As the year draws to a close, and particularly following our farewell to the young women of Year 12 last week, it seems we are all ready for a change of pace, the slow winding down (perhaps not complete until post-Christmas) that accompanies this time of year. The rituals of year-end, such as the formality of the Final Assembly and presentation of Year 10 Certificates next week, and the joyful informality of Christmas Carols, and House Group and class parties, bring a certain framing and meaning to the achievements, learnings and experiences of the year—both as a collective and for individuals.
Speech Day and the Annual Distribution of Prizes last Thursday was a dignified and elegant occasion that rightly honoured academic excellence, showcased our musicians and recognised all-round achievement in the areas of sport, music, service and quality teaching. The Occasional Address was delivered by Ms Julie McKay, this being her first year as Chair of the Board of Trustees, and was met with wide acclaim. Its messages about being intentional and authentic, finding your passion and being bold, and the importance of investing in relationships and being open to continuous learning resonated beautifully with parents, staff and, most particularly, girls. It will be published in the Annual Review 2019 early next year.
At Speech Day we bring together the year, celebrate achievement and mark the progress of the School through time. This year, a new Board of Trustees, and a new Chair, assumed their responsibilities following careful succession planning and through rigorous and respectful transition. We commenced construction on an exciting and long-awaited new Science building—a $37M project only made possible through the philanthropic commitment of our generous supporters. Our teachers have negotiated the complex world of senior assessment in Queensland at this time. The rigorous work of running two systems, simultaneously, has been a huge undertaking as we seek to integrate the new external imperatives within our own particular educational philosophy, our ethos, our longstanding purpose.
Our Support Groups have brought a new energy and commitment to their important role in the School in 2019. They have become increasingly interdependent, enthusiastically supporting the work of one another and bringing the community together within an even broader embrace of our parents and Grammar Women. I hope that we can build upon this in to the future.
A new Strategic Design (2020-2022) has recently been created and will be launched early next year. It articulates Girls Grammar’s educational philosophy, with a focus not just on the activities we provide and subjects we offer, but on the ideals we espouse and the attitudes we inspire. In the increasingly demanding education sphere it is very important to be clear about what distinguishes us, and what will continue to distinguish BGGS in the years ahead.
In the final days of the academic year I know you will spend some time with your daughters reflecting on the achievements, the disappointments and the surprises of their year at Girls Grammar. I hope that they understand we are very proud of their efforts and look forward to their return in 2020.
Ms Jacinda Euler