The Rowville Times
 Edition Three - September 2016

Principal's Report

- with Julie Kennedy   


Rowville Secondary College in 2016 

Can you guess what this is? (Keep reading –the answer is in there somewhere!):
People are born curious. Did you know that preschool children ask their parents an average of 100 questions a day. By year nine, many have stopped asking questions. 

In school, students are often rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question. Which may explain why children who start off asking endless “why” and “what if” questions, gradually ask fewer and fewer questions as they progress through school. 

Curiosity and Powerful Learning 

The focus at Rowville Secondary College in 2016 is designing lessons that ensure young people are great learners and their curiosity is active whenever and wherever they learn. Our goal is for every student to be curious, literate and numerate. Lessons that promote curiosity often start with a great question that taps into students’ interests and experiences. 

A lesson from Alice in Wonderland

What does curiosity look like in the classroom?  



The photograph above is an extreme close up of a bee’s eye. Aren’t the hair follicles surprising!

Legally Blonde: The Musical 

Rowville Secondary College’s production of Legally Blonde: The Musical proved a smashing success, and, like productions of years gone by, raised the benchmark yet again.   

With a number of shows sold out and others near full capacity, lead role Hannah Pierce portrayed quirky Bostonian beautician Paulette Bonafonte in front of a pulsating crowd at a packed Rowville Performing Arts Centre.   

In her fifth and final College production, Legally Blonde: The Musical proved to be a fitting end to her time on stage as a student, in a role Pierce always wanted to play. 

“When I found out it was Legally Blonde, I knew straight away that I wanted to play Paulette,” she said. 

“I’ve always loved doing the productions, and this (was) my first year as a major lead, last year I was the Wardrobe in Beauty & The Beast - I’ve been in production since I was in year eight, and I’m in year 12 now.” 

The College’s Institute of the Arts (RIA) has helped Pierce overcome the nerves of the stage, with various events throughout a typical year in the program building the 17 year-old’s confidence in performing. 

“Since being in RIA, we’ve done Showcase which has helped build my confidence. It was a confidence thing for me, and RIA has helped me do that,” she said. 

“I have a Bostonian accent (in Legally Blonde) which I found really hard at the start – I had to do heaps of research to practice that.”  

Pierce is grateful for the integral role family has played in her life in production, with both parents working hard behind the scenes. 

“My mum and dad are both very involved with it,” she said. 

“Mum helped with all of the costumes and organising things as well, and my dad helped with the sets. It’s really nice to have them involved.” 

Earlier in 2016, an overwhelming realisation dawned on Pierce that the curtain would soon be drawing on her time on stage as a student in the College’s renowned productions.   

With Legally Blonde rounding out five years of hard work, Pierce is keen to help with future shows and pass on the wealth of stage knowledge gained after her time in RIA. 

“At production camp, I was already emotional. I was crying because it was my last one,” she said.
“You pour so much of your heart into it and now it’s over.   

“I’ll obviously come back and help next year but this is the last time performing.” 

For Hannah Pierce, the future holds what she dearly loves – performing arts – as she hopes to go on and study it at tertiary level.    

“I hope to go into some kind of performing arts subject, because it’s just what I love to do and what interests me the most,” she said. 
And as she readies herself for the real world, Pierce cannot be thankful enough for the opportunities granted by Rowville Secondary College and the RIA program.   

“It (was) an amazing opportunity. I’m so grateful to go to this school, be in this program and do what I love.” 
Gold at Victorian  
School Music Festival  


Rowville Secondary College’s senior concert band won the gold award at last month's Victorian School Music Festival held at Federation Square’s Deakin Edge.

The event showcased the best in intermediate and advanced concert bands from secondary schools across the state.

The College’s Bands & Instrumental Music Director Patrick Thomson couldn’t be prouder of the band (pictured above).

“The festival provides schools with an opportunity to perform alongside other schools from around Melbourne and (the senior concert band) received some wonderful feedback on their performance skills, professionalism and musicality,” Thomson said.

“Well done to everyone involved.”

To find out more about Rowville Secondary College’s instrumental music program,click here.

Motoyama visit a  
resounding success - again 


Rowville Secondary College welcomed international visitors from its Japanese sister school, Motoyama Junior High School this term.

It is the seventh visit from the College’s sister school, which was again a resounding success.

“The relationship remains strong, and is recognised as a real success story across the state,” International Programs Coordinator Chris Rodier said.

The Motoyama staff and students were officially welcomed at an official assembly.

The visit was mutually beneficial for the College’s students and the Motoyama staff and students, with both parties learning about new cultures.

Students from the College’s 8C class presented the Motoyama staff and students with footballs, courtesy of Ross Haywood Sports, followed by an AFL skills session including a modified indoor game. The session finished with a round of indoor hockey.

“After arriving on Saturday they have taken part in host family, school and community activities,” Rodier said.

“Teacher Mr Takada and students have also presented lessons on various aspects of Japanese culture and lifestyle.”

Motoyama Junior High School is located in Kobe, a city on Osaka’s central bay. 
To find out more about the College's international program, click here

State Schools Spectacular

A record 26 students from Rowville Secondary College formed part of the team which left thousands dazzled at Hisense Arena on Saturday.   
PHOTO: Knox Leader
Victorian State Schools Spectacular creative director Neill Gladman loved every moment of working with Rowville Secondary College.  
"It was a pleasure and an honour to work with you (RIA creative director, Susan Thompson), your school and your students," Gladman said.  
"To have the kind of support that you give the project is quite extraordinary. Please pass my thanks on to the school administration and to all involved."

From the stage to the editing suite, camera operations to inside the giganticCatBot, the College’s Institute of the Arts students had all bases covered.

The publicity build-up was a showcase in itself, with several of our students taking a walk down Media Street ahead of Saturday’s main event.

Tim Mason, 16, appeared as a special guest on the Seven Network’s The Morning Show, ahead of performing his role as a magician.  Mason worked his magic on national television, spellbinding hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies.


Mason formed part of the College’s team of individual performers, including Daniel Tohill, Verity Runje, Callum Hawthorne, Nathan Hancock, Joshua Douglas, Matilda Weaver, Elisha Blood, Brooke MacRae, Emily MacRae, Shariz Roca, Skye Ladell, Kyle O’Brien, Broc Calwell and Fletcher Brown.

Sisters Brooke and Emily MacRae, ensemble dancers, were always keen on taking to Hisense Arena again having been involved in previous years.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of VSSS last year, because I felt that I grew a lot as a dancer and it allowed me to perform and work with such an amazing group of inspiring people,” Brooke said.

“Being a part of last year’s show encouraged me to want to do it again this year.”

“(VSSS) is an amazing experience, and is such a friendly environment with many friends of same interests and similarities,” Emily said.

Daniel Tohill showcased his background in circus and gymnastics. Appearing in Knox Leader, performing has been a long-standing interest of Tohill’s, with the stage proving to be his element.

“I’ve always loved the stage and everything to do with it,” Tohill told Knox Leader. 
Lydia Corkill, 18, featured in last week’s Herald Sun, and was be part of the puppeteer team operating the six-metre tall, inflatable CatBot.  

Corkill was joined by fellow RSC students Elle Abdo, Gisele Keiffer, Anna Morrissey, Jamison Zmood, Madison Brouwer and Taylah Dietzel in operating the towering feline, with the team rounded out by Coburg Senior High School students. 

And while our performers take the stage, the College’s media team, featuring Taylor George, Jamie Earp, Chantal Kokke and Bailey O’Brien worked feverishly behind the scenes.

The media team had the red carpet rolled out for it for the big day, with Victorian State Schools Spectacular organising an exclusive Rowville edit suite. 
Amongst the 10,000-strong crowd was Year 10’s Broc Calwell, as he enjoyed one of the best seats in the house as a camera operator, likewise Fletcher Brown, who operated a spotlight.  
Gladman is excited to work with Rowville Secondary College again.  
"To know that the students are happy and have achieved great things is the best feeling in the world," he said.  

"Let's do it again!"  
Overnight Geography excursion

- Eric Ryan 

VCE Geography Overnight Excursion 2016: Cape Otway, Apollo Bay & Lorne
On Thursday September 1st, 23 students and 2 staff members (Mr Gilbert and myself) departed for our annual VCE Geography overnight excursion.  
This year, as part of our unit of work on Tourism, we looked closely at the impacts that tourism is having on a specific region of Victoria, namely Cape Otway.  
Students started their fieldwork at the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, a major tourist attraction which is an elevated platform walk 35 metres above the forest floor amidst the beautiful canopy of ancient temperate forest.  
The highlights of this experience were climbing the 70m tower to stand above the treetops (swaying in the wind) and seeing all the way to the Bass Strait and watching 20 students “rock” the cantilever much to the “horror” of a few students (and a staff member, myself) who are a bit scared of heights.  
From here, we travelled to Apollo Bay to study tourism management strategies along the shop fronts and beach area, I.e. Parking, accommodation, signage, recreation activities and food options. Once finished, we checked into the Apollo Bay Eco-Hostel, which is a magnificent and extremely clean hostel with a rooftop chill-out area and plenty of free WiFi for the students to brag about their night away from home.  
After dinner along the strip of shops and nighttime beach hike hosted by Mr Gilbert by mobile phone lights, it was bedtime and upon waking up to a very large morning breakfast, we hit the Great Ocean Road to Erskine Falls above Lorne.  
Again, we were looking at tourism management strategies and focussed heavily on human impacts due to volume of tourists. Our final destination was Lorne itself, where students spent 2 hours focussing on specific geographic characteristics that make Lorne such a popular holiday destination and then it was back on the bus for the ride back to school. All in all, it was a great experience for the students and the data collected, including pictures, will be used to write their field reports for their second SAC for Term 3.

Medical Report  

Students in the big house  

Elyse Manson and Ashley Ziegerink
VCE Legal Studies Teachers 

On Tuesday 13th September, 33 keen VCE Legal Studies students visited Marngoneet Correctional Centre.
Students departed in the morning to the correctional facility located in Lara. The purpose of the Schools Program at Marngoneet Correctional Centre is to provide a forum where students are able to further their knowledge of modern correctional issues and the corrections industry, and to bring their classroom learning to life.   

Hearing first-hand evidence about serious crimes by the people who have committed them left a far greater impression on students than mere information from a textbook ever could have.  

At midday students eagerly arrived at the prison. The laughter that had characterised the bus trip soon fell silent upon their entry to the security check point, where all visitors are frisked-searched and exposed to a metal detector.  
Once inside the visitor’s centre, prison coordinators presented to students basic information about the correctional industry, Corrections Victoria and Marngoneet Correctional Centre.  
The coordinators then led students to the family visiting room and visitor box area to discuss the purposes of each, before students had the unique opportunity of interacting and conversing with six selected prisoners, some of which had committed serious offences.  
In their discussions with students, the prisoners focused on what they believed contributed to their incarceration, which included issues relating to personal accountability, communication skills and substance abuse. This was a very interesting experience for all involved. 

A debriefing session was held at the conclusion of the program.  
This was an especially valuable part of the day – if students had concerns about what they had heard from the prisoners, these were quickly relieved when the officers put their stories into perspective. Further debriefing and reflection were also undertaken upon students return to Legal Studies lessons. 

On the bus trip home to Rowville, students keenly discussed what they had been told during their visit, comparing stories from each presenter. Some even conducted their own research about the accuracy of the prisoners’ accounts – and were surprised by the results. 

Many myths about prisons and prisoners were busted during the day. And whilst it was a long day, it was a very worthwhile experience for all involved.

Some student testimonials from the day are included below:
“I would recommend the excursion to other students. It is a big eye-opener, and makes you really think about life, your family, and how you can change for the better”
“The experience was amazing, it was worth the money and the trip. I highly recommend it because it was real learning experience seeing people who have done terrible things and come from terrible pasts who have now tried to turn their lives around in order to educate others”
“I recommend this excursion for everyone, it’s interesting and you can learn a lot from the prisoners’ experiences”

Student leaders  
gather for leadership dinner  

Student leaders from both campuses gathered at the Rowville Sports Precinct in August for a celebratory leadership dinner.

The leaders were joined by staff, friends and family as the Attitudes to School survey was the topic of conversation, where all shared their views of the extensive study.

The Attitudes to School survey collects data of the opinions of students from years 5-12, with the aim of assisting schools with planning, developing curriculum and supporting students.

Student leadership support coordinator Ricki Leicester believes the feedback of the survey was positive.

“The student leaders spoke with confidence and shared many positive thoughts about their education and experience at Rowville Secondary College,” she said.

“The students also suggested a variety of strategies to be implemented that they feel will improve their education and experience.

“Many of their presentations were based on the data from the Attitudes to School survey or discussions with their peers within the College.”

The evening also galvanised the College community, according to Leicester.

“It was a fantastic way to bring the community together, celebrate the hard work of the student leaders and to gather essential feedback from the community that will improve Rowville Secondary College,” she said.

Leicester said the College couldn’t be prouder of its student leadership development program.

“We are so proud of the dedication and professionalism the students showcased throughout the night and we look forward to celebrating future achievements, in our next student leadership celebration dinner and reflection evening.”

Instrumental Music  
Patrick Thomson - Bands & Instrumental Music Director   

The Music Department at Rowville Secondary College has had a very busy and exciting Term 3 with many of our students and ensembles performing at key events and competitions.  
We started off the term with our annual music camp at Candlebark Farm and this is always a fantastic opportunity for our ensembles to have extended rehearsal time and to prepare for upcoming competitions and performances.  
Parents once again joined us from Friends of Music and they helped out with catering and activities with everyone involved having a fantastic time.
Both our concert bands competed at the annual Victorian Schools Music Festival in July and August with some outstanding results.  
The Intermediate Concert Band received a silver award and our Senior Concert Band received GOLD! Well done to all the students and considering the bands were up against some prominent private schools from the area, this was an exceptional result.  
Our choir also participated in the Waverley Eisteddfod and even though they didn’t receive an award they performed to a high level and represented the school extremely well. They were also lucky enough to have a workshop with local a capella group Akula funded by Friends of Music and they worked on performance and arrangement techniques during the 3 hour session.
Term 3 also saw the music department hold a concert at Peppertree Retirement Village and a promotional day at Stud Park with ensembles performing at center court. Both of these events were a fantastic opportunity for the students to showcase their talents to the wider school community and promote the wonderful music program we have at the school. 
Rowville Secondary College has a proud history of providing quality music education, including producing some of Australia’s leading musicians. We cater for a wide range of musical interests, offering lessons in woodwind, brass, percussion, strings, piano, guitar and voice. We provide many opportunities for the public to come and enjoy music performances by students at all levels of accomplishment. These events are well supported, and all members of the local community are welcome to attend. If you would like any more information regarding lessons or events please visit the website:, follow us on Facebook: Rowville SC Instrumental Music Program, or contact Patrick Thomson: or Ph. 9755 4555.
VCAL students visit  
FareShare kitchen

Rowville Secondary College’s VCAL students visited food charity FareShare this term, as part of their studies of global issues homelessness and poverty.

Every year, two million Australians will experience hunger, while others have excess that is being wasted.

FareShare is a charity that rescues surplus, quality food from supermarkets, farmers and other businesses, and redistributes it in the form of meals to those in need.

With the help of 800 regular volunteers, FareShare cooks this food into 25,000 free nutritious meals a week for Victorian charities – such as soup vans, homeless shelters, food banks and school breakfast programs. This is done in Australia’s largest charity kitchen, based in Abbotsford.

GALLERY: Click here for full gallery

Year 12 Team Leader Gary Gilbert believes it was an invaluable educational experience on homelessness and poverty.

“Our students had the privilege of visiting the FareShare kitchen, learning about the problems we face, and what FareShare does as an organisation,” he said.

“After some brief training, the students were put to work volunteering and had the opportunity to prepare and cook 1296 quiches, as well as preparing pastry and other food for the next volunteer group.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to see how charities function and the satisfaction that comes from giving charitable service to others.

“Students will be working back at school to develop their own community project, where they will work in groups to support a charity of their choice.”

 National Science Week 


Rowville Secondary College joined primary and secondary schools across the country last week in celebrating National Science Week.

For the annual event, the College’s science faculty turned on an array of events across both campuses, ranging from chemistry, forensic science, light and energy, psychology and CFA activities. 

Science faculty coordinator Kim McMahon saw all the action unfold.

“This year for National Science Week we have been running lunch time activities to engage and ignite the scientific curiosity of our students,” McMahon said.

“The questions we investigated included “How do you make ice-cream using chemistry?”, “Who dunnit? The great coffee cup crime of RSC”, and “Do firefighters really rescue cats from trees?”.”

Forensic science proved a popular topic during the week according to McMahon, as the students engaged in the study of fingerprints and blood-typing.

“On Wednesday at the East, students had the chance to compare their fingerprints and work out which teacher had left their coffee cup in the sink by looking at the patterns of loops and whirls in the suspect print, comparing them to those left on the suspect cup,” she said.

“They were also able to investigate how blood-typing works and what that means for transfusions and how forensic scientists use animal hair and other trace evidence in their work.”

The Rowville Fire Brigade visited to round out the National Science Week festivities, where the students were granted an ‘access all areas’ tour of a fire truck and its equipment, as well as pick the brains of career firefighters.  

“Despite the rain, students had a great time learning to bowl hoses and investigate other equipment on the trucks including the BA sets ‘jaws of life’, distress signal units, water monitors and the pump itself,” McMahon said.

“8W was then treated to a ‘q and a’ session where the career firefighters answered questions such as ‘How fast do you get to drive?’, ‘What’s the weirdest thing you have gone to?’ and the obligatory ‘Do you really rescue cats from trees?’, the answer to which was ‘unfortunately, yes’.

“Thank-you to the A-shift for coming out and helping to give us a memorable end to the week.”

Working towards eSmart status


- Adam Smith and Paola Malatesta - Directors of eLearning

Being “eSmart” or “cyber smart” is an important aspect of 21st century learning.  As the world continues to change and the blending of technologies continues to become a seamless part of our day to day lives, it’s important through the education process that we consider how best to ensure our students have the knowledge and skills to make both safe and informed decisions when interacting with digital devices.

As the year progresses, Rowville Secondary College is preparing to become more eSmart than ever.  This will include a review of our curriculum, particularly around cyber safety, the hosting of public parent forums based on keeping our students safe in a digital world, and a development of staff knowledge in this area.

Please keep your eyes open for more information about our eSmart journey and the important role you can play in the coming months.  For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our Directors of eLearning on 9755 4555.

New College website launched 

Rowville Secondary College launched its new website during the term two holidays.  
Showcasing the College's four learning programs - General Excellence, Maths & Science Academy, Rowville Institute of the Arts and Sports Academy, the new site has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community.   
Enrolment information has never been more accessible to prospective parents, as well as information on all four unique learning programs, and the College's wide array of extra-curricular activities, including music, production and sport.   
Members of the community are also kept up-to-date with all the latest news from around the College, with regular news and feature articles published.  
Check it out here:
Home-stay opportunities 


Providing home-stay accommodation for an international student offers the chance to learn about another culture and build lifelong friendships. 

This is an opportunity for you to join other families who are currently hosting international students at Rowville Secondary College.  Students are typically aged between 15 and 18 years of age and need accommodation ranging from a few months to up to three years.  
In return for accepting a student into your home and family you will be paid a generous weekly amount for your hosting and hospitality. 

Student application enquiries are increasing with interest being shown in all of our programs – in particular VCE, Sports Academy golf and cricket, RIA Dance and Drama and MSA. 

For further information or to register your interest in this unique opportunity, please all Chris Rodier on 9755 4555 or email



Performing Arts Centre Hire

Rowville's Performing Arts Centre is available to hire!

Contact Susan Thompson (Manager) on 9755 4629 or at

The PAC will provide a professional platform to deliver an outstanding result for your next event!

Visit the Facebook by clicking
here, or the official website for the venue by clicking here.

Rowville Secondary College would like to thank Barry Plant Rowville for their continued support of our College, through scholarships and billboards for special events.