JMSS Newsletter

19 December 2018
Issue Twenty-six
Peter Corkill Principal
Sally Cheah-Johnson Assistant Principal
Andrew Chisholm Assistant Principal
Key Dates
John Monash Science School
03 9905 1002
39 Innovation Walk
Monash University, VIC, 3800

Peter Corkill

Dear Parents, Students and Friends of John Monash Science School,

We are nearing the end of one of the busiest terms in the school year. Nine years have sped by, and after saying farewell to the Class of 2018, who are no doubt enjoying the freedom of post-school time, we have welcomed around 30 new Year 11 students who have begun their studies at JMSS during Orientation, as well as the 200 new Year 10s who joined us for the first day of the Orientation fortnight. These years have shown us that JMSS will have a long and rich history and I know our graduates will continue to do us proud wherever they go.

Presentation Night

Tuesday 4 December marked the annual JMSS celebration of student learning and achievement at the Robert Blackwood Hall, with the graduation ceremony of the 2018 Year 12 cohort a much-anticipated highlight. Multiple academic, sporting and cultural awards were made to deserving students, and we again enjoyed some outstanding music performances which have become a regular feature of the event. Our music program has advanced to a remarkable level of excellence and we are all very proud of our students and their teachers. My sincere thanks again to Sally Cheah-Johnston in advance for her wonderful co-ordination of the event, and to our AV and IT support teams and other students and staff who ensured another memorable night for everyone.


The evening also featured a fond and very thankful farewell to Emeritus Professor Rob Norris and Professor Cristina Varsavsky who will be leaving the JMSS School Council after nine years of service since the opening of the school in 2010. Professor Norris, former Dean of Science, was the school’s Treasurer and chairperson of the school’s Finance Subcommittee. Professor Varsavsky, currently Deputy Dean of Science at Monash University, was a key member of the inaugural Curriculum Committee which designed the structure of the school’s program in 2009. In the years since Cristina has been a wonderful support to and advocate for the school. We thank both Rob and Cristina for all of their hard work and wish them good health and happiness for the years ahead.


I would like to finally thank the School Captains of 2018, Andrew Harrison and Angela Frentiu, as well as Tikiri Silva and Jonathan Deng, our Vice Captains, for their terrific leadership of our school this year. My best wishes for whatever the future holds. Our sincere congratulations go to Rajpreeth Gaddam and Francine Machin, our 2019 School Captains, as well as Ned Callander and Sadhana Sridhar, our Vice Captains. My best wishes for their journey in leadership next year – I am sure they will be terrific role models for their student colleagues at JMSS and lead our Student Parliament with vision and energy.

Supercomputing Conference and World Challenge Adventures

I would like to take the opportunity to highlight two wonderful opportunities which many of our students have either recently taken part in – the Supercomputing Conference in the US led by Toan Huynh attended as staff leaders, and the current World Challenge expedition to Cambodia and Laos being led by Ms. Erica Trickett. All of the students involved will have had an amazing and unique experience by the time they return, overcoming many individual and group challenges in a wonderful part of the world. My sincere congratulations to them all in anticipation of a job very well done.


Final reports for all Years 10 and 11 students are available using your Compass login. Please access these and discuss the information with your sons and daughters, celebrating the outstanding work so many of them have done, and putting plans in place to achieve improvement next year.

Important Dates for 2019

Please note the following important dates for 2019:

  • Monday, 28 January 2019
    Australia Day Holiday

  • Tuesday, 29 January 2019
    First Day for JMSS Staff (no students required);

  • Wednesday, 30 January 2019
    Year 10 Induction Camp begins, Year 11 and 12 classes begin at JMSS;
  • Thursday, 31 January 2019
    Year 10 Induction Camp continues, Year 11 and 12 classes continue;

  • Friday, 1 February 2019
    Year 10 Induction Camp concludes, students return to JMSS, Year 11 and 12 classes continue;

  • Monday, 4 February 2019 
    Student Free Day (Staff Professional Learning Day #1, no students required)

Many thanks to all, have a wonderful Christmas and restful well-earned holiday

To our staff my eternal thanks for the commitment, hard work, undying optimism and belief, and wonderful collegiality you have brought to this workplace. You have set the bar high for others to follow, in terms of professionalism and dedication, and I look forward to us continuing to build this wonderful school together. To our students, my thanks for your hard work, for your continued belief in us, for your enthusiastic embrace of the ‘JMSS Way’ and for the wonderful support you have offered one another. It has been another memorable year and I hope the positive difference it has made to you will sustain you in the busy years ahead.


To those students and staff leaving us, my best wishes for the important years ahead, strive for your dreams and remember your time with us fondly. We will always be keen to keep in touch and hear of your exploits.


2019 will be another big year but after the achievements of 2018 we all will need a good rest. I wish all members of our community a happy Christmas and a safe and restful holiday break.

Peter Corkill

John Monash Science School

Sally Cheah-Johnson
Assistant Principal

Dear Parents and Students,

As the school year comes to a close, I must say that it has been a very busy year.  We have all achieved a lot.  There were many events and competitions (national and international) in which our students showed outstanding achievement.  Many of our students have shown remarkable courage and all have shown commitment in what they do.  The achievement of our students has been made possible by the dedication of our staff. 


Most importantly our students have enjoyed another fabulous year. They have excelled in so many fields it is impossible to list them all. I have led the organization of many celebration events (such as Valedictory Dinner and Awards Presentation Night) and have listened in awe as their achievements have been described. These achievements have been in their academic studies, sport, music, the arts to name just a few and we are justly proud of them.


Our students concluded their 2 weeks of Orientation with much dedication. This is reflected in their strong attendance and continued effort in their work right to the last day of the school year.  My congratulations to our students who have taken to their studies with such a positive attitude.  I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of our staff in the unwavering support of our students in their learning: Heads of Faculties, Subject Teachers, House Mentors and Leaders, Counselling Team, Education Support Team, VCE and Pathways Team.


I want to thank the Year 12 students and families who have come to the end of their learning journey at JMSS.  We are very proud of the outstanding achievements of the Class of 2018.  I wish them all the brightest of futures.


I also want to thank the staff who are leaving JMSS at the end of this school year.  They have worked tirelessly and we at JMSS will always be grateful for their contribution and hard work. 

I would like to wish you all the very best for the summer vacation and look forward to welcoming you back, rested, refreshed and reinvigorated, for another exciting year in 2019.


Have a safe and great holiday.

Sally Cheah-Johnson
Assistant Principal

John Monash Science School

Andrew Chisholm
Assistant Principal

Dear Parents and Students,

The past fortnight has seen much activity as our orientation program has been in full swing. Our Year 10 and  Year 11 students have been able to get a 'head start' on their courses for 2019 by familiarising themselves with study designs, background material and assessment regimens. All students will have some tasks to complete over the break in order to better prepare themselves for the 2019 academic year. These tasks are to be finished by the first day of Term 1, which is Wednesday 30 January 2019.

Year 12 Results and Change of Preferences

Students completing Year 12 subjects were able to access their results from last  Friday. We hope all of our Year 12 students have achieved results that match or exceed their expectations and enable them to access the courses that they desire in 2019. 


Representatives from all faculties at Monash University will be in attendance at JMSS on the morning of Tuesday 18th December to assist students who may want to change their VTAC preferences. We will also have our careers and pathways staff available if students and parents wish to discuss any aspect of the tertiary selection process. It is worth noting that change of preference closes on Wednesday 19 December at 12.00pm.

University Extension Awards

Last week I was privileged to attend the Monash University Extension Awards Evening at the Monash Caulfield campus.


This year we had students enrolled in six different first year university subjects and students were awarded certificates to celebrate successful completion of these very demanding subjects. The top student in each extension subject was also recognised with a special award and remarkably the top students in 3 of these subjects were JMSS students. Congratulations to the following students who were the top of their respective studies: Reena Zelenkova in Biomedical Science, Nick Adshead in Physics, and Angie Frentiu in Chemistry. 

JMSS School Magazine

Finally I would like to congratulate Mrs Melanie Wetherall and her student team on their efforts in completing a superb school magazine this year.


Each year the magazine gets better and better and I would recommend perusing this edition to get a sense of all of the amazing events and achievements that have characterised the 2018 JMSS year.


I would like to wish all members of the JMSS community a safe and relaxing festive period and look forward to seeing you all in 2019

Andrew Chisholm
Assistant Principal

John Monash Science School


Class of 2018: Achievements

We were very proud of yet another outstanding academic performance of the Year 12 class of 2018. In summary the highlights were:

  • 22% of the ATARs 95 or above
  • 49.5% of the ATARs 90 or above
  • 79% of the ATARs 80 or above
  • 94% of the ATARs above 70 or above
  • Median ATAR 89.85
  • Mean study score XXXX
  • 5 perfect study scores of 50
  • 15% study scores over 40 (doesn’t include first year university subject equivalents)
  • 90% students who studied a first year university subject scored a High Distinction or Distinction – an amazing outcome by any measure!


Congratulations to everyone, a fantastic result. We are so proud of you all. And we are also so proud of the teachers and support staff who all played their part in achieving this outstanding outcome.

2018 JMSS Award Winners

Our recent Presentation Night saw many JMSS Students recognised with awards for their achievements and successes throughout 2018. A complete list of these students can be found by visiting the link below:

List of 2018 JMSS Award Winners

Congratulations and well done to all of our award winners this year!

University Extension 2018

by Jenny Parker


In 2018 JMSS had 30 students undertake a University Extension subject at Monash University. They took on the challenge in Biology, Biomedicine, Chemistry, Physics and Maths.
Our students enjoy the challenge that University studies provide, here are some of their comments:
“Getting used to the differences between uni and high school”
“The uni extension program has deepened my appreciation for math and the assignments have
helped me to learn to develop my skills as an independent learner.”
“Through the university extension program I have gained a valuable understanding of how university courses work and what is expected of you. I have learned more about working totally independently and being totally responsible for my own achievements. Additionally, I have been completing physics at a much higher level than I ever accessed during my VCE physics education. Learning how to use Mathematica has also been a valuable use of time and I am glad to have gained that from this course.”
“Very interesting coursework and an accessible mentor - our lecturer”
“Making close friendships with other biomedicine extension student, being challenged in the
discipline I enjoy most and plan to eventually pursue and being immersed in a university
environment giving me a head start for next year.”
“More in-depth and advanced learning, further practical experience in a lab.”
Each year JMSS students achieve excellent results in the University Extension program, and this is
celebrated at the Graduation Night held at the Caulfield Campus of Monash University.
Special congratulations to our Monash University Extension Duxes, Angie Frentiu for Chemistry,
Reena Zelenkova for Biomedical Science and Nicholas Adshead for Physics.
Fifty JMSS students have applied for the program in 2019, good luck to those applicants!
Ms Jenny Parker
VCE Co-Manager


Engineering Immersion Day 2018

Our Year 11 students were involved in Engineering Immersion Day on Wednesday 5 December. Held annually, the Immersion Day is a special program run by Monash University for JMSS that allows students to learn more about research and careers in the field of engineering.


Students experienced a welcome talk from the Dean of Engineering, Professor Elizabeth Croft, and participated in two elective workshops in areas including chemical engineering, mechatronics, civil engineering and Robogals.


It was exciting to see former JMSS students running the workshops this year, with our current students having a fantastic time utilising the Monash University campus and facilities, and learning a great deal about engineering and their prospective futures.

Model United Nations

by Sebastien Montemurro


On Thursday 29 November,  a colourful consortium of countries and cultures brightened the GO rooms at John Monash Science School, as students participate in a model UN with the United Nations Association of Australia Victorian Division.


Between the negotiations and the interviews, the John Monash Model United Nations day was packed to the brim with excitement and fun.


Student were representing countries or committees, each holding its own stance and role in the ongoing issue of Food Security - the topic of the day’s debate. Countries were interviewed by the Press Corps with probing questions and the committees were traversing the collection of countries organising things such as economic factors, legislative factors, etc.


Meanwhile, the countries were debating and negotiating, disagreeing and agreeing, until a compromise was made. This was the very essence of the day: for countries to come to an agreed compromise over something they may not have agreed with initially. And in that sense, the day was a huge success; many amendments (changes to the resolution) passed, and overall the resolution succeeded. In that respect, a lot of other interesting events happened throughout the day, such as arms deals between Saudi Arabia and North Korea of “questionable legality.”


Overall, the day was quite entertaining, and although all of the countries disagreed on at least one issue throughout the day, there is one thing I am certain they would agree on: it was a really fun day.

Great Victorian Bike Ride

by Sarah Adolph

On Saturday 24 November we took 17 students, 2 teachers and 1 parent on a 541km cycling journey as part of the 2018 Great Victorian Bike Ride.


The journey started in Bright and passed through Beechworth where we got to sample their amazing meat pies, before moving on to Tallangatta and proceeding to tackle the 104km ride to Rutherglen.


Arriving in Rutherglen, we enjoyed a well deserved rest day, featuring a healthy and restorative pizza lunch, and added Mr Whyte to the team.


We had a cruisy ride to Yarrawonga next to the picturesque Murray River and over into NSW - where we all but melted in the scorching heat - followed by huge 95km ride to Glenrowan where the students encountered Ned Kelly riding through the streets! 


The ride finished on Sunday 2 December with a short ride into Benalla. 


Highlights of the trip included:

  • The 5, 6, 7am morning routine
  • The daily presentation of awards, including the 'Gavin Award', named after our very own Gavin Li
  • The amazing help from our parent helper Brian Blight
  • The great comments of the other riders about our awesome JMSS riding kit.
  • And last, but not least, the fantastic, positive, encouraging and supportive attitude that our students demonstrated throughout the entire but the experience fun and enjoyable for everyone.

We looking to gather interest for the 2019 Great Victorian Bike Ride, running from Robe to Torquay.

Stay tuned for details early next year!

Japan Super Science Fair

by Jenny Hu , Madhu Raghunath & Daniel Cornelius


After two long and shaky flights from Melbourne we finally arrived in Kyoto on Monday 12 November, just days after the stressful exam period. After a great day of sightseeing and a relaxing night at our hotel, we arrived at the Ritsumeikan University, where the highly anticipated Japan Super Science Fair 2018 was declared open with a tremendous performance by the Ritsumeikan High School Orchestra and meeting with our very friendly buddies, who had previously visited John Monash Science school back in March. We presented Jenny Hu’s thrilling research on organic and nonorganic strawberries and were enthused by the many other informative and interesting projects.


The Fair was filled with lots of fun activities which allowed us to explore the world of Science from all different perspectives, but what made the trip most memorable was the incredibly warm hospitality of the Japanese and the new friends we have made from all over the world. It’s truly exciting to see what great differences and similarities we have with students who are the same age as us but live in different countries.


Some highlights of this trip included: The poster exhibition, where we were able to see all of Jenny’s hard work in her poster which was finally displayed after a long and stressful transport period, our trips to the Fushimi-Inari Shrine, the Golden Temple, the Nishikan Market, the Japanese vending machines which were found everywhere and the visit to the humongous Ritsumeikan High School which had the greatest cafeteria!


This Fair allowed us to build relationships which will last much longer than the week we spent together and we are all so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Thank you so much to Mr Anderson who had to part with his young children for a week and Ms Cheah- Johnson for accompanying us despite having to organise the mayhem of Presentation Night which was a huge success.

JMSS Jazz Night

by Chloe Wynen

2018 has been an incredible year for the Music Department, with events such as Music Camp and Battle of the Bands, Jazz Night was the perfect event to end the year with a bang.


The JMSS Jazz Night is an annual music event which is held at the Uptown Jazz Cafe in Brunswick, a quaint and atmospheric place to perform and grow. Around 25 students practised for weeks for this night, practising Jazz techniques such as certain embellishments, improvisation and scat. This night is always daunting for everyone as no one had the opportunity to practise with the band but was very rewarding as it provided us with an opportunity to embrace what life really is like for a professional musician.


We were accompanied by the incredible pianist, Steve Sedergreen, a drummer and a double bass player. There was a variety of instruments played by students, such as voice, trombone, trumpet, saxophone and bass. It was an incredible night with the support and love shown from fellow students, parents and teachers. 

Key Dates

Key Dates
(Term 1 - 2019)


MWITS Exchange
6-15 January 2019

Bangkok, Thailand


Japanese Study Tour
13-27January 2019

Ritsumeikan High School
Kyoto, Japan


Australia Day Holiday

Monday, 28 January 2019



First Day for JMSS Staff (no students required);
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Year 10 Induction Camp
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Classes begin for Year 11/12 Students
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Student Free Day
Monday, 4 February 2019 
Antarctica Flight
Sunday, 10 February 2019
JMSS Swimming Sports
Wednesday 13  February, 2019
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