Principal Team Report
Year 7 Camp
On Friday afternoon we welcomed back our Year 7 cohort from Camp, which involved three days of activities designed to support their transition to secondary school. This year’s camp was significantly later in the term than we have traditionally run the event, however, the feedback on the venue, activities and timing suggests that the later time slot was ideal. We had very few instances of homesickness despite the warm weather. It also helped that the cabins were air conditioned overnight so everyone was able to get a good nights sleep after some long and busy days. We have asked a number of students about ways to improve the camp and are particularly interested in any feedback from parents. I was fortunate to attend the Camp for the day with the Student Leaders and enjoyed seeing the enthusiastic way the Year 7 students challenged themselves and worked together through a diverse range of activities. On behalf of the students and parents, I would like to thank Allira Howe, Steph Grant and the amazing team of staff, student leaders and ex-students who so willingly gave their time to make the Year 7 camp for 2019 a reality. Staff attending the camp were also supported very well at school by those who covered lessons and ran our programs for the rest of the cohort.
The previous Friday was our first whole school activity for the year. Nearly 700 students attended the swimming sports on a perfect day for getting wet. While our attendance rate was very high, we are still aware that not everyone who attended actually participated in an event. The swimming sports can be a challenging one to improve participation rates, but there are absolutely no excuses for the Cross Country on Wednesday 13 March and the Athletics carnival early next term. Please note that the Cross Country is compulsory for all students in Years 7-10, normal classes will run for VCE classes, but students in Year 11 and 12 who wish to participate are encouraged to do so. I would like to thank Samantha Prosenak who has taken on the role of running each of our whole school carnivals. As you can imagine it is a logistical challenge to coordinate events of this scale and Sam has demonstrated that she is completely up to the task. Good luck to all participants who will represent the College in the Whitehorse District Swimming and Diving Carnival.
Last Thursday over 40 of our students attended the Air Show. As part of a STEM initiative, we were provided with fully subsidised access to this event with activities designed to foster student interest and participation in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Last year Anthony Hasseldine was appointed to the role of STEAM leader at Koonung. Anthony has been active in growing this area of our curriculum. This year we have a new elective at Year 10, Unity Game Development, and one at Year 9, Microbits, both of these subjects are fully subscribed each semester. In addition, we are running VCE Computing for the first time in a few years. Under Anthony’s leadership we feel confident that STEM/STEAM at Koonung will continue to grow.
Student Representatives on College Council
The results of the ballot to elect a student representative to join Eric Zou on the College Council have been determined. We were extremely fortunate to have two outstanding nominees from Year 11 - Sarah Whitebrook and Blair Tink. Thank you to both candidates for nominating to represent the student body. It is very pleasing to see the number of students who are giving up time to contribute to the functioning of the College and to provide leadership on behalf of their peers. Congratulations to Blair Tink who has been elected. I am sure Blair will make a strong contribution to the Council and represent the student body effectively.
Student Achievements and Celebrations
Over the next two weeks we have the opportunity to further celebrate the achievements of some of the Class of 2018. Richard Leask (VCE Media Teacher) and I had the privilege of attending the reception and premier screening of “Top Screen – Seasons of Excellence”. This event showcases 14 short films produced by VCE media students in 2018. It is a highly prestigious event and Daniel Shen’s media film “Dead Weight” was selected from hundreds of nominations. It was a wonderful evening and the quality of the films was excellent. Daniel was supported by his peers who were involved in the filming of the piece. It was lovely to see Isaac Doblin, Ryan Hook and Jimmy Sirianos in attendance. Daniel and Richard should be extremely proud of this high quality work, which is representing Koonung Secondary College in such a forum. The season runs March 7 to May 7 at ACMI, Federation Square and is well worth visiting.
Victoria Preshaw will be performing her drama piece at the Top Class event on March 13 at the Playhouse, Arts Centre in Melbourne. This is also a credit to the drama program and Peter Hodkinson who will be a proud spectator at this event.
We are also extremely proud of Chloe Peddler (Year 9 Middle School Captain) who has been awarded one of two Erik Perkins Scholarships. These scholarships are sponsored by Box Hill Lions Club and are valued at $500 per year for 4 years (Yr 9-12 inclusive). This is in recognition of Chloe’s involvement in the wider school program and leadership.
Past Student Achievements – Performing Art Success
If you are a Harry Potter fan and venture into the Princess Theatre to experience the wonder of the production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” you will see one of Koonung Secondary College’s alumni in the show. Iopu Auva’a was a very active member of the Performing Arts Program at Koonung and he is making his professional theatre debut in this acclaimed show.
Iopu completed a Bachelor of Arts (Acting) at the University of Ballarat Arts Academy in 2013. He has also trained with 16th Street and The Screen Practice. His theatre credits include Hair, Dreamgirls and The Color Purple with StageArt, Stone the Boats with Candlelight Productions and Screws, Nuts and Blokes as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. He has also been a part of various short films, commercials, corporate functions, and can be seen in the web-series Henry Haus, now available on YouTube.
Cultural Understanding and Safety Training
"Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be" - Rita Pierson, Educator
On Wednesday afternoon we had an early dismissal to facilitate a professional learning opportunity for all staff at the College. In line with the Department's commitment to improving the educational outcomes of our indigenous learners, the government has worked with the Victorian Aboriginal community to develop the Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan. “Marrung will deliver on our shared vision where the rich and thriving culture, knowledge and experience of our First Nations peoples are celebrated by all Victorians; where our universal service systems are inclusive, responsive and respectful of Aboriginal people at every stage of their learning and development journey; and where every Aboriginal person achieves their potential, succeeds in life, and feels strong in their cultural identity.” To support the achievement of this goal all staff were involved in CUST (Cultural Understanding and Safety Training). This training was conducted by Regional Koorie Education Support Officers, and supported by local Elders, Chris Hume and Aunty Daphne. This training was extremely valuable professional development for staff and we all learnt a great deal.