A Grammarian’s perspective on Founders’ Day

Posted 7 May 2021 12:44pm

Last week we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Gabriel Foundation, an organisation that plays an important role in the School.  This anniversary coincides with another significant day in our School’s history, Founders’ Day.  The day where Grammarians – past and present – come together to celebrate the history of this magnificent School.  As a student amongst these very halls and classrooms that today’s students inhabit, I did not always recognise or understand the significance of the School that I attended.  Founders’ Day assembly was always a bit long and boring, someone would inevitably have to stand up for talking, and we would sing Jerusalem (just as a hymn, not the school hymn) and then return to class without necessarily recognising the larger world we were part of as CGGS (CCEGGS back then) students.  Now, as a Grammarian and Deputy Principal (Head of the Senior School), I am immensely grateful for the dedicated people of Canberra’s history who created St Gabriel’s and those who then saved it financially, becoming Canberra Church of England Girls’ Grammar School.  It was the foresight of the founding members of the Gabriel Foundation that ensured CGGS would flourish through the decades.

The combined efforts of these founders created the most long-lasting, authentic to its original purpose, educational facility in Canberra.  A School that has remained through times of crisis, war, poverty and global pandemic.  A School where educating boys and girls on the Junior School campus, and young women on the Senior School campus has been the unapologetic mission and vision, and from which young women graduate with a sense of purpose and drive.  A School that recognises, appreciates and leans into the deep understanding of the relevance of an all girls’ education.  To be part of something bigger than oneself, to understand and appreciate what it means to be an independent woman (and appreciate those who fought for it many years ago) is humbling indeed.  I hope that every CGGS Senior School student one day looks back and appreciates the significance of the opportunity they have been blessed with just by pulling on the green skirt every day.  Happy 90th Birthday to the Grammarians’ Association, Happy 40th Birthday to the Gabriel Foundation and Happy 95th Founders’ Day, CGGS! 

Ms Julie Jorritsma
Deputy Principal (Head of Senior School)