Australian social researcher and author, Hugh Mackay AO, has devoted much time to researching what makes a ‘community’, and has often lamented what he views as the demise of community in an era defined by change—technological, social and political.
Mackay argues that while we respond instinctually as a community during times of crisis—floods, fires, pandemics—the strength of our community often falters outside these periods.
At BGGS, our community has developed over more than 145 years, during which time it has remained committed to an important and common goal—providing girls with a broad, liberal education that equips them to contribute to their community, their world, in full and rewarding ways.
This united purpose is visible in the smaller, everyday moments at Girls Grammar, as much as it is during larger School events and activities. This term, we have celebrated the achievements, big and small, which represent that for which we stand—Nil Sine Labore.
Our historic win at the 2020 Head of the River is a perfect example of an achievement made possible by the hard work of many, over many years. The exceptional performance of our girls—our First and Second VIII crews, younger crews, individual rowers—was the culmination of a very successful season and demonstrated the depth of our rowing squad, cultivated through the years by former Rowing Coordinator, Mrs Sally Callie, current Coordinator, Mr Darcy Wruck, and the entire coaching staff. The support of the Rowing Support Group, parents and the broader rowing community was invaluable to the School’s outstanding results on the water.
Our Year 12 students have recently completed their Mock Exams, which have provided the girls with a strong foundation for their upcoming external exams in October, the first under the new system of senior assessment. Six years ago, when they commenced their BGGS education as our first Year 7 students, our Year 12 cohort could not have imagined what their final year at Girls Grammar would hold. They have accepted with maturity and grace the changes necessitated by the challenges of 2020. It was wonderful to see the girls enjoy their Year 12 Formal earlier this month, and to welcome our Year 12 families to Rangakarra for a relaxed picnic (and a game or two of Connect Four) last Sunday afternoon, ahead of more formal events in Term 4.
Our Year 7 girls have also visited Rangakarra this week, to plant ‘learning trees’—an initiative established by our current Year 12 girls when they commenced Year 7 in the School’s 140th year. Each year since, Year 7 students have planted trees at Rangakarra, to acknowledge their learning as a trajectory of growth, and to remind us of the transformative power of education. This theme was also evident earlier today, as our Year 11 girls welcomed Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ms Julie McKay, to a special leadership assembly. Ms McKay spoke to the girls of the challenges and rewarding opportunities that await them next year, encouraging them to be bold, question the status quo and lead with integrity.
Term 4, with its usual punctuations—Head Girl elections, Valedictory Dinner, Speech Day—will begin with a particularly exciting milestone, as we officially open our new Science Learning Centre. A bold project many years in the making, this building will transform science education at BGGS, and its development has been wholeheartedly supported by our BGGS community. Were Hugh Mackay to visit BGGS, he would see that our community counters his observations; it is a rich, consistent and defining element of our School, at all times.
I wish our families a relaxing and restorative break—be it time spent at the beach, on a road trip, or at home with a good book—and look forward to all that awaits us in Term 4.