The second half of the year is moving along very rapidly with a buzz of positive activity both inside and outside the classroom. We have many teachers who are continually putting in so much extra effort to see our students take on new challenges and experiences that are both enjoyable and educational.
Our term has started with some changes with our teaching staff. I welcome the following teachers:
- Ms O’Sullivan has undertaken a permanent position in Mathematics
- Mrs Perris joining us this year in a combined History/ Mathematics role.
- Ms Thumpkins filling the position this year in History.
- Mrs Lees working this year as a learning and support teacher.
- Mr Hollywood joining the computing faculty this year.
- Mr Artuphel continuing as Head Teacher Science until our new Head Teacher Ms Megan Griffith starts in 2014.
The Department of Education and Communities has undergone some organisational changes. Murat Disdar is the Executive Director responsible for the Sydney area. Our school is in a group of schools known as Port Hacking group with our new Director, Lynne Irvine.
Our students are working through their second semester following a busy assessment period at the end of last term. Our Parent Teacher Nights and reports issued provide a valuable insight for both students and parents not only in how they have progressed but what they can do to raise their performance. I enjoyed many conversations with parents, especially at the two Parent Teacher Night events, sharing some successful stories as well as ideas for the future.
We soon farewell our current year 12 students as they make their final preparations in the lead up to the Higher School Certificate. They have received feedback and results on their trial HSC and these final weeks will provide them with opportunities to lean on their teachers to consolidate their understanding and help prepare for the coming final examinations. After 13 years in school, long friendships, many ups and downs, this is also an emotional time for our year 12 students as they begin to process the reality of moving on away for school and from friends. We wish each of them the best of luck in these lastweeks and in this final dash towards the Higher School Certificate.
In addition to the success and lessons learnt in the classroom, many students have enjoyed the opportunities they have experienced through the performing arts. These include the Sutherland Dance Festival, the Drama Festival, Band Fest and a range of opportunities to perform locally and at school to our own community.
Our student leadership opportunities have flourished beyond expectation over the last 18 months with an overwhelming sense of happiness and belonging around the school as students from 7 through to 12 actively get involved in such a positive way. Our students have organised fund raising and awareness activities for a range of charities and have done so in a way that nurtured Gymea as a harmonious and proud school to attend.
A few activities worth noting include:
Our first Multicultural Day that was filled with a buzz of excitement and learning truly celebrated the cultural diversity that makes our school and country great. We are so lucky to live with such wide customs, dress and flavours and this day, organised and led by the students with the support of many staff, promoted in our students a pride in our community with a rich Indigenous heritage complemented by diverse, proud cultures. I have had so many staff and students who have spoken to me about how great the day was and what next year can bring.
A Super Hero Day raised money and awareness for Bear Cottage, the palliative care unit for terminally ill children. This group of young leaders really ‘get it’ in terms of the power of their voice, and their influence on the culture of our school. They raised nearly $1500 in this activity, through the cake stalls, sale of wrist bands, the face painting and the gold coin collection as part of the super hero dress mufti day. They enjoyed the success of inspiring so many people to take a lead in contributing to a cause, to be a positive part of our school. Teachers and students alike either dressed to the theme or simply got involved in the excitement that surrounded it. It created a good feel, a school that cares, a school that has so many positive things happening with so many students and staff.
Our Environment group were assisted by our local state member for parliament Graham Annesley to plant a variety of native plants in the remnants of the wood chip pile as a part of Planet Arc’s, National Tree Day. With over 100 trees planted in this initiative, our students have demonstrated again their ongoing passion for the environment.
There are many wonderful things going on at Gymea and the ideas and drive of both our students and our staff make this school truly a dynamic place to learn and work.