Posted on December 7, 2021 / Middle School
I remember writing at this time last year about the optimism we had for 2021 following on from 2020, only to have another year full of even more challenges and disruptions. It’s a strange sense of de ja vu that we currently have leading into the summer holidays and prior to 2022. What does 2022 have in store for us? Will there be periods of remote learning? Will our year be uninterrupted? The honest answer to these questions is that we really don’t know. I must admit however, that I am significantly more optimistic around the idea of being provided with less interruptions to our teaching and learning program next year.
Despite the challenges of 2021, the year has been one where all students can look back with a real sense of accomplishment and fulfilment for the effort they have put into their learning. Fortunately, we were able to run several key activities in the beginning of the year including all three camps, the school musical and both our swimming sports and athletics carnival. Many co-curricular programs operated throughout the year along with academic challenges such as ICAS testing, mathematical and scientific competitions, and computing and algorithmic challenges. Even with remote learning, many students engaged in both internal and external academic and non-academic competitions, as well as co-curricular activities. I am very confident that this is something that will improve even more in 2022 as extra opportunities avail.
I would like to express my gratitude to the staff of the Middle School (and whole school) for their ongoing effort and commitment that they demonstrated this year. This includes both teaching and non-teaching staff who work tirelessly to provide a wonderful level of education during the times we were on campus and when in remote learning. The sense of care that was displayed by staff to all students and families is something we are very grateful for.
In the last two weeks of school our students move into their transition classes; this is the beginning of their academic work for 2022. All students are now in their future class groups and have begun work on their 2022 content for Semester 1. It has been impressive to see the smoothness to which the students have moved into transition, and the eagerness to which they have applied themselves to their work.
Year 9 Camps
Last week our Year 9s completed their Summer Expeditions. This is normally the third of their three camps; however, this year their Winter Camp (camp 2) was lost due to restrictions. The Summer Expeditions saw our students on one of the following experiences:
Sea kayaking/Sailing the Gippsland Lakes
Mountain Biking the high country
White Water Rafting
All camps are a five-day journey-based option, with the exception of the hike which runs over 7 days. All camps were very successful, providing both challenges and new experiences for all students and staff. A huge thank you to Emma Lowing and staff for facilitating a great experience for our students.
Last week we had four teams enter a state volleyball competition held at MSAC. This is something our students have been training for since early in the year under the guidance of Mrs Petchell and Ms Vine and other key staff members. It has included many training sessions and practice matches, as well as being interrupted by periods of remote learning where competitions and practice became impossible. All students deserve to be congratulated for their ongoing commitment which they displayed throughout the competition. Over the four-day long tournament we had a Year 7 girls team and Year 8 boys team finish an impressive 7th overall in their category. Our Year 8 girls team fell just short of the gold medal play off and subsequently went on to win the bronze medal play-off game. Our Year 7 boys team demonstrated improvement day by day throughout the tournament and won their way through to the gold medal match against Upwey High School. In the gold medal game, our boys outclassed their opposition in a wonderful display of volleyball, running out straight set winners to take home the gold medal. Congratulations to these boys and all other teams for their amazing effort throughout the tournament. We look forward to watching you again next year.
The Middle School Endeavour Award
Awarded to a Year 9 girl and boy who have distinguished themselves through displaying: ongoing commitment and responsibility for their own behaviour and learning, and determination to improve their academic grades across the Middle School years. Significant service to their classmates and to the School and outstanding qualities of character and integrity including, demonstrated respect for self and others.
In 2021 this award went to: Emily Block and Bryan Hsieh.
The JP Masters Award
Jerry Masters was a foundation member of the Southwood staff who was an outstanding teacher, demonstrating dedication and commitment to the education of Southwood students. The JP Masters award is presented to a Middle School student who, as judged by the Middle School Pastoral Staff, best exemplifies the values portrayed by the Compass.
In 2021 this award went to: Flynn Hutchinson.
Elspeth Adamson Award
The most prestigious Award made available to a Middle School girl is the Elspeth Adamson Award which is given annually to the Year 9 student who most embodies the School’s motto and who has made a significant contribution for the good of the School in service of her Middle School peers and the whole School Community. Elspeth Adamson was a former staff member who was Deputy Principal of Tintern Schools from 1997 – 2006.
In 2021 this award went to: Skye Sriratana.
I would like to finish by wishing everyone a wonderful summer break and Christmas period. It has been a year that has challenged all of us and as a school we have been incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we have received from our parent and wider community. Our staff have worked hard to provide quality education and I know they too are looking forward to the upcoming break.