Good Evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Mentone Girls’ Secondary College’s Presentation Evening for 2018.
Tonight gives us opportunity to celebrate the academic achievements of students in Years 7 to 11 but also encourages the 2019 student cohort to aspire to strive for their 'personal best' and also to support their peers.
Unlike in previous years, this year we celebrated the outstanding achievements of our Year 12 students at the Valedictory Dinner at the Bayview Eden just over a month ago. As a father of one of the girls about to finish her secondary education, the dinner was a wonderful occasion, allowing us all to nostalgically look back on our daughters’ years at Mentone Girls’ and most importantly wish them all the best of luck and fortune for the future.
I know that the wonderful experiences that they’ve had and the knowledge that they’ve gained at the school will equip them well in their future endeavours, whatever that may be or wherever it may take them. They just need to remember the school’s motto “through courage and work” as they head out to face the new challenges ahead of them and hopefully achieve successful futures.
Currently in my second year as School Council President, I can tell you all that it’s been a very busy and productive year. Our principal, Ms Linda Brown, has been at the school now for just over two year and has pushed through many significant and much needed changes, all of which have benefited the entire school community.
Linda is an enthusiastic and passionate leader of our school and an ardent advocate on the education of young women. I, and the rest of members of the School Council, very much look forward to working closely with Linda in the years ahead. Thank you Linda.
We have also been very busy campaigning all the way up to the recent State election to have Mentone Girls’ recognised as a school requiring major upgrades to its buildings and facilities. We have not received any government funding for capital works in well over a decade and as the only government girls’ school in the south-eastern suburbs, Mentone Girls’ plays a very important role in the education of young women and is entitled to an equitable share fair of government funding.
However, despite the many hastily arranged meetings and ongoing communications explaining the reasons for our funding needs, unfortunately we were unable to get a commitment from both sides of the political divide for a large capital injection to fund the first stage of our Future Master Plan to upgrade the majority of the school’s facilities.
Despite the setback it was decided to invest $1.9m of school raised funds, which have been saved over many years, for the redevelopment of the Technology and Arts building to create an innovative STEAM Centre, which will begin in in 2019. This new building will be a state of the art facility for the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths subjects.
The school is passionate about giving as many girls as possible access to STEAM subjects as it’s an area very much under-represented by women in today’s workforce. As a girls’ school we feel it’s imperative to address this issue urgently as it can no longer wait for our politicians to act.
There is still much more that we need to do but we require both the School Council and the entire school community to come together and be proactive in voicing the needs of our school.
I’d like to thank a number of people who helped me out over the course of 2018. Thanks to my fellow school councillors, particularly Rachael Angus, the Vice President, for all of their support and encouragement during a very busy year on council.
Also a very big thanks to both of the Assistant Principals, Ms Bronwyn Moline, and Ms Carol Duggan. They have both been a great support for Linda, the entire School Council and most importantly the wider school community. Thank you Bronwyn and Carol for the care and passion you bring every day to Mentone Girls’.
I’d also like to thank all of the teaching, support and administration staff for their on-going commitment to our school. Your role in educating, supporting and inspiring our daughters to reach their full potential cannot be underestimated.
To all the parents who get involved with the school and volunteer, thank you. Your gift of time and commitment makes the school community a vibrant and stronger one and I encourage as many parents as possible to participate.
Again, congratulations to all of the students who are receiving academic rewards tonight and to the girls who have been selected to be part of the leadership team at Mentone Girls’ in 2019. I wish you a wonderful and exciting year ahead.
Finally, as I did in my speech at last years’ Presentation Evening, I would like to leave you with some words of wisdom, this time from a great orator and an inspirational man, Barack Obama, on working towards gender equality.
At a graduation ceremony in 2012 of an all-female class of Barnard College he said the following: "My first piece of advice is this. Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet: fight for a seat at the head of the table."
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening.