From the Principal

Welcome to 2021

I would like to welcome back all the families returning to Warrandyte High School in 2021 and extend a very warm welcome to all the families joining us for the first time this year. We are all hoping for a close to normal year, though as I type this we are in a 5 day lockdown which will hopefully end in 48 hours. Fingers crossed that it is the first and last such lockdown for the year.

I would also like to welcome Ms Fiona Keech (Adolescent Health Nurse), Mr Brad Waters (Basketball Academy Coach), Mr Hugh Schaeche (Football Academy Coach), Ms Heidi Luo (Multicultural Aid and ISP Leader) and Mr Stephen Brown (EAL) who have joined our staff this year. Plus welcome back to Ms Kathryn Ball (Science, Biology and Chemistry) and Ms Sarah Boodle (Science and Biology) who have returned to Warrandyte High School from Leave.

Fiona has an introductory article a little later in this edition of the Gang Gang.

VCE results 2020

It was an extremely challenging year for all students in 2020, none more so than those students who were completing the final year of VCE. I am genuinely in awe of their determination, resilience and perseverance. At the end of the year their efforts were justly rewarded and I am very pleased to be able to congratulate the Year 12 class of 2020 on the excellent results they achieved. These results were the culmination of much effort and commitment by the students across a number of years, and also reflect the contribution of staff and parents to their learning.

In particular, congratulations to Zihan (Hanson) Tang (pictured), the 2020 Dux who achieved an ATAR score of 98.45 and the following students who achieved study scores of 40 or better, placing them in the top 8% of all students in that study. Zihan Tang (Mathematical Methods and Physics), Owen Kelly (Further Mathematics), Bohan (Lucas) Zhang (Physics), Sotir Stoyanovic (History Revolutions).
Zihan Tang and Owen Kelly also obtained a score of 40 or better last year through their accelerated study of Year 12 Physics. Zihan chose to consolidate his study of Physics this year and improved further on his already very high score.

School Council Elections

I have posted Compass News Feed articles announcing the upcoming School Council elections and calling for nominations in each of the Parent, DET Employee, and Student categories. Nomination forms are available on Compass in the School Documentation folder under the Community tab. Nominations must be lodged at school by 4pm on Monday 22 February 2021.

If the lockdown is extended I will make other arrangements for the lodgement of the nomination forms.

Warrandyte High School Awards Evening – 2020

Each year, our students achieve many outstanding results in their pursuit of academic and artistic excellence, citizenship and sport. Normally this is celebrated at The Warrandyte High School Awards Evening, held in December each year, and the Year 12 Valedictory Dinner, also held in December. Last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, these events were scaled down and held without parents or extended families in attendance. Nonetheless, we still took the opportunity to formally celebrate and give recognition to our students who have excelled throughout the year. It was also an occasion on which we were able acknowledge and give thanks to those students who have taken on the responsibility of being our student leaders in 2021. Via live streaming we were also able to involve parents and friends.

Once again, I would like to congratulate all the award recipients and thank the many wonderful community groups who continue to sponsor specific achievement awards. The Kiwanis Club of Doncaster and Templestowe; Ryan Smith (the member for Warrandyte); Lions Club of Warrandyte; The Rotary Club of Warrandyte and Donvale and Glennis Pitches (former principal of Warrandyte High School).

2021 School Captains

school captains 2021

At the end of last year we introduced our 2021 School Captains. Since then we have been joined by our new Year 7 students and their families. For this reason I would like to re-introduce them.
May I present to you, Ethan Buchanan and Emma Dodds.

School Review

Every four years, schools complete a School Review which leads to the development of a 4 year Strategic Plan. Our School Review which was postponed from last year will now be completed in 2021. The Strategic Plan which will be developed will align with Education State targets and incorporate local factors. The first stage in this Review is the Pre-Review Self-Evaluation (PRSE), which we commenced last year and will be completing this term.
The completed PRSE will synthesise our ongoing and formal six-monthly evaluations from the previous five years and include reflective analysis of the school’s performance from the whole school community. We have used our data and analysis from the previous five years, to determine our achievements against the current School Strategic Plan goals and targets. We are currently finalising an analysis of our performance and identifying the enablers and barriers to success. Quantitative and qualitative data and evidence is being used to support our analysis and assessment.

As part of our PRSE we are also determining our progress and level of proficiency against all 16 dimensions of the Framework for Student Improvement Outcomes (FISO) Continua, and providing evidence to support our selection of proficiency level.

Dr Stephen Parkin

From the Assistant Principal

Welcome to 2021! What an incredibly exciting year it has been already!

Year 7 Camp

Already our amazing Year 7 students have experienced our awesome 3 night/4 day camp experience in the Grampians. The verdict is in and the students loved every detail of the camp – the activities, getting to make new friends, getting to know their teachers and most importantly, the food!
But don’t just take my word for it – later in this edition, you can indeed read testimonials from both teachers and students who attended the Year 7 camp.

Emergency Management

Here at Warrandyte High School we continue to prioritise Emergency Management. To that end, late last year on both Dec 15, 2020 and Dec 16 2020, the Emergency Management committee held two meetings, the aim of which was to discuss the logistics and planning involved when conducting an off-site evacuation. Always better to be prepared, we say!
This year, before the Year 7 camp, on 1 February, the Year 7s and 9s participated in a bushfire alert and evacuation practice drill. First we went into bushfire alert mode, then we practiced evacuating into our Shelter-in-Place building. It was a highly successful practice drill. The subsequent debriefing, as always, enables us to refine our processes.
Emergency Management – an ongoing priority at Warrandyte High School.

Sports Academy – our Basketball and AFL Program!

Correct. Warrandyte High School has both a vibrant Sports Academy Basketball Program and an equally thriving Sports Academy AFL Program. Both programs feature students, boys and girls, from Year 7 through to Year 10. Both programs are off to an amazing start this year! Later in this edition, please read more about this excitement!
Places for 2021 have now closed. Applications for 2022 will open in September this year. To be eligible, students must be enrolled at Warrandyte High School. Grade 6 students must place us as their first high school preference later this year.
The flourishing Warrandyte High School Sports Academy!

Assistant Principal

Secondary School Nursing Program

Fiona Keech

I am an Adolescent Health Nurse from the Secondary School Nursing program at the Department of Education & Training and have commenced at Warrandyte High School this term.

I work within the school’s Wellbeing Team and will be at WHS each Tuesday and Thursday. I have qualifications and experience in general and psychiatric nursing, infection control, sexual and reproductive health, drug and alcohol & narrative therapy.
Through 1:1 conversations, group work, publications and support in health classes the role focuses on health promotion initiatives to encourage healthy, informed, safe lifestyle choices and behaviours.

Fiona Keech,
Adolescent Health Nurse
Secondary School Nursing Program
Department of Education and Training.

Year 7 Camp

The 2021 Year 7 camp was a huge success! The verdict is in! The students loved it! Let’s hear from some of the Year 7 students who attended the Year 7 camp, as well as from Luke Mason, the Year 7 Level Leader and Katie Cook, the Year 11 VET Sport and Recreation teacher:

Lilly Scott-Bommert, Year 7 student:
Year 7 camp started on Tuesday the 2nd of February and went for 3 nights. We returned to Warrandyte High on the Friday. The bus ride took about 3 & a half hours to get to Roses Gap in the Grampians.

The activities were awesome. They included going on a bush walk and a low ropes course. I did the bush walk, in which you walked up to a waterfall basically on the side of a mountain. There was also the giant swing, flying fox and archery which was really fun. The low ropes course was really fun, and it was basically a bunch of little mini courses aimed at promoting team work and friendship building.

Water sports were also at the camp and were so much fun. We did raft building, canoeing, and then aside from water sports, we did pamper pole and vertical playset.

Dinner was really good too. For dinner on night one we had roast lamb and gravy, with some vegetables. On the second night we had the most delicious chicken schnitzels and apple crumble for dessert. We had lasagne for dinner on the final night.

The Roses Gap camp at the Grampians, was one of the most fun experiences of my life. I made a ton of new friends and enjoyed my time there. What a great start to Warrandyte High School! 

Lilly Scott Bommert, Year 7 student

Marlo Whelan, Year 7 Student:
Roses Gap was a great choice for the Warrandyte High School Year 7 camp. It had heaps of fun activities, some of my favourites were the giant swing and the pamper pole. The giant swing was so much fun – going to the top is not something that I regret. The pamper pole was great to jump off and try to reach the white ball. It was a great way to make friends and connect with the really friendly Year 11s and teachers who were there to help run the camp.

Another thing that was fun was Bob’s Shed – it had heaps of fun things to do, there was chess, naughts and crosses, checkers, table tennis and heaps of couches to sit on and relax.

We went on a night walk which I enjoyed as it was really fun seeing the view of the mountains. It was nice to be able to have free times and relax in Bob’s Shed or in our cabins after a big day doing awesome activities. The food was really nice and delicious after a big day of activities.

Camp was so much fun and I loved Roses Gap. I hope next year’s Year 7s have the same fun I did. Thank you Warrandyte High School
Marlo Whelan, Year 7 student

Luke Mason, Year 7 Level Leader:
2021 has started in an eventful way with the Year 7 Camp taking place after just 3 regular school days. The Roses Gap Recreation Centre in the Grampians was our destination for another year and was once again extremely accommodating.

This year we took 75 excited Year 7’s to the camp experience along with 17 responsible VET Recreational and Sport Year 11 Students. The latter were there to help run the camp and complete a component of their coursework. Along with this came 10 dedicated Warrandyte High School teachers and staff members who were all relentless in their determination to make the camp the wonderful success that it was.

Warrandyte High School would like to thank the amazing staff at Roses Gap Recreation Centre for their hard work and efforts as well as their flexibility through the very last minute announcements from the State Government, but more importantly, their ongoing level of knowledge, teaching and ability to work with young minds in exciting and challenging activities.  

A huge congratulations is extended to PE and VET teacher, Katie Cook and her VET Recreational Students who demonstrated a large amount of responsibility and who flawlessly led by example for our young Year 7 students. A great level of rapport was established between the younger and older students which was wonderful to see. This will truly assist our Year 7s to transition even more successfully into high school as they now have friendly faces to speak to when they return to the school setting.  

It truly was a successful camp and the outcome of establishing new friendships which will further assist with the transition to high school was accomplished. We wish all of our amazing Year 7 students a wonderful 2021.

Luke Mason 
Year 7 & 8 Co-ordinator

VET Sport and Recreation at Year 7 Camp 

From Tuesday 2 February to Friday 5 February the unit 3&4 VET Sport and Recreation students attended the Year 7 camp as part of their practical assessment for Plan and Conduct Programs and Facilitate Groups. As part of this students were required to plan 5 different activities (raft building, archery, low ropes, bush walk and night-time activities and then run these activities for the Year 7 students whilst on camp. Students were split into small groups of 2’s and 3’s and were in charge of a group of approximately 12 Year 7 students for all activities. In addition to this they also helped out at the camp run activities to facilitate the group, ensuring they were encouraging each other to conquer some of their fears (especially on the high rope activities) and to also connect with the year 7 students to support them.

The experience was a great success with all students developing their skills throughout the time. The key things the students reflected upon was how much they learnt regarding connecting with students, importance of clear communication and gaining confidence in projecting their voice and being organised. All students did a fantastic job in developing a range of different skills to which they will now be able to apply the theory.

A highlight that showed the impact this group of students had on the Year 7’s was when we returned back to school and in the following weeks the Year 7 students were still calling out their Vet Rec group leaders around the school yard.

By the end of the week of camp the VET Sport and Recreation students left camp extremely tired, having achieved great successes and with a greater appreciation of what teachers do. Many a comments were made such as ‘how do you this this everyday’, ‘you make it look so easy’, ‘I now appreciate the teachers so much more’ and the odd ‘I don’t think I want to be a teacher anymore’. I wish to congratulate all the VET REC students on their efforts throughout the entire week. They stepped up and proved themselves to be very capable leaders. The feedback from the camp staff was also extremely positive with them saying how great the program was and how much they saw the students senior develop over the 4 days of camp and how they wish other schools did a similar thing.

Well done to all students. You made a massive impact on camp to both the year 7 students but also the staff who attended. The skills you developed you will keep for life and you have all proved your capabilities. I look forward to working with you for the remainder of the year as you complete your certificate III in Sport and Recreation.

Ms Cook
VET Rec Teacher

Sports Academy at Warrandyte High School

Correct! Warrandyte High School has a vibrant and elite Basketball Program and an equally amazing and elite AFL Program. These two intensive programs comprise our 2021 Sports Academy. Students from Year 7 right through to Year 10, both girls and boys, are participating in these awesome programs which take place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

We are very excited to introduce to the Warrandyte Community our coaches who will be working closely with our Sports Academy students:

Introducing Brad Waters, our 2021 Warrandyte High School Sports Academy Basketball Coach!

Brad has had a passion for basketball for more than 25 years. Brad’s mission is to give the opportunity of love for the game back to the youth of our community. Brad’s own basketball experience spans over many years in representative teams, playing across Victoria, coaching a number of teams as well as developing his own basketball club.

Welcome Brad!

Warrandyte High School Sports Academy Basketball Coach, Brad Waters

Introducing Hugh Schaeche, Warrandyte High School’s new Sports Academy AFL Coach for 2021!

Hugh is an extremely passionate Australian Rules Footballer and coach who loves seeing the growth and development of students within the sport.
Having played and coached junior football at the highest level, Hugh understands the requirements of what it takes to successfully navigate sport, schooling and personal development.

Hugh is immensely excited about the opportunity to work closely with the WHS AFL Sports Academy students.

Welcome Hugh!

Warrandyte High Sports Academy AFL Coach, Hugh Schaeche

Both the Basketball Program and the AFL Program are intensive skill building and fitness training programs happening right here at Warrandyte High School.

Chinese New Year Lunch for our International Students

Lunar New Year is the most important festival for Asian background students. In China, people normally celebrate the New Year by having a family reunion dinner, participating in dragon dancing and watching fireworks. It is a time for new beginnings and family gatherings. 2020 was a very tough year for all international students because they were not able to go back to their home country and visit their family.

At Warrandyte High School, in acknowledgment of this, and indeed to demonstrate to our international students that they are indeed very important members of our school community, we celebrated the Chinese New Year with all of the international students.
We provided them with a special lunch which included dumplings, fried rice and chocolate on Thursday, February 11. We wanted to further make our international students feel at home and show our extra care and support to them.

Assistant Principal, Mr Caruana addressed the highly appreciative students and wished them a new year of peace and joy. Each of our international students also received a “red envelop” with the lucky candy inside. It was a wonderful day of celebration and acknowledgement.

Heidi Lou, International Student Coordinator

Future Focused Day

On Thursday 11th February, our year 10, 11 & 12 students rotated through three programs in which they were exposed to strategies and skills to assist them in focusing their learning. By looking to the future, students considered their study skills, learning goals and career aspirations.

During the Elevate session, external presenters delivered high impact study skills workshops to help students improve their study techniques, increase motivation, build confidence, and lift assessment performance.

Each Elevate session was specifically tailored to the needs of the co-hort. Year 10’s focused on bettering their organisation in regard to their study habits. Specific topics covered structuring and reviewing organised student notes, conceptual learning to develop deep understanding and standing out through independent learning.

 The Year 11’s delved into the area of Time Management as a proactive way to start the year. The session covered topics on developing routines to balance study and lifestyle, working smart by completing high value work, utilising study groups to leverage time and techniques for overcoming procrastination.

The teacher delivered Student Learning Goals session focused on students identifying their own learning goals in literacy, numeracy and personal learning, by becoming active participants in the learning process. This empowers students to become independent learners as they strive to achieve their full potential.

Finally, the teacher delivered My Careers Portfolio session supported students in accessing online resources to start building or updating their own Career Action Plan. The plan contains a range of components that develop progressively over their students school life. Students will be able to adjust their career action plans as they manage their life choices and changing career aspiration all on a digital platform.

Our years 7.8 and 9 students will also experience Future Focused Day. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID lockdown, we have had to reschedule the date.

Mindset Monday

View challenges as opportunities for improving yourself

(If you have a positive growth mindset message you would like to share, feel free to email Ms Gazeas.)

Christena Gazeas

Wellbeing Wednesday

Feeling worried, nervous, concerned, uneasy, or on edge?

Anxiety is a feeling that we all experience from time to time. The “fight or flight” response is our body’s way of preparing us to manage difficult situations and can often help us perform better by making us feel alert and motivated.  For most people anxious feelings come and go, but for some they can be persistent and affect our day to day lives. When this happens, it important to get some help to manage the feelings

Free apps that are useful in managing anxious thoughts, feelings & behaviours:


This app can help you learn how to relax, develop more useful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. It includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dealing with Emotions
  • Exam Anxiety
  • Perfectionism behaviours
  • Social Anxiety
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Panic
  • Conflict


This helps reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by slowing down your breathing and your heart rate. Your body cannot be in a state of high alert and relaxed at the same time so by consciously slowing your heart rate can calm your body. Breathe teaches how to control your breath to actively deal with the physical symptoms of stress such as rapid breathing, increased heart rate and tightening of the chest.

Worry Time

WorryTime interrupts repetitive thinking by setting aside your concerns to a time that you choose to deal with them. This encourages you to get on with your day and deal with worries once a day, rather than carrying them around 24/7Key features help:
Decide on a time, place and length of time to deal with worries each day.
When you notice yourself worrying, add it to WorryTime and get on with your day.
Use WorryTime to review the worries you’ve added and ditch the ones that no longer matter.

Thank you Fiona Keech – Adolescent Health Nurse for the information in this article.

Don’t forget to contact wellbeing – Jo Miller or your level coordinator if you need to talk about any issues you might be having.  Alternatively there is an attached list with a range of support services if required.

Think Happy

Jo Miller

Well done Reef McCarthy Year 12

February 2, 2021
17 Year Old Young Gun Secures Dunlop Super 3 Drive

Seventeen year old rising star, Reef McCarthy, has secured a drive in the Dunlop Super 3 Series supported by veteran racer Terry Wyhoon and the Image Racing team with the first round of the series scheduled for 26 February at Mt Panorama, Bathurst.

At just 17 years of age, Reef McCarthy, from Warrandyte on the outskirts of Melbourne, has demonstrated his racing ability over the past two years in the open wheel Formula Vee category. McCarthy has secured twelve podium finishes from his last twelve starts including eight wins and is hoping to transfer his good form to the Dunlop Super 3 Series.

The Dunlop Super 3 Series will be contested over six rounds that will see the grid travel to Bathurst, Winton, Townsville, Sydney and the Gold Coast in support of the 2021 Repco Supercars Series.

“I’m really excited to have secured a seat in the Dunlop Super 3 Series and I am looking forward to getting out onto the track and rubbing shoulders with the other drivers to see what I can achieve in my maiden series.” said Reef McCarthy

“It’s funny because I am still on my learner’s license when it comes to every day driving yet on the weekends, I get behind the wheel of a race car and do more than 200km/h racing in very close quarters.

“I guess for the time being I will have to rely on my parents to drive me to the track so I can go out there and do my thing and hopefully bring home some silverware.” Reef said.
Image Racing Team Principle and veteran racer, Terry Wyhoon, said that Reef McCarthy was a clear standout when searching for a young gun to steer the Image Racing Ford Falcon V8 in the 2021 Dunlop Super 3 Series.

“Reef really does have a natural talent when it comes to driving a race car.” said Terry Wyhoon

“One of the things that struck me was not only Reef’s impressive driving but also his ability to listen to others in the team and learn which is such an important attribute for young drivers as they develop their race craft and progress onto bigger opportunities.

“We are looking forward to working with Reef and his team throughout 2021 and we are hopeful that his past success in other categories will be replicated behind the wheel of a V8 Super 3 car.” Finished Terry.

Reef McCarthy lives with his parents and older sister in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and is currently a student at Warrandyte High School where he is completing his Higher School Certificate. Reef started Karting at the age of 12 competing at both state and national events before moving into Formula Vee where he received the 2018 Vaughan Colenso Young Gun Award and has won the Island Magic, an open national event held at Phillip Island, for the past two years as well as many podium finishes in the Victorian Formula Vee State Championship.

About Image Racing
Established in 2000 to compete in the Super 2 Series, Image Racing has grown into a multi car operation supporting drivers in both the Super 2 and Super 3 Series. Team Principle, Terry Wyhoon, has been compared to the most professional teams in the main game Supercars for his professional team approach. Renown for providing rookie drivers with the opportunity to compete in Australia’s premium motorsport series, Image Racing will be supporting two cars in the 2021 Dunlop Super 2 Series and one car in the Dunlop Super 3 Series.