The 2019 academic year began earlier this week with a sense of anticipation—among girls, families and teachers—of the many possibilities that lie ahead.
Whether wearing their Brisbane Girls Grammar School uniform for the first time, experiencing their final ‘first day’ of school, or somewhere in between, I trust that all girls were excited to commence.
2019 will be an important year for Girls Grammar. We will conclude the OP system with the Year 12 girls, while simultaneously implementing the new system of senior assessment with our Year 11 cohort.
The School will embark upon some long-term planning with the development of a Strategic Design 2020-2022 and there will be avenues for students and families to contribute to this important discussion. Construction on our new science building will commence this year and be complete in December 2020, ushering in a new chapter in science education at Girls Grammar.
While the provision of outstanding facilities is certainly a very important endeavour, it is sparking the girls’ genuine engagement in learning—in a classroom, on a stage or field, in a quiet corner of the library—that remains our priority, always.
Learning comes in many, often unexpected, forms. This week for example, Drama Teacher, Ms Emma Churchland shared a poignant address with staff and girls about her heritage and identity as the School gathered at Assembly to acknowledge Australia Day and the start of the academic year. As Australians, we are so fortunate to live in a nation that, while not perfect, is certainly a largely peaceful, stable and prosperous society.
Ms Churchland encouraged both staff and girls to consider how they can contribute towards making our country even stronger, more tolerant and more just:
‘It is a feeling—Australian being both a noun and an adjective—to be an Australian is to be kind, is to be accepting, is to be free. We are here, and we are together, and we are making the choice to be Australians. That makes us, us. I implore you to consider what you think the Australian identity is, and what contribution you will make to build an Australian identity you can be proud of and one you feel connected to … as we head further into 2019, consider your contribution to our shared Australian identity and help to shape our collective futures into an identity we can be proud of.’
In a week where the people of North Queensland continue to experience devastating flooding, while those in Tasmania battle horrendous bushfires, this shared identity is visible as people come together—from near and far—to support their fellow Australians. We keep in our thoughts those people who are enduring these natural disasters, and those working around the clock to keep them safe.
It has been an energetic and exciting week, one in which I am sure many girls have considered their futures and thought about how they will challenge themselves and contribute to their community. We will continue to marvel at the beauty of the unknown—the opportunities that are yet to present themselves, and the adventures on which we will embark.
I hope that 2019 will be a productive and rewarding year for all Grammar girls and their families.
Ms Jacinda Euler