A Most Satisfying China trip Experience…… (Part Two)

The students on this wonderful journey have continued to share with us their ongoing adventures in China. They have been totally immersed in the Chinese lifestyle and have constantly professed how much they are enjoying this unique experience. Being part of authentic local lifestyles has always been an integral aspect of an overseas experience, this trip is very unique in that students will be lucky enough to stay with four different families in four different areas. Two weeks in the first school and two shorter stays in two other very different schools, including the Number 6 Art School.

The timing of this trip couldn’t be better. Imagine being there during the Autumn Festival and being part of the celebrations…..amazing displays for people to enjoy.


I must admit it really impressed me how much effort was made by locally based hosts to really welcome our students and for the visiting students’ very poignant show of appreciation and respect   for being accepted into the local students’ home in return. Regardless of the language barriers and the different culture of the hosts, clearly there was a strong sense of commitment and joy in being part of this exchange.

Declan’s artwork was a hit at Kunshan High School. All students with their buddies were represented in a most unique way. 


I could not keep up with the number of activities that were arranged for our students during their Homestay. Lots of fun and certainly many exciting adventures were in store for all of them, even whole group events planned to ensure that they were all entertained, enjoying their visit, and not missing each other. Meeting up with Dale in Shanghai was great as well.  We were able to all spend time together before the ‘tag team’ changeover occurred and Jenny and I headed home, so that Lucy and Dale could take over. We weren’t there to see our Collingwood students ‘blitz’ the Athletics Carnival, but by all accounts, they certainly put on an amazing show of determination and skill resulting in impressive success. I think one of the most amusing scenes was local students approaching Oscar for an autograph after one of his wins.

Go Team Collingwood! What a remarkable performance at the Athletics Competition…..our students impressed everyone with their many places and wins. A fantastic and enjoyable day for all. 

Race Race2 Race3

Another poignant moment on this trip was certainly the contract signing ceremony between the school Principal from Kunshan High School and our own Principal, Dale. For the Collingwood students and myself, this was the first time we had witnessed something like this. To make the claim that this was a rather formal affair almost sounds like an understatement. The formal surroundings of an impressive meeting room, politely worded expressions of gratitude from each of the school leaders, the exchange of gifts, formal photographs and the most important signing of the sister school contract all contributed to a rather special  afternoon’s event. I know that the students and I were a little awestruck with how important this event was in the eyes of our hosts. It seemed fitting for our students to end the ceremony with a beautiful singing piece that they had prepared from home. I was not aware of the importance and how highly esteemed a contract like this was deemed by our hosts, but having witnessed this event, both the students and I have walked away with a different outlook and feeling quite proud that our school was so valued.

The Signing  of the Sister School. We never thought that the signing of the Sister School Contract was such a formal and  important event. The Principals shared some very kind words and gifts. It really was  overwhelming listening to how much Collingwood was valued by such a prestigious school as Kunshan High School. An interesting and very intense experience. Our Collingwood ambassadors impressed everyone with their singing and their focus. 

Signing1 Signing2 Signing3

And so the journey continues. Our students expressed quite emotionally on the  China Trip ‘We Chats’ how difficult it was to move on from their first homestay placement. Strong friendships were developed with an undertaking form the school that they too will visit our shores next year and be a part of this special arrangement.

Fishy Visit!


Tears, gifts and fond farewells made the parting rather difficult for most of the students as they took leave from Kunshan and headed off to Suzhou.  The farewell Ceremony from all accounts was difficult emotionally, but a beautiful finale to what has been a most successful and life enhancing experience. Our students did us proud with lovely speeches, impeccable behaviour and the sharing of sincere words of appreciation for all the efforts that the teachers, students and families of the school displayed for the last two weeks. They have now completed five days in Suzhou and it seems that once again it has been just as successful and gratifying as the last placement. They have been welcomed with open arms and treated with kindness, respect and total positivity. They have once again been hosted by lovely families, looked after by enthusiastic buddies and are having another wonderful experience. Tours have been arranged, great classes planned for them with the local students and as most of our students are saying, although initially they didn’t think they would be as happy here as they were in the previous school, they have been pleasantly surprised that it has been just as fantastic and wonderful, if not different to the first school.

Tong –Li, a beautiful old fashioned village that all the students really enjoyed exploring as part of a whole level excursion. Lovely scenery and impressive architecture.


I hope that parents reading this article will hopefully be getting a sense of what a special opportunity this is for the students. They have embarked on a long journey, not really sure of what was in store for them, but have absolutely been delighted with what they have experienced thus far. To hear the exclamation of “Wow, have we really been gone almost four weeks? It feels only like a few days…” really captures the essence of a fast moving, most positive experience that all involved are having. I must admit, it has been one and a half weeks since my return, but I cannot forget how wonderful it was being a part of this extraordinary experience, so much so that I am in constant contact with our travellers and enjoying sharing their continuing adventures. I guess it is fair to say, as good as it is to be home and back at school, a little part of me wants to still be there…..three weeks was not nearly enough. I will continue my writings in the next E News.

Of course it’s not all hard work and no play! When the opportunity arises for fine dining, we grab it! Thank you Dale for approving this rather lavish dinner experience. :)



These students certainly know how to enjoy life! A lovely way to spend a Saturday. (Taken before a bowling session)



Thank you for following the amazing China trip.


Liria Stratus

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China Trip – Part One

A Most Satisfying China Trip Experience….. (Part One)

I have just returned from the Collingwood College China Trip that is taking place at the moment with the twelve year 9 students that elected to be a part of this program. I am almost unable to convey to the school community the success, positive experience and enjoyment that this overseas trip has provided for the students involved.

What a fantastic time our students are having!  The enthusiasm with which our students have immersed themselves into this cultural experience has certainly impressed parents, teachers and overseas participants involved in this program. The sightseeing has been inspiring, the food eagerly devoured and language practised continuously. This group of twelve students have been wonderful ambassadors, not just for Collingwood College, but as this has been an Educational Department Pilot Program, for the state of Victoria.

Yes there have been moments where patience has been tested and minor difficulties to overcome, but the attitude and behaviour of the students has been exemplary and of the best possible standard. I accompanied them as a teacher/Guardian, but found myself delighting in their company and sharing their enthusiastic response to the wonders that China has to offer.

Some of the amazing sights have included the gorgeous pandas at the Panda Park in Chengdu, the unbelievable History of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the thought provoking War Museum in Nan Jing, the Chinese Circus in Shanghai, The Three Kingdoms in Wuxi, the beautiful temples everywhere, as well as the auspicious sky scrapers and architecture of bustling cities. If there is a sense of overwhelming wonder underlining my recollections from this trip, then I will confess that, like the students, I have come back totally ‘blown away’ by what I have experienced and very grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this adventure.

Our students have participated in school life in China. After our initial touring we then embarked on the academic aspect of this program. We attended a fantastic school in Kunshan which has a strong International section and thus began the ‘Homestay’ aspect of this trip. Our students were paired up with buddies that they would spend almost two weeks with (Changing to new families half way). As nervous as both sides were, it was really very successful as everyone had a sense of excitement to be really experiencing the Chinese Culture first hand.

I cannot emphasis enough how wonderful this placement has been. Everyone on all sides have really made it work. Students (both local and international), parents and teachers have embraced this placement with enthusiasm, positivity and joy. Our students were made to feel welcome everywhere! From visiting classrooms, to lunching in the three storey dining room to extra- curricular events and home life….all has been well planned and certainly not only catering to our students’ needs, but also with the intention of giving them an unforgettable experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lijuan, who with the help of her friend, Ms Young and school contact Ms Lin, provided this great opportunity with such a progressive and beautiful school. Collingwood College has been so lucky to be the first overseas school that Kunshan International School has now developed a relationship with. Thank you also to Dale for having the foresight to embrace the opportunity that this Pilot Program has provided us. Upon their return you will see how amazing this experience has been for the students.

There is so much to share, but there is time over the next few weeks so in this report I will finish off with a snap shot of great moments the students experienced.







The students on this trip are the following Year 9 students:

Declan Crowley. Titian Tonkin, Ruben Cameron, Kianna Blundston, Oscar Terry Young, Kyra Miller, Jelena Viskic, Nina Scott, Emily O’Brien, Della Hodgkins, Brydie Twigg-Edwards and Solar Willison-Allen.

This is Liria Stratus signing off for this week. I look forward to sharing more information next week.

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Collingwood Students Feature in Gardening Australia

Click here to see an episode of Gardening Australia featuring students from Collingwood. Fast Forward to 18:46 minutes for Collingwood College students

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Message from the Principal


Keir Jasper will be taking extended leave for the balance of term 3 and this leave may extend beyond this period. There will be back fill arrangements for an acting Assistant Principal for this duration. Announcements will be made next week concerning Keir’s replacement and subsequent backfills.

On behalf of the school community, l wish Keir well for his period of leave and l know his support will be dearly missed by the community.

I would also like to welcome Lijuan Wang back into the fold.  Her experience and leadership in the LOTE area has been missed during her 12 month sabbatical. I also farewell Annie Li Fei who has backfilled for Lijuan. Annie is a most capable teacher and we have enjoyed her assistance and classroom contribution during this period.




On Saturday, 5th September at 6pm we holding a fundraiser to support 12 students going to China as the Victoria Young Leaders program sponsored by the Victorian Government. Despite this sponsorship, we must raise extra funds to support the tour.

We ask families to come and have some fun and try your luck at a trivia night with a Chinese theme.

Entry is a modest $15 per adult or $5 per student. A bar will operate.

Table bookings are discounted to $13 per adult.

Amanda  Collins will host the night as our very professional MC.

Tickets can be purchased from the front office.


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On Tuesday there was excitement in the air when the theatre filled with keen and eager students all looking forward to the annual Collingwood College Talent Quest. The performances were varied and interesting and the performers enthusiastic and energised. It is always wonderful to see the whole school come together and participate in this sort of event…younger students and older students all sharing the fun.

To the contestants, well done! It is great to have students confident and courageous enough to take to the stage. We had variety yesterday…dancing, singing, musical instruments being played, circus tricks and acrobatics……all in the space of one lunchtime! Well done to Cody and Isabella, Anja, the ‘Nashlogs’, William, Hazel, Sophie, Anais, Kiya and Co, Maxim, Callum, Ella and Felix. A special Congratulations to the winners who were:

1st place: Felix

2nd place: Ella and Jayen

3rd place:  Callum.

Well done to both the winners and the contestants. Thank you to the judges Travis, Stephanie and Sage for the difficult task of deciding the winners. Thank you also to Mabel and Harry for helping with the sound equipment and to Corey for once again being an entertaining MC. An enjoyable event!

Click on the photo collages to ENLARGE!



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Important Message from The Principal


The state government has launched a statewide consultation process to allow school communities a say on what the education state should look like. As such, this feedback will shape where the priorities should be and how the state will deliver on this priorities.

What do you think makes a great school? What educational opportunities should all children be able to access? How can the system assist student engagement?

The Government is consulting on The Education State, a series of policy statements covering schools, further education (TAFEs) and early childhood services. The Department has spent June and July running formal consultations around Victoria with many different groups, and is inviting all interested Victorians to have a say, using their conversation guide, on The Education State – Schools Consultation Paper.  The formal closing date for submissions is Friday 14 August and Collingwood College School Council is keen for our community to have a say. I believe this is an important opportunity for such a diverse school like Collingwood College to future protect its rights to deliver the programs we do and with the diversity we cherish. Our school adds to the diversity of the state system and we must celebrate this diversity.

Teachers and family members are invited to attend a discussion at 7pm on Tuesday, 11 August at school.  You don’t need specialist knowledge, but ideally read the background document first, and be ready for a 1.5 hour discussion, covering the topics of greatest interest to those who show up on the night. The Department’s online discussion board closed on 31 July but the discussion paper on school education can be reviewed here and comments submitted directly back to the Department of Education and Training via their direct address: educationstate@edumail.vic.gov.au.

If you browse their online discussion (now closed) you will see plenty of feedback! You are also invited to email material to Cath Smith, a parent rep on Collingwood College School Council who is facilitating the groups next week and submitting a collective response to the Government on the issues of interest to our school.

Please email any comments for collation to cathsmith49@optusnet.com.au by the evening of Wednesday 12 August.



The Master plan will soon be loaded on to the school website. Please give this documentation your consideration as it represents the infrastructure ideals for Collingwood College for the next 5-10 years. Paul Gardiner (Parent and Architect) will run an information session to explain the context for this document and why some phases have already been implemented. This 30 minute presentation will be held at 6.30 pm next Tuesday night August 11th in the library.


VALE Kate (Katherine) Campbell

On behalf of the school community, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Anthony Kelly, Fynn (3-4BBK) and Seamus Kelly on the passing of Kate.

Kate made many friends at the school that included staff, students and parents and her support, friendship and commitment to the College will be sadly missed.

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Collingwood Students on Gardening Australia

Collingwood College Kitchen Garden students can be seen on Gardening Australia ABC TV on Saturday, 16 August at 6:30pm (repeated Sunday at 1:00pm). It is also available for downloading or streaming at website www.abc.net.au/gardening after the segment goes to air.

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Principal’s Term 2 Mid-Winter Report

Please click on the link to read this newsletter including important announcements and an informative summary of news and major events: Mid Winter Newsletter

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Vacation Care Winter 2015 – Collingwood College OSHC

The Winter Vacation Care program will run from Monday 29 June – Friday 10 July 2015.

Bookings must be submitted by this FRIDAY 12 JUNE and can be made by clicking here.

Kate Patena

Outside School Hours Care

M 0438 205 224

E kate.patena@yarracity.vic.gov.au

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Mother and Daughter on Film

Congratulations to our very own Katalin Hegedus, known to many of us as Kati, and her daughter Zsofia in class 1K for their wonderful performances in the new Australian film Partisan!

The film won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Cinematography at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and is a visual feast.

Now screening – so dinner & a movie anyone??

******please note this is NOT a film for children


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