School Kaleidoscope

News from Term 1, 2008


Alia's 10th year has got off to a great start! A warm welcome to all our new students and their families. Term I was short, due to an early Easter; however, we managed to get quite a lot of work accomplished due to the fact that we started a bit earlier than most other schools. We would be interested to get feedback on how you felt about starting school before Australia Day. Next year we will be celebrating our 10th birthday, so now would be a good time for Alians to start thinking about how they would like to recognise this event. Bob

Apollo Bay Camp

The orientation camp this year saw us return to Apollo Bay. This time, there were no floods, raging storms or shredded tents (as in Feb 2005). The weather was warm, the showers were good and we all had opportunities to become acquainted, or re-acquainted. Students enjoyed a variety of activities such as surfing, sea-canoeing and beach gridiron. Food became an unexpected issue when what we had arranged to cook and the available facilities appeared incompatible. But in the glorious Alia fashion, we adapted - people worked together, Yuri's culinary skills shone brightly, and a group of VCE students fled to a nearby cafe. For the Year 12 group this was their last start-of-year camp and Ben Morgan videoed some of their adventures, so that future years would be able to see why things went so horribly wrong! Ben hopes to edit the footage into a short film to screen at Arts Night later in the year.

Antonia Writes Home

Antonia and Sean managed to find time out of their holiday to keep their weblog updated and postcards coming. It seems that South America is treating Toni well with her last message coming on the verge of a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Although we are very glad that she is enjoying her sojourn, there have been occasional moments of panic as the staff (Bob and Scott in particular) fretted over the details of various matters that Toni usually handles in her stride. Antonia and Sean return home mid-April to save our collective backsides and to dazzle us with travellers' tales. Expect the next Et al in Spanish.

Anna and Ginevra Hold the Fort

In Antonia's absence, Anna and Ginevra have boldly stepped into her shoes. Their efforts have been excellent and much appreciated by staff and students. Both were crucial participants at staff meetings and the trivia night. We hope they will continue to play a role in the development of Alia College after Antonia's return.

Harvey 22 minutes old

Cara's Bouncing Baby

As you can see in the photograph, Cara's beautiful baby finally popped out. Harvey Christopher Flannery Schlusser was born on New Year's Day at 10.16pm. At birth, Harvey weighed 3.82kg (8.4lbs) and was 55cm long! Of course, he's grown even more since then! Both mother and baby are doing very well and they visited Alia last week.

Legal Studies Class in the Slammer, By Ashlee Yr 12

On 27th February the Year 12 Legal Studies class went to prison. No joke!

As we all squished up in Kirsty's car and drove almost 90 minutes to Lara, the atmosphere was infused with mixed emotions - fear, nervousness and excitement.

When we pulled into the Barwon Prison car park, we were escorted in by a prison guard, leaving EVERYTHING behind. We weren't allowed to bring anything in! So, we sat in a room for ages, waiting for another school to turn up. This worked in our favour, because we got to have a one-on-one question and answer session with Helen, the prison guard.

When the other school finally arrived, we were able to go in. At this point, our nerves kicked in. The next step was going through security. Happily for us the 'sentinel' was broken (a big scary machine you step into which blows a fierce current of air at you and 'sniffs' the air to detect any illicit substances on you or traces on your clothes). In place of the sentinel we had to go through the metal detector which, thank God, we all passed through without any problems. Following the security check, we followed a very long winding trail, through a beautiful garden, to a large visiting room. This was nothing like anything I could have expected. It had cartoon characters stuck up on the wall. We were given tea, coffee, cordial and biscuits.

One of the prisoners presented an introduction and then the Alia students and the students from the other school were divided into three groups and sent to three different corners of the room. There were six prisoners, also divided into three groups of two, and sent off to the corners to talk to the groups students. It was a spine-chilling experience to be talking to these prisoners. Five of the six prisoners we spoke to were doing time for murder and the sixth had been convicted of over ninety armed robberies! We talked to the prisoners for twenty minutes and then had a ten minute break. Then the prisoners rotated and we got to speak to another two prisoners. Another break, and they rotated again, until we had spoken to all of them. Then, after we had spoken to all the prisoners we all sat in a group and had a chat and debriefing session with Helen. And then we went home. After a long, tiring day, we all squished back into Kirsty's car, and - through heavy persuasion - convinced Kirsty to pull up at KFC on the way back.

Trivia in session Trivia table

Alia Trivia Night. Great Scott!

This year's trivia night was a turbulent event, with more than eighty people competing for a lavish hoard of not-very-valuable prizes. As usual, MC Scott signaled his enthusiasm for bribes, creating a precarious moral climate, adding zest and uncertainty to an evening that would otherwise have been merely an arid intellectual contest. Victory was eventually secured by The Crew, a group made up of Year 12 students and their families. The Crew just sneaked in, three points ahead of Team Canney. Incredibly, some members of Team Canney pointed to some sort of irregularity in the system that determined their narrow loss! Cheating!?! At Alia!?! Horrors! Never! In any event, a fun time was had by all. Perhaps it is only a coincidence that the teaching staff found themselves sumptuously fed for most of the following week? There are suspicious whispers alleging corruption.

First Yoga Class

National Free Yoga Day

On Friday 14th March the VCEs and several other students were invited to take part in a free yoga class with Katherine from Yoga Connections. The response was so enthusiastic that Alia is considering arranging a weekly class in Term II. It would most probably run during lunch time and would cost $20 per student for the term.

Some students' thoughts about the class:

The yoga class was very relaxing and enjoyable. Katherine explained how to slow your breathing and relax when you're stressed.

I enjoyed it very much. Everyone in that class was very considerate to the people who just wanted to stretch and relax. Lovely class. Katherine was very interesting to talk to. (By Lilla, Yr 9)

The yoga class was relaxing and fun. Katherine is a wonderful teacher and I hope to do classes with her again. It was great! (By Madeline T-E, Yr 9)

Yoga Sessions Starting Term II

It has been proposed to run lunchtime Yoga classes on one day per week. This will be partly subsidised by the school, providing a very cheap opportunity for those who take the course. Early next term an invitation with details will be available for you to consider. We are anticipating a price of $20 for the term [about 10 sessions]. Expressions of interest to Sheena.

Tanoshimi ni shiteimasu

In what has become an annual event, Alia will again this year play host to a group of Japanese students. These students are studying English in a program at Victoria University. They will be in Melbourne for two weeks and they are looking for families with which to lodge. If any Alia families would like to offer accommodation to one or more of the students, they will receive $220, per student, per week. Anyone interested to help in this way should make contact with Yuri.

Who will Answer the Bugle Call?

Garry has been offered a full-time position elsewhere and, unfortunately for us, is unable to continue to work at Alia. So, we are looking for a new teacher. All of the qualified teachers who have called so far have backed off after hearing that we want someone with two instruments and who will teach instrumental skills rather than just music theory. If you know anyone who might fit, please contact us on 9822 9622. A big thank you.. to Garry and best of luck in his new position!

Doorknob Disaster

As if on cue, most of the doorknobs at Alia have come apart. Suddenly, opening and closing some doors has become a matter of intricate manipulation. Anyone who has both spare time and doorknob know-how and is willing to help fix this problem should call and have a chat with Bob. Failing that, we will probably hunt out some professional help soon - hopefully before someone starves to death behind an unlocked! door.

Four students in an odd pose

Fairy stories into modern myths during the junior drama class

Juniors hamming it up

Timetable Tribulation, by Liz Dekavalas

Liz (Yr 10) had a go at our timetable and discovered that there are far more problems than merely the need to find slots for subjects.

'Bob was talking to us about the timetable and how students can have a go at it. I decided I would have a go at doing it; I had been doing the timetable for about a week or two when I was told that there were changes that no one had told me about before. I thought all was going well but, when I showed part of the timetable to the VCEs, I was told about the changes, which caused new clashes.

People think preparing a timetable wouldn't be that hard to do. If they try, they will find out it takes a lot of organization and a lot of time'.

Marks on clay pads

Primitive communication: Cuneiform and hieroglyphics in Sarah's SOSE class

Clay Expression

Calendar Dates

Term 2 START (with a new all singing all dancing timetable) Tues 8 April, 9.00am
Parent/Student/Teacher Interviews Tues 15 April, 4.30pm
Alia Info Night Wed 16 April, 7.15pm
Anzac Day Public Holiday Fri 25 April
VCE Production Thurs 15 May (TBC)
Alia Info Night Thur 22 May, 7.15pm
Yr 11 Mid-year Exams Mon 26 May - Thurs 29 May
Report Writing Day Friday 30 May
Queen's Birthday Public Holiday Mon 9 June
Alia Info Night Tues 10 June, 7.15pm
Yr 12 Mid-year Exams 11 & 12 June
Wed 11 Biol-9am; Physics-11:45am; Acc-2:45am
Thur 12 Psych-9am; Chem-11:45am
GAT (ALL Students studying a Yr12 subject) Fri 13 June 10am
Arts Night Wed 18 June, 7.00pm
Term 2 END Fri 20 June
Optional Snow Camp Mon 7 - Fri 11 July

Grim Reaper image for Everyman illustration

Year 12 Play

This year the Year 12 Theatre Studies Class is producing a 16th century play called 'Everyman'.

Parts have been open for students of all year levels to audition.

The group has to work together to direct, adapt the script, produce costumes and sets and act in the play.

EVERYMAN. Adapted by the Year 12 Theatre Studies Class. A timeless morality play following Everyman though his physical and psychological journey to give a reckoning of his life to God. Proposed Production dates: 15th-17th of May."

Paparazzi in training! Sheena's Studio Art Students

Photos not available at this time

Some of the new faces at camp.

New Alia Student New Alia Student New Alia Student

Adventure Camp.

In Term II, we are hoping to arrange an adventure camp at the farm school. The camp will involve 'roughing it': no five-star accommodation or room service! Food will be cooked over an open fire. For those who enjoy the challenges of primitive living and making-do, it will be a great experience. Below: Bob, Nick and Sue

Farm Scene Farm Scene

There will be opportunities for imaginative games and entertainment in the wilds of Pirron Yallock and plenty of stimulating conversation. The camp will be spread over a weekend, possibly including Friday. As soon as the transport arrangements are finalised, details will be announced.

Wireless @ Alia.

We have just installed the latest high-performance wireless network, with state-of-the-art encryption. This is a great technological leap forward for the school and it's all thanks to a government grant and the sustained hard work of the staff, especially Antonia and Alexander Clarke. (Alexander is a 2006 Alia graduate who is now studying medicine at the University of Melbourne. He has installed the new system and saved us megabucks.)

The Alia wireless network features 802.1 in draft 2.0, offering a better range and speed than most other existing technologies and is also backward compatible with 802.1 1b/g. The wireless encryption is the most powerful currently available (WPA/WPA2 Enterprise) and 802.1x authentication to ensure the safety and integrity of data.

The Alia wireless network can be accessed using WiFi-enabled Mac or PC. Any Alia families considering buying a new computer which they would like to connect to the Alia network, are highly recommended to purchase a Mac. Those with a PC may attempt to connect it to the Alia network, but remember that the school will be unable to provide any additional support for PC connection because of the huge number of different manufacturers and models.

Once connected, Alia students will have instant access to the internet, personal network storage files, network learning resources and printers. With Wireless @ Alia, the sky"s the limit.

Year 12 Psychology class examines the brain.

On 21 February, the Year 12 Psychology group visited the Monash Medical Centre to study various methods of brain scanning.

The group studied Magnetic Resonance Imaging and witnessed a brain scan in progress. It was explained that an MRI scanner is basically a large magnet, indicating that patients with pacemakers, for example, are not able to risk having a scan.

The group also learned about CT-scanning and EEG brainwave detection and observed the latter process as Sarah agreed to put on rather strange headgear and then submit herself to an EEG test.

Examining these brain-scanning instruments is particularly interesting at the present time. In medical research and treatment, great progress is being made through work which relates physical symptoms with brain activity. On a wider scale, contemporary research is also exploring the relationships between mental states, behaviours and brain activity. Hardly a week goes by without news reports of discoveries of new and possibly fruitful correlations between, say, aspects of learning and fluctuations in brain activity.

These research areas are obviously highly relevant to students of psychology and the excursion to Monash was an instructive demonstration of the powerful tools already available.

Old News

Wilson's Prom, ASX Competition, School Production

It's been a great year overall. We started by getting flooded on the first day of school and finished with being blown all over Wilson's Prom but the in-between stuff was great.

Oh! except that Scott took a sicky in February. He had is appendix taken out. Some people will do anything for a week off.

We put students through life saving training while Scott was away and the weather was hot. Table tennis took over the school for a semester. During the ASX competition students showed that you can make money on the share market even though the market fell initially.

The quest for a director for our production started and continued through to the longest series of performances that we have ever run, with packed houses all the way. It really was a pretty amazing job with students doing Props, Make up, Front of house, Lighting, Sound, Costumes, Sets and Stage managing under the direction of Roman.

Comedy Festival, Sail on Albert Park Lake, Little Desert in June and Mt Buller in July

Going to comedy festival was another first - thanks Hagan (yr11). Radio station 3SSR 99.7FM came back on air available to any Alia budding broadcasters as did learn to sail on Albert Park Lake. Taiko drumming became a big deal with some students and the drummers taking over the scout hall.

Kirsty ran a snow camp at Mt Buller in July. We walked across the Little Desert in June. Went through such a Murder Ball craze that the VCE students have embarked on a video mockumentary that has become bigger than Ben Hur.

Students prepared two arts nights. In August we hosted 20 Japanese students who are still sending letters and emails. Alian families hosted students and Megumi our language assistant.

Australian Science and Mathematics Competitions, Defence Lake Attack around Albert Park Lake and , Halloween Party Sleepover

We again did the Australian Science and Mathematics Competitions and produced the usual great results. We won the Defence Lake Attack around Albert Park Lake - well done Georgia(Yr7), Max(Yr7) and Anton(Yr7).

We had the slave auction, chess tournament, and table tennis competition and even rounders got a look in. Other things were the sleepovers, running Battle of the Bands at Camberwell Civic Centre, VCE information night, parent teacher information nights, the work experience program, regular information nights, Dress up day, our first ever school formal, the regular Halloween party sleepover, the alternative education conference - it's exhausting thinking about it all.

Next year we will have a trivia night, German girls being exchange students and apparently another group of Japanese visitors.

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