Head of Campus report

As the 2015 academic year draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate our students on their progress over the course of the year. During the past two weeks, our new VCE students have been fully engaged in their Yearstart classes and have made a great head start on their 2016 studies. Our middle school students have been involved in Themes and Dreams (TAD) preparation and I am looking forward to their final TAD presentation on Tuesday 8 December commencing at 6.30 pm. I hope you will be able join us to share in the excitement of TAD.

Other end-of-year events which are well worth adding to your calendar are the Alumnae Public Speaking Competition, which commences at 9.00 am on Wednesday 9 December and the final Colours and Awards assembly at 1.15 pm also on 9 December.

On Tuesday 1 December, the students enjoyed a friendly but competitive House Swimming Sports carnival. Our sports were held this year at the Oakleigh Recreational Centre which proved to be a popular change of venue. There was enormous House spirit on the day and a most enjoyable day was had by all participants. Congratulations to all students who either swam, assisted in the smooth running of the day or cheered on their House at the carnival.

On Wednesday 18 November the sun shone on us as we officially opened our new vegetable garden and greenhouse. Our current crop is looking very healthy, thanks to the work of Mr Wyatt, the Environment Group and student volunteers. The Food Technology teachers and students are looking forward to reaping the fruits of their labour in the near future.

We are grateful for the generosity of the Cochrane family whose donation allowed us to establish the gardens. We also thank Bunnings Warehouse for their donations of seedraising mix and fertilisers. As recipients of the Victorian School Gardens Award, we were able to purchase plants and seeds which will ensure crops well into the future. We are very grateful to Mr Wyatt and the grounds staff of St Margaret’s School who built the gardens and the fabulous greenhouse which was made from all recycled materials.

We were thrilled to recently learn that Mr John Di Carlo was to receive the La Trobe Community Service Award which acknowledged his service to St Margaret’s School. Over the past 20 years, Mr Di Carlo has been a member of the school’s Parents’ and Friends’ Association as well as several years as their President. In that time he has cooked many kilometres of sausages for the students, played Santa Claus, organised the annual School Fair, cooked at the staff Christmas parties and been a reliable presence working away in the background of most school functions. John was President of the P and F when they responded to student demand and introduced the annual Presentation Ball. He went on to organise and attend 14 Balls. We are grateful to Mrs Josie Di Carlo who has also contributed countless hours of service to the school. Together they have served the school, run their own business and put their five children through the school. We are indebted to them.

The following girls will be leaving soon for their exchanges which occur over the summer holidays. We look forward to hearing about their adventures upon their return to school next year;

Aberdeen Exchange – Lauren Herbert and Emily Tolan
York Exchange – Susanna Bates, Erin Hanley and Ella Shone

There will be some staff movement in 2016. Our wonderful Deputy Head, Mrs Helen McDonald, will be moving to Berwick Grammar School to take up the role of Deputy Head (Teaching and Learning). Over the past 4 years Mrs McDonald has proven to be an excellent administrator and leader of the school. We will miss her forward thinking, her exceptional understanding of educational theory and meticulous organisational skills. Berwick Grammar are very lucky to have Helen McDonald join their leadership team.

The position of Deputy Head (Pastoral) at St Margaret’s School will be filled next year by Mr Paul Atkins. Most parents and students know Mr Atkins from his work as Year 10 Coordinator and his involvement in PE and sport. He is excited about taking on this new and challenging role.

The following staff are moving on at the end of the 2015 school year.

We thank Ms Laura Moya who has been a Long Service Leave replacement teacher this term. Laura has brought youth and vitality to the PE department along with immeasurable expertise in a variety of sports. She has been an asset to the PE Department and we wish her well in her teaching future.

Ms Judith Gillen has concluded her second contract with the school, this time as a maternity leave replacement. We have been indebted to Ms Gillen for offering her teaching expertise to the school and for providing her wisdom and leadership as Year 7 Coordinator this term. We wish her well in her next school.

Samantha Caddey has been an art teacher and Year Level Coordinator during her time at St Margaret’s School. Samantha has been a valuable member of the teaching staff thanks to her extensive research and knowledge of current educational trends. We will miss her happy countenance and the joy she shares with the students in art.
Our AFL trainee Claudia Tivendale will also be moving on at the end of this year. Claudia has been highly organised and full of initiative, completing all work diligently. As an old girl of the school, she has been able to bring the student perspective more sharply into focus for the staff and the students have loved working with her too. The staff have watched her transition from student to staff member with great pride. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

Jane Shone is moving from St Margaret’s School to take up the post of Head of Boarding at MLC in Melbourne. Jane came to St Margaret’s School from a position of Boarding Housemistress in England. MLC is indeed lucky to find someone with Jane’s skill and experience to fulfil this demanding role. Jane has been an exceptional leader in our school as both Head of Drama and as Year Level Coordinator. But it is her love of drama and her love for her students for which she will be most fondly remembered. Her vision for school productions and the countless hours of additional work she puts in behind the scenes to make sure each production is the best it can be, have been appreciated by generations of students and staff in our school. We will miss her enormously

We wish all our departing staff the best in the future.

The new staff for 2016 are;
Judy Taylor – Drama and English
Bronwyn Huisintveld – Geography and Civics
Louise Gerrard – International Politics

A reminder that your daughter’s school report will be emailed to you at the end of the academic year. If your email address has changed, please inform the school as soon as possible.

On behalf of all the staff, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a relaxing and safe holiday.

Mrs Fiona Williams