A word from the Headmaster, Ross Featherston
A big BGS birthday and an open door
Tuesday marked BGS’s 135th birthday. On 14 February 1882, our founding Headmaster Dr George Henry Crowther opened the School with two boys enrolled. By the end of the day, the number of students had quadrupled to eight.
Dr Crowther was kind, patient, approachable, hardworking and community minded – the antithesis of the traditional ‘Victorian schoolmaster’. Under his guidance, BGS engendered a sense of belonging – Dr Crowther’s little school was like a big family. Dr Crowther championed an all-round education, where boys would ‘learn to learn’. He also believed that learning wasn’t just for school; it was for life.
Interestingly, despite the significantly increased enrolments, the core values at BGS have changed very little since Dr Crowther’s time. BGS still prides itself on instilling a sense of belonging, providing an all-round education, and inspiring a lifelong love of learning.
I hope that the re-commencement of the ‘Meet the Headmaster’ sessions, will foster a similar sense of belonging in BGS parents. The sessions will take place on Friday afternoons from 4pm to 5pm for 30-minute appointment blocks and I am delighted to discuss any aspect of BGS with you. Simply reserve a time with my Executive Assistant Michele Fisher: firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, this invitation does not replace the expectation that parents will contact relevant staff about their son/s as the need arises. I look forward to catching up with many of you soon.
From the Head of Middle School, Jeremy Martin
Middle School in many ways is about building strong foundations and habits for the future. Neuroscience has proven that our brains change when we experience new things; this is called neuroplasticity. Our brains create new brain (neural) pathways by joining millions of nerve cells, called neurons, together. The more often we repeat something, the stronger these pathways become and the faster the messages travel down them. Our brains love searching for patterns and practising regularly creates patterns, which in time become our habits. When these pathways aren’t used they wither and die. That is why learnt material needs to be revisited for the brain pathways to strengthen. Regular exposure to character strengths and positive ways of thinking, supported by parents at home, can only have a positive impact on a boys wellbeing and learning.
Parents who attended the Year 7 and Year 8 Information Evenings will know that this year the Middle School will have a focus on Academic Care. House Tutors meet with their boys for ten minutes at the end of every day to deal with setbacks and pressures and to ensure boys are motivated and engaged with regard to their learning before leaving school for the day. The Middle School Record Book is an essential tool that will be used in these Academic Care sessions to not only assist your son with his organisation, but also to engage with wellbeing tasks.
This week, Middle School boys targeted the wellbeing element of Positive Engagement. When you sign your son’s Record Book each Thursday afternoon, I would encourage you to ask your son about this week’s character strength which is ‘Zest’ and the Wellbeing Fitness Challenge, which is a Gratitude Letter.
It was great to see so many BGS boys and Firbank girls auditioning for the Middle School production of Camp Rock – a high-energy musical, featuring a classic story of rivalry and power. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up in front of your peers and try-out at auditions and the BGS boys stepped up to the challenge with excitement and enthusiasm. Well done to all the boys who auditioned; the audition process certainly unearthed an enormous amount of talent. The hard work, passion and commitment will start soon for all those involved in the production, whether it be in front of an audience or behind the scenes and I am looking forward to seeing the results of their hard work in May.
From the Head of House, Scott Davies
Year 7 (Armstrong/Crowther/Dixon) Camp 2017
There was an early buzz in the air on Monday 6 February as the Armstrong, Crowther and Dixon boys all gathered at Rosstrevor to prepare for their journey along the Great Ocean Road. Cape Otway was our destination and as we assembled in the hall and waited for the rain to clear (and the bus key to be found) rumours of the length of the hike and what was on the menu started to fly around. Soon enough the rain cleared, the key was found and the boys were all loaded on to buses to begin their adventure.
This piece is not going to be a blow-by-blow account of what occurred, as I am certain you copped an earful Friday night. I will however, reflect on a couple of moments that typified what the Year 7 camp is all about.
- Food Preparation
The image below demonstrates the amazing collaboration of our Year 7s as they work together to prepare a meal for a large group. Group cooking is paramount to establishing communication and cooperation skills and the discussions around the dinner table (tarp) were brilliant.
As you can see, the boys whipped up a culinary storm and a meal perfect for the occasion. The chorizo pasta with sautéed vegies and a tomato jus (channelling my inner George Calombaris) was exquisite. I can promise you that the cooking skills were amazing and it was great to swap stories and discuss the days’ events over a wonderfully prepared meal.
3. The Hike
The hike was simply breathtaking. Here you can see the rugged coastline where the boys hiked from Bimbi Park to Eyre River. Tales of past adventures and campsite antics were swapped, and the connection the boys made with their House tutors were invaluable. There is nothing like a four-hour hike to provide an opportunity to open up and share with one another. If only the boys could line up that straight for the canteen!
4. Morning Glass
For the keen surfers reading this, you will know the feeling that an ‘early wave’ with your mates can give. The Dixon boys experienced that very feeling on the final morning of camp. Glassy conditions, a slight offshore breeze and no one out except good friends – these memories will last a lifetime. So many of the first time surfers I am sure, have now caught the ‘bug’. As the saying goes, “only a surfer knows the feeling”. Well boys, welcome to the club!
Of all the images from camp, the one below is certainly my favourite. It shows that despite a hectic schedule, tiresome hikes, food preparation and surfing with friends, our boys appreciate the importance of taking a moment to reflect on what was an important rite of passage into the Middle School at Brighton Grammar.
As parents and teachers, we should all be proud of the boys and what they achieved on camp. I have no doubt that the experience will unite the boys and set the foundations for an amazing 2017.
February the 14 is both the birthday of Brighton Grammar and Valentine’s Day. Is it possible that these two events speak of love in different ways?
Love of learning, and love of another (or even life).
What kind of person was George Henry Crowther, that 135 years ago he could invest his time, energy and finance into a new school. At the end of the day he had eight students to show for it. He surely had persistence and faith to go on, and he must have had something, something that today we might call charisma, that drew students into his school.
Today we carry that vision into a new generations. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 the writer says: the love of God urges us to respect one another, work hard, encourage one another, be joyful and give thanks.
We do well as a school to promote these virtues in our students on their educational journey.
Fr Tony Poole
Middle School notices
Parent training session: The Hub
There will be two sessions for parents next Monday 20 February. These sessions will run at 2.30pm to 3pm and 5pm to 5.30pm in the Middle School Library. We will cover cover: Newsfeed, Calendar Items and Grades. There is no need to book, simply come along if you are free. For further information please contact Paul Stewart: email@example.com.
Library Lovers Day
The Middle School Library celebrated Library Lovers Day this week and it was an absolute hit with our boys. The day consisted of competitions and plenty of discussion around Lovers in Literature. The winners of the competition will be revealed at assembly. Not only have we celebrated Library Lovers Day, but our Makers have continued to tinker away with their ideas at lunchtimes and recess.
Developing independence in secondary school
Middle School is often the time where parents begin to see a noticeable increase in their son’s efforts to gain greater autonomy. Despite this being a natural progression in growing up, it can be a challenging time for both boys and parents. Please click here for some practical independence building ideas.
Middle School dates for the diary
For updates and events, see School Stream or click here for the online calendar.