4 September, 2020


Teen Mental Health First Aid Workshops for Year 7 students

This week our Year 7 student participated in their first Teen Mental Health First Aid workshop.  These workshops give our students the skills they need to recognise and help with mental health problems and crises in their friends, and to get the help of an adult quickly.  Research shows that young people often turn to each other when stressed or upset and try to help each other, and sometimes take on too much.  The course emphasizes that students do not need to take on these problems alone and where to go to seek help.  There will be another two sessions for our Year 7 students in the next few weeks.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Year 6 Round Square students make a difference

In April of this year twelve Year 6 students were due to attend a Round Square conference at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This adventure was to include a pre-conference service project under the auspices of our regular partners, NoLimitEduTravel. The service project was to take place in the Chiang Rai region, in the mountains north of Chiang Mai, where they would have worked with the Hill Tribe villages situated around the Ban Palai School. Scotch Oakburn has previously been involved in assisting this kindergarten school which is not supported by the Thai government because the ethnic groups that are served by the school are not recognised as Thai citizens.

When COVID intervened and the trip was cancelled it was decided that the money that we had raised for the service project, through student effort, would still be donated to the school. All the funds that were paid for our on-ground costs were refunded by our partner company, but we elected to donate the funds raised by the students so that the Ban Palai school could install four large water tanks. It was therefore a great pleasure to receive the accompanying photographs this week and a note from our friend Jeab Ploykrachang who was organising the service project on our behalf. She wrote:

“With the donation from Scotch Oakburn College from the cancelled April trip we have provided 4 water tanks to Ban Palai School. Thank you very much for your kindness as always”

Congratulations to the following students who worked to raise these funds: Gabrielle Birrell, Amelie Djatschenko, Makaela Fulton, Gemma Hodgetts, Lucy Johnston, Surya Koirala, Abbi Lloyd-Bostock, Ali Reynolds, Abhinav Sundaram, Lucy van der Aa, James Walker and Georgette Wilks.

Stuart Walls
Round Square Representative

Student Achievement

Congratulations to Samantha Kirschbaum (Year 6) who has reached the national final of the Take the Mic online singing competition. The competition required the production of video recordings of songs with careful attention to lighting, staging etc.  In previous rounds, Samantha performed ‘Part of Your World’ from The Little Mermaid and ‘Lamest Place in the World’ from the musical ’13’.  Her performance of ‘Lamest Place in the World’ will be used in the national final, streaming live on YouTube soon.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School  


Year 6 Music

Mr Conor O’Brien has composed a new piece of music for Year 6 classes to learn.  It is called Rockin’ G.R.A.D. (which stands for Goosen, Robinson, Auton, Dondas).  All four classes have just started learning this piece with the goal of performing it as a class ensemble in a few weeks’ time. We are also hoping to be able to perform this in a future Middle School assembly!

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School



Cows Create Careers

Year 8 are enjoying the company of two beautiful Friesian calves. As part of our annual Cows Create Careers program students are learning all about the Dairy industry, including how to take care of calves. Different groups are responsible to visit each day to feed and measure them. The data is then used to write a Scientific report. They will also create a video to highlight what they have learnt about the Dairy Industry including possible careers. The Cows Create Careers program finishes with an excursion to a Dairy farm in week 9, something all students and staff are looking forward to.

Kyla Thorp


Vision boarding you say…?

Recently, students in Year 7Z were lucky enough to attend a virtual Vision Boarding workshop with renowned teen author, Tristan Bancks.

Tristan tells stories for the page and screen. His books for kids and teens include Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention, and the Tom Weekly series. Two Wolves won Honour Book in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

In the workshop, students learnt how to use visual tools to inspire their own extraordinary written stories. From soundtracks to Google Maps, Street View, movie trailers, and storyboards, writing a book can be a totally 3D experience. Students were shown how, by looking at a streetscape of a place in the world they want to visit, ideas and events begin to take shape. By zooming in and paying attention to details, clues to events within stories appear. Add in music themes, images, and writing blasts and whole stories of adventure, wonder, and invention emerged.

“One thing I will remember is when Tristan says, ‘Don’t think just write!’ Just get ideas down and then worry about the rest. – Sophie Marshall

“I enjoyed using Google Maps and Street View to look for the details within an image to set the scene for writing. I also enjoyed using music to come up with random words to create more ideas.” – Chloe Robins

“I just enjoyed the whole thing! It gave me some great ideas for starting my writing in the future.” – Madeline Mitchell

It was over in a flash but will be remembered for a lifetime.

You can find out more about Tristan’s books, play games, watch videos and help him try to change the world at

Simon Dray


Japanese Kanji with nature

Springtime in Japan is a time of new beginnings and appreciating nature.  This week students of Japanese embraced the Tasmanian spring weather and got creative outside producing words and sentences using objects from nature.

Jenny Banbury
Coordinator of Japanese



Da Vinci needs you!

The da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students; all students no matter their ability. Students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography, and legacy. In 2020, despite not running due to COVID-19, ‘Legacy’ replaced the General Knowledge task, with the focus being more on honouring significant people, inventions and events from the past and the present.

The da Vinci Decathlon began in 2002 as an exciting offshoot of the very successful da Vinci Program for gifted and talented students at Knox Grammar School in Sydney. The Decathlon is designed to celebrate the academic gifts of Australian youth by providing a stimulating and challenging competition run in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon.

What began as a local competition for Australian public and private schools has grown to be a national and global phenomenon, involving thousands of students from Years 5 to 11. The growth has been enormous, and interest so high, that chapter schools have been formed in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. These schools now run individual local and state competitions, in order to choose representatives for the National da Vinci Decathlon Final held each year at Knox Grammar School in Sydney over several days of competition and cultural events.

Scotch Oakburn College has been very successful in this event in the past, taking out the inaugural Year 7/8 Tasmanian event in 2016. Being crowned Tasmanian winners meant we qualified to take part in the National event held over several days at Knox Grammar School.

We would like to be able to offer this to our Year 7, 8, and Year 9 and 10 students on an ongoing basis, and therefore we need you.

We have scheduled a regular meeting time starting in Term 4, every Tuesday at lunchtime in the da Vinci 2 Studio, upstairs in the Middle School. We currently have enough students to form a Year 7 and Year 8 team but would love to be able to have two teams for each year level. If you are interested in joining, please contact me by email or pop in to see me, upstairs in Ravenscraig to have a chat if you are not sure if it’s for you.

Looking ahead, the 2021 event schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday 23 March 2021 – Year 7
  • Wednesday 24 March 2021 – Year 8
  • Friday 26 March 2021 – Years 9, 10, 11

The theme next year is Icons.

Simon Dray

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