an inspiring experience that sparked my curiosity of our world, and reaffirmed the need for even more amazing women in science
The Women in Physics Breakfast was an engaging and empowering seminar. In the beginning of the breakfast, we had to put our thinking caps on to make the tallest tower out of pipe cleaners, which was a lot of fun and a good bonding experience for my table and I. Shortly after, I got the chance to speak to a PhD student studying civil engineering and a student completing a bachelor of space science. They told (our) table the amazing experiences they have had and the interesting and super cool experiments they have done while studying in the physics area–such as making a rocket. In addition, speaker, Dr Katarina Miljkovic, a planetary scientist, taught us all about impact craters and how they have shaped the Earth and our history. Overall it was an inspiring experience that sparked my curiosity of our world, and reaffirmed the need for even more amazing women in science.
The Oliver! journey began towards the end of 2019. We had wanted to do the ‘biggest show yet’ at AMI to try and build on the momentum that had been created over the last few years with our College productions.
We assembled an extremely talented cast and began rehearsals as soon as the school year commenced. Given the nature of the show, the complexity of the music and choreography, and the time constraints, our creative team decided that it was necessary to have both Monday after-school rehearsals and full-day rehearsals every Sunday. Songs were being learned, choreography was taught, and scenes were being blocked. Through all this, work began on sets, costumes and props with the help of some amazing parents.
And then COVID-19 hit.
Words cannot describe just how difficult it was to have to inform our students that Oliver! would not be going ahead as planned. It was heartbreaking – especially for the Year 12 students, knowing that they would be denied the opportunity to perform in their final school production. We had been rehearsing for almost a term and had already achieved so much and like everything else in the world, it was all brought to an abrupt halt.
College productions offer so much to our students. For some, it is a safe haven where they can be themselves and explore their creativity. It is a place for like-minded individuals to experience connectedness and to create something special together. There was much uncertainty as to whether Oliver! would go ahead at all but we made a commitment to at least try to put on the show in 2021. An invitation was extended to the Year 12 students to come back and reprise their roles if they so desired.
Towards the end of 2020, after an extended period of lockdown, everything seemed to return to some form of normal. Discussions began about mounting the production in 2021. We all agreed to proceed. Not everyone from the original cast was able to continue and, understandably, most of the Year 12 students decided not to return as post-AMI life beckoned.
At the beginning of 2021, with a new cast lineup, we began rehearsals again.
The hype for the show within the school community was like we have never experienced. Within one and a half weeks of tickets going on sale, we sold out our entire season. There was much anticipation in the air – AMI was finally going to experience Oliver!
The Academy hall was completely transformed by the cast, crew and a team of volunteer parents. As an audience member, you might not realise that a prop can appear for less than 10 seconds but actually took five hours to make. With expert sound and lighting, creating Dicken’s Victorian-era London was fast becoming a reality. Our journey finally brought us to opening night. It was the hardest show we had mounted and undeniably, the most professional. Unfortunately, the opening night audience were the only ones who were able to experience the world we had created.
Oliver! ended up being a one-off event.
A new COVID outbreak in Melbourne resulted in yet another lockdown and for us – the timing couldn’t have been worse. Having to deliver the news that Oliver! would not be going ahead was hard enough the first time. The second time was even harder and the grief that came with it, even greater.
Unlike the forced postponement in 2020, this time, the students had already had a taste of the show as it was intended. They had finally had the chance to receive audience reactions and accolades that they so justly deserved. Now, our marvellous students were once again blindsided and denied the opportunity to showcase all their hard work and talent for the remaining scheduled performances. Also unlike 2020, there was the underlying realisation that this would be the end of the road for Oliver! There would be no opportunity to postpone it anymore.
Many have asked: ‘Was it worth it? After all that work, to only have one performance, was it actually worth it?’ The answer is: ‘Yes of course it was worth it.’ When a global pandemic thwarts your endeavours not once but twice, who does one blame? Many others have been impacted far worse than we have at the hands of COVID-19. This is something that helps us build resilience. To feel our feelings and all that they encompass, but to ultimately grow and move on.
We need to cherish the experience and celebrate all that it taught us. For one very brief moment, we created magic. We transported ourselves and those who were fortunate enough to watch us, to another time and another place. We took them to a world that we created and told the most incredible story about a young orphan who against all the hardships, finally found happiness.
Our girls learned so much during this tumultuous time. They did things they have never done before, were pushed out of their comfort zones and excelled beyond even their own expectations. Each and every one of them came out of this experience a more enriched human being.
The cast & crew formed new friendships and strengthened bonds that had already been created. They did this because they all chose to come along for the ride. Whether they performed the show only once, or whether they got to do the whole season doesn’t really matter in the end. They were and always will be a part of the AMI Oliver! family.
Curious Creatures Wild Minds: CBCA Book Week 2020 – 17-23 October
The CBCA run Book Week every year celebrating outstanding Australian children’s authors and illustrators. A shortlist is announced in April and winners announced in Book Week. You can see the full list here
At Academy will be running two competitions online to celebrate Book Week this year.
Curious creatures Quiz: Follow us on Facebook for all the clues and Quiz details!
Create your own curious creature: Let your creativity take over.
Draw, create, sew or sculpt your very own curious creature as part of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s – Wild Minds Book Week 17–23 October 2020. Simply create a creature and place it in your window or garden, take a photo, and send it in. You’ll be in the running to win a $50 Dymocks voucher and a pack of books, as well as a range of runner-up prizes.
Check out this for ideas on how to draw your own Curious Creature – you even make a 3D model! We are also privileged to have our own ‘Curious Creature’ creator, Alumnae Ivan Jeldres. Watch out for our interview with this very talented Academy graduate on Facebook!
Year 7 students at Academy recently competed in the STEM MAD competition, during Term 3. Our students solved a real-world problem using science and presented their solution to judges using a 90-second video.
Using 3D modelling software, Year 7S students Cara and India showed how a ‘sharps cutter’ prototype could cut the metal needle from a syringe so that the plastic barrel could be disposed of in a normal recycling bin, while the metal needle could be disposed of in a sharps container.
Safety & environmental challenges were meet as people who use needles could safely dispose of both parts of a needle, while allowing the two parts to be recycled effectively.
A Year 7R team focused on health. Evie, Olivia and Alice envisioned a purification device for dirty water to pass through a layer of rocks, then a layer of sand removing particle matter and, finally, a layer of charcoal so bacteria were trapped. Device and design thinking like this is critical to regions of the world without access to piped and cleaned water.
Our students not only participated in the STEM MAD competition remotely, but also obtained experiment materials despite COVID-19 restrictions. These students are commended by our College community for their ingenuity and taking on this challenge in addition to the ongoing challenges of completing Year 7 remotely.
The competition video has been submitted and will be judged late October
The National Gallery of Victoria’s Teen Council (NGV Teen Council) is a group of students from Melbourne who share an interest in art. NGV Teen Council meets once a month and contributes ideas, co-design, plans and delivers NGV teen programs, such as the Art Party and workshops.
Year 9 student, Venice, participated in the 2020 council with 11 other students from across Victoria.
‘The experience in the team can strengthen communication, teamwork, time management, organisational and planning skills,’ Venice said. ‘Through this experience you can learn more about career choices in art and gain volunteer hours to add to your resume.’
The Teen Council also works with the NGV to develop video series the NGV Collection. Council member and Year 9 student, Venice, spoke about the work of Petrina Hicks, and the exhibition ‘Bleached Gothic’. You can watch Venice’s video Here
We encourage all Academy students interested to apply for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Teen Council (NGV Teen Council) 2021.
What meaning can we discern from the traditional Easter message of death and resurrection as we live through the mounting dislocation and tragedies of the Covid 19 crisis?
It is clear that Easter 2020 cannot be just a set of rituals and liturgies designed to remind us of the cycles of dying and rising. For Easter 2020, the world is immersed in the painful uncertainties of this reality that is deeply characteristic of all life. Christians the world over are being challenged to re-evaluate their understanding of participation in the Easter mysteries.
Pope Francis has called on people to ‘separate what is necessary from what is not’.
What are the values that remain as solid foundations for life in a world of isolation and social distancing?
What are the Easter essentials for a life of faith that will sustain through the challenging months to come? An Easter Reflection read more
Our Senior Student leaders warmly welcomed our Academy Alumnae as they poured through the gates of 88 Nicholson Street on Sunday afternoon 23 February 2020. Our Annual Alumnae event brought together more than 100 enthusiastic past students who reminisced and recounted memories of their days at the College.
Sr Mary’s roll call of each decade group brought laughter and delight as the responses resounded around the Hall. Afternoon Tea was shared ahead of groups gathering for decade photos and student lead tours around the College. Another very successful event kept our Alumnae captive with many not wanting to leave as the afternoon came to a close. Our Annual Alumnae Reunion is held every year on the last Sunday in February.
Academy recently welcomed students from Aquinas College and St Pius X Primary School, Catholic Education and Archdiocese Melbourne, ACRATH and Fairtrade Australia and NZ for the launch of ‘Make your school slavery-free’ resource kit.
The day began in Academy’s Ursula Frayne Chapel where Archbishop Peter A Comensoli led the liturgy. Later, gathering in the College’s library, Sr Louise Cleary CSB gave a stirring speech about the human impact of global trade.
‘People are being sold and traded, not just the coffee beans or the cocoa beans or the tea leaves. Seventy percent of cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast and largely comes from the enslaved trafficked labour of children who are sold in markets in West Africa. We really need to take action,’ she said.
Archbishop Comensoli then formally launched the resource kit which will help schools transition to a slavery-free environment. It encourages the school community to become more informed consumers, by examining where products come from and how those products arrive here.
Academy has sourced and used Fair Trade products – including tea, coffee and cups – for some time now, and with the ‘Make your school slavery-free’ resource kit now available, we look forward to our community making positive changes on a personal level.
Last night our Celebration of Excellence evening took place at the Collingwood Town Hall. It was a wonderful occasion which provided the opportunity to acknowledge student excellence in all areas. I congratulate those students who were acknowledged last night. They should be truly proud of their efforts and I know teachers and parents share their pride.
Congratulations to the six students who were acknowledged as Dux of their Year Level at last night’s Celebration of Excellence.
left to right: Eloise Kenny Yr 8, Katja Curtin Yr 11, Harper Smith Yr 7, Emily Razlog and Francesca Perri Yr 10. Absent – Amelie Bongrain Yr 9.
IN THE MEDIA: 2019 Vice Captain advocates for the environment.
Christa Hubik, our 2019 Vice-Captain, is a passionate advocate for the environment both locally and globally. Christa’s activism caught the attention of the City of Yarra and she was profiled on their website as ‘Faces of Yarra’.
Christa was a founding member of Earth at Academy – a student group focussed on protecting our planet – attracting more than 30 student members. Launched in 2017 the work the group has done includes: Earth at Academy Hour, where for one hour per term, all lights, heating and air conditioning were turned off across the campus to save electricity. They have also created Academy branded reusable coffee cups and water bottles which are sold to staff, students and families. The profits have been used to buy a worm farm for the school.
“Our motto for Earth at Academy is the quote from Robert Swan: ‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’”
To read more about this amazing young leader click here