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2018 was again a remarkable year for Strathcona. We continued to nurture our students to have strong leadership skills, offered them a place for student voice and empowerment...

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2018 was again a remarkable year for Strathcona. We continued to nurture our students to have strong leadership skills, offered them a place for student voice and empowerment and we will continue to provide opportunities – small and large – for our girls.

We applaud many outstanding achievements across many areas, diverse talents and areas of engagement of all our students, staff and community.

Principal, Mrs Marise McConaghy highlighted the strength of Strathcona in her Presentation Night Speech. Below are excerpts of her speech. 

“Our approach to the education of girls; definitely striving for the best in learning outcomes for all but also the importance of a balanced approach to school life, which includes areas such as arts, sport, community service, global engagement, socialising, having fun and just having a go. So much goes on in a school year and the momentum is such that there is a strong #Strathcona Unstoppable feeling.

I am sure you have noticed that our marketing campaign this year. #Girls Unstoppable. We adopted this as we wanted to communicate to the girls – and to the community– a belief that girls are strong, they can be invincible, and that can do anything with a bit of grit, appropriate support, and determination…We do not want our students – or staff for that matter – to be timid about doing challenging things or of letting fear of failure stop them. We want them to understand the notion of ‘Impostor Syndrome’, but to cut through it anyway.

I very strongly believe that our girls – and our staff – are capable of far more than they think they are. I love for them to be surprised at their own capabilities – as in PAF, Envision, CoLab, Sport, Outdoor Education, hard Maths problems, Leadership– or any number of things that have been accomplished – and to feel a sense of pride and empowerment.

Also, I can bear the times when things are not quite there yet; that is ok too – we are a learning community, after all, not a perfection community. We want to provide opportunities to explore every aspect of potential by stepping out of comfort zones, while also being safely held in our caring community.

We signal to the wider community the bench strength, not only of our girls, but the School as whole. We might have campuses tucked discreetly away in some of the most beautiful streets in Melbourne, but our students and staff punch well above their weight in so many areas – and our aspirations as a School are hardly timid – and nor are we overly conservative. We are considered and we are here. We are quite a force in our own unique Strathy way.

To illustrate my point:

  • 13 of our teachers are VCAA markers
  • Two (that I know of) are authors of text books
  • Two of our teachers received national awards in 2018
  • Our academic programs have drawn at least 15 groups of visitors from other schools and from our global connections from interstate and overseas
  • Three of our teachers have presented at International conferences and six at State and National level
  • Our Business Manager was one of a very few Australian Business Managers to attend the new Hewlett Packard Education Enterprise Centre in Singapore, thusaccessingsome of the most cutting-edge technologies in the IT industry, additionally he is a national board member of the Australian Schools Bursars’ Association and State Vice-President and PD convenor for ASBA (Victoria). He also sits on the board of ASCA Better Buying Power for Schools
  • I am on the board of Alliance of Girls Schools Australasiaand act as national Vice President and have recently been made Victorian Representative for HarvardWomen Australia
  • A number of our teachers have work which has been published in various academic journals
  • Legally Blondereceived a number of 2018 Lyrebird Youth Awards including Best Ensemble, Best Choreographer, Best Comedic Performance, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress
  • Our Leader of Curriculum and Innovation in the Junior School has 20.7k Twitter followers from all over the world and she is regularly invited by Google to launch various products

The staff at Strathcona would have to be described as high performing. I am excited at the ideas they put forward and their sense of ownership of the School and their own development. They are fine role models for our students showing them that learning, collaboration, being brave and responsive to change are vital in today’s environment.

On Q & A a few months ago, the audience was asked if they believed a great teacher can change a life. 99% said yes. Our teachers do things small and large every day to assist students to achieve their best and grow well.”

In response of great teaching our students also demonstrate “unstoppable” character.

  • One of our younger girls was invited to a morning tea by the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer to receive an award related to leadership, academic excellence, resilience and kindness.
  • Two of our Year 12 students were awarded the 2017 Kooyong Leadership Prizes for General Excellence, leadership, and contribution to community
  • A senior student has been welcomed into the class of 2019 Kwong LeeDowYoung Scholars’ Program at The University of Melbourne
  • One of our Year 11 cohort was invited to perform at one of the Top Class Concerts held at the Melbourne Recital Centre
  • A Year 11 student was selected to participate in the National Schools’ Constitutional Convention in Canberra
  • The Year 9 Future Problem Solving team were awarded second place in the International Future Problem SolvingCompetition held in the US
  • Two of our students won the prestigious Hawthorn Voice of a Generation Competition
  • One of our Year 12 students has been awarded a Melbourne Principal’s Scholarship to The University of Melbourne
  • 88 students participated in the ICAS Mathematics Competition and 7 were awarded High Distinction, 23 Distinctions, 36 Credits and 6 Merits.
  • A Year 11 student has been selected to participate in the Australian Chemistry Olympiad School at the ANU
  • A Year 12 has received a Gold Medal in the 2018 Australian Art Award

“This hardly scratches the surface of the achievements of our girls, I’m unable to list them all because they number in the 100’s. Small and significant achievements are all to be applauded.

While the list of some starry, ‘unstoppables’, the days’ of school life are full of very important moments, where each and every student pushes through on elements that are challenging, building character, self-understanding, strength and learning. It might be to be in a class where you did not know anyone. Or it might be being brave enough to speak to someone you haven’t spoken to before – or asking a teacher a question – or answering a question in class. Or staying with a difficult concept until a logic emerges. Or speaking in public – or speaking up for something that you believe in or defending someone. All these small decisions and actions are so very precious and important – and ultimately make our students “unstoppable”, in their unique way. They are something pretty special.”

To discover the “something special” of Strathconabook for a tour with our Registrar, Ms Emma Amory