discovery they will remember for a lifetime. Skills learned by completing practical activities in science rooms – collaboration, problem solving and deductive reasoning – can be transferred to any career. Ian McDonald, Science Teacher

I love how open and spacious it is. The separate areas for theory and knowledge are great because it is not cramped. The opening/closing skylight is so exciting. Very well designed, thank you. (Student, Year 10)

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contemporary learning centre

bringing the vision to life ‘Imagine an activity and we will make a space for it.’


ur vision for the new Wheelton Knowledge Exchange has developed around two central tenets: a sense of respect for, and valuing of, the tradition and heritage of the role of libraries in a community – as places of learning and study, providing access to the collective wisdom of a society; and a recognition that this understanding must respond and evolve in the face of changing conditions – of new understandings of how information is stored and accessed, of how we learn, and of how we build and create knowledge. Therefore, the Knowledge Exchange has been designed as a ‘heart space’ at the centre of the campus – both physically (on the ground floor and a central point of access to other parts of the School); and conceptually (connected to the implementation and realisation of the learning-centred vision of the School).

As a physical space, the Knowledge Exchange is flexible and customisable in its multi-use areas. Catering for different group sizes and individual work to accommodate a variety of academic and recreational activities, the space offers tutorial rooms, booths, tables of varying shapes and sizes, quieter nooks and reading bays. The fluidity of the space is enhanced by the Exchange’s close proximity to the Café and piazza at its northern end, where large windows can be opened to create an indoor-outdoor space. At the southern end and facing east is a stage, also opening to the outdoors for presentations and performance. Believing that hard copy resources still have a place in the learning experiences of contemporary students, the Knowledge Exchange maintains a comprehensive collection of reference, non-fiction and fiction materials, as well as audio-visual resources. The Knowledge Exchange is as much a virtual space as it is

physical, however, and has seamless access via Wi-Fi to a full suite of 24/7 digital resources. Digital tools including mobile devices (iPads, laptops), desktop computers and multimedia displays further extend the Exchange’s offering and potential for collaboration and content creation. Sharing the ground floor with the ICT Department allows all users ready access to equipment, technical advice and support, and to opportunities for consultation and discussion on the integration of IT across the curriculum. So – just what is ‘exchanged’ in this wonderful new facility? It is not just resources and information, but skills and expertise, insights and ideas, learnings and understandings to create the aptitudes, knowledge and attributes necessary to ensure our students confidently take their place in the 21st century world. Mary L Hall, Director of Information Services

… the Knowledge Exchange has been designed as a ‘heart space’ at the centre of the campus …


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contemporary learning centre

middle school innovation As the Year 7s and 8s populated the premises on the first day of Term 2, the animated shouts of delight and squeals of excitement were a joy to hear.


his was the moment the building became more than just bricks and mortar and an innovative hub of knowledge and skill acquisition. First period saw the girls employing the breakout spaces to practise and deliver oral presentations to each other; they collaborated and debated, shared and distributed ideas amongst themselves. Girls were spoilt for choice between social and activity spaces and rooms for more structured learning, and they flitted between all areas excitedly, eager to embrace them all. Their pride in their new surrounding was evident in their chatter, smiles and eagerness to begin their studies within this facility. We have continued to witness this as they proudly

show their parents through ‘their’ new building. This building breaks down many barriers, including traditional ideas of teaching and learning, and creates an authentic sense of a Middle School community connected to the wider School. Team teaching in the central breakout space has already seen a collaboration of many faculties from across the School, bringing the SEED inquiry based unit alive on the walls with Anzac Day inspired displays. Video footage of the Anzacs could be shown simultaneously to the entire year levels in separate rooms, before breaking into smaller groups with self-directed learning activities.

Year level assemblies have been held with an ease of togetherness. This innovative space allows for greater cross-age interaction, whereby the Year 7s and 8s can interact daily in the same space – a benefit not previously possible. The new Contemporary Learning Centre is delivering a future focused, innovative and more challenging curriculum where the students are the leaders. There are blurred boundaries and a more relaxed structure that promotes inquiry-based learning, and future adaptability to accommodate anticipated advances in the way education is delivered. Miranda Gazis, Year 8 Coordinator

… delivering a future focused, innovative and more challenging curriculum where the students are the leaders.

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’ 9

new staff

tay creggan welcomes new head

… I believe that the Year 9 schooling experience should be a unique and developmentally appropriate one …

Julie Plymin

the Ministry of Education to work as a Science Consultant for the Doncaster area, which enabled me to pursue my passion to develop an innovative Science curriculum.

As the Head of Year 9 at Tay Creggan, I believe that the Year 9 schooling experience should be a unique and developmentally appropriate one – not just a little more difficult than in previous years or a little less difficult than in the following years, but something very special.

The secondment ended once my daughters were born – their arrival made me very aware of the importance of an all-girls education, which is better able to cater for the different ways in which girls learn and develop. This commitment to the education of girls led me to Strathcona. In my time at the School I have taught Italian, Junior Science, Mathematics and my passion – Chemistry. I have lead the Italy tour and held the position of Year 11 Coordinator and am now excited about my new position at Tay Creggan. The Tay Creggan environment is certainly the friendliest place that I have ever worked: this group of girls are joyous and great fun and the staff enjoy their jobs and are passionate about what they teach.

Head of Tay Creggan

I began my teaching career at University, as a part-time teacher’s aide in a small primary school in the northern suburbs. Once I finished my Science degree I worked in a laboratory, despite the fact that people kept telling me I wouldn’t like it and that I would be better suited to a ‘peoples job’. They were correct and my time as an industrial chemist was very brief. I then worked at an inner-city co-ed government school and in the early 90s I was seconded by

High quality staff who share Strathcona’s vision and values are integral to our success. New staff bring new ideas and an infectious energy that renews and refreshes all that we do.

Michelle Newell

Online Communications and Publications Manager I have joined Strathcona at a very exciting time: my role is the first for the School, a new Principal arrived the month after me, and we now have a new learning centre. In just a term, I was able to quickly implement and grow multiple platforms to communicate with parents and the community, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Eventbrite and a new format eNews and Strathcourier. That we’ve


moved so far in so short a space of time is indicative of how well people work together, are open to change, and strive for the very best for the School. I started a Journalism degree but swapped to Education and taught History at Brisbane Girls Grammar School for four years. For the next 12 years I worked in London as an education consultant, an arts manager running literature and sculpture festivals, and a communications manager at the City of London Corporation. Coming back into a school full-time and working in communications feels like I’ve come full circle, revisiting my early passions in a place that is now home.

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new staff

New staff members Jacquie Little and Karyn Murray are no strangers to Strathcona – they both attended the School as students (Jacquie far left, Karyn at left) and they both have daughters starting in Year 7 (pictured with their daughters below).

Rhiannon Ward English Teacher

My teaching career began in 2004, as an English and Humanities teacher at Yarra Valley Grammar. I had gained a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from the University of Melbourne and later returned to complete my Master of Education. In 2005 I taught in a number of government schools in London and returned to Yarra Valley Grammar in 2006, in both a teaching and year level coordinating capacity. I took maternity leave in 2014, and 2015 has led me through the gates of Strathcona as an English teacher.

Jacquie Little

Strathcona School Nurse I thoroughly enjoyed my years as a Strathy girl 1983 – 1988, so returning to Strathcona on staff as School Nurse feels like coming home. I remember many happy times and enjoyed studying Biology and Home Economics, both of which prepared me well for my Nursing degree. I worked as a District Nurse in the inner-city suburbs for 15 years and have a post-graduate diploma in Ambulatory and Home-care Nursing. I also completed a Community Nursing Practice course including infant, child and

Karyn Murray

Advanced Learning Teacher Having spent the majority of my 25-year teaching career in girls schools it would be fair to say that I am a strong advocate of all-girls education. In that time I have held numerous positions of responsibility, both pastoral and academic, although my real passion lies in both gifted education, where I have completed further studies, and devising and organising educational learning experiences

Karen Whelan

Psychology Teacher Teaching since 1995 (Psychology and Geography), I have worked in the independent, Catholic and government systems, overseas and in both co-educational and single-sex settings. Most recently I was the Acting Head of Psychology

Nancy McGoldrick

Integration Aide, Mellor House I started at Strathcona last year working casual relief as an Integration Aide and helping in the ELC. I thought to myself, ‘This is where I want to be – the environment is so welcoming of staff and nurturing of students’. Much to my

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I am passionate about single-sex education for girls, having been a student at Toorak College in Mt Eliza during my secondary school years. As a result, I am thriving on the dynamic and engaged Year 10 and 11 classes that I teach at Strathcona. Now the mother of a young daughter, I am now even more focused than before on the very special learning environment that an all-girl setting like Strathcona is able to provide. The young women of Strathcona are given the license to personal success; they are given encouragement to achieve, and the chance to bring out their best. I feel very privileged to be able to work with these remarkable young women and their families. adolescent assessment. As a School Nurse for two years at the Australian International School in Singapore (and as a mother of three!) I developed my knowledge of common childhood and adolescent illnesses, first aid, and risk minimisation strategies. I enjoy sharing my nursing knowledge to assist people to keep well and recover quickly, and I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know and caring for students and staff at Strathcona. My daughter Hannah has also joined the school in Year 7 this year and is making new friends and taking on new challenges, such as the Da Vinci inter-school competition. We are enjoying the new facilities, and look forward to being a part of this new era at Strathcona. beyond the classroom. Working as part of the Advanced Learning Centre team, I am using my background as an English teacher to support students, as well as to provide dedicated extension and enhancement opportunities. Returning to Strathcona, where I completed my secondary education, has been an incredible experience. The buildings have certainly changed, but the sense of community and emphasis on inclusiveness remains the same. My daughter Charlotte has also started Year 7 this year, and we are both very proud to now be part of the Strathy community! at Scotch College. I am currently enjoying my role as a VCE Psychology teacher and relishing the opportunity of getting to know my girls, especially by engaging them in conversations both big and small. I believe that learning is a lifelong journey and the girls constantly show me that I can learn from them as much as they can from me. I look forward to continuing our journey together. delight, I am now working every day in the Prep classroom in Mellor House as an Integration Aide. I’ve been working with pre-primary and primary school children for years. Coming in to work every day at Mellor House has been like walking into a circle of friends – we all take care of one another. The girls are wonderful. Their inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn is what makes my job so much fun!


learning highlights

the science of better learning


dvances in neuroscience are reshaping how, when, where and even why students learn. At Strathcona we have always believed in the potential of all students to improve academically, artistically or on the sporting field, but the increasing awareness amongst scientists and educators of neuroplasticity – the brain’s capacity to adapt and ‘rewire’ itself – vindicates that belief and gives even greater weight to the value of setting challenges and encouraging perseverance to help students achieve their best. Neuroplasticity means that we have more reason to believe that it is worth taking on challenges, because improvement and success are always possible. Educators must face the challenge of progressing every student in every subject area. We cannot now say that there is a large section of the population born without the capacity to be good at mathematics, or essay writing, or languages or music. As a singing teacher scolded me recently when I said that I could not sing, ‘yes you can, you just need to learn how’.

At Strathcona we embrace the work of cognitive psychologist Carol Dweck on mindsets to promote learning and embrace the potential of neuroplasticity. One of the most powerful influences our School can have is developing in young women the capacity to face life’s challenges using a growth mindset – the attitude that their skills and talents are not fixed, but can be developed through effort and application. We praise students for their effort, rather than their intelligence and aim to strike a balance between focusing on learning and performance. The performances in the form of ATAR scores, school grades and reports are clearly important for setting up further opportunities for our students, but learning and progress for all is what we are really about. Different students achieve different levels at different times, so we find it more appropriate to talk of readiness than ability. ‘Not yet’ is a more helpful response to a student’s low performance on a task than a ‘not good’ – it gives students the belief that improvement will come.

puppy love

I Zinnia with Amelia and Madelyn, Year 5ES

n Term 2, a furry, four-legged student joined the Junior School, much to the excitement of girls and staff! Zinnia the Golden Labrador is a guide dog in training, and arrived at Strathcona at just eight weeks of age. She will live with the Advanced Learning Coordinator of Mellor House, Mrs Carolyn King, for ten months and come to school every day. Zinnia is a calming influence on the girls and is used to support

ICT innovation


trathcona uses cutting edge technologies and programs to provide students with real-world experiences of IT. Growing up as ‘digital natives’ with technology pervasive in their everyday lives, the school must offer something different: it becomes a safe and challenging place to experiment with advanced computer applications.

Year 9 Programming/Robotics elective


iPad App Development is running at both Year 9 and Year 10 level as a semester elective. In the

In Years 7 and 8 at Strathcona, we have introduced students to key elements of John Medina’s Brain Rules. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development. His Brain Rules help students to make the most of their brains for learning by understanding how the brain works for sleep, exercise, memory, attention and stress amongst other activities and states. For 21st century students who find their attention divided between multiple devices and may be struggling with sleep and concentration, Medina’s tips help them to listen to their bodies and react in ways that make them better ready for learning. Students at Strathcona increasingly are able to access resources and learning experiences that present an appropriate level of challenge and work at their own pace. This helps to develop a culture of learning, rather than one dominated by judging how well everyone fits into a particular box as indicated by a grade. Ross Phillips, Dean of Studies

their learning and give emotional comfort to students if needed. When she wears her coloured jacket, Zinnia is not a pet and cannot be patted. She is actually ‘working’ and learning to listen to commands. At one year of age Zinnia will leave Mrs King and Strathcona for further training with a group of dogs, and will hopefully one day help someone who is sight-impaired. Michelle Newell, Online Communications & Publications Manager

course, students design, program and produce their own Apps for the iPad: some of which include Monster Whack, Sea Sprint, Cookie Match and Dress Maker. Our Year 9 Programming/Robotics elective is very popular, with students using Lego MindStorms equipment to build robots and enter them in a series of challenges. The latest MindStorms software allows them to connect via Bluetooth or wirelessly from an iPad and control their robots remotely. Students are encouraged to push the boundaries of the technology and work collaboratively to solve engineering and logic problems of increasing complexity. Adrian Janson, Director of Learning Technologies

learning highlights

creative chinese


t Strathcona, we teach Chinese creatively by bringing the language and culture to life and embedding it across the curriculum. Years 7 to 10 students are taught to sing Chinese songs related to traditional Chinese stories and festivals. In Years 9 and 10, students are also introduced to pop music and street dance to learn about the daily lives of modern Chinese people. We have made speaking

advanced academic athletes


he Advanced Learning Centre supports the learning of all students in the school, from ELC to Year 12. In the Senior School, some of our highly able students stretch themselves academically through participation in the Da Vinci Decathlon, an academic version of the Olympic Decathlon in which elite athletes compete in ten different athletic events to showcase their skills. At the Da Vinci Decathlon,

growth in horticulture

Year 9, 10 and 11 students performing the Chinese dance ‘Little Apple’ in Federation Square on Sunday, 17 May, filmed by the ABC for their Australia Plus Chinese website

assessments fun by not only emphasising pronunciation, but encouraging students to sing a song for their assessment! When teaching traditional Chinese festivals, students are shown how to link their Chinese cultural knowledge of special festivals to other subjects. For example, in Food Technology, some students have created portfolios inspired by Chinese festival food. We teach clothing vocabulary and traditional

Peixia Mo, Chinese Teacher

a nationally run competition, teams of eight students complete ten tasks in the fields of Art and Poetry, Engineering, Mathematics, English, Science, Philosophy, Creative Producers (Drama), Code Breaking, General Knowledge and Cartography/Games of Strategy. On the day of our Regional Final on 8 May, Strathcona’s final two teams of sixteen girls competed against 19 other teams. They had trained hard in the lead up to the competition with Dr Charlotte Forwood and Mrs Karyn Murray, receiving instruction in code breaking, poetic devices, philosophical terminology and fallacies, and dramatic skills. Sessions also focused on problem solving processes, metacognition and collaboration. Our teams achieved second

place in Code Breaking, English and Creative Producers, with third placing in Art and Poetry. Overall, Strathcona Blue finished third, just missing a place in the State Final. Both teams should be very proud of their performances. Dr Charlotte Forwood, Leader of Advanced Learning


orticulture at Tay Creggan is back in the curriculum and stronger than ever. 2015 has more students undertaking horticulture than any time in the past 15 years. Since the summer heat has dissipated, six built-up garden beds have been planted out to produce vegetables, herbs and flowers. iPads are used to create a visual diary of plant growth. The girls use their iPads to photograph and annotate elements of good garden design. In the class there is a genuine keenness to learn more about the role of plants as food and the relevance of eating organically. The girls choose if they wish to grow their vegetables organically and accordingly decide which fertilisers and pesticides they will use. While much is written about the growing dissociation of each generation with the natural

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Chinese dress (Qi Pao), to inspire students to connect their Chinese knowledge to their art and design classes. With excursions to the Chinese Museum and Chinatown, and a trip to China offered every two years, the Chinese language is an integral part of the learning experience at Strathcona.

environment, this Year 9 Science elective has given students the opportunity to use tools and work as a team to manage their own garden plot and, best of all, experience the delight of consuming homegrown produce. Pam Welsford, Head of Science


class of 2014

class of 2014 excels On Thursday, 19 February, Strathcona proudly presented awards to students who achieved the highest levels of academic and creative excellence.


pecial guests presented the awards, including Mrs Laurinda Gardner (Chair of the Board), Dr Austin Lovegrove (Honorary Principal Fellow in the Melbourne (University) Law School) and Mr Ivor Buxton (husband of the late Joy Buxton). Awards went to: Ashlea Coxhill, Dux 2014; Jamie Yeung, Barbara Green Art Award; Vivian Chen, Buxton Award for Contribution to Classical Music; Erica Quan, Selection to Top Designs, Food Technology; and Charlotte Pannier, Kwong Lee Dow

Scholar. Our Monash Young Scholars were announced as Eleanor Forwood, Kiren Sandhu and Olivia Lucarelli. Our 2014 ATARS were exemplary, with 5.5% of students placing in the top 1% with ATARS of 99 and above, including Dux Ashlea Coxhill (99.9), Tessa Pietsch, Megan Ha, Isabelle Everist and Anna Wittwer. 30.8% achieved in the top 5% and 50.5% achieved an ATAR of 90 and above. Our median Study Score was 36, and eight perfect scores of 50 were achieved. Strathcona was proud to rank 20th in Victoria overall.

Katie Butler

Ashlea Coxhill

Law/Commerce Monash University I am currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at Monash University (Clayton). It has been a relatively challenging start, particularly due to the change of lifestyle from school to university. While university offers a great deal of freedom, it requires a considerably higher level of independence and self-discipline. The Monash Law faculty has been particularly welcoming, organising several events and programs including Peer Mentor Groups, Law Camp and Parents Cocktail Night, which has facilitated my transition. Monash places great emphasis on social activities and events such as Monash Social Sport, which has enabled me to immediately make friends and thus feel at home at university. Prior to completing VCE, I considered studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. However, after seeking advice I chose Monash due to the flexibility and opportunity to study a double degree, which I felt suited me due to the fact I was, and still am, unsure of what I would like to practice in the future. Although I have always had an interest in pursuing a career in the Commerce area, I was advised that a Law degree would open up a lot more career possibilities, as well as heighten employment prospects. Overall it has been a positively challenging experience and I look forward to what is to come.


Strathcona Dux 2014 Bachelor of Biomedicine University of Melbourne This year I am studying the Bachelor of Biomedicine (Chancellor Scholar’s Program) at the University of Melbourne. Choosing a degree to study was a difficult task. In the end I decided to study Biomedicine as I greatly enjoyed Science at school, but I did not want to pursue a general Science degree. After I complete my undergraduate degree I hope to study a graduate degree in Medicine. So far I am enjoying my course as lectures are engaging, and it is interesting to hear about the research work that my lecturers are currently undertaking, whether it be about stem cells or malaria. Adjusting to university life has been a challenge as while there is more freedom, this has meant that I have had to become more self-reliant and independent. I have had to quickly learn how to navigate the online blackboard system, keep up with the numerous online quizzes, remember to do post-prac tests, and find my way around campus. There are aspects of school life that I greatly miss such as the close-knit community of students and teachers. With over 500 people in a lecture theatre I can no longer walk into a class of familiar faces. Although, meeting new people, who live interstate and overseas, has been very exciting.

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class of 2014

Emily Holding Gap Year

I am taking a gap year and working as a Gap Student, or ‘Gappie’, at Cheltenham College Prep School in Cheltenham, England. I got this position by applying through Tutors Worldwide, who interview you then find a school in England that best suits your interests. Instead of being the student, I am now considered a teacher and all the kids address me as ‘Miss Holding’. I am living in the boarding house with four other Gappies: luckily all our meals are provided for as well as our accommodation. I chose to take a gap year mainly because I wanted to travel but I was also not sure exactly what I wanted to study. As teaching was one option I was thinking about, working at a school for a year is a great way to see if I actually enjoy it. At Cheltenham Prep the roles of the Gappies varies to each of our interests, so I do a lot of sports coaching and PE classes during the day and afternoons then at night and on Sundays I have boarding duties which include different activities with the students, including trips to Harry Potter World or paintballing. As a Gappie I am learning a lot of new skills. I’ve become a lot more independent, especially through travelling alone, and I have learnt many different ways to communicate as I teach kids from three to 13 years old and talk with staff and parents. Next year I am still not entirely sure what I will study – possibly nursing – but the idea of teaching is still floating around. Hopefully by the end of this year, after the amazing life experiences I have had, I will have a clear idea of what to do.

Georgina Lawson

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy ACU I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). From Years 10 to 12, I volunteered at the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron helping children to learn how to sail; in particular children with learning and physical impairments. The time I spent with the children over the summer holidays really helped me decide that I wanted to help other people, and in particular children. Through university open days, I heard about the early entrance programs La Trobe and the ACU offer, which are based on community work individuals have done within or externally to their school environment. These universities recognised my community work and offered me an early place in their courses. My life is extremely different to this time last year. At university no one will make sure that you turn up to class and no one chases you if you haven’t done an assignment. I have learnt a lot about myself in the early stages of university. I have the drive and determination to achieve my best which was larger than I originally thought it was, but I thought I had good time management skills – wow, was I wrong! I have had to juggle my time and find more time to study around everything that I currently do in my week. In the future I would love to travel with my degree, work overseas and in particular work with children with autism and cerebral palsy.

Jane Merrylees

Anna Miller

This year I am at RMIT doing the Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) course and so far I am really enjoying it. I have always been interested in following a creative path and initially I thought that would involve studying fashion as I did VET fashion through Strathcona, amongst VCD and Art, during VCE. However upon attending the RMIT open day in Year 11, I discovered the Textile Design course and immediately knew it was for me.

At the beginning of VCE, I knew I wanted to study Commerce. I was largely inspired by my sister, Emily Miller, and her experience studying Commerce at Melbourne University. Since graduating in 2014, she is working in marketing for Go Natural, a leading Australian health food brand. Influenced at the Careers Fair where I spoke to a former RMIT student who studied Applied Accounting and was working in Accounts for The Victorian Arts Centre and my Dad who specialises in recruitment, I came the decision to go to RMIT.

Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) RMIT

According to RMIT, textile designers can build careers in a vast array of fields including fashion, graphic design, interior design, product design and as artisans and craft-makers. Having so many career options available to me at the end of these three years is an exciting prospect. Of course, after approximately two months of non-stop creating, designing, researching and learning new skills in digital technology, printing, weaving, drawing and knitting, I now see that getting to this position is not going to be a walk in the park. It’s hard to believe but so far this course has consumed more of my time than my VCE studies ever did. It might simply be that once you are doing something you are truly passionate about you are more willing to inject the long hours into it, or merely be because this course is impossible without sacrificing your spare time. Whatever the reason, I am more than happy to continue at this intense pace.

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Business and Marketing RMIT

I am thoroughly enjoying Business and Marketing at RMIT. The location, the new Business building, and the course content really excites me about my future. Personally, the distinctive difference between university and high school is independence. I attend lectures and tutorials at RMIT three days a week, and the rest of my time is filled with study, social events, work at H&M and exercise. I recently flew to Japan with my sisters for the mid-semester break, which was made possible through working at H&M since finishing high school. With the newfound freedom, you increase your self-awareness. Recently, I have taken up other programs that always have been of interest, such as an eight-week boxing program, and I’m hoping to study acting in Term 3. My short-term goals are interning for various companies in preparation for my co-op year: the Internship year in Applied Business. This will give me an insight into Business and Marketing before starting my co-op year, and will help to really get the most out of my degree. I have my heart set on Fashion Marketing and will be looking to apply for global retail companies like H&M and Zara.


creativity at strathcona

metamorphosis Artist Zhen Chew spent a week at Strathcona in February, creating two stop-motion artworks of the School. Arts Captains Jamie Yeung and Emma Davies spoke with Zhen about art, perseverance and the metamorphosis of Strathcona. What did you enjoy about creating an artwork at Strathcona? Strathcona has very friendly and helpful students and staff. I enjoyed working with the people and using your great facilities. The school is in the middle of a ‘metamorphosis’ with the new buildings and facilities going up. For me, change, improvements, evolution are things I find very exciting and I really enjoyed being a part of capturing this ‘metamorphosis’. The workshop I ran with a small group of Year 7s was also a highlight. All those involved were very talented drawers and worked together amazingly well to create the beautiful stop motion drawing Forest.

What are the meanings and messages behind this work that you have completed? Well for me, the meaning behind my performances is about remembering. Plus, we’re documenting change and the evolution of both how I see the space, the construction and the people. Because we’re creating animation, you’ll end up seeing people coming in and out of the drawings.

You spoke openly about your dyslexia to our Year 7 students. How has dyslexia influenced your career path and your artistic practice? When you have dyslexia it’s hard to do a lot of things – reading and writing and other things – and you don’t always get things right the first time. You learn that it’s okay if things aren’t perfect the first time, or the second or the third. It’s all part of the process of learning and living. It has taught me that if I keep working hard at something I can eventually get it. Part of my dyslexia is my bad working memory. My art is about capturing as much as I can through drawing as it helps me to remember. The other significant way my dyslexia has helped me with my career is that growing up I was forced to think outside the square to solve problems with reading and other things. This has transferred to my art with letting me think outside the square in art. Jamie Yeung and Emma Davies, Year 12 Arts Captains

Artist Zhen Chew creates her stop-motion animation Metamorphosis (above) while students watch on (below left). Year 7 students also created their own animation with Zhen, titled Forest (below right)

View Zhen’s whole-school art piece Metamorphosis and the Year 7 artwork Forest on Strathcona TV


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creativity at strathcona

Artist Kim Kennedy with Mrs McConaghy and a Year 12 student

a splash of colour The colourful work of artist and past parent Kim Kennedy is well known to the Strathcona community, with a number of his paintings on display at our Main Campus.


his year, Kim worked with Year 12 students to create a piece on their chosen theme, ‘Beginnings and Endings’. Significant moments in a Year 12 girl’s journey are represented: a rose for the assembly where Prep students present this flower to our departing Year 12s, the balloons we release en masse to say goodbye, and a clock for the passing of time. Joanne Wilson, Director of Marketing & Enrolments

music to our ears

the untold story

Under the talented leadership of Choral Director Marianne Black, the Mellor House Singers continue to triumph.

The theme The Untold Story was the stimulus for this year’s vibrant performances at Strathcona’s annual Performing Arts Festival.

n the Term break, the girls acted as a demonstration choir and then performed at the Australian National Choral Association (ANCA) conference, Choralfest, at Wesley College. Having won and placed second in the Boroondara Eisteddfod in 2013 and 2014, Mellor House Singers were chosen along with school choirs from Marryatville High, Firbank Grammar and Ruyton to be part of the conference. Our 27 girls were ‘wowed’ by the performance of the famous national youth choir Gondwana Voices, before taking to the stage themselves and giving their best ever performance. The opportunity to work with conductors and educators of such calibre will have a positive ripple effect for the entire choral community at Strathcona.

o add a little fun to the evening, each House was required to incorporate a pool toy and the dance move, The Worm, into their performance. The House Drama, Dance, and Music Captains rose brilliantly to this challenge. In just three weeks they created witty, entertaining and beautifully crafted performances, which included good storytelling peppered with eccentric characters, colourful and stimulating choreography and stirring choral items. Our judges – Grant Piro, actor and television host (Drama); Melinda Murphy, dance teacher and State Reviewer for Drama for the VCAA (Dance); and Janelle Anthony, Old Strathconian, former Strathcona Music Captain and former Strathcona music teacher (Music) – crowned Gilbert House overall winner. Arnold House won ‘Best Drama’ and ‘Best Dance’.


Penny Byrne, Coordinator of Mellor House Music, and Marianne Black, Strathcona Choral Director

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Marisa Rowlands, Head of Drama


creativity at strathcona

annie charms audiences


t the end of April, Strathcona presented the much loved family musical, Annie. Over 1,300 people enjoyed classics such as ‘Hard Knock Life’ and ‘Tomorrow’ accompanied by a live band. The cast of 60 excelled in putting on a high energy, tuneful show, but the star who caused the most excitement was little Milla Pittendrigh – a cavalier spaniel-poodle cross who played Annie’s sidekick Sandy. Strathcona teacher and Director Jason Parker said, ‘Having a real dog on stage brings a completely different feel to the show’.

It’s my first time playing a major role. I’m excited and looking forward to the show. My favourite line is when Miss Hannigan says, ‘Tell them how good I’ve always been to you …’ and I say, ‘I remember the one thing you always teach me … never tell a lie’. Juliette Milne, Year 8, Annie


I like putting myself in someone else’s shoes. You can be someone else. I love her relationship with all the characters and how Annie acts. Mollie Zacharchuk, Year 8, Annie

A few of the orphans have made a comment that I’m not mean enough to play Miss Hannigan. I try to have as much fun as I can! Paris Balla, Year 12, Miss Hannigan

I’ve done all the musicals from Year 8 to now – this is my fourth. Grace is really sweet and likeable. I play a lot of mean characters; it’s nice to play a nice one!

Maddy Lodge, Year 11, Daddy Warbuck’s assistant, Grace

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social service

changing lives


Gemma Sisia shares the work of the School of St Jude with students (top) and Year 10s celebrate International Women’s Day with Elianor Gerrard from CARE Australia (above)

trathcona’s social service theme this year is One Girl, with the majority of our fundraising dedicated towards the education and empowerment of girls. Strathcona appoints Social Service Captains at Years 6 to 12, and each year level organises and carries out their own events, as well as participating in whole-school fundraising endeavours. We are supported in our work by Mrs Burns, our School Chaplain.

International Women’s Day, including morning teas, and a casual clothes day. The end of Term 2 will see a new, annual fundraising event introduced – Strathy’s Got Talent – to raise funds for We Can’t Wait, a charity building much-needed toilets for schools in India. Auditions for the talent show will take place, with the pick of the best participating in a final competition event on a Friday night for students, families, friends and staff.

At our Cross Country in March, we sold coloured House ribbons, with proceeds supporting the School of St Jude. Earlier in the year, we were privileged to host Gemma Sisia, founder of this charity, who spoke to us about the important work her school does for children in Tanzania, and the personal and professional challenges she faced to set it up. Our Social Service Captains ran a number of events for

We are excited to see so many girls getting involved in social service activities to help change lives. Even though each of us is just one person in the world, every little action impacts another person’s life, and if we all work together we can make a difference. Louisa Chiam, Hannah Brown, Chloe Van Nierop and Amelia Mckay, Strathcona Social Service Captains, Year 12

sending hope


n 2013, students and staff visited the Solomon Islands, during which time they discovered pressing health and social issues in the nation. It was clear that there were serious issues relating to teenage pregnancy and the physical and verbal abuse of women. Strathcona has endeavoured to find ways to successfully channel money to the Solomons to support locals and address these issues. Last year, the Strathcona Solomon Island Social Service Fund supported two local Solomon Islanders in attending a Pacific regional conference, where

mellor house helps out


eing a Captain at Mellor House is a great experience that I will never forget. I believe that if we are given opportunities, we should embrace them with open arms. My work so far has been supported by Emily Palit who will take over this role in Semester 2. One of our fundraising projects this semester has been to support the Australian Red Cross. We held a drawing competition and raised $70 to help their good work. We felt very grateful for every cent the girls gave us to send to Red Cross. As well as collecting money, it is good for us to highlight and raise awareness about groups

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they were informed about ways to assist girls facing the risks of violence. The outcome of our 2013 visit has also been the development of the HOPE Trust, a Christian group working out of Honiara to further tackle issues faced by women throughout the Solomons. This year, Strathcona Friends of Music assisted this program with a generous donation of $500. It is very exciting to receive news from the Solomons that our small effort has enabled a positive change in these young women’s lives. Rhonda Burns, School Chaplain

The first group of young women attending a HOPE Trust training weekend held at SWIM (Short Workshops in Mission)

I believe that if we are given opportunities, we should embrace them with open arms.

like Red Cross who do so much for others. Some money from our casual clothes days also goes towards supporting our sponsored children with Baptist World Aid, Australia: Rose Janette from The Philippines and Lanka Haya from Nepal. We had a Crazy Day at the end of May to raise money for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. There are many in the world who are in need of support and our School community is pleased to have the opportunity to help them. Rebekah Rome, Mellor House Social Service Captain (Semester 1)

Social Service Captains (L–R): Emily Palit and Rebekah Rome


global links

strathcona’s tour de france On the last day of Term 1, 13 girls ranging from Years 9 to 11 departed on the 2015 tour to France with Mrs Holding and Mr Phillips. The trip was a truly amazing experience for all of us and has developed our passion for France more than we ever thought possible.


he tour consisted of a ten-day homestay and language school in Montpellier, Paris, The Somme, Avignon and more. Seven French families hosted the group for our homestay. During this time, we caught the tram from our houses into Montpellier to complete three-hour language classes and explored the city. The homestay and classes widened our French vocabulary, dramatically improved our pronunciation and fluency and were great cultural experiences in which we learnt a lot about the lives of French families. Whilst in the homestay, we developed a great appreciation for French cheese, and were told by our families that they had a cheese for every day of the year. Whilst in the South of France we visited attractions and towns such as Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Le Grotte


de Clamouse, Grasse, Nice, The Pope’s Palace, The Pont du Gard, Les Baux-de-Provence and Nîmes. We also visited the Australian World War I Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux. Our stay in Paris was undeniably the highlight for the majority of us. It was surreal being in a city that we saw so often in movies and there was never a dull moment with so much to do. We visited the main landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Sacré-Coeur. After going on the French tour our knowledge of French culture and the language has improved substantially and it has encouraged us to carry on learning the French language. Jess Walsh and Brie Sibly, Year 10

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global links

… increased access to global news has supported the popularity of studying the particulars of the global political arena.

L–R: Mr Daniel Grollo of Grocon; Hon Josh Frydenberg MP; Elizabeth Robinson; Madeleine Grimsey; Hon Julie Bishop MP; Madison Herft; Vice Captain Julia Tanton; and Marise McConaghy

Top: Past Columba College exchange students, sisters Bridget, Louise and Michelle Thayer (L–R), were all present at the celebrations

global politics on the rise

columba college celebrations

With the unprecedented growth in the popularity of degrees that encompass an international component, it is no wonder that Strathcona students have also shown an increased commitment to this subject area.

In March this year, Strathcona was privileged to attend the Centenary celebrations of Columba College in Dunedin, New Zealand.


his year there are two classes of VCE Unit 3/4 Global Politics, along with three classes of The Global Citizen, a Year 10 Geography elective. Certainly increased access to global news has supported the popularity of studying the particulars of the global political arena. Topics such as ‘The Rise of China in the Asia-Pacific’, and the ethical debates of both Human Rights and ‘Arms Control and Disarmament’ all form part of the VCE course on offer, with Globalisation and Terrorism studied in Year 10. So far this year, all Senior students have considered the power of the United Nations and the role of the state as the main global actor. Access to news apps on mobile devices enables the students to come to class with up-to-the-minute updates on case studies being reviewed in class. In late March, four Global Politics students had the opportunity to be guests of Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg, at the Autumn Breakfast Briefing and participate in a Q&A session with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. It was an invaluable experience, where the students learned of the health of the global economy, the fight against ISIS and Australia’s experience on the Security Council – all elements of their VCE course. With consistent results in Global Politics for a number of years (known as International Studies prior to 2012), and an update to the study design for 2016, it is likely that this subject will continue to feature amongst many VCE course plans well into the future.

Above (L–R): Elisabeth Chalmers; Columba College’s new Principal Mrs Juliette Hayes; Diana Little; and former College Principal Miss Elizabeth Wilson


ur relationship with Columba College was established in 1987 with a student exchange, and has since remained strong with the reciprocal exchange of many students. Diana Little, Strathcona Programs Coordinator, who has arranged exchanges with the College since 1987 and Elisabeth Chalmers, Community Relations Officer, represented Strathcona at the wonderful series of celebratory events. They were excited to meet with many of the over 60 Columba girls who have spent time at Strathcona, and meet new Columba College Principal Mrs Juliette Hayes. Columba Head Prefect for 2015, Sarah Dippie, took the lead at many of the functions. Sarah was on exchange at Tay Creggan in 2012 hosted by Anna (12A) and Caitlin Doyle (9A) and family. The three Thayer sisters, Louise (at Strathcona 2002), Michelle (2007) and Bridget (2009), were also in attendance. All three agreed that joining the Strathcona Kakadu Central Australian Tour was one of the highlights of their time at our School. Over 8,000 Columba College Alumni attended the celebrations, which included an opening evening Cocktail Party, Parents Association Art Exhibition, a ‘Century at Columba’ seated luncheon and a fashion parade of Columba uniforms, from white serge to green blazer, at the Savoy, Dunedin. Tours of the School were held as well as a ‘Party of the Century’ with speeches and dancing at The Glenroy, Dunedin Town Hall. A centennial choir and orchestra performed at the Sunday commemorative church service at the Dunedin Town Hall. Diana and Elisabeth have returned to Strathcona with many ideas and much inspiration for the Strathcona Centenary in 2024! Diana Little, Programs Coordinator/Community Relations Officer

Melissa King, Year 10 Coordinator/Global Politics Teacher


health and wellbeing

embracing the great outdoors In The Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv highlights that exposure to nature builds our resistance to negative stresses, stimulates otherwise passive senses, and improves cognitive function.


e move in different ways when in natural spaces: we explore, we wander, we chase, we play. We are more conscious of ourselves and our environment. This state of ‘mindfulness’ is increasingly of interest to researchers. Dr Craig Hassed (MBBS, FRACGP), Senior Lecturer at Monash University, has explored the health benefits of being mindful – being grateful, present, and meditative – and found results close to those of Louv: notably a decrease in stress and anxiety and improvements in attention, memory, creativity, and enjoyment. Strathcona’s students are privy to these benefits, having the opportunity to visit different environments at each year level’s annual camp. Year 7s visited Gembrook earlier in the year,

where they ran in fields, abseiled off granite boulders, climbed through dark caves where glow-worms shone, and camped under the stars. These girls learnt to live in the moment. At the start of Term 2, Year 9 students tested the physical skills they had learnt on previous camps on Camp to Campus, a 130km journey from the source of the Yarra to Tay Creggan, via bike, canoe and foot. It was a treasure to observe the vast intellectual, physical and interpersonal developments as the week progressed. Individuals learnt to listen to their mood, energy levels and temperature, adjusting accordingly. Groups learnt to find a positive mindset: appreciating, encouraging, singing, and playing, in order to motivate themselves for the next hurdle.

Some of our Year 9 Camp to Campus girls will now share their experiences in The CANOPY Study (Camping and Nature: Outdoor Programs for Youth), conducted by the University of Melbourne and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute into the health benefits of outdoor education programs. We look forward to sharing with you the results of this project, and anticipate that students will benefit greatly in the future as we put these findings into practise in our camps. At Strathcona, on our outdoor programs, we see stronger bonds develop with both nature and peers, a greater sense of personal identity, a greater sense of community, and enhanced senses to better appreciate nature. Liesl Woods, Head of Outdoor Education

Above, below left and below centre: Year 9’s Camp to Campus – a 130km canoeing, cycling and hiking adventure Below right: Year 7s scaled over, up and through rocky terrain on their camp


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health and wellbeing

‘ ‘

It’s nice to have lots of new people. Olivia, current Year 5 student

It was helpful so we could become more confident and meet lots of new friends. Gwyneth, new Year 5 student

It helped me make friends and not be shy anymore. Tara, new Year 5 student

’ ’

I’ve tried to make them feel really comfortable here at Strathcona. Alex R, current Year 5 student

a warm welcome

This year, 23 girls have joined Strathcona at the Year 5 level – the largest intake of new students at Mellor House.


ith so many new girls, a special program, Social Tuesdays, has been put in place to ensure their smooth transition into the School as well as encouraging existing students to help nurture their new community. On Social Tuesdays, girls are randomly grouped and encouraged to play together. Class teachers coach the students in advance on social skills and strategies for conversation. Knowing what to say, how to behave and what to do together when you are with potential friends is important in forming lasting and meaningful friendships. Chris Phyland, Head of Mellor House L–R: Year 5 students Gwyneth, Madelyn, Olivia and Emily

drugs 101 launch On Thursday, 5 March, over 100 parents, teachers and professionals gathered at Strathcona to launch Drugs 101, an educational parent guide that speaks frankly about drug and alcohol use among teenagers.


… proud to be the first school to adopt this important resource …

trathcona was proud to be the first school to adopt this important resource on a topic that many private schools shy away from discussing openly. The guide was developed by Eileen Berry, former editor of The Weekly Review, in consultation with professionals ranging from social workers to police and medics. It covers the types of drugs teenagers may be exposed to, how they might access them, and how families can have open and honest conversations about drugs. Terri Oprean, Dean of Students

View a film of the launch event, which includes a panel of experts from our local community discussing these issues, on Strathcona TV:

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school community

getting to know strathcona families The Strathcona Family Association plays a vital role in bringing together the School community, with opportunities for parents and families to socialise throughout the year.


e launched the year with a Year 7 BBQ to welcome new parents and students, followed by an evening Soirée where new families were introduced to the Strathcona community and new Principal Marise McConaghy.

The Family Association also focusses on raising funds for both the School and charity. Every year, we contribute about $25,000 towards programs and purchases that benefit students across the School. In December, our annual Christmas lunch raised $1,000 for Cancer Council Victoria. We used Heat Catering for the event in aid of another great cause – supported by Guy Grossi, Heat provides mentoring, work experience and professional

masterclasses for young people in need. The Family Association’s success is in part due to its enthusiastic network of parent volunteers, who organise our events and outings. This Semester, our ‘Class Reps’ arranged informal catch-ups at local Canterbury cafés, our ELC and Year 7 families met for picnics, Year 6 families played mini golf and Year 12 parents gathered at the Geebung Polo Club. We invite all parents to get involved in the Strathcona community by joining us at our monthly meetings or attending one of our social events. David Craik, President, Strathcona Family Association

New families were welcomed at the Year 7 BBQ (top and middle) and evening Soirée (above)

We invite all parents to get involved in the Strathcona community …

back to school


he Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 Father-Daughter Breakfast in Term 1 was a very special occasion for the girls and their male guests of significance. The girls were so pleased to have their special males in the classrooms and around the breakfast table, mixing with friends and sharing time together. Time spent doing things together is crucial to a positive father-daughter relationship. A father-daughter aerobics session marked the end of the occasion and sent girls and dads off to work with their heart rates elevated. Chris Phyland, Head of Mellor House

Left: Catie Fitzsimmons (Year 2) with her dad Richard

elc picnic


e were thrilled to see so many families getting to know one another at the ELC Annual Picnic at Highfield Park. The opportunity to develop strong social networks is an invaluable benefit of being part of the Strathcona community, as families support one another in their journey through parenthood. The event was also a great opportunity for parents to get to better know the ELC team, Mr Chris Phyland (Head of Mellor House) and School Principal Marise McConaghy. Heather Henson, ELC Coordinator Left: The Cellante family with daughter Carla (Waratah Group)


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school community

high praise for high tea Watch out MasterChef – the Year 9 Food Technology students are ready and waiting in the wings!

a decade of seminar support This year, the Strathcona Parent Seminar Series celebrates ten years of bringing topical and engaging talks to parents to support the wellbeing of their daughters.


n March, parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends and our School Principal, Marise McConaghy, sat down to a delightful morning tea catered for by the Year 9 Food Technology students. Our 60 guests were spoilt with so many choices of savoury and sweet finger food, including tomato and pesto tarts, arancini balls, passionfruit shortbread and coconut and lime tarts. Narelle Cameron, Head of Food Technology, Tay Creggan


he Seminar Series commenced in 2005 as part of Strathcona’s commitment to pastoral care. Resourcing parents in improving emotional, physical and social health is considered important to the future success and happiness of our girls. The Parent Seminar Series provides the opportunity for parents to hear from experts working with children and adolescents in education, health or mental health care professions, from the local community and agencies. Seminars this Semester have included Hugh van Cuylenburg on ‘Resilience’, attended by over 100 parents, and Fiona Sutherland on ‘Helping your daughter have a good relationship with food, eating and her body’. Parents will learn about internet safety and techniques for encouraging a good night’s sleep later in the year. Kerri Rhodes, School Psychologist

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sport report

new sports jumper a winner PE Staff and Sports Teams are now sporting new Strathcona jumpers.


he jumpers are exclusively available to Senior School students who are part of the Strathcona Swimming, Diving, Cross Country and Athletics Teams. The design includes a golden cup signifying sporting excellence, outstretched wings representing cross

country and athletics, and a field of waves representing swimming and diving. The school motto, ‘Bravely, Faithfully, Happily’, appears on the back: bravely for the courage Strathy girls display when they compete, faithfully for devotion and loyalty to school and teammates, and happily for the enthusiasm, graciousness, sportsmanship and joy all girls display when representing their school. Megan Boyd, Head of Sport

Samantha Cox and Sarah Martin, Sport Captains

best season yet On Thursday, 19 March, Strathcona Rowing celebrated a fantastic season at a special Presentation Night acknowledging the hard work and achievements of our rowers, the dedication and commitment of the coaching staff and the tireless support of Friends of Rowing and families.


ver 200 people attended the night held at CPAC, with Rowing Captains Stephanie Thom and Jaimie Olorenshaw opening the evening and Principal Marise McConaghy acknowledging the wonderful performances over the season. In this 2014/2015 season, Strathcona achieved 14 gold medals in the lead up regattas and won three State Championships gold medals. The Head of School Girls Regatta in mid-March was Strathcona’s most successful in our nine year history, with two gold (Year 10 Div 3 Coxed Quad Scull and Year 10 Div 2 Single Scull), two silver (Open Div 1 Coxed Quad Scull and Div 5 Coxed Four) and two bronze medals (Senior Reds and Senior Pinks). In late March, three Strathcona crews competed in the Australian Open Schools Rowing Championships at the Sydney International Rowing Centre in Penrith. The Senior Blacks and Blues competed in the Open School Girls Coxed Quad, whilst our Year 10 girls competed for the first time in the U17 Schoolgirls Coxed Eight. Both the Senior Blacks and Senior Blues made it through to the semi-finals, providing Strathcona two crews in the top 16 quads in Australia. The Senior Blacks and Year 10 eight were both A Finalists, placing them both in the top eight crews in the country. Michael Cornwell, Director of Rowing Head of School Girls Regatta Above: Senior Pinks, bronze medallists Left (L–R): Senior Blacks, silver medallists; Year 10 Div 3 Coxed Quad Scull gold medallists; and Kate Boulter, gold medallist (Year 10 Div 2 Single Scull) with Rowing Director Michael Cornwell


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sport report

from strength to strength

A medium-sized school like Strathcona affords great opportunities for sports participation and encourages each girl to try something new to ‘bring out her best’.


port is an effective platform to provide young women with increased independence, initiative and leadership skills that can be transferred to other school areas and future professional life. For many teenage girls, the life lessons and social benefits they derive from participating in a sport are just as important as the game itself. Sport can teach strength, perseverance, commitment, team spirit, solidarity, negotiation, and respect for others. The sport program at Strathcona has continued to grow this year, with more teams and coaches, and more committed and enthusiastic girls getting involved than ever before. In Semester 2, girls chose from Softball, Indoor Cricket, Tennis, Swimming, Diving, Cross Country, Triathlon, Rowing, Kayaking, Netball, Hockey, AFL and Water Polo. With so many options, all girls at Strathcona can elect to immerse themselves in sporting teams and benefit from a stronger sense of belonging and community. Megan Boyd, Head of Sport

GSV Sport Highlights Junior A and B Tennis team made the semi-finals and played their matches at Melbourne Park. The A team won their first match and finished fourth overall for the season.

Swim team placed third in the GSV Preliminary Carnival and qualified for Division 2 in the GSV Championship Carnival, coming second.

Intermediate A Tennis team made the semi-finals and finished eighth overall.

Swim team entered Victorian All Schools Championships, placing fifth overall with two relays earning medals.

Intermediate Softball team won their semi-final by two runs against Ruyton. They played against Star of the Sea in the final on 25 March and scored six home runs, but were ultimately beaten and placed runner up. Senior B Tennis team finished top of their zone, played in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, and faced Lauriston in the Grand Final. The team won the grand final and were awarded premiers of their competition.

Swim team showed great performances at GSV Swimming Finals on 24 March at MSAC. Nineteen girls, including eight relay teams, qualified by finishing in the top ten out of the 24 GSV schools. Strathcona earned several medals including six silver and two bronze. Strathcona Diving team, coached by Old Strathconian, Olivia Carter, placed first in the Junior Competition, first in the Intermediate division, and first overall for the Division 2 Diving Competition.

Below (L–R): Intermediate Softball team on grand final day, Year 12 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay team at GSV Finals Evening and Senior B tennis premiers

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sport report

junior school fun and fitness The students in our Junior School ran, jumped, tumbled, swam and danced before school, at lunch time, after school and in their PE lessons as they worked on their fitness levels and skills, and most importantly, had fun!


n March, the Junior School Cross Country was expanded to involve students of all ages for the first time. Prep and Year 1 students ran alongside the Year 6 House Captains and were fantastic pacesetters, establishing a strong House spirit for the day. Our 10, 11 and 12/13 year race divisions were used as selection trials for the Strathcona Cross Country team, and qualifying students went on to compete at the Kooyong District Cross Country Carnival. Twenty-eight students qualified with times set by School Sport Victoria after popular swimming trials in Term 1. A number of these students

progressed to the Divisional Carnival, and Year 6 student Sarina Hausler was selected to swim at the Regional Carnival. Hockey Victoria visited the Junior School this semester, giving the students an unrivalled opportunity to learn new skills from people who are experts in their sport. Bubble Soccer – a combination of soccer, fitness and maths – was introduced to the Year 6 students, who bravely bounced around the sports field whilst strapped into huge, transparent balls. Many declared it the sporting highlight of Term 1! Tiffany Kelly, Coordinator Mellor House PE

Above: Cross Country Below (L–R): Bubble Soccer; District Swimming Team; Divisional Swimming; Regional Carnival swimmer Sarina Hausler; Kooyong District Basketball; Hockey


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osa news

Jacinta Zhu with Emma Gee

inspired by emma On the morning of Friday, 13 February, Old Strathconian Emma Gee stood before us relating the panic and fear with which she struggled to navigate the gap between train and platform as the doors were closing, encumbered with a walker.


ith a career as an occupational therapist, Emma had recently completed a marathon when a tangle of nerves was discovered at the base of her brain. It was during the operation to have it removed that the surgeon mistakenly sliced off the top of the nerves, inducing massive hemorrhage. At the age of 24, Emma became a stroke victim. Rather than becoming embittered about the fate that had been unfairly dealt her, however, Emma chose to bounce back and to put all her positive energy into learning how to walk, talk, and gain control over her body again. Choice. It has the ability to determine what the outcome will be when we are faced with adversity. Emma could choose to be resentful towards the mistakes of others, or to set her own terms for life with a positive attitude. She opted for the latter. I remember well a quote of hers, ‘Suing the surgeon wouldn’t change what had happened. Only I had the power to change my life.’ So she chose to define herself not as a victim, but as a survivor. Of course, she had to make some adjustments to the way she lived. She was no longer able to run marathons as she did before, so she took up

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swimming. She was unable to return to her old career of occupational therapy, so she elected to pursue something equally as fulfilling to her, motivational speaking. Did she feel frustrated at having to undergo rehabilitation therapy when she had herself been a therapist, enquired an audience member. Absolutely, Emma responded. It was here that a good sense of humour, and having outlets for her frustration, including her newfound love for swimming, proved most important. Emma, a Strathy ‘old girl’, voiced her gratitude for her schooling, where she received an excellent education, established her leadership as House Captain, and formed a supportive friendship circle, all of which would help her to recover after the stroke. We, too, are so fortunate to have such opportunities to form our own supportive networks and to test our own resilience, be it at House competitions, or more recently for the Year 12s, English oral SACs! I am confident that, faced with our own gaps between train and platform, we will traverse them with confidence and determination. Jacinta Zhu, Year 12E


osa news

old strathconians lend their wisdom It is a testament to the strength of the Strathcona community that many ‘old girls’ stay in touch and return each year to share their experience, skills and wisdom with current students. Below, four Old Strathconians explain what they gained from coming back to School. Emily Clarke (Class of 2009) presented to Year 12 Visual Communication Design.

Tori Wood (Class of 2006) was vocal coach for Strathcona’s production Annie.

enjoyed coming back to Strathy to see how it has changed and developed over the years. I really appreciated being invited back to talk to the Year 12s about being a graphic designer; it was something I never knew existed when I was in School. I was also able to see some of the work the girls have been producing and it was always highly commendable and never a disappointment.

s the vocal coach for the musical I taught all the songs to the cast, worked with the leads on their solo singing, ran vocal warm-ups and worked with our pianist and band director Winston to make sure the music side of the show ran smoothly. It felt strange to be back at Strathy, but I’ve now been working as the musical vocal coach for longer than I was actually a student! It started as a fun way to stay involved with the School after I graduated, but over the years it became a job that I always look forward to, and it set me on a career path as a singing teacher. I love getting to know the girls, and being constantly surprised by their talents and capabilities. They always put so much work into the shows, and create a positive and encouraging environment for each other. It is such a pleasure to watch them grow as performers and as compassionate young women.



Coral Vass (nee Hawley) (Class of 1991) ran writing workshops with Year 7s.


t was a thrill for me to be back at Strathcona. The School has changed enormously but there were still some familiar faces. I was honoured to run a writing workshop for the Year 7 students. We workshopped story-starters and possible themes and motifs for the children’s picture book each student will complete in Term 2. As an author, I visit a variety of schools across Victoria. Visiting Strathcona was truly a highlight. The Year 7 students were not only a delight to teach, they were respectful, fully engaged and produced some outstanding work throughout the writing workshop. I am still proud to be a Strathconian, some 20+ years on, and delighted to have the opportunity to inspire some of Strathcona’s current students with a love for literature.

Laura Perree (Class of 2014) was a camp leader on Year 9’s Camp to Campus expedition.


Laura Perree pictured at left

am currently studying Paramedicine at Australian Catholic University, and loving it. After graduating from Strathcona in 2014 with my gold Duke of Edinburgh certificate, I was asked to join the Year 9s on their Camp to Campus bronze Duke of Ed camp. Returning to Strathcona alongside fellow teachers to be a mentor and leader to the girls was really worthwhile, as I was able to give them my advice and knowledge about camping and hiking, as well as learning how to maintain a positive attitude as an older leader. Going on camp as a leader rather than a student made me realise how much students look up to an older figure for advice and positive qualities.

Old Strathconians who are interested in visiting the school to work with students are encouraged to contact Elisabeth Chalmers, Community Relations Officer, at


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osa news

where are they now? Samantha Brazzale (Class of 2004) Samantha graduated from Strathcona in 2004 and studied the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Monash University.


he currently works as a dietitian at Dianella Community Health, which encompasses areas within the city of Hume (Broadmeadows, Coolaroo, Dallas, Meadow Heights, Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park). Samantha provides one-to-one consultations to clients with a wide range of clinical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, weight management, cardiovascular disease, malnutrition and food intolerances. She also facilitates group education programs that promote healthy eating behaviours. Working at Dianella has provided Samantha with the

opportunity to work with individuals from a wide range of disciplines including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, exercise physiology, podiatry and counselling, which has enhanced her knowledge and understanding of the role that various disciplines play in optimising health outcomes. Clients are from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds – Turkish, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Italian, Greek, South American and Sri Lankan – and Samantha finds her job to be demanding, but incredibly rewarding.

Kerryn Pell (Class of 2000) ‘I’ll come straight from jail’, says Kerryn as we organise a time to catch up – a statement that never fails to get a questioning glance from those who don’t know her.


ver the last eight years Kerryn has gone from engineering student with dreams of designing artificial body parts to a teacher within the prison system and a (graduating) social worker keen to support women in prison through their period of incarceration and transition into the community. It has been quite a journey! Kerryn completed Mechanical Engineering and Science (Anatomy) degrees in 2006. Her final year of university was spent undertaking research for an orthopaedic surgeon and working with a company who were developing a left ventricular assist device for patients with heart failure. A lack of related job prospects prompted Kerryn to gain employment with an engineering consulting firm specialising in the oil and gas industry. She was immediately sent to Adelaide before embarking on a fly-in-fly-out roster based at Moomba – an oil and gas processing facility in the Cooper Basin (north-eastern South Australia).

Returning to a regular office-based job in Melbourne at the end of 2008 enabled Kerryn to pursue involvement with Prison Network Ministries (PNM) – a Christian organisation that supports incarcerated women and their families. Kerryn had been keen to get involved with PNM since 2002 when she was introduced to them by Sarah Haden (’00) who has now been volunteering with PNM for about 12 years. Over two years, Kerryn gained a teaching qualification and taught basic computer skills and numeracy at four correctional facilities: Thomas Embling, a high security mental health hospital; the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre; the Metropolitan Remand Centre and Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DPFC). Having left engineering ‘well and truly behind’, Kerryn has almost completed a Master of Social Work, teaches basic computer skills to the women at DPFC on behalf of the Kangan Institute and continues to volunteer with PNM. She’s looking forward to seeing what opportunities God has in store for her in 2015. Judy McMaster

Bron Potts (Class of 2000) Bron Potts graduated from Strathcona in 2000 and is now one of a small handful of female developers working for the online jobs board, SEEK.


urrently in Australia, women make up less than 30% of the IT workforce; an even lower percentage actually write code. Bron is a Senior Software Developer who specialises in client side development (JavaScript, CSS and HTML). She writes the code for all the elements one can see – this covers all the interactions and visuals of a website. Bron studied a Bachelor of Design (Multimedia Systems) at RMIT, and during this time also undertook work experience at the ABC’s science website. Following graduation, she worked as a contractor for a design studio specialising in medical educational software and websites.

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Although her current job at SEEK is writing code, her expertise in being a programmer stems from her ability to solve problems. Bron works very closely with designers to help create the best user experience for people on the SEEK website. Bron believes that getting more women into IT is important, as she feels that women approach problems in a slightly different way to men. She really enjoys working with other female developers, and she advises our current students not to be intimidated by a male dominated industry – if you like working with computers and problem solving, it may be the industry for you!


osa news

osa art exhibition expressions of interest

Births Samantha Ditty (’98) and Ian Lumsden, a son, Thomas Hayden on 29.11.14. A brother for Katelyn. Jacinda Dixon (Baker ’90) and Courtney, a daughter, Theodora Anne on 26.9.14. Kate Jones (Weller ’98) and Dan, a daughter, Bethany Isobel on 5.7.14. A sister for Timothy.


he Strathcona Art Department invites expressions of interest from past students who are practising artists to be part of an exhibition of current artworks by Old Strathconians. The exhibition will be held from 8 – 19 February 2016 in the Shirley Bourne Gallery, Main Campus. EOI due on 1 January 2016.

Eliza Koro (Whitehead ’93) and Daniel, a daughter, India Joy Robyne on 18.1.14. A sister for Sebastian. Emma Martin (Marshall ’95) and Dwayne, twin boys Zak and Kai on 29.8.14. Maree Orwin (’95) and Justin Watts, a son, Isaac Michael on 7.1.15.

For more information please contact Sally Adamson, Art Assistant, at or 8779 7590.


Pictured artwork by current staff member Laura Osborne

2015 OSA Annual General Meeting

Strathcona Medal 2015 The Strathcona Medal will be awarded at Presentation Night 2015 to an Old Strathconian. The Medal is given in recognition of excellence in a profession and exceptional service to the wider community in the spirit of the School motto, ‘Bravely, Faithfully, Happily’. All Old Strathconians are eligible for nomination. For further information: visit OR email OR write to The Chair of the Strathcona Medal Committee, Strathcona BGGS, 34 Scott Street, Canterbury, Vic 3126. Nominations for 2015 are due by 14 August 2015.


Sarah Jenkins (’04) married Charles Dyring on 11.4.15. Bridesmaids were Nicola Jenkins (’07) and Hilary McLeod (Prowse ’04). Sarah wore a beautiful gown originally designed and worn by her grandmother in the 1960s and also worn by her mother and aunt when they married.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015 7.30pm to 8.30pm Wheelton Knowledge Exchange, Main Campus

Katie Oldland (’10) to James Mackay on 13.12.14 at Syndal Baptist Church followed by reception at Tay Creggan. Katie is the daughter of Elizabeth Oldland (Carroll ’81).

All are welcome to join us as we re-elect the OSA President and committee. Supper and a tour of the new building to follow.

Emma Shaw (’00) to Ben Ely on 6.12.14 in Carlton.

OSA General Excellence Scholarship 2015 A half scholarship (40% of tuition fees) will be offered to a daughter, granddaughter or family member of a past student of Strathcona for tuition in Years 11 and 12. The Scholarship is open to a current or new student to commence in 2016. The recipient will be chosen on the basis of academic achievement and wide co-curricular involvement. Applications close 5pm on Friday, 28 August 2015. For further information contact Joanne Wilson, Director of Enrolments and Marketing, on 8779 7500.

Vale Lois Celeste Beumer (Howden ’47)

18 January 1932 – 19 January 2015 Ten years of the remarkable, creative life of Lois Celeste Howden were spent as a student of Strathcona, from 1937 – 1947. During these early years at both school and home, Lois’ life-long love of family, art, music and nature began. After school, Lois enrolled at the Swinburne College of Art. She graduated with two diplomas in art and ceramics. She taught Sculpture, Pottery and Drawing at Swinburne, and also became involved in freelance fashion drawing. Lois was an accomplished concert pianist. She also played cello and loved to sing and dance. At a dance, at the age of 32, she was swept off her feet by Hans, a recent German immigrant. They married in 1964 and lived an adventurous

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osa news Joan Forster in the Strathcona 1929 Seniors Group (back row, fourth from left)

Alison Hamilton Passed away December 2014

Joan Marie Forster 1 December 1916 – 29 July 2014

Lois Howden in the 1947 Strathcona Senior Tennis Team (second from right)

life, exploring many areas of Australia. In Cape York they filmed 16mm documentaries which were sold to the ABC. When children came along they settled on the Mornington Peninsula, and also lived in Germany for two years. In 1981 the family moved to Eumundi, Queensland, where Lois’ art came back to the fore. She taught art to students from the family farm. Watercolour soon became her focus, and she instigated the formation of the Watercolour Society of Queensland in 1986, becoming its inaugural president until 1989. After divorcing, Lois threw herself into painting. With this energy, her success with watercolours gained momentum. After her first exhibition in Germany she was invited back, and so began an annual pilgrimage of three to six months at a time to Europe to exhibit and conduct classes. Her rich, generous teaching style led to a huge following of students, many of whom became close friends. She found herself living quite a nomadic lifestyle. She was a prolific artist, with over 1,500 of her works catalogued. She exhibited annually at Brisbane’s Red Hill Gallery and had a total of 34 solo exhibitions. Lois’ work has been hung with the Royal Watercolour Society in London and the Australian Watercolour Institute in Sydney. Lois won many art awards and her work can be found in private collections around the world. Lois was a beloved mother and Nana. She was an inspiring woman who was passionate about her family and obsessed by watercolour. It was through watercolour that she shared her spirit, her eternal optimism and her portrayal of this beautiful world. In her own words, ‘It is certainly a wonderful world and I feel that if I can contribute just a little in the spread of goodness, love and beauty, then it gives a real purpose to my life and what talents I have been given’. In the late 1990s and early years of 2000 Lois reconnected with past students of Strathcona at the annual reunions and also provided watercolour demonstrations to the students. Lois always spoke very highly and fondly of her years at Strathcona.

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We were saddened to hear of the passing of one of our foundation students, Joan Forster, aged 97, on 29 July last year. Joan was a student of Strathcona in the first days of our founding Principals, Miss Henrietta Hughes and Mrs Florence Livingstone. Joan was born in Canterbury on 1 December 1916. She first appears in Strathcona’s Junior Students photograph of 1925. As a youngster, she performed in the early Christmas programs. In 1927, she is listed as a member of a trio, who performed ‘Hunting March’. The following year, she performed ‘Russian Peasant’s Wedding’. Joan developed her love for music and in 1928 she obtained a Senior Division pass in Music. Joan left Strathcona at the end of 1928 and finished her schooling at Methodist Ladies College in 1934. She then followed a career in kindergarten and primary teaching. She graduated from the Kindergarten Training College in 1937. After working at Huntingtower and Preshil she started working at Methodist Ladies College in 1943 becoming Headmistress of the Junior School the next year. She remained in that position at MLC until she retired in 1977, a total of 34 years. Joan was also involved in Victoria’s Junior Schools Headmistresses Association. This group originated in 1967 and the committee of 1968 consisted of six women, who included Joan Forster (MLC) as well as Joan Mellor (Strathcona). These women were described as ‘women of great standing who efficiently and quietly ran the primary section of their schools’. Joan loved her Junior School days at Strathcona and always attended the reunions of the Pre 1942 group. She attended the 80th anniversary celebrations cutting the special 80th cake with the Pre-prep children. Joan’s love for nature was fostered early and developed with her association with the Field Naturalists. It became a driving force in her retirement years as a conservationist in the Aireys Inlet area. Joan encouraged generations of young women to have a love of learning, nature and to be generous to others. A Uniting Church funeral was held in St Aiden’s Church in Aireys Inlet, where she had spent her retirement years. Later a memorial service was held at MLC Fitchett Chapel in Kew on 17 August 2014. Glen Turnbull, School Archivist

Alison was a past staff member, grandmother of Phoebe Cummings (’10) and a well-loved member of staff for 18 years.

Beryl Wilmot (Jones ’56)

Passed away 27 October 2014 Sadly, Beryl passed away on 27 October 2014 at the St John of God Hospital in Geelong after a short battle with cancer. Beryl commenced at Strathcona in Year 9 in 1954 and left in 1956 to pursue a teaching career. Swimming, basketball, tennis and choir were just some of her interests, activities and achievements while at School, for which she will be remembered by many of her contemporaries. Her love of children and her desire and commitment to see Christian Religious Education (CRE) taught at government schools increased during her married life. Over a period of 20 years she taught CRE at her local schools in Geelong and Lorne and became Regional Officer supervising the training of voluntary CRE teachers for Geelong and surrounding areas. The Geelong area was considered the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for CRE in Victoria. Beryl was very active in church activities both in Geelong and Lorne. She had a wonderful sense of humour and a great love for her family and friends. She leaves behind her husband, John, three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Beryl gave so much of herself as a person of great faith and a passionate dedication to God. She will be greatly missed by her Strathcona colleagues.

Diana Hopper (Manson ’66) 1946 – 9 April 2015 Diana was much loved by her peers at Strathcona and whilst at School held the positions of Sports Captain and Prefect. She left in 1966, had a long successful career and was Associate Professor at Curtin University School of Physiotherapy. Diana was the sister of Jenny Bock (Manson ’69) and Pauline Nicholls (Manson). She had a private and courageous battle with bowel cancer, never complaining, and bravely forged on with her life. She sadly lost her battle and passed away on 9 April 2015, aged 68 years. Diana leaves her husband Peter, son Christopher and daughter Chelsea. She will be greatly missed by her family.


osa news

into the swing Strathcona took home second place this year at the 2015 Women’s Inter-school Golf Challenge Cup.


irbank placed first and Clyde third. This event unites past female students of Victorian Independent Schools and raises funds for the charity Cottage by the Sea. Congratulations to Helen Pizzey, Prue Moodie, Heather Anderson and Lou Crellin for their effort. This event is open to any Old Strathconian with a Golf Handicap 36 or under. If you are interested in being involved, please email Lou Crellin via our Community Relations Office ( Louise Crellin, OSA Member Below (L–R): Helen Pizzey, Prue Moodie, Heather Anderson and Lou Crellin

Professor Kerry Landman presents to our Year 12 students

mathematical prospects On a Friday morning in April, Professor Kerry Landman, a past Strathcona student, Strathcona Medal Winner 2014 and Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne, inspired the Year 12s to think of mathematics as a career.


he spoke about the diverse range of topics and disciplines her PhD in mathematics has enabled her to pursue, from shape changes of red blood cells to indoor pollution by radon gas. Professor Landman also spoke more broadly about her own career path, explaining that she did not start out with an end goal in mind, but instead took opportunities as they came and explored a wide variety of fascinating fields of work along the way. As we Year 12s contemplate our own futures, it was reassuring to hear that we do not necessarily have to start with a final destination in mind. Above all, Professor Landman emphasised the importance of being yourself in any given career. Particularly as young women, she commented on our tendency to fall victim to ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and feel that we are unworthy or unqualified for the opportunities we receive. With Professor Landman’s words in mind, not only do we have a newfound appreciation for the importance of maths, but also the confidence to take the opportunities life presents us, and to know we are worthy of them. Tess Exinger, Year 12

strathcona revisited On Friday, 13 March, we had the pleasure of welcoming back one of our Head Prefects from 1959, Heather Mullins (McKay, 1959 Head Prefect).


eather and her husband, Derek, were visiting Melbourne for the weekend and we were so happy they were able to pay us a visit! Heather has maintained strong links with Strathcona and has organised reunions in Sydney where she has resided for many years. Heather spoke of her love of Strathcona and very highly of the education and spiritual tone which grounded her in the Scriptures whilst attending both the Junior and Senior Schools. Her career consisted of nursing, teaching and also Sunday School teaching at Gymea Baptist Church for 49 years whilst raising her family. Elisabeth Chalmers, Community Relations Officer


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osa news

osa reunions

10 Year

5 Year

15 Year

60 Year

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25 Year

1943 – 1954


Main Campus: Senior/Middle School & ELC, 34 Scott Street, Canterbury Year 9 Campus: Tay Creggan, 30 Yarra Street, Hawthorn Junior Campus: Mellor House – Prep to Year 6, 173 Prospect Hill Road, Canterbury Tel: 8779 7500 Fax: 9888 5440 E:

bring out her best.

Strathcourier Winter 2015  

The Strathcourier magazine is Strathcona's biannual magazine...