MGC Alumni Newsletter

16 December 2016
Issue Six
MGC News
Spotlight on our Alumni
Page 4
Your Alumni News
Your Alumni News
Melbourne Girls' College
9428 8955
Yarra Boulevard
Richmond, VIC, 3121

MGC News

A message from our Principal

The holiday season is almost here and I hope you are able to shift focus from everyday responsibilities to relaxation and enjoying time with family and friends. Thank you for your wonderful Alumni support of Melbourne Girls’ and the inspiration your stories and successes inspire in our current students. We are very proud of you and look forward to ever greater connections with you in 2017. Thank you to our President Suzie Rule, Genevieve Neumann and all of the Alumni Committee for their wonderful work this year.
Even though this quote was attributed to Sir Isaac Newton in 1676 I am sure a woman said it first, it is one I always link to our alumni, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”


Karen Money


Celebrating Success!

The 2016 VCE results are our best ever recorded! Thank you to leaders Graham Brain, Tonia Douglas-Scarfe and Tip Kennedy and to the team of teachers who have nurtured and taught this cohort of talented and hard working girls over six years at MGC. The results were celebrated at Wednesday’s brunch for the girls and include:

  • Our Dux attained an ATAR score of 99.8
  • Six students received scores between 99 and 99.95
  • Six students attained perfect study scores of 50 (Sefija had three in Legal Studies!)
  • 18.6% of our study scores were over 40 – the best % for MGC to date
  • Our median study score of 34 is up from 33 in 2015
  • 31% of girls attained scores of 90-99.95
  • 19% of girls attained scores of 80-89.95
  • We are proud of all our Year 12 2016 students and celebrate their collective and individual success. “Melbourne Girls College recorded its best results in 14 years, ranking within the top 50 schools for the first time this year. It had a median study score of 34 and 18.6 per cent of study scores 40 and over.”

Spotlight on our Alumni

Laura Spelbrink

Class of 2006


When I graduated MGC in 2006 I had varied interests and wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue. I had amazing science teachers at school and always saw myself heading down the science path but I was also fascinated by politics, history and philosophy and loved being outdoors. Doing a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts double degree at The University of Melbourne meant I could keep my options open.


After a few years at university and a stint living in Canada, I decided that I wanted to be a chemist. I was fascinated by finding answers to the big questions on a tiny scale, but thought I would have to sacrifice my love of the outdoors for a career in research. Then I discovered geology, and I loved it! I found myself out adventuring through the bush and learning all about this amazing planet, how it works and constantly changes, and I couldn’t have been happier. I guess some people always have an idea of what they are going to be ‘when they grow up’ but I think for most people it happens cumulatively as we gain life experience.


I spent some time on exchange in Hong Kong and then returned to Australia to complete a Master of Science at The University of Melbourne. My research focused on the geology and tectonics of East Timor and my time spent doing field work there was one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences of my life. I graduated from as Dux in the School of Earth Sciences and was named 2013 Valedictorian of the Faculty of Science at The University of Melbourne.


Since 2014 I have been working as a geologist in remote locations all over Australia and I am lucky to say that I love my job. While being away from home often has its challenges, I recognise how fortunate I am to be working in amazingly beautiful places that most people will never see. As a woman in a male-dominated industry I am reminded of the challenges that still face women in the workplace and have learnt that effective communication and diversity in teams always leads to the best outcomes.


I am passionate about education and gender equality and eager to promote science education for girls and young women. It is unfortunate that science is seen as ‘too hard’ for so many people, I think understanding how the world works is a fundamental part of being human and that scientists have a responsibility to communicate what they do and make it accessible to all of society. While at university, I volunteered with several organisations, including the In2Science program, communicating and promoting science in high schools. I am currently involved with the CSIRO Scientists in Schools program and have partnered with MGC to work in classrooms and promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) education.


My time at MGC undoubtedly shaped the woman I am today and equipped me with the resilience and confidence to pursue my career so far. The school was amazing in its ability to nurture and encourage a diverse group of girls with different needs and interests. I am proud to call myself an alumna of the College and am grateful to have attended a school that empowered young women to take charge of their futures, whatever lay ahead.

Spotlight on our Staff

Linda Brown

2004 - 2016


It’s been 12 years since I walked through the doors of Melbourne Girls’ College and I enjoyed every moment of it. While students graduate at the end of 6 years, I feel I have graduated twice, made many friends and grown as an individual.  I’ve probably taught over 1,000 students in my teaching career, with each class and student unique.  I have had the pleasure of teaching in girls’ schools for 22 of my 25 years in education.

When I first arrived at Melbourne Girls’ College I was the Head of the Technology Department, and my subject areas were wood technology, art and information technology.   I had come from Mentone Girls’ Secondary College where I had taught for 10 years previously.  What I loved about my teaching methods is that they allowed me to teach what some would consider only comes naturally.  What I mean by this is that some students (and adults) would say “I can’t draw”, “I am not good at making things”, “I can’t use power tools” or “I am not good with computers”.  My philosophy is that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.  If you can write, you can draw.  If you can make a cake, you can build a coffee table.  If you like puzzles, you can build a website or use a software program.  That is my approach to teaching and I love watching the confidence of students grow as they realise that they definitely can do anything they put their mind to.

After two years of leading the Technology Department, I took on the role of Middle School Director, overseeing Years 7, 8 and 9, which I did for a year before being appointed an Assistant Principal.  In this role I directed my passion for the Arts and Technology areas by becoming involved in the building program, which saw the development of the Arts and Technology Wings.  I worked with some wonderful people over this time who have a passion for improving student outcomes and wellbeing and the school went from strength to strength.

It has been my privilege to have worked with Judy Crowe, Principal, and Kay Clarke, Assistant Principal for many years.

More recently I was fortunate to have worked with Karen Money,  Principal, and Brent Houghton and Tip Kennedy, Assistant Principals.  Each of these wonderful people are in their roles because they want to make a difference to the students.

But the highlight for me was working with the most amazing Alumni team to plan and host the 21st birthday celebrations.  It was a wonderful day celebrated with music, laugher and a sense of pride.  To seeour Foundation Principal, Cavell Zangelis, and subsequent Principals - Jan Parkes, Judy Crowe and Karen Money come together with their former and current Assistant Principals was memorable and we were able to acknowledge the many achievements of the school community over that time.

I have now returned to Mentone Girls’ Secondary College as their Principal but will forever be attached to MGC and have many fond memories to take with me. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the MGC Alumni community as a past teacher. 

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Your Alumni News

Class of 2006
10 Year Reunion

On Saturday 29th of October, Melbourne Girls College Class of 2006 held their ten year reunion. It was an incredible opportunity to reconnect with former students and our teachers as well as see how much the school has changed. The event was held in the beautiful Gillard Centre, overlooking the Yarra River. Trevor 'Trev' Howlett was kind enough to give us a tour around the school to view the new learning areas, talk about its recent history, as well as remember past experiences in the halls and classrooms. The MGC Class of 2006 would like to thank Trev for his immense efforts in making the night happen and his relentless patience, dedication and cheerful manner.  The catering staff from Bocca Foods were a delight and helped the event run smoothly.

One MGC alumna, Charlotte Deans has lived interstate and overseas since 2006 and returned to Melbourne for the event. She stated, "MGC is so beautiful, the facilities are extremely impressive and the grounds immaculate. I was very happy to see the Aboriginal flag displayed proudly in one of the classrooms. As we toured the school I felt a sense of great pride as an MGC alumna. I was also so impressed by my fellow alumnae. Each one has gone on to do great and important things for our community, from teaching to medicine to the arts. MGC and the wonderful teachers who fostered our academic and personal development were critical to that success and I'm so thankful for the opportunities the school afforded me."
We look forward to our 15 year reunion in 2021!

AAFC 20th Annual Presentation Dinner

On Tuesday 13 December 100 people gathered to celebrate another great year of fun and development within the AAFC at Melbourne Girls’ College, our 20th year and also 75 years of AAFC in Australia. From the first intake in 1997 until now, around 500 MGC students have taken the opportunities available through this program. Some have lasted weeks, others up to 6 years and some are now continuing that service in the ADF.


It was another fabulous night of delightful conversation, a beautiful meal provided BOCCA Foods who run the MGC Café, lots of memories, presentations and the opportunity to catch up with current cadets, parents, staff and returning staff & cadets from years gone by. Also present were Karen Money (Principal MGC), Tip Kennedy (Asst Principal), WGCDR(AAFC) Shaun Young (OC 4Wing) and other AAFC Staff that have helped along the journey.

Past cadets that were in attendance were: Maddie Blaikie, Daisy Bottomley, Amelia Dadd, Sarah Driscoll, Kat Duckstein, Niki Duckstein, Lauren Jennings, Georgia Kerr, Chloe Kerr, Joanne Nguyen, Sara Nguyen, Ania Turecki, Dee West (Smith) and Amelija Van Zeyl (Duncan).


Some past staff members also attended: Graham Brain, Eva Hookey, Cheryl DiPasquale and Peter Gargiulo.


Looking forward to another exciting year in the AAFC – save the date: 19 December 2017 for our next Presentation Dinner!!


Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Trevor Howlett
Commanding Officer
414 Squadron
(1997 - present)




MGC Alumni Newsletter