The GGS Year 12 Speech Day was held on Sunday 21 October at the David Darling Play House (SPACE) Corio Campus. The PPN had a presence on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon. Committee members set up a stall and provided information about the Network and the support it offers. We handed out pamphlets outlining our aims of “networking and community” and also provided information about our events. We stressed that the PPN was a networking and support group, not a fundraising body. This philosophy was well received.

The Speeches and the Prize Giving Ceremony began with the National Anthem, followed by the Blessing by Senior Chaplain Gordon Lingard. Vice Principal Charlie Scudamore then welcomed everyone to the event (and only went three minutes overtime!). Lachie Dodds (Year 12 M) School Captain, then spoke. Lachie’s message centred on boarding at GGS and learning to live life through trust and commitment. He said he considered his GGS experience had prepared him for life in general. He also joked about his American accent!

Chairman of Council, Jeremy Kirkwood (FB’79) spoke of courage and creativity and the importance of working together. He gave an analogy of the Allied (Australian) troops at Beersheba during WW1. They faced monumental challenges but through creative and adaptive thinking were able to follow their convictions and overcome the enemy troops. “Thinking and doing” is essential in learning.

GGS Principal, Rebecca Cody, spoke passionately and plainly to the students. She said “Be yourself and let your character shine through”. James Corden and Sir Paul McCartney then featured in a YouTube video Carpool Karaoke. The song Let It Be rang throughout the auditorium and everyone was left spellbound. Principal Cody tied the theme of being true to oneself to the School’s forward direction, Creative Education. She said that creativity and learning = excellence in education. This is our next frontier. “Always learning is the maxim”.

The Guest of Honour on Speech Day was Dr Elisa Hill (Cl'90). Elisa, a neuroscientist, is leading an RMIT University research team investigating how the nervous system interacts with bacteria. Her interest is in understanding how gene mutations identified in autism patients affect gastrointestinal function. The list of her achievements is long and illustrious.

In a deeply personal speech, Elisa outlined her pathway in scientific excellence, from her education at GGS and then in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne where she graduated as a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Neuroscience. She also managed to include a Diploma of Music along the way! Elisa’s life next took on an international flavour, with recognition in France, as a CNRS1  Postdoctoral Fellow at the ParisTech University. It was during this time she became a mother, and her son was later diagnosed with autism; thus sharing with the audience the reason she is so passionate about the research she is carrying out at RMIT.

The Presentation to Prize Winners saw Director of Learning Kay Long, and Dr Elisa Hill, present academic-achievement awards to students on the 2018 Prize List. School Captain Nina Morrison (Year 12 A) thanked everyone for attending and told a little of the story of her life, including her time as a day boarder in Allen House. Nina is not only highly talented academically but also is an emerging star in AFLW; she was drafted by the Geelong Cats with pick 1 in this year's draft.  The Presentation of Year 12 Students followed Nina’s speech, with all students receiving recognition for their achievements in Year 12 at the school. Father Howard concluded the GGS Speech Day with a Blessing and the School Prayer.

Following the official ceremonies afternoon tea was enjoyed by all. PPN Committee Members mixed and mingled and handed out promotional pamphlets to the newly minted GGS Past Parents.

Our sincere thanks to Committee members Markela, Liz, Libby and Sandie for all their hard work. Our special thanks to Simon Peck; Simon is one of our most stalwart supporters. And our very special thanks to Iga Bajer, Support Group & Event Coordinator, who yet again supported our promotional efforts. The Past Parents’ Network featured in a full-page promotion in the Speech Day Program, and was mentioned in Charlie Scudamore’s speech. This is both a testament to our promotional endeavours and indicates how closely we are integrated into the school.

My thanks to Sandie Foster for providing me with all the above information (Ed.)

1. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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