Term 2, Week 8 2022
From the Secondary School
From the Deputy Head of Secondary
Year 9 –11 Exams
Week Seven of term saw our Year 9, 10, and 11 students complete their Semester One examinations.
Congratulations to our students who pushed through what, for some, was a challenging week. I applaud in particular those students who, in the lead up to exam week, worked dedicatedly towards their goals, recognising that exam success is all about slow and steady preparation (and not just ‘night before cramming’).
For those who did not, perhaps, prepare quite so well, the good news is that you get a ‘do over’ in Semester Two. My advice would be to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well, and to plan what you would like to do differently next time while the experience is still fresh in your mind.
Semester One examinations for the Year 12s will take place next week, the final week of term.
It feels as though we have blinked and found ourselves at the half way point of the year. Between exams and SACs, the end of Term Two is easily one of the busiest times of year for senior students. What better way to blow off some steam than to hit the dance floor at Leonda by the Yarra?
Style and laughter were in no short supply, as our Year 11s enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and each other’s company.
A small group of Year 12s also joined in the fun, keen, no doubt, to make some more memories with their friends before it is time to step out into the world.
The dance floor was full from the start to the end of the night. Teachers who also attended last year’s annual event smiled on the sidelines, happy that our kids were able to dance this year (and even happier, perhaps, that we did not need to chase them with masks or to return to their seats, as was the case in 2021).
Congratulations to our King, Keppel Gordon, our Queen, Lilla Kaptay, and to all of our other prize winners.
Thank you, as always, to Mr Con Papoulis, who worked with a small but dedicated team of Year 11 students to make sure the event was a big success. Months of preparation go into an event like this, including planning meetings, ticket sales, a fundraising car wash, and the set-up of the function room itself. In particular, Sophia Stratsianis, Tiana Toscano, and Grace Nehme did a fabulous job of organising the night for their peers, as did Krishan Gurdon, who designed our tickets and posters. Thank you, too, to the parents who played a big role behind the scenes, especially to Geordie Nehme.
Please enjoy some photographs of the evening.
The Resilience Project
As families are aware, we are a Resilience Project school, and believe in the importance of explicitly teaching our students skills that will allow to them to lead healthy and happy lives.
In Term One, our students completed an anonymous survey hosted by The Resilience Project. Last week, the pastoral team and I met with Peter Seehusen (TRP), who led us through the results of that survey. We will continue to sift through the data so that we are well informed as we continue to provide our students with pastoral support.
On a daily basis we see the effects of two long and challenging COVID years on our students. While some data was concerning, though not wholly not surprising—several students reported feeling increased anxiety and decreased levels of motivation—other snapshots indicated that our students are more engaged and bouncing back with reduced levels of anxiety and depression.
How wonderful to see such a positive trend despite the obstacles the students have overcome in recent years. This would not be possible without the care and support of our staff and parents.
Looking after our mental health needs to be a daily practice, though it is something that so often gets pushed aside in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.
We remind families of the difference GEM practices (Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness) can make to our lives… and to the lives of those around us. I encourage families to explore the simple activities that can be easily be slotted into our daily routines: Home – TRP@HOME (theresilienceproject.com.au)
After a very busy Semester One, I think students, staff and parents alike are ready for a well-deserved break.
We wish our students all the best as they take the chance to hit the ‘return to centre’ button; however, we also remind them how important it is to complete the holiday homework set by their teachers. Bearing in mind that the students need a rest, tasks have been approved by Heads of Faculty. They will not be too taxing, but are necessary to set the students up for a productive and smooth start to Term Three.
The June/July break will be particularly important for our Unit 3 and 4 students. Refining the basics (sleep schedules; diet; exercise; relaxation; and study timetables) will be crucial, as will using the time to complete revision and practice examinations. You are on the final stretch, Year 12; put the hard work in now. It will be worth it.
Ms Deirdre Grealish
Deputy Head of Secondary
Secondary Debating Program
Round Four of the Debating Association of Victoria’s competition saw all five of our teams competing.
For the first time, our C Grade team took on the challenge of a secret topic. They were given one hour to prepare a debate on whether or not social media is harmful to children. The team rose to the occasion and took a well deserved victory, with Joudy Sallam receiving the Best Speaker award.
Our B Grade teams were also faced with a secret topic. Arguing whether or not politicians should be required to learn a second language, they raised some inspired and convincing points, however a mere couple of points difference meant they missed out on the win.
Finally, our D Grade teams were debating the topic of whether or not the ABC should only show Australian-made content, with both teams arguing for the affirmative. While our second team lost, our first team were able to take the win by an impressive seven points, with Freya Monk receiving the Best Speaker award.
We are now looking forward to the final round of the Secondary Debating Program at the start of Term 3, before the Junior Secondary Debating Program begins shortly after. Year 7 students should keep an eye on their emails over the next few days for the opportunity to sign up!
Ms Anna Milburn
Year 12 History: Revolutions Hamilton Excursion
On Wednesday 15th, the Year 12 History: Revolutions class attended a showing of Hamilton: An American Musical as a conclusion to their studies of the American Revolution.
Singing and dancing its way through the life and times of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the musical captured the essence of the revolution whilst presenting it in a lively and engaging way.
When asked about the show, Aristea Papax said “it was incredible to see it live and was a fun way to end Unit 3!”
Mr Robert Panara
VCE History Revolutions Teacher
This year, we’ve seen the establishment of an official Alphington Grammar School Environment Club in the secondary school as an enrichment program offered to all students. Run by myself (Rudra Sekhri, Year 10 Student) and facilitated by Ms Mare (Head of Library), we believe there is very little time to take action on the issue of climate change.
Recently a key focus has been the revegetation of areas in the local community and learning about the native ecosystems. Dr. Edmond Lascaris, a sustainability officer from the City of Whittlesea, presented to the club the work he has been doing to protect platypuses in local rivers. Here is what some of the students had to say after the presentation:
“I learnt about platypuses and what is affecting their environment so they can’t live well anymore. I also learnt that we can do things to help, like planting native plants around their habitats. It was very interesting because I didn’t have this information before even though these places are very close to where I live. I want to see us execute our ideas in fundraisers, stalls and maybe get more guest speakers to help us learn about climate change” – Rhea Gupta (Year 8)
“It is a major problem that is happening now, and if we don’t do something about it, future generations will suffer. The presentation was extremely informative, and everyone should be able to learn and know more about platypuses and what we can do to save them. I want to see us do more fundraisers and going on excursions to local parklands to help our local wildlife.” – Thalia Lewis (Year 8)
Outside of school, I had the wonderful opportunity to present a project I’ve been working with the City of Whittlesea with at the Stormwater Victoria Conference 2022, which I’m extremely grateful for. It was a great experience sharing what I’ve learnt so far over the last few years in the area of climate change, but also meeting new people and experts from across Victoria. The project was about monitoring the health of waterways and rivers and to devise effective solutions to prevent further degradation of these areas.
If you do want to join the AGS Environment Club, feel free to get in touch with myself or Ms. Mare.
Pericles House Captain, Year 10
Michael Ooi (Year 9), Ben Spaziani (Year 7), Isaac Lo (Year 7), Isaiah Ha (Year 7) and Francis Hogan (Year 7) represented AGS at a Northern Star Chess Zonal Interschool Tournament on 6th June 2022. The tournament was held at the Australian International Academy and featured students from six different schools.
The boys were exemplary in their sportsmanship and played well. They were fine representatives for our school. Michael Ooi was the highest scoring secondary student at the event. Michael won the Star of the Tournament trophy and qualified for the Northern Star Chess State Finals. Ben Spaziani and Isaac Lo won bronze medals in the Year 7/8 field.
Well done to our chess competitors!
We would also like to announce that AGS will be hosting a Northern Star Chess Zonal Interschool Tournament in Term 3 on 6th September 2022 for both Primary and Secondary students. This will be a great day of chess. We hope to have a strong representation of AGS students at the event! Janet Stewart and I will forward more information about the event closer to the date.
Mr Max White
Chess Club Facilitator
Student Leadership Training
“The Student Leadership Team participated in their second YLead training day on Tuesday the 14th of June. We completed a range of activities to further strengthen and consolidate our leadership skills with the CEO of YLead.
We spent the day celebrating our achievements so far and reflecting on the first half of the year. The team from YLead taught us how to develop our own sense of individuality through leadership and also strengthened our bond as a group. We all benefitted from the session as we can now apply these newly founded strengths to our current roles. The training allowed us to reflect on our leadership style and set goals for Semester Two.”
– Chloe Portoglou, Byron House Captain and Community Service Captain
“Today was really fun. It was great to not only learn but to bond with the other leaders. We came up with some amazing ideas which we will try to implement within the school community in the near future.”
– Anastasia Fokianos, Byron House Captain
“We got to bond further as a leadership team and came up with multiple ideas on how we can push ourselves whilst helping our peers in the process. We also did a lot of team working activities.”
– Aristea Papax, Sport Captain
From the Primary School
From the Deputy Head of Primary
Essential Assessment in the Primary
In the Primary School we are constantly evaluating our teaching and learning programs to ensure we are providing the most updated educational programs for our students. This year we have formally launched a new online assessment program called ‘Essential Assessment’.
The program allows students to experience differentiated assessments, which gives an accurate level for a particular topic. Essential Assessment is divided into three areas; pre-assessment, explicit teaching of concepts based on pre- assessment data and a post assessment showing student growth in a particular unit.
In the ‘explicit teaching’ phase, teachers can plan learning activities that are pitched to each students’ zone of proximal development (ZDP). The theory of ZDP refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what she or he can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled teacher. The main driver for implementing Essential Assessment is for teachers to see the growth or ‘value add’ in their students’ learning. Essential Assessment has many functions, which I plan to share in future newsletter articles.
Mr Luke Barnewall
Deputy Head of Primary
All current parents, particularly in the Primary School, 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.
From the LOTE Faculty
Alphington Grammar School in the Media
It has been a wonderful week for our school, as our students and teachers have been the subject of various recordings and performances. From Education Department promotional videos, to live performances on stage and television, there is a wealth of talent here. Please enjoy the following items:
ELC Greek Immersion Language Program Video
The ELC Greek Immersion video is now available to view and share with our school community. The video was produced by the Department of Education in collaboration with FKAS Children’s services. This follows our program being recognised as an example of “best practice” language program in the Early Years. The video features our Greek language and ELC teachers and, of course, the stars of the video, our talented youngest language learners! A huge congratulations to all involved.
Watch the video here.
Greek Bouzouki Legend Wowed by our Talented Bouzouki Players
On Saturday the 11th of June our talented bouzouki players from Year 5 (Atticus Horn, Sam Stratikopoulos, Jonathan Karambelas, Ethan Athanasopoulos, Aleksandros Nikolaidis) were invited to play at a one-off concert at the Palais Theatre. The students were invited by renowned bouzouki player Thanasis Polykandriotis. The students were prepared for their performance by our beloved bouzouki teacher Mr Nicholas Kapralos. Our school parent Tammy Iliou organised the successful appearance. Congratulations to our talented students and here’s to many more opportunities to come!
AGS live on ERT TV in Greece
On Wednesday morning, we were visited by Mr Alekos Markellos, journalist with Greek national broadcaster, ERT TV. He broadcast live to air on a Greek morning program, with a view to sharing Alphington Grammar School as a key provider of Greek language and culture in the diaspora. Mr Markellos spoke to teachers and filmed our wonderful Greek band musicians with their teacher, Mr Nicholas Kapralos. It was interesting to see how live broadcasts are prepared behind the scenes. Please enjoy the link to the video here.
Our Year 9 Chinese Second Language class recently went on a Chinese Museum excursion. It included two main activities: having lunch in an authentic Chinese restaurant and the Chinese Museum tour. The aim was to familiarize students with Chinese culture and knowledge about the history of the Chinese community in Australia.
The Chinese restaurant, Shark Fin Inn, served food in the authentic South China way, by using a trolley and a dining table with a lazy susan. Our students were polite and well-behaved and tried their best to order and select their dishes in Chinese. They also learned aspects of tea culture from Mr Stone and Mr Lei. Our students enjoyed and were satisfied with the food very much and commented in Chinese, “好(hào)吃(chī)” (delicious).
Afterwards, we had a tour of the Chinese Museum with a tour guide. We learned about China from ancient times in 220BCE, the history of Chinese immigration, the relation between China and Australia during the Gold Rush, and Chinese dragon culture. It was amazing to see the curiosity from our students and the interaction between our students and the tour guide.
Overall, it was a successful excursion for our Year 9 Chinese Second Language students. We hope this excursion will boost their motivation and interest in continuing to learn this language.
Thank you to Mr Lei and Mr Stone for the article and photos.
Ms Denise Diakodimitriou and Ms Effie Bindevis
Head of LOTE and Primary Greek Coordinator
From the Music Faculty
Soloist Evening Concerts
During Weeks 9 and 10 the AGS Music Department held a series of Soloist Evenings:
Primary Soloist Evening Years 1 – 4
Middle Years Soloist Evening – Years 5 – 8
Senior Soloist Evening – Years 9 – 12
VCE Soloist Evening
105 instrumental students performed across the four concerts which was outstanding. We were treated to music from our younger primary students through to students who are currently studying VCE music. Due to overwhelming numbers in the Middle Years the evening was divided into separate concerts, a first for Alphington Grammar.
The Soloist Evenings were a fantastic opportunity for our students to showcase their progress on their chosen instrument and to perform to an audience for the first time in three years. It was wonderful to welcome parents back to school to watch their children perform with enthusiasm and confidence.
The dedicated instrumental teachers were at each concert to support and guide their students, some of whom were performing for the first time in front of an audience. A huge congratulations to all performers.
AGS Greek Bands steal the show
Our Junior Greek Band was invited to perform at the Greek Legends of the 20th Century concert, held at the Palace Theatre on Saturday 11 June. This was a production direct from Greece, featuring the legendary bouzouki player Thanasi Polykandrioti and famous singer Stelios Dionisiou and backed by a 20-piece orchestra. The Junior Greek band dazzled the hundreds of people who attended the concert, receiving a standing ovation for their outstanding performance.
On Wednesday 15 June, both the Senior and Junior Greek bands performed live on Greek National Television on a regular morning show “From 6” through the national channel ERT. The students rose to the challenge of performing live to air on cue in front of thousands of viewers, both in Greece and around the world.
Both events were fantastic experiences for our young musicians that they will never forget. Congratulations to Ethan Athanasopoulos, Aleksandros Nikolaidis, Sam Stratikopoulos, Jonathan Karambelas, Atticus Horn (Junior Greek Band) and Nikolaos Zagkountinos, Dimitrios Zagkountinos, Rocco Spinley, James Fokianos, Anastasia Fokianos and Dillon Panayi (Senior Greek Band.) Many thanks to Mr Nicholas Kapralos for his preparation and support of the students.
Instrumental Lesson Enrolments
Our successful Instrumental Programme still has places available for new students, and we are proud to offer tuition on a wide variety of instruments. If you would like to enrol your child into lessons in Semester 2, you can find an enrolment form here and a copy of our Instrumental Tuition Policy here. If you have any questions about the programme or the many ensembles that are on offer to AGS students, feel free to contact the Music Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
From the Canteen
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.
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: http://www.sportingminds.com.au