The end of the school year is always a fast-paced run to the finish line, with so many events celebrating the achievements of our students and staff. This year has been no different and as COVID-19 government restrictions eased in Canberra, we were pleased to welcome parents and families back on campus to celebrate with us. 2021 has shown students that they can adapt and respond to the unknown, and that adults are here to provide guidance and support. This is essential learning for adult life, where the unknown is faced regularly. We moved between on-campus learning to remote learning and back again. Homes became offices, quasi-classrooms and a virtual school yard where friends joined together through the only means possible. It was a reminder that we are so fortunate to live in a country where technology and its supporting infrastructure is easily available and that we can continue to connect, even if we cannot be together. There are students in the world for whom this has not been a reality.
Our teachers met through virtual meetings and virtual lunch breaks together as they, too, were separated from colleagues and the energy that comes from sharing professional dialogue about curriculum, or an upcoming assessment task. Dogs and cats, children and family members suddenly became part of the classroom, where we had an insight into life outside the green gates of CGGS. But the overwhelming message from students was how much they missed school. Absence had indeed made their hearts grow fonder for the green grass of our Melbourne Avenue campus.
Welcoming students back in a phased return from the first day of Term 4 was exciting, joyous and a relief for all. We swelled with pride to witness the Year 12 students successfully complete the AST exam and then the IB exams. The final farewells to our Year 12 students were able to continue as planned and the girls enjoyed every moment of the final assembly, formal, graduation and graduation dinner. This year we celebrated many significant events such as International Women’s Day, International Day of the Girl, International Day of Girls and Women in Science, Science Week, Book Week, ANZAC Day, Founders Day, Reconciliation Week, and Remembrance Day.
This year, students took part in a vast array of competitions and excelled in them. Particularly noteworthy were the Da Vinci Decathlon teams, the Geography Competition winners, Tournament of Minds competitors, debating teams and Festival of Speech students, to name a few. And we had fun! School spirit was proudly on display at the Athletics Carnival, House Fun Run, Creative Minds Day activities, and for the first time House Sing. We celebrated Galantines’ Day and Halloween, wore jeans for Genes for Jeans Day, enjoyed international cuisine and a multi faith Chapel for Harmony Day, wore touches of red for Liver Kids, donned bandannas (often multiple at once) for Canteen’s Bandanna Day, indulged in Waverley’s Biggest Morning Tea. And then there was Grammar’s Got Talent! What a night that was. Students from all year levels stepped onto the stage and performed various acts that left the crowd cheering with joy and admiration.
As 2021 comes to a close, I hope that every student is able to reflect on their personal growth and development this year; not only academically but socially and emotionally as well. Be proud of the steps you have made and the continued path towards shaping your ‘you’. 2022 is a new school year and a new opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to your school.
Wishing you all the blessings of the Christmas season and sharing in the joy that comes from spending time with friends and loved ones. Merry Christmas and see you again in 2022.
Ms Julie Jorritsma
Deputy Principal (Head of Senior School)