Elwood College 2017 Newsletter No.2: Thursday, 30 March

Principal's Note: Term 1 Ends

Hello everyone

The time has come to wish all students, parents and staff well for the Term 1 break. We end the term with our new building walls in place (pictured). What a different view we came back to on Monday after a weekend of building! We can expect more progress over the school holidays too.

All year levels have made a great start to the year. From the Year 12 Step-Up Program, which college co-captain Liza Clerehan writes about so positively later in the newsletter, through to Year 7 transition. This week our Year 7s were on camp in The Grampians, while the Year 9s were learning about managing their own health in Wellbeing Week and Year 10 students planned their futures during Pathways Week.

On Friday we will farewell one of Elwood College's longest standing staff members Helen Grieger. Helen has been an invaluable asset to the college administration - there would be little (or nothing!) Helen doesn't know about how this college runs and all the intricacies that make it tick! Her expertise and efficiency will be missed. Thank you Helen and we wish you a very fulfilling retirement.

I would like to acknowledge the service of two outgoing members of School Council Sue Constable and Raj Sidhu. Raj served as a parent representative on the School Council and was a member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee during a crucial period of change for the college. Thank you Raj! Sue Constable's service to Elwood College has spanned almost a decade, throughout and beyond the years her daughters Neve and Niamh attended, and I can't say enough about what she has achieved. During her years as School Council President Sue devoted incredible energy and skill to campaign for our Masterplan funding (among many other contributions!). She lobbied politicians, harnessed the media and led a very successful community campaign, partly through the creation of the Friends of Elwood College Facebook page, which she continues to run with great success. Despite retiring from School Council, Sue is continuing her service to the college, documenting the stories of our alumni, which you can read in our newsletters and on the website. I have greatly enjoyed working alongside Sue and been inspired by her passion for this college and public education in general. Thank you Sue!

We now welcome three new members to the School Council: Hamish Derricks, Anna Raftery and Kerryn Stubbs. Kerryn will also convene the Parents of Elwood group. There is still one place on the School Council for a Community member (this can be a parent or a member of the community); please see college admin if you are interested.

I look forward to welcoming everyone back for a productive and energetic Term 2. Highlights will include the House Athletics Carnival, Year 8 Camp, our annual Open Night and the SRC Talent Night! You can find all these dates in the following newsletter item.

Finally, we will be opening the uniform shop on the first two Fridays of Term 2 for the sale of winter uniform (predominantly blazers). Opening hours will be 1pm-4pm, Friday 21 April and 28 April.

Warm Regards

Rhonda Holt

Dates for your Diary

Thursday, 30 March: No students at school today. Parent-teacher-student interviews 1pm-8pm.

Friday, 31 March: Final Day of Term 1, 2:30pm dismissal

Tuesday, 18 April: Term 2 commences

Thursday, 20 April: House Athletics Carnival, Duncan McKinnon Reserve

Friday, 21 April: Uniform Shop open, 1pm-4pm, VCE Centre.

Wednesday, 26 April: House Cross Country

Thursday, 27 April: Open Night, 6.30pm, Phoenix Theatre

Friday, 28 April: Uniform Shop open, 1pm-4pm, VCE Centre.

15-17 May: Year 8 Camp, The Summit

Thursday, 18 May: International Food Day

Friday, 19 May: School Photos

Wednesday, 31 May: House Performing Arts

Wednesday, 7 June: SRC Talent Night

Friday, 30 June: Term 2 concludes.


Our annual open night is on Thursday 27 April at 6.30pm in the Phoenix Theatre. Early in Term 2 we will be asking for students to assist us on the night.

Please pass the date onto anyone you know who is considering Elwood College as a prospective school in 2018 and beyond.

Bookings required at https://www.elwood.vic.edu.au/book-college-tour

Special thanks to Year 11 student Maggie Kontev who photographed our Year 7 students for the promotion of Open Night.

Cabrini Emergency Discount

Cabrini Emergency Department (ED) in Malvern is offering a 50% discount offer to our students for 12 months.

Families attending the ED should mention Elwood College on arrival.  The staff at the reception will have the school on a list of all participating schools.

This offer is open to students 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

This is a saving of $205 (8am to 8pm) and $240 (8pm to 8am weekdays and on weekends)

  • The discount of 50% applies to the attendance fee only and would not include any further out of pocket expenses such as X-rays and blood tests
  • Cabrini is a private, Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare service that does not rely on funding from government or the Catholic Church. Therefore, they must charge fees for emergency medical care. Unfortunately health insurers do not cover emergency attendances, so they rely on these fees to cover our costs.

For more information visit http://www.cabrini.com.au/patients-and-families/services/directory/emerg...

Keats takes the debate

Year 8 students Sam Sehee and Jack Mardling report on the House Debating Competition held in March.

"The school debating was a great experience. We were able to participate in a house event representing Keats at a junior level. Our topic was “Homework is a waste of time”. We as Keats were the affirmative team. We feel that we may have been at a disadvantage, given we were arguing against the methods of every teacher in the school, but we fought a valiant fight. We didn’t win but the experience was still enjoyable. The best speaker of the day, in our opinion, was Eric Farrugia (Year 10). He gave two enlightened yet comedic speeches, one on the subject of marriage being an outdated institution and the other on raising the drinking age to 21. He should be commended for filling in at the last minute in the senior school debate."

Keats won the day of debating. 

The Best Speaker Awards went to:

Senior - D'Artagnan Holt & Zoe Eyles
Middle - Harper Massey & Sean Green
Junior - Nicole Huynh & Lily Lau

Stepping Up Together

Year 12 student and college co-captain Liza Clerehan (pictured top right) reports on the Step-Up Program.

It was clear from the get-go that, as we embarked on our final year, the daunting reality of the months ahead had already begun to weigh on students. Confronted by the overwhelming demand of work after the bliss of the summer holidays, the Step-Up Program came as a welcome break as it gave us the opportunity to wrap our heads around our approach to VCE.

We spent our first day of the program at the Bubup Nairm Family and Children’s Centre in St Kilda. After a brief address from Ms Holt, Ms Hutton and Mr Alexander, our first workshop run by Ms Bentley gave us an insight to our pathways out of Year 12 into the ‘real world’. We were reassured that all our efforts this year will lead to a significant step in our lives. Once being divided into three groups, with thanks to the time dedicated by past students Taylor Dale, Jesse Williams and Rebekah Hales, the second workshop was focused on learning about how we are to achieve our best from their experience and advice. Following a short break and a quick game, in our separate groups we rotated through three more workshops. With Mr England, we focused on goal setting and staying motivated. Mrs McDonald reiterated the importance of healthy relationships. Finally, the aerobics session led by Mr Alexander was appreciated by all. Although some struggled to keep up with his moves, we were able to get to know our new Year 12 coordinator in a very entertaining manner.

Our second and final day of ‘Step Up’ at Victoria University in the city was focused on keeping up our morale throughout the year. Introduced to the experts from Elevate, we learnt some tips on time management and studying methods, which we will certainly take with us throughout the year. The lectures were inspiring and entertaining and left us with an enlightened path for getting the best out of VCE. Taken on a trip through time of our experience at the college, we then created the memories bunting, letting us relive our fondest moments over the years. After lunch, we were taught the complex wonders of our brain, learning how to keep it active, in control, and relaxed by Mr Kinch. Although some may have felt silly in the group meditation, the shared stresses that had already begun to form resulted in the session being valued by all.

There is no denying that we have a big year ahead of us. However, through the skills learnt over the two days and the support from our teachers and fellow students, we know we will never be alone tackling the challenges presented to us, as we are a Year 12 team. 

In the Swim

Well done to all students who participated in our annual house swimming sports at MSAC on Thursday, 23 February.

Thanks to students Maggie Kontev (Year 11) and Copper Taylor-Bogaars (Year 10) for snapping these fantastic photos. As you can see students and staff had a ball together - in and out of the pool!

Keats house who won the event with 951 points, followed by Byron (761), Lawton (755) and Milton (542). Points are based on race wins/placings and participation levels.

Special congratulations to our age group champions:

13yo: Jaya Lisanti and William McCarthy

14yo: Enya Talbot and Marlon Trevitt

15yo: Freya Hopkins and Harper Massey

16yo: Ruby Woods and Marven Lim

17yo: Madisyn Soroczynski and Nelson Gray

20yo: Sally Davis and Kye Gray

We took a strong team to the Beachside Swimming Carnival, placing second only eight points behind the winning school. Nelson Gray, Harper Massey and the Year 7 boys relay team qualified for the Southern Metro Championships.

Liam's Lacrosse takes him to Internationals

Congratulations to Year 11 student Liam Harari who has been selected to represent Australia in the Under 23 Asia-Pacific Lacrosse championship in South Korea in June. 

Skate Star Ava

Congratulations to Year 8 student Ava Godfrey-Stephens who came second at a big skateboarding competition in Sydney last month. 

She has been skating since she was eight alongside her dad Marc, who was a semi-pro skateboarder in the late 1980s.

We asked Marc to fill us in on Ava's latest achievements:

"Ava competes against women of all ages, including professionals, which is impressive for a 13 year old! King of Concrete at Noble Park saw her come 4th. In the Globe bowl riot, where girls skate against guys under 16, she placed 18 out of 30. Next was Bato Bay on the central coast of NSW. She skated amazingly to finish 2nd, beating last year's world champion! Then, at the Australian Bowlriding Championship in Newcastle, competing with Pro skaters from the US and Brazil, she placed 11th out of 18. Ava has won the Skate Park League twice and will be competing again for the finals."

Ava has a local event coming up at King of Concrete St Kilda on Sunday 9 April, 11am-5pm at the Marine Parade skate space. Why not go along next Sunday and cheer for Ava! 

Jiu-Jitsu Gold

Congratulations to Year 10 student Hugh Boyd who won a GOLD medal in the January 2017 International Brazilian Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Melbourne. Hugh has competed at events in Australia and internationally over the past few years, and in August 2016 won 2 silver medals at the Kids World International Champs in California. 

Hugh joined us at Elwood College this year from Echuca-Moama.

Photo courtesy of Absolute MMA.

Harry at the MTC

Congratulations to Year 11 student Harry Stone, who has accepted a coveted place in the 2017 MTC Ambassador's Program.  Harry (pictured here in last year's whole school production) was nominated for the program by teacher Matt Green.
This year-long extension program offers insight into the world of professional theatre.
According to the Melbourne Theatre Company website: "Each month students attend an MTC production, meet with artists and staff, and share their experiences of theatre with like-minded peers. Our ambassadors are valued advocates of MTC in their school, social and online communities. Upon completion of the program, MTC Ambassadors are invited to join our Young Grads initiative in order to extend the MTC experience and stay connected."

Melbourne Museum

Our Year 7s had a great day out at the Melbourne Museum visiting the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Classes 7B, 7E and 7F visited on Wednesday, 15 March followed by 7A, 7C and 7D that Friday. 

The current exhibition First Peoples celebrates the history, culture, achievements and survival of Victoria’s Aboriginal people.

Forensic Minds

Hands-on learning has continued for our Year 10 Forensic Science students. At the Victoria Police Museum, students learned how technologies are helping police solve crime in new and groundbreaking ways. They took this knowledge back to school and tried out facial reconstruction in a practical session.

They have also been learning about bone anthropology and, through a dissection of a lamb's knee, specifically looked at the structure of the knee, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. 


When I was young: Teachers tell

Year 10 assemblies have taken on a new angle this term. Student Melissa Thomas reports on “some of our favourite teachers bravely providing an insight into their lives”.

Year 10 Learning Leader Miss Rawlings had quite an adventurous childhood. While living in Tonga, her family had no running water to drink, frequent power outages and regular cyclones. However, she revealed that this was her favourite time of her childhood as she became a part of the island’s culture. Throughout her life, Miss Rawlings participated in a number of sports, particularly hockey, cross country and soccer. Always interested in science, Miss Rawlings met her soon-to-be-husband in Year 12 at a science festival and continued onto university with a double degree. Her current hobbies include hiking, crocheting and travelling around Victoria. Miss Rawlings also has a talent for cake decorating and is currently preparing her own wedding cake.

Mrs Artin was a “90s kid”, with teenage interests including ‘Home & Away’, baking and R&B music. She lived in Melbourne for most of her life until, while studying Arts and Commerce at Deakin University, she studied abroad in the Netherlands for a semester. Mrs Artin completed a Master of Teaching at Deakin and indulged her passion for travelling. She also enjoys collecting records old and new and playing guitar.

Mrs Clegg was also a “Melbourne girl”, growing up in Carlton. She moved on to live in Frankfurt for 18 months until April 2000. Her son, Michael, is now living overseas. Mrs Clegg took up a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, as well as a post grad in criminology, and she worked in the government before education. As a Taurus, Mrs Clegg states herself to be true to her star sign. Unlike Mrs Artin, Mrs Clegg does not like R&B and much prefers alternative music.

Mrs Thomas always had big cheeks and wore braces throughout her childhood. She grew up in North Wales, running around and sailing at the beach. Despite moving across the ocean, Mrs Thomas has stayed in touch with many of her high school friends - a reassurance to many of us who hope to continue contact with each other after Year 12. Mrs Thomas’ career story also proved to be quite the motivation. Despite training to be a scuba diving instructor, she always wanted to be a teacher, eventually going to Cambridge to study, and had to work until 3am every Saturday morning taking pizza orders in order to reach this goal. With her husband of 12 years, Mrs Thomas also has two children who attend Elwood Primary and a black Labrador named Jet.

Mr England considers himself to have had a fortunate teenage life. He grew up in Eltham with his younger sister and, due to his dad’s position in the music industry, was able to go to any concert he wished. He even got to meet Michael Jackson! Mr England made a lot of changes regarding his career over the years. Starting off in prosthetics, he moved to public health before taking up a double major in Economic Science, working with Beyond Blue at La Trobe University. Proud of his team’s achievement of winning a premiership in 2011, Mr England has a keen interest in football and skiing. Travelling is also a big thing for him, having just returned from India over the holidays.

Ms Darlow believes she has “not much life experience in comparison” to her colleagues. Quite the contrary, she lived in Malaysia for two years and spent the year of 2006 travelling around the world. Ms Darlow was a “cool kid” growing up, playing on the clarinet in the school band. Currently, she plays bass in a band called ‘Tom Black & the Caesars’. Ms Darlow has a Bachelor of Arts and Music and a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne. Sadly, she is leaving the school in August to teach in Germany for a few years. 

Georgie Inspires

To celebrate International Women's Day, Year 11 student Georgie Stone was named by the MamaMia website as one of 15 young women under 20 WORLDWIDE who are making a difference. Georgie advocates for the right of transgender young people to access Stage 2 hormones to complete their transition and her online petition with 15,000 signatures will be presented to the Family court at the end of March.

Marie Claire magazine featured Georgie in their March edition and she spoke at a City of Port Phillip International Womens Day panel to celebrate inspirational women who are bringing about change.

International Welcome

Every year the Governor of Victoria hosts a Welcome Reception for Victoria's International Students. Our International Program Director Will Spring reports.

On Wednesday 15 March, on a very warm and sunny Melbourne day, three new English Language Centre students, Tongxin (Crystal), Maki Takimoto, Hoang Thinh (Steve) Do, and myself attended Government House in the Royal Botanical Gardens for the annual International School Students Welcome to Victoria function.

We were among about 500 staff and students from many schools all around Victoria and were treated to inspiring speeches from the Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau; the Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier, Judith Graley; and the Year 12 International Student Academic Excellence Award recipient from 2015, Ying (Winnie) Li.

Each gave their perspective on the importance of international students to Victoria and what can be learnt when local and international students collaborate. To conclude, morning tea was served and students had the opportunity to meet other international students from across the 90 countries represented there.

Meet our International Students: Kevin (Zhen Yu)

Tell us about life at home: In my hometown Guang Zhou, China, the environment is very good. We usually eat seafood. My hobby is listening to music.

How is life here different for you? My hometown is very hot. Elwood College the morning is cold, afternoon is hot.

What advice would you give to new international students? Holiday for a few days more.

Meet our International Students: Maki

Year 10 student Maki is from Fukuoka, Japan.

Tell us about life at home: I live with my mother, father, older brother and me. I am a member of a badminton club.

How is Elwood College different to your school at home? My old school doesn't have a microwave. 

What do you like most about living here? I like singing and running.

Past Students in the News

Former Elwood High student Mel Jones has been inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for dedicating her life to providing support and opportunities for aspiring female athletes. As a former Australian cricketer, she scored a century on test debut and internationally became the first female lead commentator in the men's Big Bash and IPL. Elwood College now has a senior sports award in her name.

2014 graduate Josh Caratelli is a semi-finalist in the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever awards for Online Achievement. These National awards acknowledge, encourage and promote the achievements of young Australians under 29. This digital achievement award category celebrates and showcases the new generation of digital savvy online practitioners who show leadership and innovation. Congratulations from us all. 

Congratulations Mel and Josh.

Alumni Stories: Honoured Volunteer

Arnold Roth attended Elwood High in 1965–1968. He lives in Jerusalem where he is a manager, technology commercialization specialist and lawyer.

“What I remember most about Elwood High is the truly outstanding teachers. Alex Fugedi who taught us German; Mrs Lewulis, the French teacher who was with the Resistance during the war; and Mr Whitehead the English and drama teacher and a gentleman with a true cultural air about him. These teachers especially stand out.

“Like me, many of the students in the school were of Jewish background. Our parents often knew each other and most spoke Yiddish at home. Like other children of recent immigrants, our parents wanted us to do well in our studies and there was a real commitment to getting ahead. My father, a photographer, had a lot of Italian and Greek customers and I was also friendly with students from Greek and Italian backgrounds at school.

“I didn’t mind the uniform that we all had to wear, including the caps and boaters, but do remember that we used our compasses to dethread the crimson, yellow and black Elwood High school tie to upgrade our ties with more interesting patterns.

“I did not enjoy AFL football or cricket but made the school relay team in athletics and did well at the triple jump, usually having to “jump off” against another boy to get into the team.

“When I was in Form 4 in 1967, the Six-Day War in Israel was a real turning point for me. My parents, born in Poland, were both survivors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust and I was very tuned into their emotional state. I wanted to learn more about my Jewish background and wanted to go to a Jewish school so I completed Form 5 and 6 at Mt Scopus College. It was around this time that I taught myself Yiddish. My father, who spoke multiple languages did not speak especially good English and I wanted to be closer to him and to be able to understand more of the stories that my parents’ friends were telling around the card tables at night.”

Arnold studied Economics and Law at Monash University (1970–1974) and became a city solicitor. In 1988, he and his New York-born wife moved their young family and professional practices to Israel. In 2001, they set up the Malki Foundation to provide assistance to families with severely disabled children, in honour of their daughter Malki who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2001, aged 15. Malki had dedicated herself to caring for people with disabilities, starting with her own youngest sister who needs round-the-clock care.

After many years of service to the special-needs community, in 2013 he and his wife were honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteerism by Israel’s Minister of Social Affairs. They have been interviewed frequently for radio, television, print media, CNN, BBC, New York Times, Al Jazeera.

Arnold works today as a professional adviser, consultant, entrepreneur and technology commercialisation specialist.






ALUMNI STORIES: Passion for Health

Ashley Ng attended Elwood College in 2003-2007.

“I started Year 8 at Elwood College after moving from Singapore with my family and immediately felt at home amongst the culturally diverse student population. Some of my fondest memories are of hanging out with friends after school as everyone lived close by. Through the strong community vibe at the school, I took part in multiple school events such as the school band, musicals and the Student Representative Council (SRC) through to my VCE years. In Year 11, I helped to organise Elwood College’s first Talent Night, which has since evolved into a much-loved event on the school calendar.

Not only did Elwood College place an emphasis on academic studies, they encouraged and supported my pursuit of extra-curricular activities. I believe that my time at Elwood College has shaped my core beliefs, values and independence. I am grateful for the teachers who went above and beyond their roles and injected inspiration into my life. In fact, I still keep in touch with some of them today! I believe that I was also the first Elwood College student to receive a Kwong Lee Dow scholarship from Melbourne University, through which I received invaluable support in my VCE years.

I graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Nutrition and Psychology and a Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition with Honours. I am also an accredited practising dietician after completing my Masters in Dietetics and am currently completing my PhD on the use of mobile health technology in diabetes education for young adults with diabetes during life transitions.

It was probably my second year of university that cemented my career path after my type 1b diabetes (non autoimmune insulin deficiency) diagnosis. My complicated diabetes diagnosis journey ignited my passion to help streamline the Australian healthcare system through the use of mobile health technology and digital health. Additionally, I have become a strong diabetes advocate by sharing my experiences and knowledge with others.

Since my diagnosis, I have kept a blog called Bittersweet Diagnosis, which details my journey and reflections on life with diabetes. I am also a regular volunteer with Diabetes Camps Victoria and have helped coordinate camps for children with type 1 diabetes. In 2013, I was nominated by Diabetes Australia to participate in the International Diabetes Federation’s Young Leader in Diabetes Programme. Recently in 2016, I co-founded an organisation called Beta Change, which aims to bring the diabetes community together across local, regional and international levels to break down barriers that prevent people with diabetes from living a full life.”

Personal links

Blog: www.bittersweetdiagnosis.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bittersweetdiagnosis

Twitter: @Health4diabetes

Beta Change Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BetaChangeNetwork

Twitter: @Beta_Change