Author Archives: BGS Library

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Year 7 Storytellers Wow the Judges!

The standard of competition in our Year 8 Poetry Slam is getting stronger each year and now we know why – our Year 7 boys are outstanding storytellers and performers and this is feeding through!

At our second annual Year 7 Story Slam both teachers and judges were astonished, firstly by how well-written the boys’ ballads were; secondly by how well the boys had memorised their ballads, and thirdly by how well they performed them for the audience.

 

Each class had a member represented in the competition who had written their own ballad as part of their English course.  Story Slam representatives were chosen through an in class vote after all students had performed their original ballad to their individual class.   This years ballads featured themes such as kayaking,  the forgotten ANZACs,  school and even talking moles.  7F’s representative Jaden took home the 2018 title with a passionate retelling of an intense Mahjong match against his Aunty.  After such marvelous performances it will be exciting to see what the Year 8 students can create come term 4 during their Poetry Slam.

 

 


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Prince Edward visits BGS

On Monday 16 April, the Lilley Centre hosted a number of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award recipients from across Brisbane who came to meet Prince Edward, here to carry on a royal tradition and plant a tree in our Boarders’ Lawn.

From our Headmaster, Mr Anthony Micallef:

“His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCOV, visited Brisbane Grammar School on Monday 16 April to continue a royal tradition at the School that has spanned three centuries. One hundred and fifty years ago, in February 1868, His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, who later became The Duke of Edinburgh, laid the foundation stone for the original Brisbane Grammar School building in Roma Street.

When BGS was relocated to its current location in 1881, his nephews, Princes George and Edward, then 16 and 17 years old, planted two Moreton Bay figs to mark their visit to the colony of Queensland. George returned to Australia in 1901 to open the first parliament of the newly established Commonwealth. He was later crowned King George the Fifth and is the great-grandfather of The Earl of Wessex. The Earl’s father, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited BGS twice: in 1968, to mark the School’s 100th anniversary, when he planted a Hoop Pine in front of Harlin House; and again in 1977, when he came and met The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participants in Centenary Hall.

Using the same spade as his father did 50 years ago, the Earl continued the royal legacy at BGS, by planting a fourth ‘royal’ tree. As well as celebrating the School’s 150th year, the occasion also celebrates the important role The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has played at BGS and around the world. Prince Philip started The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in 1956 and today it continues to inspire young people to serve their communities, experience adventure, and develop and learn skills outside the classroom.

The Earl is Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, continuing his father’s work. His visit offered the opportunity to recognise The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participants and pay tribute to the work of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, which so many BGS boys have completed since it started in Australia in 1958. The objectives of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award aligns well with the BGS mission to educate confident young men of character who go into their communities and make a difference. The Award has had a global impact, with four million people having participated worldwide since 1956 – 250,000 Australians among them.”


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Music in the Learning Commons

We have so many talented boys at our school, and we love celebrating their creativity. This year, to complement the announcement of our Photography Competition awards, we also showcased the talents of three amazing piano players at a lunchtime concert. In a magnificent show of skill and camaraderie, the Learning Commons was packed as Years 9 – 12 boys were entertained by these wonderful musicians – Kai and brothers Remi and Wylie who performed individually and together in two highly entertaining duets.

With great skill and aplomb each of the boys performed for more than four minutes without music. Kai performed Tarantella by Franz Liszt; Remi performed The Greatest by Sia; and Wylie performed an improvisation on a song by the American band Green Day. Wylie and Remi then went on to perform a duet, switching places as they played, much to the delight of the crowd!

This event was the first of our Music in the Learning Commons concerts featuring our baby grand piano generously donated by BGS Old Boy George Kelly ’16. The event was a fantastic way of bringing music right to where many of our boys like to be at lunchtimes, and the video below gives a taste of the wonderful music we enjoyed on the day.

 


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Make Your Own Antique Writing Journal

Over the past week, it has been quite exciting to watch some beautiful antique journals taking shape in the eXchange. The boys making them are part of Aficionados, our book club for Years 9 and 10, and this was our first activity to start off the year. The boys will now be able to use their journals in Book Club as a wish-list for new titles, series and authors, or to write their short stories for  English.

If you would like to make your own antique journal, this is what you’ll need:

  • 1 x small Art sketch book (from OfficeWorks)
  • 1 x A3 sheet of paper, dipped in tea water and then dried
  • PVA glue and Mod Podge
  • Brown and gold paint
  • Steampunk decorations (from Spotlight)

How to do it:

  • Scrunch the dried sheet of A3 into a tight ball (this gives the creases in the cover).
  • Unfold the paper, then glue it to the front and back of the sketch book.
  • Cut out the corners, then fold the edges to the inside of the cover and glue them down.
  • Trim the paper from the top and bottom of the spine.
  • Very lightly sponge gold paint onto the outside edges of the pages (too thick and you won’t be able to open your book).
  • Paint the cover, beginning with brown, then sponging gold over the top.
  • When dry, paint the folded paper on the inside cover of the book. There should not be any white showing.
  • Paint the entire cover with Mod Podge to make it hard and durable.
  • Glue the first and last pages onto the inside of the front and back covers.
  • Decorate with cut-out balsa frames and antique brass decorations.

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One Conqueror to Rule Them All!

In a superb display of skill and calmness under pressure, our champion chess player, Tony Zhong, took on eight other boys or groups of boys in a lunchtime chess simul, winning five of those games before the bell signalled the end of lunchtime.  This involved Tony moving from one table to the next playing eight games simultaneously.  The boys could think about their moves while he played at the other tables, but they had to make their own move in front of him.

There were so many boys wanting to sign up to beat the champion that none of the teachers managed to find a free table!  No-one could come close to beating Tony however, and the only person to slow him down was Marcus, our new School Captain and current Dux of Year 11.

One of our classrooms in the Senior Library is the chess room where chess coaching happens after school, and where our 9-12 Chess Club is held two lunchtimes each week, but there are always boys in there playing before and after school, at morning tea and at lunchtimes.  We also have a number of chess boards set up on various tables throughout the Library and the Learning Commons, and this constant opportunity to play chess helps the boys to focus and to hone their logical and strategical thinking processes, thus improving their academic results.  It is also the reason that BGS has been the champion GPS Chess school for 12 out of the past 14 years, and the champion State finalist team, representing Queensland at the National Schools Teams Chess Championships, for 5 out of the past 7 years.

With Tony in Year 9 as our top player, and with a lot of excellent younger players coming up through the ranks, the future looks bright for Chess at Grammar!!


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Great Debate – Yr 12 Students v Teachers

Last Friday the Forum was full to overflowing with students from all year levels as excitement mounted in the lead-up to our first ever Great Debate between the Year 12 Senior B debating team and three courageous debating teachers.  The topic they were contesting was That Gen X have ruined everything for the Millennials. Both sides were passionate, witty and quick, with a touch of sarcasm thrown in, and the outcome, not surprisingly, was that the Baby Boomers are the real culprits who have created all the problems!

Because we had limited time, the speakers were limited to 4 minutes each, and were gonged off if their speech went more than 4 minutes and 15 seconds! All in all it was a highly entertaining and extremely popular event, with our MC, Deputy Headmaster – Extracurricular, Mark Brusasco, stating that he hopes this event will become an annual occurrence.

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Brian Falkner judges Year 8 Poetry Slam

Last week saw a quick-fire series of outstanding slam poems delivered by the top poets from each of the Year 8 classes.  Their English teachers worked with each class as they wrote their slam poems, and then the boys voted on the best one to represent their class at our annual Year 8 Poetry Slam.

There was a lot of nervousness and anticipation as the Forum filled quickly, despite the fact that the event was held at lunchtime. In fact, some boys even received a standing ovation from their classmates as they took centre stage.

Last year’s winner, Abineash, returned to present his 2016 poem to a new audience, then he took a seat with the other judges – Mr Kobez, our Assistant Head of English; Mr Murray, our Assistant Head of Year 8; and Brian Falkner, a wonderful guest judge who happened to be at the school this week as a writer-in-residence. Each judge held up a card with their score on it, and the totals were calculated. Runner-up scores were equal, but there was no doubt as to who the winner was – Aly, with a perfect score of 4 x 10s for his poem about current issues!! Next year, of course, we will welcome him back as a guest presenter and judge for the 2018 Year 8s.

 


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Chopstick Challenge to Celebrate Multiculturalism

Our first ever Chopstick Challenge, organised by two of the Year 11 SRB boys to celebrate the different cultures at BGS, was an electrifying contest between teachers and students as they raced to pick up a variety of challenging objects with a pair of chopsticks. These included: marbles, toothpicks, thumbtacks, pins, smarties, coins and even a pen from a bottle of water!!

Our Head of Physics, Ms Chan, was a fabulous MC, calling the heats and the final and adding great enthusiasm and excitement to the event. Many were keen to try their hand, but few could match the skill, speed and coolness under pressure of our Head of English, Mr Howes, who managed to blitz the competition to take home the ultimate prize –  a hat full of lollies!!  See more photos at our BGS Facebook page.

 


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Music on the Green

At lunchtime on Wednesday, students in Years 9-12 had the opportunity to enjoy our inaugural Music on the Green event, a wonderfully collaborative partnership between the Library eXchange, the Year 12 Public Purpose team and the Music Department.  Both the Public Purpose Program and The eXchange have, as their aim, a desire to foster community and to provide leadership opportunities for the boys, and this event had loads of both. Boys were able to purchase their lunch from the Year 12 sausage sizzle, and then sit and enjoy it while being entertained by the Big Band, conducted by Mr Jim Noble, and the Senior Vocal Group, led by Music Captain, Louis Backstrom.

The Year 12 team was raising money for Bucket of Love, a charity that provides basic supplies to remote villages in the West Papua province of PNG. Started by two PNG sisters who saw the disparity between rich and poor, Bucket of Love steps in to provide various basic necessities in sturdy plastic buckets – items such as school supplies, basic first aid supplies and birthing kits. The villagers and local farmers then re-use the buckets to increase their productivity and income, gradually taking the steps needed to break out of the cycle of poverty. In contrast to providing buckets, money raised from Wednesday’s sausage sizzle will be sent to rural communities so they can spend it locally, thereby supporting their local economies.

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Gender Respect Project – ‘Listen To Her’

The Gender Respect Committee, a part of our Public Purpose Program, aims to educate our students on important social issues. The committee was the brainchild of Philippa Douglas, Coordinator of Public Purpose. Their latest campaign ‘Listen to Her’ has seen the boys on the committee working with girls from surrounding girls’ schools to learn what gender respect means to young women of today. This has culminated in an amazing display outlining important aspects of gender equality from a youth’s perspective, located in the Learning Commons in The Lilley Centre.
(David Carroll, Deputy Headmaster – Students)

The aim of the Gender Respect Project is to equip boys with an understanding of gender inequalities so they can build respectful relationships with the women and girls in their lives. The project teaches boys how to be the best people they can be, and how they can be leaders among their peers and in the their school by modelling healthy and respectful manhood that values women and girls.

The Listen To Her Campaign, a part of the Gender Respect Project, was created to help boys see the world through the female lens. Seven girls’ schools from Brisbane and Interstate participated in the project. The girls were invited to write on post-it notes one thing they wanted boys to know.

There were three objectives to this campaign:

  1.   To provide a platform for girls to be heard in a safe and supportive environment,
  2.   To help boys understand what it is like to walk a day in a girl’s shoes,
  3.   To empower young men through knowledge and language to challenge attitudes and behaviours within their peer groups to bring about change.

(Philippa Douglas, Coordinator of Public Purpose Program)

The following is a message from David Morrison, Australian of the Year 2016:

To the men of the Gender Respect Program, Brisbane Grammar School  … Taking time to see the world through the eyes of others and to hear their challenges is quintessentially human, but too few pause to do just that. It is all too easy to immerse yourself in the busyness of your own world. But be warned. I feel that such a course leads to a diminished life; shallow and selfish. You have taken a different path and will leave a great legacy as a result.

Now I know from my own experience that taking a stand will attract the criticism of some. That is life, I guess. I find an observation by the Greek philosopher Aristotle helpful when that happens. He said, “Criticism is easy to avoid. You just need to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” So stay strong, keep the faith and be someone.

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