2021 a year in focus!
We have had an engaging year in Global Studies this year. Students were involved in enriching, hands-on and experiential learning with the guidance of our passionate and experienced teachers.
The Global Studies Department includes the subjects of Legal Studies, Business Studies, Senior Ancient and Modern History, Geography, History, Civics and Citizenship, Business and Economics, Integrated Humanities, Food Technology and Textiles. With such a diverse range of subjects, we are lucky to have teachers that come with a variety of experiences, that prepare innovative lessons, have a willingness to collaborate and are supportive of our students. Our Department is made up of such professional and dedicated teachers!
Our students have been engaged in a varied curriculum which has been supported with online presenters, virtual excursions, hands-on excursions and activities that provided a range of experiences. Many of our students participated in the Geography and History competitions this year and we congratulate them for their outstanding results.
In Term 1, Year 7 Integrated Humanities enjoyed an excursion to the National Museum of Australia. This was a highly engaging experience for the students as they were studying ancient civilisations, including source analysis related to our own ancient Australian history. Students enjoyed a museum educator-led program in A Living Culture. Students got to handle and explore a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sources which have evolved and been adapted over 200 years. It was a wonderful learning experience for the Year 7 students who were able to make links to the features of a civilisation and how the first Australians lived in our country.
At the end of Term 3, Year 7 enjoyed a virtual visit with acclaimed author Sophie Masson. Sophie has had more than 70 novels published in Australia and internationally, mostly for young adults and children. Sophie spent some time speaking with the girls about the experiences in her own life that led to her becoming an author as well as the influences in her learning that inspired her talent.
Textiles has been a fun and enjoyable year with students developing their skills and knowledge of sustainable fashion and the importance of buying wisely, considering repurposing and recycling clothing. Practical items have included dyed handy pouches, masks for a masquerade party, appliqued bags, quiet books, and a variety of dyed interior items.
Food technology continues to be a popular subject. Students have enjoyed learning food preparation skills and cooking at home during lockdown this year. Ethical food choices, entertaining, baking and budgeting has been a focus in all classes.
Year 8 Geography students enjoyed an excursion to Tidbinbilla participating in Geography fieldwork and seeing a combination of natural, managed and man-made environments.
Our Year 9 and 10 Geography students have been participating in a variety of class activities such as tasting insects and insect-based products to consider this protein as a sustainable solution for food supply, creating models to predict how coastal regions change over time and a variety of virtual tours. Year 9 Business and Economics students engaged in the trading game using their negotiating skills to obtain resources from ‘countries’.
In Semester 1, Year 8 students taking History relished in the traditional Merici Medieval History Day experience, a fixture on our calendar … when conditions permit. This year’s learning activities were organised by teachers from PE, Art, Dance, Food Technology and History. Students baked traditional bread rolls, shared a medieval feast, learned about the sports of archery, Kubb and Finska (Viking games), painted illuminated manuscripts, and danced around the Maypole. Hands-on History!
Year 8 Civics and Citizenship students were fortunate to have ACT election educators come and give a hands-on experience of the voting system, voting booths and all.
Legal Aid ACT provided an insight to the trial and criminal processes to the senior Legal studies students.
In March 2021, Year 11 and 12 Modern History, Ancient History and Theory of Knowledge students enjoyed a rare interstate excursion, when they visited Sydney for two days to develop their historical skills. The group, led by Dr. Powell and Miss Passchier, coped with near-record rainfall and were lucky to make it in and out of Sydney between COVID scares.
Students nominated the following highlights of this excursion:
- The honour of meeting Mr. Peter Halas, a child survivor of the Holocaust who migrated to Australia and eventually established the Seafolly swimwear company at the Sydney Jewish Museum;
- Imagining themselves as Sydney Uni students, while exploring Egyptian, Roman, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts and at the Chau Chak Wing Museum; and
- Exploring The Rocks historic precinct: both in the dark, and during an archaeology workshop at ‘The Big Dig’ site.
In 2021, teams involving students from Years 7 to 12 represented the College in interschool parliamentary debate days, hosted by the ACT Legislative Assembly. This competition gives students a unique insight into how debates operate in a real parliament, as they sit in the seats of elected members and are subject to the formal rules of parliamentary debate.
Congratulations to the students who performed so well in the debates, supported by Dr. Powell and Mr. Borgia. They argued:
- That the ATAR system for university admission should be abolished
- That learning a language should be compulsory in every year of high school
- That the ACT flag should not be changed
Rising Stars in History
Congratulations to Caelan Edghill (Year 9), who was crowned State Champion for the ACT in the 2021 Australian History Competition. Merici students entered the competition in May, an exam-based test which demands of students an excellent level of historical knowledge and skills. Caelan was a deserving winner of this medal and is a promising historian.
Congratulations to Matilda Hanley (Year 10) who was selected as Winner of the 2021 Simpson Prize Competition for the ACT. The competition is facilitated by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia and focuses on the legacy of ANZAC and is open to all Year 9 and 10 students in Australia. Matilda’s essay analysed lesser-known stories from Australians on the Western Front, including Noble Black, Bernard Haines and Kitty McNaughton. Winners from each state and territory participate in tours of national institutions and receive a $5,000 information technology package.
This year, we have several staff changes and many staff that have filled in while staff have been on leave. We welcomed Mr. Damian Maier and Mr. Fabrice Boone to the Food Technology Department. Both these teachers have experiences as Chefs and their knowledge and skills have been an inspiration to our students. Mr. Damien Borgia has joined us in teaching IH and Legal Studies and his enthusiasm has been appreciated by all his students. These teachers have provided new vitality to our curriculum. A big thank you to Dr. Stephen Powell for taking the reigns as Coordinator while I was on leave. He did a tremendous job and fitted into the role with ease. We were lucky to have some very experienced teachers replacing staff on leave and wish to thank Mrs. Joan Bradley, Mrs. Maureen Adams, Mrs. Sue Paton, Mrs. Kate Wiseman-Taylor and Ms. Quaria Haque. Congratulations are due to Ms. Benita Kleeman on the birth of her son Wayde on October 2. We wish her well in the coming months and look forward to seeing her join us again in 2022.
It is both with a heavy heart (and joyful anticipation) that I will be leaving the College at the end of the year as I and my husband will relocating to Queensland. I have enjoyed my time at Merici so much and especially in the role of Studies Coordinator. To my staff, I thank you for all your support. I have been continually impressed by your talent, innovative ideas, and preparation of the outstanding curriculum we deliver. You have made my job so gratifying. To the students that I have had the privilege to teach during the past 21 years, I am continually amazed by the creativity that you display in your learning and in your assessment tasks. It has been wonderful to watch so many of you mature into the beautiful young women you are today. I truly hope that you become lifelong learners and may the future be a happy, healthy and remarkable one for each of you.
I would like to thank all the staff for their generous support this year and wish them all a Merry Christmas and a safe and restful holiday.
Coordinator: Corinne Preston Staff: Susan Anderson, Gregory Baines, Louisa Barnsley, Nicola Bartasek, Fabrice Boone, Damian Borgia, Phil Coe, Diana Davis, Karen Evans, Natalie Fairfax, Kyla Firman, Clare Freeman, Benita Kleeman, Stacey Kernaghan, Liza Laird, Andrea McNamara, Damien Maier, Kerry McDonnell, Andrea McNamara, Vicki Meyers, Nikki Passchier, Sue Paton, Stephen Powell and Trish Young.
Global Studies Coordinator