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Alpha News 2023, Term 1, Week 4

Term 1, Week 4 2023

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From the Principal

Scholars Assembly

We gathered for our first formal School Assembly to celebrate the effort and outstanding achievements of our Class of 2022.  A group of young men and women who have demonstrated our school values and school motto in a tangible way.

What brings us together as a community is a core set of values, and at the heart of it all is “The Pursuit of Excellence”.

The results of the class of 2022 must be seen as a testament to their commitment to excel in their academic studies and to work hard.  By any measure, the class of 2022 had all the challenges of COVID years, however this did not defer them.  It made them stronger, and they have again, set the bar high for others to aspire to.  51% achieved an ATAR of above 80 putting them into the top 20% of the state.  We celebrated and awarded prizes to the students with top ATAR scores and top study scores.

The DUX for 2022 is Ms Zoe Tonkin, who achieved a top ATAR of 98.7 placing her in the top 2% of all students in the state.  Zoe gave a really touching speech to the students encouraging them to aim high, set up good habits early and never give up.

My message to all students was that these results are not the result of just their last year of study but of many years of study.  Like a sports person, a musician, a craftsman building on their own strengths and skill set, it takes time, years in fact! 

As the gold medal tennis player Andre Agassi said, “Nothing substitutes for just plain hard work.”  Andre Agassi also said, “If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win” Mikeyla Maroney Olympic Gymnast said, “Don’t practice till you get it right, practice till you can’t get it wrong.”

While world-renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus said, “Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s level of aspiration….and expectation.”

Clearly, success is not a last-minute dash or an overnight cram, it takes time, and it takes practice. We look forward to celebrating all that each student will go on to achieve throughout their educational journey no matter what year level.

Andrew Vouliotis (Class of 2007)

Our keynote speaker Mr Andrew Vouliotis spoke to our students. A proud Alumni of Alphington Grammar School, he arrived at Alphington in Grade 3 in Ms. McCulloch and Mrs. Vayenas’ homeroom.  Andrew was involved in all aspects of school life ultimately serving as the Vice School Captain and Pericles House Vice Captain.  He was awarded school colours in Music and Drama. 

Since graduating in 2007, Andrew received a full scholarship at Swinbourne University of Melbourne to study in the field of Information Systems, something he credits to Mr Syd Leamon and Mr John Savopoulos, when they encouraged him to develop a system to track staff replacements at school.  Today, he is a senior staff member at one of Australia’s Largest Artificial Intelligence Research Institute’s – an area that existed but was only discussed in context of science fiction movies when he was a young graduate.  He delivered a powerful message – Andrew was able to share with our students some of his journey and what fields of endeavour may lay ahead for them.

The Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program Award for this year was given to Rudra Sekhri.  This Program provides the participants the opportunity to mix with like-minded peers and future leaders at Melbourne University.  A tailored program of events and activities will support and enhance their secondary studies, inspire their career plans and provide opportunities to interact with the University community.  We congratulate Rudra on his achievement.

It’s been a very busy period for both our Primary and Secondary students, swimming carnivals, rehearsals, cultural events, visits by International music stars Alkistis Protopsaltis and Tassos Ioannides both a musician, educator and a children’s book writer.

Lonsdale Street Festival (Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February)

With all this happening inside our school we also prepare for the Antipodes Lonsdale Street Festival, a two-day event which will see some 80,0000 people descend on the CBD to celebrate all things Greek.  There will be many food options, musical performances, dancing groups and street stalls.  Our own students will be singing the national anthems on the main stage at the official opening in front of politicians, dignitaries, and special guests.  Our Greek band will also be performing on the main stage this Sunday.

The weather looks to be ideal for families to come celebrate the festival and also visit our school marquee.

Dr Vivianne Nikou
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2023 Open Day

From the Secondary School

Archaeology Incursion

Hands on Humanities 

Last week, our Year 7 and 8 students had the pleasure of participating in an incursion led by Dr. Sharyn Volk, an object-inspired learning specialist and archaeologist based at The University of Melbourne. 

 Dr. Volk is the founder of the Hands on Humanities program and has a passion for sharing her expertise with students.

During the incursion, our students had the opportunity to explore the role of archaeologists in understanding the past and to consider the ethical implications of displaying artefacts in museums. The discussions were lively and engaging, and our students came away with a deeper understanding of the importance of archaeology in our society. 

The Year 7 activity was designed to help students develop their observational and analytical skills when working with found objects. They began with everyday objects like lids, buttons, and shells, learning how to carefully observe and analyse each item. They then moved on to examining 2,000-year-old sherds, which allowed them to apply their newfound skills in a historical context. 

The Year 8 students ventured outside to put their learnings from last year’s incursion into practice. Dr. Volk started by explaining to the students that thousands of pot sherds are recovered on archaeological sites and that these sherds can reveal stories about the activities conducted in that location. She then directed students to mock archaeological sites and tasked them with sorting, examining, recording and then reconstructing the sherds of a pot.  

Our Year 7 and 8 students thoroughly enjoyed the incursions and gained a valuable insight into the work of archaeologists. We are grateful to Dr. Volk for sharing her expertise and inspiring our students to explore the field of archaeology further. 

Mr James Smith
Head of EHASS
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ACMI Excursion

On the 9th of February the Year 12 English as An Additional language class attended a special viewing of their Unit 3 text ‘Sunset Boulevard’ at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

The students were able to view the 1950’s Gothic Noir in its cinematic glory. This was followed by a lecture facilitated by the Education team at the ACMI, giving our students the historical and political insights into the mysterious era.

The students were able to extend their learning beyond that of our classroom through the cinematic film viewing and the lecture. It was lovely to see the students connect the ideas we have learnt in class to those of the lecture. The students have now taken ideas from the viewing and the lecture to implement into their own study of the VCE text. 

Ms Shirley Ke 
Secondary Mandarin and EAL Teacher
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The English Lab – ‘Starting the Year Right’ Session

We were very excited to welcome back Ben Taylor from The English Lab last week. With a background in English teaching and VCE exam marking, Ben is an expert in all things relating to the VCE English course.   

From sound advice on how to write the different types of essays the final English exam will demand of them, to practical ideas on how to best prepare for each style of question, the students were able to walk away with a range of strategies that, if properly utilised, will enable them to make the most of the year ahead.  

The students took full advantage of the Question and Answer portion of the session, as they made the most of Ben’s expertise and insider knowledge. It was fantastic to see them so engaged.  
We look forward to seeing Ben back later on in the year for his sessions on ‘Preparing for the GAT’ and ‘Final Preparations for the English Exam’.  

Ms Anna Milburn 
Head of Socrates and Secondary English Teacher  
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From the Primary School

From the Deputy Head of Primary

2023 Primary Student Leadership Training Workshop Morning 

On Monday, 30th January, the 2023 Primary School leaders attended a leadership workshop.  
The workshop covered the following themes;  

  • What makes a good leader? 
  • Opportunity to meet with the Alphington Grammar teacher/mentor for their role. 
  • Workshop covering practical leadership skills. 
  • Planning via the school calendar of major Primary School events this year. 

At the workshop’s conclusion, students had the opportunity to reflect on their roles and how to become effective leaders. I will hold follow-up sessions throughout the year to assist the students in their leadership journey.   

The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal  

In Term 4 2022, the Primary School supported the Salvation Army Christmas food drive. I want to thank all families who donated to the food drive. The Alphington Grammar families donated goods that ranged from Christmas presents, savory canned goods and high-end sweets. Our local liaison officer who is based in Preston, commented on the high quality of donated goods. The Primary School will continue to support social justice initiatives this year. Please keep an eye out for details in the bulletin later this year. 

Mr Luke Barnewall 
Deputy Head of Primary    
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Primary School Safer Internet Day

Australia’s Safer Internet Day provides an opportunity for schools around Australia to simultaneously talk about Cybersafety. Students throughout the Primary School completed activities designed to further develop their knowledge of how to stay safe online. 

Activities included: making posters, completing online quizzes, viewing slideshows and discussing strategies for developing strong passwords, avoiding scams and maintaining privacy.  

Here are some summaries of what students in various classes in the Primary school have focused on as part of their Cyber Safety Education.   

“In 6B we discussed what people might find if they searched for us online, and how we might feel about our digital footprint. Would we be proud? Embarrassed? Reluctant to show our parents? We surveyed each other to determine which digital platforms are commonly used in our class and talked about how important it is to be mindful of what we post online, and with whom we share information.” 
Ms Taffe 

“4A have been learning about safer internet use through reading comprehension and also design technology. Students were tasked to design a logo for safer internet day using their newly formed knowledge of the day and it’s meaning along with new learnings on logo designs from around the world. Students were inspired by popular logos such as Nike which was actually a Greek goddess who symbolised speed, movement, power and motivation. All Students designed creative new logos for the important day. It was a lovely success.”  
Ms Elliot  

“For Safer Internet Day 4B looked at how children can be safe online when responding and connecting to others. The lesson helped them to identify unsafe situations online and know to seek help or report situations. Many students learnt to be wary if someone asks them to do a favour for them, tells them they have a secret or offers to buy them gifts or give them items in a game. “ 
Mrs Ross  

Prep MV Cyber Safety

“Cyber safety is an essential aspect of our digital lives, especially for children growing up in a world filled with technology. In Prep MV students learnt about the difference between analogue and digital devices, as well as how to use technology in a safe and responsible way.” 
Ms Venneri 

Teachers were all impressed with the knowledge of their students, even those in the younger years. We need to remember that Cyber safety is everyone’s responsibility. The following website is an extremely useful resource for parents, providing information, guides and parent webinars. Cyber safety is an ongoing issue for all of us and needs frequent revisiting if we are to protect our children.   

Ms Dianne Downey 
Primary Numeracy/ICT and ASPIRE Coordinator 
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Whole School

From the Sport Department

Term 1 has seen an impressive start to the 2023 PE Faculty’s Life-long Physical Activity Enrichment Program. AGS Swim Squad has welcomed unprecedented participation with 32 student’s turning up to launch the program, all with enthusiasm and big smiles despite the early morning wake up times. AGS Swim Squad welcomes swimmers of all abilities to join the squad. Sign-ups are ongoing for those still interested. Please see the registration form located in the weekly Bulletin.  

AGS Swim Squad lessons take place on the following days: 

  • Tuesday mornings from 7.15am – 8.30am at Ivanhoe Aquatic Banyule 25m Indoor Pool (170 Waterdale Road, Ivanhoe). 
  • Thursday mornings from 7.15am – 8.30am at Ivanhoe Aquatic Banyule 25m Indoor Pool (170 Waterdale Road, Ivanhoe).  

Primary Swimming Trials  

Wednesday 15th February saw a great turnout with 33 Primary students volunteering to partake in Primary swimming trials. Introduction of swimming trials brought about positive change which allowed Primary students to participate on a voluntary basis, and the opportunity to select which stroke they wanted to compete in. The day was a success, with many PB’s obtained, and the selection of a swim team to be announced in the coming weeks.  

House Swimming Carnival – Friday 17 February

Friday 17th February was dedicated to AGS’ annual House Swimming Carnival for all Secondary students. With the weather being on our side, it was truly a fantastic day to compete. The house spirit from the sidelines was remarkable, with many students enthusiastically participating in events all in the name of winning house points. With a special mention to the Year 7 cohort, who had a large number of students participating in multiple events, with some students even racing in higher age groups.  

Placing 4th was Byron, despite this result, Byron students showed great grit and dedication.  
3rd place was taken out by Pericles who showed the importance of never giving up. 
The battle for 1st place was exceptionally close with only 33 points being the decider. Socrates showed grace in being awarded 2nd place, losing out to reigning champions Aristotle.  
True house spirit and camaraderie has led Aristotle to winning AGS’ annual House Swimming Carnival for the 8th year in a row.  
As Head of the PE, Sport & Health Department, I would like to personally thank and acknowledge the following students for their exceptional participation and abilities on the day: 
Ashleigh Tunchon Award – Ellaina Arabatzis Aristotle  
Tom Pappas Award – Jeremey Spiteri Aristotle  

Ella Spiteri 
Elaina Arabatzis 
Jeremy Spiteri 
Archie Briggs 

Byron MVPs 
Simon Wrench 
Mio Maglen Machado  
Esme Johnson 
Georgia Bianchin 

Pericles MVP’s 
Amaya Mahon  
Georgia Skliros 
Paul Savopoulos 
Reuben Hay 

Socrates MVPs: 
Charlotte Siega 
Maddie Ball 
Joel Paraskevas 
Andrew Galanopoulos  

The AGS PE Faculty are excited to announce former Olympic athlete, Craig Mottram, has returned to AGS this year to run the athletics program. The program commenced last week and saw over 30 students attend. With the goal to work towards athletic competitions, all students are invited to register.  

All training is completed on school campus and takes place on the following days: 

  • Training Day 1: Mondays 3.45 – 5.00pm 
  • Training Day 2: Wednesdays 7.30 – 8.30am 
  • Training Day 3: Fridays 7.30 – 8.30am 

NOTE: A Healthy breakfast will be provided by the AGS Canteen for Wednesday & Friday morning sessions. 

Watch the Video from Craig Mottram on what it is about!!   

Year 7-9 Athletics Program – Beginning Week 5 

Commencing in Week 5 of Term 1, all students from Years 7-9 will be participating in their annual Athletics Program. These sessions will be completed during their scheduled PE lessons, and will involve instruction and training from several sporting Professionals. The program will run from Weeks 5-10.  

Students will develop and refine a range of athletics techniques, as well as continue to build on basic aspects of each athletic event and adopt new skills and strategies to improve performance. Students will keep a record of their achievements for each event and note any improvements as they learn and undertake more advanced techniques.  

Dates have been added to the bulletin of when students from Years 7-9 will travel to Collingwood Athletics Track (George Knott Athletic Field, Heidelberg Rd, Clifton Hill VIC 3068) to have their PE classes on the track. Students will travel to and from the venue by bus and will return for their scheduled classes as normal.  

Week 5 Athletics Dates 

Primary District Tennis Round Robin 

On Monday 20th February, 4 primary students competed at the District Tennis Round Robin. The students performed extremely well and should be proud of their efforts.  
A massive congratulations goes to Athanasia Kerasiotis who has made it to the Primary Tennis Division carnival, which will be held on Monday 20th March 2023.  

Well done to all 4 Primary students: 

  1. Adel Decknache  
  2. Aiden Spedding  
  3. Athanasia Kerasiotis   
  4. Emmanuelle Batsakis   
Ms Rahme
Head of Sport, Health and PE
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From the LOTE Department


What a wonderful time was had by all, this past Tuesday afternoon! Students in Prep all the way to Year 7 enthusiastically embraced the spirit of Karnavali or Carnival. There were clowns, pirates, tradies, basketball and soccer players, mad scientists, superheroes, gods and goddesses, and even a Roman gladiator. 

Karnavali or Carnival in any culture is a period of celebration, heralding Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the last chance for frivolity before the serious period of Lent begins. 

It was lovely to see mixed aged groups participating in a rotation of fun activities, which culminated in a series of costume parades.  

And what a treat to have the team at LoukoumadesGR prepare hundreds of loukoumades (Greek doughnuts) for us. 

Well done to everyone! 

Alkistis Protopsalti visits Alphington Grammar School  

Renowned Greek singer Ms Alkistis Protopsalti visited our school on Thursday and treated us to a wonderful performance of some of her songs. She happily answered questions in a Q and A session and posed for many photos. 

Our Greek band and their teacher, Mr Nicholas Kapralos, together with Mr Ewen Baker, performed for the singer and her musicians, as well as the audience of students, staff and parents. They concluded with one of her own songs, which truly impressed and moved her. 

We look forward to seeing Ms Protopsalti perform live on Saturday night at the main stage at the Lonsdale Street Antipodes Festival. 

Year 3 students meet composer Tassos Ioannidis 

Ms Anita Kolaitis’ Year 3 Greek class had a special visitor to their class on Friday afternoon, in the form of renowned composer Mr Tassos Ioannidis. The students collaborated with Mr Ioannidis last year, when they drew pictures inspired by Mr Ioannidis’ song lyrics, which he will animate for his Lahana Hahana ERT children’s show.  

During the visit, Mr Ioannidis admired the students’ work and spoke with them about music and language. 

The Greek Band performed a song for the group, which was hugely admired by Mr Ioannidis. 

Footage of the visit will also be aired on ERT, Greece’s public broadcasting station. We look forward to seeing the program go to air in the near future. 

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

From the Finance Office

Please note that the invoice run for the second payment will be issued early this week. The due date for payment will be 24 February 2023.

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

Upcoming Events

Term Dates 2023

Semester 1 Key Dates - Secondary

Semester 1 Key Dates - Primary