A Time of Hope

Mrs A Stubbington, Head of Hirschfeld House ‘At least half of what we call hope, I believe, is simply the sense that something can be done.’ Anna Funder (2011) One way or another we are all in transition at the end of another year. For all of us transition means, at the very least, a change of focus from one year to the next, a separation from people to whom we are attached, or perhaps, a reassessment of who we are and where we are. For each girl it means a step up to a new Year level or stepping out into the world, and for Brisbane Girls Grammar this year it means a transition from one Principal to another. In the life of the School this is indeed a major transition. Our appreciation goes to Dr Bell for her inspirational leadership during the past 11 years and our hopes go with her for her future.…

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Unlocking the future with the keys to the past

Mrs H Boltman, Head of Gibson House   The immortal words of the Beatles, ‘You say goodbye and I say hello’ speaks to the feeling of this week, the last week of School for our Year 12s. The girls have now come to the end of their time at Brisbane Girls Grammar. Those fresh-faced girls are now ready to leave us. They have grown and matured into fine young women, ready to face the world and take on the challenges of adulthood. As they take their first steps of independence, we need to look forward and see how we can support them in their futures. As teachers, we have spent many hours preparing them academically, and it is always interesting to note how much of our academic lessons the girls seem to remember years down the line, and how much of the person and the values they remember. I am not suggesting that the academics are…

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Remembrance Day Address

Mrs M McConaghy – Deputy Principal In this time now, we are remembering – quite simply - those who made sacrifices for the good of humanity. I want to do this today through a story which is personal and I want you to make your own meaning.  I particularly want you to consider how seemingly small, unknown people can be great in simple quiet ways. Last year, while on Long Service Leave, with some friends, we drove from Istanbul to Gallipoli and the site at Lone Pine where the ANZACs landed.  We walked the beach, swam in the sea and walked around the graves of the Australian and the Turkish soldiers who had fallen.  I did not know, but my brother – an historian – emailed to tell me about a relation of our family whose name is on the Lone Pine monument -  Lance Corporal George Laurence Murphy. His story of heroism and complete sacrifice…

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From Gutenberg to Google

Mrs M McConaghy, Deputy Principal The technological marvel that drove the first Renaissance was the mechanised phonetic script realised in the Gutenberg printing press. It allowed books to become available to those beyond the Latin-familiar, literate elite.  Copies of the Bible and Latin and Greek Classics became available to a wider audience. Theoretically, a broader aspirational class, if not exactly the ‘common man,’ could read arguments and ideas personally and draw personal, rather than officially mediated, conclusions. Today’s nearest exemplar of a comparably revolutionary phenomenon is the Internet. This digital Gutenberg has rendered access to voluminous information and global communications instant — and has done so with more democratic universality than the original.   Canadian futurist Donald Tapscott  coined the term “disintermediation” in the mid 1990s to describe how new technologies facilitate direct access to the sources of information, services or goods in the same way Gutenberg’s press allowed the ‘masses’ to access scholarly ideas.  Tapscott’s ponderous…

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Precious Moments

Dr Kay Kimber, Director Centre for Professional Practice Rose Kennedy, mother of President John F. Kennedy, once said ‘Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.’ Typically, milestones mark moments of transition, a concept made more poignant as the countdown for Year 12s rapidly diminishes. Rituals and traditions shape the event, honour individuals and affirm a community’s core values. In education, the quality of the learning that shapes those transitions rests on the level of sustained engagement with suitably challenging experiences— across a multitude of moments. This Saturday evening, a School community signature event will simultaneously become a first for many Year 8s and their families, and a precious ‘final’ event for many of our Year 12s. Hundreds of our fine musicians will perform in what will no doubt be yet another ‘unforgettable’ Gala concert.  Orchestras, bands, choirs and soloists will treat us to a wide-ranging programme of well-loved classical, theatre music, jazz and more.…

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Music: the essential element

Mr Mark Sullivan, Director of Instrumental Music ‘When I started on this path of research I thought that music was important, but I realised that it was vastly more important than I imagined,’ Daniel Levitin, Psychologist and Neuroscientist Imagine a world without music. It would be like a car without an engine or a library without books. It is simply impossible to contemplate as music is so embedded in our daily life. From the stirring of national fervour at public events, to the creation of dramatic tension in a movie, the jingle that encourages shoppers to spend money, or the fireworks at Brisbane Riverfire, music always seems to play an essential role. Is this just entertainment and something to fill our hours of leisure or is there something more to it? We know instinctively that music has a primal power and it is fascinating that anthropologists have yet to discover a culture without music. The foundations…

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The Inaugural International Day of the Girl Child – 11 October, 2012

Dr Amanda Bell, Principal Yesterday, the Prime Minister launched the International Day of the Girl Child in Australia. In her speech she commented that for most Australian girls they are faced with remarkable opportunities, which is in stark contrast to girls in other countries who are not so fortunate: Like the girl forced to work at home and watch her brother go off to school. The girl forcibly married to someone she doesn't know before she has even come of age. Or the young woman who dwells in daily fear of violence from those closest to her. (Gillard, 2012) Young women, including some Grammar girls, often cite a lack of identification with feminism and that leaves those of us who recall the 1970s and the achievements of the Women’s Liberation Movement somewhat despondent.  Feminism with its concern for gender equality and human rights is still very relevant today — both here in Australia and world-wide. When…

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The Paradox of Dissent

Mrs Karen Belbin, School Counsellor Adolescents love to disagree. They love to challenge ideas, beliefs, authority, conventions, and 'rules', especially adult and society rules. There is a good reason for this: dissent, arguing, talking, challenging and questioning are some of the tools adolescents use with friends, family and teachers, to learn more about themselves and others; establish their identity; understand the world they live in; and find their own particular place in society.  Without dissent, human beings and society wouldn’t grow or change, create or innovate, but dissent can be difficult, especially – and unsurprisingly – to those whose ideas or beliefs are being challenged. It is important to distinguish between the judicious use of dissent, and the more recent trend to use social media to heckle, ridicule, intimidate, judge, berate and treat others disrespectfully - which is not in any way courageous, admirable or an attempt to find meaning or truth. The focus of this article is not about such cowardly behaviour –…

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When values change, the value changes

When values change, the value changes Mr Trent Driver, Dean of Academic Development I am putting the finishing touches to this piece of writing on Tuesday 18 September, knowing that in several days’ time on Friday 21 September 2012 things, for a great many people, will never be the same again.  Ever again, apparently, if one is to believe the media hype. This Friday, the iPhone 5 goes on sale in Australia – it will be faster, lighter, shinier and contain a different digit than the previous edition which, on Friday, will be obsolete. It will be so significant that thousands of people will queue overnight outside Apple stores all around the country to be among the first to call it their own. But buying an iPhone is not like buying a book or a beanbag or a packet of chips. From the purchase price, through to the details of a contract with a telecommunications company,…

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Big girls in the leadership play

Mrs Lyn Chakravorty, Head of Beanland House and Year 11 Co-ordinator For our Year 11 students, the protective layer of the seniors is slowly disappearing and they will soon be the ‘big girls in the leadership play’ for 2013. What factors contribute to leadership success and how are our students preparing for this? Leadership is not something that just happens. Lessons about leadership begin early in life and are ingrained well before leaving school, according to Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons. At a function held by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools at Brisbane Girls Grammar School in August, Dr Fitzsimmons presented the results of his inquiry into the career paths of Australia’s CEOs. These provided valuable insight into the importance of family, school, society and childhood experiences in the attainment of leadership positions by women in the corporate world. Women CEOs in this study grew up in small business families where children were introduced to the world of…

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