As we reach the end of the year, it is always a good time to reflect on our achievements as a college. First and foremost, I would like to thank the students, staff and families for the way they have welcomed me into the Lowanna College community this year.
It has been a big year in many ways, as we spent significant time looking inwards and understanding the brightest parts of our college that we need to continually celebrate, as well as the areas of the college we can improve.
This reflective practice and drive for excellence has seen a number of remarkable steps forward, in the short space of one year. We have seen growth in our literacy results, and we are excited about building on this in 2020 as we establish our ‘Literacy Hub’ and whole-school literacy plan. Our student and parent feedback (via DET surveys) and our staff climate feedback also improved across the college. We have seen a very positive improvement in our attendance, and I would like to thank students and parents for supporting us in recognizing the importance of attending school every day.
Congratulations to all of our Year 12 VCE students, upon release of results last week. A particular congratulations to Tess Sultana, Dux of 2019. Tess has worked incredibly hard throughout her six years of schooling, showing a real dedication to her studies and strong study habits. Moving into 2020, Tess is looking at taking up a career in education, which as teachers we’re incredibly proud of. Beyond university, Tess says she is keen to work with different aid organisations to help disadvantaged individuals and communities.
This year we have been fortunate to have strong leadership from our school captains– Danielle Jeffrey, Renzi Abuan, Harrison Puts and Caleb Michie. These students have worked hard to drive student leadership through our Student Representative Council. There have been many highlights, including the World’s Greatest Shave – raising $3200 for the Leukemia Foundation. The SRC also coordinated a Footy Colours day with a student/staff dodgeball competition and coordinated student participation in the National Day Against Bullying.
Through listening to our students, we have been able to make a number of key improvements. We have replaced all of our basketball backboards, purchased new bins, organised new drink fountains, new music equipment, and have ordered some new senior lockers.
Our students have worked together to raise awareness of health, wellbeing and resilience, through our Teen Mental Health First Aid training, our Tomorrow Man presentations, and Cyber Safety presentations.
Extra-curricular experiences always rate highly in the list of things that our students and community value. Our Year 7s began their high school journey with a camp to Philip Island (and somehow had me upside down on the giant swing, in my first week at Lowanna), making new friends and getting to know staff. Our Year 8s engaged in the City Camp, exploring the culture of Melbourne. Many students enjoyed the winter wonderland of Falls Creek, while some Middle Years students were able to spend time on the Gold Cost, and a fortunate few were able to attend the World Challenge experience in Laos, Vietnam.
We have been fortunate to have great sporting success this year, with four of our Sports Excellence Program alumni being drafted to the AFL, and our Under 20 girls taking out the gold medal at the D2 National Championships in Melbourne this month.
There has been some incredible musical and performance talent across our school, showcase through various performances for both the school and community. One of my highlights for the year was our school musical production – Seussical, The Musical. The students, well supported by staff in the background, did a remarkable job.
We have recently partnered with Microsoft to review and strengthen our entire digital literacy curriculum, and have worked hard to reenvisage our Laptop Program to truly enhance student learning. We are pleased that our 2020 Year 7 intake is currently sitting at 90% of students having a device next year, up from 40% this year.
We have also broadened our Careers Education scope, with all Year 9s engaging in the Morrisby Careers Assessment and featured guest speakers on a weekly basis, including several universities, the Defense Forces, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria. We are also proud to have been able to support our students in a variety of extra-curricular activities, including STEM sisters, the Deakin University Engineering Roadshow and the Gippsland Tech School.
There are many aspects of Lowanna College for our community to be proud of. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our college in 2019 – parents, staff, community partners, but most importantly our students, who make our college such a great place to be every day.
I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas, New Year and summer break. We look forward to your continued support in 2020.