A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

We all have a voice

Without a doubt, the highlight of my week was being in the audience for our Choral Concert on Tuesday afternoon at St Andrew’s. In particular, there was something quite stirring about seeing and hearing all 157 Year 7 boys and all 165 Year 8 boys singing together under the direction of Director of Music, Jared Furtado. We recently made Choral a part of the music curriculum in Years 7 and 8 and, based on this performance, it is working very well.

Someone reminds me occasionally that the health of a boys’ school can be assessed on the quality of its singing. If this is indeed the case (and I suspect it might well be), BGS is in robust health. Well done to all involved from the Year 5s all the way up to the Year 12s – and, in particular, to the ten soloists. To sing solo in front of a large audience is a tremendously brave and meritorious thing to do.

Best wishes to the Year 7, 8 and 9 BGS boys and FGS girls as they stage the combined Middle Years Production of Shrek Jr this week; it is sure to be a great show. Safe travels to our Year 10s as they head out on their World Class Journeys as part of the B2M program. We have boys trekking the Kokoda and Kakadu Trails, surfing off King Island, rock climbing at Arapiles, surf kayaking off Fiji and enjoying the winter wonderland of New Zealand and the Bogong High Plains.

Have a great week.


From the Deputy Head of Secondary School (9–10), Peter Shepard

9/10 B2M update

Two aspects of the 9/10 B2M program have launched recently.

Boys in Year 9 have begun a 12-month, 10-workshop program called ‘Tomorrow Man’. The first session enabled the boys to become familiar with their expert facilitators from Tomorrow Architects. But it was much more than an introduction. The boys have already begun to think about the kind of man they want to be, and some of the significant people who have influenced that picture of the future. They also challenged some stereotypes, demonstrated by the ‘nail-polish challenge’, which was undertaken nervously by those directly involved.

Boys currently in Years 9, 10 and 11 should all now be familiar with the ‘nail-polish challenge’ and the stereotypes it is encouraging us to debunk. Hopefully, there are some interesting conversations happening as a result of this challenge and of the ‘Tomorrow Man’ workshops. No doubt these conversations will continue over the coming months and into next year.

The other aspect of 9/10 B2M currently occurring is the Year 10 World Class Journeys.

All boys in Year 10 have left, or are about to depart on, a wide range of ‘journeys’. These trips are designed to allow the boys to consolidate their Outdoor Education learning from previous years – and to help them recognise that they are now equipped to take on most journeys the world can offer. We have boys trekking in the Northern Territory and through Kakadu National Park while others are in PNG on the Kokoda Track. We have boys rock climbing around the Arapiles in Western Victoria, kayaking around Fiji and surfing off King Island. Two groups are using various modes of transport: one group on a Bogong Ski journey and another on a winter trail across the South Island of New Zealand. 9/10 B2M offers an incredible array of opportunities, all designed to challenge, extend and reward the boys. 

As planning for programs such as these is complex, boys currently in Year 9 will be asked next week to enter preferences for their Year 10 World Class Journeys. Stand by for further information.

It’s an exciting time to be in Year 9 or 10 at BGS!


Tonner Till We Die

School Captain Brad Marais spoke to the boys at Assembly this week.

“It is very easy to support a winning team. Over the weekend, as you know, we had our biggest sporting round for 2018. I have no doubt that many of us would look at the results and judge the weekend to be something of a disappointment for Brighton Grammar. I’ll be honest: as a Year 12 playing my last APS match for this great school, to be unable to record a single 1st win over the weekend hurt. It hurt a lot.

“Until you play your last game for the prestigious red and blue, you don’t realise how much of a privilege it is to be able to put on the BGS colours and compete with your best mates. Although the results over the weekend didn’t go our way, as your fellow student, Tonner and Captain, I wanted to say that I am extremely proud of the support we gave each other over the weekend.

“Friday night, raining, freezing, we stood out on the Mitchell supporting the Soccer boys, who we knew were underdogs going into the game. Unlike Xavier, we weren’t playing for the premiership, but we still supported in true Tonner spirit.

“The next day, after our Rugby boys suffered a heartbreaking loss to St Kevin’s, hundreds of us gathered to support the Footy boys.  The courage and passion shown by all our athletes is to be commended. However, what we created off the field was truly special. Very rarely would you see your Business Management teacher chanting ‘Lord of the Dance’ out in the rain. Very rarely would you see Year 8 boys leading chants. Very rarely would you see boys from Year 3 through to Year 12 supporting ‘As One’.

“I am fully aware that this morning we have gathered to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our boys in the classroom, to whom I add my congratulations. However, I thought it important that when we reflect on the weekend gone and the history created. That we acknowledge that at this school, we don’t support winning teams. We support Brighton Grammar teams. To quote last year’s Vice Captain Oli Barden, we are Tonners till we die. Rain, hail or shine, we are tonners till we die.”


Academic Awards

In Assembly this week, we acknowledged and celebrated two significant groups. Boys from Years 7 to 11 were presented with Academic Colours for their work in the first half of the year. When all results from Semester 1 were combined, these boys (whose names appear in the Crowther section of the eNews) represent the top 5% academically of their year level. They deserve to be congratulated on their effort and their achievement. 

Also acknowledged were the Year 12 Chapel Servers. These young men have given time and effort to ensuring our Chapel Services run seamlessly. Bishop Urwin spoke of the importance of their role and in appreciation of the service they have provided. Many have served for serval years and all have contributed to the spiritual life of the School.


Junior Public Speaking Semi-final

Last term, four Year 8 boys attended a public speaking training day and competition run by the Debaters Association of Victoria at Mentone Grammar. All four boys progressed from this initial round of competition to the semi-finals, which were held at Albert Park College on the evening of 2 August.

The boys – J Sum, Jorge Houridis, Thomas Galinas and Sebastian Watters – were asked to deliver a four-minute prepared speech and then an impromptu speech given only five minutes’ preparation time. The boys competed in front of peers and parents, and represented BGS most admirably.

Public Speaking is a challenging undertaking that many of us avoid. These boys participated voluntarily, reflecting their level of motivation and respect for the ‘sport’. As Year 8s competing at this level, they set a fine example for their peers – in particular, for the Lower Secondary debaters whom they help to lead.

We are still waiting on the final results. However, regardless of whether they progress any further in the competition, I am enormously proud of each and every one of these boys. The adjudicators reported that the standard of the competition was very high, with a margin of fewer than 10 points between the highest and lowest ranked speakers.

Raelene Plozza
Middle Years Debating coordinator


Student Achievements

Zac Shieh (Year 7) has won 1st prize in the ‘Grand Prize Virtuoso’ International Music Competition for his cello performance. Zac’s sister, a student at Firbank, was also a prize winner for her violin performance. Both Zac and Chloe will now perform at the Awards Ceremony in Belgium in September.


Chinese Study Tour Closing Ceremony

On the morning of 3 August, led by John Philips, a group of 34 Chinese students and their teachers from our sister schools Qi zheng (启正中学) and Guan cheng(观成中学)Middle Schools, Hangzhou (杭州),  participated in their Study Tour Closing Ceremony with the BGS Year 8 Chinese class at the Wellbeing Centre.

During the ceremony, the students from China presented solo, choral, dance and drawing performances. BGS boy Isaac Lee performed Chinese traditional music on the erhu. Matthew Bates, Thomas Bond, Felix Brighton-Knight, Jamie Hope, Jack Kissane and Luke Williams demonstrated Chinese Shao Lin Martial Art with red fans. All students experienced the stimulation and excitement of learning from each other.

 Through such experiences, the BGS boys have come to understand how Chinese students study in Australia. They have gained global awareness, improved their cross-cultural and communication skills, and seen the world from another perspective. As a LOTE teacher, I am very grateful to be able to introduce my boys to such rich and authentic individual experiences.

 Many of the Chinese students commented that they were delighted to have played a game of four-square with the BGS boys at lunchtime, drawn pictures in  Simone Lewis’s Art class and participated in iDesign with  Jamie Watson – all these experiences were new to them. I also heard BGS boys commenting that they enjoyed chatting with Chinese students about life in China and what they liked to do in their spare time.

During their three-week visit, I invited the Chinese students to my Chinese classroom several times. They taught BGS boys some words and sentences in Chinese. The BGS boys said that these Chinese students knew a lot of English because they could write the Chinese characters down on a piece of paper in Pinyin using English letters. It was lovely for the BGS boys – and very helpful – to have one-on-one time with such experienced Mandarin speakers.

I am grateful for the support of Sue Philips, Richard Pemberton, Jamie Watson, Simone Lewis, Chen Yuan Xin and Travis Hopgood, who helped to make the tour a rewarding learning experience for the boys.

Linda Chen
Head of Year 7 and 8 LOTE


Year 7 Fathers’ Day Breakfast

The Year 7 boys would like to invite their fathers or a special friend to celebrate Fathers’ Day by accompanying them to breakfast in the Parish Hall of St Andrew’s Brighton and then attending our Fathers’ Day Chapel Service in St Andrew’s Church.

Date: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Time: 7.30–8.20am for Breakfast

           8.30am for Chapel Service

Cost: $18 per head ($36 Father & Son)

Numbers are strictly limited to 200. Bookings close at midday on Friday 24 August. To secure a booking, please use the following link:  https://www.trybooking.com/XHTD

Bookings will be processed in strict order of receipt. 

For further information, contact Julie Ellwood (jellwood@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au)


Integration of Communications – Consent2Go

All approvals for excursions/incursions will soon be managed and sent via our online excursion package, Consent2Go. The online approval process allows you to update your son’s most recent medical details as well as other personal details. We seek your support in ensuring that your email address is kept up-to-date at all times.

Consent2Go is an electronic process for events and excursions that has already been successfully implemented in the Junior School.

More information about the system will be communicated shortly.


BGS Bods

Biddy Duckham, Teacher of Mathematics, was kind enough to answer our questions this week.

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
    My alarm.

  2. Where did you go to school?
    Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. I went to school during the apartheid regime, so my school only allowed English-speaking Caucasians to both attend and teach.

  3. Given a day to yourself, what would you do?
    Go to a day spa with my mum and sister.

  4. What is on your wish list for your time at BGS?
    That I can make a difference to a boy’s enjoyment of mathematics.

  5. What’s the most recent app you downloaded and have you used it?
    Life360. I would love to use it but my family think I’m crazy and won’t join the app (so I can’t stalk them?)


Parenting Ideas Webinar

As a Parenting Ideas School member, BGS has special access to vouchers for parent webinars. These vouchers allow those in the BGS community to attend webinars at no cost. Please find following details of an upcoming webinar.

Subject: Win kids’ cooperation without fears, tears and cauliflower ears

When: Tuesday 14 August 2018, 7.30–8:30pm 

Who is talking: This webinar will be hosted by Dr Jodi Richardson (wellbeing and mental health expert) with presenter Michael Grose (author and parenting expert)

Register freeClick here to register for the webinar and use the voucher code GREATKIDS. (You will have the opportunity to apply the coupon code at checkout so that you won’t be charged.)


Europe Tour 2019

Don’t forget this exciting trip – the first time a Europe Tour has been offered at Brighton Grammar. Open to boys currently in Years 8 to 11, the tour focuses on historical discoveries and achievements, including the City of Rome, Galileo Museum, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. We will also experience the cutting-edge technology found at the Ferrari Red Campus and the Synchro-Cyclotran at CERN. Registrations close 15 August. For further information, contact Biddy Duckham (bduckham@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au).


Connor’s Run – We Need You!

Missed out on the chance to register for Connor’s Run (Sunday 16 September) but still want to be involved? We need volunteers!

Connor’s Run would not be possible without the support of our wonderful volunteers and we’d love for you to join Connor’s Crew this year.

We need crew members to help set up and clear up at the starts and finish, keep people on track and cheer the runners on – they love a high five!

There’s a tonne of different jobs and time slots available so you can volunteer for a shorter slot or be part of the action all day.

We even let you pick the role you want and see who you’ll be hanging out with on the day, so be sure to grab your friends and nab your favourite job.

Help make brain cancer history!

Register to volunteer


An important reminder to parents regarding absences

If your son is unwell and unable to attend school or will be absent for any reason (including medical appointments), please phone the BGS Absentee Line on 8591 2295 as soon as possible.


Dates for the Diary

Fri 10 August
– BGS/FGS Middle Years (7–9) Production 
– Year 10 B2M: All other programs depart 

Sat 11 August
– APS vs AGSV Rep Matches (Winter Sport) 

Tue 14 August

– BGS Parent Group Meeting – 7pm Wellbeing Centre, Allee Street

Wed 15 August 
– Woodwind Students’ Soiree