From the Principal and Assistant Principal

School Captains for 2021

It is our extreme pleasure to announce and present to the Warrandyte High School community, our 2021 School Captains: Emma Dodds and Ethan Buchanan.

Once again we were spoilt for choice with so many strong and impressive contenders for this amazing role. Emma Dodds, amongst her many achievements, has been an active member of the Student Voice Team as well as participating in every major musical production each year. Ethan similarly has engaged in a plethora of impressive initiatives, one of which included visiting primary schools and mentoring students about high school with the aim of addressing their concerns and questions. As 2021 unfolds, we will be hearing much more from our newly appointed school captains. Watch this space!

2021 school captains warrandyte high

2021 School Captains Ethan Buchanan and Emma Dodds with Principal Dr Parkin

A huge thank you is extended to our outgoing 2020 school captains: Caitlyn Bull and Brooke Bowyer. They did an outstanding job. They showed great leadership and commitment all year, including the challenging periods of remote and flexible learning during the height of the two lockdowns. Utilising our Facebook Page, it was wonderful and greatly appreciated by their peers how they posted videos of encouragement to their fellow students participating in remote learning at home. What a unique year 2020 turned out to be!

2020 school captains warrandyte high

2020 School Captains Brooke Bowyer and Caitlyn Bull with Principal, Dr Parkin

Emergency Management Bushfire Alert Practice Drill

The Year 7 students and teachers on October 29, 2020, participated in a covid safe highly successful practice drill. Firstly the classes went into Bushfire alert mode, this was followed by an evacuation into our Shelter-in-Place building which is our basketball stadium.

The practice emergency management procedure was highly effective. As always, our debriefing which took place soon afterwards, will enable us to further refine our processes.

Basketball Program and Football Program in 2021

The excitement! Confirmed! It’s official! In 2021 we are indeed offering and delivering both an awesome and intensive Basketball Program and an equally awesome and intensive Football Program. Skill building and training will be at the heart of both of our elite sport programs.

This is an exciting expansion of our 2020 highly successful Year 9 Basketball and Football Program. The student feedback was so positive that indeed next year, in 2021, both programs will be open to girls and boys in Year 7-10. Both programs will involve over 4 hours a week of intensive skill building and fitness training. How wonderful, no?

 basketbal and football program at whs

Members of the 2020 Year 9 Basketball and Football Program

Homework Policy, Uniform Policy and Working Closer with Parents

Throughout the challenges 2020 thrust upon us, our exciting priority of working closely with our awesome parents and carers continued. Indeed teachers continued placing all homework deadlines on Compass. Correct – students continue to be encouraged and required to use their School Planners/Diaries for this purpose also but indeed as parents, how wonderful being able to gain a direct insight into all looming deadlines via Compass. This priority will certainly continue into 2021.

A gentle reminder: as part of our continuing aim to work even more closely with our wonderful parents, should your child require an extension regarding a particular schoolwork/homework deadline in 2021, and indeed should you be of the view that there are reasonable circumstances surrounding the need for an extension, then the relevant classroom teacher will require a note from you requesting the extension. An outline as to why you believe the extension should be considered will continue to be appreciated.

Correct – this is no different to our already existing expectation regarding the school uniform. Indeed, as you know, our policy involves you, the amazing parent/carer, writing a note to the relevant year level leader, explaining why your child is temporarily not in correct school uniform / requesting that your child be excused for being temporarily out of uniform.

How we love working closely with our parents and carers at Warrandyte High School!

Bush fire Alert Drill

As we are in bushfire season, here is some useful information:

School procedures for the bushfire season
Fire danger ratings and warnings are used in Victoria to provide clear direction on the safest options for preserving life.
Schools and children’s services listed on the DET Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) will be closed when a Code Red fire danger rating day is determined in their Bureau of Meteorology district.

Our school has been identified as being one of those at high bushfire risk and is listed on the BARR.
Where possible, we will provide parents with up to four days notice of a potential Code Red day closure by letter and via the Compass Parent Portal. A Code Red day will be determined by the Emergency Management Commissioner no later than 1.00 pm the day before the potential closure. Once we are advised of the confirmation of the Code Red day we will provide you with advice before the end of the school day. This will be done via a notice on the Compass Parent Portal Newsfeed, an email to families and through the information message on our phone system.

Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, regardless of improvements in the weather forecast. This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child. It is also important to note that:
No staff will be on site on days where the school is closed due to a forecast Code Red day.
School camps will be cancelled if a Code Red fire danger rating day is determined for the Bureau of Meteorology district in which the camp is located.
Depending on which Bureau of Meteorology district is impacted bus route cancellations may affect our school.

On these Code Red days families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan – on such days children should never be left at home or in the care of older children.
For those of us living in a bushfire prone area, the CFA advise that when Code Red days are forecast, the safest option is to leave the night before or early on the morning of the Code Red day.
As part of preparing our school for potential hazards such as fire, we have updated and completed our Emergency Management Plan.

What can parents do?
Make sure your family’s bushfire survival plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements in the event that our school is closed.
Ensure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers.
Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters and by checking the Compass Parent Portal regularly. If you do not know your Compass log in please contact the General Office on 9844 2749 who will be able to assist you with this.
Most importantly at this time of year, if you’re planning a holiday or short stay in the bush or in a coastal area, you should check warnings in advance of travel and remain vigilant during your stay.
Talk to your child about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.
You can access more information about children’s services closures on the Department of Education and Training website – see

For up-to-date information on this year’s fire season, visit the CFA website at or call the 24-hour Victorian Bushfires Information Line on 1800 240 667


Joseph Caruana
Assistant Principal

Wellbeing – A Priority at WHS



Are you a glass half-empty or half-full sort of person? Studies have demonstrated that both can impact your physical and mental health and that being a positive thinker is the better of the two. Positive thinking isn’t about burying every negative thought or emotion you have or avoiding difficult feelings.

The lowest points in our lives are often the ones that motivate us to move on and make positive changes When going through such a time, try to see yourself as if you were a good friend in need of comfort and sound advice. What would you say to him/her? You’d likely acknowledge his/her feelings and remind him/her that he/she has every right to feel sad or angry in his/her situation, and then offer support with a gentle reminder that things will get better.

Positive thinking isn’t magic and it won’t make all of your problems disappear. What it will do is make problems seem more manageable and help you approach hardships in a more positive and productive way. How to think positive thoughts: focus on the good things Challenging situations and obstacles are a part of life. When you’re faced with one, focus on the good things no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they seem. If you look for it, you can always find the proverbial silver lining in every cloud — even if it’s not immediately obvious. For example, if someone cancels plans, focus on how it frees up time for you to catch up on a TV show or other activity you enjoy.

Practice gratitude Practicing gratitude has been shown to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and foster resilience even in very difficult times. Think of people, moments, or things that bring you some kind of comfort or happiness and try to express your gratitude at least once a day.
Keep a gratitude journal
It has been suggested that writing down the things you’re grateful for can improve your optimism and sense of well-being.
pen yourself up to humourLaughter lowers stress, anxiety, and depression. It also improves coping skills, mood, and self-esteem.

Spend time with positive peopleNegativity and positivity have been shown to be contagious. Consider the people with whom you’re spending time. Have you noticed how someone in a bad mood can bring down almost everyone in a room? A positive person has the opposite effect on others.
Being around positive people has been shown to improve self-esteem and increase your chances of reaching goals. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you see the bright side.

Start every day on a positive note Create a ritual in which you start off each day with something uplifting and positive. Here are a few ideas:

  • Tell yourself that it’s going to be a great day.
  • Listen to a happy and positive song or playlist.
  • Share some positivity by giving a compliment or doing something nice for someone.

How to think positive when everything is going wrong
Trying to be positive when you’re grieving or experiencing other serious distress can seem impossible. During these times, it’s important to take the pressure off of yourself to find the silver lining. Instead, channel that energy into getting support from others. 

Tuesday 22nd November is Fairy Bread Day Mention Fairy Bread and you’re taken back to a kid’s party, young friends, and simpler times, proving that the best childhood memories last a lifetime. So yummy too, why did we ever stop? You can relive those colourful memories on Fairy Bread Day and channel your inner child, the one who can enjoy a slice of sprinkled pleasure among friends and for a good cause. Host your own party this year, virtual or socially distanced, and support ReachOut Australia’s mission to provide accessible mental health resources for our youth. Fairy Bread Day is about sprinkling Kindness, and that providing positive actions for good mental health.  Click on the link below to find out more about Fairy Bread Day.  You might want to host your own event and eat this delicious treat with family or friends.

Remember if you are need help or want to talk to someone, reach out to your Teachers, Wellbeing Leader or members of your Family.

Keep Smiling

Jo Miller

NAIDOC Week 8-15 November 2020


NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. During the week indigenous stories and facts were shared with our school community.

How Warrandyte Got Its Name

The Wurundjeri people’s dreamtime story tells how Bunjil, the Great Eagle, the all-powerful, ever-watchful creator of the world, had once gazed down upon his people from the Star Altair and seen their wrong-doing.  Awaiting their return, with a mighty crash of thunder, he hurled down a star to destroy them.  Where the star struck it created the (Warrandyte) gorge we see today. Bunjil’s people always remembered the spot. They called it Warrandyte, “that which is thrown”, the place where Bunjil had hurled down the Star to punish his people.

Remembrance Day

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. Remembrance Day was originally called ‘Armistice Day’, and 2 minutes of silence was observed for the first time at 11 am on 11 November 1919 to remember those who had died.

It is estimated that 1,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women volunteered for the AIF during WW1. It should be remembered that this was a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not recognised as Australian citizens and suffered under the strict policies and practices of the Protection Era. The Defence Act initially excluded Aboriginal people were not recognised as Australian citizens and suffered under the strict policies and practices of the Protection Era. The Defence Act initially excluded Aboriginal people from enlisting – resulting in many Aboriginals enlisting under assumed ethnicity/cultural backgrounds.


Yarra or Birrarung River?

The Wurundjeri people call the Yarra River ‘Birrarung’, meaning river of mists, and it marks the centre of Wurundjeri Country.So how did the river get the name “Yarra”? When John Batman made his historic journey to Port Phillip in 1835 he was accompanied by seven Sydney indigenous men. These men were to act as guides and interpreters. Two of these Sydney indigenous men then accompanied John Wedge as he surveyed the Port Phillip region. As they rowed their boat up the river, approaching the Queen Street falls, the two Sydney indigenous men exclaimed Yarra! Yarra! This meant “waterfall” in their Sydney tongue, but Wedge misunderstood. He thought they were telling him it was the name of the river.


First Nations People

Indigenous Australians are made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal Australians stem from over 500 different nations (or cultural groups) and diverse clans within those nations. It’s been estimated that 250 languages and 600 dialects were spoken at the time of colonial arrival in 1788, many with very different and distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages. Torres Strait Islanders come from about 274 small islands distributed across the Torres Strait, between Cape York in Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Of Melanesian origin the people have differing identities, histories and cultural traditions to Aboriginal Australians. 64 percent of Torres Strait Islanders live in Queensland on both the mainland and islands. Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up approximately 3.3 percent of the total Australian population.

first nation people
first nations people


The Aboriginal Flag was designed in the 1970s. The black symbolises Aboriginal people, the yellow, the sun and the red represents the earth and the relationship between people and the land. The Torres Strait Islander Flag was designed in the 1990s. It features a white dharri or deri (a type of headdress) with a five-pointed star representing the different island groups. The white represents peace, the green represents land, the black represents the people and the blue represents the sea.


aboriginal flags

Looking Up At The Stars

Described as “the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia”  the Parkes Observatory (informally referred to as “The Dish”) was one of several radio antennae used to receive live television images of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.To mark NAIDOC week 2020, the Parkes telescopes were given traditional names acknowledging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Islander peoples as the oldest living culture in the world, the first people of Australia and respects their enduring connection to lands, skies, waters, plants and animals. The Wiradjuri names for the three telescopes are: Murriyang, for the 64-metre Parkes radio telescope In the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame) is a prominent creator spirit and is represented in the sky by the stars which also portray the Orion constellation. Murriyang represents the ‘Skyworld’ where Biyaami lives.
Giyalung Miil, for the 12-metre ASKAP testing antenna Meaning ‘Smart Eye’ this telescope was commissioned in 2008 as a testbed for a special new type of receiver technology (phased array feed, PAF) it is able see different parts of the sky simultaneously making it a ‘smart eye’.
Giyalung Guluman, for the 18-metre decommissioned antenna Meaning ‘Smart Dish’ this antenna had the ability to move along a railway track while observing, and when linked to the main 64-metre antenna became pivotal in early work that determined the size and brightness of radio sources in the sky. The antenna was originally assembled at the CSIRO Fleurs Radio Telescope site, Penrith NSW in 1960, was transported to Parkes in 1963 and became operational in 1965.

Cricket & Footy

The first Australian cricket team to travel overseas was an Aboriginal team, made up of stockmen who had learned the game on Victorian cattle stations. The team travelled to England in 1868 for a series of matches against county teams, 10 years before the Australian XI team travelled to England for the first official representative test match on British soil.

After arriving in May the team was subjected to a gruelling schedule, playing 47 matches against intermediate-level English amateur teams between May and October 1868. The Australians surprised their competitors with their sporting prowess, winning 14, losing 14 and drawing 19 of their 47 matches. Unaarrimin, a Wotjobaluk man also known as Johnny Mullagh, was the standout performer. An all-rounder, he scored 1698 runs, bowled 1877 overs — 831 of which were maidens, and took 245 wickets. He also achieved four stumpings while playing as wicketkeeper.

‘Marngrook’ is a word from the language of Gunditjmara people and means ‘game ball.’

It is the name of a game played by Aboriginal people across South Eastern Australia between two large teams (up to 50 to 100 players per side) with both men and women playing.

In South Western Victoria, it was usually played with a possum skin ball, however in different areas the ball was made from other materials.

Each team competed to catch the ball after it was kicked high in the air.
An aim for players was to jump the highest and take the best mark.
Players that took the mark were then able to have a free kick. 

In the past, Marngrook games were usually long and could last up to 2 days.
The two teams were represented by their totems, for example black cockatoos versus white cockatoos.
Teams would travel from different areas to play against different communities, creating a way to connect and develop relationships with different mobs.

Christena Gazeas
Well Being

Youth Parliament

youth parliament

This year’s 2020 YMCA Youth Parliament looked substantially different than in the past. As one of twenty teams, Warrandyte High School had the privilege to participate in the program, with three members – Will Matthews, Keanu Anitonia, and myself, Sotir Stojanovic. While usually conducted in person with debates in the Victorian Parliament House, we had to adapt to new circumstances under lockdown – training sessions in parliamentary etiquette and law-making were held on Zoom, as many meetings were for all of us, and bill drafting was much more independent. The latter was particularly crucial as the crux of Youth Parliament; the ideas of each team are formulated for consideration by the actual Victorian Parliament, meaning that some may be implemented as policy or law in future (with changes, of course).

In our bill, we set out to improve the Accessibility of Education through regulating the costs of schooling, having homework requirements modelled after those successful in Finland, broadening the options of language learning, and offering more diverse branches of English. In creating these, we sought to resolve issues experienced as students, many firsthand and common. Of course, we had to consult others to hone in our plans; we met with local MP Ryan Smith, Futurity Investment Group and uniform advocacy group Girls’ Uniform Agenda to better tailor our ideas. In conjunction with our own research, this allowed us to better engage with Australia’s political system, thus increasing our ability to be active citizens.

Sotir Stojanovic
Year 11

parliament of victoria

Premier’s Prize Winner

Year 11 student Sotir Stojanovic received an amazing surprise on Remembrance Day this year; an email informing him he had won the regional final of the Premiers Spirit of ANZAC Award. For over 16 years, this national prize has allowed Year 10 and 11 students an opportunity to win a significant international or local study tour that builds upon the spirit of those Australians who have fought for their country and the impact of war on our society. Hundreds of students enter each year. The Award involves responding to a particular theme, which for Sotir was Commemorating the First World War. At the time he wrote his piece in 2019, Sotir could not have guessed what 2020 would bring, never imaging the iconic dawn service would be scaled back, replaced by an outpouring of emotion as Australians paused to remember the sacrifices of our soldiers from their front yards or balconies.

The prize for regional winners was to be a 2 week study tour of Canberra visiting key sites including the National War Memorial, National Archives, Parliament House and the Australian Defence Force Academy. Nationally there were some 42 students winners of this prestigious prize. Unfortunately, Covid-19 put pay to any travel, and instead, Sotir has been awarded $1500 to go towards his future studies.

Congratulations Sotir on such a great achievement!

Claire Bloom


Sotir’s Prize Winning Essay:
World War I Commemoration in Australia

Following the devastation of the First World War (1914-1918), Australia, like many other belligerent nations, was pervaded by a sense of duty to remember those who had fallen. Of a population fewer than five million1, four-hundred thousand men served2, with over 60,000 being killed3 and many more wounded4 or disfigured. Today, Australian communities continue to commemorate the sacrifice, destruction and loss brought about by the war in several respects, including socially, physically and culturally.
World War I (WWI) is socially commemorated by public events, memorial services and education programs across Australia, which all present the wider community with the opportunity to reflect on the conflict. Recognition of the Great War occurs, largely, because of the enormous involvement Australians had in it: over the four years of fighting, 38.7% of men aged 18 to 44 volunteered for military service, and many died — indeed, more than in all of Australia’s other conflicts5.
As a consequence of this, the war touched almost every community in the Commonwealth, and its memory wasn’t soon to fade; the Australian War Memorial, on its website, notes, “The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the post war decades.”6 In the wake of the immense impact the war had on society back home, many citizens were compelled to recognise the sacrifices made; a sentiment that resulted in the Anzac Day (25 April) tradition known today. Originating in 1916 — one year after the start of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign7 — people gathered together to remember the fallen and unite as a community; a practice repeated annually, and which warranted a public holiday being made in 1927. In very much the same spirit as these early gatherings, dawn services continue today on Anzac Day, and still hold a special significance to many Australians.
This is particularly the case for children, regarding whom former Prime Minister Julia Gillard commented, “When you can see that kind of enthusiasm and embrace by our youngest Australians for commemorating Anzac Day and for what it means for them, then I think we can say as a nation it’s an important part of our national identity.” This participation of youth is a testament to the use of education to continue the memory of the war, and its enormous impacts, with an ABC article stating that schools “…teach students about death, injury and hardship on the battlefields at Gallipoli and more broadly about the consequences of war”8. This reflects the social importance of the legacy of WWI to Australian society, such that it is seen as necessary, in the early years of schooling, to teach students about it, and demonstrates its critical role in the national identity.

Physical commemoration of World War I is embodied by the many memorials and structures nationwide, which serve as centres of remembrance for communities. In response to the widespread desire to recognise those who fought for Australia — sons, brothers, fathers and friends — many local councils erected monuments, such as stone obelisks, cenotaphs, gardens and buildings, to remember them by. Built in many townships, both urban and rural, these monuments, numbering around 1500, are so prevalent that Australia is even sometimes referred to as a “nation of small town memorials”9. But commemoration isn’t limited to the local level; in the decades following the conflict, major structures, including Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance (finished in 1934) and Canberra’s Australian War Memorial (1941) were built. The brainchildren of two prominent war figures — General Sir John Monash and historian Charles Bean, respectively — they are dedicated to remembrance on a national scale, and provide a site for artefacts and large events. These architectural feats, in themselves, present the importance of commemoration to Australians; according to the official Shrine of Remembrance website, “Although the country was faced with frightful unemployment and financial difficulty in the late 1920s and the 1930s, so great was the gratitude of the people that the huge amount required to build the Shrine was raised… within six months from the opening of the appeal in 1928.”10 Indeed, even the stone obelisks in rural towns were costly, but that didn’t prevent their construction. This is because commemoration became instrumental to coping with the aftermath of the war — that without family members, or which carried mental and physical scars of its horrors — and monuments presented a physical way to honour those affected.

Given the extent to which WWI penetrated Australian society, it has, unsurprisingly, become a major theme in our culture. Most notably among famous works inspired by the conflict include, in film, Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981) and Ian Jones’ The Lighthorsemen (1987) and, in music, ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ by Eric Bogle (1971). But its influence isn’t limited to the arts. Due to the importance of the war’s legacy, many historic protests have been held on Anzac Day, particularly in the ‘70s and ‘80s. These include anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and protests against violence targeting women. The largest, most well known traditions of today began in the 1990s, though, when the nation began to see a decline in the number of living veterans; this was an attempt to preserve the memory of their experiences. Salient among these is the annual Anzac Day AFL match between the Collingwood and Essendon clubs, kicked off in 1995. While not being seemingly significant, this custom has become a major event on a nationally significant day, and draws the attention of thousands of Australians each year. Conceived by Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, he said, regarding the practice, “We can never match the courage of people who went to war, but we can actually thank them with the way we play this game, with its spirit.” The importance of cultural commemoration, unlike the aforementioned, is its preservation of the memory of the spirit of those who served; something not captured by solemn memorials and services. It reflects the continued importance of WWI to the Australia and its identity.

Commemoration of WWI is an important aspect of the nation’s recognition of its occurrence, and allows for Australians to honour those who served. The significance of such is demonstrated by the social, physical and cultural remembrance still continuing today, over a century after the war’s end. The conflict is, and will continue to be, a critical part of Australia’s identity and who we are as people.

Sotir Stojanovic
Year 11 Prize Winner

As Easy As ABC – Positive Mindset

poistive mindset 

Christina Gazeas
Student Services

Sports News

Last week the Year 11 VET Sport and Rec class ran a fantastic event for our Year 7 students. As their Wilson’s Prom camp was cancelled due to COVID students still needed to organise, plan and facilitate an event, so students designed an Amazing Race challenge with prizes, followed by a BBQ lunch. 

The VET Rec class worked together to organise the budget, resources, prizes and clues to conduct the event. Year 7’s were tasked with the challenge of working in groups to solve riddles that lead them to locations around the school where they had to participate in challenges such as naughts and crosses, jenga and unjumbling letters. 
Winning teams were awarded with prizes such as vouchers for Officeworks, lolly bags or goodies from local Warrandyte stores. 

Everyone enjoyed the BBQ lunch that followed the event. Special thanks to Now and Now Yet and The Avenue for contributing prizes to this event! 
Well done to both the VET Sport and Recreation students and Year 7 students for a successful event. 


Ash Degering
Sports Coordinator 

Instrumental Music

Have you been thinking about learning a new instrument or perfecting the skills that you started learning by yourself during remote learning? Now is the time to sign up to our Instrument Music Program! We offer lessons in guitar, woodwind, brass, voice, ukulele, piano and percussion instruments. Please go to the front office and grab an enrolment form before the end of the year.

A reminder to all students that are already a part of our program, you still need to re-enrol and have your fees paid by the due date. Could all current students also return any hired instruments to the front office by 7 December as we need to get repairs and maintenance of all instruments organised before the end of the year.

A big thank you to all Instrumental Music students for putting in the time and effort with their lessons this year, especially during remote learning. Because of this we were able to hold an online music soiree and showcase all of your talents. We look forward to holding a live concert next year should we be able to!

Lastly, a big congratulations to the Music Captains of 2021 – Benjamin Metcalf and Jackson Murray! These two students will be great leaders to our Music students through 2021.

Marija Passarella
Instrumental Music Co-ordinator