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Alpha News 2022, Term 2, Week 4

Term 2, Week 4 2022

From the Principal

Mother’s Day Luncheon 2022

Our recent Mother’s Day Luncheon was a terrific gathering of over 210 guests. We all marveled at the majestic setting right in the heart of our beautiful city: the transformation of the River Room was the result of hard work, much energy and creativity from the staff of Crown and our Mother’s Day committee members.

I especially single out the creative display designed and assembled by our own Mrs Anna Vayenas. Anna put much work into creating the stunning lolly bar in the centre of our room, something we enjoyed throughout the afternoon.

Mother’s Day celebrations at Alphington Grammar School have always been one of our showcase events that brings us together to celebrate as one community – the Alphington Grammar School community – and to celebrate all that Mother’s Day entails.

It was wonderful to see so many gather to celebrate with our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, sister in laws, friends and the many women who have helped guide the next generation through their life journeys, challenges, highlights and celebrations.

We also remembered those mums and special woman in our lives who aren’t with us anymore and thank them for all they have contributed to our lives.

In support of Youth Mental Health…

Our fundraising efforts at the Mother’s Day Lunch and that of our students this semester will be in support of youth mental health programs and additional facilities that will help our students make ground on two years of missed opportunities that have affected their health and wellbeing.

We all know that if we put in the right scaffolding to support a child’s education, we help build life skills and resilience enough to see them through life’s challenges. Our Mother’s Day Lunch included a panel discussion by some very inspirational women. I provide an excerpt from the day below.

“For anyone who has faced adversity, stumbled or fallen in their life and got back up again to face another day … Helen Reddy’s words to her song “l am Woman” should act as inspiration … we don’t have to look too far around us for that inspiration.

Powerful, confident, invincible, unstoppable, enduring and endearing, vulnerable, determined, embracing and nurturing … while these words help describe most woman … Life does not always run in the way we are raised to believe it will or indeed we ourselves believe it should unfold.

We can have the fairy-tale but more often than not it is far more complex and doesn’t necessarily run in a linear fashion or follow any set pathway.”

We were joined by some truly inspirational and strong mums to celebrate Mother’s Day and to share a little of their journey: Betty Alexopoulos, Helen Kalilmniou, Leyla Prishafiei and Stella Shiamaris.

Betty Alexopoulos – Australian born and educated to migrant parents who came in the 1950s, Betty is a Lawyer at Slater and Gordon and mother of Ellen and Lee who were there to celebrate with us.

Helen Kalimniou – Having migrated from Northern Greece aged 12, Helen went on to become an educator who pioneered many language programs and initiatives for underprivileged children. Helen was appointed the first Principal of Kensington PS at just 34 years of age. She is a mother of two and grandmother of three.

Layla Pirshafiei – Born and educated in Iran, Layla holds a degree in microbiology and arrived in Australia in January 2009 on a student visa. Layla was retrained in Financial Accounting and Management, and has worked at corporate entities here and overseas. Layla is mother to Nika who is currently in year 12 at Alphington.

Stella Shiamaris – Born is Cyprus, Stella completed her Primary Years there before her family migrated to Australia in 1966. Stella started in the teaching profession and has held many corporate and change management leadership positions. She is a mother to Melina who also joined us with Stella’s 4 month old grandson, Luca.

I thank Betty, Helen, Layla and Stella for opening their hearts and sharing their journey with us all. It truly is the authenticity of one’s life experiences that resonates so deeply with others, more so than the sugar-coated versions.

More in-depth accounts of these ladies’ journeys as well as those of more than 40 other women are included in the book Her Voice: Greek Woman and Their Friends. The book is researched and collected by Varvara Ioannou, the founder and CEO of ‘Food For Thought’, an organisation that has worked tirelessly to give woman a voice and a platform to share experiences and provide inspiration and mentoring to others in our community. Other copies of the book are available from School reception for those that would still like to buy a copy.

I wish to publicly thank the team of dedicated staff on the Mother’s Day subcommittee who bought together their collective passion, creativity and energy.

I would like to thank Mrs Tracey Nicholson, Assistant Principal and Head of Primary, who has helped with the lunch and also the very successful Mother’s Day Stall held at school recently.

I also thank Ms Voula Allimonos, one of our LOTE teachers (and parent) at our School and also the President of the Parents and Friends Association who has sourced donations and prizes for us to be able to use in our raffles and as door prizes.

Something of this size and magnitude takes many months to pull together and I thank our Marketing and Communications Manager, Mrs Sanja Kalapoutis, our Marketing Assistant, Miss Adelle Greenbury and my Executive Assistant, Mrs Maria Rozanitis who together have coordinated invitations, billboards, ticketing, raffles, seating, all the administrative tasks and have been liaising with Crown.

This event could not have come together without the help of these people.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable day. 

All the photos taken at the event can be found here.

Dr Vivianne Nikou
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From the Assistant Principal, Head of Primary

It’s National Road Safety Week!

In Australia, Transport injuries are the most common cause of child injury death and second most common cause of injury related hospital admission for children aged 0 to 14 years.

The good news is that you can reduce the risk of road trauma for children.

There are many resources that have been developed to help guide parents, carers and professionals in all areas of road safety including driveway safety, car safety, child car restraints (car seats), fitting child restraints, dangers of hot cars, pedestrian safety, small-wheeled devices (scooters, skateboards, etc.), and bike safety.

One of the key factors in helping keep children safe is modelling the correct behaviour. If children see adults doing the wrong thing, such as walking on the road instead of the footpath, dashing across, roads, disregarding road and parking rules, not using crossings, then they will grow up with little respect for safe road use. 

Kidsafe has several resources available for families. Please see links below:

Our ELC to Year 2 students will be taking part in the Stop Look and Listen Workshops later this year.

Tracey Nicholson
Assistant Principal, Head of Primary
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From the Secondary School

From the Deputy Head of Secondary

Year 7 Camp

There were some very large suitcases piled up at the front gate when I arrived at school on Monday morning. One could easily have suspected that some of our students were off abroad for a term, but no, our Year 7s were about to embark on their first five day camp. Sleeping bags were rolling around on the nature strip, guitars and ukuleles were tucked under arms, and you could certainly tell the Scouts amongst the group; they were ready to roll with hiking boots laced up and thermals on tight in a sea of beanies. 

Some students were excited while others were apprehensive, and we had parents in the exact same state. It is a very big step for parents to let their children head off to camp for a week away from home, especially after two COVID years. 

Outdoor Education Programs are an extremely important facet of a school’s curriculum. These programs are most effective when students are removed from their typical environment. The camps are designed to build resilience, stamina and a newfound independence. Sometimes during the experience, a couple of children will find it challenging and it isn’t until they return to the comfort of their home that they realise how much they have gained from the experience. While we know how tempting it is to try to solve problems for our kids (we also need to sometimes remind ourselves that this is not the answer!), we thank families for trusting the judgement of staff to find the balance between challenge, encouragement and support.

It is no surprise that Mr James Smith (Year 7 Camp Leader) and his team, Mr Trevor Adams, Ms Steph Atwa, Ms Olivia Rahme, Ms Lauren Brazzale and Ms Shelby Morwood, did a brilliant job of preparing our youngest students and helping them see the worth and fun in the experiences they encountered; we thank them sincerely. Thank you also to Mrs Priya Wilson (Year 7 Coordinator) and Mr Max White (School Psychologist) who both visited Marysville for two nights, and to Mr Blair Runnalls who put so much work into the pre-departure preparations.  

Also there to share some pearls of wisdom were three of our Future Leaders, Mariana Galanopoulos (9 Socrates), Jack McLean (9 Byron), and Adrianna Papadomanolakis (9 Pericles). It does not seem so long ago that we waved these students off on the bus to their own Year 7 camp! Now they each play an important role in the support and leadership of younger students around the school. We have no doubt that the hands on learning that they have engaged in over the years during their own camp experiences have contributed to their leadership ambitions and skills, and we now that the current Year 7 cohort can take just as much away from the week. 

We look very forward to hearing their stories over the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime please enjoy some pictures of their adventures.

Annual Cross Country Colour Run

Question: To those of us who are not the most naturally athletically inclined, what could make running 3k sound like fun? 

Answer: Ms Olivia Rahme and station after station of boxes filled with colourful powder.

Since our Cross Country Run experienced a colourful upgrade in 2017, it has easily become one of my favourite events in the school calendar. The broad smiles and squeals of joy on our oval last Friday would suggest that our students feel the same way.

It always makes me smile to step back and just observe our students on these ‘not quite run of the mill’ days, from our Year 7s, nervously bunched together at the start line not quite knowing what to expect, to our more senior students who dodged, dipped and weaved—seasoned professionals in the art of the Colour Run.

I have praised our Captains many times this year for their dedication to their official duties, but being asked to throw pink, blue, yellow, orange, and green may have garnered the highest levels of enthusiasm yet! Well done, leaders, and in particular to our Sport Captains, Michael Siolis (12 Byron) and Aristea Papax (11 Aristotle) for assisting Ms Rahme and leading the other Captains to make the event a success. 

And of course, it wasn’t just all about the colour. Serious competition waged on. Hearty congratulations to Byron for scooping the much coveted 1st Place by warding off Socrates (2nd Place), Aristotle (3rd Place) and Pericles (4th Place). With our three major sporting events now concluded, it is more important than ever that all students engage in the various House competitions that will feature throughout the year. The House Cup is on the line after all!

Please find some highlights below. I don’t think we need to label them ‘Before’ and ‘After.’

Year 12 Students

The term is flying by and this newsletter marks the end of Week Four. Before they know it, our Year 12 students will find themselves at the halfway point of their final year.

We have some standout students in the cohort whose levels of motivation and determination we marvel at. You know who you are: keep going!

For those students who have not yet found their rhythm, there is still time but they now need to make some important commitments to themselves and put in place practices that will help them reach their goals. For example, Mr Lukas Silver and I would like to see some more regular attendees at our weekly Timed Writes (Friday mornings, 7.30-8.30am). As the saying goes, ‘you get out what you put in.’ 

Ms Deirdre Grealish
Deputy Head of Secondary
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Year 7 Zoo Visit

An exciting and educational excursion to the Melbourne Zoo with the whole Year 7 cohort was held on May 6th. The students had a terrific day and applied their classroom skills on Classification to many of the animals at the Melbourne Zoo. 

We also looked at the adaptations of different species including:

Big cats like lions and tigers

Lion and Tiger photos by Mio MAGLEN-MACHADO Year 7. 

Marine animals like seals

Australian natives like wombats and koalas.

Sleeping wombat photo by Mio MAGLEN-MACHADO Year 7.

And many more…

Butterfly and lizards photo by Mio MAGLEN-MACHADO Year 7.  

Ms Lily Potocnik
STEM Teacher
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From the LOTE Faculty

Languages Assembly

There is no doubt that languages occupy an important place in our multicultural country. Many of us in the Alphington Grammar School community speak at least one other language besides English, whether it is a language spoken at home, or one studied in class.  

Although there is a general sense that English is enough, there are lots of indicators that this is not so, that speaking a second or third language is desirable, necessary and important. The education system encourages schools to include language in their curriculum. Universities will add bonus marks to the study score of Languages students. Our school believes it is important, and offers Greek from the ELC upwards and both Chinese and Greek from Year 7 onwards.

There are countless opportunities to connect with languages and culture, in both informal and formal contexts. Whether that is in speaking with much loved family – saying hello to yiayia, nonna, oma and zumu- to conversing with friends and neighbours, using language when travelling and in future work places. You can pretty much name any career and make a connection with a second language and its potential benefit in that field.

Our recent Languages Assembly gave us the opportunity to celebrate languages at our school. We honoured our Unit 3 Languages students and congratulated them on dedicating their time to improve their skills in their chosen language, whether Greek or Chinese. They have seen the value of pursuing languages, which is not always easy, with multiple competing subjects and commitments. We congratulate them and remind them to think of all the benefits of taking languages all the way, not the least of which is the pride in being fluent in a language other than English, also:

-improved written and verbal skills

-improved analytical skills (they have been practising these in another language as well as English!)

-ability to connect with a wide variety of people, whether for work, study or travel, or for social reasons

-the positive effect on brain function, concentration and memory

-increased employability, as employers value employees who have linguistic and cultural empathy

Students were then presented with a commemorative medal to remind them that language is their ‘superpower’.

Certificates were also distributed to students who have achieved high scores so far this year, on one of the various online language learning platforms we use.

Education Perfect:

Jack McLean

Sabine Hibberd

Angelos Raftis

Michael Ooi


Freya Monk

Sarah Roubos


Esme Johnson

Zachery Papadimitriou

Zack Tsaklas

Dillon Panayi

There were student accounts from our MCs and from Lydia Mitromara on the benefits of studying languages and on Enrichment programs on offer. Paul Karalis and Mr Nicholas Kapralos performed a beautiful Greek song. Lastly, Mr Cameron Stone’s Chopstick Duel stole the show, as Emmett McGowan and Dylan Murphy battled it out to show their dexterity with their chopsticks.

Thank you to all students who participated in the assembly and particularly to our MCs, Zach Choo and Pantelli Saris.

Feel free to reach out at any time to any of the wonderful Languages teachers if you have any questions about languages.

A day at LaTrobe University

Recently, Sofia Laftsoglou and I seized the opportunity to visit La Trobe University, together with students from Northcote High School. It was a great insight for the both of us to experience what it is like to be part of a university.

Firstly, we looked at aspects of the Greek migration period and we were able read and look at the pictures and souvenirs on display. We then moved onto the Agora, the central meeting place at the university. We learned the meaning of Agora is related to the word “buy” in the Greek language. This is where we bought food and even made friends with most of the students from Northcote. We later found out Greek culture and language is a big part of La Trobe University, as it contains a lot of Greek heritage. La Trobe is the only university in Victoria to offer a comprehensive Greek language course and you’re able to take this language as either an elective or major. We were fortunate enough to hear from a couple of students who are taking this language and their journey when it came to learning the Greek language. All had very positive things to say, which made me appreciate my culture more than I ever had.

We would like to thank both Ms D and Mrs Terezakis for this amazing opportunity, both Sofia and I were very grateful to have learnt so much about the Greek culture and the history behind it and also the opportunities for further study in Greek, whether you are a Beginner or Advanced student.

– Stephanie Filiopoulos, Year 10

Ms Denise Diakodimitriou and Ms Effie Bindevis 
Head of LOTE and Primary Greek Coordinator
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High School Musical Production

After an amazing show on Wednesday the 4th of May, we announce the postponement of our second and final showing, originally scheduled for Thursday the 5th of May.

The second showing will now be held on Wednesday the 25th of May from 7pm at the Darebin Arts Centre. Ticket holders will all be contacted and have their tickets re-allocated to the new date.

We thank everyone for all the support and look forward to performing our final show.

The Cast and Production Team of High School Musical


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From Careers

Please see all upcoming 2022 University Open Days through the link here.

A special information night is also available for those interested in joining the police force.

When: Thursday 2nd June 2022

Where: Eastern Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University, Bundoora

Time: 6:00pm – 7.30pm

If you are seeking a stimulating, challenging and rewarding career and have values aligned to those of Victoria Police, we encourage you to consider a career in policing.

Please join us for an information session to learn about the Police role, the recruitment process, training at the Academy and hear from some local members about their journey with Victoria Police.

To register visit 

To find out more about the role of a Police Officer, visit 

Ms Helen Mallis
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Year 11 Queen Vic Market Visit

In the real world there is no market structure that is perfectly competitive. The closest we have are our markets, like the Queen Victoria Market. Year 11 economics students went out to QVM where they did research and observed the trading to ascertain this market structure.

They also had to partake in the obligatory sampling of the famous Jam donuts to bolster their energy levels to be able to complete the assigned tasks. Hopefully having researched the process of the produce they will also appreciate amount that needs to be spent to prepare meals for them.  

Ms Helen Mallis  
Secondary Humanities Teacher
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From the Primary School

From the Deputy Head of Primary

Throughout Term 1 and 2, Year 6 students have been participating in weekly sessions of the ‘Healthy Harold’s Heroes Program’. The students have been working with a teacher-mentor from Life Education to design and implement a campaign around a healthy lifestyle issue.

Healthy harold pic 3

Our creative Year 6 students have divided themselves into groups and have devised the following campaigns/activities;

  1. Kindness activities to be implemented into the Primary School calendar.
  2. Creation of a short video about building ‘confidence’ which will be shown to all classes across ELC-Year 5.
  3. Student lead lunch clubs which include boardgames, chess and music (with a focus on creating community.
  4. Poster campaign about ‘respect’ to be displayed around the school.

The Year 6 students will officially ‘launch’ their campaigns on Friday 27th May at Primary assembly.  The campaigns will run for a period of 4 weeks.  In Term 3, the students will review the effectiveness of their campaign with the same teacher-mentor from Life Education. Students will have the opportunity to report on the review at the completion of the campaign. This will be a very rewarding experience as they will have the opportunity to journey through the full ‘inquiry’ process.

Good luck to all groups with their campaigns!

Mr Barnewall
Deputy Head of Primary
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Primary LOTE Awards

The following students showed excellence in their Greek studies this term and were acknowledged with an award for their efforts during our Primary Assembly:  


Blake Holdinghausen - Effort

Year 1

Natalia Khera - Amazing work

Year 2

Angelique Tsioukis - Speaking in Greek

Hamish Wilson - Speaking in Greek

Year 3

Hanna Sethi - Amazing work

Nicholas Kipouridis - Improvement

Year 4

Alisha Prasad - Effort

Colton Scott - Effort

Year 5

Dhruv Khera - Effort

Madeleine Smith - Effort

Year 6

Corbin Scott - Effort

Sophia Bush - Speaking in Greek

Ms Denise Diakodimitriou and Ms Effie Bindevis 
Head of LOTE and Primary Greek Coordinator
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School Tours

All current parents, particularly in the Primary, are invited to experience our campus, meet our staff and explore our school ethos at any of our upcoming Open Mornings. 

Open Mornings are held on various Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the School Year. Any parent can register to attend via the link on our website, here.

Updates and Reminders

From the Finance Office

The finance team would like to remind families that have not yet submitted their payments to please do so as soon as possible.

Please see below for the CSEF financial assistance program information sheet and application form.

Upcoming Events

Years 8 and 9 Parent Coffee Morning

Parents of students in Years 8 and 9 are invited to join us on Friday 27 May 2022 for a brief coffee morning from 8:15 to 9:00AM. Catch up with other parents over a latte and muffin in our canteen surrounds. Invitations have been emailed. Please RSVP your attendance through the invitation link in your email inbox by Wednesday 25 May at the latest. We look forward to seeing you there!

For any questions, please email:

School Tours

All current parents are invited to experience our campus, meet our staff and explore our school ethos at any of our upcoming Open Mornings.

Open Mornings consist of a presentation and school tour, and are held on various Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the School Year. Any parent can register to attend a tour via the link on our website, here.


Monday 23 – Friday 27 May

Look out for lots of fun activities happening during next week’s LOTE Week. Students in Year 9 Chinese are visiting the Chinese Museum. An interactive exhibit of ‘Greeks who have made their mark’ will be available all week. The canteen will also be offering daily specials (see below).

Don’t forget to enter the card design competition ‘Cards Galore’. Your design and greeting in a language other than English (or as well as English) can win you prizes.

Ms Denise Diakodimitriou and Ms Effie Bindevis 
Head of LOTE and Primary Greek Coordinator

Sporting Minds

Sporting Minds is back!

Sporting Minds is a school holiday program developed by Alphington Grammar teachers Andrew Diviny and Blair Runnalls who are passionate about using sport and physical activity as a medium to improve primary school aged kids’ mental health and resilience.

If you’re looking for school holiday programs that will educate, engage and excite your children these upcoming school holidays, look no further than Sporting Minds. Improve your skills, have fun, and make new friends whilst learning from qualified teachers and expert coaches. Get your kids moving and making memories these school holidays. Book now!

To find out more, visit the website: 

High School Musical Secondary Production

Term Dates 2022