A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

This week I’d like to share with you a reflection given by Year 12 student Lukas Giannatos (Chapel Server) at the commencement of the Secondary School House Colours Assembly yesterday.

We gather as a school today to honour those who have achieved much in active participation and promotion of their House, in many and various activities, consistently over a number of years.

As such, we recognise their achievement and contribution to the atmosphere and community that is Brighton Grammar. It is right that we give thanks to God for their commitment and zeal, the way in which it enriches all our lives.

At the same time, today our society, country and region is clouded, even for some overwhelmed, by the gun violence that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand last Friday.

Though the attack was targeted at two mosques, the incident was not about religion. It was an expression of hatred, intolerance and a refusal to allow others to have equal worth and dignity. It has been described as the action of a coward who took the opportunity to inflict suffering on innocent individuals who were at prayer and then to run when challenged.

At Brighton Grammar, as Tonners, we affirm that everyone has the right to be respected, encouraged and cared for. In simple practical terms, it means the right to learn without hindrance or interference. In response to the senseless evil that has taken place, we can commit ourselves to act with more compassion and understanding, rejecting violence as a means of resolving differences.

Students from various schools in Christchurch turned to their culture and performed a haka as a way to express their support and comfort to the bereaved.

I now ask you to express your support – your solidarity – with the students and others who have died, with all who now suffer as a consequence of this violence.

Please stand and observe a minute of silence; be still, bow your head.

Living God, hear our prayer for those who are touched by this evil act, heal their wounds, give them courage for the future in the sure knowledge that they are not alone and that this act does not reflect the will of all.

May we in whatever way we can assist and help, committing ourselves to work for the good of all.

With those of every faith we pray.  Amen.


From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

Our Year 5 boys enjoyed their Outdoor Education experience at Camp Howqua. It is rewarding to see the boys respond to the various challenges they face whilst on their journey: homesickness, change to routine, different food and sleeping arrangements and activities that may take them out of their comfort zone.  These experiences build the boys’ resilience and they have great support from the staff and their friends. The boys enjoyed a variety of activities: flying fox, high ropes, survival course, disc golf, orienteering with the highlight being the river journey and overnight camp out. Thank you to Jacqui Stenniken, Cindy van Dijk, Michael Stephens and Hamish Leahy for their additional commitment whilst away with the boys. I also appreciate the leadership of the Outdoor Education staff: David Gemmell, Carly West and Nathan O’Malley.

National Day of Action Against Bullying
Last Friday we celebrated National Day of Action Against Bullying.  The boys participated in a variety of activities; they all received a Bullying. No Way! wristband and our Circle Time focus has engaged the boys in conversations on the theme of Bullying. In Assembly, we focused on the definition of bullying…

Is it bullying?

  • When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s rude.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s mean.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it, even when you tell them to stop or show them that you’re upset, that’s bullying.


Junior School happenings and reminders

  • Our first Ute Full of Food for this year will be held tomorrow. Brighton Grammar has a long-standing commitment to supporting St Mark’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy. All food items will be transported by the ‘Ute’ to St Mark’s, where it is distributed to needy families. Dried pasta; tinned meats, vegetables and fruits; breakfast foods; tea and coffee – would be much appreciated. The ‘Ute’ will leave the Junior School at 9.00am. Items particularly requested are: breakfast cereals, sugar, jams and spreads, pasta and pasta sauce, rice, noodles, biscuits, tins of vegetables, fruit and fish are particularly welcome, meals-in-a-can, toilet paper, bathroom supplies. Given that some of St Mark’s clients are street people and often sleep rough, ring-pull cans are preferable; they don’t always have access to can openers or cutlery. Our generosity is certainly appreciated.
  • JPG Easter Raffle & Donations – Each boy is asked to contribute an Easter egg for the raffle. Other donations of any type of Easter items (bunnies, chickens, fluffy toys, baskets etc.) are most welcome. More information available on the JPG Easter Raffle Poster.
  • Raffle tickets sales will commence on Wednesday 20 March through to Monday 1 April.  Boys from Prep to Year 6 will be able to purchase from the playground before school or by placing tickets in an envelope in the box at reception.  A ticket collection box is also available in the ELC. You can print off the raffle tickets from the flyer. The raffle will be drawn on Friday 5 April.


Student achievements
Congratulations to the following boys who represented BGS at the EMR Swimming last week:

  • William Tan who recorded a PB in the 910 years 50m Freestyle 
  • William Tan, Ronnie Xu, Luke Kollmorgen and Mitchell Carney winning a silver medal in the 910 years 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay team.


From the Director of the Early Learning Centre – Amelia Barrow

Peace and Harmony in the ELC

This week the ELC has been buzzing with excitement in preparation for our Harmony Day Celebrations. The boys have been rehearsing their class songs and we have had joint singing as well. Also, each class has enjoyed focusing on a variety of experiences and learning opportunities to understand more about the different cultures we have in the Centre.

With Harmony Day celebrations today, the Centre was at its best. Boys arrived dressed up in their costumes, either from their own background or one of interest. Staff joined in the celebrations too and the excitement could barely be contained before our performance in the G B Robertson Hall. What a delicious array of cultural treats our ELC4 families brought. We would like to thank the Wallaby and Bandicoot parents for their support in providing morning tea.

Each class enthusiastically performed a chosen song for their parents and friends, and without fail, they provided much entertainment for us all. You really notice the difference in confidence between the ELC3 and ELC4 boys this early in the year . That being said, we had some stand-out moments from both year levels! We would like to thank all of our ELC families for supporting such a wonderful week of celebrations.

The Easter Holiday Program for our Long Day Care boys will be placed in the boys’ lockers. We ask that you read through and return the attached form to either Kirstie McCormick or myself before the end of term. A reminder that boys can attend in casual clothes. If you have any questions, please ask Kirstie.

We look forward to our last two weeks of term being jam-packed before our Easter holiday break.


This week’s parenting tip – How to talk to your son about the Christchurch tragedy

The Christchurch massacre is one of the most extreme acts of terrorism the world has seen in recent times. Parents and caregivers may struggle to explain this tragedy to their young children, many of whom are already grappling with high levels of anxiety about the state of their world. It is important to put this event into context for children of all ages.

Although we cannot control what happens in our world, we can choose the way we respond. There are a number of resources available to parents that may assist when having conversations around what has occurred, including this SchoolTV Special Report by adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg. Further information is available in this article by Michael Grose.


Teaching and learning

Pi Day

The Year 6 boys enjoyed the annual celebration of the mathematical constant on 14 March (3/14). They learnt about the symbol and how to apply it in a formula when measuring the circumference of a circle including the meat pies they measured and ate! It was a great chance to have fun in Maths and remind the boys that when mathematics is applied to real life situations, it becomes more meaningful.  Special congratulations to Jackson Zhao 6D who can recite the digits of Pi to 52 decimal places.


Bullying. No Way!

Over the course of the week, 6 Investigator undertook a number of activities to highlight the importance of standing up to bullies and discussed strategies to deal with them.  One of the key learning outcomes from our work was finding that bullying was not one action taken against someone but any mean or nasty action that is meant to hurt someone that is repeated over and over again.  On our visit to the Wellbeing Centre, we discussed actions that we could take if we were being bullied or saw someone being bullied and made a poster using our hands to list some of these strategies.  Just as importantly, we then undertook this activity with our buddies in Prep Fivedale and added their hands to our display.  Chatting to our buddies about taking a stand against bullying was a very rewarding conclusion to our week. 

Year 5 Outdoor Education

Last Tuesday, 86 excitable boys gathered on the tennis courts ready to take on new experiences and discover the delights of Camp Howqua. The purpose of sending the Year 5s on this Outdoor Education trip is to prepare them for future BGS journeys, push them outside their comfort zones and create new friendships. Each boy had his own activity he was excited for and was aware of challenges that he may have had to overcome elsewhere. It was pleasing to see the boys supporting one another in order to find success.

As teachers, it is rewarding to see our students try new things and persevere when confronted with an issue. Walking around the camp was thrilling; boys has smiles on their faces from ear to ear, you could hear screams of joy coming from the flying fox and the river walk and see the nerves disappear as soon as boys walked out on the high ropes tightrope. The survivor course was ready to welcome each boy as they tried to balance their way along a swinging bridge before jumping into the mud pit.

Camp Howqua is a highlight for Year 5s and it’s not difficult to see why. Congratulations to all boys on a wonderful camp and a big thank you to all staff for their efforts throughout the week.


BGS Snowsports

Welcome back for the 2019 BGS Snowsports season!

The BGS Snowsports team is a participation-based group of boys that all share a love for snow sports in their various forms including: alpine skiing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing. 

We are looking for enthusiastic BGS boys to join in the fun and be part of the team.  Boys who have previously represented BGS in snowsports will know how much fun this is and we are very keen to encourage the involvement of new boys regardless of their current ability level. 

The Victorian Interschool Championships, to be held at Mt Buller from 19 to 25 August 2019 (cross country events on 4 August 2019) and have events which cater for boys from Prep — Year 12.  A timetable of events and further information is available here.

There are many different disciplines of snowsports and for 2019, we are keen to encourage boys to try more than one form of skiing or snowboarding. 

To help the boys to do this, BGS Snowsports will be arranging lessons and ‘try out’ days for those who are interested in expanding their snow experience and just having fun.

Please register your interest for BGS Snowsports by 31 March 2019.

If you have any questions, or are uncertain about what is involved, please contact Troy Gendala on 0407 546 440, or Mathew Steed, TIC Snowsports.


2019 Camps, Sports and Excursions Funding

The Victorian Government Department of Education and Training (Vic DET) has announced that applications for the Camps, Sport and Excursions Fund (CSEF) for 2019 are now open. Applications close 21 June 2019.

The CSEF was introduced by the Victorian Government in 2015 to replace the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). CSEF aims to provide financial support to schools, to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school camps, sports events and excursions.

If you think your son may be eligible, more information on Camps, Sports and Excursions Funding is available here.


English conversation volunteers

The Ministry of St Andrew’s has responded to the growing number of migrants in the area by offering a weekly English Conversation Group. The aim is to provide an open door to St Andrew’s through the creation of a friendly, welcoming environment in which people from any background can practise their English.

St Andrew’s is seeking volunteers with a teaching background to help lead or assist with the group. To volunteer, you don’t need to speak another language; you simply need to be open to encouraging, guiding and helping people fluent in their own language become proficient in English!

The commitment is only once a month on Friday mornings (9.30–11.00am). Training and support will be provided.

If you can help, or for more information, please contact Rev’d Michelle Wang or 0403 642 178 . If you’re not in a position to help but know others who may be, please pass this message on.