trails are blazing at warrandyte high

Principal’s Report

What a great start to the school year for Warrandyte High School – we have certainly set many ‘trails blazing’ with our wonderful renewed and refreshed approach, programs and sense of community. In all of my time as an educator I have never seen students or staff settle back so well into school after the extended summer break. I credit this to the work of our staff and students during the first few important weeks this year where we decided to leave the ‘content’ aside and really focus on the foundations that matter; building connections with each other. Our staff know the importance of showing genuine care and compassion for the young people they work with, and we took a renewed approach to this at the start of the year. Much of the time in those early weeks was dedicated to getting to know each other – students and staff and students and their peers. Research shows that ‘It is teachers who have created positive teacher student relationships that are more likely to have the above average effects on student achievement.’ (Dr. John Hattie). In conjunction with this, teachers also spent time carefully co-constructing classroom expectations with their students. This has had a double positive effect; it has provided all of our students the opportunity to have a voice in the classroom expectations and it has ensured we continue to build upon our culture of ‘High Expectations’ both in and out of the classroom. I congratulate everyone on their efforts in setting a really positive course for 2024.

We welcomed several new staff to the school this year, which has been a positive outcome of some great recruiting:

  • Sarah Garvan joins us in the Maths/Science Faculty
  • Andrew Gunnion joins us in the Maths/Science Faculty
  • Laura McCarthy joins us in the English/EAL faculty and as our Literacy
  • Learning Specialist
  • Maryam Rodd joins us in the English/Humanities faculty

Who to go to if you need help in 2024?

We have built upon the success of our ‘WELL (Wellbeing, Engagement, Leadership & Learning) Program at Year 7 and 8 and developed equally as impressive programs for students in Year 9-10 (Explore) and students in Year 11-12 (Strive). Your child’s WELL, Explore or Strive teacher should be the first point of contact if you have a concern, want to let us know that you are going on holidays or want to talk to someone about your child. The other person to contact is your child’s Year Level Co-ordinator;

  • Year 7/8 – Luke Paramanathan
  • Year 9/10 – Cassandra Parsons
  • Year 11/12 – Andrew Blair

For other student concerns or queries you can also contact:

  • Director of Student Services – Ash Dorio
  • Joseph Caruana – Assistant Principal
  • Rachel Lynch – Principal

You can also email your child’s classroom teacher or contact the general office to make a time for a phone conversation or meeting. Remember, we are all hear to support your child so don’t hesitate to reach out and make contact with us.

WHS Wellbeing Framework

wellbeing framework at Warrandyte High

Last year I introduced the community to our new ‘WHS Wellbeing Framework’ which is the foundation for all of the work we are undertaking to support our young people each and every day. The four pillars of the framework; Connection, Inclusion, Support & Encouragement underpin all that we do each and every day, and this year we are working to ensure that our students learn to do the same. Our focus for Semester 1 is on Connection & Inclusion and our staff are learning a lot about this along the way so you can expect your child to come home and tell you all about the new ways in which students are building connections and learning to be inclusive of others.

Trails are Blazing

It has been so pleasing to see some early successes with our brand new ‘Trails of Discovery Program’. Students are finding their feet, being in classes with students from other year levels, and they are doing a great job of making new connections as they learn new things about each other. I am fortunate to be teaching in one of these trails myself and absolutely love the autonomy with which our students are immersing themselves into this program.

School Council Elections 2024

The call for School Council Nominations is now out and I strongly encourage the support of our wonderful parent community to consider nominating. We have three parent vacancies and it would be fantastic to have some new parents part of our council. Parents are welcome to contact me if you have any questions about nominating. This is a great opportunity to become part of our school community, have a say in what is happening and support our school initiatives. Nomination forms can be collected from the general office.

Student Leadership in 2024

We are looking forward to an even bigger and more involved student leadership team this year – congratulations to the following students who are joining our teams this year:

School Captains:
Atalia Kelly, Stephanie Laukart, Nimo Shirvanzadeh, Ethan Spence

House Captains;
Emma Jolly, Charlie Sizer, Kyan Swenson, Lavinia Wellesley

Student Voice Council;
Year 7: Scott Gilley and Logan Mottrom
Year 8: Grace Celentane and Arabella Bailey
Year 9: Charlotte Dibb and Sasvidu Jayasinghe
Year 10: Jack Brennan and Mason Scott-Bommert
VCE/ VM: Danielle Trigg and Isis Barry
VCE: Ethan Spence, Stephanie Laukart, Nimo Shirvanzadeh, Atalia Kelly

Rachel Lynch

meet the principal at warrandyte high

Warrandyte High: Meet the Principal

The Principal Team at Warrandyte High School share some of their insights into what life is like leading their wonderful school.

Rachel Lynch, Principal

Meet Rachel Lynch, our Principal, who joined our wonderful school community in July 2022. Rachel has a lengthy career in educational leadership – have been a Leading Teacher for ten years before becoming an Assistant Principal and then Campus Principal of a multi-campus school in the Outer East. Rachel has brought with her not only expertise and experience in leading schools, but a calm and graceful approach to education at Warrandyte High School. It is her high expectations of both staff and students and drive to improve excellence in teaching and learning which are at the core of her drive and focus at Warrandyte High School.

How long have you been teaching and how long have you been Principal at Warrandyte High School?
I have been an English, Humanities and History teacher for nearly 19 years and have been fortunate to be the Principal at Warrandyte High School for just over 18 months.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
Becoming a teacher was something I desired to do from a very early age (I can recall as far back as being in Grade 4 and thinking that teaching was the career for me!). Believe it or not, becoming a Principal was also something I aspired to from a very young age. The choice to become a teacher (and now a Principal) was an easy one for me – I have always thrived on helping others to achieve their potential, thoroughly enjoy teaching (and learning myself!) in the areas of English and History and think there is nothing better than spending time in a classroom surrounded by students – it is simply the best way to spend the day! Knowing I can make a difference, every day, in the lives of the students that walk through our doors is what keeps me getting up for work every day.

What is the thing you love the most about being an Principal?
I can’t pick just one thing – so I will share my top two; working with our wonderful staff and helping them to develop and grow their passion for teaching is extremely rewarding – as is walking around the school, talking to students and building connections with them each and every day.

What is your philosophy about education?
Learning is a life-long process that begins from the time we are born until the moment we die – we never stop learning. Education doesn’t just begin when children start school, it is something that is ingrained from the very beginning of their lives – at home. Life lessons combined with lessons taught at school require a deep understanding of the individual needs of every child – for they are all unique. When we educate our students with a holistic approach we are developing people who are not only equipped with the academic skills to thrive in the 21st century, but we are also equipping them with the emotional and social intelligence to function as active members of society.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
As a busy Mum of three teenagers (20, 17 and 15) there isn’t a lot of ‘spare’ time in my life, but I do enjoy spending time with my family which includes my three beautiful cats (yes, it is true – I am a ‘crazy cat lady’!), my down time often means relaxing on the couch watching Netflix or relaxing by my pool.

What is one piece of advice you always give your students?
No matter what, always be kind and always try to do better than you did yesterday. The students who follow these two pieces of advice always set themselves up for success no matter what they do.

What do you want the community to know about Warrandyte High School?
Warrandyte High School is an outstanding secondary school in the Inner East of Melbourne that prides itself on two core things: Teaching & Learning Excellence and High Expectations. To me, my staff and our students that means that every student who comes through our doors is guaranteed an educational experience designed to support and extend them, that provides them with multiple entry points to success and that harnesses their passions while allowing them to explore opportunities that may take them out of their comfort zone. Our school expects all members of its community to exemplify our core values; Respect, Integrity and Excellence at all times and our students are our greatest advocates of that.

Joseph Caruana, Assistant Principal

Meet Joseph Caruana, our Assistant Principal, who also teaches Italian and is part of our Year 10 Explore Program. Joseph has a strong background in English and Maths teaching and he loves sharing regular updates about his twin daughters who are in Prep!

How long have you been teaching and how long have you been Assistant Principal at Warrandyte High School?
I commenced teaching in 1992 and I have been the Assistant Principal at Warrandyte High School since August 10, 2015.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
My older sister was studying to be a primary school teacher so that gave me the idea of teaching. I thought it would be something I would really enjoy and I was right. I couldn’t decide between majoring in English or Maths so I majored in both. In later years, I went back to university, and became a qualified Italian Teacher.

What is the thing you love the most about being an Assistant Principal?
Leading awesome teams of teachers and being able to make a difference. This year I am heading both the Wellbeing Team and the Student Services Team. It is exciting to see us making a real difference in the classroom.

What is your philosophy about education?
Everyone can learn. Everyone can improve.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Taking my twins who are indeed in prep to endless birthday parties, play dates, swimming lessons, dancing lessons …etc… they have a far better social life than what I do!

What is one piece of advice you always give your students?
Just do your best. And I always say to Year 12 students, always remember that English will be in your primary four when calculating your ATAR score.

What do you want the community to know about Warrandyte High School?
Tremendous opportunities for students can be found right here. Student leadership, sporting and performing arts opportunities are just a few of the many opportunities. Our Trails of Discovery program is so exciting because it gives students the chance to go deeper into their chosen area of study.


2024 school captians warrandyte high school

Introducing Warrandyte High School’s Captains

Here at Warrandyte High School, our 4 School Captains for 2024 are hitting the ground running. Keen for the Warrandyte community to get to know them, they recently they participated in this interview:

What is your School Captain portfolio?

Atalia: Performing arts.
Ethan: Student engagement.
Stephanie: Wellbeing and Environment
Nimo: Student Agency and Operations

Why do want to be School Captain and what do you hope to achieve?
Atalia: I believe I can be a great role model. Engaging students even more with our music and drama programs and trying to increase student participation will be one of my goals.

Nimo: I plan to leave behind an effective framework for later generations of student representatives to work on that will better enable them to bring about their own visions for the betterment of the school. I aim to be involved in the logistics and planning of events.
Stephanie: I believe I can add to the positive changes for students and the facilities and environment. I would love to be a listening ear to students who may be too shy about speaking to teachers about ideas or concerns

Ethan: Important to me is being a voice for the students. As school captain, I aim to be a positive role model for younger students.

What matters to you?

Atalia: I love to talk to anyone and make friends with everyone and will always try my best to talk things through, see all sides and wok towards a positive outcome. I like representing my school whether it is in sports, music or helping with marketing. I want the students to have a voice.

Ethan: Friendships. I can make friends with anyone around the school easily. The nature and wildlife around Warrandyte matters to me so making sure our school is clean is a priority. I enjoy being a positive role model and hope that younger students will look up to me.

Nimo: Honesty. Efficiency. Academic Endeavour. These key precepts underline both what I stand for and what I will strive for during my term.

Stephanie: Listening. I am quite easy to talk to and eager to listen. I also have a love for the outdoors and the environment. I respect what beautiful facilities and environment we are lucky to have here at Warrandyte High School. I care about others respecting what we have as well. I am also a people person and respect for everyone is very important to me.

Who, either alive or dead, would you love to meet and why?

Atalia: I would love to meet Taylor Swift, not just because she is one of my favourite artists but I love she stands for, how she made herself in music industry and how she inspires young girls.

Ethan: Lewis Hamilton – because of what he stands for and how he came from nothing and is now a massive role model for millions of people.

Stephanie: I would love to meet Jesus. I have a lot of questions……

Nimo: Personally, I live by the phrase ‘Don’t meet your heroes’. As far as I’m concerned, all that awaits is either disappointment or awkwardness. Neither of which are experiences I willingly seek out.

What advice do you have for Year 12 students this year and what is your advice for Year 7 students commencing their high school journey?

Atalia: My advice for Year 12 students this year would be continue to try your hardest and stay positive, enjoy the last year you have and also make the most of it!
To the year 7s coming into our school this year, I would say that it’s okay to be nervous and to just have fun – things will constantly change and you will change with them, you will grow as a person and that is exciting.

Nimo: To my fellow year 12’s I say: keep trying. At school. At work. At life. 
For the new year 7’s, I have one key tip to pass along: ask questions. Doesn’t matter what you ask. Doesn’t matter whom you ask. Just get used to asking information. You Learn to play. Play to learn. Best way to sum it up, really.

Stephanie: My advice to Year 12’s this year is to have a balance of both study and life outside of school. My advice to Year 7’s is that the friendship circle you are in this year will most likely change multiple times before Year 12, so don’t get all caught up if ‘they are the popular ones and they won’t like me’ or ‘why am I in the weird group’, because people change and so do friends.

Ethan: My advice for year 12 students is: try your absolute hardest because this is the final stretch. For Year 7 students, my advice would be to not stress yourself too much, get your study routines in place, set some goals and most importantly, enjoy school. It sounds like a weird one but enjoying school is a top priority because the next few years will fly by so quickly so enjoy the ride.

 Year 9 is often considered the year when some students can become disengaged. What are your plans for this year level?

Atalia: I believe we should keep things exciting and engaging; more excursions and incursions.

Stephanie: My plans for this year level is to listen to them, invite the feedback on key issues and work productively with the principal and leadership team to make an actual change.

Ethan: Year 9 is often considered the year when some students can become disengaged but my plans to counter this is to have some more fun interactive days. Having a little break from school can be really helpful for your brain.

Joseph Caruana
Assistant Principal




Discover the Difference at Warrandyte High

2024 is set to be an exciting year for students at Warrandyte High School with the introduction of our ‘Trails of Discovery Program’.

Building upon the successes of the long-established AFL and Basketball Programs, Trails of Discovery is built on the premise of ‘education by design’ where every child is an active agent in their learning. Students from Year 7-10 will participate in a trail of their choice, and work in a multi-age classroom for two hours a week, to build knowledge, skills and capabilities in the area of their interest.

Staff at Warrandyte High School dedicated professional learning time in 2023 to understand enquiry-based learning and will use this framework to provide students with the opportunity to investigate real world issues through the lens of their trail.

Expanding upon our existing AFL and Basketball programs (which comprise two of our exciting Trails of Discovery), we are this year also introducing:

  • ‘The Art Box
  • STEM
  • Tech Savvy
  • Beyond the Classroom,
  • Pay it Forward
  • and Lights Camera Action’

Information about each of our Trails of Discovery Programs can be found on our website:

According to Principal, Rachel Lynch, ‘Providing students choice and voice in their learning is a core focus of learning at Warrandyte High School. Complementig our focus on a range of academic subjects in Year 7 through to Year 12, our Trails of Discovery Program will ensure all students feel a sense of success when they come through our doors and will be active and engaged learners’.

With the recent redevelopment of the Art/Technology precinct, the state-of-the-art facilities will provide outstanding spaces for students to learn and work.

Particularly in trails such as ‘The Art Box’, ‘Tech Savvy’ and ‘STEM’ – students will have access to a range of new learning programs and resources which will provide them with opportunities not previously available to them.

One area we are especially proud to be developing is the STEM Program which is running in partnership with Monash Technical School and will see students learning about new and exciting technologies while also being able to undertake ‘hands-on’ research and application.

If you want to ‘Discover the Difference’ and are interested in the Trails of Discovery Program, come for a tour or enquire about enrolment. Be sure to contact the school (contact details can be found on our website).


Chinese Lantern Festival

We had a fun colouring and art craft making activity held in Library on the 23rd of Feb to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival is not only a day for all family members to assemble together but also indicates the end of the Lunar New Year. People usually celebrate the day by eating the glutinous rice balls and participating the lantern riddle-guess. There are heaps of different fillings in the rice balls and the most popular one is black sesame seed. Our students enjoyed the activity very much. They coloured and decorated the lantern templates with the coloured paper. They are pretty. Happy Lantern Festival everybody!

Heidi Luo, International Program Coordinator

Happy Lunar New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜发财)!

We had a special activity today in library to celebrate Lunar New Year. Thanks Marianne to decorating library with red lanterns and artificial firework and demonstrated how to make a paper-folded dragon as this year a year of dragon. Our international students came in and were presented with “red envelop”. I wish them have a flourish and year at school. We are happy to see many local students came in and enjoyed the culture related paper folding activity as well. One of the international students Sabsvidu shared with us the new year celebration in Sri Lanka, where he originally comes from. Except for a new year feast, people in Sri Lanka will organize a lot of folk games to enjoy the gathering time. As a culture-diversed school, we welcome the students from different background and are very keen to embrace their unique culture and tradition.