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The Final Letter Home for 2020

Greetings everyone, and especially the Penbank families who have been with us 100% throughout this HUGE year.

We have concluded this year, surrounded by delighted children. Our recent events, including Orientation, a return to School Meeting, Graduation, and various celebrations, have finally brought us together as a school community. Yes, we all did our absolute best to keep connected, but there's nothing like the face-to-face togetherness that enables us to relate to each other and share what we do.

The changes and adjustments we have experienced as a community have been extraordinary, yet I believe we have done well. All of our students have made giant leaps in their school work and the significant steps they have achieved towards independence.

Yes, we have missed out on some experiences. However, I take heart that all children conclude the year delighted to be at school with terrific friends and excellent teachers.

We have also missed you as parents, and on behalf of Andy and I, we thank you for the phone calls and very brief greetings and smiles that we have received from your cars each morning and afternoon. 

Being at Woodleigh

We are all feeling very grateful to be a part of a beautiful school. We are proud to be sending children and young people on their way to the next stage of their education – Early Learning to Prep, Year 6 into the secondary years, and Year 12's onto young adulthood. We strive to enable our young people to develop as compassionate citizens, students who build independence and resilience in their quest to find personal success in life, and indeed, they do! We also wish to see them making a positive contribution to the communities they live in, not only at school but also beyond. We encourage our students to follow their passions and grow in a culture of respect and inclusion.

Last week at the Year 12 Valedictory, I saw what this means for these young adults who are completing their Woodleigh education; young adults who, not that long ago, were beginning their education at Penbank. Wonderful to see!

Back at Penbank, we graduated our Year 6 students. We were thrilled to be able to involve their parents in this very special send-off. Their reflections told their stories, highlighting their unique personalities, talents, and aspirations for the future. They expressed their gratitude to their parents and the teachers they worked with across their years at Penbank.

CREATE too, the finale of our Arts Electives Program transpired into the magnificent production of 'Curious.' Inspired by Book Week, with ideas conceived through the fantasy world of this particular week, a feature film was created and presented at the Dromana Drive-in. It was a real treat with a packed audience to show the children's work on the big screen. Such a huge undertaking! We are all indebted to Drama and Dance teacher Katherine Gordon for her expert work in making the movie 'Curious' come to fruition. It required incredible tenacity and perseverance - a brilliant effort! Thank you, Katherine, for your dedication to the Performance Arts, and a huge thanks to all teachers and staff to contribute to this very new experience for children and families. 

Welcome

We welcomed new children and parents into our school for the first time; quite extraordinary to have met over 60 new children with their parents across the week who had never been to our campus. As you may guess, they were delighted with our general environment and opportunities ahead for their children. They are all very eager to join our school community - we do hope our families' interactions can return to a more personable level in the new year. 

Acknowledgements and Thanks

Finally, it was fantastic to come together for School Meeting on the last Thursday of the term. The last time we met for School Meeting was 12 March. Incredible! We again joined together to conclude the final day for students. There were acknowledgments and thanks to students and teachers for the fantastic work across the year. We enjoyed a most beautiful parting song from singing teacher, Stephanie Crowder, who leaves to dedicate her time to studying Law. Steph has been the singing teacher at Penbank for the past seven years. She has inspired and developed many talented singers, and throughout these years, she has showcased our students' talents through many choral and solo performances. We will genuinely miss the beautiful music she has brought into our school.

As we head into this celebratory season, I thank our whole school community for your commitment, patience, and support. It has been a year like no other and very challenging at times. However, we've made it, learned lessons, and can look forward with optimism to better days.

To the families and students moving on from Penbank, I wish you the very best of success for the future; and to all staff, I thank you with all my heart. May you enjoy a relaxing and joyful time as you celebrate the festivities of this holiday period and New Year. See you 1 February 2021, at 8.30 am!

VIVIENNE WEARNE
Head of Penbank – Deputy Principal Woodleigh School