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Alpha News 2022, Term 3, Week 6

Term 3, Week 6 2022

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From the Principal

I am always moved when I see our students lead the way and use their voice to show the way whether it is in school or beyond. Families will have been following the impact of Yarra Council’s decision to reopen public access to the Eastern part of Old Heidelberg Road after 70 years without due considerations to the multiple issues and layers of complexity such a decision brings in a modern world.

I wish to thank the over 50 parents who were present at the most recent Yarra City Council meeting to ask very direct questions of Council members which proved difficult for the Acting Mayor to respond to without taking questions “on notice”. Naturally, this only added to the frustrations and tensions of the night. I particularly wish to single out and congratulate the Senior Student Leaders of our School, School Captain Ethan Maratheftis, Vice Captains Isabella Cohn and Sam Koranias, and Anastasia Fokianos, Joudy Sallam and Peter Papas who did themselves proud in their articulate and well thought out questions put to Yarra Council. I commend them on their active involvement and research in relation to the issues involved. It is not an easy thing to do in such an intimidating setting.

We have received a confirmation that the new CEO and Mayor together with the General Manager of the CEO’s office will be in attendance onsite this Friday to better acquaint themselves with the multitude of issues and hope this will bring a fresh pair of eyes to a very complex matter. I look forward to updating families in due course.

STEM Assembly

With National STEM week scheduled to take place 15-19 August, the STEM faculty and passionate STEM students Zoe Tonkin (Year 12) and Rudra Sekhri (Year 10) hosted this weeks assembly.

Aspects included Year 7 Experiments on Forces, Scientific investigations and mathematical computations, STEM enrichment programs including coding and python programming and a fascinating look at Dr Hockey’s past life in academia which involved research on the evolution and echolocation of bats.

While a full STEM report appears elsewhere in the newsletters I hope that families can get involved in the STEM challenges the staff have complied. Thank you to our passionate team, Ms Ma, Ms Potocnik, Mr O’Shea, Dr Hockey, Mr Diamandikos, Mrs Varghese, Ms Du and our Laboratory Assistant, Ms Denovan.

It is always exciting to see our students extend themselves in all types of opportunities as they present themselves.

Recently, Aleksandros Nikolaidis (Year 5B) was invited together with his bouzouki teacher Mr Nicholas Kapralos to play before his Eminence Archbishop Markarios and Bishop Evmenios at a recent luncheon held in his Eminence’s honour at the Greek Orthodox Church at Thomastown.

It’s a very rare occasion for such an invitation to take place. Well done to Aleksandros and Mr Kapralos.

We are halfway through this term with many events and activities due to take place. Our Years 9 and 10 students have undertaken their Gateways introductory activities in preparation for their experiential program to Central Australia and Darwin respectively in the last two weeks of this term. Our Annual Music Concert at the Centre Ivanhoe will take place next Tuesday 16 August and I hope to see many families there to celebrate the success of our music students. Preparations for the Primary STEAM show are well underway for Tuesday 30 August and this too promises to be a wonderful night for families after two years of lockdowns.

It is an exciting time to be at school and watching our students grow.

Dr Vivianne Nikou
Principal

 

Baby News

It is with much pleasure I announce the safe arrival of Arlo Parker Welch born at 3.54am Thursday 4 August weighing a healthy 4.1kg.  Congratulations to our Nurse Clare Burns and her partner Matt.

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From the Assistant Principal, Head of Primary

One of my favourite little stories is this one below, adapted from a longer story ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren Eiseley. I read the story as a very young teacher and it made me stop and think about how little effort it takes to make a difference in the lives of others:

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.

The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and said, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

These past weeks we have being trying to make a difference in so many ways and encouraging our students to do the same. Our recycling program is still ongoing, so please continue to bring in your recyclables so they can be sorted and disposed of appropriately.

Our Environment Captain, Rafe Roberts, along with his brother Dustan and his classmate Lily, recently visited ‘Dentists of Alphington’ to deposit the collected toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes collected here. Rafe is to be congratulated on confidently explaining the process to a patient at the centre (a former School Principal no less) who was very impressed. Just like with the starfish, while you may think your contribution will not make a difference, the reality is very different. The example and habit we build in our young people now have the potential to affect future generations and ultimately save the planet. That is a big, big difference!

Another ‘small but big’ difference around the primary school this past week has been in the inclusion of some new bright and beautiful positive affirmation posters in every classroom. Most posters have just one idea such as ‘Choose Kindness’, ‘Smile’, ‘You Can Do This’, ‘Dream Big’, ‘Breathe’, with a final poster reading ‘Empathy, Joy, Hope, Kindness, Acceptance, Grow, Love, Compassion’. Visual reminders about positivity are very important. Children and adults alike thrive on a culture of inclusion and joy. While there will always be challenges, our efforts into solving problems together and keeping a positive outlook makes a difference.

Finally, many small details go into making the second half of this term a busy time of learning and fun and these events WILL make a difference. Please make sure you read the Wednesday School  Bulletin for details of these events:

Annual Music Concert (Years 4-12): Tuesday 14th August

Primary School Book Parade (ELC): Tuesday 23rd August

Primary School STEAM Show including Family Planks Workshops: Tuesday 30th August

I look forward to seeing you all at some or all of these upcoming events that will make a difference.

Mrs Tracey Nicholson, 
Assistant Principal, Head of Primary
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Recent Publications

Flowerdale Winter 2022: Community

The most recent edition of our school magazine Flowerdale, Flowerdale Winter 2022: Community, is now available for you to read. Featuring stories of and by alumni, current students and staff, as well as community updates, Flowerdale is not a publication to miss! You can read this latest edition by following the link below or look for physical copies in the school Library or Front Office.

From the Secondary School

Gateways Preparation Day

With the departure date getting ever nearer, our Year 9 and 10 students were ready and raring to go during the Gateways Preparation Day.

For our Year 10s, the afternoon started with a refresher on putting up the tents. Muscle memory quickly kicked in (for most…) and in no time the tents were set up, put down, and packed away like they were experts. Their trip to Central Australia earlier on in the year certainly set them up with some practical skills and based on their efficiency during this practice run, camp set up and pack up in Darwin is going to be a breeze.  

For our Year 9s, the tents were a new experience, however Group Leaders Mr James Smith and Mr Cameron Stone had some very positive feedback on the team efforts demonstrated by their groups. It was impressive to see how quickly they were able to get the hang of their new accommodation.

The tent demonstration was followed by a presentation on all the requirements, rules, and expectations for both year levels on their trips. The students were also given a pack that included their Gateways polo shirts (to be worn at the airport), itineraries, packing lists, information for the Facebook groups, and an updated phone policy.

All of this preparation is an exciting reminder that it’s not long until our departure. We can’t wait to meet all the students at the airport and begin our next adventure!

Ms Anna Milburn
EHASS Teacher
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From the STEM Faculty

2022 STEM assembly

On Monday August 8 we held our long-awaited STEM assembly after a two-year hiatus due to COVID lockdowns. Zoe Tonkin (Y12 Aristotle) and Rudra Sekhri (Y10 Pericles) were great as our Masters of Ceremony.

During the assembly, the Computational Algorithmic Thinking awards were presented to the following students:

CREDITS (Top 30% of the State)

Clara BIELENBERG – Year 7
Alexander DUNN – Year 7
Lucinda HOOTON – Year 7
Oscar LINDSAY – Year 7
Ben SPAZIANI – Year 7
Bowen JIANG – Year 8
Norman LI – Year 8
Michael OOI – Year 8
Jiahui ZHU – Year 8
George MOURATIDIS – Year 9

…and Distinction (Top 10% of the State): Francis HOGAN (Year 7)

Congratulations to all award winners!

Also, during the assembly, a snapshot of different activities of various year levels were presented. For example, in Year 7 Science, students are working on a unit of Forces, exploring different types of forces.

Other examples of forces investigations involve studying friction (different surfaces used for inclined planes).The Enrichment programs running this semester are:

Scientific Investigations and Math Curiosities (run by Ms Potocnik and Mr Diamandikos), where students can use scientific equipment to conduct small investigations and using an online game called ‘Electric Box’ to enhance logical and sequential thinking.

Microsoft Excel Workshop, run by Ms Du, with a focus on using the Excel program.

A small presentation was made by Dr Samantha Hockey (VCE Biology) showing a snapshot of her life as a scientist before moving into teaching. This involved field work in investigating bats and their echolocation, some fascinating stuff indeed!

Finally, STEM week was announced (August 15-19th):

  1. A poster competition (run by year 7-8-9 students) with a focus on Chemical elements of the periodic table, these posters will be displayed along the top-level corridor.
    A panel of three Teachers will judge the top three posters.
  2. Other daily activities will take place, promoting STEM subjects.
  3. Year 7’s are embarking on a ‘vehicle competition’ whereby raw materials only are provided (without an electric motor, e.g. foam body, balloon, plastic caps for wheels) with the aim of moving the furthest distance. Should be lots of fun!
Mr L. Diamandikos
Head of STEM
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Darebin Creek Fieldwork Excursion

On the 29th of July, Year 8 students were fortunate enough to leave their classrooms and go stretch their legs outside and walk in Darebin Parklands for their excursion! This helped and supported their understanding on the Geography unit this term.

Before the excursion began, students were given a booklet to fill out while on their walk. The first activity students were given during the excursion was to write down where the scenery was and what the weather was like. Students continued to complete their booklet, which let them identify the natural and human processes that had changed in the environment.

The scenery was lovely and bright, allowing them to sketch for their BOLTSS assignment. Since many students completed the questions in their booklet, they were able to enjoy the beautiful nature and day without worrying about work.

I had a great time on the excursion because it was a nice experience to finally leave the classroom and enjoy the sun with my friends from other classes! I am grateful to my teachers for allowing us and believing that we were mature enough to work outside of school boundaries.

Alyssa Ha
Year 8 Student
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AGS Environment Club

Many thanks to all the students and staff who got involved in the casual clothes day and Bake Sale fundraiser for National Tree Day. Together, with generous donations from Dr Nikou, Brett Dicker and Ms Anna Vayenas, the Environment students who baked and sold delicious cakes and savory treats and staff and students who came and bought from the Bake Sale, we raised $1,500 for Trust for Nature. A tremendous effort. Well done!

Personal Development and Life Skills

Mrs Michelle Yarnton and Ms Stav Touranakos run Personal Development and Life Skills, and enrichment program that takes place every Thursday at lunchtime. The class focuses on building students’ confidence, improving knowledge of etiquette and teaches the effective application of skin and beauty products. 

The following topics are covered: skin care, make-up, dress sense, hair care, nail care, table etiquette, deportment, exercise, public speaking, conversation starters and perfumes.

This week make-up artist Stav Panayi shared her skills with the class. She provided helpful hints and detailed knowledge of the application of make-up. She emphasised the importance of cleaning make-up brushes daily. Elliette Watson (Year 7) was the willing model for a natural make-over.

Mrs Michelle Yarnton
Head of Learning Support
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From the Primary School

From the Library

During all of second term, Years 5 and 6 participated in a Book Bingo activity.

The goal of the activity was to challenge each student to expand their reading horizons by choosing to read a range of genres from the primary and inbetweeners collections. Each week in our Library lessons we explored and discussed a different genre that was represented on the Book Bingo sheet. 

Some of the many genres we explored were, History, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Crime and Mystery, Kids Reality or Spooky. The students were also encouraged to read Visual Stories, Non-Fiction books and Biographies or even books that became movies.

As well as developing a greater awareness of genre, there were other fun challenges such as read a book with a title of only one word, or a book number in the title or a book written by an author whose last name starts with that same letter as your own. As a result, the students discovered many aspects of the collection.

Many students responded to this challenge enthusiastically, reading a wider range of books than they might ordinarily read. Not all students completed the Challenge, but I hope every student expanded their reading horizons by participating in this challenge.

Special congratulations for completing their Book Bingo challenge go to Jem Lavercombe and Yitong Zhou. An honourable mention also goes to Atticus Horn for reading many books in the Challenge.

Janet Stewart
Teacher Librarian
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Prep Greek and Music Concert

On Tuesday 2 August our wonderful Prep students presented a Greek and Music Concert to their parents. Our favourite songs included “A Rhyme for Ham” and the “Friendship Rap” followed by singing the “Colours of the Rainbow” in Greek! The children impressed the captive audience with their beautiful singing and wonderful understanding of Greek.

The finale was most definitely the highlight with Dr Nikou leading all the children and parents in the Zorba Dance. Congratulations to all the Preps for performing so brilliantly!

Ms Felicity Wallace
Primary Music Teacher

Maths Games Day

On Thursday 28 July a small group of Year 5 students attended the Maths Games Day at St Patricks Primary School in Mentone. The day was organised by the Mathematical Association of Victoria. We had two teams of four students who participated in maths activities that were centred around indoor games and outdoor tasks. Students worked in rotation rounds, where they played against other participating schools. Students used their critical thinking skills and positive mindset to work cooperatively as team, while demonstrating exceptional sportspersonship towards their opponents.

Ms McCulloch
Primary Teacher

School Tours

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.

Whole School

Music News

Annual Music Concert

The AGS 2022 Annual Music Concert is now less than a week away! Our music staff and students across both Primary and Secondary schools have been working hard to prepare for this important showcase event, which is not to be missed.

Tickets are selling fast, so if you haven’t already booked, go to https://www.trybooking.com/CANXA 

We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday evening at 7.00pm at The Centre Ivanhoe.

Instrumental Music Staff

This term we welcome Ms Carla Tomisich (cello) and Ms Sheena Shi (piano) to the Music Department. You can read further about our talented and dedicated instrumental teachers here.

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From the LOTE Department

Little learners, big thoughts!

Read on to find out how our littlest learners feel about their Greek language learning journey:

What do you like about learning Greek?

Mary– Well, I like how interesting it is and also how there are different words and there’s even one word that’s similar to English.

Isabel– The letters, and I like learning with my sister.

Jasmine– Playing games and learning about the Greek colours.

Arlo– Well, my mum speaks Greek and my dad speaks Greek, too.

Krish– It makes me feel happy and I like playing in Greek.

Kosta– It makes me feel happy.

Maxwell– I like the activities.

Leon– Telling my family the Greek words that I learn here, I also like learning to spell them.

Oliver– I like the sound of the Greek words.

Frederick– We get to eat soup.

Poppy– I like learning about the words and I also like learning what the Greek people do.

Neiv– I like the sounds of all the Greek words and I like where we do it and what times we do it.

Hope– Doing Greek activities.

Kiaan– I like counting in Greek, ένα, δυο, τρία, τέσσερα, πέντε, έξι, εφτά, οχτώ, εννέα, δέκα.

Michael K– The apps and I like to speak Greek!

Freddie– I like the sound of the words and the soup and the cupcakes we made.

Louis– I like the cooking we do.

Liam– I like the activities.

Alexander M– I like the activities.

Orson– I like doing the mobillo in Greek.

Alexander C– I like that Greek is fun and I really like learning it and I know Greek words.

Everly– I like the games.

Alana– I like drawing and playing games.

Michael I– How you speak Greek, how you say ‘boats’ in Greek because I like boats and how I like the water in Greece, I like how the priest talks Greek, and I like how I say jellyfish in Greek.

Victoria– I like saying καλό μήνα, and my dad speaks Greek and I like making butterflies.

George– It makes me excited.

Last chance to visit the Open Horizons exhibition at the Melbourne Museum!

This weekend sees the close of the exhibition ‘Open Horizons’, currently on at the Melbourne Museum. The collection of artefacts is from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and covers the themes of journeys, connections and the exchange of ideas. Many of our students in the Primary and Secondary school have had the opportunity to visit during excursions and marvelled at the impressive statues and artefacts. The sphinx was a favourite, as was a 400kg head of Zeus!

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

COVID-19 Update

While the best part of winter and COVID-19 wave is behind us, there is always room for improvements that could make a considerable difference to reducing our community case numbers. Good ventilation, regular Rapid Antigen Testing, and appropriate utilisation of COVID Positive Pathways are just some key components to driving transmission numbers down. Please see attached COVID Positive Pathway initiative for management of both positive and close contact cases for staff and students here.

The importance of ventilation

A recent report by Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, has shown good ventilation is on par with vaccination coverage, social distancing and good hygiene methods. Good ventilation helps to minimise the build-up of infectious aerosols, thereby reducing disease transmission. By taking steps to improve ventilation in indoor settings, such as opening windows and doors, limiting fan oscillation, ensuring regular maintenance of HVAC systems, and implementation of air purifiers where able, it will help to dilute and disperse smaller particles suspended in the air.  We encourage all staff to open windows and doors where possible.

Rapid Antigen Testing

Rapid Antigen Testing kits will continue to be distributed for as long as we receive shipments. Each student will receive an allotment on Friday’s (morning for Primary School, afternoon for Secondary School) on a fortnightly basis. In the interest of keeping all our community safe, students and staff are encouraged to continue Tuesday and Thursday morning RAT testing prior to attending school.

If I can be of any further assistance, please be in contact with me at the following: JOR@ags.vic.edu.au   

Ms Jessica Orreal 
School Nurse
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From Careers

Please click the embedded links to access information regarding Early Entry Programs for 2023 Entry and the full list of 2022 University Open Days.

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

Annual Music Concert

We are delighted that after two years, the Annual Music Concert will finally be returning to the Centre Ivanhoe at 7.00pm on Tuesday 16th August.

All students in Years 4, 5 and 6 will be performing, as well as students from all year levels across Primary and Secondary schools that are involved in our many ensembles at AGS.

Tickets are now on sale for this event which is the highlight of the musical calendar at AGS. They can be purchased here.

Pancake Breakfast and Breakfast Club

Sporting Minds

Sporting Minds is back!

Sporting Minds is a school holiday program developed by Alphington Grammar teachers Mr Andrew Diviny and Mr 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 here.

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.

Term Dates 2022

Term Dates 2023

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