Principal's Report

Final Message from the Principal’s Office 2023
Dear Parents and Members of the Ashwood High School Community,

I would like to welcome you to the final Newsletter of the school year. 

In this final newsletter of the year you will find some administrative information and some reasons to celebrate.

VCE Results 2023 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’

Our engaging and rigorous academic program at Ashwood High School continues to deliver excellent VCE results, enabling our students to embark on a variety of highly significant and aspirational tertiary courses. We are very happy with our results. I hope that our students will be pleased with their efforts. As a school community we should be very proud of the Class of 2023.

I would like to acknowledge and thank all staff who assisted these students achieve these outcomes.

Congratulations to our 2023 Dux James Talbot who achieved an ATAR of 99.2. James achieved study scores of 43 for English and 45 for Mathematical Methods. Congratulations to James and his family. Of course, well done to all staff who supported James to achieve these exemplary results.

There were many outstanding results including:

  • Average Study Score of 32
  • A number of 40+ scores in Art Making and Exhibiting, Biology, Business Management, Chinese First Language, English, Health and Human Development, Legal Studies, Maths Methods, Media, Physics, Psychology
  • 20% of students with ATARS of 90 or above
  • 56% of students with ATARS 80 or above
  • 100% satisfactory VCE completion
  • 6 students achieved the VCE Baccalaureate

VTAC change of preferences will close Thursday 21 December 2023 at 2:00pm.  We are continuing to provide careers advice and counselling for the students of the Class of 2023.  Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Julie Huggins (VCAA Curriculum Coordinator) or Jodie Hechenberger (Careers and Pathways Coordinator) for advice regarding the transition to further study, employment or ongoing training.

Ashwood High School named a ‘Top 20’ school for VCE results Growing Pride and Achievement’
Ashwood High School was pleased to be featured in a Herald Sun article naming Ashwood High School as a ‘Top 20’ school for VCE results on Thursday 14 December 2023:

Presentation and Awards Ceremony 2023 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Reflecting on the 2023 Ashwood High School Presentation and Awards Ceremony fills me with immense pride and joy. The Rusden Theatre at Deakin University provided a splendid backdrop for our grand event, where the entire staff, accompanied by the Ashwood High School Chamber Orchestra, commenced the evening with a majestic procession. The anticipation was palpable as the music echoed in the foyer an hour before the commencement.

The ceremony, initiated by an Acknowledgment of Country, encapsulated the essence of Ashwood High School's achievements and the growth of our students throughout the academic year. It was an evening of celebration, acknowledging the dedication and excellence that define our school community. The compilation of images from past Presentation Awards Ceremonies showcased the transformative journey of Ashwood High School under my leadership, from the brink of closure to becoming one of the top 10 government schools in Victoria.

As well as presenting awards to over 100 students, we honoured our exceptional staff, recognising their dedication and service. Congratulations to Robyn Maclarn, John Sheehan, Dom Holloway, and Julie Huggins for their 15-year contributions, and Chin Byrne for an impressive 30 years of service. The ceremony also recognised the invaluable contributions of parents, with special acknowledgment to Mr Cory Pearce for his outstanding service on the School Council. His commitment and wealth of knowledge have been instrumental in our continuous improvement.

Thank you to Ms Nicki Dear, School Council President, for her wonderful speech.  Thank you also to Ms Meg McLellan for her orchestration of this exemplary event.


Organisational Matters – ‘Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement’
The following information will provide parents and carers with some key information about getting ready for the 2024 academic year at Ashwood High School: 

General Office Hours during Christmas Holidays 2023 / 2024
The General Office will be closed on Wednesday 20 December 2023. The General Office will be open from: 8:30am – 4:00pm Monday 22 January 2024 to Tuesday 23 January 2024. The office will then re-open normal hours (8:00am to 4:15pm) from Wednesday 31 January 2024.

Dates for 2024 – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
It is timely to inform parents of the term and curriculum days for 2024. The first two pupil free days will be taken at the beginning of the school year. Teachers will commence on Monday 29 January 2024. All students Year 7 – 12 will commence the 2024 academic year on Wednesday 31 January 2024. Term dates for 2024 are:

  • Term 1: 31 January to 28 March 2024
  • Term 2: 15 April to 28 June 2024
  • Term 3: 15 July to 20 September 2024
  • Term 4: 7 October to 18 December 2024

Pupil Free Days 2024 - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The following pupil free days for 2024 were approved by School Council:

  • Monday 29 January 2024 (state-wide) and Tuesday 30 January 2024 - Curriculum / PL Days

(Students will return to school on Wednesday 31 January 2024)

  • Friday 7 June 2024 – Report Writing Day (King’s Birthday Public Holiday is Monday 10 June 2023)
  • Thursday 15 August 2024 - Curriculum Day.

Uniform Shop at Dobsons
Dobsons 667 Glenferrie Road, HAWTHORN VIC 3122 Phone: 9819 1122 Fax: 9819 2854

Normal Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm Saturday

Camps Program 2024 - Enhancing the Student Culture – All camps have been approved.

Enrolments, Staffing and Allotments – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The projected enrolment for 2024 is 930 (847 in 2023). Workforce arrangements for 2024 are being finalised with 18 new hand-picked staff members already employed.

Staff Movements, Acknowledgements and FarewellsValuing Staff and Building Capacity’
At the end of 2023 we will farewell Noorhidayah Binte Noor, Jacob Vitale, Vivian Chen, Yuhan Wang, Laura Higgins, Matilda Wraight, Ann Price and Bernadette Jowett. he members of the 2024 Draft will be published in the first newsletter of 2024.

Noorhidayah Binte Noor
Ms Noor joined the Ashwood High School community on 1 May 2023. As a member of the Integration Team, Ms. Noor brought her unique perspective and skills to support the inclusive learning environment at Ashwood High School. Although her stay with us was not extensive, we acknowledge her efforts and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Jacob Vitale
Mr Vitale, a warm and friendly individual, became a valued member of our community on 26 April 2022. Serving as a dedicated teacher, covering subjects such as English, Health, and PE, Mr Vitale demonstrated a genuine commitment to his students and colleagues. We express our appreciation for his positive presence and contributions to Ashwood High School, wishing him success in his endeavours in Gippsland.

Vivian Chen
Ms Chen joined Ashwood High School on 28 January 2022, bringing her expertise as a teacher in both Science and Music. During her time here, Ms Chen contributed to our school community, and we appreciate her dedication to education. We extend our best wishes to Ms Chen as she embarks on a new chapter in her teaching career, taking up a position at Canterbury Girls Secondary College. We thank her for her time at Ashwood High School and wish her continued success and fulfillment in her teaching journey.

Yuhan Wang
Ms Wang joined the Ashwood High School community on 22 August 2022, taking on the crucial role of Assistant Manager of the International Student Program. During her time here, Ms Wang played a vital role in supporting our international students and contributing to the overall success of the program.

We acknowledge and appreciate Ms Wang's dedication and hard work in ensuring the smooth integration and wellbeing of our international students. Her efforts have undoubtedly made a positive impact on their experiences at Ashwood High School. As Ms Wang moves on to a new chapter in her career, taking up a teaching position at Narre Warren South P-12 College, we extend our heartfelt thanks for her valuable contributions to our school. We wish her continued success in her teaching role, and we trust that she will excel in inspiring and educating her students.

Laura Higgins 
Ms Higgins, an adaptable member of our school community, joined Ashwood High School on 31 May 2021. Throughout her time here, she demonstrated a remarkable ability to quickly take on new roles and responsibilities. Starting as a Mini School Administration Assistant, Ms Higgins later transitioned into the role of HR Manager, showcasing her versatility and dedication to contributing to the school's administrative functions. Ms Higgins brought a unique warmth to the school environment. Her willingness to embrace challenges and give every task her best effort did not go unnoticed. As Ms Higgins moves on to a new opportunity closer to home, we express our gratitude for her contributions to Ashwood High School. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours, confident that her adaptability and commitment will continue to shine in her new role.

Matilda Wraight
Ms Wraight, a dedicated and effective member of our school community, began her journey at Ashwood High School on 28 January 2020. In her time here, she showcased her strong work ethic and capability in various roles. Ms Wraight taught classes in Biology and English, earning a reputation for getting things done and achieving success in her teaching roles. Her contributions extended beyond the classroom, as she took on positions of responsibility, including Student Voice, Leadership, and Agency Coordinator, along with the role of Year 10 Coordinator. Ashwood High School afforded Ms Wraight numerous opportunities, and she excelled in every role she undertook. As she embarks on a new chapter at Loreto Mandeville Hall, we acknowledge her hard work, accomplishments, and the mark she left on our school.

We extend our best wishes to Ms. Wraight in her future endeavours and hope her next adventure brings her continued success.

Ann Price
Ms Price commenced at Ashwood High School on 14 July 2015 as a teacher of Mathematics.  A mature age graduate with an IT background, she has been an invaluable member of our academic community. Ms Price's commitment to education is exemplified by her multiple degrees and her significant achievements. Having lived and worked in the USA, Ms Price brought a global perspective to her teaching, enriching the learning experience for her students. Her genuine love of teaching, combined with her care and concern for her students, ensured excellent results in Specialist Mathematics and Mathematical Methods. As Ms Price commences her well-deserved retirement, we extend our heartfelt appreciation for her dedication to Ashwood High School. Her next-level maths skills and enthusiasm for education will be fondly remembered. We wish Ms Price all the best in her retirement and look forward to hearing about her future endeavours.

Allison Phillips
Ms Allison Phillips, a dedicated educator, became part of the Ashwood High School community on 28 January 2014, taking on the role of a compassionate teacher in Health and Physical Education. Over the years, Ms Phillips showcased her commitment to her students, going above and beyond to provide an excellent educational experience. During her time at the school, Ms Phillips demonstrated exemplary teaching skills, earning respect for her ability to inspire and support her students. Ms Phillips’ Her efforts extended beyond the classroom, contributing positively to the school community. While Ms Phillips has been on Leave this year, we recognise and appreciate the lasting impact she has had on our students and the school. We wish her well as she embarks on a new chapter closer to her home. May her future endeavours be filled with success and fulfillment.

Kate Davis
Ms Davis embarked on her teaching journey on 28 January 2009, bringing with her a wealth of experience from a career in IT as a mature age graduate. Throughout her tenure, she has made significant contributions to the education landscape at Ashwood High School. Over the years, Kate has taken on various leadership roles, including Head of Mathematics, Science, and Mathematics and Computing Coordinator. Her dedication to her students has been unwavering, resulting in high achievements for Mathematics Methods and Chemistry students alike. Ms Davis is well-loved by her students, who appreciate her commitment and willingness to assist in their academic journeys. In addition to her teaching roles, Kate has also stepped into an acting Leading Teacher position as Acting Student Outcomes Leader, showcasing her leadership skills and commitment to student success. Known widely as the "data queen," she has worked diligently, including in timetabling, ensuring the smooth operation of our academic programs. As Kate Davis moves on to new endeavours, we express our sincere gratitude for her outstanding contributions to Ashwood High School. Her impact on students' lives and her dedication to academic excellence will be remembered fondly. We wish Ms Davis all the best in her future endeavours.

Bernie Jowett
A beacon of dedication and warmth, Ms Bernie Jowett graced our school community with her expertise and kindness. Commencing her teaching career on 16 February 1983 at Eaglehawk Secondary College, Ms Jowett's journey then led her to Melbourne where she taught at Genazzano FCJ College and Balwyn High School. Ms Jowett joined Ashwood College on 29 June 2001. In her extensive career at the school, Ms Jowett has worn many hats, including the significant role of Science Coordinator, where she imparted her knowledge in Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, and General Science. Her commitment to education and passion for nurturing young minds created an environment where students thrived in the pursuit of their personal excellence. Ms Jowett's impact extended far beyond the classroom, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of students and colleagues alike. Known for her smiling face and quiet humility, she preferred to stay out of the limelight, focusing instead on the positive influence she could have on the lives of those around her. As Ms Jowett embarks on a well-deserved retirement at the end of this year, we express our deepest gratitude for her years of service and the immeasurable contributions she made to Ashwood High School. The school will miss her presence, and the memories of her inspiring legacy will forever remain in our hearts. Wishing Ms Jowett a retirement filled with joy, relaxation, and the satisfaction of a career well-celebrated.

Student Scholarships Year 7, 2024 – ‘Increasing Positive Parental & Community Engagement’

I am pleased to announce the names of the Scholarship award winners for 2024. The Grade 6 students came from the following five schools in the five respective scholarship categories:

It is anticipated that the recipients of these scholarships (as well as successful applicants to the ACE Program) will be publicised in local primary school newsletters. This is part of continuing to build on our positive professional relationships with primary schools.

Grade 6 Orientation Evening and Day – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Grade 6 Orientation Evening for parents and students was held on Monday 11 December 2023. It was a pleasure to welcome our new families.  I would also like to congratulate our Year 7 students Barbara Campelo and Daniel White for their speech on the evening. Barbara and Daniel gave great insight into what it is like to be a Year 7 student at Ashwood High School.

I was elated to hold our Orientation Day on Tuesday 12 December, 2023. The day was well received by our incoming 186 students who enjoyed the activities, tours and an introduction to student life at Ashwood High School.

Ashwood High School takes pride in its exceptional results for student transition, a fact underscored by the positive feedback received in the recent Parent/Guardian/Caregiver survey. Impressively, 96% of respondents expressed that their child feels deeply connected to the school community. Such an outcome is no coincidence; it is the result of a meticulous and dedicated effort by our Transition team.

This team proactively gathers information about Grade 6 students well before their arrival, allowing for a personalised and informed approach to their integration into High School life. Subsequently, a week of carefully curated transition activities is implemented, ensuring that every child can navigate and embrace the path to success within the High School environment.

Thank you to Ms Sachael Miller and the Transitions team, I recognise that their efforts contribute significantly to fostering a seamless and positive transition experience for our incoming Year 7 students.

School Yearbook – ‘The Ashwood CHOIR’ 2023 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The 2023 Yearbook ‘CHOIR,’ a showcase of student and staff excellence, will be delivered to the school in early 2024. It encompasses the year, both on-site and at home, celebrating one of the most interesting years in recent history. Congratulations to all members of the School community who made a positive contribution. In particular, thank you to Ms Lenore Twist and her team for coordinating this fine quality publication.

Parent Opinion Survey – ‘Increasing Positive Parental & Community Engagement’ 
The results of the Parent Opinion Survey for 2023 are outstanding and reflect parents’ gratitude for the hard work of staff to ensure our students experience the best possible education. The results will form part of the 2023 Annual Report, reported at the 2023 AGM in March 2024. The survey data shows that the parent opinion at Ashwood High School is well above the State, Similar and Network schools across all measures.

Intensive English and Intensive Maths Program (DE - MYLNS - Literacy & Numeracy) – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
A small proportion of students in Years 7-10, identified through student learning data, will again benefit from additional support to improve their overall English and Mathematics skills in 2024. Qualified teachers in each of these Learning Areas will work with small groups of students to improve their knowledge, and skills in English and Maths. It is anticipated that this support will provide them a better overall foundation that will assist them to make improvements in other areas of study. The longevity of this program will once again be determined by ongoing Department funding.

Learning Mentor Program (DE - Tutor Learning Initiative [TLI]) – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
This program has been provided by the Department to support students whose learning may have been disrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) throughout 2020, 2021 and to a lesser extent 2022 / 2023. We have a small number of students who have been identified through student engagement and learning data that have not made the same progress in their education as we would have anticipated under ‘normal’ circumstances. These students come from a wide range of backgrounds, year levels and ability levels. It is important to acknowledge that, despite the global pandemic, many students have made extraordinary gains in their learning, and this is evidenced in our Year 9 NAPLAN data. Selected students from Years 7 to 10 will participate in the Learning Mentor Program. This program has been tagged to Department funding specific to 2024. The longevity of this program will once again be determined by ongoing Department funding.

Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Congratulations to Daisy Harvison (Year 10) who has received a prestigious Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship through the University of Melbourne.  The Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship program is part of growing pride and achievement and improving students’ life choices and aspirations.

Leadership Conference 2023 – 2024 -  ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The eagerly awaited Leadership Conference, themed 'Valuing Staff and Building Capacity,' took place on Tuesday, 5 December 2023, at Deakin University. This pivotal occasion saw our Leadership Team coming together to strategise for the year ahead. The conference provided a platform to reflect on the accomplishments of 2023, offering a comprehensive overview of the challenges and successes encountered throughout the year.

The agenda was intricately designed to both challenge and support our leadership staff, fostering an environment of continuous growth and development. A key focus during the conference was on consolidating roles, refining positional authority, and strengthening professional identities to ensure a cohesive and empowered Leadership Team.

Gathering at Deakin University, the conference represented a crucial step in shaping the trajectory of Ashwood High School for 2024 and beyond. It set the stage for continued excellence and innovation in leadership, marking an important chapter in the school's ongoing pursuit of success.

Co-curricular Programs – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The Year 9 Camp
From Monday, 30 October 2023, to Wednesday, 1 November 2023, Ashwood High School embarked on an unforgettable journey with our Year 9 students at the picturesque Phillip Island CYC Adventure Resort. Led by the exceptional guidance of Mrs Vicky Dernikos, the camp was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impact on both students and staff alike.

A total of 12 dedicated staff members were instrumental in ensuring the success of the camp, and their commitment deserves our sincere gratitude. The team, consisting of Ms Sachael Miller, Ms Nicole Gladman, Mr Michael Cifra, Ms Amanda Li, Mr Jeff Newman, Mr Nic McMahon, Mr Matthew Dexter, Mr John Sheehan, Dr Bruce Verity, and Mr Rory Fahey, contributed their time and expertise to make this experience truly memorable for the 105 students in attendance.

The Year 9 Camp, designed to expose students to challenges through outdoor adventure activities, exceeded expectations. The program provided a unique blend of novel and traditional outdoor activities, allowing students to explore the dynamics of teamwork and individual challenges. Beyond the thrill of adventure, the camp served as a valuable opportunity for students to strengthen their relationships with peers and teachers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork outside the familiar routines of Ashwood High School.

As we reflect on the success of the Year 9 Camp, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Mrs Vicky Dernikos and the entire team of dedicated staff members for their unwavering commitment to creating a positive and enriching experience for our students. Their efforts have undoubtedly contributed to the growth and development of our students, both academically and personally. Congratulations to all those involved. The richness of the co-curricular program makes you proud to be part of the Ashwood High School community.

National Student Wellbeing Program* - ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Ashwood High School was successful in its application for Australian Government National Student Wellbeing Program (NSWP) funding for 2024 to 2027. Ashwood High School will receive $20,280 per year from 2024 to 2027 to support the engagement of a Chaplain or Student Wellbeing Officer.  The Ashwood High School Council supports the Chaplaincy Service in the school and has agreed to further funding of the program in 2024.

Ashwood Revealed Campaign – 2024 – ‘Increasing Parent and Community Engagement’
A plan is being developed for our Ashwood Revealed Campaign for 2024. The Open Night is on Wednesday 24 April 2024.

Long Service Leave – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
I will be on approved Long Service Leave for the final 7 days of the academic year commencing Tuesday 12 December 2023 – Wednesday 20 December 2023. This is the least impactful time for me to assist our middle son to move back to Tasmania for the completion of his second degree. Ms Meg McLellan will be Acting Principal for this period. Of course, I will be contactable to provide Ms McLellan with advice as required.

School Council – Thank you – ‘The Jewel of the East’
Thank you to all members of School Council for your ongoing commitment and support of Ashwood High School. Your dedication contributes significantly to the school's sound governance processes. I extend my gratitude for the collective commitment of our staff, students, parents, and partners to the school's Vision.

Season’s Greetings – ‘Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement’
Amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19, our school's supportive culture has remained robust, demonstrating remarkable strength, especially considering the school's rapid growth and expansion. In 2023, we proudly welcomed 205 additional Year 7 students and their families, further enriching our vibrant and inclusive school culture. An impressive 36 staff members have also joined our ranks this year, reinforcing the high standards set by the 'Draft of 2023' in terms of number, consistency, and quality.

Ashwood High School continues to be a sought-after destination for quality graduates and aspiring school leaders, evident in the recruitment of 18 new teachers for the upcoming academic year of 2024. The transformative impact of 'The Path Forward' and the Vision for Ashwood High School, presented to the community in 2015, is evident in the outstanding results and continuous improvement our school has achieved. Exciting prospects and further growth are on the horizon in 2024.

Over the past nine academic years, our student enrolment has experienced a substantial increase from 267 in August 2015 to 847 students in August 2023, with a projected enrolment of 930 for 2024; reflecting our commitment to providing a quality education for all members of the school community. This year, our school community witnessed a significant milestone with the completion of our cutting-edge Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics - STEAM and Research Centre. Quality public school education at Ashwood High School has been achieved through determination and the application of our school motto ‘Vision Inspired Action’ in securing and delivering a Capital Works Program of monumental proportion to The Jewel of the East. This futuristic facility represents our dedication to fostering innovation, critical thinking, and mindfulness for the environment. It's more than just bricks and mortar; it's a space where ideas take flight, where curiosity meets technology and future leaders are inspired. Building G is set to open at the start of 2024. There is indeed much to celebrate, and I am confident in the continued success and prosperity of Ashwood High School.

As we approach the end of this year, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the entire Ashwood High School community—students, parents, teachers, and staff. Your unwavering commitment, dedication, and collaborative spirit have been instrumental in making Ashwood High School the thriving and dynamic community it is today. Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and looking forward to another year of shared achievements and growth.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Wednesday 13 December 2023


Upcoming Events for Term 1 2024

School Council President's Report

School Council President's Message: Reflecting on a Remarkable Year at Ashwood High School

Dear Ashwood High School Parents, Students, and Community Members,

As we bid farewell to 2023, I find myself reflecting on the memorable moments that have defined our school year. It is with great pleasure that I share some highlights from the recent Ashwood High School Presentation Awards Ceremony.

Allow me to take you back to that special evening where we inaugurated a new tradition – the Staff Procession. This symbolic march was designed to express our gratitude to Dr Brett Moore and the dedicated staff of Ashwood High School. Together, they have tirelessly demonstrated care and commitment to the students who make our school community truly exceptional.

As the strains of the Ashwood High School Chamber Orchestra filled the air, we collectively rose to our feet, offering a sustained round of applause to honour and acknowledge the remarkable contributions of Ashwood High School staff. This gesture aimed to convey our heartfelt appreciation for their unwavering dedication to the wellbeing and education of our students.

Following this heartfelt tribute, Dr Moore, along with Ms Sarah Reynolds and Ms Meg McLellan, took their places on stage, setting the tone for a night dedicated to celebrating achievement, growth, and the vibrant spirit of Ashwood High School.

In my speech, as School Council President, I expressed a deep sense of privilege to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and the broader school community. Our "Jewel of the East" shone brightly that night, a testament to the collective efforts of our leaders, staff, and committed individuals.

A special acknowledgment was extended to fellow School Councillors, including outgoing councillor Corey Pearce, who has devoted six years of service to School Council. Their shared vision, passion, and commitment to student success have been a driving force behind our achievements.

The invaluable contributions of Merran Taylor, outgoing PFN president, were recognised. Merran's dedication to parent engagement, teacher recognition, and student activities has left an indelible mark on our school community.

As we bid farewell to our outstanding School Captains, Jessica and Sebastian, we commend their leadership, authenticity, and the sense of belonging they instilled in others. They are truly remarkable role models, leaving a lasting legacy.

Reflecting on the accomplishments of 2023, it is clear that our school has flourished under Dr Moore's leadership. Notable achievements include resourcing extracurricular activities, establishing a robust wellbeing framework, introducing innovative programs, and enhancing our arts and music programs.

A pivotal moment in our school's journey is the unveiling of the state-of-the-art STEAM and Research Centre, a testament to our commitment to providing students with cutting-edge facilities. This new space empowers our students to explore diverse passions, fostering a conducive environment for their personal and academic growth.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all students. Your excellence and contributions to our school community have not gone unnoticed. As we look forward to the possibilities that the new year holds, let us cherish the achievements of the past and continue to support each other on this exciting journey.

Thank you all for being an integral part of the Ashwood High School community. Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a bright start to the new year.

Nicki Dear
School Council President

Presentation Awards 2023


Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

For the final newsletter of the year, I wish to congratulate the incredible achievements of our Middle School students. I would also like to thank the Middle School teachers for all of their efforts and the incredible Coordinators for another year of outstanding work supporting our Middle School students and families. You are such exceptional people and the students, families and our school are so very lucky to have you. A special shout out to the amazing Ms Meg McLellan who has been an exceptional support to our team, students and staff. I would also like to acknowledge the inspiring direction and leadership of our outstanding executive principal, Dr Brett Moore.

Term 1 started with the opportunity for Year 8 and Year 9 Tutor Group students to be amazing mentors to our new Year 7 students. They settled in quickly with the help of their older buddies and were soon confident in knowing their way around the school and involving themselves in the diverse student clubs on offer and even signing up for events at House Swimming and the array of House events over the year. As the crowning jewel of Term 1, Year 7s went on their amazing camp to Kinglake Forest Adventures and enjoyed everything from high ropes, to hiking, to camping and a Survivor-style tribal council. Our students exemplified the CHOIR values, tested their resilience and came back with some incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

In Term 2, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to show off our wonderful school to the community and prospective students and their families during Ashwood Revealed. There were an exceptional number of Middle School students who volunteered their time and expertise to represent their school with pride on this occasion.

Term 3 showcased our wonderful School Musical Production ‘The Wizard of Oz’, to which a large amount of Middle School students were involved in. Congratulations on your amazing efforts and what a show it was!

We had an overwhelming number of applications for School Colours during Term 3. Select students willingly gave of their time to serve on the Panels that assessed the applications. Successful students were thrilled to receive their pins and certificates in Term 4. Congratulations to all students who received School Colours and for those who did not, what a great goal to work toward next year!

In Term 4, Middle School students were introduced to the Middle School Leadership Team for 2024. Congratulations to all students who have been successful in obtaining a position! Students were also busy this term completing their exams and we were all very proud of the way you conducted yourself during this time.

I will be moving to a new portfolio next year and wish Ms Harriet Cooper all the best in leading the Middle School.

It has been absolute pleasure leading the Middle School for the last two years… I wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas, New Year and a fun- filled summer holidays! 

Sachael Miller
Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Flynn House Report
With a year of significant growth, we reflect on the incredible successes of our students, staff and community. The amazing achievements of our students have continued to be highlighted in all pillars of the school.

Many Flynnians were represented as recipients at the School Colours presentation assembly this semester. Congratulations to all students who applied themselves throughout the year and were justifiably rewarded with School Colour badges this year.

Further celebrations were in order as Flynn House once again took out the illustrious House point competition for 2023. I would like to acknowledge the academic efforts and the embodiment of school CHOIR values that our students apply to their learning norms and embrace through collaboration, creativity and cooperation on a daily basis.

Our Middle School Flynn House was very fortunate this year to be led by two exceptional leaders, Matilda Rostan as Flynn House Captain and Vice-Captain, Matisse Simpson. We express our heartfelt gratitude to these students, who exemplified the school values and conducted themselves at the highest level consistently. They were model students in and out of the classroom, epitomising our school motto, ‘Vision Inspired Action’. I am also grateful to our wonderful Tutor Group teachers, Ms Klopsteins, Ms Cameron, Mr Holloway, Mr Rayner, Mr Gale and Mr Gray, who have nurtured, supported and guided our students by creating a safe, positive and respectful environment in which opportunities for learning, sharing and wellbeing development have been optimised.

As we wave goodbye and wish our amazing Year 12 Flynnians every success and happiness for the future, we open our welcoming doors to our new Year 7s for 2024. Thank you to our remarkable and grown-up Year 7 ambassadors who were very nurturing and supportive on Orientation Day.

As a proud House Coordinator, I look forward with great excitement and passion to once again leading our wonderful Flynn House to many successes and celebrations in 2024. Farewell 2023 and wishing all our community a wonderful break and every happiness for the New Year!

Vicky Dernikos
Flynn House Coordinator

From our House Captains
Flynn has had a fantastic year with immense teamwork, dedication and endless spirit. We have soared through challenges and triumphed in numerous areas.

Flynn has proved itself in the sporting pillar of our school throughout the year, managing to secure our victories at the Swimming Carnival and Cross country events. Students displayed exceptional talent, tenacity and sportsmanship. We could not be prouder of all Flynn members’ achievements this year.

Recently, we had the annual Presentation Awards Ceremony at Deakin University, where lots of students obtained awards for their achievements across numerous areas of our school. Congratulations to all these students who obtained these awards. We would also like to congratulate everyone in Flynn for earning House points across numerous areas of our school community throughout the year. Collectively, as a House we managed to secure the prestigious House Cup. This win is a testament to our unity and unyielding determination. We are overjoyed and extraordinarily proud of all 2023 students of Flynn.

We would like to thank everyone for their support and participation this year’s, it has been an honour being your Flynn Middle School Captain and Vice-Captain for 2023.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and a successful start to 2024.

Matilda Rostan and Matisse Simpson
Flynn House Middle School Captain and Vice-Captain, 2023

Melba House Report
Hello Ashwood High School Community.

As we draw to the end of 2023, we would like to congratulate everyone in Years 7 to 11 on completing their exams. Your hard work throughout this year has finally paid off.

We would also like to wish the current Year 12s best of luck with their VCAA results.

Thank you to all the Melba students for their hard work throughout the year and finally we would like to wish everyone a happy and safe summer holidays. See you next year.

Emma Doorley
Melba House Coordinator


Middle School Captains' Report

As we are nearing the end of the term, the Years 9s and 10s started their Prep Program for their Year 11 VCE subjects, This was a great learning experience and meet up with next year’s prospective teachers for their subjects. Recently, the Year 9s went on a wonderful program called PEAK which included many excursions like visiting the Holocaust Museum, Shrine of Remembrance, Metro Tunnels and the community gardens. This has all tied in with their previous Humanities classes.

With the Years 7-11 Exams over, we hope that everyone received the results that they wanted. We loved to see the students’ study hard for their exams and prepare for next years subjects.

We hope you all have a great holiday and a Merry Christmas.

Amy Noy, Gilly McCann, Evelyn Chew, Sam Bryan
Middle School Captains 2023


Senior School News

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

The community of Ashwood High School must be commended on its continuous learning processes in regards to the 2024 Semester 2 Exam process. We are proud and delighted that our staff, students, and community have moved and worked within the Department guidelines to continue learning and growing within the normalities of an ever-changing school environment.

At Ashwood High School, our students continue to strive for improved learning outcomes, including developing sociability as we prepare for the students moving into Years 11 and 12 VCE. This has been evident in the way the students from Years 10 and 11 (2023) moved into the Prep Program in preparation for Years 11 and 12 in 2024. This involved both cohorts having introduction meetings with their new 2023 Coordinators, Mr John Sheehan, Year 11 Coordinator, and Ms Edwina Nolan, Year 12 Coordinator. These assemblies focused on the expectations for the year to come and understand the VCE requirements for 2024.

Our staff and students should be commended on continuing to adopt our learning program. Our students continue to display a strong sense of school pride, belonging and performance through work ethic and the ‘CHOIR’ values. Our Principal, Dr Brett Moore, has emphasised the continued positive atmosphere around the School in morning briefings upon the whole school’s progressive success and the willingness of our students to become the best versions of themselves.

The 2024 Student Leadership Executive appreciation process has finished. Our Principal, Dr Brett Moore, led the panel of the Assistant Principal Ms Sarah Reynolds, School School Engagement, Pathways and Transitions and myself, who interviewed the Senior School Year 12s for 2024 prospective School Captains.  The School is thrilled that on Friday, 10 November, the successful applicants for the Senior School Student Leadership Executive Positions were announced to the school community. This included the School Captains, the School Vice Captains, and the International Captain for 2024.

As the end of the year comes near, our class of 2023 Year 12 VCE students is preparing for life after school. In celebration of finishing, we held a Year 12 Valedictory where all the Year 12 students and their invited guests had an evening to celebrate the completion of their final year of schooling. During this event Principal, Dr Brett Moore gave an inspiring speech on how each and every student had achieved and how they had grown throughout their journey at Ashwood High School.

As the Leading Teacher of Senior School, I wish all Ashwood High School community members all the best in the upcoming holidays and wish you a safe and happy break. We look forward to seeing you back at the start of 2024. For members of our community in their final year at the School, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours and stay connected to our Ashwood High School community.

Best regards,

Tom O’Toole
Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader

School Captains' Report

We would like to extend our congratulations to all students, families and staff for the completion of a wonderful school year. We are extremely grateful and privileged to be writing to the Ashwood High School community as your 2024 School Captains. The Student Executive Team is so excited to build connections and hope to work together to continue improving our wonderful school. We are both excited and reminiscent towards saying goodbye to 2023 and welcoming 2024, but could not have a more positive outlook. We have both had such a wonderful year and greatly appreciate everyone who has supported us, especially during our candidacy for School Captain. We are both eager and motivated to undertake our roles to the best of our abilities.  

It has been a year of prosperity for Ashwood High School, with the introduction of a new building, and further renovations. We have also continued to welcome record enrolment numbers and our school has been flourishing. Following the opening of the new STEAM building, Building H, students have access to capable technologies and improved learning spaces. 

Congratulations are due to all students for completing their Semester 2 exams. The exams were held from 13-17 November and showed the resilience and determination of all students. We would also like to extend our support and best wishes to all students that have completed their VCE units and exams and are awaiting their results on 11 December. Continuing the celebration of students, the Presentation Awards Ceremony was recently held on 21 November, where an incredible number of students were acknowledged for a range of achievements, including: academics, sports, music, arts, and leadership. The Presentation Awards Ceremony was held at Deakin University, where students and parents enjoyed performances from various bands and ensembles.  

Proceeding into 2024, it is important that students embrace their learnings from this year. 2023 marked the return of many school events following the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Athletics Carnival and the School Production. These events were reintroduced with incredible success that we fully believe will continue, alongside student engagement and support. A major musical event, the Spring Recital, was held on 9 November and saw record numbers. The night was a huge success and a positive omen for the prospering Music Department. We also saw a final assembly, where the graduating class of 2023 said their final goodbyes. We would like to thank the previous School Captains, Jessica Sterle and Seb Millan, for their immense contributions, and the support they have provided us with. We would also like to wish the best for the graduating class in their futures.

Lastly, we are extremely excited to welcome the Year 7 class for 2024, who underwent their Orientation Day on 12 December. As Ashwood High School only continues to grow, we hope to welcome an excited and motivated cohort.  

All in all, it is with whole-hearted sincerity that we express our excitement for the coming year and our thankfulness for the opportunity to represent this illustrious school through 2024. Happy Holidays! 

Emma Hew and Miles Guy 
2024 School Captains 




Careers & Pathways

What a great year it has been! All our regular career events ran perfectly including the Ashwood High School Careers Expo, Years 7 – 9 Tutor Group Career Lessons, Year 9 Morrisby Program, the Year 10 Work Experience and Mock Interview programs, Year 11 & 12 VCE Vocational Major Structured Workplace Learning program and the wonderful career excursions the Senior School students attended. Oh! And not forgetting the excellent addition of Ms. Kristin Robertson (Jobs, Skills & Pathways Assistant Coordinator) to the team. Fantastic! Fantastic! Fantastic!

Year 9 2023 into Year 10 2024 Work Experience
The dates for the 2024 Year 10 Work Experience program have been set. It will take place the last week of Term 3 - Monday 16 September 2024 – Friday 20 September 2024.

It is now time for Year 9 students to start thinking where they would like to complete their Work Experience as many work experience placements need to be booked 6 - 12 months in advance.

Examples of placements which require such forward planning include but are not limited to:

  • Zoos 
  • Victoria Police
  • TV Networks
  • News Outlets i.e. Herald Sun
  • Sporting Clubs
  • Hospitals

Please reflect on the Work Experience presentation and use the resources provided during Tutor Group on Tuesday 16 November 2023 outlining the purpose of Work Experience and how to find a placement.

If students have an idea of the organisation they would like to attend Work Experience they are encouraged to find out the application process and closing date for their desired placement, then send an email to Ms. Robertson for guidance.

Parents and students are welcome to contact Ms. Robertson anytime Monday, Tuesday or Thursday for further information regarding the 2024 Year 10 Work Experience program.

Senior School

VCE – Vocational Major Excursion
On Thursday 30 November 2023 the Years 11 and 12 VCE – Vocational Major students attended the Holmesglen Institute Tunneling Centre to observe the specialist training available to people interested in working in construction and operations in the rail, road, and utilities industries. Students saw a replica mined tunnel and replica rail/Tunnel Boring Machine similar to the Metro Tunnel currently under construction. The site offers a full- height entrance, 2 multi-purpose engineering workrooms and training facilities including tunnel shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, as well as augmented and virtual reality experiences. A cutter head and refuge chamber and the only four motion bridge and gantry crane located in a TAFE also form part of this facility.

The students had a fantastic day! Here are some photos if their experience:

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)
The 2024 VCE – Vocational Major class have started their search for industry related placements including Hospitality, Horticulture, Carpentry, Automotive – Mechanical, Cookery, Information Technology, Business, Allied Health Assistance, Early Childhood Education and Care, Electrotechnology (Electrician), Plumbing, Salon Assistant (Hair Dressing), Equine Studies, Sport & Recreation, and Dance.

Some students have been successful in securing placement, however some industries are more challenging than others especially at this time. If you or someone you know could offer a student one day per week placement on a term by term basis – you are not locked in for a full year – please make contact with Ms. Robertson on 9807 1333 or your support is greatly appreciated. Offering a student work placement is very rewarding and a great way of giving back to the community.

Jodie Hechenberger 
Careers and Pathways Coordinator 

Kristin Robertson
Jobs, Skills and Pathways Assistant Coordinator


Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment Program

Term 4 has seen the finalisation of the Year 7 ACE enrolments process for 2024 as well as the completion of ACE promotions for students currently in Years 7-9.

The purpose of the ACE Promotions process is to promote the engagement and challenge of high ability students through talent development opportunities, to ensure that their specific learning and wellbeing needs are met. Whilst entry to the ACE Program in Year 7 is determined by a select entry test and application, admission to the ACE Program in Years 8-10 is by invitation only. To support this process, Ashwood High School reviews our students’ academic progress annually to identify and refer high ability students currently enrolled in mainstream classes in Years 7-9 for promotion to our ACE program.

In order to determine whether a student would benefit from the ACE Program, the school collects information about the capabilities of its students from a range of sources. These include: NAPLAN results (where available), the results of school-based educational testing, school reports, and teacher nominations. The promotions panel then meets annually to consider the data that has been collected about each student. Due to the limited number of spaces that become available in the program each year, promotions are decided on the basis of merit. Parents and guardians with further questions about the progressions process are encouraged to contact Mrs Caroline Servadei (Director of Enrichment, Partnerships and Professional Learning) for more information.

Our Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment program continues to attract strong interest from families eligible to enrol at Ashwood High School. With a full class of 25 students set to join us as part of the Year 7 ACE intake in 2024, it is clear that the future of the ACE program at Ashwood High School is a bright one.

Providing further proof that Ashwood High School continues to attract students of the highest academic potential is the news that a further seven students have been selected to participate in the Victorian High-Ability Program in Term 1, 2024. These students will follow in the footsteps of the 84 Ashwood High School students who were invited to participate in the program in 2023.

In closing, I would like to congratulate the ACE students of Ashwood High School on another outstanding year of personal and academic achievement, and wish them a safe and happy holiday period. I look forward to another year of enrichment and learning in 2024.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment and Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

As part of their final studies in 8ACE Maths, students completed a unit on financial maths, culminating in a practical investigation in which students were to go through the process of purchasing a car.

“Banks calculate their repayments with different calculations then the general simple and complex interest repayments, which makes the amortization calculator the most accurate for calculating costs.

Interest rates can vary between the type of loan and what your credit score is. Choosing a secured personal loan can result in a much lower rate, but it relies on the customer handing in an asset as collateral as incentive to pay off the loan.

Depending on the number of years you take to pay on a loan, interest can be vastly higher, but monthly repayments are much smaller. Another downside is that if you want to finish off the loan earlier, a fee incurs if the loan is paid of earlier, which varies of the amount paid.”
Alex Forgione, Year 8

“What I have learned from this project is how to calculate loans and interest rates, alongside balloon payments and monthly repayments. I have also learned how to compare banks and how to see which bank provides the best profit from loans. I have learnt to analyse loan agreements for hidden fees, differentiate between fixed and variable rates, and consider the impact of extended terms on affordability. This really tested my decision-making skills, using the importance of balancing short-term budget considerations with long-term financial implications.” Will Thompson, Year 8


Science Learning Area Report

Superspace is a two-day program run at Monash Tech School that introduces Year 7 students to STEM concepts and the skills required to journey across our galaxy. Throughout the program, students utilise design thinking and creativity skills to design a spacesuit that meets their group's unique space mission. 

The program includes various space stations that allow students to experience different technologies such as HoloLens’, gyroscopes, XRF and IR spectrometers, and external machinery. 

Stephanie Richards
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

As the academic year draws to a close, it is with great pride and a touch of nostalgia that we reflect on the journey we have undertaken together in the Humanities Department at Ashwood High School. It has been a year of intellectual exploration and creative expression that I hope have left an indelible mark on our students.

A highlight of Term 4 has been the PEAK program, when our Year 9 students spent one week attending numerous excursions related to each area of their curriculum. One of the most memorable experiences was when the students had a Q + A with a survivor of the Holocaust at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum. I would like to thank all the staff and community members who made this program possible, and in particular to express my gratitude to the Ashwood High School Community Gardens for hosting our incursions. Their volunteers generously offered their time and effort to host around 150 students throughout the week, and delivered a highly engaging program on sustainable farming. I highly encourage our school community to view their Facebook page and to get involved in this important part of our local area.

As we bid farewell to the current academic year, we look forward with optimism to the possibilities that the future holds. The Humanities Department remains committed to nurturing well-rounded individuals who not only excel academically but also contribute positively to society.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to our incredible students, dedicated faculty, and supportive parents for making this academic year a successful one. I wish you all a restful and rejuvenating summer break.

Ned Hayward
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Jacob Gebka Reid and Josh Wilson at Holocaust Museum


Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

It has been a wonderfully creative and inspiring year in the Art and Technology Learning Area. Students have produced more diverse, innovative, and ambitious works than ever before. Students have learned to sew on brand new sewing machines and created complex ceramic forms through slip casting with clay, making use of the school’s impressive collection of rare, vintage plaster moulds. Students have created artworks on bigger scales than ever before – in Year 12, photography work was printed professionally at an A1 scale and in Year 11, a canvas taller than most students and staff was filled with a beautifully serene acrylic landscape. Across the year levels, students have excelled in Media, Food Studies, Design and Digital Technologies. It has been a privilege to be the Learning Area Coordinator of Arts and Technology for the past two years. Reflecting on the time fills me with gratitude and pride. Thank you to all the teachers, support staff and students who dedicated time and energy, in any way, to the Learning Area. I cannot wait to see what we create and present next year.

Jessica Lindholm
Creative Arts and Technology Learning Area Coordinator

Year 7 Art
In Term 4, the Year 7 Art students explored the idea of “connections.” Students were introduced to a variety of different 2D drawing techniques and materials. There were many imaginative and personal responses to the set theme.

Year 9 Design Technologies
In Term Four the Year 9 Design Technologies students investigated product design and the material process of resin casting. They were able to create a variety of different homewares and jewellery designs using silicone moulds.

Marnie Edmiston
Art and Design Technologies Teacher

Instrumental Music Report

As the last chord of the academic score echoes through the halls of Ashwood High School id like to take this opportunity to reflect and describe the amazing musical prowess that has occurred

In the musical crescendo of Term 4, Ashwood High School proudly presented our Spring Recital, a showcase of extraordinary talent and artistic expression. The stage came alive with the captivating performances of our dedicated students, each note resonating with passion and skill. We extend our sincerest gratitude to every student who contributed to the success of the evening, creating an unforgettable atmosphere for all in attendance. Special thanks are also due to the Music staff, parents, and volunteers whose commitment behind the scenes was instrumental in making this event a triumph.


A huge thank you to our Music Captains, Lilly Dequito and Rupesh Bankar, for orchestrating countless lunchtime concerts and larger music events. Your leadership has brought joy and vibrancy to our musical community!

We're thrilled to announce that enrolment for the Music Program for the upcoming year is now open! Whether you're a seasoned musician or just beginning your musical journey, our program offers a diverse range of opportunities for students to explore and develop their musical talents. Don't miss out on the chance to be part of the harmony at Ashwood High School!

To enrol in the Music Program for next year, please click on the following link: Music Program Enrolment Form. We look forward to creating beautiful music together in the upcoming school year!

Remember to keep the musical spirit going over the holidays. Take some time to practise or play around with your instrument. It's a great opportunity to add a bit of music to your downtime. AT LEAST, 10 hours a day, (If that isn’t achievable, maybe a little less).

In closing, the Ashwood High School Music Department expresses profound gratitude to each individual who contributed to music here at Ashwood High School. Whether you participated in instrumental lessons, played in the ensembles, performed for the school or encouraged and supported the Music Program, your passion for music and unwavering support have been the driving force behind our collective success. Have a wonderful summer holiday, and we will see you all in 2024.

Liam Headland
Director of Music


Health & PE Learning Area Report

Dear Students and Families of Ashwood High School,

As the school year ends, it’s time to reflect on the excellent 2023 calendar year we have had in Health and Physical Education. This year has been truly special with many memorable excursions and units of work being completed by all students.

Our dedicated Health and Physical Education team have worked tirelessly to create an environment where every student can thrive and develop their skills whether that be in the practical or theory environment. Our aim has been and always will be to instil a love for an active lifestyle for students that extends beyond the school grounds.

The HPE Department want to extent our gratitude to the Ashwood High School community for supporting the HPE program, whether that be parents supporting with excursions, other staff covering a HPE lesson and continuing the student’s education and lastly the students themselves for always being engaged and giving their best efforts during each lesson.

As we bid farewell to this school year, the HPE Department wishes everyone a safe and joyous holiday break. We are all looking forward to seeing everyone refreshed and ready for another successful year of Health and Physical Education at Ashwood High School in 2024.

Best wishes,

James Boarotto
Health & Physical Education Learning Area Coordinator


LOTE Learning Area Report

Throughout the year, our dedicated team organised a series of activities designed to enhance the overall learning experience for our students learning French and Chinese. From interactive workshops to collaborative projects, these initiatives aimed to foster creativity, critical thinking, cultural awareness and a sense of community.

 Activities organised by the LOTE Department this year:

  • The French Film Festival: We took close to 60 students to the Como in South Yarra in Term 1 to watch the movie Ride Above.
  • The Alliance Francaise Berthe Mouchette Competition: The poem recital took place in Term 2. This year, nearly 140 students took part in the competitions and 15 students making it to the final in most levels.
  • French immersion to New Caledonia: Under the tutelage of Mr Rayner, and assisted by Ms McLellan and Ms Marie, 23 students had the privilege of travelling to New Caledonia for a week to improve their language skills.
  • Bastille Day: At the start of Term 3, we celebrated Bastille Day by enabling students from our school community to enjoy different flavours of crepes and French music, this event was actively run by students in Year 10 and 12
  • Modern United Nations in French: This event was organised by the United Nations Association of Australia, Victoria (UNAAV) and the Languages Unit of the Department of Education. Our students stepped into the shoes of country ambassadors and used their negotiation and diplomacy skills to express the views of their allocated country on the theme of climate change, all in French.

Reflections from our VCE students
For this final edition we took a moment to reflect on the achievements, growth, and invaluable feedback from our Year 12 students. They have undoubtedly left their mark on our school, and their insights provide valuable perspectives for the future. They wanted to impart on us their words of wisdom for learning another language at VCE level as they head to the next chapter in their life:

‘Throughout the year, in our Chinese First language class, I learned a lot of interesting facts on Chinese traditional culture, building different opinions on different topics. It also allowed me to clearly clarify my contention in essays. This subject did not only broaden my knowledge, but also improved my critical and logical thinking ability. I had a great year in Chinese class.’
Cassie Lin, Year 11

‘Learning French has enlarged my horizons and expanded my future opportunities such as my tertiary studies, travelling and my inter-cultural understanding of France in a more globalised world. Over the six years that I have studied the language, it has come with some challenges, however, I believe that with hard work and perseverance everyone can overcome these difficulties and excel in French.’
Stephanie Millan, Year 12

‘French has been one of my favourite subjects. I really enjoy learning about French culture and all the areas of study have been really useful. I have been able to apply my learnings to my life and the world around me. I highly recommend choosing French cause it’s a subject that I think anyone can come to love.’
Tilé Bodin, Year 12

‘Learning a language is always a challenging experience, but studying French was well worth the effort. Being able to hold a conversation or watch a film in French is very rewarding, as is learning about French culture and history. Over the years of learning French, you are able to build on many grammatical and communication skills that are incredibly valuable.’
Chai Couzens, Year 12

‘I have been doing French for 6 years now and I am so proud with myself for having continued it through my journey at AshwoodHigh School. The ability to learn a language such as French is really important and it will take you a long way in life. If I was you, I wouldn't have a second thought on whether to do it, in short... DO IT!’
Cameron Paino, Year 12

‘Learning French has been the most culturally, and educationally enriching experience. For everyone interested in continuing French, and other languages through their high school journey, they need to understand that it is difficult, but ultimately beneficial as it opens so many other paths that were previously thought impossible.’ 
Keshav Sunkara, Year 12

‘French has given me a deeper understanding of not only a foreign language, but my own. I noticed my comprehension improving in English as well as French and it has been so beneficial. Even if the subject has been challenging at times, the whole result and my own improvement has allowed me to harness a unique cultural perspective that I hope to utilise in the future, has been so rewarding. I really recommend this subject for everyone!’
Charlotte Pryor, Year 12

‘Learning French over the last 6 years was an amazing experience. It changed my outlook on language learning, and in fact, fostered a deep love for it and linguistics. I will continue to learn the language after I finish school. For people in the younger year levels, I would recommend doing French – it is an awesome subject. Also, continually practice revising verbs, vocabulary and listening to French – this will expand your knowledge of the language!’
Alexei Bradley-Malcolm, Year 12

The Alliance Francaise Berthe Mouchette Competition
This year, we had a prize-winner for the French poetry competition, Lynette Yoshida in 9Z. Her outstanding performance in the poetry competition, got her a special mention from the jury. The Awards Night took place on Tuesday, 28 November at the St Kilda Town Hall. During the evening all students who won were invited to recite their poems of whom many accepted. Bravo, Lynette for your achievement in the competition this year!

Looking Ahead to 2024
As we bid farewell to 2023, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities that the upcoming year holds. Next year, we will be focusing on further developing students' language skills through a series of innovative activities and programs. Our aim is to create an environment that not only promotes linguistic proficiency but also nurtures a love for languages and effective communication. We are committed to continually enhance the educational experience for all students, and we have exciting plans in store for 2024.

The LOTE Department would like to thank the whole school community for their continued support, and we wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

Delphine Marie
LOTE Learning Area Coordinator


Director of Sport Report

EMR Year 7 Boys Basketball – Friday 20 October
Mr. Boarotto and the boys travelled to Dandenong Stadium with confidence after their dominant display in the Mullum Division round. The boys put up a very strong fight, losing by one point in their first game against Ringwood. This would ultimately prove to be the difference. They easily accounted for Vermont and Blackburn in their next two games, but ultimately finished second in their pool, narrowly missing out on qualification for the knockout rounds.

An outstanding effort – well done to Huey Brown, Jake Bugeja, Jack Dvorak, Joshua Guer, Rian Keating, Darcy Moreland, Aarav Sharma and Orlando Thea.

EMR Year 7 Boys Volleyball – Monday 23 October
Mr. Vitale and the boys once again travelled to Dandenong Stadium to compete in the EMR Volleyball event. Although the boys competed hard, they were unable to win any of their three games against Ringwood, Mount Waverley or East Doncaster. As always, to simply be representing Ashwood High School at this round is an outstanding feat.

Congratulations and well done to Jasper Balmer, Resifalo Belmarco-Alves, Huey Brown, Jake Bugeja, Harry Cutfield, Hudson Harper, Amzar Kamarudzaman, Rian Keating, Nickson Lay and Jack Newton.

EMR Year 8 Boys Baseball – Thursday 2 November
Mr. Grbac and the boys travelled to Gilbert Park with a pep in their step having been training consistently in the lead up to this event. Captain Jonathan Ryan had the boys ready to go and well drilled. Due to a reduced number of teams, the boys were lucky enough to play 4 games. They started with a close loss to eventual champion Blackburn, followed by strong wins over Ringwood and Balwyn, before finishing the day needing to win against Mount Waverley. In a close tussle the boys eventually went down. Another fantastic effort from these students – Zachary Brockway, Lachlan Bugeja, Mitchell Chin, True Drezner, Alexander Forgione, Kaveesha Gunasekara, James Karalexis, Christopher Lillywhite, Beli Ng, Jonathan Ryan, Noah Sperryn-Jones, Nathan Thea and Yianni Touloupis.

EMR Year 8 Girls Tennis – Friday 10 November
Mr McMahon and the 5 girls travelled to Ringwood Central Tennis Club to do battle against the other schools. The girls competed hard with some strong play all around, but ultimately were unable to progress any further. The highlight of their day being a cheeky trip to McDonald’s to celebrate their achievement of making it to the EMR round. Well done to Akira Hughes, Isla Minton, Bella Poynter-Rabey, Asha Ramirez White and Lily Wingate.

Years 7 and 8 Interschool Sport (Gala Day) – Wednesday 15 November
The final event on the interschool sporting calendar for 2023 was the Year 7&8 Gala Day. With some “non-traditional” sports on offer, there were a huge number of participants competing in the four sports of Tag Rugby, European Handball, Futsal and Ultimate Frisbee. Even though there was no ‘next round’ for the winners, all the Ashwood students competed like there was. A fantastic effort by all staff and students involved. An outstanding way to cap an outstanding year of interschool sport.

Tom Grbac
Director of Sport



Student Culture

The Badminton Club started this year, to provide an opportunity for students to get some indoor exercise and mix with other students. The Club has been popular with students and we have typically had 50+ students attend each week. The Club has run two weekly sessions on Monday and Friday from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in the gym.

The Club caters for any level from complete beginners to experienced players. The students have gelled quickly and enjoyed getting together each week. They have improved their standard, stamina and coordination throughout the year. The warmer weather of the last few weeks has resulted in some quite hot and sweaty students (and staff) at the end of the session – a great way to finish the school day.

The Club will re-start early in Term 1, 2024 – details will be sent out through Compass early next year and all students will be welcome to sign up and arrange consent from their parent or carer.

Best wishes to everyone who participanted for a restful and peaceful holiday, and I look forward to playing with you again next year.

Dr Bruce Verity
Badminton Club



International Student Program

Orientation Program
The orientation program for new students commencing Term 1 2024 was conducted on Tuesday 17 October and Monday 4 December 2023.  This year, we introduced an entry exam for English and Science as a part of the orientation program. The exam was introduced to encourage students studying at language schools to improve their English and better prepare for their transition to our school. The exam results helped us identify students at academic risk, so we can implement intervention strategies as early as possible to support a smooth transition to a suitable year level at our school.

The program was well planned, and positive feedback has been received from the students and their parents.

Virtual School Tour Program
On Wednesday 8 November 2023, the Department of Education sent a film crew to make a video for Ashwood High School to promote our International Student Program.

A special thank you to Dr Brett Moore for his support to the filming project and a big thank you to Ms Sarah Reynolds for coordination of the program. I would also like to thank Mr Liam Headland, Ms Christina Siomos, Ms Sachael Miller, Mr Brian Lanigan and Dr Bruce Verity for their kind support to be a part of the video.

Well done and thank you to the students below who made a great contribution to the filming project. They are indeed great models of Ashwood High School ‘CHOIR’ Values.  

  • Senior School Captains for 2024, Miles Guy and Emma Hew
  • International Student Captain for 2024, Jason Suryanata
  • Middle School Captains for 2023, Amy Noy and Gilbert McCann
  • Class of 8Z
  • String Orchestra band members
  • International students, Anya Zhu, Viet Ha Nguyen, Smey Pytou, Xuan Lu, Qiyue Guan, Kyle Vu, Runfeng Li, Jiyuan Zhang, Yanrui Ding, Xinyan Guan, Felix Xu, Bangguo Liu, Chengyuan Han, Cyrus Mak and Tara Liu
  • Basketball lovers, Aarav Sharma, Lachlan Schmidt, Lachlan Bugejia, Halle Norton and Anjali Rao

On Thursday 7 December 2023, the International Education Division within the Department hosted the Virtual School Tour Showcase event for a group of agents overseas. Dr Brett Moore and Yonghong Williams attended the event together with our Year 8 students Ameer Bux, Jane Lee and Linh Nugyen. Our students did an excellent job in answering the questions from the agents. Well done, Ameer, Jane and Linh!

We will share our virtual school tour video with our school community once it is published.

Our annual homestay training was scheduled on Tuesday 12 December 2023. Our Assistant Principal Sarah Reynolds and International Student Manager Yonghong Williams provided Child Safe Training and updated the homestay hosts with new requirements and policies. A token gift was also presented to the homestay hosts to show our appreciation to their support to our students.

Yonghong Williams
International Student Manager

Library Report

New Books
Work in the Library is continually motivated toward providing access to the best available resources to meet the shifting needs and interests of our diverse learning community. Throughout the year, the focus has been on updating and improving our collection of printed books. This year, in consultation with staff and students, 233 new, carefully selected, fiction and non-fiction titles have been added to the shelves. And there are many more due for delivery in the new year, including the complete, hugely popular, frequently requested, Attack on Titan, manga series.

Some recent arrivals

This year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge set a new record at Ashwood High School with eight students successfully completing the challenge.

Congratulations to Aayati, Ava, Ava, Daisy, Leah, Tilly, Yunal, and Zara. It is not easy to read 15 books in just under nine months. Each successful entrant earned 30 points for their house and received a badge, and a certificate signed by the current, and past Victorian Premiers.

The challenge will run again in 2024. All Year 7 to 10 students are encouraged to participate, and advised to start reading now.

Holiday Reading
If you are looking for something to read over the holidays, try the free online resources linked to the “Online” section of our library webpage. However, the best source of great holiday reading material is your local public library. As well as their print collections public libraries have a wide selection of eBooks and eAudiobooks easily accessible online from home. Membership is totally free.

A safe and happy holiday to all.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney


Parents & Friends Network Committee