It was an exciting and productive first term at Luther College, with the commencement of our 2023 Year 7 cohort ably led by Mr Richard Malone - Director of Middle School, Mr David Wildsmith -Head of Year 7, Year 7 Focus Teachers and Year 10 students in the Peer Support Program.
Our Year 7 transition and orientation program is comprehensive, beginning some six months prior to student’s first day of school. We see firsthand the confidence this brings, helping students become familiar with their new secondary school environment to start the year positively.
After a first day of orientation on campus and the three-day camp to Phillip Island, our Year 7s continued with participation in the Swimming Carnival, House Athletics, and an excursion to Scienceworks. Families also had the opportunity to come together for a welcome evening where they attended Chapel, met their child’s teachers, and enjoyed gathering socially afterwards.
Another important commencement activity was our college Opening Service where the whole school community, family and friends gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new school year and to recognise the VCE achievements of 2022. We also had the great pleasure of installing new staff and student leaders, blessing them for the year ahead.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and celebrate the Class of 2022 Dux, Thomas Curnow, and Proxime Accessit, Samuel Benson, together with Subject Dux recipients and the entire cohort whose results were outstanding. I would also like to acknowledge our professional and capable team of VCE teachers who guide and mentor our students to success.
The House Athletics Carnival was a highlight in Term 1, with house spirit reflected in the sea of blue, red, yellow, orange, purple and green across the stands, complemented by our Year 12 students who traditionally dress up in costume for the event each year. Creativity, one of our core values, was certainly front of mind as we watched Teletubbies, fruit and veggies and even a dinosaur take to the track. It was a great day with impressive results, particularly from Warran House who took second place.
In 2020, in response to identified student needs in our pastoral care review, the college grew from four Houses to six Houses. We anticipated it may take time for the new Houses to find their feet, but Warran and Yarra have achieved outstanding results reminding Birt, Cheong, Nelson and Wicklow to never underestimate the underdog.
Year 8 students started the year with a skills conference day focused on IT literacy, study skills and organisational skills, to further develop capabilities and improve personal efficiency. Geography students studied the coastal processes and management of McCrae and Cape Schanck with a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula, while History students immersed themselves in medieval studies with a day of workshops discussing and showcasing medieval warfare and weaponry, food, music, dance, costume and lifestyle.
I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing our Year 9 students commence their chosen electives which expand significantly in Year 9 to include subjects like Innovating for a Creative Future, Designing Spaces for the Future, Photography, Supercoach Statistician, Shark Tank, Dance and Musical Production. Rite Journey has also been a highlight with students starting their yearlong journey into self-discovery and personal awareness at the departure ceremony with parents and a hike up Mount Lofty.
Senior school has also been a hive of activity with our College Captains presenting Chapel, facilitating two fundraising BBQs to raise money for ALWS, as well as launching a student voice project aimed at providing greater opportunities for students to contribute to community.
Year 10 students ran a food collection drive for the Maroondah Winter Shelter Homeless Program and visited the Melbourne Museum where they took part in the Road to Zero experience which shows the work being done in Victoria to move towards a zero death road toll. Developed by the TAC, the space uses simulations, virtual experiences and facilitated learning to show students how their body would have to adapt to survive different impacts. They also support students to design a virtual car and used an elevator simulation to experience a ‘dramatic drop’ which is said to simulate different speeds on the road.
Year 12 students started the year with an interactive conference day, participating in a range of sessions focused on building effective study routines, plus various electives, and a collaboration and problem-solving challenge where they were tasked with constructing a bike in a team.
A number of senior students have also enjoyed the opportunity to take classroom learning into the real world with a sleepover at Melbourne Zoo for Environmental Science, a day at Luna Park for Physics, and a two week trip to Germany including a visit to partner school Evangelisches Gymnasium Hermannswerder in Potsdam, around 40 kms from Berlin.
Our lunchtime clubs such as Writer’s League, Mustard and Chess have been popular, with membership growing steadily since last year. Our SAGE environmental club set the Walk to School Pledge to encourage students to make small changes and commitments to their wellbeing, while the STEAM club was busy making and launching rockets, and investigating molecular gastronomy while making bubble tea. We concluded the term with the Rising Stars Dance competition, a weeklong battle to find Luther’s best dance individual or team – even the staff participated in a guest performance.
Our partnerships have continued to flourish with our 53 ASPIRE students continuing to participate in the Monash Business School Thrive Global Program. The Advanced Support Program and Individual Recognition of Excellence (ASPIRE) is designed to identify, support and recognise students who are pursuing performance excellence in the fields of Performing Arts or Sport. The program is pivotal in ensuring support for these talented students to balance their school work, training and practice commitments while equipping them with leadership skills, wellbeing and personal development opportunities.