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Alpha News 2023, Term 2, Week 8

Term 2, Week 8 2023


From the Principal

I recently had the opportunity to take some of my sabbatical leave entitlements and took the chance to join a tour group travelling to Sardinia, Sicily and Malta.  There were 36 in the group mostly retired educators, 4 from the nursing and mental health sector, a barrister and 2 classical musicians from the South Australian Symphony Orchestra.

The group had a rather intensive 3 weeks travelling across the 3 regions visiting and learning more about these culturally rich and diverse communities.  Despite the cooler than normal weather for this time of year and the hectic pace day in day out, our spirits were not dampened as we visited multiple historic sites and learnt more about the colonisation and invasion of these areas from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, Spanish, French and the English.  The wealth and vastness of churches, cathedrals, palaces, monasteries and temples contrasted vastly to the agricultural activity we experienced first had.  We tasted some of the best wine, cheeses, arancini, cold meats and home made breads imaginable working alongside artisans and masters of crafts sadly now dying out.

With some 48% unemployment in places like Sicily and a declining birthrate, Southern Italy is facing its fair shar of economic struggles while Malta with a population of some half a million people has under 3% unemployment and benefitting from a massive tourism boom which sees some 80,000 extra employees coming into Malta to work during the summer season.  The wealth between the two countries was vast.

As our Years 9 and 10 students will be exploring Sicily this August and September as part of the International Gateways program to London, Rome and Greece. My Sabbatical game me the opportunity to confirm things on the ground before our students and staff visit late August and September this year.

Thank you to the Heads of School:  Mrs Tracey Nicholson and Mr Lukas Silver along with all the staff for managing operational matters here at School so that I could undertake this experience and bring back the latest information for our International Gateways program after 3 years of suspending the international component.  What a wonderful experience awaits them. 

Grandparents and Special Friends Day

At Alphington Grammar School we value the special relationship our grandparents bring to the educational journey.  I was delighted that so many grandparents joined us to help demonstrate their love and support of our young children. Grandparents and Special Friends spent time with the classroom teachers and then were treated to morning tea and student performances.

Developing strong relationships between grandparents and grandchildren like reading, phone calls, sharing of school work, a cooking lesson, a walk to the park, helping grandparents in the garden. That personal contact, where possible face to face and now, through social media especially when children are travelling and are away from their Grandparents is something very special the various generations all share. 

This all builds bonds of love and friendship between the generations and demonstrates more strongly the meaning of “family”. 

With many families now having both parents working it is often the grandparents who step up to support and help raise the next generation.  Grandparents are very often role models and mentors for younger generations.  Family traditions get passed on, grandparents teach values, instilling ethnic heritage, and are often the glue that holds the various generations together.

Children often have unconditional love in their relationships with Grandparents, which benefits them emotionally and adds to their sense of connectedness. Grandparents too, can take on a different role to the one they played when raising their own children.  

I hope all our guests enjoyed their morning in the classroom, the morning tea and the entertainment.

Thank you everyone for being part of this special day.

I congratulate all our students who joined us to perform in the music and poetry items.

I extend a special thank you to our Parents and Friends Association members who have volunteered their time today to set up of the Andrianakos Centre and of course who helped to pack everything up at the end. Thank you to Brooke Koutroulis and her staff in the Canteen for their coordination of the delicious food we have shared. 

I extend a special thank you to Mrs Tracey Nicholson, Assistant Principal and Head of Primary for coordinating the activities with classroom teachers and her incredible creativity and also to then go on to oversee the Primary School Disco that evening.

Happy Grandparent and Special Friends Day everyone.

End of Term

This will be the last newsletter for the term as we only have one week of this term to go.  The Secondary School will see many year levels on Community Service week, Metropolis activities, Work Experience or Exam week.

I take this opportunity to congratulate all students and staff on a very productive and full semester.

Semester Holidays

Monday 26 June to Friday 30 June 2023 – Office Hours 9.00am to 3.00pm

Monday 3 July to Friday 7 July 2023 – Normal Office Hours

All students return to School on Tuesday 11 July 2023.

Dr Vivianne Nikou 
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From the Assistant Principal, Head of Primary

It has been an eventful final few weeks of Term 2 and our students and staff have been hard at work both in and out of the classroom but have also managed to have some fun along the way.

On Friday June 9th, staff and students hosted Grandparents and Special Friends in our classrooms. This much-loved annual event has been interrupted by COVID in recent years, but we certainly made up for it this year.

We had over 200 people in attendance, and they enjoyed a range of activities in the classrooms from art and craft to games and trivia. It was wonderful to see the generations having fun together and an opportunity for our students to share the school experience, which is such a big part of their lives. 

When the classroom visits were over our guests headed over to hall for morning tea and entertainment. We had a fantastic team of mums who helped us set up the hall, distribute the food and serve the tea and coffee. Without their help it would not have happened!  

Our students then took to the stage to entertain with poetry and song performances, which were enthusiastically received by the audience. A huge thank you to all our staff, students and volunteers on the day, and to our canteen manger, Brooke Koutroulis, for providing the lovely morning tea.

As if we had not had enough excitement for one day, the PFA held a Primary School Disco on Friday evening. We all put on our shiny clothes and accessories and headed over to the Andrianakos Centre for some ‘Bop ‘til you Drop’ action.

Our ELC-Year 2 students enjoyed dancing and games at the earlier session, while the students in Years 3-6 had a fabulous time in the later session. 

Although it was a cold night, the hall was absolutely buzzing and jackets and jumpers were discarded as the dancing continued. Students enjoyed their popcorn snack and water, had photos in the photo booth area, wore their glowsticks happily and generally had a great time. There was karaoke, dance games, friendship and lots of laughter.

It was a lovely way to round off the week and a lot of fun. Thanks again to Brooke Koutroulis for her organization of this, and to PFA members and to staff who gave up their Friday evening to help supervise the students. 

Mrs Tracey Nicholson
Assistant Principal, Head of Primary
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Recent Publications

Flowerdale Autumn 2023: Across Generations

The most recent edition of our school magazine, Flowerdale Autumn 2023: Across Generations, 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. Physical copies are available to browse in the school Library or Front Office.

From the Secondary School

Year 9 Humanities Research Report

“For Humanities this term, we needed to research the life of veteran Private Alexander Chiffith in the early 20th century and then create a documentary script and video with our findings. This required us to engage with and analyse a range of both primary and secondary sources such as online databases, photos of his burial site, archives, and government records. We also needed to research the historical background of the time period in which Alexander Chiffith lived, so that we can understand how the events and social conditions shaped his life decisions and experiences. We then critically analysed and contextualised our historical evidence and made connections between different pieces of information to write his life story. 

To summarize our findings: Private Alexander Chiffith was a Greek immigrant who left his war-torn homeland due to having no family commitments and a lack of work opportunities. He sought purpose, a wage, and a chance to contribute to the war effort and embarked to Australia, enlisting in the army during WOLRD War I. Chiffith fought in the infamous Battle of the Somme and was wounded in action, and he succumbed to his injuries at the age of 24. It was tragic to learn that no one claimed his medals. It also highlights the sad fact that Alexander Chiffith was only one of thousands of soldiers who were never recognised and acknowledged for their sacrifices.”

Sotirios Tsianakas, Year 9 
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Chess Tournament

On Thursday 8th June, I took a team of secondary students to represent AGS at a chess interschool zonal tournament at Australian International Academy. The event was run by Northern Star Chess. Francis Hogan, Geoff Choo, Hugh Goodyear, Finn Reynolds, Ethan Yee, Matteo Dobson, Nikhil Jhamb, Chris Donis, Ben Spaziani, Andrew Moses, Jamie Karamanidis, Nihan Karunathilaka, Lucas Efthimiou, Alekzander Ioannou and Alexander Cavedon all volunteered to compete. It was a good day and our students showed good sportsmanship and were fine representatives of our school.

Several students qualified for the Northern Star Chess State Finals (Nikhil Jhamb and Andrew Moses), congratulations to them!

The next tournament will be held on August 8th at Alphington Grammar School. Both Primary and Secondary students will be eligible to compete, and it would be great to have as many students representing AGS as possible. I will send out more information soon.

Mr Max White  
Secondary Chess Coordinator  
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Visual Arts House Cup and 1st Competition Announcement!

Introducing the Visual Arts House Cup! It is an event that contains a number of visual art competitions that will run throughout the year. This is an attempt to balance house point distribution across different academic areas.

For the remainder of the year, we will be running 3 more visual art competitions that will contribute points to the Visual Arts House Cup. Each individual competition will have a set number of points allocated to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th  place as well as all participants. We will then take all of these points and calculate an overall winner!

The Visual Arts House Cup will obviously need a trophy, so with this in mind, the first competition student’s will be tasked with is creating the Visual Arts House Cup Trophy! This is a sculpture-based task where you can either create a trophy from scratch using wood, foam board, pipe cleaners, clay, cardboard or other suitable materials, or you could create the trophy using found objects that may relate to art such as paint brushes or palettes. You could then paint/spray paint them, stick them together and alter them in any way you like. See image for some ideas and inspiration.

The winning student’s sculpture/trophy will be used as the actual Visual Arts House Cup!

Mr Michael Grigoriadis 
Visual Arts Coordinator
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AGS Environment Club

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of World Environment Day – 3 Days, 3 events

Over the last week, AGS has been involved in activities and events celebrating World Environment Day. World Environment Day is an annual, international event where we celebrate ecosystems around the world, as well as the work organisations are making around the world to preserving biodiversity. 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, with the first one being held in 1973. Over the course of three days, we participated in and organised events for the school. 

Darebin Creek Tour

On Friday the June 2, we organised an event along the Darebin Creek Trail in which students got to learn about how the local creek’s biodiversity has changed over time, and what are some of the modern threats to the creek that have been emerging as a result.

This event, which was held during lunchtime, included members of the AGS Environment Club as well as other students from different year levels in the school. We had the privilege to be toured by the Education Officer for the Darebin Creek Management Committee, Peter, who outlined the step-by-step process of revegetating the creek along with a detailed explanation of the main problem along the creek, stormwater pollution.

Furthermore, the AGS Environment Club also created a poster display in the library to raise awareness about our local environment. Many students said that the tour was informative in uncovering the unknown consequences of urbanisations and human impact on the environment, but also of the rich history of the creek and its significance.

“I decided to join the tour because I am interested in the local geography around the school and how [wildlife] are affected by pollution.  I learnt that the Darebin Creek Management Committee is putting in effort and building shelter for local wildlife in the area, and I also learnt a lot about the history of the creek.”

Alexander Dunn, Year 8

Whittlesea Youth Environment Summit

At the 2023 Whittlesea Youth Environment Summit held in South Morang, it was clear the environment wasn’t the only topic being discussed. A Graphic Reporter was present at the event drawing key information that was stated on the front panel. We were being interrogated!

Alright, that last sentence couldn’t be further from the truth – June 5 turned out to be a fantastic time for everyone in the Environment Club.

The 2023 Youth Summit saw the Environment Club representing Alphington Grammar School alongside 18 other schools and 220 young, passionate environmentalists all eager to gain key knowledge into environmental sustainability. The venue, giving off the mood of a fancy wedding, provided all of us with lots of fun entertainment throughout the day, while four informative sessions were held to celebrate World Environment Day. These consisted of an open mic Q&A with six environmental experts (including Rudra Sekhri, one of our School Captains), an insight into the various school projects to protect the environment (including our own project involving our work on the Darebin Creek), a workshop teaching everyone about innovation techniques, and another workshop for schools to create their own pledges, with Alphington Grammar School making two pledges to:

  1. Continue our efforts in restoring biodiversity along the creek through nesting boxes and planting events; and
  2. Focus more on raising awareness about the issue of waste and its management.

That was followed by a movie called “Regenerating Australia”, a short movie showing a potential future if everyone plays their part and takes action. 

“The information the City of Whittlesea provided was eye opening, and the guest speakers were very knowledgeable in their fields. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested about learning about the environment. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m also excited about next year”.

Matteo Dobson, Year 7

These efforts were being recognised by state ministers as well who were there at the event, including the State MP for Thomastown Hon. Bronwyn Halfpenny as well as the State Minister for Environment Hon. Lily D’ Ambrosio. The Hon. Lily D’ Ambrosio has invited Rudra Sekhri to share the school’s efforts along the Darebin Creek in an event on Friday 16 June.

House Bake-Off Competition/Sale

On Tuesday 6th June, the AGS Environment Club, along with the help of Mrs Milburn, Mr Panara and many wonderful bakers, organised a house bake off competition, with the aim of raising as much money as possible in celebration of World Environment Day.

We had nineteen students bake something and bring it to school, and thanks to the support and energy of all the secondary school students during recess and lunchtime, the school raised over $600 in donations.

“I decided to bake because I think that the safety of our environment is super important, and we should be doing everything we can to protect it. I think we should protect the environment because this planet provides us with so much to help us live, such as food and water, and preserving that is key in protecting ourselves and the wildlife and nature around us.”

Freya Monk, Year 10 student

These donations will be donated to Trust for Nature, a Victorian organisation that aims to protect and restore native Victorian ecosystems across Victoria. They achieve their mission by working with private landowners (since the majority of land in Victoria is privately owned) to restore biodiversity in crucial areas around Victoria. For more information about the organisation, please visit –

Overall, the three days were amazing, as we continued to learn so much about the Darebin Creek, but also had the opportunity to raise awareness about such issues to other students as well. But most importantly, these three days showed us that collaboration is key to success in action. We as a school community can come together to take action on any issue we want, and it starts with passion.

Rudra Sekhri, Year 12
AGS Environment Club Facilitator
Blake Taylor 
AGS Environment Club Facilitator
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Whole School

From the Sports Faculty


We are thrilled to announce Konstantinos Kalathenos’ remarkable success at the regional cross country event held on Wednesday, June 14. Demonstrating exceptional talent and determination, Dean secured a spot in the top 5 runners, a remarkable accomplishment. His outstanding performance has earned him the opportunity to compete in the state championships early in Term 3. It’s worth noting that only a select few AGS primary students have achieved such impressive results in our schools history. Konstantinos’s achievement is a testament to his hard work and dedication, and we couldn’t be prouder of his accomplishments. 

Congratulations, Konstantinos, and best of luck in the upcoming state championships!

Emmanuelle Batsakis- Team Vic AFLW Under 12s

We are delighted to share the exciting news of Emmanuelle Batsakis‘ extraordinary achievement: she has been selected to represent AGS in the highly competitive Team Vic AFLW Under 12s.

This outstanding achievement is a testament to Emmanuelle’s unwavering commitment and hard work. The entire AGS community is incredibly proud of her dedication and talent. As she prepares for the tournament held in Albury later this year, we send our best wishes and utmost support. Emmanuelle’s journey thus far serves as an inspiration to her peers, showcasing the rewards of perseverance and passion. We applaud Emmanuelle’s exceptional achievement and eagerly await her future successes. Well done, Emmanuelle!

Term 3 Primary Events

Make sure to read the upcoming bulletin for more information on these exciting programs and events. We look forward to your support and involvement in making Term 3 an unforgettable experience for our primary students.

  • Prep – 2 Gymnastics
  • 3/4 Swimming
  • 5/6 Interschool Sport Term 3
  • Primary House Athletics
  • No Running Club in Term 3 – coming back in Term 4
  • PE Classes Changes

Secondary House Volleyball Competition

AGS is buzzing with excitement as we celebrate the remarkable success of our House Volleyball competition, which showcased the outstanding talent and sportsmanship within our AGS community. The competition was skillfully organised and conducted during lunchtime by our dedicated Sports Captain, who ensured that the event ran smoothly and efficiently. 

In the Senior Competition, the final match was an exhilarating showdown between Byron and the undefeated Socrates. The tension was intense as both teams demonstrated their exceptional skills and teamwork. Ultimately, Byron emerged victorious in a thrilling game that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

We extend our warmest congratulations to Byron for their remarkable triumph in the House Volleyball competition. Their hard work and perseverance paid off, and their victory is well-deserved. We also commend Socrates for their outstanding performance throughout the tournament.

Well done to all the students who showcased their skills and passion on the court. Your commitment and enthusiasm are truly inspiring. We eagerly anticipate the next sporting event and look forward to witnessing more remarkable displays of talent from our AGS community.

Term 3 Secondary Events

Make sure to read the upcoming bulletin for more information on these exciting programs and events. We look forward to your support and involvement in making Term 3 an unforgettable experience for our secondary students.

  • Year 7 Term 3 Interschool Sport
  • Year 8/9 Term 3 Interschool
  • Sport
  • Senior Term 3 Sport
  • EISM Division 3 Cross Country
  • Running Club returns week 1 Term 3

Resilience Project Part 3

This next presentation from The Resilience Project is all about Empathy and Kindness. 

Empathy is our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others to feel and see what they do. We practice this through being kind and compassionate towards other people.

Brain imaging data shows that being kind to others registers in the brain as more like eating chocolate than like fulfilling an obligation to do what’s right (e.g. eating brussel sprouts)!

Research shows that practicing empathy, such as performing acts of kindness, taps into our brain’s ‘mirror neurons’, builds compassion and our behaviour becomes more social and community-based.

View Part 3 of the series below.

Part 3 – Empathy:

Here’s an activity to practise empathy and kindness:

Reflect on someone in your life who could benefit from an act of kindness today. It could be a friend who would love some affirmation about their work, your pet who deserves an extra treat, or a family member who would love a phone call or text message.

Make a plan for who you are going to gift an act of kindness to, and what you are going to do.

If you want to add accountability to your plan, share it with someone else and encourage them to do the same thing.

Follow up with each other in a few days’ time, to ask how it went!

Sources: Psychology Today, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science

For mental health resources and support information, visit The Resilience Project’s Support Page.

Olivia Rahme  
Head of Sport, PE and Health
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From the LOTE Faculty

Promoting Connection to Culture in the Early Years

A celebratory theme has been the focus of our ELC Greek Immersion program during the last few weeks, with the children sharing their own favourite birthday experiences. The children have been learning Greek party songs, dances and games. Last Wednesday the children had to follow a recipe in Greek to bake and decorate their own party cupcakes. We then put on a special birthday party for all our favourite toys, and of course ate our delicious cupcakes!

Last week we also received an exciting and important announcement for our Greek Immersion Program- the 2023-24 State Budget has allocated an additional $23.9 million to extend the Early Childhood Language Program until 30 June 2027. This is wonderful news for our ELC Greek Immersion Program, as we will continue to receive funding to implement our thriving program until June 2027! The announcement comes following the overwhelming success of the program since its inception. 

We are proud of the fact that our very own ELC Greek Immersion program has been one of the success stories that has contributed to this positive outcome- a huge win for language learning in the early years!

Alphington Grammar students on Greek TV

Last year, our Year 2 Greek classes illustrated the lyrics to a song by composer Tassos Ioannidis. Mr Ioannidis visited our school when in Australia earlier this year. It was wonderful to meet the composer of the song, who also has his own children’s show on state television station ERT, aimed at young children.

Please click on the link to see the episode our students feature in. Begin at around 4.45. It starts with footage of our students drawing their pictures and then goes to the illustrated and animated song. Well done, students, on your beautiful pictures!

Click from 41.40 to see our very own Atticus and Yana Horn talking about life in Australia!

Some fun and games in Chinese classes

The Year 7s have had a long couple of weeks coming back from camp and production. In celebration and as a fun and interactive way of applying the language we have learnt in Chinese the past half year, the Year 7 classes recently went out for a game of “Giant’s treasure” and the Chinese version of “Red Light, Green Light”.  We utilised all the number skills and basic stop and start commands we have learnt over the course of the year so far. It was fun and exciting to see the Year 7s applying the knowledge we have learnt in an environment outside the classroom! 
Thank you to Ms Shirley Ke and Mr Ming Lei.

School holiday fun ideas 
With the school holidays coming up, take the opportunity to do one or more of the following activities:

Early Years- check your local library for their multicultural storytime sessions. See the links below for just some of those offered at Merri Bek Libraries and Eastern Regional Libraries:

Primary and Junior Secondary- Student workshops in ancient seafaring and traditional Greek puppetry are happening at the Hellenic Museum these holidays. Click on the link for more information:

All students- a visit to the National Gallery or to the Chinese or Hellenic Museums are a great way to find out more about these two ancient civilisations.

Ms Effie Bindevis
Primary Greek Coordinator
Ms Denise Diakodimitriou
Head of LOTE 
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Canteen Menu

For the full Term 2 menu, Click Here.

Upcoming Events

Art Classes

Sporting Minds

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.
Program 1: 26 – 28 June
Program 2: 5 – 7 July

All programs are run by Alphington Grammar PE teachers Mr Andrew Diviny and Mr Blair Runnalls.

To find out more or to book, visit the website:

More Than Football

Term Dates 2023

Semester 1 Key Dates - Secondary

Semester 1 Key Dates - Primary