Oak News

22 November 2019
Issue Seven
Important Dates
Principal's Report
Director of Students
Community News
South Oakleigh College
(03) 9579 2322
Bakers Road
Oakleigh South, Victoria, 3167

Important Dates

Dates to Remember





25 - 29

27 - 6/12














17 - 21





Year 12 2020 Retreat

Years 8 - 12 2020 Headstart



Orientation Day Year 7 2020

Presentation Night

Last Day Term 4 



First Day Term 1  2020



House Swimming Carnival

Year 7 BBQ

School Photos

Year 10 Camp

Year 11/12 Interschool Sport







Principal's Report

Congratulations to our Year 12 Students

On 23 October we farewelled the Class of 2019 at a whole school assembly where Year 12 students were presented to the school community dressed in a variety of costumes. After farewelling their teachers of the past six years at a celebratory morning tea, and saying good-bye to younger students, our year 12s walked out the school gates for the last time.


We congratulate them on their excellent attitude and behaviour. They demonstrated that despite the stress of VCE, it is still possible to enjoy end-of-year celebrations in a respectful and positive way. The Class of 2019 are an inspiration to the South Oakleigh Community for their commitment and determination regarding their studies and optimism towards the future.  


As our Year 12 students sit their final VCE exams we wish them all the best and trust they achieve the results they are hoping for and deserve.


I wish to acknowledge the ongoing support for our students from our VCE Leader—Ms Pelitidis, the Heads of House—Mr Bill Orologos, Mr Tim Columbus, Ms Stav Kantzas, Ms Renata Tilbey—and  Director of Student Services—Mr Michael Alexis and the wellbeing team. Indeed, thank you to all staff and mentor teachers who have supported and encouraged our senior students for the past six years. 


Parents and families are also thanked for their commitment, support and encouragement throughout the thirteen years of their child’s school life. 

World Teachers’ Day – Friday 25 October

On Friday 25 October we celebrated World Teachers’ Day.  The day highlighed the essential role of teachers within our community. Celebrated in over 100 countries, World Teachers' Day acknowledged the efforts of teachers in an increasingly complex, multicultural and technological society.


It is a day students, parents and community members demonstrate their appreciation for the contribution teachers make to their community. In recognition of the work our teachers do every day, we enjoyed a morning tea with Education Support colleagues who provide essential support within our classrooms.  


At South Oakleigh we work continuously to ensure quality teaching in every classroom, every day.  We empower our teachers to provide a nurturing and encouraging environment to maximise opportunities for our students to achieve success, both now and into the future. On behalf of the school community, I thank our teachers for their hard work and commitment.


One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child  Carl Jung.


The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. William Arthur Ward.

Whole-School Exams

On 8 November the whole-school exam period commenced. These exams provide students with the opportunity to gain experience with the formal assessment process and to encounter similar expectations to that of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority Year 12 examinations.


I wish everyone all the best during this process.


Ms Helen Koziaris

College Principal


Director of Students

Speech given to year 12 students  marking the end of their secondary schooling

Good evening respected Principal, Assistant Principals, colleagues, families and friends, students and our dear outgoing Year 12 class of 2019.


I am pleased and honoured to deliver this farewell speech. Today is a day of joy and optimism. We are here to bid farewell to our students who are leaving the college after their successful completion of Year 12.


To our dear Year 12 students - despite some difficult classes, a little sadness and many happy moments, in the end you completed this journey with stoicism and wonderful memories. We were tough with you at times, not because we did not respect you but to prepare you for the challenges ahead.


We nurtured you and enabled you to prepare a strong foundation for the coming years. With our guidance today you have reached this milestone with honour and integrity.


I, and all the teachers here tonight, thank you for your efforts over the past six years. You have demonstrated resilience, perseverance and grit. The relationships you have forged with teachers, the junior students and with each other has been beautiful to watch.


Indeed, you have shown us that you come from caring families and you are leaving behind a legacy for those who follow.  


As you leave this college expect some challenges, but I am confident you have the skills and resilience to overcome them.

On behalf of the college, I bid you farewell and wish you best of luck in your days ahead.


We all wish you love, happiness and most of all, good fortune.

The Elephant Rope - a story about belief

A gentleman was walking through an elephant camp and noticed the elephants weren’t being kept in cages or held by chains.

All that was preventing them from escaping was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.

As the man gazed upon the elephants he was confused as to why they didn’t use their strength to break the rope and escape the camp. They could easily have done so but instead, didn’t try.

Curious, and wanting to know the answer, he asked a trainer nearby why the elephants were standing there but had never tried to escape.

The trainer replied: ‘when they were young and small, we used the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it was enough to hold them. As they grew, they were conditioned to believe they could not break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.’

 The reason the elephants weren’t breaking free and escaping camp was that over time they had adopted the belief it just wasn’t possible.


Moral of the story:

No matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief that what you want to achieve is possible. Believing you can become successful is the most important step in achieving it.



Ms Kalouda Peliditis



Year 7 Accelerated English—Text Response to the book Wonder

In the bestselling novel Wonder, author R.J. Palacio uses different narrators to follow the life of protagonist August Pullman, who suffers from a facial deformity - mandibulofacial dysostosis - setting him apart from the rest of his peers. The book follows the troubles that Auggie faces as he navigates middle school, making friends and enemies along the way. 


Throughout the book, each character encounters different challenges that shape their personalities. By the end of the year, every student demonstrates clear success, not by academic or sports achievements - though these were important - but by how they reacted to each and every obstacle  they came across during the year. August develops maturity and learns to accept himself and forgive others. Summer establishes a strong connection with August after she sits with him at lunchtime. Julian never really turned out to be a ‘good kid’ but by the end of the book, he does learn from his mistakes.


Though each character has different forms of success, Palacio chooses events that reflect the character's past personalities, and allows them to be successful. 


 A motif in the book is August’s astronaut helmet, which he constantly used as a child to hide his face. However, August’s father missed seeing his son’s face and threw it out. This unexpected turn of events taught August a valuable life lesson on how to accept himself as he is. August's confidence builds throughout the book so ultimately he grows into a successful student.


Summer is portrayed as an extraordinary child because of her kindness towards August. Initially she defied everybody’s expectations by sitting with August at lunchtime on the first day of fifth-grade. She soon grew to become fond of August and hung out with him not out of sympathy but because she actually enjoyed August’s company. He was such a good sport about himself.  That's one of the things I like the most about Auggie. Summer took her loyalty towards August to the next level by defending him in front of the popular groups. She even went as far as declining an offer to be part of the popular group, a group that most fifth-graders would give their arm and leg to  join. You could totally be part of our group if you wanted to, and believe me, there are a lot of girls in our grade who would love that. Summer was mature enough to see past the popular group’s façade, to see how they treated people like August whose differences caused him great grief. 


Julian is the main antagonist in the book Wonder and is portrayed as selfish and heartless. From the word go, he goes out of his way to criticize August, having the nerve to ask rude questions about his face. What's the deal with your face? I mean, were you in a fire or something?


Even though nothing that he did in the book was successful, Julian showed a new side at the end of the book, and finally felt remorse for his actions. Palacio gave Julian a strong character, and  set up events  so Julian was able to be successful.


Mr Tushman, the Principal, states the following in the graduation ceremony: The best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average - though these things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.


Throughout the book, R.J. Palacio sets each character up with trials and challenges. August matures and along the way learns to accept himself and to forgive. Summer ended up not developing greatly, because she already had the core virtues for success under her belt. Julian learnt to be remorseful, and to be sorry for his actions.


Wonder is a book that goes through the many trials of a boy with physical deformities, and the trials of everyone affected. The book rapidly turns from light-hearted themes, to more mature themes that challenge each character’s personality. Wonder displays success in different ways and Palacio shows that anyone can be successful, no matter how bad their previous actions.

Genna Windsor


The inspirational novel Wonder written by R.J Palacio  explores many topics, all narrated by different characters that create a 3-dimensional view of the life of August Pullman as he struggles to master the tough act of self-acceptance, due to the fact that he was born with a severe facial deformity. Although the book begins in a light-hearted tone, it shifts to a more serious one as the story unfolds. Throughout the story, the characters develop in personality after overcoming challenges of their own, thus demonstrating success, as the Principal Mr Tushman announced at graduation.


As the main protagonist of the book August suffers many instances in which he is bullied for his face, but thanks to the help of friends who demonstrate brilliant acts of kindness, he is aided on his journey to find peace within himself.


Palacio creates the story in a way that allows the characters to tackle and conquer their challenges. August, the main protagonist of Palacio’s novel, unfortunately undergoes several moments in his so far brief middle school experience that would be enough to permanently scar any kid his age. But not August. He never describes anything he does as particularly courageous, and yet it must take bucket-loads of courage to face the world every single day. August grows throughout the text, showing great signs of maturity, especially when he leaves his family for camp. He’d never spent longer than a night away from his mother’s warm embrace yet now he had gone to camp for a whole  three days. Another pivotal moment was the fight in the woods. August didn’t let the older kid’s insults affect him as they would have earlier in the book. He lets the comments slide with dignity.


Courage. Kindness. Friendship. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us… to greatness. Mr Tushman quotes this as he presented August with the Henry Ward Beecher medal, which recognised how many people he impacted over the  year and how successful his actions were.


Playing the permanent role of being the deformed kid’s sister, Olivia learns how to master creating a life that isn’t defined by her brothers’ condition.  During her primary school years, Via was always known as that ugly kid’s sister.  She was never her own person.


As the book progressed, she realised she shouldn’t be ashamed of her brother, it wasn’t his fault he was born this way.  Her boyfriend Justin once said Olivia brings me good luck. A little sentence like this, a little spark of positivity for her self-esteem, immensely helps Via as she sees herself branch out, forming the person she truly is; simply Via Pullman. She flourishes as the book heads to a close, her character development revealing a motivated, compassionate and kind girl who successfully lives her own life accompanied by her brother.


Throughout the book the characters are revealed to be successful .  August matures with the help of new friends, allowing him to become a more resilient person and to brave the problems he faces with dignity. Olivia is stuck with the challenge of finding a way to prove that she isn’t defined by her brother’s condition, which she does superbly.


As each individual is presented with their own challenges the characters learn to respond appropriately, in so doing, demonstrating successful attributes of their personalities.

Maya Noyman



Year 11 Legal Studies Incursion – Police and PSO (Protective Services Officer)

Earlier this year three members of Victoria Police—a Sergeant, First Constable and Protective Service Officer—visited the Year 11 Legal Studies class as part of the Unit 2 Area of Study Law Enforcement. Several students are interested in careers in law enforcement and we were all keen to find out more—straight from the source!


The students had prepared two lists of questions: those relating directly to the VCE Study Design, and others concerning careers in law enforcement. All three officers were candid in their responses, sharing a wealth of information and detailed insights into their personal experiences. The students were so enthusiastic with their questioning the incursion ran overtime and into the lunch break, but nobody seemed to mind!


The students used what they had learned in their first Unit 2 SAC. The Officers also suggested that students contact them in future regarding both their studies or career aspirations.


Ms Jacinta Marlborough

Legal Studies teacher



Tech Expo event

The South Oakleigh Tech Expo Event took place in the Gym on

October 5 - 6.  


Eleven students, from Years 7 - 11, participated and displayed projects they had been working on during Technology. The projects demonstrated their skills in Micro Bit Coding, Arduino Coding, Electronic Board Experiments and Mechanism of a Robot.


Some year 7 students presented additional projects they had researched independently.


Ms Sulagna Monga

Technology teacher



Eastern Metropolitan Athletics Championships

The Eastern Metropolitan Athletics Championships were held at Knox Athletics Track on 11 October 2019. Fourteen students represented South Oakleigh College and congratulations to all who represented the school.

South Oakleigh achieved impressive results:





Cameron Robinson   


Boys Open 3000 meters

Kohen Umezu     


Boys 14 years Long Jump



Triple Jump




Cayla Kingsley


Girls 14 years Triple Jump

Andre De Vries 


Boys 15 years Hurdles

Liliy Uzice     


Girls 12-13 years Triple Jump

Deshi Wong   


Boys 12-13 years Hurdles



800 meters

Abi Watts     


Girls 12-13 years Discuss




Gyan Singh       


Boys 15 years Shot Put

Eli Franzke   


Boys 12-13 years Javelin



1500 meters

Jackson Davey


Boys 12-13 years Long Jump

Jeremy Tsitouridis       


100 meter Relay

Jackson Davey       


100 meter Relay

Rafan Haq 


100 meter Relay

Steven Tsemelis 


100 meter Relay





Ms Noor Asyo

Sport Coordinator



Sport Cup 2019

The SOC Sport Cup is calculated based on participation in whole school, year level and individual sporting events throughout the academic year. A total of 8517 sport-based house points have been awarded in 2019.

House groups gain points for their contributions to the three major sporting carnivals:  Athletics,  Cross Country and  Swimming.


Points are also awarded for the  Dodge ball Championships.

Individual students obtain points for their respective house by representing the school at Monash District, EMR District and State championship levels within the fields of athletics, cross country and swimming. 


It is with pleasure that we announce our House Sport Champion, with 2674 points, is Grevillea.  An honourable mention is extended to Acacia, who scored  second place with a total of 2354 points.


Ms Laura O’Reilly

Sport Coordinator



SBS Radio Greek language broadcast

Recently, Greek students and teachers from South Oakleigh were invited to a live SBS Radio broadcast at the Oakleigh Glendi Festival, a festival celebrating cultural diversity with an emphasis on Greek and Mediterranean culture.

The broadcast covered all areas of our Greek Language Program.


Our students, Kyri Derzotis, Despina Kirketsou and Lydia Pouliezou, spoke about their Greek language experience and the Greek Language Program developed by Ms Phyllis Dimakakos and Ms Dimitra Maniatis.

It was a great opportunity for our students to showcase the College.


Kyri, Despina and Lydia expressed themselves in fluent Greek which made an impression on the organisers.


We  thank them for their positive contribution and wish them well with their exams and future.


Ms Phyllis Dimakakos

Greek teacher


School Production – Aladdin

Recently, South Oakleigh College students showed their talent by performing the Disney musical Aladdin. Cast and crew relished performing such numbers as One Jump Ahead, Prince Ali and A Friend Like Me.


The show was filled with special moments including the comical chases, thrilling fight scenes and overall brilliant performances from the entire cast.  

Special mention goes to the lead characters:

  • Dylan Georgiades as Aladdin
  • Shelby Scapetis as Jasmine
  • Dhruv Malge as the Genie.

It was gratifying to see how co-operatively our students worked together. All cast members got along  well and created an upbeat feeling in every rehearsal. This positivity lead to many remarkable moments: from the mime acrobatics of the magic carpet to the thunderous roaring of the magic of wonders and the spellbinding illusions above the clouds during A Whole New Word.


The production was made extraordinary by the addition of fabulous pyrotechnics arranged by Mr Mitchell Prewett.


2019 was an amazing year for the school production and I anticipate this talent continuing to flourish within our school.


Mr Adam Platenkamp

Director, Aladdin



Study Hints For Now And The Future

Exam Stress—5 Steps to Study Success

1. Not All Stress Is Bad

While it’s often given a bad rap, the right amount of stress can motivate you to get stuff done. The key thing is to recognise when stress has tipped over from being a motivating force to an overwhelming emotion.


2. 20-Minute Study Rule

No one can study for six hours straight and be effective. Break up your time into twenty-minute chunks for the most effective use of your brain.


3. Say It Out Loud

The best way to really remember and learn is to talk about what you’re learning out loud, without using any notes.


4. Breaks = Good, Constant Distraction = Bad

Taking planned and timed breaks will help you remain on task but checking your phone every five minutes is a sure-fire study fail. Research shows that it can take up to twenty minutes to refocus on a task once you’ve been distracted.


5. Sleep Is Your Friend

If you get a good night’s sleep before your exam it is scientifically proven that  you  retain more of what you studied the day before than if you stay up crazy late.


Although it’s a tough ask to eliminate exam stress completely, here are some free apps that can help make it all a little more manageable.

  • ReachOut Breathe
  • Recharge- Move Well, Sleep Well, Be Well
  • Smiling Mind (its YouTube channel is worth checking out too)

Source: https://au.reachout.com/


Ms Penny Hsiao

Adolescent Health Promotion Nurse

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