MAC News 8 2021
Dear MAC Community
This term, and this lockdown particularly, has been for most of us the most challenging time since we first went into lockdown in late March last year. Despite this, the majority of our students have continued to stay engaged in their learning. Attendance rates have remained consistently high, and teachers have continued to deliver engaging lessons and high-level instruction. We have continued, albeit remotely, to celebrate significant events in the school calendar such as Book Week and Science Week. These events highlighted the versatility, adaptability and creativity of students and staff.
I would like to congratulate Jess Fridman, the English team and Meg Dunley for organising a range of engaging activities for Book week. Thank you to all the students and staff who led lunchtime activities and contributed to the week with podcasts, book recommendations, participating and contributing to the character dress up and open mic events. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the writing entries for the MAC Writing Old Worlds, New Worlds Other Worlds Competition. I am continually impressed by the talents of our students and am certain that we have students in our midst that will be published one day!
A huge thank you to Miriam Feldersher-Berkovich and her team and the students who made Science week entertaining and engaging with daily fun facts and interhouse competitions
This term we have welcomed Helen Gatford in the Attendance and First Aid Officer. Helen has a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Nursing, Post Grad Diploma in Clinical Nursing and Diploma of Library and Information Services. Helen has worked across the secondary and tertiary sector as well as at the Royal Children’s Hospital for many years. She has extensive administrative experience having worked across several schools for many years.
We also welcome to Vesna Kendrigan. She has been appointed to the Administration Assistant Position, replacing Sharayah. Vesna is coming to us from Avondale Primary School. She has worked for a range of organizations in administration support including a Registered Training Organisation in Queensland. Vesna will be taking over from Sharayah Molenkamp who commences maternity leave at the end of Term 3.
We would like to wish Sharayah and her husband all the very best and look forward to meeting her baby when they arrive. Congratulations to Konrad Sosnowski and his wife who have welcomed their first child on Father’s Day, which also happened to be Konrad’s birthday! What lovely gift indeed!
Senior School News
The GAT has been rescheduled to Term 4 Tuesday October 5. This exam along with all Unit 3 and 4 exams will take place at Debney Meadows Primary School. Thank you to Koreena Carlton, Principal, Debney Meadows Primary School staff and students for allowing us to use their facilities.
The Year 12 VCE trial exams will once again run online during the school holidays. These exams are particularly important in not only preparing students for the end of the year exams, highlighting areas where students and staff need to target further revision.
The DET and VCAA, as it did last year, is applying the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage (CED) process to every student completing scored VCE or a scored VCE VET Unit 3-4 subject in in 2021. CED considers the disruption to student learning caused by the pandemic. It makes sure that final VCE results are valid and fair for all students.
It considers how students have been affected by circumstances, including:
- school closures
- direct impacts on the health of a student
- students dealing with substantial extra family responsibilities
- ongoing issues with remote learning (including intermittent access and suitability)
- mental health challenges.
This data along with a range of other data sets will assist teachers in evaluating students’ grades. It is important that students continue to work hard and prepare for their SACS and final examinations and try and complete them to the best of their ability.
VCAL students will have access to a special consideration process. The process seeks to recognise that, despite the modifications that providers have made to VCAL this year, there were disproportionate impacts on individual students. It is designed to address questions of fairness for all students in all schools but also mitigate against the range of impacts experienced by individual students and, in some cases, whole cohorts of students.
I am incredibly proud of senior students who have continued to work hard and demonstrate incredible resilience and tenacity. I hope that they can return to onsite learning next term and enjoy their last term of their high school along with the end of high school celebrations that they have all worked very hard towards.
As you would be aware the Victorian Government has prioritised access to vaccinations for year 12 students. From Tuesday 7 September and until Thursday 17 September, students will have access to priority timeslots to attend vaccination appointment at a vaccination centre. They would like to see all students have received their first dose before the GAT on October 5.
Students can book your first and second dose appointments via a dedicated booking hotline from 8am on Monday, 6 September.
The hotline will operate from 8am to 8pm. The hotline number is 1800 434 144.
It will provide a fast booking process and minimise absence for you during school hours.
- Year 12 students will be able to book from 8am Monday 6 September.
- Other Unit 3/4 students can book from 8am Wednesday 8 September.
We are looking forward to the two building reveal events, the first on Friday 10 September with the Honourable Danny Pearson MP, School Council President, College Captains, student leaders, DET representatives including the VSBA and lead architects from Kosloff Architects.
All families, staff and students are invited a to Building Reveal Event on Wednesday 15 September, from 6:30 – 7:15 pm. You will see and learn all about our exciting upgrade, as we showcase the designs and hear from our very own student Marcella Martin, and Brendan Henry, the architects behind the design and the project lead on how the designs will come to life. Please RSVP here
Things will look significantly different when students return to school next term. G block will have been vacated ready for demolition. The RC will have a classroom built in the kitchenette area, the Heads of House, Leading Teachers, Wellbeing team, Careers & Pathways and International Students Coordinator, Ms Rawlins and Uniform Shop will all be relocated in the RC. The Attendance Officer and Compass Kiosk will be relocated to the General Office as well as enrolments officer Joanna Krasopoulaki. The Learning Support Officers will be relocated in the portables long with the Art rooms.
Flemington Farmers Market
We have enjoyed a long relationship with the Flemington Farmers Market. With the huge changes happening at the school, the market is moving on. Thank you to all members of the school and wider community for supporting the market and thank you to Don for his management of the market while on the school grounds. We wish the Farmers Market the best.
Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for your continued efforts and ongoing support.
I hope staff and students enjoy the upcoming and much needed break restful and I hope to see you all very soon.
Ms Dani Angelico, Principal
Inside this issue
- Goodbye to the Flemington Farmers Market
- Student Leadership Team
- Olympic Change Makers
- Record Breaking Engagement in MAC Gaming Competition
- Student Wellbeing
- headspace Youth Mental Health Centre and Services in Sunshine
- Valley Youth Programs
- Mindfulness: Is it for you?
- Arts & Tech
- MAC Art Competition
- Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge
- Book Week
- Book Club
- Open Mic Winner
- MAC Writing Competition Winners
- Book Week Dress Up Winners
- Resource Centre News
- Upcoming Competitions & Opportunities
- Bringing World Events into the MAC Classroom
- National Science Week Activities
- Virtual Escape Room
- Tall Poppy
- PreVCE Biology challenge
- Virtual event with pathologist Emily Hall for the forensic science classes
- National Science Week Activities
- Staff Walk for Mental Health Research
- MAC Parents and Friends
- Community News and Advertising
Goodbye to the Flemington Farmers Market
Student Leadership Team
Olympic Change Makers
This year MAC was invited to nominate two students across Years 10-12 as 2021 Australian Olympic Change-Makers. Congratulations to both Bilhah Ryan and Jerry Ng. As change-makers, they have optimised the Olympic Spirit by encouraging positive change in their community. Leaders like such have risen to meet the challenges of 2020/2021 in their ways, through using the power of sport to influence people everywhere.
In recognition of the positive impact, both Bilhah and Jerry were one of 900+ students across Australia to be selected to participate in a National Forum to meet some of the greatest Olympians. This opportunity was beyond imagination as they were able to ask questions and receive insightful advice from high achieving athletes. It is an incredible experience like this that continues to inspire younger generations all around Australia to create an impact in their communities.
Bilhah Ryan – Olympic Change Maker
You can view the National Forum here
|Host: Brooke Hanson OAM
|Mariafe Artacho del Solar
Record Breaking Engagement in MAC Gaming Competition
After a week of intense gaming among students from Years 7-11, Ayden Schnabel’s stellar performance edged him to victory in the recently concluded Connect Four challenge.
The series which spanned August 23–30, 2021, was the first of its kind and was the brainchild of student leaders Brendon and Jacinta. It provided an opportunity for students to escape the drudgery of lockdown, isolation and remote learning as they engaged in friendly rivalry towards an online championship win.
Despite the occasional internet connectivity issues, the idea was, overall, well received by participants.
The feedback line was abuzz with the spirit of sportsmanship and critical commentary, after the winner was announced:
It was great! Everyone got to have their mind off the screens and their MAT for their own mental health and enjoy the fun. The gaming competition was amazing! The gaming competition was good even though I didn’t win. It was still fun finding a way to communicate to some of the students of Mount Alexander College! I would just like to give a big shout out to Ayden for trying his best and winning the competition congratulations! I hope there are other games as fun as this one!
– Asha A.
The gaming competition was actually good and fun but like there were some technical difficulties when I was online but it said I was offline.
– Katsuki Y.
Thanks Brendon. It was a fun competition and it was good to be able to interact with classmates outside of schoolwork.
– Ayden S.
For his six out of eight game win in the final round, Schnabel received an Uber Eats voucher and exclusive bragging rights as the inaugural MAC Connect Four Champion (Term 3). The competition will return in Term 4 with even more features –– word has it that a discord server might be integrated to amplify features of the game of choice. Will you be the next MAC gaming champion? Keep watching this space and see what happens next season! In the meantime remember that at MAC, we #Challenge everything!
– Brendon Henry, contributor
Kate Stevanovic, Leading Teacher Student Leadership & Empowerment
headspace Youth Mental Health Centre and Services in Sunshine
Michelle Hynson, School Health Promotion Nurse, Monday & Tuesday
Valley Youth Programs
Mindfulness: Is it for you?
‘Mindfulness’ simply means paying attention to the present moment. Practising mindfulness can help you to cope with everyday life and deal with tough times. This is confirmed by extensive research, which has found that mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety. It can also help you to concentrate, relax and be more productive.
The best way to decide if mindfulness is for you is to give it a crack! Here are some different ways you can practise mindfulness, tips for what to do if you’re finding it hard, and ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Here are some different ways you can practice mindfulness, some mindfulness practice exercises, plus tips on what to do if you’re finding it hard.
How to practise mindfulness:
Focus only on the present moment:
You can develop mindfulness during regular activities such as when walking, driving or even while brushing your teeth. The key is to try and focus only on the present moment and not pay too much attention to your thoughts about the past or the future.
When you concentrate on what’s happening around you, you’re less likely to get caught up in your thoughts. Ask yourself whether you feel hot or cold. What does the air feel like on your face? What sounds can you hear? What can you smell? Is your breathing slow or fast? Are you tired? Are you hungry? How do you feel?
Try not to be judgmental about anything you notice:
This is tricky to do, but try not to label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Just notice things and let them be. For example, instead of labelling a particular smell as ‘bad’, just notice it without judging it.
Practise mindful breathing:
Take a few extra minutes to focus on your breathing. You can do this with your eyes closed or open. What does your breathing feel like? What does it sound like? Where do you first feel the breath in your body?
Try mindful meditation:
If you’re ready to go a little deeper into developing your mindfulness, consider mindful meditation. To do this, sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breath, or on a word or a phrase that you repeat quietly. If you find your mind is wandering, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It just means you have a normal human mind! Gently lead your thoughts back to your breathing, or to the word or phrase you’ve chosen. You can practise mindful meditation by yourself, or you can use an app (such as Headspace or Smiling Mind) if you want some guidance.
What if I’m finding it hard?
Becoming more mindful involves training your brain, so, like most things you learn, it can take time. Be patient. Also, see below for tips on how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine.
- Don’t expect to be able to hold your focus for very long, especially when you’re just getting started.
- It’s completely normal for your thoughts to wander.
- The goal isn’t to have a totally ‘blank’ mind; it’s more about noticing and gently guiding your mind back when your thoughts do wander.
- The more you practise mindfulness, the better you’ll become at it.
- If you’re struggling with a particular strategy, try a different one. Every person is different, and you may find some strategies easier than others.
However you choose to fit mindfulness into your life, hopefully you will notice improvements in your concentration, and in your ability to relax and to cope with stressful moments.
References and further information: www.reachout.com.au
Michelle Hynson, School Health Promotion Nurse, Monday & Tuesday
Arts & Tech
MAC Art Competition
Calling all MAC creatives!
We are introducing a MAC open and expressive art competition to help you conquer lockdown! Submissions are open in ALL forms, please let your creativity flow.The theme for MAC‘s first ever open and expressive art competition is coming of age! We want to see how you interpret ‘coming of age’. We are choosing a theme not related to isolation/lockdown to offer a source of escapism and inspiration. Think outside the box, build a robot, do a dance, write a poem, throw some paint around, write a song, cook something, draw a comic, make a sculpture, we don’t judge!
Enter your submissions with an optional brief explanation of your art piece, via the padlet, submissions will be short listed then voting for the winner will be left up to the greater school community. The winner will receive gift voucher!
Watch this space! Be epic!
Brynn and Eleanor (Year 10)
Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge
I hope you are finding some time to relax and read during this remote learning period. The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge closes next week.
To be considered for the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge
You need to log into the VPRC Application to add all of the books you have been reading before the end of Wednesday 15 September so that I can verify your books. If you have forgotten your password, please email me so I can give it to you.
Readers Review Competition
If you are wanting to enter the Readers Review Competition, you need to:
- Write your reviews in a Word document
- Fill out the entry form (see the Compass post)
- Get your parent or carer to give their consent
- Email me your entry form and your written reviews by Wednesday 15 September.
Please note that the reviews you have done in the VPRC Application will not be considered for the Readers Review Competition. You must submit them to me by Wednesday 15 September.
Meg Dunley, Victoria Premiers’ Reading Challenge Coordinator
Despite the school being in remote learning mode, we were able to celebrate Book Week. Thank you to all staff and students who participated in the activities.
On Wednesday, August 25th, MAC’s greatest bookworms united, celebrating the annual world book week. The club centred on: discussing the book participants were interested in, rising authors, book evaluations, the values of reading, books that other participants are enjoying as well as recommending favourite texts. The intention was to expand students and teachers’ abilities to express ideas using academic language, to deepen the appreciation of novels and to greatly extend the processing and interpreting of different perspectives and opinions. The club ended after an hour of deep insightful conversations, readers left with a greater sense of joy and tranquility.
Bilhah Ryan, Above Entry 10
There were six fabulous and diverse entries in the Open Mic. We had spoken word poetry, a podcast episode, a speech and a song. After they had all been played during, the viewers voted on the winner, Rea Tinoy with her spoken word “A Guide to Filipino Beauty Standards”. Congratulations to all entrants and congratulations to Rea.
Open Mic Winner “A Guide to Filipino Beauty Standards” by Rea Tinoy
Step 1: Have white skin.
Usually referred to as fair.
Every single ‘pretty’ adjective that you can imagine.
But it’s the complete opposite if your skin is tan or brown.
You have had friends in your face say –
“Oh you’re so pretty – but dark.”
You have had Titas in your face say –
“Don’t go out in the sun or else – you’ll be dark.”
There are ads on TV, playing in the sala who say –
“People will treat you with respect – if you weren’t so dark.”
There are actresses, singers, as white as flour who say –
“I wouldn’t have been this successful – if I didn’t change to light from dark.”
So how do you fix this? Simple!
Just slather on some whitening products.
And when I say slather, I mean scrub.
Cleanse all of that ghastly melanin off your skin – until there is not one spot of ‘dirt’ left behind.
Only then you’ll be seen as someone who is high class.
Admired by society.
You will learn that everybody here prefers white, over milk and dark chocolate.
Step 2: Have straight hair.
Sleek and shiny.
Neat and clean.
No waves, no curls, non textured hair.
My bouquet of curls is seen as a monstrosity.
Ringlets and ‘s’ shapes grasp onto each other,
With waves crashing over like high and low tides.
Frizz and poof add onto the chaoticness –
And in the end, it creates this one, huge, bird’s nest.
So how do you fix this? Simple!
Just head to the salon and get it straightened.
Though it may cause some burns and scabs,
Your hair falling out,
Chemicals oozing into roots –
Suppression is what you choose.
Rebonding promises that curls never return,
Altering the hair that is considered messy.
You will learn that everybody here knows that beauty is pain.
It wasn’t until I moved here, that I thought my tan skin was gorgeous.
It wasn’t until I moved here, that I started appreciating my curly hair.
It wasn’t until I moved here, that I realised I was fine as I am.
Leaving the archipelago made me see that those ideals are nothing.
Beauty standards causing great, internalised racism,
Distorting the minds and sights of what’s truly beautiful,
Thanks to the 333 years of Spanish colonisation.
Though I am the opposite of Filipino beauty standards,
That doesn’t stop me from being a
Proud. Curly – haired. Morena. Filipina.
MAC Writing Competition
It was stiff competition with the entries to this year’s writing competition making hard work for Mr Van Rooyen and Ms Dunley. Congratulations to all entrants and a super congratulations to Thomas Hormann, winner of the Junior Section, and Isaac Edwards, winner of the Senior Section.
Winner of the Junior Section of the Writing Competition, “Boiling Alive” by Thomas Hormann
It was a horrid summer’s day, the sun was an oven, warming my dry, wrinkly skin. The crops were crisp like chips, they’d been gasping for water for weeks. One spark and the whole place would be lit. The crunch of dry grass tickled the soles of my feet. Ash clouds were blocking the light, the suffocating smell of smoke from a nearby bushfire filled my nostrils like poisonous gas. I could taste the ashes of charred trees in the air. The lack of water was a big problem, things needed to change. The city was filled with water yet the government wouldn’t give us a drop of it. I walked inside my house and started packing my things.
“What are you doing honey?” my wife questioned.
“I’m packing our things, we’re going to Melbourne.” “But why?”
“We need to make a change and take our stand.” “Ok, let’s do this.”
We got in the car knowing this would be a long and hot journey. I was sweating so much, like a bucket of water had been tipped over my head. Drops of sweat drizzled down my face and hair.
After 5 hours we arrived at our destination. We strolled into the Melbourne Water building. Cool air hit us with a gust. I was refreshed like never before. A cold water tank was filled with cups next to it. I was ecstatic but nervous at the same time. We opened the doors of the boardroom to find about 10 people around a table. We sat down and presented our argument.
“We’re here to fight for the rights of water in the farm lands.” I heard sighs, but we went on.
“We think you don’t care about the people in the farms, and are asking for that to change.”
Our argument went on for ages. When we finished they stood up, and walked away. I was confused. We waited for ages, but they never came back. Sadly, we got back to our car where it was hot with no air conditioning. Outside the building was a lake, it reminded me of our farm before the droughts, before climate change had taken action, and before our farm was suffering from thirst and the grass was green. I enjoyed those times but now I knew the city wouldn’t help make that come true again we’d need to help ourselves.
Our journey home went slowly, a taste of defeat in our mouths. We were just around the corner from home when a strong smell of smoke flooded my nose. I glimpsed our house through the trees. I saw flames tens of meters high. Heat engulfed us, our animals cried, they had no escape. We ended up about 50 meters away when the flames stopped us. I called the fire department hoping they could help but they were busy with other fires around town. The fire circled us, we were trapped. We jumped from the car that was slowly catching fire. Then I had an idea! We could cover ourselves with the little water we had in the and sprint through the flames. It wasn’t the best idea but we had nothing else left to do. So I quickly went back to the car. When I clutched the door handle with desperation, liquified metal clung to my hand. Burnt dead skin fell off it. The door stuck for a moment but after more tugging, it swung open. I grabbed the water bottle, scorching hot air coating my face like a mask. I couldn’t see because of the sheer heat. We tipped the water on ourselves, this needed to work or we would die. We picked up some courage and went for it. I could feel the wind going through my hair. We made it out of the ring of fire, but suddenly I realised that my socks were on fire. I hastily took them off, finally we were safe. But we had nothing left, I felt so empty, we had no house, no car and no belongings because everything was in the car. The nearest town was 10 kilometers away, if we wanted to get there before sundown we would need to be quick and leave immediately.
We began our journey. It was tiring and boring and the sun was quickly going down. Finally I saw the town over the hill and eventually we got there and sat down at a cafe. “That was so scary I thought we were going to die.” I stuttered, shaking from what had happened.
My wife agreed “This is the final straw, the fire, the heat, the lack of water has taken everything away from us, things need to change.” she surprisingly confidently said.
“What are you trying to get at?”
“I’m saying we need to protest, are you with me?” “Let’s do this!” I agreed.
We grabbed our phones and posted on every social media we had, to be at Melbourne that night to protest outside of Fed square. The only question now was how we would get there. Just then, my best friend honked their horn outside the cafe, he must have seen our posts. We hopped in his car and drove back. I was nervous knowing this protest could fail and no one could turn up, but I had faith in the farmers. Eventually we drove up the hill towards where the protest was happening, I started hearing loud crowds chanting, drums booming and the ground shaking. We stopped, confused about what was happening.
Then, crowds of people walked towards us over the hill. So many people had come to protest. We joined them, marching and chanting for hours, until we got to the Melbourne Water department. It held water tanks with all Melbourne water. We charged in crushing everything in our way. We got to the water tanks and started puncturing them, water squirted out, we had just destroyed all of Melbourne’s water supply, all I could say was……….
“Karma’s a bi#@!”
Winner of the Senior Section of the Writing Competition, “Only Human” by Isaac Edwards
“How was the debate?” Taylor, my English teacher asked.
She had arrived just after the other debaters, and had brought various soft drinks over.
The atmosphere was charged with energy, which had not yet dulled down from the intense rounds of debating that had been held just hours before.
I shrugged. The rounds were fierce, each topic continuously polarising. Racism, climate change and religion were the worst, heightened by the stupidity of the opposing team. All privileged brats, who made empty arguments backed up by empty points and lies. And they had the nerve, I thought, the nerve to say we were the biased ones? “It was really tough,” I responded. “But we pulled through. We came close to being defeated though, by those biased judges, and their dogs.”
Taylor raised a single eye. “The conservative students, you mean?”
“Conservatism is such a ridiculous ideology. How can anyone subscribe to that backwards, anti-progressive shit? Anyone who does so isn’t worth my time.”
Taylor smirked, and leaned towards me. “You know, they would be saying the same things about the progressive left. Calling all left-wingers, such as yourself, all kinds of things that are only partly true. Tankies, Islam apologisers, climate alarmists, sooks. You think you’re making this any better?”
Her words hit me, partly because it was somewhat true. I myself have socialist beliefs, and do all kinds of activist work for minorities. Helping people is how I view it. So why do some people refuse to do the same things? Why do people refuse to support the LGBT community, BLM, and various other social causes? If they refuse to show love and support for other humans, why must our society tolerate people like this, who think like this and spread filth? And why do “moderates” try to ask that we “accept” this evil?
I turned and looked Taylor in the eye. “For fourteen years, I have tried my hardest to make a change in this world. I advocate for the most oppressed, victimised people in society, as much as I can with all the structural privilege I was born with. I bring attention to crises, such as climate change. What does any right-wing lunatic have that I don’t?”
Taylor looked at me with a curious expression on her nut-brown face. She barely protested about race or gender issues, regardless of the fact that she is a woman of colour. Some sort of internalised oppression, I thought to myself. Another reason to dislike this system.
“A glass of anything, perhaps?” Taylor asked calmly.
“Oh yeah, maybe a Solo?” I watched as she hunched over a glass and felt my throat ache in anticipation. 3 hours on the stage, screaming over the primal shouts of the other teams, took its toll on me. I accepted the glass with a tight smile, and briefly examined the contents of the glass. Pale yellow, with some white smudges on top. Nonetheless, I drank, and left the kitchen. Dodging students, I entered a quiet room to check my phone.
However, while pulling out my phone, I felt it nearly drop to the ground. Not that I couldn’t hold onto it, but I felt like … I’m falling …
I woke up. The air was completely devoid of feeling, if there was any air. And then I noticed a … thing. I stared at the thing, not sure if I should be crying, screaming or laughing. I only felt nausea.
The thing was a large, twisting, ever-changing black mass, parts of which occasionally turned invisible. The large, swaying tentacles that surrounded it made it look like some demented squid-octopus-starfish thing out of a Lovecraftian tale. Then it spoke, and my mind rippled with the power of that voice. Infinitely layered, vast and primordial, it made me feel like an ant, powerless against the might of the cosmos.
“Sentimentality. A paradox barely unique to humans, part of the mysteries of every intelligent being that ever was or will be. One that must be overcome and tamed, where the festering roots must be torn from the earth of the soul, leaving only the blossoming petals behind.”
The voice held me, forcing me into immobility. I tried to move, scream, do anything, but nothing came out. I could only stare at the thing, surrounded by nothingness. It terrified me, how neither colours nor objects, or even space and time existed here …
“You and your species think that you have … developed. Developed through strife and turmoil. That you have conquered any threats in that path you collectively tread. Disease, poverty, fundamentalism … these you have only just begun to learn about.”
I banged through space and time to see black people in chains. Watching as a white man threw something to one of the men. The head of an infant. The captives stood there, eyes dull.
“You,” the thing rumbled, “are what you seek to destroy. You claim to bring justice to the oppressed, and a different kind to the oppressors. That you stand superior to your competitors. What you fail to realise … is that all human souls are reflections.”
Moving through space and time, I was shocked. I’d read about atrocities committed by humans before, but seeing it before me made me feel sick to my stomach. I tried to open my mouth, to say anything, but my mouth refused to open, as I was visually bombarded with Nazi and ISIS brutality.
“You humans fail to recognise that your true enemy, the one you must tame, is but the human soul. Each human is different. Every human strives to fulfill something that they desire. This is only part of you. Only human.”
Only human, I think.
“Only human, the need to dominate, aspire, to hope. You view yourselves as your own masters. It is only human to think this way. But your divisions will seal your doom.”
Movement slowed to a halt, and I felt the temperature rise uncomfortably, as a grey haze surrounds me, like something out of Blade Runner 2049. I smelt something acrid in the air, and saw grey rocks at my feet. A muted sun turned the cloudy air a dull yellow, and ahead, a city. A vast metropolis of glimmering buildings, flickering holograms and a drone of traffic, surrounded by a huge, grey wall, at the foot of which lay grey water. The surrounding area a marshland, with humans toiling amidst pools of water and stunted grey trees.
Bang. I was transported close to one of the workers. Brown skinned, with scars, a dusty face and protruding ribs, elbows, knees and spine. Wearing nothing but rags. I stared in horror, but she didn’t seem to see me, and looked at a large, buzzing machine hovering above her head. A sharp request was sounded in a foreign language, and she turned and continued to dig in the fetid waters of the pond, shifting a small mass further up her back. A baby, which turned its head and stared up. One eye was glazed over and off-centre, while the cheek was torn fully open, revealing a festering, half-healed wound. It raised a frail hand, to show the broken fingers, rotting away from necrosis.
“Two hundred years have passed,” the thing chanted, coiling and writhing in the depths of the pool. “Oceans crept up, with warm, acidic lethality. The air now thick and hard to breathe, filled with soot and ash, cut the life of even the wealthiest. The fields flooded with toxic liquid of both Earth and human where slaves toil for their overlords. Slaves who fled less … fortunate countries … presented the perfect opportunity to the more privileged, who could not resist the human temptation. Birds of steel roam the skies, as few creatures of flesh may be found. Snow is scant even in places where it once fell, replaced now by rains that burn and flood. And yet … humans continued to survive.”
The thing sank further into the pond, melding with the slimy water, yet remained in a form that resembled the mist that surrounded me, while somehow appearing as solid as my own flesh.
“Humanity must conquer its enemy by destroying it. My observations reveal that you prefer to destroy than inspect, to annihilate than analyse, to burn than build”
I stared up at it, now in a sense of wonder, and finally words came out. “You … observed … ?
The thing rose out of the water and unfurled its tentacles.
“I planted the seeds of your evolution in apes. As I slumbered, humanity rose. My kind was able to overcome our primitive tendencies, to embrace the light. By failing to do so, you humans will doom yourselves. A slow, creeping doom, but it will come, wracking you with pain and sorrow. Part of what makes you human, must be uprooted, cast aside, so you may revel in the light of the future.”
Bang. The wasteland vanished, to be replaced by a shining city of glistening buildings and parks full of exotic alien life. Populated by bizarre, tentacled beings, although nothing like the creature beside me.
“My species selected me to create true life,” the thing continued. “Life that is not only conscious, but sentimental. Life that observes its own miracles, and wonders. Every second I feel is an eternity, and an instant. I observe, and consider. Whenever I awake from my slumber, I describe. My words are the words of truth. I exist beyond imagining. And yet … there are worlds and planes beyond the imagination of even I.”
Bang. The air exploded into colours that I never imagined, leaving me speechless. I moved into another dimension, and witnessed reality in ways that left me stunned. My body turned from fluid into gas, then moved between matter into new forms.
“This is true enlightenment,” the voice vibrated into my being. “Human religions attempt to describe the state of spirituality, but none of them realise that the essence of spirituality and the soul is physical, but in ways no one can predict. Like imagining a colour that does not exist, or another state of matter, the essence of the soul is one that can be found not through scientific study, or prayer. Instead, the soul is found through conquest. Only by conquering the collective soul of humanity, can you truly be free from fate.”
Coalescing and dividing, the colours painted an image of the universe that left me gasping at the hidden beauty of it. Painting the soul. The colours merged faster, forming objects and shapes. Familiar and alien, as my senses converged. They surrounded me, taking the shapes of both household objects and mind-breaking symmetries … until the sensation stopped.
Bang. I fell onto the kitchen floor, spilling the glass of Solo, and saw Taylor’s shocked, yet curiously blank face.
“Arghh …” I slowly got up, placing the glass carefully onto the counter. “You all right?” Taylor asked in a concerned tone.
“Yeah, I reckon I’m fine,” I responded, looking at her ugly, normal face.
“You passed out for a second there, but we have to go. The adjudicators want you and the team back at St Bernard. They suspect cheating.”
Cheating? I thought, as I moved past her to splash water on my face, but I’m hit with the words “You, are what you seek to destroy.” My mind flashed back to the words of that creature, and the idea of debate sank into my stomach.
“I have to leave,” I mumbled, as I pulled on my jacket.
“But the debate!” Taylor said, sounding affronted. “You have to beat St Bernard, it’s for the school!”
I turned around and looked at her. “F– St Bernard, and f— the debate,” I replied, moving past her. Before I left, I took in the bits of white powder on her black gloves and the soggy white smudges at the bottom of my empty glass.
Book Week Dress Up
While we couldn’t have our normal book week dress up, we still managed to celebrate book week with students and staff dressing up. Congratulations to the winner, Lucia Williams, and runner up, Samuel Chong.
Meg Dunley, Resource Centre, Communications and Marketing Manager
Resource Centre News
Thank you to all the students and staff who have contacted me regarding overdue books. Understandably, the books cannot be returned during Remote Learning. Please take this time while studying from home to find all overdue books and put them in your schoolbag to return them when face-to-face learning resumes.
Staff and students can renew books through the Library Catalogue (login using the Single Sign On with your school email address and password). If you can’t do that, please send me an email: email@example.com
Ebooks and Audiobooks
The Eplatform has over 2500 ebooks and audiobooks that you can read or listen to with new books being added every day. You can access it by downloading the app on your device and signing in with your school details in the Single Sign On (SSO). It’s a great way to access books during uncertain times. Find out more here: mountalexandercollege.wheelers.co
Do you need a bit of bibliotherapy (the use of books as therapy)? Check out the State Library Victoria’s Bibliotherapy Podcast for some soothing therapy. Bibliotherapy with State Library Victoria is a free, facilitated self-reflective approach, using stories and poems read aloud over a series of podcasts, to give everyone access to literature’s healing power.
Meg Dunley, Resource Centre, Communications and Marketing Manager
Upcoming Competitions & Opportunities
Meg Dunley, Resource Centre, Communications and Marketing Manager
Bringing the world event into MAC classroom
Term 3 we see students learning Japanese engaged with special program to include the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in our classroom. Traditional Japanese sports are also added into the curriculum of learning and research. Students learned Karate, Kyuudo, Judo, Aikido,Kendo and the Japanese High School baseball during class. Students were excited to choose their order for the official Olympic mascots that have arrive at MAC. Students learnt how the Japanese elementary students voted for the winning Mascots used for this Olympic events and hopefully some of you may take part in the preparation of the 2032 Olympic Games when Australia host.
Students reflected strong interest to explore newly added sporting events at the Tokyo Olympic games such as skateboarding and Karate. We look forward to have some of their research shared with the school community when they completed their work towards the end of the term.
Ms Ching Chan, Japanese and Chinese Language teacher
National Science Week Activities
Virtual Escape Room
On Tuesday, August 17, to celebrate science week I participated in an inter-house competition in a virtual escape room. The task was creative in the sense of how interesting and engaging it was, especially considering the remote learning circumstances. We had to solve a number of puzzles against a ticking time clock and insert a code based on the answers to the specific questions, which were all based on food. This year’s science week theme is Food, different by design. I found it really fun and interesting, talking and problem-solving with the other students in my house, and I enjoyed being able to talk to other people in some semblance of what learning is like out of lockdown.
Massive thanks to Miss Berkovich for organising it!
Bonita Rathgen, Y8
*Image from Stile
On Friday 20 August, celebrating National Science Week, some of MAC students along with about 10 schools across Victoria joined a Tall Poppy virtual event experience.
In this event, students engaged with emerging leaders in Science fields including: Immunology, Heart Disease and Epigenetics.
During the event Students heard from Associate Professor Francine Marques, who became fascinated about genetics during a biology class in high school. She told students about her science journey that has taken her across the world from Brazil to Melbourne, where she now leads a team studying how microbes in our gut and their genes contribute to heart disease.
The students also heard from Dr Misty Jenkins, a NHMRC fellow and laboratory head in the Immunology Division at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, where she researches cellular immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Dr Jenkins told students about her personal experience to pursue science and how learning about the first discovery of vaccines in high school opened her up to the idea of pursuing a science career. She also shared astonishing imaging videos from her research about the use of white blood cells (T cells) that attack cancer cells and might be used as a tool to treat brain cancer in children.
Finally, the students learned from Associate Professor Nir Eynon, Research Group Leader at Victoria University, Melbourne. Professor Eynon was born and raised in Israel, and migrated with his family to Australia 10 years ago. Ever since high school he was passionate about PE and basketball and that eventually led him to pursue a career in the science of sports and physical activity. During the talk he outlined how regular physical activity can change molecules in the human body in a way that can slow down the ageing processes and prevent many diseases.
From our students
In this event, the presenters were talking about their studies of science and how modern day science can change the present and future world, and the importance of science. In this workshop, we learnt to appreciate the pathways given to us and how we can take advantage of that and develop a future career. In summary, This was a fun, educational workshop about science and the many important roles that scientists play in the world, and encouraging the young to take up a pathway in science and change the world.
— Ryan Harbridge
Some students insights about the event:
“I found the event really intriguing, and I liked how the presenters covered very different fields.”
“I found the event really interesting because I liked hearing about the research they are doing and what things they accomplished to get where they are today. They also talked about topics in science that I’m really interested in.”
“I found this event interesting today because hearing experiences from other scientists was informative and helpful.”
“I learned that high fibre food is now being used to help people who suffer from high blood pressure.”
“I learnt that you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do and that your path can change. You need to make opportunities for yourself and what matters is choosing subjects and courses that you are interested in and let that determine what you do. I also learnt a bit about immuno-therapy and I found that really interesting.”
“I learned how even having plans for the future doesn’t necessarily mean that what you planned out will happen.”
PreVCE Biology challenge
During Science week our science class celebrated in various ways online. One example is Ms Balaburov’s PreVCE biology class whose students were challenged with the task to build a cell model using things around the house. Students showed enthusiasm and creativity, using items like jewelry, stationary or food, demonstrating remote learning can be both productive and fun! Please see some of their creations below, happy Science Week!
Virtual event with pathologist Emily Hall for the forensic science classes
Forensic Science class had a unique experience this science week. Students received a virtual visit from a real forensic scientist – Emily Hall, who works at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. Emily recorded a video for MAC students, giving some information about her role as a forensic pathologist and describing her own life path to this field of science. This allowed students to learn about autopsies in a unique way and hear first hand, how a day in a forensic scientist’s life looks like. Moreover, Emily agreed to answer students’ questions and recorded a second video shortly after receiving their questions. Students showed great curiosity in her field and professional life as well as gratitude for her willingness to share and answer their questions.
Some of the students’ responses:
“Thank You Emily, for informing us and giving us an insight of what being a forensic pathologist is like.”
“Watching the video was quite an inspiring ordeal. I found it really interesting to find out what such a queasy and tedious job is like. I am very thankful for the video and it was great to watch.”
“The video was very interesting and made me more fascinated in forensic science. Thank you for spending time to share this info with us Emily and I wish you the best of luck for future cases.”
“I loved the Q&A, it was fun and interesting. And thank you to Emily for this really cool information. I would love to watch you work because I know it would be a very harrowing but intriguing process.”
“Watching these videos have been so interesting, I can’t wait to tell my parents I got to talk to a real life forensic scientist, it’s been so amazing and I wouldn’t take back this experience for anything. Thank you so much Emily for your generosity and enjoy teaching grade 1 ”
Miriam Berkovich, Science Teaching and Learning Leader
Staff Walk for Mental Health Research
Support Our Walk for Mental Health Research
Did you know that 1 in 5 people experience symptoms of mental illness each year? In fact, every day in Australia, 8 people will die from suicide.
Mental illness can be debilitating and can have a devastating impact on not only those living with it, but those around them.
But this October, we’ll be putting one foot forward to make a difference to the lives of people touched by mental illness and suicide.
We’re fundraising to raise money for life-changing research into treatment and prevention of mental illness, as well as vital support services.
MAC Parents & Friends
The next MAC Parents & Friends Association’s meeting is Monday 4 October at 6.00 pm. Contact the MAC Parents and Friends to stay in contact with them about what the format will be: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the conversation over on the PFA Facebook Group
Second-Hand Uniform Shop
The Second-Hand Uniform Shop will be closed for the rest of Term 3. As soon as it is open again, we’ll let you know! Due to the building works, this Shop will run out of a different room in future – details of the new location will be printed in a future MAC News. We look forward to helping you with your second-hand uniform needs again when the time comes!
Clare Mendes (shop volunteer), MAC Parents & Friends
Community News and Advertising
We advertise and support local organisations that reside in our catchment area. These suburbs include Flemington, Kensington, Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds, Maribyrnong, West Brunswick, North Melbourne and Parkville.