MGC Alumni Newsletter

17 December 2015
Issue Two
21st Birthday Alumni President Speech
A message from our Principal
Meet Your Board Members
Spotlight on our Alumni - Pia Lauritz
Spotlight on our Teachers - A foundation teacher's profile
Alumni News
Guest Book Comments
Photo Galleries
Melbourne Girls' College
9428 8955
Yarra Boulevard
Richmond, VIC, 3121

21st Birthday Alumni President Speech

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to celebrate the 21st birthday of Melbourne Girls’ College. We are thrilled that you could join us to mark this milestone in the history of our school. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome back to Cavell Zangalis, Jan Parkes and Judith Crowe, our past principals who are also here today, and of course, Karen Money who is our current Principal. 

Cavell Zangalis was the Foundation Principal of MGC and the former principal from Richmond Girls’ High School who created the school from the empty shell that once was once Richmond Secondary School. Cavell was instrumental in the development of the original Charter Goals in 1994 which focused on providing “an outstanding curriculum for girls, with an emphasis on programs which [prepared] them for leadership roles in areas where women [were] traditionally under-represented, including science and technology”.  This ethos still endures today.

From 1995, Jan Parkes led the school as Principal for seven years, developing it into an innovative educational college. Jan Parkes’ energy and passion was influential in shaping the identity of Melbourne Girls’ College. 

Judy Crowe joined the school as principal in 2002 where she introduced a new curriculum structure and developed several new facilities. Under Judy’s direction, the school facilities were also developed, including this auditorium where we are sitting today.

I would like to extend a warm welcome as well to our current and former staff who are also here today.

I would also like to acknowledge the enormous amount of hard work Linda Brown, our Assistant Principal and Trevor Howlett, a foundation staff member, have contributed to the planning of today’s events. Linda and Trevor were also the key drivers in creating the Melbourne Girls’ College Alumni Association which was officially formed earlier this year. I would like to thank the members on the Executive Board who are also all here today for their efforts and input into assisting with the planning of today. 

I started at Melbourne Girls’ College in 1994 – the year the school opened, when the entire student population consisted of just 300 girls and there was one computer room. 

Today I can see the many physical changes that have occurred since I finished school, including the arts and technology wings, the double court gymnasium, the Performing Arts Centre, the year 7 Lyceum, the café and the Gillard Centre.

Far more important than the buildings were the teachers that were constants within the school day, and thus made the school’s atmosphere so special. While they were always in the same place physically, their influences reached far beyond. Cheryl Dipasquale, our year seven7 foods teacher was kind and caring and the perfect person to introduce overwhelmed 13 year olds into the world of secondary schooling. Richard Ryan, who greeted everyone he passed in the corridors with a huge smile and a bonjour even if you weren’t studying French. There was also Eva Hookey, our VCE Maths teacher who would donate her evenings and weekends to tutor us before exam time or when an assignment was due. There are too many others to name individually, but I have no doubt that these committed and dedicated people equipped me with the tools I needed to get into law school and build a successful career. 

As I reflect, I realise that times have indeed changed dramatically. Students now have Google and Wikipedia at their fingertips. All we had was a big fat encyclopedia which the entire class had to fight over or, if we were extraordinarily lucky, ten minutes on Encarta. We didn’t have all the fancy athletics equipment or a new gymnasium that we can see here today. Our PE lessons consisted mainly of doing forward rolls on ridiculously hard blue gym mats or getting excited when the multi-coloured climbing apparatus was set up.  

When today’s students have an art project for school, most of it’s done on Photoshop. We had PVA glue, sequins and an art set with half of the felt pens not working. Watching something on TV at school was also rare and of very low quality. VHS tapes with crackly, outdated documentaries were considered a treat. Now, students can just hop on to YouTube to find thousands of educational and entertaining learning resources. 

Back in our day there was no big cafeteria for us. We just had a plain old boring canteen. And nowadays it’s pretty easy to send a sneaky text to your mate in class. For us, we had to make do with the archaic, and seriously risky, system of note passing. It never ended well either, especially if the note we were passing about a certain classmate somehow landed on their desk by mistake. 

But in all seriousness, my 6 years at Melbourne Girls’ College were some of the most enjoyable of my life. The school wasn’t just a place to me, but a community. Almost like an oversized family, with the teachers always trying to keep us in line, but only because they cared. It felt like a second home that was always full of smiling faces and open arms. The building even seemed to shrink as the years went on, from a gigantic place that was filled with strangers – to a small community in which friendships could be made that will endure a lifetime. Melbourne Girls’ was a place that offered us plenty of opportunities to explore and did its best to point us in the right direction on our journey to adulthood. 

Melbourne Girls’ College has always instilled in its girls that there are no limitations on what they can accomplish and inspires them to be their best and to help others be their best. Today, our graduates can be seen in all walks of life. We’re volunteers, we’re in the medical and legal fields, we’re in business, we’re in government and we’re parents. But regardless of where our lives have gone after graduation, our shared educational experience draws us together.

The next couple of hours are an excellent opportunity to mingle, reconnect with old friends and teachers, and take a stroll through the corridors and school grounds. There are digital displays in many rooms that will take you through the ages with early photos of what the school was like at various times. 

There will be sign in books as well and we will have the netbooks set up for past students to sign up to the in the café.  Souvenirs will be sold out of the Café area. Our current students are also here doing various performances and showing off their school. I hope that each of you, as you wander the hallways and classrooms, remember the students and staff that shared your high school years.  

Thank you. Have a wonderful day.

Suzie Rule, President

A message from our Principal

Welcome to the second edition of the Melbourne Girls’ College Alumni News!

Our school, from its inception, has focused on each girls’ personal success, quiet or public leadership and ability to contribute to the world beyond M.G.C. Thank you to our strong alumni who work with the current girls to illustrate life-long learning and connection with MGC. Your contribution to this vibrant community is truly appreciated.

The alumni also allows us to keep up with the many triumphs of our past students and inspire our current girls.

The 21st Birthday Celebration of M.G.C. was a highlight of 2015. The variety of past and present students and staff all had extraordinary and personal memories to share. It was a privilege to be there. Thank you to Suzi Rule, Alumni Board President and Linda Brown, Assistant Principal, for leading colleagues in the many details which made it such a wonderful event.

We at MGC have always known and acknowledge that we will understand true success as we see our students lead and achieve, practicing the values leadership, achievement, of teamwork and conscious of the unique lessons attending Melbourne Girls' College can bring. We see our students full of wonder, curiosity and questions - lead and achieve on the world stage.

The girls we teach touch the future, we are very fortunate to be part of many stories stretching over the past 21 years.

Thank you.

Karen Money


Meet Your Board Members

Genevieve Neumann

Melbourne Girls’ College Alumni Board – Marketing

B.A. (MediaComm), Dip. PM

Genevieve attended Melbourne Girls’ College from 1997 to 2002. While at MGC she was heavily involved in the leadership program, serving as the College Captain in 2002, SRC Vice President in 2001, and was a founding Board Member of the MGC Foundation. She also received awards for Outstanding Leadership from both the College Council and Parents Association. 

Genevieve completed her Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at Swinburne and also holds a Diploma in Project Management. She has been working in Marketing and Communications in the Financial Services industry for the past five years, and is now the Corporate Communications Manager at an Australian based global company.

In her spare time, apart from writing about herself in the third person, Genevieve enjoys consuming all types of media, researching the next up and coming restaurant to eat at, and spending too much time watching AFL.

Edwena Dixon

Edwena Dixon is a multi-award winning mortgage and finance broker and director of Pinpoint Finance, a brokerage with a focus on helping professional women achieve financial freedom and independence through property investment.

As a foundation year student at Melbourne Girls College, Edwena can recall her first day of high school as one filled with excitement as protestors and riot Police met head-to-head on Richmond Boulevard, and all the new students in a mix of uniforms were entering the school as boxes were still being unpacked. From that first day of high school all the way through to the final day of year 12 Edwena saw the school transform and overcome many obstacles through persistence, tenacity and a firm belief that a girls school can make a difference.

Since leaving high school Edwena has enjoyed a widely varied professional life with 9 years in the Higher Education/Government sector balanced with running two small businesses of her own; a music distribution business and children's publishing company, before following her passion of helping others achieve their financial and investment goals.

Edwena has been published in such media outlets as The Huffington Post, Herald Sun and across numerous finance industry magazines specific to insurance brokers, accountants, financial planners and mortgage and finance brokers.

Spotlight on our Alumni - Pia Lauritz

Pia Lauritz

At the beginning of March, I began my Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at the Victorian College of the Arts (the Southbank Campus of the University of Melbourne) alongside 27 other successful applicants from the September 2014 auditions.

Despite our mixed assortment of backgrounds, the 22 of us remaining in the year have grown into a close-knit family due to the amount of time we spend studying (and sweating!) together. Unlike most of my friends who started university this year, my contact hours have increased since year 12, with every weekday starting at 9am and finishing after 5pm - sometimes as late as 8pm.  Most mornings begin with Contemporary and Ballet technique classes, followed by lunch and then a combination of our weekly subjects and electives. These include: Improvisation, Duo, Anatomy, Kinesiology (the study of the moving body), Performance Psychology, Yoga, and Gyrokinesis (method is a movement method that gently works the entire body) . In second semester we also participated in a performance subject that consisted of a 12-week long development and rehearsal period for two works by external choreographers that we performed at the end of semester.

Naturally, the multiple changes in my lifestyle this year have produced some challenges - both mentally and physically - yet I have emerged feeling more certain than ever of my desire to dance. I am extremely lucky to be studying a practice that I deeply love, and to be in an environment and surrounded by people that support me to do so.

While I am passionate about pursuing a career in the performing arts, I have not lost my curiosity for literature, history and current world politics. After recently finishing the book ‘Malala, the Girl who stood up for Education and Changed the World’, my gratitude for the experiences and knowledge I gained as a student of Melbourne Girls’ College has been reinforced and deepened.

Pia Lauritz

Class of 2014

Spotlight on our Teachers - A foundation teacher's profile

Maria Makris nee Ereglidis

Being a foundation staff member bestows upon me a sense of pride that I hold a key to the rich history of what makes Melbourne Girls’ College (MGC) one of the best public secondary schools for girls in Victoria. MGC is my second home after working here for the past 21 years. It is rare to find a career that spans over several decades in today’s world and despite all its challenges, the most rewarding moments of your day are simply the relationships you form with your students. I have enjoyed many such moments at MGC.

Whatever curriculum I was asked to deliver at MGC; whether it was legal studies, business management, history, geography, English, drama and information technology, I followed the student centered approach in my teaching practice. My students’ success indicators were many, some in the classroom and some went beyond the classroom. I have always been proud of them in all their endeavours. I have always modelled the humanitarian approach to their discipline and as a consequence we showed great respect for each other. I have enjoyed working under the fine leadership of four Principals and during this year’s 21st birthday celebrations, I was excited to be seated in the school’s auditorium to listen to the speeches of all four Principals who were present.  Furthermore, my colleagues have been such an inspiration. We have worked together tirelessly to build and deliver to the community the finest girls’ school. This was just a dream in 1993 that has now become a reality. We knew instinctively what had to be done after convincing the politicians to allow us to merge two schools and create one large school. We did it! This is the power of teamwork.

It is not by luck that as we arrive at MGC today, we enter through beautifully manicured green grounds.  We invest a lot of time and effort to make sure that we pay attention to the aesthetic features of our school. Unlike my first day 21 years ago when I was stopped by a security guard who asked me for my name at the barbed wire gate when I tried to walk into the school grounds.  My name along with all the other teachers’ names that appeared on that list were not an accident. We all went through a grueling interview process the year before and earned our place to be foundation teachers of this magnificent school.

I am proud to say that the diverse tapestry that makes Melbourne Girls’ College so rich was woven by the students who arrived the following day.  Teachers and students assembled in the courtyard together with our boxes that came from Richmond Girls Secondary College and Malvern Girls College. I will always remember that vision as it is part of my memory of MGC. We had made it and we were now at home. The girls wore a mixture of uniforms but we were all united and strong. We all helped each other and soon the word spread and the enrollments to this new school rolled in. At the moment I am surprised that our enrollments are busting at the seams. The school at the time of its birth had the capacity to expand from 350 students to one thousand. We now have more! How are we going to fit all the girls who want to study here? We must believe in magic!

In the early years many teachers, including myself, had taken on extra responsibilities to make sure we had an operational school. I was the first Student Welfare Coordinator and the SOSE Coordinator in 1994. In partnership with the Student Leadership Coordinator, Judy Abbot, we co-authored the student code of conduct which was approved by all the relevant committees. The student Code of Conduct has appeared on the front pages of the student planner since then.  I have held many leadership positions, including Laptop Coordinator, Professional Development Coordinator and Integration Coordinator and I have been the Humanities Leader for past eight years. I have also contributed to Richmond Rotary as a Rotary liaison teacher for the last two years.

I have lead an amazing and dynamic team of Humanities teachers. We provide a very diverse and comprehensive Humanities and Business Curriculum. Our year 10 Humanities elective program has grown from strength to strength because of student choice. My greatest accomplishment in Humanities this year was to create two student leadership positions as part of the commemoration of the Centenary of ANZAC celebrations. Laura Bass was appointed to the inaugural position as the Humanities College Captain and Pranika Arisht was the Humanities Vice-Captain. Together with my panel we have chosen four Humanities student leadership positions for 2016. Kay Gavas and Betul Tumenci will be Humanities College Co-Captains and Mikaela Patros and Isabella Codognotto-Parry will be the Humanities College Vice Co-Captains.  These students will be our future leaders who will voice their opinions and ideas about what concerns them and will be active participants and global citizens.

I would like to thank the MGC community and especially the parents for the role they played in making MGC such a nice place to work in and trusting their precious daughters to us to educate for the last twenty one years. After such a long service that I have given to the MGC community I am going to go on leave for the entire year of 2016. I will miss you all. 

Alumni News

2016 MGC Reunions

1 year?

5 years?

10 years?

15 years?

20 years?

If you're wishing to reunite with your MGC class and willing to organise a reunion for any of these years, please send an email to [email protected] to get the ball rolling!

Save the date - Tuesday, December 13 2016

The 20th AAFC Presentation Dinner will be held on Tuesday, December 13 2016. More details to come in 2016.

Tell us your story!

If you have any news you would like to share, i.e. baby or family news, engagements, marriages, personal an/or professional acheivements, news articles, or the odd business plug, email [email protected] Please attached photos or something we can include as well. A listing is far more interesting when there's a lovely photo or logo to look at!

Guest Book Comments



Photo Galleries

Principals' Address

Music Performances

MGC Turns 21

Alumni President - Suzie Rule

Past & Present Staff of MGC

Our 21st Birthday Celebrations

MGC Alumni Newsletter