The Hamilton and Alexandra College Newsletter

22 November 2018
Issue Thirty-six
 Principal's Report
  Senior Years and Wellbeing 
Myrniong and ELC
Teaching and Learning  
Middle Years 
Dates to Remember
Parents and Friends
School Information 
The Hamilton and Alexandra College
03 5572 1355
1 Chaucer Street
Hamilton, Victoria, 3300

 Principal's Report

“Smart is not something you are, smart is something you can get”.  Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam is renowned in the world of education for his focus on teacher professional development and formative assessment. A fortnight ago, an admired colleague shared a podcast discussing his latest book Leadership for Teacher Learning. 

I was especially fascinated by his comments around growth mindset.  Wiliam was insistent that ‘every twelve year old child believes, if they want to, they can learn to drive a car and our real challenge is to get children believing that mathematics is just the same.’  Wiliam argues ‘smart is something you can get’ by framing the conversation around the importance of formative assessment and feedback. He insists too frequently children interpret feedback as the teacher being nasty or negative whereas more truly it is a reflection of the teacher’s own high standards and their insistence that students can reach grand goals.  

At College we want students who are hungry for feedback! Feedback not only sharpens one’s improvement but will be critical in each student’s preparation for their end of year assessment.

Dr Andrew Hirst

Senior Years and Wellbeing 

Schoolies', Alcolhol and The Teenage Brain: A Toxic Combination

It is that time of the year again…the impending departure of Year 12 students from school and the associated ‘rights of passage’ that accompany this departure. In Australia, one ‘right of passage’ is referred to as ‘schoolies’ and the term itself elicits numerous discussion and debates. One of the most controversial issues centres on the consumption of alcohol and, surprisingly, whether it is okay or not for parents to purchase alcohol for their teenage children. I do not use the word ‘surprisingly’ lightly, given the obvious legal and ethical challenges with providing underage minors with alcohol. Moreover, there are also some very important health issues associated with such actions including the impact of alcohol on the developing brain and the associated risk factors inherent with teenage alcohol consumption. In order to understand how the dangerous cocktail, pun intended, associated with mixing teenagers and alcohol it is important to understand a bit about the developing brain.

The teenage years are a time of extreme vulnerability for the brain. During this time of life the brain undergoes a massive remodelling of its basic structure, in areas that affect everything from logic and language to impulses and intuition. The teenage brain is also becoming more efficient by ‘pruning’ unused synaptic connections but at the same time it is hot-wired for emotion, sensation seeking and risk taking. Importantly, the last thing to mature, and perhaps the most important part of the brain for defining who we are as a species, are the prefrontal lobes; the brain’s chief executive officer. Among numerous important functions, it is the prefrontal lobes that allow us to make responsible decisions and regulate our emotions and this area of the brain does not fully mature until we are well into our twenties (some researchers believe longer for males)! It also important to remember that all of these changes are occurring in a sea of electro-chemical impulses and such changes can have a profound impact on all aspects of teenage behaviour. Risk taking is a significant player in teenage behaviour and mixing alcohol with a proclivity for engaging in such behaviour is a recipe for disaster for a number of reasons.

First, one of the hallmarks of adolescent risk taking is that the bulk of such behaviour is much more likely to occur in the presence of peers. Adolescents are so attuned to their peers that studies have identified that the areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure show greater activation during risk taking activities when adolescents know they are being observed by their peers. In other words, when teens get together they are more likely to do things that might make an 8 year old cringe in disbelief. This is not necessarily a bad thing…hanging out with friends, finding pleasure in sensation seeking and risk taking are necessary for survival away from a family unit and success as an adult. Adolescents need to experiment and try adult behaviours while often challenging authority; it’s called growing up! However, experimenting with alcohol is one adult behaviour to be avoided.

Second, alcohol is not good for a developing brain nor is it safe! Animal studies tell us that when supplied with alcohol, memory and many important cognitive functions are greatly impaired in the teenage brain. We also know that some of the most obvious challenges associated with teenage alcohol consumption are those associated with impaired judgement or decision-making when drinking. Adults often make poor decisions when drinking and an immature prefrontal lobe during the teenage years exacerbates this problem. This is evident in a large body of research noting that alcohol consumption increases the degree of direct harm due to injury through increased exposure to dangerous circumstances. Couple this with another important right of passage, the opportunity to drive a motor vehicle, and it should come as no surprise that alcohol is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among teenagers – unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

In the end, schoolies, as a right of passage, is an important aspect of the journey into adulthood and a time to be celebrated. One must question, however, whether alcohol really needs to be part of this celebration. Moreover, providing alcohol to teenagers as part of this journey can cut the celebrations short by putting young minds and young bodies in harm’s way.

Michael C Nagel PhD

The above article includes exerts from Dr Nagel’s latest book, ‘In the Middle: The Adolescent Brain, Behaviour and Learning’, available now through The Australian Council For Educational Research

Kristen Waldron

Myrniong and ELC

Notices Sent Home

  • Speech Day notes – Piccino to Year Five
  • Uniting Church Christmas Hamper Appeal – Piccino to Year 5
  • String Instrument letters – Year 2

Year Two Strings Concert

Next Tuesday, November 27th, the Year Two Strings programme will wind up with a Term Four performance in the Refectory at 2.45 pm. It has been an exciting year-long programme for the budding musicians.  Mrs Wear, Mr Singh and Mrs Christie have done a fabulous job of introducing our Year Two students to the wonders of playing stringed instruments.  I invite all Year Two parents to join us and share in their final performance.  It is hoped a number of Year Two students will continue on with strings and join our ever expanding Pizzicato Strings group.  At last count, we had 18 regular participants.  This equates to 1/5 of our Junior School population.

Final Three Weeks of Term

2018 has certainly gone by in a heartbeat.  The final three weeks of Term Four are very busy, with a number of important events for your diaries;


Week 8

Tuesday November 27th - Year Two Strings Concert at 2.45pm Refectory

Wednesday November 28th – Year 5 Class Assembly at 1.40pm

Thursday November 29th - House Public Speaking Final at 10.00am Library Lawn

Friday November 30th - Prep ‘Big Day Out’ to Halls Gap; P&F Farewell for Mrs Jen Hutton -5.30pm at the Hamilton Club


Week 9

Tuesday December 4th – ELC 4 to Year 2 Nativity Service at 10.15 am (Uniting Church, Hamilton); Learmonth House visit to Eventide Nursing Home - 2.25 pm

Thursday December 6th - Speech Day rehearsals at the Senior Campus

Friday December 7th - ‘2018 Junior School Speech Day’- 12.00 pm at the Senior Campus


Week 10

Monday December 10th - Class Party Day

Tuesday December 11th - Christmas Service - 7.30 pm at the Presbyterian Church

Wednesday December 12th - Final day of school for 2018.   Old Fashioned Sports - 9.30 am at Myrniong

2019 Booklist

Staff have been busily reviewing and updating booklists for 2019.  These will be distributed in the next week to Junior School families. Apart from ‘retain from previous year’ items, all booklist components are required for the 2019 academic year.  Our loyal local supplier, Warrnambool Books, has a reliable website for online purchasing.  Booklists will be delivered to the College for collection in the week of January 29th, 2019.

Stephen Nelson

Head of Junior School

Teaching and Learning

VCE Step-Up Programme

Following the Examination Period, Year 10 & 11 students will make the important transition into their new VCE subjects. On Friday next week, students will be given their timetables for the 7 days of the Step-Up Programme (Monday 3rd December to Tuesday 11th December).

This period is vital to make an early start on what will be a very busy year in 2019. Teachers will be providing an outline of the course requirements, assessment details and will commence teaching the course content. Preparation work for the holiday break will also be provided and will be expected to be completed by the start of next year.

If your child has any concerns please ask them to speak to their new subject teachers in the first instance.

Year 7 to 10 Science Textbooks

The Science Faculty is looking forward to implementing some exciting new changes to their Year 7 to 10 Science Curriculum, with the introduction of new textbooks and changes in accordance with the updated Victorian Curriculum for Science.


You will notice on the booklist that the new Oxford Science Textbook (Student book and oBook/Assess) will need to be purchased. The Jacaranda Science Quest textbooks will no longer be used. We have used this series of textbook for over 15 years and now feel a change is well overdue.

Rebekah Bonnett

Middle Years 

2019 Year 7 Orientation Day

I was delighted with last week’s 2019 Year 7 Orientation Day, and it was a pleasure welcoming our new Year 7 students and parents. I was impressed by the way students looked after each other, and they approached each task enthusiastically. I would like to thank the current Year 6 students who acted as buddies for the day; this is an important role as it enables new students to feel welcome and at ease in their new environment.

Hallogen National Young Leaders' Day 2018

Last week the 2019 myPEC House Captains travelled to the Halogen National Young Leaders’ Day in Melbourne. It was a wonderful day, and students have returned to myPEC with many leadership ideas. Here is a summary of two presenters.


Holly Ferling – elite cricketer, said to our students;

  • attitude is everything: make the most of everything.
  • look at failure as a setback and change the way you think about it.
  • If you are facing a setback, change your language and see it as an opportunity. See the positives.
  • Make the most of every small opportunity.
  • Don’t get stuck in the ‘can’t do it’ rut.

Leisel Jones – Olympic Swimmer, gave this advice to our students;

  • You don’t get to be a success without the hard work. Be prepared to work.
  • She asked “What does your best look like?” Face your fears everyday.
  • You are right at the start of your journey.
  • Through hard work you can reduce your doubts.
  • Improve your chance of success by taking everything in.
  • Some goals you get quickly, other goals take a long time.
  • Growing takes patience. Be Patient. Learn to be patient.

End of Year 7 Examinations for Middle Years Students

Our Year 7, 8 and 9 students are preparing for the examinations that commence in 2 weeks.  This is the second opportunity for our Year 7 students to sit formal internal testing and we are encouraging the students to focus not only on results, but also the examination process.  We have encouraged students to thoroughly revise their notes and past tests.  Teachers are starting to deliver revision lessons, which allow core topics and learning to be reviewed and reinforced.

During the sitting of examinations we are encouraging students to develop the following techniques:

  • Arrive at the examination room in good time, with the appropriate equipment.
  • Follow the instructions on the paper very carefully.
  • Read the paper thoroughly during the allocated reading time.
  • Read the questions carefully to ensure that your answers are thorough.
  • Be aware of the timing of each section of the exam and use all the time available to you.


The examinations are not only an opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning but to also gain practise performing within a limited time frame in preparation for the Senior Years and beyond.  We see this as an essential learning opportunity for our Middle Years students. I would encourage all students to approach their exams with a growth mindset.

Julia Winter Cooke

Dates to Remember

Friday 23 November

White Ribbon Day

Year 10 & 11 examinations (23 Nov - 30 Nov)

Saturday 24 November

Head of the Yarra

Thursday 29 November

Parents and Friends; Association Meeting (6.30 - 8.00pm)

Friday 30 November

AMEB Exams

Coaches BBQ (5.00pm-6.30pm)

Monday 3 December

Step Up  programme for Years 10 & 11 (3 Dec - 11 Dec)

Year 7 - 9 examinations (3 Dec - 7 Dec)

Tuesday 4 December

ELC - Year 2 Nativity Service 10.15am

Wednesday 5 December

Year 10 First Aid Training

Friday 7 December

Junior School Speech Day - 12pm

Saturday 8 December

Hamilton/Nestles Regatta

Sunday 9 December

Hamilton/Nestles Regatta

Tuesday 11 December

Junior School Class Parties

Christmas Service (7.30pm)

Wednesday 12 December

Old Fashioned Sports

Final Assembly (2.45pm)

End of Term 3.30pm

Designated Travel Day for International students

Friday 14 December

Staff finish

Monday 17 December

VCE Results available to students

Friday 21 December

Office closes, 4.00pm


Glenelg Division Tennis

On Friday 9th November, the College GD tennis team comprising of 16 enthusiastic Year 7-10 students participated in the annual Glenelg Division Tennis day at the Hamilton Tennis Club and Monivae College. Despite the rainy conditions, the standard of play was quite high and our team managed to perform consistently throughout their games to secure 2nd place. Our most successful competitors were Charlotte Millear and Tori Dunstan who won the Junior Girls’ Doubles division! Many other competitors came 2nd in their division including Jake McKenzie in the Intermediate A Singles, Finlay Cameron in the Junior B Singles, Charley Falla in the Junior A Singles, Isaac Hocking in the Junior B Singles, Annabel Hetherington in the Intermediate B Singles and Chloe Russell and Olivia Allen in the Intermediate Doubles.

Glenelg Division Triathlon

The annual GD Triathlon was held last Thursday in Portland in near perfect conditions and we sent three individual competitors and numerous team entries down to compete against the other 7 schools in the two divisions – junior and intermediate. All students who represented the school are to be congratulated especially the 3 individual competitors – Nick Northeast, Lachlan Rees and Tobe Adamson.  Some impressive performances from the following also enabled the school to come equal first in the overall aggregate shield! A special thank you to Miss Kristen Waldron and James Fear for taking the team down and for helping out as an official on the day and the parents who travelled down for the event to support and take photos.

Junior girls’ team

2nd = Lily Godde, Phoebe Russell, Charlotte Rowe

Junior boys’ team

2nd = Gabe Marshall, Jack Austin, Isaac Hocking

Intermediate girls’ team

2nd = Arielle Dickeson, Chloe Lyons, Issy Musson

Intermediate boys’ team

1st = Sam Crawford, Milo Cooper, Fergus Roberts

3rd = Jack Sharp, Sean Cashill, Harry Robertson

Leigh Alexander

Head of Sport

Women's Cricket

Women’s Cricket is still running smoothly as the Junior Cricket Season is about to come to and end and the Women’s Senior teams are reaching the midway point of the season. 


The Women’s A Grade side have secured themselves a spot in the top 4 with some nice wins in the last few weeks. In Round 4 we had a win against the Pigeon Ponds at their home ground. Some good batting with a retirement of 37 from Eliza Jagger and even better all round fielding by the team gained them 5 wickets during the game. Kate Jessop made her debut to cricket in the most stunning way with some fantastic bowling but some even better fielding with her one handed star catch.


Round 5 was rained out.


Round 6 at the home ground of Myrniong saw us come up against Grampians. Hannah Russell was back in form with a retirement of 36 featuring 5 very nice boundaries. Kate Millear opened the bowling and set the Grampians on a very low run rate with a maiden over.


The U16s’ fixture has been mixed around a little with many teams rescheduling games but the season is sadly coming to an end. In Round 5, only College Blue played and they had a win against St. Andrew’s.  With many girls being away for the Year 7 cricket, College Gold cancelled.


In the U13s, College came up against Grampians in round 3 and had a win with Diamon Dickesen being a key fielder and Sybil Fleetwod making some very nice, quick singles. Round 4 was a bye. In Round 5, the girls came back up against Macarthur again and had a win.


Super 8 T20 Year 5/6 Cricket was played on 9th November. In the cold, rainy conditions some great skills were on display proving that the future of women’s cricket will be strong. The girls played 3 games and a final only losing one game on the day.


The Super 8 T20 Year 7 team played in Yarraville on the 14th November following their success at the local competition in Hamilton. It was a very early start for the girls but I’d like to commend them on how they played and conducted themselves during the day. They were unlucky to experience a loss in the first game against Warrnambool, but regained their form for a win against Eltham College with Diamon Dickesen and Tori Dunstan being the star bowlers throughout the day.

Stephen Mirtschin

Head of Cricket


Digital Life and Family Life

Does, don’ts and suggestions abound to assist us all to manage a life for children that is very different from our own childhoods. These American examples are thought provoking and may be of some assistance to parents of children from tiny to finishing school this week! There are Australian examples, many of which have been shared by Miss Kristen Waldron in recent times. It’s a global world and a common problem with which we have no choice but to engage.

What is getting children addicted? Click on the question to see some of the reasons why – and what addiction is.

A significant paragraph from The L.A Times makes these observations (you can read more by clicking the first three words of this sentence):

“A significant temptation of technology is its portability. In a widely read rant in the Washington Post, Amanda Kolson Hurley wrote about our culture of "snackism" for kids: "We walk around with trail mix and Sun Chips stuffed in our bags like we're mobile, no-fee vending machines." The same is true of our digital devices. Kids used to sit too long in front of the TV. But at least once you got them out of the house, that was the end of it. Now the TV can be on perpetually and parents can dispense movies and video games like mobile, no-fee theaters and arcades. Snackism means children eat when they're not hungry; on-demand screen time is no better for them.”

Ariana Huffington makes this point: …” what we need is to re-calibrate our relationship with our technology. This is one of the most important conversations of our time. And ironically, conversation is the very thing our addiction to our screens prevents. We’re so busy scheduling our lives, documenting them, logging them, tracking them, memorializing and sharing them that we’re not actually living them”.

This topic links to the introduction to our Senior School Assembly today delivered by our incoming School Captains,  Bella Bradbeer and James Sutherland, which focused on the human need for people to people interactions delivered in face to face mode. As parents and teachers, we also need to consider what behaviours we are modelling in relation to our own digital devices.

If you are interested in this type of dialogue I am available to discuss issues and or provide resources.

Margaret Simkin

Parents and Friends

Christmas Cakes

Christmas cakes are made, wrapped and ready to buy.  Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved with the making of them this year.  Cakes are now on sale at Senior School Reception, Myrniong Reception, Tosca Browns and The Roxburgh. 


Attached is an Order Form if you want to have some cakes put aside for you. Last year we sold out so please don't leave buying your cakes till the last minute.

Jane Evans

School Information 

Tuckshop Specials for the Week

Monday 26th – Crispy Chicken Wrap

Tuesday 27th – Baked Potato

Wednesday 28th – Tuna Mornay

Thursday 29th – Green Thai Chicken Curry

Friday 30th – Spaghetti Bolognaise

Riana Beardsall

Uniform Special Opening Hours



Our annual Horsemanship Dinner will be held at Café Catalpa on Monday 10th December 2018. Invitations have now been sent out. Please rsvp as soon as possible, thank you!

Please make sure you join our THAC Equestrian Facebook page for regular updates and photos of all our Equestrian endeavours. Updates and entry forms for competitions are also posted on this page so make sure you keep up to date!

For updates, news, Calendar, entry forms, results and more GO TO THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES:

Victorian Equestrian Interschool Series:

Equestrian Victoria:

Please note any horses who are regularly coming to and from the Hamilton and Alexandra College Equestrian Centre must be up to date with vaccinations for Tetanus and Strangles and records of these will be maintained to ensure the biosecurity of the centre. You must also notify the Director of Horsemanship immediately if your horse has been in or originated from Queensland or Northern New South Wales. Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.


Cox Street Vets are offering our riders a vaccination and health package for all our horses. Should you require further information in relation to this please contact myself at [email protected] or contact Cox Street Vets directly or phone 55711202

Amanda Te Boekhorst

The Hamilton and Alexandra College Newsletter
Uniform shop special opening dates 2018 and 2019update.pdf
Uniform shop newsletter Nov 2018.pdf
Christmas Cake Order Form 2018.pdf