Elwood College 2017 Newsletter No. 6 Tuesday, 19 September

Principal's Note

Hi everyone. I am Acting Principal while Rhonda Holt is in France with our study group.

As we come to the end of Term 3, parents will have received student progress reports via Compass. This Thursday, 21 September is a student-free day to allow teachers to prepare for interviews with students and their parents from 1pm-8pm that day. Please read the reports and discuss them with your child before attending the interview together. Contact the school if you have any difficulty accessing the reports.

The school year continues to roll on at full speed. Our Year 12s have completed their practice exams and will celebrate and relax with a barbecue at school on Wednesday.

Last week we hosted a successful first Transition Day for our 2018 Year 7 group. We will have approximately 180 new students joining us in Year 7. 

Term 4 concludes this Friday, 22 September with dismissal at 2.30pm.

Wishing all students, staff and families an enjoyable break.

Todd Asensio
Acting Principal


Dates for your Diary

7-27 September: France Study Tour

Thursday, 21 September: No students at school. Parent-student-teacher interviews, 1-8pm.

Friday, 22 September: Term 3 concludes, 2.30pm dismissal.

Monday, 9 October: Term 4 commences.

Wednesday, 19 October: Art Show & Year 7 Welcome Evening.

Saturday, 14 October: Elwood Farmers Market, 9am-1pm, Elwood College.

Tuesday, 17 October: College Tour, 9.15-10.15am.

Monday, 23 October: Year 12 Final Day & Valedictory Dinner.

Monday, 30 October: SRC Film Festival 6.30pm.

1-24 November: VCE Written Exams.

Monday, 6 November: Curriculum day, no students at school.

Tuesday, 7 November: Melbourne Cup public holiday.

Saturday, 11 November: Elwood Farmers Market, 9am-1pm, Elwood College.

Wednesday, 22 November: Presentation Evening

Saturday, 25 November-Sunday, 3 December: Great Victorian Bike Ride.

Monday, 27 November-Friday, 1 December: Academic Progression (students commence 2018 classes).

Friday, 8 December: Year 11 final day.

Saturday, 9 December: Elwood Farmers Market, 9am-1pm, Elwood College.

Friday, 22 December: Term 4 concludes.

Join the Parents of Elwood

The main role of the Parents of Elwood group is to connect the parents/carers within the school community at Elwood College.   The group assists to facilitate various school events throughout the year, including the school production, student talent night and parent get togethers, as well as fund raising at the regular monthly Elwood Farmers Market held at the college.  This year the group is also managing events at the Elwood College 60th Birthday Celebration.

Beachside Stars

Well done to the 80 students who represented Elwood College in the Beachside Athletics Carnival on Monday, 4 September. 

Special congratulations to the four students who were champions in their age groups: Enya Talbot (14yo girls), Marlon Trevitt (14yo boys), Jack Ranieri (16yo boys) and Liam Harari (17yo boys).

Evan Warman set a new record winning the 16yo boys Javelin, as did Marlon Trevitt winning the 14yo boys 400m.

This year we came fourth overall of the seven schools that competed at Sandringham Athletics Club. However, the junior boys came second and the junior girls came third.

All students who won a place are listed on the school website, which you can read by clicking 'read more' below.

Amazing Ski Camp

Forty students attended Ski Camp on 22-25 August. They also participated in the Inter-School Snow Sports, where Year 8 student Amy Richardson came 7th in the Giant Slalom and Year 10 student Amber Bristow came 10th in Snowboarding. Thanks to camp supervisors Mr Barr, Ms Paxton, Mr Lofgren and Mr Burton.

Amy Richardson reports.

The whole ski camp experience is completely unique and amazing. You cannot compare it to a trip to the snow with family or friends. While the odd food served at dinner and the boundaries set by teachers seemed annoying at the time, it all added up to a really memorable experience.

The movies in the cinemas, trips down to the supermarket and the pool and spa were all night activities included within the camp.

My participation in the skier slalom race would not have been able to happen if it were not for the school. I placed 7th in the race, which to me seemed surprising because of the looks of the competition. The girls competing in the race all had their own skis, and all good-looking ski gear expect for us Elwood girls. For me, those things seemed intimidating.

Over the four days, we had amazing weather. Aside from the second day, which had non-stop snow, there was sun almost all the time. The slopes were really good while skiing and snowboarding, and everyone had the best time. Like most, I am so excited to hopefully go back next year.

Science Week

Year 7 students Alexandra Thomas and Eden Saunders report.

Last week was Science Week. More than 50 students showed up to lunchtime events across the week. (Except for Wednesday, it wasn’t on on Wednesday.)

On Monday, we made catapults with popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Our task was to catapult a marshmallow with potential elastic energy and turning it into kinetic energy. It was fun but most people found it difficult. A few people managed to catapult their marshmallows, but not many. It was interesting to watch the other groups working and getting ideas from them. In the end, we ate our marshmallows and that was it.

On Tuesday, we were tasked with turning a light on using grapefruits and wires. We got to choose two metals to put into our grapefruits. The choices were: zinc, copper, nail, and magnesium. No one managed to light their lights, but we weren’t too sad. This was because we started exploding a watermelon using the potential elastic energy of rubber bands! Sadly, we didn’t get to finish exploding our watermelon as we ran out of time. But, we finished the job off on the next Monday.

On Wednesday, we didn’t do anything because lunchtime was cut short because we had an assembly.

On Thursday, we experimented with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. We all drank small cups of each to distinguish the difference between them. In the end it was half and half, with some thinking Coke was Pepsi and some thinking the Coke was actually Coke. In the neighbouring room we did a sniff test. There were nine different scents located on different tables. We got into partners and put a blindfold on one of the two people. Then we went around the room and got the blindfolded person to try to identify the scents. The best score was five out of nine. It was interesting at the end when we were told what all of them were, because most of them looked very different to how they smelled.

On Friday, we watched a video about recycling and rubbish. It was very interesting and encouraged us to be more rubbish smart. So afterwards we did an activity (pictured) to sort different rubbish items different bins (recycling, rubbish, compost and soft plastics that supermarkets recycle). We got most right but some were wrong and it was interesting to see what bin it actually went it. Finally, we created a biosphere (though it was not a sphere) for a plant (pictured). The teachers taught us how to do it and it was really fun to make!

Overall, we think it was very fun and we learnt a lot and we’re sure most of us have been inspired to do some of the things we did at home!

Big Science Competition

More than 40 Year 7 and 8 students participated in the Big Science Competition in May. The online competition tested students on their critical thinking skills and their ability to solve real-life contemporary problems. 

Congratulations to the following students who received certificates at a Junior School Assembly in August.

Distinctions: Aditya Arya, Ari Capetenakis, Ali Thomas, Oscar Gunn, Rowan Daly and Jerry Yan.

Credits: Will McCarthy, Brock Tyers, Eden Saunders, Thomas Paratheras, Sam Gulliver, Zeta Hamilton-Durkin, Elliot Fern and Luke Streefkerk.

Paper planes crash assembly

Middle school students sent paper planes soaring across the gym on Wednesday, 16 August. 

Year 10 Learning Leader Alysia Degorski said students learned about gravity and drag while having some fun during assembly.

Richard Chung won the competition with a design that flew from one end of the gym to the other. 

Past Students Inspire with Career Advice

Year 10 students enjoyed a fantastic careers panel with 12 former students returning to share their insights and experiences.

Pathways Coordinator Gill Bentley gathered the panel from recent graduates, most having left Elwood College within the past five years. 

"It was amazing," Mrs Bentley said. "They gave off-the-cuff presentations about how they chose their career pathways, how they chose their subjects and how they tackled the VCE. Because they graduated quite recently, the Year 10 students really connected with their advice. They asked lots of questions and there was quite a lively discussion."

Each graduate's experience was different - some had followed they exact pathway they planned in high school, while others had pursued unexpected and diverse opportunities - but all were passionate and excited about their careers.

St Kilda Baseball Club

St Kilda Baseball Club is inviting Elwood College students to a free 'come and try' registration day on Sunday, 24 September 9.30am-11am at Tom O'Halloran Field, Hockley Drive, Albert Park. T-ball and baseball is on offer at the club for 6-16yo players. Competition commences mid-October.

Club Coordinator Jeff Kuhl is a parent at Elwood College. Any questions email eastonkuhl@ozemail.com.au or visit the club website www.stkildabaseball.org.au

Alumni Stories: Technology Visionary

Richard Newton attended Elwood High 1965-1968. He was a brilliant electronic engineer who completed a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Engineering Science at the University of Melbourne, and went on to carry out research at the University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering. He became Dean there in 2000 until his death from pancreatic cancer in 2007. He was internationally renowned as a pioneer in electronic design automation and integrated circuit design, and a visionary leader in the technology industry.

His friend and fellow Elwood High student John Zeleznikow remembers Richard as someone who stood out both intellectually and physically. 

“Among the children of WWII refugees, who were primarily small and slight of build, he was a colossus.  He was naturally the school AFL ruckman and head prefect.  And he always had a girlfriend!

As one of the few Anglos in the school, he liked white bread and pies. In German class he often complained that the other kids had an advantage because they spoke Yiddish at home. His family, unfortunately, only spoke English.  He claimed descent from the great English physicist and mathematician Sr. Isaac Newton.

Richard was also an outstanding scholar; but unlike with his sporting prowess, he had competition in this domain. He majored in sciences, and did very well at Matriculation.  However he was not the school dux in 1968. That privilege was won by Tom Winter.

It was at University that Richard excelled. His ground-breaking research has led to the development of today’s super-computers. And he remained competitive. When I last met him in 2000, he asked me “How come you are not a professor yet?”. I became one two years later but this statement reinforced to me how driven Richard was.”

In a Berkeley University press release on January 7, 2007 Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said: "Rich Newton was a man of incomparable vision. Dynamic and entrepreneurial, he understood the power of engineering and technology in entirely new ways, and he connected them to addressing society's toughest problems. The vibrancy of his thinking shaped my own ideas about what engineering is and what it can be. This is an enormous loss for us at UC Berkeley, for California, and indeed for the international engineering community."

In the early 1970s, Newton met Donald Pederson, UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences, and this meeting led to Newton's lifelong interest in electronic design automation (EDA). Pederson spearheaded the development of SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis), “a computer simulation program that enables engineers to analyse and design complex electronic circuitry with speed and accuracy. At critical stages during its design process, virtually every electronic chip developed in the world today uses SPICE or one of its derivatives”.

Newton earned numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2003 Phil Kaufman Award, the highest recognition given for research and entrepreneurial contributions to the EDA industry.

From 1998 to 2002, Newton served as the founding director of the MARCO/DARPA Gigascale Silicon Research Center (GSRC), a major private-public partnership with the US government and the semiconductor industry which funds and coordinates long-range research at other major US universities.

He advised several venture capital firms and, according to Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, “He had an unmatched capability of marrying technical insights with industrial needs”.

Newton was well known for working to apply engineering technology to challenging social problems, close to home in California, as well as in developing countries.

After his death in 2007, Microsoft announced an academic award program for new, innovative applications of information technology in honour of Newton’s ideal.

He had been on the Microsoft Research Technical Advisory Board for many years.

Other awards and graduate scholarships have been established in his name in the field of automated electronic design and, in recognition of his work in encouraging women in technology, this included an Educator award to recognise innovative teaching practices.

Photo credit: Bart Nagel





Alumni Stories: From Protester to Principal

Warren Fineberg attended Scott St Kindergarten and Elwood Primary/Central before joining Elwood High from 1967-1971. His 100-year-old mother attended Elwood Primary/Central from 1922. Warren completed a Science degree, taught in Secondary Schools, became a School Principal and is now the Executive Director of the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick.

“I loved my time at Elwood High but I was not always the most productive student. I came into Elwood High in Year 8 from Elwood Central and I was always very socially active.

A lot of us played basketball on the school courts at every break time and we had a very strong team. We played off in the final of the Victorian State School Championships and, even though I badly damaged my ankle in the game, I had to keep playing as we had too many players on the bench. They had been sent off. We didn’t win the match and I carried that injury through Year 12.

I was one who always wanted to change the world and was prepared to stand up and say something if I thought something was wrong. Sometimes this meant that I stepped in to help kids who were being picked on and sometimes it meant that I stood up against school rules.

In Year 10 I remember I organised a student strike in protest about the green and gold beanies that boys had to wear.

The anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were big in the city in 1970. I used to meet someone who delivered ‘underground newspapers’ to me through the school cyclone wire fence. It was a challenging and confusing time and I was aware that I could get called up in the draft for Vietnam, which of course was ended when Gough Whitlam came into power in 1972.

In Year 9 I set up the Astronomy Club. This really took off and about 20-30 kids would meet in a school classroom at lunchtime every couple of weeks. There were no teachers involved, the club was all student led. We researched how to build telescopes and started to build them in the classroom.

I was also pretty interested in science experiments and I got a bit of a name for myself for organising experiments, which often resulted in very loud explosions in the lab.

In Year 12 I became the organiser of the end of school activities and all Year 12s attended a series of planning meetings. Of course we wanted to disrupt school activities as much as possible. I remember that the Freedman twins rowed a small wooden boat down the canal and inside the boat was a mock coffin marked “RIP the spirit of Elwood High”. This story got quite a bit of press in the Herald Sun. I guess what we were really saying was that it was time for us to move on from school.

I did well enough in Year 12 but somehow the Department “lost” some of the Year 12 student applications for tertiary study, mine included. In February 1972 I led a delegation of students into the Director General of Education’s Office in the city, demanding that we be notified of our tertiary placements.”

Warren went on to complete a Science Degree at Monash University and then with a Diploma of Education he taught in secondary schools. A Master of Education in the mid-1980s followed and then he worked in the research branch, followed by two years in the curriculum branch of the Education Department. During this time he wrote the biology and science curriculum for secondary schools. He did a stint as research fellow at Monash University before returning to school teaching, his passion.

As a Senior Science teacher at Brighton Secondary School in the mid-1980s he met up again with David Pittock, who had been the Year 12 co-ordinator at Elwood High and was now the Deputy Principal at Brighton.

In the late 1980s he became the Headmaster of the Senior School at Mt Scopus, then Head of Senior School at Wesley and Mentone Grammar before retiring in 2010.

As a “failed retiree” he was appointed the Executive Director at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick and maintains contact with some of his old classmates from Elwood High.