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In Term 2 Pembroke’s second Indigenous round was held, coinciding with National Reconciliation Week. Our students were the initial driving force in bringing this round into being. While the inaugural round involved Netball and Football, we now include all the Firsts’ sports teams playing during the week: Soccer, Rugby, Table Tennis, Squash, Hockey, Basketball and Badminton along with Netball and Football.
The ceremony for the round included a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony by Allan Sumner, music from Phil Allen and a speech from student leader Cassie. Cassie explained the significance of the uniforms as follows:
The Indigenous sports uniforms that we proudly wear today were initiated and designed by Pembroke Indigenous students. They show our respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture, as well as our fellow students and the Pembroke community, and recognise the importance of reconciliation.
The boomerang signifies our strength and determination to fight on in any situation, giving it our all and trying our best. The blue and white inner circles represent the strong connection and belief we share for one another—we are a team. The wavy green lines connecting each circle represent reaching out to the wider community and understanding the cultural attachment.
Overall, this design is about identity, strength and accomplishment. We as a School understand the cultural attachment of Aboriginal people to their land.
Our School’s student leaders have been working closely with staff and community members in developing our Reconciliation Action Plan. Ms Davis, Indigenous Student Coordinator, has been a key driver of this project. I encourage you to access the plan on our website.
Pembroke is a school that not only has an excellent record of academic success but also develops fine young people who are confident, capable and considerate in character. The values of this education are grounded in the Objects of the Constitution and the School Aims. It is the responsibility of School governance to preserve and improve the quality and opportunity of that education in a secure financial setting.
Governance at Pembroke: a snapshot
We are an independent school, an incorporated Association, with responsibility for our own governance and leadership and the freedom to establish our own identity and culture. The Constitution is our ultimate source of authority.
The School Board is the body to whom the Constitution grants the governance and control of the School, including the appointment of the Principal, to whom is delegated responsibility for implementing policy and managing the School. The Board is assisted by Board Committees and the Foundation Board.
The Board and the Principal: governance and management
The pivotal role of the Board lies in its crucial responsibility for the appointment of the Principal.
The stability and strength of the relationship between the Board and the Principal, that is between governance and management, is critical to the health and forward momentum of the School. At Pembroke this relationship functions as an open and candid partnership, with the Principal seeking advice from the Board and the Board supporting the Principal. The Principal reports to the Board and Board Committees and responds to questions at their meetings. The separation of governance and operational matters is well understood, with the Principal being responsible for operational matters. The current Board is fortunate to work with a Principal of the educational calibre and integrity of Mr Thomson.
Four plans that steer governance
The broad-ranging Pembroke Improvement Plan (PIP) seeks to develop the School while preserving its strengths and values. The Principal reports against it and this year is conducting a comprehensive review, extending its reach into the future.
The Facilities Master Plan (FMP) takes a bold conceptual overview of the three campuses and proposes how future needs can be accommodated on the existing footprint. The successful acquisition of the large Shipsters Road site in 2015 and the consequent planned Middle School Development represent an exciting spatial liberation.
The Foundation Investment Strategy is a culmination of strengthening our fundraising structures to build greater financial independence for the School and enable better resourcing of facilities and scholarships.
A new Strategic Plan that overarches these three complementary plans and anticipates future change and challenge is being developed.
The role of the Board: what does it do?
The Board is responsible for sustaining a high-quality multifaceted Pembroke education that meets the needs of contemporary students, parents and teachers.
The educational landscape is dynamic. The Board has an ongoing role in re-evaluating strategic direction. Programs must be enriched and facilities enhanced in each student generation.
The Board must ensure the enduring financial viability of the School—that risk is managed and compliance requirements are met. It must build financial independence and respond to economic and demographic challenges to enrolment.
The Board meets monthly and the agenda is partly structured and predictable: academic results are reported in February, the financial statements and Annual Report are adopted in May, the budget is presented in November and WHS data are reported quarterly. The Principal’s monthly reports address strategic and operational matters and typically cover capital projects, enrolments, staff movements, curriculum, government funding, regulation and events.
The Board’s schedule must also be responsive and mindful of strategic matters, addressing challenges in a timely manner, and getting more information from management and, where appropriate, high-level professional advice from external advisors. Areas of focus in recent years have included reviewing the Constitution; developing a risk management framework; taking institutional responsibility for student care; whole-School assessment; restructure of the Foundation and its fundraising entities; and recruitment, induction and education of Board members.
Periodically, senior staff present on topical issues. Most recently Mr Kym Lawry presented statistical profiling of our teaching staff. He highlighted the high level of opportunity for, and involvement of, staff in professional development, as well as the evolution of the Pembroke Academy, which is targeted at providing an optimal learning environment for students.
Specific-purpose planning workshops are convened in February and September. They have encompassed the future of education, changing the Constitution, developing philanthropy and managing a major capital project.
Membership of the Board: getting it right
Education is our core concern, but there is no doubt that contemporary school governance must have access to a considerable suite of skills and expertise, and be educated in governance, to ensure that it meets its responsibilities.
The current Board is diverse in capability and cohesive in purpose. Our aim is to have a membership that, while not a representative model, involves parents and old scholars who understand and are engaged with the School and who between them possess the required experience.
The 12-member Board comprises 3 members elected by the Association, 4 appointed by the Board, and 2 each by the Parents and Friends Association and the Pembroke Old Scholars Association. The Principal is a non-voting member.
The fields of experience considered valuable include: corporate and not-for-profit governance, policy development, legal, finance and audit, business and commercial, building construction, project management and planning, information and communication technology, education and early childhood services, community relations, philanthropy and fundraising, funds management, marketing and public relations, risk management, WHS and research.
Given this somewhat daunting list, we are fortunate that our community is a splendidly varied and willing resource.
Board committees: who are they?
Each committee is chaired by a board member, and committee membership comprises other board members, the Principal, community members with appropriate expertise and senior staff with relevant involvement. The work of the Board Committees is strengthened by their close collaboration with School management.
The Governance Committee was at the forefront in developing the 2016 amendments to the Constitution that better aligned the governance structure with contemporary needs and practice. It has ongoing responsibility for review of the Board’s policies, and has devised a skills matrix and a new board membership induction policy. Its current challenge is facilitating development of a new Strategic Plan. Mr Garry Le Duff is the Chair.
The Finance and Audit Committee’s regular business relates to the budget and financial statements, monitoring of major expenses, and complex financial judgments aimed at protecting enrolments and educational outcomes. Mr Chris Meulengraf is the Chair.
The Foundation Board has delegated responsibility for raising money to assist the educational, pastoral and physical development of the School, as well as the administration of established funds. Mr David Minns is the Chair.
The Planning & Properties Committee is the key player in the oversight of development of facilities. It provides excellent professional advice to the Board across the business of enhancing our built environment. Ms Melissa Mellen is the Chair.
The value of the embedded expertise on the Board Committees has been especially evident in the complex and many faceted process of planning for the major venture that is the Middle School Development on the Shipsters Road site. The Development Assessment Commission (DAC) consent granted in April was the culmination of many months of concentrated work by the Planning and Properties Committee, working with the Board, School management and external consultants. The Governance Committee ensures the appropriate policy framework, and the Finance Committee is securing responsible financing. The Foundation Board has a clear and active focus on imminent capital needs and is developing philanthropy and fundraising supported by the Capital Campaign Committee.
The Board exists to serve the Pembroke community, and in turn relies on the service of individual members to sustain its operation.
Enquiries regarding Board or Committee membership may be made to Board Secretary Ms Wendy Wills via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair, Pembroke School Board
Generations in Jazz
The Generations in Jazz Festival was a major focus of preparation leading to Term 2 this year. Pembroke departed on Friday morning 5 May with two Big Bands and an enthusiastic Jazz Choir. Fifty-six students and 5 staff attended the exciting, inspiring and very tiring weekend. After a smooth trip we arrived at our motel in Mt Gambier, before travelling to The Barn—‘Jazz Central’ for the weekend—where 5,000 students from 200 different schools created an amazing ‘vibe’ during the festival. Guest artists as diverse as US Emmy Award winning pianist/saxophonist/composer/band leader Gordon Goodwin, Finnish pianist extraordinaire Marian Petrescu, trombone royalty Wycliffe Gordon alongside James Morrison, Ross Irwin, Matt Jodrell, Darren Percival, Jazzmeia Horn and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra meant that we were in for some outstanding entertainment and education over the weekend. All three Pembroke Ensembles performed very strongly and were placed in the top half of their competitive divisions without securing any prizes. All students came away with a satisfied feeling regarding their performances, but none more so than Drummer Simon Possingham (Yr 11) who was named the Superband Drummer in Division 3—a massive honour! An inspirational weekend that should not be missed!
Hot on the heels of Generations and during ‘jazz season’ we were privileged to have ARIA Award winning a capella vocal group The Idea of North as our guest artists for the Jazz Cabaret. Superb singing and musicianship was on display and wowed the audience with joyous musical expression. Really strong performances from the Years 11/12 Jazz Band certainly attracted attention, and the String Orchestra’s rendition of Michael Buble’s Sayin Somethin’ Stupid as they accompanied Luke Thompson and Jo Lawry from TION was a highlight for me. The Junior School Concert Band, Senior Concert Band, Big Bands 1 and 2, Jazz Choir and String Orchestra all gave strong and entertaining performances throughout a relaxing and enjoyable evening. The next one will sell out, so don’t hesitate!
On Wednesday 31 May 23 students performed a variety of instrumental and vocal solo pieces at the first Student Recitals evening for the year. An appreciative audience of approximately 70 people enjoyed the performances from students aged 8–18 as they performed their pieces with musical skill and flair.
On Wednesday 7 June the Middle and Senior School Ensembles, Concert Band, Middle School Orchestra, Pembroke Choir, String Orchestra, and Guitar, Percussion and Saxophone Ensembles presented their performances to an appreciative audience of approximately 220 people in DY Hall. A stunning performance by the Guitar Ensemble set the tone early in the evening, and the other ensembles responded appropriately. Beautiful and energised singing from the Pembroke Choir had everyone smiling as we moved through the program. The Friends of Music provided a welcoming atmosphere for both students and families on the Balcony, and arranged both food and beverages to keep everyone happy! The Middle School Orchestra played particularly well and presented their conductor, Mr Joyner, with a very large ‘pencil’ as a gift and some very kind words to mark his last concert with them.
It has been a very busy but rewarding semester in Music at Pembroke.
Director of Music
In April our Year 12 IB Theatre students presented a powerful collaborative self-devised production entitled Aleppo in the Black Box of the Girton Arts Precinct. This production used political theatre techniques to highlight the horrific experiences of women caught up in the devastating Syrian civil war, particularly focusing on the 2016 offensive on Aleppo.
Inspired by the devising techniques of British Theatre Company DV8, the class researched testimonials from Syrian women living through the horror of this war, and used a combination of direct monologues and physical theatre techniques to tell their stories. The three characters included a young woman who was married off by her parents at only 13 years old to protect her from the violence of Assad’s forces, a mother whose 8 year old daughter Reynad was caught up and killed during the bombing of Aleppo, and a young woman who refused to accept the path of oppression and joined the Women’s Resistance to fight for freedom.
The class of three performed the roles of the women and also worked in back-stage roles to bring the production to life. Tiasha synthesised class research to write the moving script. Catherine used her technical skills to create a powerful sound and audiovisual design that evoked the horrific sounds and images of the war, and cleverly incorporated a powerful political speech by Angelina Jolie protesting against rape and violence as tools of modern warfare. Hayley choreographed imaginative movement sequences to bring the women’s stories to life, and designed an imaginative set of chalk dust to convey the destruction of war and the bleak, monochromatic landscape that it evoked.
For young women growing up in Australia the Syrian war seems far away. Yet, as of February this year 207,000 civilians had lost their lives in Syria and over 45,000 of them were women and children. In developing this moving production the IB Theatre students demonstrated the importance of engaging with the real injustices and suffering experienced by women across the world in order to better appreciate those freedoms that must be protected.
Money raised from ticket sales was donated directly to Amnesty International.
Head of Arts
In Term 2 the Year 12 SACE Drama class presented a powerful performance of the Australian play Eyes to the Floor, written by Alana Valentine. Directed by Mrs Reynolds and performed over four nights in Wright Hall during 24–27 May, it told the story of the Hay Institution for Girls, which operated in NSW’s Riverina region from 1961 until 1974. A maximum security prison, it was an inhumane, isolated place known for its extreme discipline. The adolescent prisoners there experienced physical and emotional abuse and were expected to conform to ‘silent treatment’, keeping their eyes to the floor at all times. A theatre piece that raises awareness about a disturbing aspect of Australia’s past, Eyes to the Floor reminded us of how many times human beings have demonstrated an alarming capacity for brutality towards one another, and raised important universal questions about crime and punishment and the doubtful effectiveness of institutions as places of rehabilitation.
Subtle, mature direction by Mrs Reynolds successfully highlighted the bleak struggle of the characters, employing ranging Brechtian techniques of alienation to present this political theatre piece. This was most effective in the powerful ensemble work, which drew heavily on physical theatre to present a moving array of visual metaphors—notably in the staging of the moments of extreme violence. While the production began with strong images of collective oppression, Reynolds directed the play subtly and slowly to reveal the individual tragedies of the girls and the remarkable triumph of the human spirit as they struggled to maintain their identities despite every effort to dehumanise them. Particularly memorable was Hannah’s evocative portrayal of Jane who struggles secretly to maintain her identity despite being renamed Joanne, and Caitlin’s disturbing characterisation of Daniella who found solace in her secret childlike friendship with a dead moth.
The image of the moth is taken up in the powerful publicity images of Henry, and clever costume design by Alex who watermarked the bleak prison uniforms with subtle moth-like imagery to reflect the suppressed inner beauty of the characters. Another clever symbol recurred in the use of the light globes that each girl swung as a strong symbol of their own life force. Referencing both isolation and torture, these globes were often abruptly switched off as each girl, like the moths, struggled to find their light amid the darkness of the prison. This image was cleverly developed by Georgina in her evocative front-of-house design in which hung light globes suffocated in cement, reflecting the oppression of the girls. In contrast with the prisoners, the guards appeared as heartless, brutal oppressors. Andrew and James exposed the capacity for violence in ordinary Australians given power, reminding us of the Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments that showed how power really does corrupt.
Commendation is due to all who worked on the production but especially to the students. Their creativity and effort was evident in every aspect of the production, from the effective costume, hair and makeup design to the evocative live music, brilliant lighting, seamless stage management, informative dramaturgy and stunning front-of-house design, which together created a truly memorable show shedding light on a hidden horror in Australia’s past.
Head of Arts
‘By night one way, by day another. This shall be the norm. Until you find true love’s first kiss, and then take love’s true form’. Producing Broadway Junior’s Shrek proved to be an experience full of singing, dancing, laughing and a lot of gas! The Year 5 students put on three spectacular performances for their friends and family at Scott Theatre, University of Adelaide, on 22 and 23 June. They thoroughly enjoyed wearing their individualised costumes, using the microphones and performing on a professional stage. I would like to thank the Year 5 teachers, the Junior School staff, Mrs Riley, Ms Corbett, Ms Lynelle and also Miss Van-den-Ende for all their support and assistance during the rehearsals and preparation for the musical. I would also like to thank all the Year 5 students for bringing such passion, dedication and energy to both our rehearsals and the final performances. Congratulations, Year 5—let your Freak Flags continue to fly!
Junior School Performing Arts Teacher
Neuromyths and brain-based learning by Martin Westwell*
Last year, the makers of the brain-training product Luminosity were fined two million dollars for false advertising claiming, among other things, that users would perform better at school.
There’s a long history of people using the seed of a scientific idea and mutating it so that it grows into a meme that spreads and reproduces. The mutant meme bears little resemblance to the original healthy seed but thrives because someone’s nurturing it to make money and the original science makes it sound plausible. The mutant idea promises a quick fix or at least a simple way to deal with a complex problem.
So called educational “neuromyths” have some of these mutant characteristics. Take the notion that a child can be identified as a left or right-brain thinker. This takes solid science about how parts of the brain are specialized and necessary for specific thinking processes, some of which are on the left side of the brain and some on the right. It then incorrectly assumes that because these parts of the brain are necessary then they are sufficient. It forgets the enormous interconnectivity between brain cells and that for someone to understand something simple, e.g. a picture of a face, requires many brain regions, from left and right, working together. The final twist subverts teachers’ and parents’ understanding that children do have preference, at any given time, as to how they express themselves whether that be, for example, artistically, technically or analytically. Identifying children as left or right brain thinkers makes a complex situation seem simple and this never works. Giving in to temptation to teach the left-brain thinkers in their so-called preferred learning style and the right-brain thinkers in theirs, is likely to do more harm than good.
This caricature has all the real ingredients of a neuromyth: some good science, an accidental or wilful misinterpretation of the evidence, plausibility to educators and some apparent value. Then educational consultants take the idea and start selling it.
… and so it goes. I recall a presentation I made to colleagues 6 years ago about the marketing of educational ideas, warning that schools and educational institutions are low-hanging fruit for an emerging and voracious education industry. We were ripe for the picking if we did not net our fruit against fatuous claims masked as significant research. The allure of simple solutions to complex and, dare I say, in some cases near-impossible levels of understanding about learning, except for the most single-mindedly immersed expert, was too much to withstand. The research craze just took hold across the world and bagged the fruit to excess. When ‘mutant’ ideas, in this case ‘neuromyths’, take hold a great deal of damage can be done, particularly in schools.
I tend towards an unsubstantiated theory that most of contemporary educational reform is in the grip of a market in educational solutions, selling their wares to overly eager and undiscriminating schools and systems of education who are very anxious that they may be missing something, and to unsuspecting parents and teachers experiencing the same anxiety and who want desperately to do the right thing by the children in their care. I have written about this before. There is truth in it but there is also truth in the idea that we need to remain fully alive to the changes around us and how they impact education. How do we know what is good education?
The problem plaguing much contemporary research and public policy stems from a misconception that school education is the only key able to unlock an uncertain future. The growth and urgency of the market in educational ideas follows, and fuels, this misconception. It is a self-serving market strategy that has in turn become a societal anxiety.
School is fundamental to the formation of young people. Schools do deliver an education based on the knowledge and skills, and characteristics and values, that our community believes should be known and encouraged. Schools underpin and support the formation of the habits, skills and attitudes essential to encourage a knowledge of and curiosity about the world and a passion for learning over a lifetime. It would be foolish to underestimate their role. But they are only and have only ever been part of the picture, and the consistent inability for policy makers to acknowledge school education as part of a broader community context heightens the anxiety.
What advice is there, really, on how we can avoid the pitfalls explored in the abovementioned article? What are some fundamental principles of the educational experience that we apply at Pembroke for 3–18 year olds that help remind us all to avoid deliberately overstated claims and ideas? I have a few I’ve thought about that may help to provide a filter and ‘myth’ detector, and I have distilled them into seven ideas:
1. Love children abundantly and knowledgeably: know that there is no greater impact on the positive development of human potential than experiencing love—we all have a responsibility to do this and it’s about support, security and belonging.
2. Consider knowledge and learning as essential but their acquisition as gradual and not, in fact, inevitable—we learn and gain knowledge to our dying day and there are some things we will never learn.
3. Appreciate and enjoy school as offering much more than assessment results alone—we all know that worthwhile learning occurs everywhere, all the time, so validate it as no less important because it may either not be assessed, or assessed in a different way.
4. Relish the opportunities that children are given to be so challenged that they fail, and then help them try again—the experience of falling short is crucial to healthy development and, as an adult,
articulating your responses to those experiences is of infinite value to school- age children.
5. Don’t think of the future as the generation to come but think of it as now and, in so doing, be responsible for shaping the future; we can too often make the future either an excuse for inaction (it’s not in my power) or a justification for overreaction (urgency to change in case we don’t keep up)— neither is sufficient.
6. Our job is to encourage students to independence and a mature, knowledgeable understanding of their interdependence. While also focusing on the healthy development of the self, it is too much to expect student maturation to be uniform in place and time, but it is important to provide the opportunity for it. Having said that I am constantly surprised how uniform growing up is across cultures and time.
7. Hard work, concentrated effort and time make considerable differences to the quantity, rate and quality of student learning—each comes more easily to some than to others.
These seven ideas may be helpful when trying to consider education in the broader context of Pembroke sharing in and being part of the development of young people.
Back to the original story that prompted this piece—where do brain games fit into such a concept? They don’t, really. So, we need to change the perception that they are somehow special, different and separate, or a product to be purchased. This is damaging to the market but good for school education. Every day at Pembroke is a brain-game day, as it is at home. The brain develops at an extraordinary rate and, frankly, in a miraculous manner, exciting and baffling to even the cleverest in the neuroscientific community. The brain is brilliantly complex and will defy any attempt to corner it neatly in an educational market for self-improvement—frankly speaking, it’s far too powerful and valuable for that.
*Martin Westwell is the Strategic Professor in the Science of Learning at Flinders University. He recently undertook research in South Australian schools demonstrating that brain-training does not transfer into increased performance at school
The Shipsters Road Project
The Principal, Luke Thomson, has described the first part of 2017 as a time of quiet excitement and enormous gratitude. This was echoed by Foundation Director Amanda Bourchier in an opening welcome to donors at the Shipsters Road Supporters event in March. There is a growing sense of progress which can only be realised by working together. Donors surrounded the model of the Shipsters Road Project (made by a University of South Australia student) while Luke Thomson provided an update on the project’s progress, noting that planning approval is currently being sought via the State Development Commission.
From the many staff involved in creating possible scenarios of ‘what can be possible’ in the Shipsters Road building, to parents who have for the first time contributed to the Building Fund, there is a powerful sense of the bigger picture which continues to strengthen the future of education at Pembroke.
With similar vigour the Capital Campaign Team has continued to function at a high level. We are privileged to have a busy, committed and very hardworking group of current and past parents communicating up-to-date details and important information about the Shipsters Road Project across the School community. The Capital Campaign Team are happily answering an infinite range of queries; for example, why we need a Capital Campaign and how the students will benefit, along with all the different ways in which the community can support the School, both now and in the future.
Resting on the School’s Aims, the Shipsters Road Project projects Pembroke further into connecting with the world of learning, enterprise and innovation. Just as ‘ideas matter’, the community matters, and with an interested and proactive community assisting in whatever way they can, the hard yards associated with bringing big ideas to fruition shift in an energised, collaborative quest.
It seems that not a week has gone by in 2017 without reference being made to the Pembroke Producers. Requests continue to pop up for recipes for the homemade produce that graced the stall at the 2016 Parents and Friends Spring Festival, and discussions on weather conditions and harvest yields are now had with a new recognition and appreciation of where different Pembroke families live and how they spend their days.
The muster of Pembroke Producers at the very successful festival was outstanding; crates of fresh fruit and vegetables, lamb, beef, pasta, sauces, jams, chutneys, cheese, nuts, wine and coffee were among the abundant and impressive displays.
Thank you again to all producers in the Pembroke community for your generosity in donating truly fine produce and for joining the Pembroke Producers network. We are close to announcing the next phase of Pembroke Producers and preparing for another event later in 2017.
Pembroke School’s own patch of productive potential, Old Watulunga, continues to grow, with construction of the Environmental Learning Centre, our first building entirely funded through Pembroke community support, nearing completion. The new commercial kitchen and indoor and outdoor dining areas create a multipurpose centre for the busy Outdoor Education programs enjoyed year-round by our students. It is also expected to be in demand for community events.
The Garden of Earthly Delights situated adjacent to the new Environmental Learning Centre continues to flourish, providing an excellent educational platform for students. Manager David Nelson’s broad and expert knowledge and superb craftsmanship are reflected in every aspect of the garden. We look forward to inviting Pembroke Producers and supporters to tour Old Watulunga later this year.
The Pembroke Endowment Fund attracts donations that allow us to support many student activities and initiatives across the School through the Foundation Grants program. We are most grateful to our regular donors for your non-tax-deductible donations to this fund in support of Pembroke students.
Approved grants for 2017 include:
Endowed Speech Night Prizes and Awards
The Generations In Jazz Music Tour
The Indigenous Education Program
The Marree Aboriginal School / Pembroke School Exchange
The Parents and Friends Association Ball – Early Bird Prize
The Pembroke School Indigenous Round Sports Week
The Unreel Film-making Program
The Visual Arts Exhibition Program
The Year 12 Margaret Bennett SACE and IB Art Awards
We sincerely thank and acknowledge all members of the Pembroke community who continue to donate in support of Pembroke School students via in-kind support, one-off donations or by pledging to spread your donation over several years.
Many opportunities exist to support the School via funds offering both tax deductions for donations and non-deductible gifts:
The Pembroke Building Fund (tax deductible)
Pembroke Endowment Fund
Pembroke Cultural Trust
Pembroke Scholarship Fund (tax deductible
Pembroke Exceptional Circumstances Fund (tax deductible)
Pembroke Library Fund (tax deductible)
2016 Leavers – Alumni Donation
We sincerely thank the following parents and guardians of 2016 Leavers who have generously donated their enrolment deposit in their child’s name. All 2016 alumni donations (tax deductible) will be applied directly to the Shipsters Road Project Capital Campaign. We look forward to acknowledging your support and to welcoming you and your children back as donors to tour this amazing facility upon completion.
2016 Year 12 Leavers Donations
Mr D.W. Beger and Ms E. Marinucci
Mr A.P. and Mrs M.C. Bond
Mrs C.S. and Mr D.C. Boorman
Mrs M.S. and Mr A.J. Braggs
Mrs V.L. Burns and Mr M.P. Burns
Mrs O.M. Caon and Mr D. Caon
Mrs K.A. and Dr S.A. Carruthers
Ms S.K. Cretan
Ms J.L. Crowhurst
Dr N. Douvartzidis and Ms P.M. Ross
Mr M.J. and Mrs L.A. Fienemann
Mr Z. Han and Mrs K. Cheng
Mr S.J. and Mrs S.E. Hatcher
Mr G.A. and Mrs A. Heynen
Mr J.P. and Mrs K.M. Holland
Mr P.J. and Mrs C.R. Holmes
Dr P. Horton and Dr A. Pring
Dr C.O. Jackson and Ms A. King
Mr M.A. and Mrs K. Kuchel
Dr J.L. and Dr J.S. Linn
Ms X. Liu and Mr D. Li
Mr G. Marini
Mrs M.A. and Mr A.D. McInnes
Mr W.G. and Mrs S.L. Natt
Mr S.J. and Mrs K.M. Pengelly
Mr D. and Ms T. Pham
Ms M.L. Pippos
Mrs R. and Mr F. Rasheed
Mr P.M. and Mrs G.L. Read
Dr W.W. and Dr J.E. Richards
Mr G.T. and Mrs T.C. Sampson
Ms R. Soon and Mr Y. Chin
Mrs A. Turner and Mr I.A. Turner
Mrs K.A. and Dr R. Van Dissel
Mrs N. Wang and Mr X. Sun
Dr S. Wang and Dr X. Song
Mr M.J. and Mrs M.M. Wundenberg
Our hardworking and enthusiastic Capital Campaign and Development teams are ready to answer any questions you may have in relation to The Shipsters Road Project.
Capital Campaign Team
Mr Nick Ross
Mrs A Naylor
Mrs K Carruthers
Mr P Shute
Mrs K Carrocci
Mrs F Tam
Mr S Elvish
Dr J Teo
Mrs P Mills
Mrs J Zhu
Ms A Bourchier
Mrs S Williams
Mrs C Holmes
If you are interested in joining the Capital Campaign Team, Pembroke Producers or Pembroke Foundation, or would like to know more about the ways in which you can be involved in Pembroke community development, please email Development@Pembroke.sa.edu.au or phone the Development Office on +61 8 8366 6830.
On 5 April 2017 the School community lost our beloved friend and benefactress, Girton old scholar (1934–39) and Foundation Patron Mrs Margaret Bennett.
Margaret started school at Girton in February 1934 along with 146 girls under the leadership of the then new Headmistress Miss Bishop. Margaret very much respected and admired Miss Bishop, describing her as ‘intelligent, dignified, empathetic, practical, feisty and fun-loving’. Perhaps it is not coincidental that all these traits were also evident in Margaret Bennett.
Margaret especially loved her years at Girton, enjoying the Arts, particularly English and writing. She had several short stories and poems published in the annual Girton magazine over her 6 years at the School and was immensely proud of these achievements. Margaret also excelled on the sports field, earning a place in A and B Grade Tennis and Basketball teams. She later became a skilled and formidable golfer.
Of great importance to Margaret were the lifelong friendships forged at the School; many friendships were rekindled years later in the early 1990s when she returned to Girton old scholar events, and many new ones were formed from 1996 when her involvement with Pembroke School began.
Margaret had enjoyed close relationships with her younger brothers Philip and John Sellars who entered King’s College as scholars in 1936 and 1939, respectively, and would often comment that it was only natural that she had formed strong bonds with Pembroke as their families had such strong relationships with both founding schools.
In 1996 Margaret was invited to join the Pembroke School Foundation. At the time the Foundation was preparing for the launch of a capital campaign to fund the Senior School Resource Centre on the Girton Campus. In 1997 she joined the Foundation as a major donor to this campaign and so began a magnificent association of support for and engagement with Pembroke School and its students over 20+ years.
In 2000 Margaret created the Margaret Bennett Art Awards to be awarded annually to Year 12 Visual Art students in SACE and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. In establishing the awards Margaret wished to recognise ‘the quality and diversity of works produced by our students studying Visual Art at the highest level and acknowledging the culmination of years of instruction from exceptional Junior, Middle and Senior School Visual Art teachers’.
The Middle School Resource Centre Capital Campaign was launched in 2001. Margaret was particularly interested in this significant addition to the fabric of the King’s Campus and strongly supported the campaign. The Philip and John Sellars Gallery in the Middle School Resource Centre was named in acknowledgment of Margaret’s benefaction and she was honoured as Foundation Patron.
In 2006 the School Council completed their new Strategic Plan, which formalised the fundraising objectives of the School: to raise funds to assist the educational, pastoral and physical development of the School. Margaret’s keen interest in and ongoing commitment to the Arts at Pembroke motivated her to support the next capital project, the Girton Arts Precinct / Dorothy Yates Hall development.
In recognition of Margaret’s tremendous benefaction over 10 years, School Council bestowed the honour of Life Membership of the School on Margaret in May 2007.
In mid 2008, aged 84, Margaret enthusiastically joined students and staff on the annual Marree Aboriginal / Pembroke Schools Exchange. She held a lifelong love of rural and outback Australia, and travelling with the students to Marree and camping on Lake Eyre and sleeping under the stars was a highlight. Margaret particularly enjoyed evenings around the campfire, surrounded by students discussing their lives and aspirations. She commented at the time that it reminded her of days as a young girl on travels with her father associated with his work in the meat industry.
Student activities on the 2008 exchange included a collaborative film and soundtrack reflecting the students’ perspectives and ambitions for reconciliation in their lifetime. Written, directed and filmed entirely by Marree and Pembroke students, the film was submitted for the Australia-wide Generation One competition. The film was the overall winner and earned the exchange program a cash prize, and Margaret was delighted.
Following this experience Margaret became further immersed in supporting programs at Pembroke. The Unreel Film program for Year 9 students was established and later expanded to Junior, Middle and Senior Drama curricula. She ensured that the Marree Exchange program was funded in perpetuity. Margaret also supported the Equestrian program and the Pedal Prix Team from 2008.
Also in 2008, in recognition of the Sellars family’s long connection with the School, Margaret established the Margaret Sellars Perpetual Trust Fund. The Margaret Sellars Scholarship, first awarded in 2012, provides full tuition for two successful boarding students from rural Australia each year.
Margaret generously provided the seed capital to establish Indigenous Education at Pembroke and the program was launched in 2009 with five students. As student numbers and the program’s success grew, Margaret continued to provide support and felt enormous pride as students graduated and moved into post-school pathways. Of all, this program was perhaps closest to her heart. A respectful and genuine relationship existed between Margaret and the IE@P students and their families; she was viewed as an Elder and warmly embraced as a family member.
In 2014 the Pembroke Improvement Plan initiatives were solidifying. A key initiative under development was a plan to engage students in an experience that brings to their consciousness the importance of sustainable practices in all aspects of life. The philosophy underpinning the planned experience was ‘building community’. Margaret was very interested in the concept and agreed that students should understand the key issues related to the great moral questions of their age, including food security, water management, active citizenship and community responsibility. This understanding could be promoted by engaging them in an experience that brings these issues to life. The long-term vision of having students growing and eventually selling crops and produce while managing and sustaining the land resonated deeply with Margaret and she immediately pledged her support. This vision will be brought closer to reality later this year when The Environmental Learning Centre and Garden of Earthly Delights will be officially opened at the School’s property Old Watulunga at Finniss.
Margaret’s long-held view that education provides all the opportunity a child needs to change their world is validated and reflected in current and past Pembroke students each day, all over the globe. Her legacy will continue to assist the equipping and providing of opportunities for future generations of Pembroke students.
Margaret, your astonishing generosity has provided opportunities, resources, and life experiences to literally hundreds of young men and women. Your legacy is lasting and tremendously significant. We salute you, we miss you and we will never forget you.
The GRIP Leadership Conference is run across Australia each year for student leaders. Our eight Year 6 House Captains joined nearly 800 primary school leaders from all corners of South Australia at the Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 7 February. They were taken through a series of sessions, many of which were interactive.
This year there were four main focus areas:
Leadership is not about using a position, but rather about using strengths (your own and others’; and recognising your own weaknesses). Drawing on the strengths of individuals builds a stronger team.
Taking responsibility by
• role-modelling values
• upholding the trust of others
• responding to needs
• developing your own strengths.
Thinking outside the box—ideas for service
House Captains came up with a list of ideas for service to peers, teachers and community.
Putting ideas into action
House Captains are working through this process on some of their ideas for service.
A = Agree on an idea
C = Create a proposal
T = Talk widely (spread the word—promotional)
I = Identify tasks (what to be done)
O = Organise roles (by whom)
N = Navigate challenges
Students reflected on why they enjoy being a leader and how they hope to grow in their leadership skills. As a follow-up activity the House Captains presented a brief report at our Junior School Assembly, and have also undertaken activities from the conference with their peers to share the learning.
Assistant Head of Junior School
The Year 3s went to the Adelaide Central Market and Migration Museum in February to kick start our unit of inquiry on Cultural Diversity. The excursion was a great success! The highlight for many students was seeing and tasting some interesting foods such as ‘green ants’. The children enjoyed an informative walking tour of the markets, learning about the diverse cultures in Australia and the wide variety of foods that are present in our community because of this diversity. We were fortunate to have the shop owners answer many of the questions that the students had
We continued our learning at the Migration Museum where visual aids helped the students understand how people migrated to Australia and why they chose to migrate.
Year 3 Teacher
On Friday 3 March the Year 4 students were fortunate enough to see Inside the Walls as part of the Fringe Festival. This hour-long performance took them on a journey with Chief Izzy of the Adventure Squad as she moved house from the city to the country. On arriving at her new home, spooky things started to happen. Izzy discovers that a ghost is haunting her new home and is transported inside the walls as she tries to solve the mystery!
Performer Theresa O’Connor used her incredible skills in paper engineering, puppet making, projection, electronics and shadow puppetry to enthral the students, and when it came to our 10-minute Q&A time at the end every hand was in the air!
On the following Friday the students were treated to a personalised workshop with Theresa. She taught them about shadow puppets and then guided them in making their own. The students used these puppets to create a short performance with their friends.
Performing Arts Teacher
The Year 7 Camp was definitely an event to remember. I was already full of energy and excitement from the beginning of the bus trip. Everyone seemed to be feeling the same way, even though some of us had got little sleep from packing at the last minute. It was a racket on the way to the campsite. When we got there after one and a half hours, we were all welcomed to Old Watulunga.
There were a few rules we had to follow. It was going to be continuously hot and sunny throughout the week, so everyone was to be sure they were wearing a hat at all times, had applied sunscreen and always carried a drink bottle around. We were told this while we sat and shifted uncomfortably in the heat with the dry grass itching at our skin, looking up at the gumtrees and hoping that no autumn beetles or caterpillars were going to fall on our heads. Some students made sure that they also kept some insect repellent on them; the mosquitoes in particular showed no mercy. I learnt this lesson the hard way. In the first half an hour I was bitten by—something—that made my knee swell up and sting for a good 30 minutes.
We then got to set up our own tents and heave our bags into them. The temperature inside the tents was stifling during the day but would drop to freezing cold at night. I was relieved that my first activity for the day was kayaking—maybe it would cool me off a bit when I went into the lagoon? The lagoon water appeared to be a bluish grey from a distance, but when one was sitting in the boat the water that surrounded you was so brown and murky that it was impossible to tell how deep it was. It was infested with plants, weeds and slimy gunk so I was very careful and tried my best not to
capsize. Some of us weren’t so lucky and fell over in the first few moments they were in the water.
Then there were the beach activities. We had a lot of fun taking part in these creative and competitive challenges. One started with everyone lying down on their stomachs, to see who could get up the quickest and run across the sand to grab one of the limited number of orange bars that were sticking up from the ground. The other games were competitions between the different Houses, an example being when we had to try and fill up a bin full of holes with water—only one person could fetch water in the bucket at a time, while the others had to try and block up the holes with sand. When the time was up we would see who had managed to fill it up the most. In the second game each team had a single oar lying across the sand. The task was to try and dig a hole underneath it without anyone touching it, and to get every team member to the other side.
At the end of the day everyone got to have some free time to play in the water. Some of us got bodyboards for the giant waves. I could say it was a fun experience except that I got pushed under by the waves several times. Water managed to get into my head in every way possible— mouth, ears, eyes and nose. But now I know what it’s like to be inside a washing machine full of salt water.
Everyone quickly gathered their things once they got back to camp and dashed to the showers before the line got too long. Then we had dinner outside at some wooden tables. Everyone was hungry and ate quickly as they chatted to their tablemates. The sun sank below the horizon and all the mosquitoes began to come out, but the day wasn’t over just yet. For a night activity we each made sure to apply insect repellent and went over to the meeting areas. We were each given a small journal to write down our experiences of the day, and all that could be heard for a while was the flipping of paper and the scratching of pencils. Everyone began to settle down a bit and relax. The next thing we did was tied in with a survey we had all done before camp—our character strengths. This survey determined what our top strengths were and now we all finally knew why we had taken it to camp. We discussed our top three strengths and chose an animal that would represent those strengths. After a long day we all returned to our tents. Although we were supposed to be sleeping, most of us stayed up and talked to each other between tents for a long time.
The second day we all got up at the crack of dawn. It was freezing cold and it took a lot of effort for us to get out of our sleeping bags. Our backs were sore and stiff from sleeping on nothing but thin mats. This was the morning when we were introduced to the Father Abraham dance, a tradition of the Year 7 Camp. Every morning all the students were to take part in this exercise to help warm up in the cold.
After breakfast we quickly moved on to the next activity—for me this was gardening. We had a tour around the gardens, chicken coop and compost station, and then helped plant different vegetable seeds—from broccoli, peas and so on. After we had finished doing this we were shown to a small lake nearby. Nets had been set up overnight and we found a great number of yabbies caught inside them. Some were enormous and frightening but some were small enough to just wriggle out of the cage.
Then it was raft building—what fun that was. Before we started we were taught how to tie different types of knots. While this information was helpful, it didn’t benefit either team. Our raft didn’t even make it into the water. White shoes turned grey and my clothes dragged me down in the muddy water. Surprisingly, both teams failed and nobody won.
The last activity of the day was surfing. This was one of the highlights of the camp for most students. It was easy to pick up and lots of fun. Sadly, I wasn’t that good at it, only managing to stand up two or three times, but most students could catch great waves with ease by the end of the lesson. By now it was nearing sunset and we got on the bus back to the campsite.
This time the night activity was for all the Houses to create their own House chant. Some had difficulty coming up with ideas together with their teammates, but for others it ran rather smoothly. Each House had to perform their chant in front of everyone while their score was being determined by the judges. Medlin won! And our wonderful prize was to perform it all once again. Then we had a quick supper as everyone began to bicker about which House should have won. Students returned to their tents and everyone fell asleep quickly from exhaustion.
Once again we all woke up early, only this time we were greeted by the noise of a blaring car horn while Langers yelled, ‘GET OUT OF BED!’ This made the students emerge from their tents a little quicker. And again we all took part in the Father Abraham dance, but with everyone a little more tired than before. All the students changed into their House shirts and then we were off to the high ropes obstacle course at Woodhouse. After we had packed all our things and cleaned out the tents, we got on the bus for the hour-long trip to Woodhouse.
The high ropes were inside a small forest next to a rockclimbing building and giant swing. From the ground looking up, for me at least, it didn’t look too scary. Before we could start we had to learn a few things. First, we put on our harnesses and helmets. After these were adjusted correctly for each individual, we also had to learn how to correctly handle all the equipment, such as the carabiners and ropes. In each group there were four people: one person was the climber, whose position is quite self-explanatory; one was the belayer, who was in charge of either tightening the rope or making it more slack; the third was known as the anchor, who held down the belayer from getting lifted off the ground; and the last person was back-up, who also pulled the extra rope through from the belayer.
One rope course I did was easily the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my life. Imagine walking on an extremely slack tightrope, with nothing to hold onto except your own harness and the only support being ropes that are roughly 3 metres apart. I was terrified. There were many different courses ranging in height and length. Some were made up of wooden planks and others were of simple ropes. It was a windy day with the trees swaying as we climbed up them and leaves blowing in our faces. The experience overall was thrilling, exciting and just fun. I may have been terrified in the moment, but I’m glad that I got to do it and that I didn’t quit.
Some students were disappointed that the trip was already over and some were looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep. It can be agreed that everyone was worn out and exhausted but the things we got to do and the experiences were unforgettable.
On Thursday 16 March in Week 7 Pembroke Middle School held an event to create awareness for National Close the Gap Day. This campaign is all about raising awareness and trying to reduce the life expectancy gap and overall average health difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. In the Middle School the event is run by a team of willing Year 9s who are supported by some staff to come up with ideas to run an awareness-raising event that can happen in a lunchtime. The event needs to be designed to allow maximum participation across a short time span and should be accessible by everyone in the Middle School.
This year we decided to create a huge banner where people could add their names to the campaign. The committee did a lot of brainstorming and refined our idea to creating a banner with the words ‘Close The Gap’ on it in bold green, with a black space in the middle that represented the average ‘gap’. All our participants could write their names in white marker within the black space, representing us committing to ‘closing the gap’. On the other, white parts of the banner everyone placed a black-paint fingerprint, representing the Indigenous community through a kind of dot painting. Before the actual event we presented in the Middle School assemblies to help everyone understand why this campaign was so important. Throughout the day we raised awareness by telling people about the event and its meaning, giving people stickers and, for the Year 9 team plus a few lucky others, temporary Close the Gap tattoos.
Overall, the day was a huge success and almost the whole Middle School turned up to contribute to the banner and help raise awareness for this important cause. Everyone who was involved in the creative process of the banner and event had heaps of fun. We really enjoyed the chance to be part of the committee and we encourage any current Year 8s to consider getting involved next year.
A. Williams and A. Grantham both (Yr 9) on behalf of the 2017 Close the Gap Committee
During Term 1 the Year 10 students have been undertaking their Outdoor Education Journey. This is the pinnacle of the Middle School Outdoor Education program and sees the students exploring the Finniss River, Murray River, Lake Alexandrina and Coorong National Park by kayak and ketch. This experience is always an adventure that promotes resilience and empathy and fosters the community spirit that we all know as ‘the Pembroke way’.
This year, with the wet summer, we have observed high freshwater levels within Lake Alexandrina, and this water has had the ability to flow throughout the Coorong National Park and out through the Murray Mouth. This has presented our students with a unique environmental opportunity, as for many years the waters within the Coorong have been hypersaline. This year the river has truly flowed, prompting a short-term return to balance within the ecosystem.
Our sailors and kayakers have shown persistence and perseverance in overcoming the added challenge of this extra water, which presents as a 4-knot river current often going the wrong way. This strong-willed approach has enabled them to adapt and overcome the challenge, allowing them to explore the wilderness of the Coorong National Park. We are in a privileged position in having a flotilla of expedition sailboats that have been custom built for their application. These state-of-the-art yachts enable the students to sail safely to their remote campsites, allowing them to have unique experiences.
During the course of this journey the students examine the footprint that they leave behind. They have been conscientiously sorting and examining their recycling, compost and rubbish. We have introduced soft plastic recyclable and sustainable products to reduce our immediate impact. At the end of the experience the students undertake a measurement of the waste that ends up in landfill and we use this as a gauge of sustainability; our average so far has been about 100 g of rubbish per person for a 6-day adventure.
This year’s cohort are to be commended on their positive attitude, community spirit and ability to support and encourage each other. At the end of the experience the students are often tired and slightly emotional but leave the wilderness having discovered a place that is close to their heart. ‘Camp’ is not a holiday, but rather a time that students work harder than they may have done the week before. It’s a time that provides honesty and opportunity. It allows our students the space and place to discover who they are. We all need to be supportive, encouraging and mostly proud of student achievements in the outdoors.
Outdoor Edcuation Teacher
The Pembroke Connect Program commenced in Term 1, 2017, catering for international and indigenous students for whom English is their second language and who are in need of an immersive English program prior to transitioning to mainstream classes. The program is focused on students entering Years 7 – 10 and is based in the Middle School.
The School welcomes David Freesmith as the specialist teacher of this program, with Mim Barnard (Coordinator of International Students) coordinating and teaching, and Emily Davis (Coordinator of Indigenous Students) also teaching in the program.
Ten students began the program at the commencement of the school year. They attend specialist English classes as well as one mainstream subject and PE lessons. In addition to preparing students for the English demands of mainstream classes the benefits of offering this course include a sense of belonging to the Pembroke community as well as feeling integrated and supported into existing programs at the School. The students also attend House activities and are involved in Pembroke’s sporting and other co-curricular programs.
Already we can see that the students have transitioned well into their new learning environment and are enjoying all aspects of a Pembroke education. In a small group they are engaging in a range of carefully structured language and learning activities to optimise their English language competencies, as well as building their confidence to assist in ultimately transitioning into mainstream Pembroke classes.
Coordinator of International Students
The IB Diploma Awards Ceremony takes place to recognise the graduates from Adelaide’s nine IB Diploma schools who have distinguished themselves in their IB Diploma studies; this year the ceremony was held at the Adelaide Town Hall on 6 February.
Diana Medlin, the first Principal of Pembroke School (1974–90), was a distinguished educator who introduced the IB Diploma in 1989, making Pembroke the first IB Diploma Programme (DP) school in South Australia. The Diana Medlin Lecture is delivered at the awards ceremony by a speaker chosen by the host school, and it honours her vision and commitment to a high-quality, globally recognised pre-university education that ‘aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect’ (IB mission statement).
Our entire group of graduates from 2016 did Pembroke, their families and their teachers very proud. It was extremely gratifying to see 31 students (of 47) invited to the awards ceremony, with 13 students being awarded a certificate of distinction for achieving an overall score of at least 40/45 and another 18 achieving at least one certificate of merit for a subject score of 7. Altogether, Pembroke students achieved 75 merits, which was outstanding.
Graduates are congratulated in order of their achievements. In fact, 5 Pembroke students featured among the first 10 called onto the stage, with Shien Wenn Sam and Nicholas Bradman achieving 45, Ray Ren and Yingtong Li achieving 44, and Julia Cretan achieving 43. Nicholas and Julia were also honoured for achieving two As in both Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay.
Families and teachers also attended the ceremony and enjoyed drinks in the foyer following the ceremony, which marked a very proud final get-together for our wonderful IB DP students of 2016.
Head of IB
Early in Term 1 a group of intrepid Year 12 IB Geography students set off on the inaugural Kangaroo Island fieldwork trip. The purpose of this camp was to explore the characteristics of tourism on the island and the ways in which tourism has impacted key visitor sites as well as the major settlements of Penneshaw and Kingscote.
Upon arrival on the island the group experienced one of the highlights of the trip, an ocean safari tour. The party were transported on a rapid inflatable craft that took them close to a range of wildlife including seals, sea eagles and dolphins. Then, after carrying out mapping of tourism infrastructure in Penneshaw we headed west to Flinders Chase National Park, our home for the next 2 days. The rangers from the Department of Environment provided a fascinating talk upon arrival in the national park, highlighting numerous threats to biodiversity in the area, including the new threat of drones being used by tourists.
The second day started at Kelly Hill Caves, a spectacular cave formation. After a guided tour the students completed a range of fieldwork activities including mapping of tourism management infrastructure, collection of visitor movement data and surveys of levels of biodiversity. These activities were repeated in the afternoon at the iconic site of Seal Bay, together with a talk from guides at the park.
The final day involved collecting more data at Remarkable Rocks along with a visit to a bird show at the excellent Raptor Domain attraction. A quick visit to Kingscote completed the trip before interviews with tourist managers at Penneshaw. The trip was highly successful and the students represented the School with distinction. I would like to thank Barbara Hunt and Andrew Quinn for their assistance in running the camp.
Head of Geography
Throughout the duration of Week 5 in Term 1 both Year 12 Outdoor Education classes were lucky enough to visit Kangaroo Island to commence one of our three expeditions for the year. The main purpose of this expedition was to use the snorkelling skills learnt at Port Noarlunga beach during our weekly practicals and apply them to the dives conducted at several locations on Kangaroo Island. Our other focus was to identify several South Australian marine species during our dives at a number of beaches, such as King George and Stokes Bay. An amazing aspect of the trip for students was swimming with the glorious bottlenose dolphins at Western River Cove, as well as the eagle ray at Stokes Bay. To have the opportunity to dive at these secluded locations felt special, and it was also comforting to know that these environments are being thoroughly taken care of as there was no lack of marine life.
The classes camped at sites including Flinders Chase National Park and Stokes Bay, both within 30 minutes’ drive from dive locations. Each day consisted of an average of two dives, which entailed individual class members leading the dive and instructing fellow students. Dives were not pre-planned; instead we chose the dive locations each morning depending on weather patterns and conditions. All dives had a goal, whether it was to identify a new species or to work on our diving technique. We were fortunate enough to observe and swim with species such as the zebra fish, horseshoe leatherjacket, bullseye, old wife, blue devil, boarfish, southern rock lobster and many more.
For all the students this was an unforgettable experience, diving at some of the most beautiful locations in South Australia. This expedition was an excellent chance to show initiative and organisational skills in order to prepare ourselves for the self-reliant expedition in the latter part of the year.
Term 1 can be a term of mixed emotions for boarders, especially if you are one of the 40 new boarders—anticipation of new beginnings, trepidation about the unknown and excitement at the prospect of making new friends. To conquer homesickness and to facilitate friendships and have fun, the Boarding House offers numerous activities catering for a wide range of interests. This term so far we have had overnight camps, a pool party where Pembroke was the host, the annual boarding picnic, excursions to the Fringe, surfing days, a diving course, trips to ALF football matches and movie nights, to name a few. A highlight for some students was the Gold Coast Trip. Year 11 boarder Rebecca Wurst wrote the following:
On Friday 10 March 14 boarders (7 girls and 7 boys), 4 staff and 2 of their children embarked on a Gold Coast adventure! We flew to Brisbane before driving to Surfers Paradise, keeping up the hype with loud music and excited snapchats. We got to enjoy dinner down by the beach before heading to our accommodation to prepare for a jam-packed Gold Coast long weekend.
On Saturday morning the excitement was obvious as everyone piled onto the bus and made the trek to Wet’n’Wild. Despite some nerves everyone made the most of the rides and reconvened for our BBQ lunch. After lunch our energy and enthusiasm had again intensified and we spent the rest of the afternoon trying new rides and going back to our favourites.
Following Wet’n’Wild we had the opportunity to go to the Outback Spectacular. The performance was a definite highlight, with amazingly trained horses, dogs, donkeys and cattle, and complete with captivating storytellers and acrobats. We were served a three-course meal throughout the show, including a perfectly cooked steak enjoyed by all. The cowboy hats that we all received were a treasured souvenir.
Sunday was an incredible day at Movie World, with some of us experiencing rollercoasters for the very first time! The group decided to try the terrifying Superman ride after being told by Mrs Tarca that ‘we'd enjoy it’. Many of us watched the parade and lapped up the chance to take photos with our favourite Disney characters. After yet another argument over whether we were going to listen to the girls’ or the boys’ music on the bus, we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, followed by a walk through the gorgeous night markets set up along the famous beach.
Not letting a little bit of rain dampen our spirits for the last day, we arrived at Sea World where we marvelled at the great dolphin, seal and jet-ski shows and had a blast on the adrenaline-pumping rides, which many of us went on multiple times in a row
We flew out of Brisbane, wearing our prized cowboy hats, with so many amazing memories from a truly incredible trip!
A big thank you to Mrs Crowhurst for organising and accompanying us on the trip, and to Ms Tarca, Ms Dunstall and Mr Bruce for their supervision and the fun they added over the long weekend!
Year 11 Boarder
Head of Turner House
The Indigenous Students Leadership Camp is always a highlight at the start of each school year. Having spent most of our time on or in the water on our last camp, this time we went underground. Naracoorte in the South East was our destination, where we embarked on our adventure caving experience.
Old scholar Brenz Saunders again joined the IE@P group as a valued mentor, and we enjoyed Evan Shillabeer’s company as well this year.
The camp is designed to welcome and get to know new IE@P students, build and strengthen relationships and our connection as a group, develop leadership and communication skills, reflect upon our individual and group directions for this year and beyond, and have fun too.
Paintballing was a good starting point! We stopped at Monarto and donned the regulation outfit for the weekend’s activities—khaki overalls and hard hat—for a couple of quick rounds of paintballing. Some warriors had prior experience and impressive accuracy, while others quickly resembled a Jackson Pollock canvas.
The bus journey to Naracoorte allowed everyone to recharge before part one of our caving experience. On arrival at the Naracoorte Caves National Park, listed as a World Heritage site in 1994, we again donned our hard hats, this time fitted with head torches, for our introduction to adventure caving. This was our test to see if we would manage the 3-hour session the next day. It certainly challenged us as we immediately found ourselves deep underground crawling through seemingly impossible spaces. Through impressive teamwork and a lot of laughter we discovered that it was, in fact, possible to manoeuvre our bodies through these highly unlikely places.
With a taste of what lay ahead, the next morning we travelled a fair distance along dirt tracks to reach a hole in the ground that was the entrance to Fox Cave. Slightly overgrown and almost hidden by the scrub, the entrance was revealed by our expert guides and we began our descent. This was by far the most challenging part of the experience as we had to crawl sideways and downwards for a fair way, sandwiched in a narrow gap between the rocks. With the constant encouragement and support of their peers the group crawled 20 metres underground. Our efforts were rewarded when the area opened up into spectacular, cavernous underground rooms.
Kanisha Wills (Yr 10) shares her thoughts about caving … Adventure caving was a really fantastic experience. It was a great work-out and it was fun to learn about the history of the caves. The caves were made out of limestone, with fresh water in the walls from an ancient sea. When we directed our torches onto the limestone, we could see it turn red with little drops of water running down. I tasted some of the fresh water and it was delicious! The first cave we went into, Stick Tomato, was the introductory cave, and then we went adventure caving in Fox Cave. Unlike the wet cave, it was really hot. We ventured into two main parts of the cave, The Madonna Chamber, which was fun to climb down into and opened up into a large area, and another that had long tree roots flowing from the ceiling. This chamber was very pretty and had a small mountain of pitch black sand from the ceiling. Overall, adventure caving was a really amazing experience and we all had a fantastic time!
After our introductory caving session on Saturday we spent some time with Indigenous elder Doug Nicholls on Bindjali land. Doug spoke to us about his family background, the local area and its seasons, bush food and animals. He demonstrated how to generate fire, played the yidaki (as also did Markell Stapleton (Yr 11)), and showed us how to throw a boomerang. The challenge was set to catch a boomerang and this occupied us for quite some time, with Jamie Fullston (Yr 10) winning the contest despite fierce competition. A cleansing ceremony was a powerful conclusion to this important and entertaining lesson in a beautiful setting.
After a lovely dinner in Naracoorte we gathered at our farmhouse accommodation for a discussion about our individual and group directions for the short term and into the future. The students discussed ideas for Indigenous Education at Pembroke and reflected upon our Reconciliation Action Plan, which is currently in draft form. We concluded the evening with the now customary birthday cake and UNO tournament.
After a very active, rewarding and unifying leadership camp we returned to Adelaide feeling very positive about the year ahead and the future for Indigenous Education at Pembroke.
Indigenous Student Coordinator
The Middle School House Swimming Carnival was held on Wednesday 15 March for the third time at the recently built SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
The atmosphere at the carnival was excellent, with all Houses supporting their swimmers admirably. The novelty events, which were held in a separate pool, provided an opportunity for all students to be actively involved in the carnival, as did the ‘standards’, which were held in the weeks preceding the carnival.
The carnival was marked with outstanding swimming by a number of our students; the winners from each year level are listed below. This year saw the introduction of the ‘champions race’ as the showcase event to conclude the carnival—the best swimmers from all year levels in the Middle School would race head to head against the other strong swimmers in the 50m freestyle. This year the two races were won by the White siblings, Emily in Year 8 Hill and Charlie in Year 10 Hill.
Hill won the Middle School Cup, with Mellor just pipping Medlin for second spot. It was great to see a range of Houses succeed at various year levels, with Reeves, Wright and Hill winning the year-level competitions and Oats showing strength in the younger years.
There were two records broken, both by Emily White— the Year 8 50m butterfly in 30.30 seconds (old 2007 record 30.38) and Year 8 50m freestyle in 28.21 seconds (old 1986 record 28.25).
Congratulations to everyone who participated and thanks to all the staff and students involved in making this a successful day.
Director of Sport
On 22 February Pembroke took 36 students down to West Lakes to compete in the Schools Team and Individual Triathlon competition. Other than a little wind, conditions were perfect and our individual athletes were underway shortly after 9 am. In the State Championships Lana finished second by a mere 6 seconds in the Primary Division, and Nick also finished second in the Intermediate ‘Come and Try’ event.
The team events commenced at 12.30 pm with a huge number of very strong teams embarking on the challenge. Pembroke was proudly represented and it was soon clear that we were going to be competitive in various categories.
When the competition was over we had finished with the following results:
|1st in Intermediate Mixed|
|1st in Intermediate Boys|
|2nd in Intermediate Boys|
|1st in Senior Girls|
|3rd in Senior Boys|
I want to make beautiful work. I want to make work that’s inspiring. There is enough ugliness in the world. I don’t really want to reflect on that in my work. I want to reflect on something that takes you beyond that. Liz Williams 2016
Anyone who knew Liz Williams will remember her charming, charismatic and gentle nature. She was an astute observer of life and possessed a fine intellect, but lived life with the vitality and curiosity of a child—a true enthusiast who seized every opportunity for new experiences.
Liz died in March after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just after Christmas. When I last spoke with her she was philosophical and resolute, and commented that she was neither angry nor bitter because she had lived a great and fulfilling life and had done all she wanted to do.
Liz was a remarkable teacher. She came to Pembroke from UniSA’s Art School in 1994. Initially terrified by the prospect of teaching young children, she soon discovered a depth in her relationship with them that took her by surprise. Her interest in children and knowledge of the way they learn was clear, and she provided her students with that important balance of gentle encouragement and rigour. Liz delighted in their achievements and they adored her. She was passionate about imparting her love of beautiful things to them so that they could begin to have real insight and understanding about creative work.
After taking students on the 2001 Marree Exchange, she became intricately involved in the Pembroke–Marree focus group and saw this as a tangible way towards reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
She was the most inspirational colleague and also a gifted and well-respected artist. Many would be aware of her exquisite ceramic sculptural works. Her 1998 exhibition Cinderella Dressed in Yella captured the movement and poses of children at play with deft accuracy, and her 2006 exhibition Let’s Dance paralleled this theme. Her 2001 exhibition Reconstructed Rituals took inspiration from the lives of martyred saints and further explored the notion of what it means to be female.
Liz’s work is held in high esteem throughout Australia and the rest of the world. The Australia Council funded overseas studios for her three times: in Mexico (1991), Barcelona (1996) and Rome (2004). These residencies fed her arts practice and her teaching. An expert in her chosen field, Liz worked with many of the heavyweights of the Australian art world, including Milton Moon AM and Gwyn Hanssen-Pigott.
She left Pembroke in 2006 to focus full-time on her own work, and continued to do this right up until the week before she died, when, with the aid of a close friend, she completed work undertaken in 2016 during her final residency in Shigaraki, Japan.
Liz’s swansong was at her own funeral—a stunning display of her work from the Saints series, which she curated to divine perfection. And with a touch of humour and irreverence, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance played while we all watched a photographic montage of her wonderful life.
Director of Visual Art