A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Goings on out of the classroom

One of the great joys of my job is watching the BGS boys across the Junior and Secondary Schools engage in their various co-curricular pursuits. Recently, I have been lucky enough to watch our Junior School boys run in the Cross-Country competition, listen to our Secondary School boys play in the Wind, Brass and Percussion Concert and see a plethora of sport across all year levels (rugby, hockey, soccer and football) during the first round of the APS winter season. Moreover, I am looking forward to the Senior Production with Firbank Grammar of Chicago later this month.

If I had to pick two recent highlights, I would choose the Senior Concert Band’s outstanding performance of Whiplash and the 1st XI Hockey’s excellent performance against Xavier College. These two ‘performances’ were so different, yet they contained so many similarities: passion, precision, discipline and excellence.

I will always recall the words of George Longbottom (School Vice-Captain 2013) when he said that every boy needs a co-curricular pursuit, and that it doesn’t matter what that is: sport, drama, debating or music. I agree with George wholeheartedly. A boy needs a pursuit that he is passionate about. A pursuit he can deeply engage in to temporarily forget other life pressures. A pursuit that teaches him life skills that can be called upon beyond the school gates. When I see our boys in action outside of the classroom, George’s wisdom continues to be affirmed.

Have a great week.


From the Deputy Head of Secondary School (Years 7–8) – Travis Hopgood

It was pleasing to see 89% of parents and their sons attend the Year 7 Parent Teacher Discussions this week. When boys enjoy transparent, honest and caring relationships with their families, they are happy in themselves and approach their learning with growth mindsets. Their Relationships and Optimism element of wellbeing is developing well.

Having trusting, clear and open communication lines between parents and teachers provides a fertile and supportive environment in which boys can strive, thrive and flourish. We all need feedback on how we are travelling in order to make necessary adjustments in our lives, and our students are no different. To build their self-awareness and ownership of their attitudes and learning behaviours, boys need regular developmental, non-judgemental feedback.

The adolescent brain is a turbulent place, with the good decision-making centre, the pre-frontal cortex, not completely wired up. Whilst they can create emotions just like adults, they don’t yet have the capabilities to consistently control them. This often leads to them perceiving any advice or feedback as criticism. Building relationships is a two-way street. This is sometimes quite a challenge, with many teenagers preferring a one-way arrangement: my way or the highway. To encourage them to think beyond me, myself and I, a beneficial exercise is to encourage them to do a self-analysis of their emotional intelligence. In completing this, they will have to reflect on their input into relationships with others. This particular aspect of their wellbeing is also practised in their Health and PE curriculum.

The focus from us all should be on encouraging our boys to apply growth mindsets to all their pursuits, including health, friendships, leisure, hobbies, sport and learning. When parents emphasise school above all else, the turbulence of their brains kicks in and defiance and/or indifference arises.

When a ‘teamwork’ approach is fostered at home, students tend to see their parents’ advice more as positives to adopt rather than criticism to resent and rebel against.

For more on Teaching & Learning at BGS, visit Crowther Thinking.


‘Putting Youth in the Picture’ – please join us

Adair Donaldson knows about law and he cares about youth. He is the founder of Donaldson Law and the creator of the acclaimed preventative law resource ‘Putting Youth in the Picture’, which educates young people on the legal consequences of alcohol abuse, sexual assaults, illicit drugs, violence, social media and the illegal use of technology.

Adair has consulted widely on legal issues affecting young people, and appeared before Federal and State Parliamentary Committees to provide evidence in regard to addressing youth violence and alcohol-related issues.

He has presented workshops to thousands of students, parents and athletes over the past 9 years. He will be speaking to boys in Years 10, 11 and 12 during the school day on 10 May. All parents are invited to hear Adair speak in the evening. This will be a valuable and informative session – please book (free) below. For more information about Adair, click here.

Date: Thursday 10 May, 5.30–6.30pm

Venue: Robert Sanderson Centenary Hall

Cost: Free



BGS Bods

As you know, we have amazing teachers at BGS. In ‘BGS Bods’, we’ll share some of their motivations and aims with you. If there is any teacher in particular from whom you’d like to hear, please let us know at hello@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au. This week, we hear from Teacher of Drama and English, Adrienne Mewett.

  1. Why do you teach? To empower and provide opportunities for young people. 
  2. Why do you teach at BGS? I think it is extremely important to educate young men and support them to find their passion. I also love teaching boys as they make me laugh every day!
  3. What do you want a student to get from having known you? A positive, caring and fun learning experience as well as self-confidence and motivation.
  4. What is the most important life lesson you want a student to take away from your class/subject? All successful people fail. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake!


Student Achievements

Jack’s perfect score

The Australian Mathematics Olympiad is an invitational competition for the 100 or so highest performing mathematicians across Australia and New Zealand. Students are invited on the basis of excellent performance in earlier competitions, such as the Australian Mathematics Competition.

The competition, which is part of the selection process for representing Australia in the International Mathematics Olympiad, requires an intense effort. It consists of eight questions conducted over two four-hour periods on consecutive days.

This year, Haobin (Jack) Liu in Year 12 was one of the ten students in Australia who received a perfect score for his submission. He was awarded a Gold Certificate for this fabulous achievement.

George trains at Emirates Palace

George Mihailidis (Year 7) was selected as part of the Under 12 Melbourne City FC Academy Development Squad to compete in the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

During the trip George got to train at the Emirates Palace where the Manchester City team trains when they are in Abu Dhabi. It was a fun filled trip in which the players also visited the Yas Waterworld and the Grand Mosque. 

At the competition, George’s team won all of their games in the group stage and qualified for the final. In the final the Melbourne City Academy faced off against Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi Academy. In a tense game which went down to a penalty shootout, George’s team came away with the victory.

Upon their return to Melbourne, the team completed a victory lap as a curtain raiser to the A-League match between Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners.


Colours Assembly

Today in Assembly we recognised the efforts and achievements of boys across a wide range of activities.

Colours were awarded for all summer sports teams based on the criteria for each sport available on The Hub. It was great to see boys from all years awarded Colours for representing the School at the highest level.

House Colours were also awarded to Year 12 boys who met the criteria for competing for their House over the past three years (this will now be five years, with the new Secondary School structure).

Year 11 (2017) students who assisted at Outdoor Education experiences for other year levels as Outdoor Education Leaders were also recognised with Colours.

Year 8 leaders were presented to the School. It has been great having the Year 12 leaders working with these boys and for the rest of the School to see the Year 8 leaders on stage.

David Liddle
Deputy Head of Secondary School (Years 11-12)


RCD’s Brain Week

School House has been working hard to plan a range of activities for the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation’s Brain week (7–11 May). We kicked off the awareness campaign with the staff and student Rubik’s Cube Competition at Wednesday’s Assembly. Our surprise guest, Rubik’s Cube speedsolver Feliks Zemdegs, world champion of the 3×3 Cube, put the pressure on and completed over five cubes before our winner!

From Monday, look out for students selling merchandise, memorising and reciting Pi, and battling it out to be number 1 at the RCD House Quiz. Next Friday is Go Grey in May Day. The boys can wear grey (and keep warm in their trackies) to raise awareness and funds for Brain Week. Please bring a donation.

Aeternum Fortis Tshirts and RCD beanies can be ordered at Reception.

Please dig deep for such an important cause.


Armstrong Shifts Most m&ms

The first two weeks of the House Games League are complete. Week 1 was an introduction to the competition so that the boys could test the waters, experience the types of challenges they will face and weigh up their opponents! In our two introductory challenges, staff and students used facial muscles they probably didn’t know existed and tested their lung capacity to move m&ms. There was joy, surprise, frustration and excitement in abundance, with our staff team (Mr Kessler, Ms Molloy and Mr Green) and students demonstrating some impressive skills!

This Tuesday was the official first round of the league. Staff and student teams took part in three different challenges that tested their dexterity, sorting skills, speed and teamwork. Our staff team (Ms Coste, Mr Bryant and Mr Kessler in a repeat performance) gave the boys a run for their money, winning the first challenge, but the student teams soon found their rhythm. The din of laughter and encouragement from all team members and spectators was welcome. All teams and team members had different strengths but all participated enthusiastically and fairly.

This week’s winner was Armstrong House. Congratulations to all team members (Ethan O’Brien, Mitchell Waldron and Edward Greenslade). The heat is now on as Houses assemble their teams for next week to see if they can change the House Games League leaderboard!

1st         Armstrong
2nd       Rofe
3rd        Crowther
4th        Hancock
5th        School
6th        Dixon

We will continue with more ‘Minute to Win It’ style challenges on Tuesday 8 May at 1pm in the Senior Library. We look forward to seeing new student participants and spectators!

The ‘Face the Cookie’ challenge in progress


Musicians End Week on a High Note

Last Friday afternoon, a modest but appreciative audience welcomed the weekend with some outstanding performances by our Secondary School musicians. Twelve students, ranging from Years 7 to 12, performed in the Semester 1 Solo Concert in the Music Rehearsal Studio. Informal concerts and soirees provide the boys with an opportunity to perform as soloists and in small groups – an important contrast to participating in the larger bands and orchestras at BGS. They also gain valuable experience working with an accompanist and developing their performance craft. There will be a number of other similar opportunities throughout the year, and all BGS musicians are encouraged to get involved.


The Force Awakened by Wind, Brass and Percussion

On Tuesday night, St Andrew’s Church was filled with the music of John Williams, Vivaldi, and jazz greats Charlie Parker and Red Garland. The Wind, Brass and Percussion Concert showcased our Secondary School concert bands, percussion and flute ensembles, and jazz ensembles, and had the audience tapping their feet and bopping in their seats.

Each ensemble has been preparing their repertoire since the Senior Music Camp at the start of the year, and the performances were a testament to the dedication and hard work of these fine young musicians. The Percussion Ensemble required almost every instrument they could muster for their rendition of Por Una Cabeza, and both the Flute Ensemble and Senior Concert Band channelled their inner Jedi in their respective performances of the Cantina Band Theme and Soundtrack Highlights from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The finale to the concert was a piece titled Whiplash, which saw the Senior Concert Band charging towards the finish at a breakneck speed, but with brilliant precision and flair.

For the Intermediate Stage Band and Senior Big Band, the performance was a great opportunity to present their programs for the Generations in Jazz Festival, which they will be attending in Mount Gambier this weekend. Generations in Jazz is a national competition held each May, where bands from over 200 schools come together to represent their schools and share their love of jazz music.

It is an incredibly busy time of year for the Music Department. Next Thursday, the Orchestras, Choirs and Guitar Ensembles will have their time to shine in another concert at St Andrew’s Church, commencing at 7:30pm – I look forward to seeing you there.

Kurt Abell
Acting Head of Instrumental Music


Win a Semester of Private Music Tuition

Buy a ticket in the BGS Friends of Music Raffle and current and prospective Music students can win a semester of tuition (value $595).

Click here for flyer and buy tickets here.


Career News

Items in the Career News include: 

  • Dates to diarise in Term 2
  • Reminder: VCE and Careers Expo 2018
  • Monash University Scholars Program
  • Early Entry Programs at ACU
  • Community Achiever Program (CAP)
  • Passion for Business (P4B) Early Entry Program
  • Passion for Law (P4L) Early Entry Program
  • Travel & Tourism Courses in Victoria
  • Snapshot of James Cook University (JCU) in 2018    

If you would like any further information on any of these items, click here or see Sophie Keele in the Careers Centre.


BGS Cooking Corner

Quick and nutritious breakfast and lunchbox ideas for busy parents and growing boys from BGS Psychologist and nutrition expert, Danielle Wolff.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


– 400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– ½ cup natural peanut butter*
– ¼ cup honey
– 2 teaspoons vanilla
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– ½ cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC fan-forced and line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor, except the chocolate chips, and process until well combined and smooth.
  3. Place processed mixture in a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture should be thick and sticky.
  4. With wet hands, roll mixture into balls, place on baking tray and flatten.
  5. Bake cookies for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown. Leave cookies to cool completely before eating.
  6. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

*In the presence of a nut allergy, replace peanut butter with sunflower butter.


Secondary School Dates for the Diary

4 May
– Generations of Jazz Festival

7 May
– Year 10 Rites of Passage Parent Information Session
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition

8 May
– Year 10 Tomorrow Man (Session 3)
– Year 7 Mother & Son Breakfast
– Year 7 Mother’s Day Chapel Service
– Year 8 Brighton Beach Field Trip
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition

9 May
– Year 7–12 Mothers’ Day Chapel
– DAV Debating Round 3
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition

10 May
– Adair Donaldson Parent Evening
– Orchestral, Guitar and Choral Concert

11 May
– #GoGreyInMayDay for RCD’s Brain Week
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition