Return to school
It was great to see the students return to school on Wednesday of this week with the end of Lockdown 5.0. Once again, I am so proud of how our staff have been able to reorganise on very short notice and provide full on Webex classes for Years 10-12 and the majority of Year 7 to 9 classes.While we should not compare, many Secondary Colleges did not provide any instruction over Webex and had as little as one lesson per day for a welfare check. Thanks also to the students for demonstrating their resilience with our attendance rates in most of our Webex classes, as good as when we are face to face at school.
On Friday of last week, I was visited by the local St. Arnaud Police who informed me that the person responsible for the intrusions into our Webex Classes during Lockdown 4.0 had been identified and located. It turns out to be a minor from Wonthaggi whose parents had no idea he was involved in such activities. The person will now be fronting police for a statement, and they will then decide what fate or consequences will be put in place. It does come back to us all to remember that you are not anonymous on-line. I will keep you informed of any future developments.
Parent Teacher Interviews
Parent Teacher Interviews were scheduled for this week but obviously had to be postponed due to the lockdown. We are looking at a date later this Term in week 7 – Monday 23 August. Please mark this date in your calendars/diaries.
On Thursday we held second round interviews for our candidates for the architect position for our school upgrade. This has been a very enlightening experience and it is great to see how architectural firms differ in their ideas, philosophies and ways of communicating their thoughts on a large-scale project. We are fortunate to be in a position to have such a good field to choose from.
Year 10-11 Snow Camp
The lockdown has ended just in time for our students to be able to attend the snow fields after missing out on going to the snow last year due to the pandemic. However, we did have a curve ball thrown at us this week, with the compulsory COVID testing required for anyone entering the Alpine Region. Following an exceptionally tumultuous day, receiving conflicting advice and making and changing arrangements several times, we received an offer to hold the testing at school, on Sunday, meaning that travel out of St. Arnaud will not be required. Many thanks is extended to Tracy Edwards and Veronica Wilson for offering their time and skills to save our staff and students a great deal of time and hassle.
We have also received official notification that our students or staff are not required to quarantine following this COVID Test unless they are experiencing symptoms, are a close contact, have been to an exposure site or advised by the Department of Health, which means they are able to continue with normal activity, including work commitments on Sunday and schooling on Monday.
New L to P Car
On Wednesday, we took possession of our new L to P car – a Mitsubishi Outlander - which, thankfully for me, is much easier for me to get in and out of. We have not had a strong take up of this opportunity for our students, and it would be very disappointing for us to lose the service through lack of use. I encourage all of our L-plate drivers to consider signing up to get free driving lessons and experience.
The Year 7 science class made their own mini landscape models to demonstrate how soil erosion occurs. On one side of their model they placed trees, while on the other side they left it bare. When they ran water down their stream they discovered that the trees were effective at helping to stabilise the soil, and therefore less erosion occurred. On the side with no trees, the stream widened and it was evident that the erosion was more significant.
Flames by Robbie Arnott
Set in Tasmania, Robbie Arnott’s 2018 debut novel is an enchanting story, mixing mystery, mythology and an irreverent sense of humour.
It tells the story of a rather unique family with a hidden history: their cremated mothers rise from the dead, whilst the son builds a coffin for his sister who is hiding a terrible secret. Woven in with this is a unique mythology connected to the Tasmanian landscape and natural features: a system of gods and spirits that interact with humans in secret ways.
The writing is beautifully accessible, evoking a rich sense of place and dripping with beautiful imagery specific to the Tasmanian locations and landscapes, be they cities, small towns or the wilderness. It stretches the length of the Tasmanian island, from the waves of Bass Strait to the wilderness of the South West, from the Tamar Valley to the highways of Hobart.
There are moments of real emotional depth in this novel, stretching from devastating horror to laugh-out-loud humour. Much of this is connected to the well-developed and engaging characters who, whilst not always relatable, are certainly complex and entertaining. There is the weird son with his obsession, a gin-drinking private investigator, the broken sister with her secret, and an atrocious man who wrote a book about building coffins.
Arnott’s novel has been widely (and justly) acclaimed for its creativity and power: winner of the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Awards (2019), shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (2019), Queensland Literary Awards (2018), New South Wales Literary Award (2019), The Readings Prize (2019), along with a number of others. It was also longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award (2019), Voss Literary Prize (2019) and International Dublin Literary Award (2020).
Written for an adult audience, there are some confronting moments as well as complex concepts, but these all serve the purpose of the central story in a meaningful fashion.
As Arnott’s first novel, Flames is a wonderful achievement. It is a compulsive page-turner, deeply interesting, wildly entertaining with hidden levels of significance.
Dr Calvin Taylor
Year 10/11 Snow Camp – Ski Hire and final payment to be paid by
Monday 2nd August
Year 9 & 10 Melbourne Camp - $160.00 Deposit Due 30/7/2021
- $200.00 Balance Due 13/8/2021
Notebook Program – Final payment now due
Food Technology Fee - due now
Helping families get their kids active
Eligible families can now apply for a voucher that helps subsidise organised sport and recreation activities
Does your child love sport and being active? Does your family have a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card? You may be eligible for up to $200 to put towards the cost of your child’s participation in physical activities. The Get Active Kids Voucher Program helps eligible families get their kids involved in organised sport and active recreation activities.
Under the program, children may be eligible to receive up to $200 to help with the cost of membership and registration fees, uniforms, and equipment.
Special consideration also applies for children named on their own Australian Government Health Care Card or residing in care services as well as temporary or provisional visa holders, undocumented migrants or international students. Applications for vouchers in round two of the program close at 5pm Friday 30 July. For eligibility requirements and to apply, visit the Get Active Victoria website - https://www.getactive.vic.gov.au/vouchers/
Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund applications
The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund helps eligible families to cover the costs of school trips, camps and sporting activities. Applications for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) close on Friday 13 August.
If you have a valid means-tested concession card, such as a Veterans Affairs Gold Card, Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card, or are a temporary foster parent, you may be eligible. The concession card must have been valid on either of the following dates:
Payment amounts this year are $225 for eligible secondary school students. Payments are made direct to the school to use towards expenses relating to camps, excursions and sporting activities for the benefit of your child.
If you applied for CSEF through our school last year, you do not need to complete an application form this year, unless there has been a change in your family circumstances.
If you would like to apply for the first time, please contact the school office on 5495 1811 and ask for an application form.
Business Manager – Kerrie Swanton
Student Administrator – Debbie Hancock
Office Hours: 8.30 am – 4.30pm
Phone 03 5495 1811