Class of 2005
What is your current position and what led you to this role?
I’m a registered midwife and nurse who currently divides my time between working as a midwife at Alice Springs Hospital and working as a midwife for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). In Alice Springs I work in a variety of areas and travel out to an Indigenous community called Titjikala once a month where I provide continuity of care to the women who reside there. Last year with MSF I travelled to Hangu, Pakistan where I worked for 6 months. There had been conflict between the Pakistani government and Taliban within the area and as a result maternity services were compromised and often difficult for the people in that region to afford and access. I worked with local medical staff to provide basic and emergency maternity area as well as training to the local staff.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (personally or professionally)?
While I can’t think of one in particular delivering four sets of triplets in Pakistan was very memorable!
What do you consider to be your biggest challenges?
Dividing my time between two jobs I love and am passionate about and still wanting to find time to head back down to Melbourne!
In what ways has your experience at MGC had an impact on your career and who you are today?
I loved my time at MGC and remember it very fondly. I had great teachers and made a wonderful group of friends many of whom are still my closest friends. It’s been great to make such lasting friendships and to continue to watch each other grow after we have finished high school. Coming from such a strong girls school I think my passion for working in women’s health has only been strengthened and confirmed as the field I want to work in.
What was your most memorable moment as a MGC student?
Medieval Week in Year 8 and being school Environment Captain.
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“… and it’ll be great if you could start ASAP”, said the voice at the end of the line. More than a bit bewildered at the call I just received, given that the clock had told me, brightly, that it was 2am, I mumbled something down the phone and went back to sleep. Judy Crowe had just offered me the position of IT Manager at Melbourne Girls’ College, giving me four weeks to remove myself from my current employment and prepare myself for the new position.
My job at the time was looking after eight primary schools on the Mornington Peninsula, each of them allocated some hours per week for their “Specialist Technician” and after six years doing that, it was hard to say goodbye. After a whirlwind day showing my replacement all of my eight schools, I was satisfied and started my first day at MGC.
MGC runs a very complicated computer network that encompasses 75 wireless points, 50 printers, 40 servers, 1300 student BYOD laptops, 100 staff laptops, 300 desktop computers for staff and student use and a STEAM setup that has robots and 3D printers. We’re getting into Virtual Reality, Drone flying and 3D Motion Capture. Technology stops for no one.
Internet usage at the College gulps down about 200 gigs a day or about 1 TB of data each week. The school has received, at last check, about 970,000 emails that were blocked as spam, with a total of 4.9 million delivered in total over the past five years.
Every room has a projector or a TV, we use Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365, Cloud and Intranet systems, and we allow any kind of device to be hooked up. This isn’t common in a school system as forcing all students to use the same device is easier on IT and the teacher but disadvantages the family providing them and besides, students may want to use Apple or Microsoft, iPad or Android, it’s all the same to us.
There is a perception that many Computer Technicians hide from those who seek them, almost as if they don’t want to be found, but that is a concept I’ve never understood. We’ve tried to change that perception at MGC, by locating the IT Office in a central place, the library. We offer services that encourage everyone to see us, such as charging your phone, fixing your home laptop, giving advice about the latest gadgets and recovering those files that were deleted by accident. Plus, our service fees are modest, and all we ask from students is to provide a joke in payment. No, you can’t google the joke… come on!
From the moment Judy offered me the position, I’ve felt very lucky to have spent much of my career at MGC, helping the College to use Information Technology. I look forward to embracing the next breakthrough in technology that allows staff and students to experience the possibilities of IT.
The class of 2015 will be celebrating their one year reunion on Friday 25th November. Keep an eye on the MGC website for further details. Spread the word, we look forward to seeing you there!
The MGC site was originally known as the Richmond Park Reservation of 1873, and was mainly filled land to prevent downstream flooding following extensive works that had been undertaken along the Yarra River in the 1880's.
In 1963, the Council made part of the reservation available to the State Government for a High School. Richmond High School moved to the site in 1970. In 1987 it was announced that Richmond High School would amalgamate with Richmond Technical School and become Richmond Secondary College. Officially Richmond Secondary College was born in 1988. After a well-publicised fight, Richmond Secondary College closed its doors in 1992, and today the building and grounds are home to Melbourne Girls’ College.
MGC opened in 1994 and the first year was about consolidation and settling in, under Cavell Zangalis, the first College Principal. The lift was installed and some alterations were undertaken in the library, which was located on the top floor at the time.
In 1995, Jan Parkes became Principal and the beginning of probably the largest building programme in any existing Government School in the State commenced. The Government and the College were both funding the building programs, and nothing less than excellence was expected. The aim was to provide facilities to deliver the College’s educational vision, utilise the river environment and look at long term alternative income opportunities.
In May 1998 the new library opened on the ground floor, which was the first real step in the redevelopment of the College and the first significant change to the appearance from Yarra Boulevard. Over the years it has undergone many changes but continues to be the heart of information provision and can be accessed from anywhere across the College. Coincidentally, it will undergo a refurbishment in term 4 this year that will see it address 21st century learning.
In 2000 the music and drama facility was commenced. This was the first stage in redeveloping this area along with the gymnasium canteen area.
In 2001 additional Government funding was announced for the new gymnasium, canteen and science rooms. This was a significant moment for MGC as we were able to provide students with an outstanding facility that would also bring in additional income to the College from hirers. With these funds MGC was able to upgrade other areas of the College and so began the College funded projects.
In 2004 another significant upgrade was undertaken when the old gymnasium became the Lyceum - a Year 7 Learning area, with flexible spaces and an opportunity to learn in an engaging and flexible learning environment. The Government provided funding for this, as they wanted greater emphasis on inquiry-based learning.
In 2008 the administration, conference room, sick bays, senior personnel, VCE room and staff rooms were upgraded. Following this, we made plans for the boatshed and food technology centre, with outstanding views of the Yarra.
On the third floor we designed a contemporary Media and Arts area, upgraded the technology area on the ground floor. This was all complimented by extensive external ground works, planting and landscaping.
In 2013 we upgraded the gymnasium facility and constructed a new dance/aerobics studio over it to meet the increasing demand for these areas at the College. We also created a new alternate entry into the Gymnasium, and created the café with a deck overlooking the river.
In 2014 the single storey building, housing the Principal’s offices, was demolished and Language classrooms were built above it on the next two floors.
For me, this College is very special. I have been associated with the site for 28 years. I have watched this College grow from humble beginnings of adversity into the first class College it is today. I served on the College Council in an advisory capacity for six years, and I had a daughter who commenced at the College when it opened in 1994. I have a granddaughter who completed her VCE in 2014 and I was incredibly moved by the fact that the College named one of their boats in my name.
I might add that some of the students did manage to wrap my first boat around a pylon on the Swan Street Bridge which is now prominently displayed in the boathouse.
I have worked with some incredible people at this College, past and present and at all levels of responsibility and tasks, but success is about leadership and the motto of lead and achieve has certainly been an integral factor in the success of this College. To the Principals and everybody associated with this College, both past and present, congratulations on the ongoing success story of this College.
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