2022 | Issue 1 - 1 February / Փետրուար

From the Principal

Start of the 2022 Academic Year

Dear Parents,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all members of the Alexander School family for another exciting academic year! A warm welcome to our new students, who seemed quite comfortable with their newfound friends and environment. For the rest of the students, it took no time for them to resume their routines looking relaxed and eager to get back into class after a long break. It’s an excellent start to the new school year!

During this morning's assembly, Father Avetis Hambardzumyan welcomed everyone and led a special prayer, officially marking the start of the school’s 2022 Academic Year. The students recited the Lord’s Prayer and after receiving personal blessings from the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, moved with excitement to their new classrooms.

Lord Jesus, we ask for Your help as we begin this new Academic Year. Allow us to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before us. Open our eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings. Open our hearts and mind to new friends and new teachers. Give us a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with our studies and courage to accept new opportunities. Help us to be attentive to one another and let us experience Your presence in our new friends. Jesus, inspire us to do our best this year! Amen

The Impact of the Changing World & Our Response

We all face changes in our lives on a daily basis... whether it is a simple change to our routine, or to the weather forecast, change affects everyone and we each deal with change differently. This is the only constant in our life, the only thing we can be sure will happen… change!

As a result, we should all be prepared and learn to expect change, which will in turn bring us hope during challenging or unexpected life events, such as the Covid19 Pandemic. It is important to understand that it’s not the circumstances or the changes that dictate how our lives will be shaped, but rather how we go about handling those changes and disruptions. It does not matter what the change is that we experience, it is how we embrace that change that will forever impact how we are able to live with the change.

When one is going through such a change, one finds different ways to cope. Personally, I turn to my faith and find an inner strength that the Lord has graced me with. I turn to His word for comfort and peace. But no matter where you turn or how you cope with change, you must find a way to deal with the newly changed differences in your life. You need to look for the positives despite the negatives in the changes that are happening. Having a positive outlook will totally change the perspective. Life is what you make it, and change is no different! In fact, the only thing we can count on in life is that change will be constant!

It is also interesting how we each have our own resiliency (an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change). Some of us are able to ‘bounce back’ more quickly than others. I believe that our resiliency depends on the type of change (more massive is more difficult) and how much the change has an effect on your daily life. It also depends on our age and where we are in our life.

Change comes into every life, at every age, but for children, massive change can be especially difficult because their experiences, like their life spans, are still limited. Children can be affected differently than adults, and it’s up to the adults to help the children through the rough times. Adults, such as teachers, who consider the age and developmental level of the children are better prepared to support children emotionally, teach effective problem-solving skills, and model successful coping strategies.

Change is constant, but it is all a part of life and we can all learn and grow from it. We can all help each other through. If a young child experiences an event that is beyond his or her skill level, he or she needs an adult to help learn new coping strategies or adapt a current skill. Being aware of the developmental tasks the child or youth is learning will help the adult identify the next steps to take. Adults can help by loving the child, talking with the child, showing the child new ways of dealing with the change and accepting the child’s reactions to the event.

It is not difficult to forget that life will always be changing - we face something new every moment of the day! We need to embrace the changes that life has in store for us - they will make things flow more smoothly and we can bounce back from the major changes hopefully a little easier. We just have to always keep in mind that life truly is what we make of it... if we are always living in negativity then life will always seem like doom and gloom.

 “The only thing constant in life is change” - Heraclitus

Manoug Demirjian

School Routine Notices

Homework &/or Home Reading will be assigned by the teachers for Years K-6 from next week. Please refer to the “Homework Policy” (available on the School App and emailed to parents) to familiarise yourself with the school’s expectations on home study. The teachers will provide more information for each class and during our Parent Information Evening.

School Supplies

Years Prep - 2 | All supplies are provided by the school. Students don't need to purchase any books or stationary.

Please note: Textas and erasers are not permitted for P/K students.

Students in upper grades need to purchase the following personal stationery supplies:

Years 3-6 | Two pencil cases that need to remain at school for classroom use only. One is to be left in the English and the other in the Armenian classroom. Each pencil case should have a packet of lead (HB) pencils (No Pacers), eraser, sharpener, 30cm ruler (wooden or plastic, not metal), glue stick, scissors, highlighter, two red pens (medium point), coloured pencils and textas.

They also require two blue pens and a geometry set, a USB, headphones for their laptops and a mouse.

Please note: Correction fluid (liquid paper or whiteout) is banned.

Covering Books - Teachers will send home textbooks and exercise books over the next week or so. Please cover textbooks, diaries and exercise books with clear contact only. Some book covers for exercise books will be made by students and/or supplied by the school before contact is applied. Clear contact must be used as teachers will group books into subject areas based on the colours of book covers. This assists with easy sorting and classifying.

Prep/Kindergarten students should have a change of underwear and socks in their school bag daily.

Toys are not permitted at school. P-K class teachers will advise parents with a note, when and if toys are permitted for “News” sessions. Toys will be confiscated. (Please note: Nintendo DS, PSP and iPods are permitted during bus travel only, and responsibility for safekeeping rests with students)

Birthdays - Prep - K students only are welcome to celebrate their birthdays at school with a cake. Cakes should be as plain as possible with only a small quantity of icing. Parents should notify the school office or class teacher one day in advance if they plan to celebrate at school with a birthday cake. Please do not provide “Party/Lolly Bags” as part of the celebration.

Uniform - Please note the correct school uniform in the School Diary or in your Enrolment Package. Also refer to the “Uniform Policy - Parent Handout” to understand the school’s policy on this. Girls should come to school wearing their sports briefs and are not allowed to wear coloured long boxer type shorts under their summer uniform. Students are also not allowed to wear coloured T-shirt under their summer and/or sports uniform. Plain stud earrings or sleepers are allowed for girls. Dark blue hair ribbons, clips and scrunchies should be worn.

Label Clothing -All removable clothing including jumpers, hats, track suit tops and pants, must be clearly marked with your child’s name. This will assist the school with lost clothing.

Sports Day - information in relation to sports day will be provided later this week. All students must wear complete summer sports uniform as obtained from school. Please note predominantly white coloured sports shoes and all white socks (not anklets) are required. Summer sports uniform is worn in Terms 1 & 4, and winter sports uniform in Terms 2 & 3.

Students not participating in a sports session must bring a signed note from parents with a full explanation.

Sports Shoes - Students are allowed to bring sports shoes to school for play. They are allowed to leave a second pair of sports shoes (predominantly white) at school to change at lunchtime for play (eg soccer) then change back.

School Hats must be at school daily. One of our school rules is ...“No Hat, No Play”. Students without hats will not be able to use the playground area during play time. They are to sit down in the shade, read a book by themselves and not play.

Students who do not have a hat break the school Uniform Code and will receive a cross in the Red Book.

Sunscreen - Parents are reminded that application of sunscreen on children in the morning is essential. It is recommended that students carry sunscreen (roll-on types only) in school bags to reapply. An SPF factor of 15+ (or greater) broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen is recommended.

Healthy Lunches - Our school health policy insists that only nutritional foods – low fat, low sugar – are consumed at school. We are very proud of the quality of food our canteen provides. We remind all parents to support our policy by continuing to send only healthy type foods in lunch boxes. We expect only one snack type of food for Morning Tea. Definitely no sweets, chips, chocolates, jam, nutella and “junk” food are permitted.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential foods for children.

Occasionally and in moderation, the school canteen will treat students with a cake stall. The school Newsletter will advise parents of these days.

Library borrowing will not start until next term. Students must have library bags to borrow books. A library rule is no library bag, no borrowing. Students are rewarded for remembering to bring in their bags. Library bags are simply drawstring bags with dimensions of approximately 30cm wide and 38cm long. Any fabric may be used but please ensure its durability.

Absences By law student absences from school must be explained with a written note from parents. Notes can be in English or Armenian and should be sent on the day the student returns to school following an absence. Notes are legal records and must be written in pen and signed by a parent. Notes are to be addressed to your child’s classroom teacher. Please ensure the following information is provided in a note: Student’s name, date/s of absence, reason for absence, parent’s signature, date when note is written. Parents can also use the School App to send a Form with the above information to the school office.

Information Update Forms - “Student Information Update” forms for each student will be sent home early next week. The Student Information forms are replaced in our school filing system at the beginning of each year. Therefore, it is important for the school to identify any changes to student details including telephone numbers, address or health risks (e.g. asthma and/or allergy development). Please remember, signatures of both parents in residence are required.

Parents are requested to have completed/updated forms returned to school as soon as possible.

Bus Passes - The students are expected to use their Opal Cards from last year. New students need to apply or lost ones need to be replaced by an online application. Students are permitted to travel without a card only until the end of February. Opal Cards must be presented or tapped on and off thereafter otherwise students are required to pay fare. Please check your child/ren’s card to ensure details are correct. Contact the school office immediately should there be any errors.

Birthdays of the Week

Happy Holiday Birthdays to…

Aren P. | Levon P. | Aren M. | Lia G. | David K. | Adelin G. | Mrs Talar Bedikian | Mrs Seta Keoshgerian

Christmas Concert & Graduation 2021

AGBU Alexander Primary School’s annual Christmas Concert & Graduation evening took place on Sunday 5th December. For the second year in a row, the Gemjian Hall was not filled to its usual full capacity, and the guests were not trying to secure an ideal spot to enjoy the event. In fact, once again, there was plenty of room and distancing between the group of seats that were allocated and reserved for each of the guests. Only parents and students of Years 5 & 6 were the lucky ones who were allowed to attend this unique graduation ceremony, which was once again live streamed on the school’s social media pages to the rest of the school community or anyone across the world.

Another academic year had come to an end. A year that had not only seen the same conditions as the year before, but even more with the fact that over a term of schooling was done by Remote Learning. The year had started with the promise of continuing to plan and celebrate 30 Years of Educational Excellence & Schooling at Duffys Forest. However, due to the extensive lock-down conditions, these had to be pushed aside once again, as we all came to experience one of the most challenging and unprecedented times for the school community.

Despite all the challenges, our staff, led by the school executive, did their best to continue the education of our students online, to help ensure minimum disruption to the learning of our students. We are forever grateful to the dedicated teachers of AGBU Alexander School.

This year, the Christmas Concert was pre-recorded for the evening. The first part consisted of a Christmas Story, titled “Getting Ready for Christmas Concert”. The story took place at the end of the term when everyone at AGBU Alexander Primary School was up to their eyes preparing for the Christmas Concert. The unexpected arrival of two school inspectors added to the mix of mayhem! From the word go, to the closing moments of the final performance we were drawn into the wonderful world of the school’s “Getting Ready for Christmas Concert.”

This whole segment required pre-recording, with no students from Prep to Year 4 being present at the event. The second part of the program was dedicated to the Year 6 Graduation ceremony.

During the formal proceedings, the prestigious ‘Alexander Medal’ for 2021 was announced by the Principal, Mr Manoug Demirjian and awarded to Dzila Mikaelian from Year 3. Following the student votes, which had taken place a few days earlier, the School Captain for 2022 was also announced to be Adelin Galstian.

As the ‘Unforgettable Memories…’ of the three graduates was live-streamed, we listened to the reflections of Sargis Hambardzumyan, Lara Bozikian and Berj Tomassian. We also heard from their teachers Mrs Seta Keoshgerian and Mrs Libby Lattimore. By realising how the years had passed, the time had also come to present them with their graduation certificates. This was done with the support of the AGBU Sydney Chapter Chairman, Mr Mihran Lepedjian. Finally, after the traditional ‘Alexander School Farewell Song’ was sung for the last time by the graduates, Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian concluded the evening with his closing address and prayer.

The school concert once again highlighted the quality of bilingual education offered at Alexander school. It showcased the level of care, the development and fostering of talent to the realisation of each student’s potential. By reflecting on these graduates and past students, there is no doubt that this wonderful educational establishment has offered them opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible.

As we continue to increase our student enrolments, we hope more parents will also make the choice to direct their children to Alexander school, where they will continue to ‘Grow & Serve’.

Unforgettable Memories | Անմոռաց Յիշատակներ

2021 Graduates

Good Luck in High School!

Good luck to our 2021 Graduates who are starting High School this week!

A good time to share their 'Unforgettable Memories' video, available on our YouTube page "AGBUAPS", where you find many more!

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