Senior Homestead Update

Last week saw the resumption of face to face learning for the Year 11 and 12, as senior homestead students returned to the senior campus. It is great to see activity back in the Senior Homestead and lovely to see the students pleased to be back with friends, their teachers, and the school environment.

The return required students to adapt to protocols and procedures and remain mindful of everyone's safety and concerns in the community. An increased regime of hand hygiene and cleaning is in place, with constant reminders given to promote safe practices and social distancing. The early mornings and longer lessons took their toll, with many tired students by the end of the week.

In support of the transition back to a full timetable, the pastoral and pathways team have developed and implemented targeted wellbeing sessions based on Gratitude, Empathy, and Mindfulness, to help students reflect upon and contextualise the past and current situation. These sessions aimed to help students recognise and harness the many valuable skills and habits like self-direction, independence, and organisation, that they have developed during the CLP and to utilise these skills to enhance their learning now that they are back on campus. The students appreciated the sessions, helping to ease the return to school, which has required a lot of mental energy from the students.

Now, in week 2 of our return, the 'new' practices are feeling ordinary, and students are feeling more settled and comfortable back in the Homestead. Students continuing to feel anxious are encouraged to speak to Homestead tutors, teachers, or the Pathways, who are more than happy to provide additional support with the transition.

State Plain English Speaking Awards

Congratulations to Lachlan Long and Gretel Friedlander, who, last week, competed in the State Plain English Speaking Awards (PESA). Lachlan and Gretel presented their speeches, via Zoom, in private in HS 6 (where they also had to battle internet issues, cleaners and maintenance interruptions).

Both Gretel and Lachlan presented a 6 minute prepared speech and a 3-minute impromptu one. The prepared speeches were their own choices, but the impromptu speech was given to them 4 minutes before they spoke, and they had to use that time to prepare.

Lachie spoke on 'Victim Discrimination and Domestic Violence,' and Gretel spoke on 'The Awareness of Organ Donation in Australia.'

After a rigorous selection process, Lachlan and Gretel, chosen from a solid field of applicants from Woodleigh, which this year, managed via Zoom. 

One of 11 heats across the state was held online for the very first time, where students aimed to be selected for the State Finals. Lachlan and Gretel performed brilliantly and were a credit to themselves, school, and, on the strength of her performance, Gretel received a "Wild Card" entry to the semi-finals, held in a couple of weeks. Well done, Lachlan, and best of luck to Gretel, we look forward to hearing how you go.

Reconciliation Week

The school celebrated Reconciliation Week with an online assembly featuring former Woodleigh teacher Peter Aldenhoven. During the assembly, we were privileged to have Karen Fenton of Year 11 share some of her family history with us, including a very personal song that Karen permitted to share with the school, in tribute to her 'great nanna' and her language. 

Being new Woodleigh, and not having participated in a Woodleigh Reconciliation Assembly before, I feel so honoured to have been witness to Karen's story and to hear her sing in language, and congratulate her for her bravery and kindness in sharing this with us all.

International Women's Day

I want to congratulate all students involved, listed below, in putting together the Tuesday's International Women's Day assembly, particularly Jasmine Evenden from Year 12, for her passion and effort in driving the organisation and execution of the assembly. 

  • Jazzy Evenden – Student Coordinator
  • Sam Pickering – Created an original design for the promotional material
  • Gretel Frielander – Acknowledgement of country
  • Tamsin Griffiths – Administration assistant
  • Emma Sherrington – Pianist

The assembly featured three inspiring women making their mark in the world and making a difference in their respective communities. The event raised $1200, and you can watch it here; 

Sarah Jeffries of Year 12 has written an account of the event below.

I, along with the Year 11 and 12 cohorts, spent this Tuesday's homestead session at Woodleigh's International Women's Day Event. We honoured the day listening to special guests, Hannah Guy and Meghan O'Malley, who share their mission to support and empower women across developing countries and fight for more sustainable fashion industry.

Hannah is a co-founder of Dorsu, an ethical clothing company in Cambodia that Woodleigh has maintained a relationship with over many years. 

Meghan is the founder of Humiform, a clothing company with designs aimed towards expressing issues that matter to young people. 

An area of the conversation I found particularly interesting was when Hannah and Meghan brought to light the harm created by 'fast-fashion,' something I'm sure we're all guilty of doing as it feels so natural in today's society. 

Hannah has seen how damaging 'fast-fashion' can be to women in developing countries. As a result, her clothing brand is dedicated to supporting these women by creating a safe and positive environment where they can develop skills.

Unfortunately, across Cambodia, along with the rest of the world, Covid-19 has caused widespread job loss, to help Woodleigh is fundraising for crisis packages to provide the workers of Dorsu. Please help us raise money by donating to a great cause. 

The event continued with words from Peta Murphy, the Federal Member for Dunkley. Peta shared the story of Louisa Dunkley, an Australian telegraphist in the 1880s who campaigned for equal pay for men and women. The Dunkley Electorate was named after Louisa in 1984, and in 2019 Peta became its first female representative. This story highlights the courage and determination of women in the past and present, and I feel confident we will continue to see the same in the future.

The event was a brilliant way to celebrate the strength of women. It was inspirational to hear from three strong female role models fighting to create a positive change within our community. 

ANZAC Day Assembly

While I am mentioning assemblies, I would also like to acknowledge James Ward, Isabel Allen, and Lachlan Long for their work in preparing and presenting speeches for the ANZAC Day that occurred during the Continuous Learning period. 

These students spent a great deal of time, juggling the creation and rehearsal of their speeches while adjusting to the CLP.

I would also like to acknowledge Paige Langley for her recital of the Ode of Remembrance. 

Director of Senior Homestead