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Centenary Heights State High School > Calendar and news > Principal's blog
February 20
Principal's blog 20 February 2018

Dear Families


1. What a rollicking start to the year. We have so  much enjoyed thus far:
- The Year 7 Meet and Greet where parents/carers of our newest cohort came in to see classrooms, chat with main teachers and hear what topics they have begun to study. It was great to see so many people enjoying each other
- Our Junior Swimming Carnival - fabulous! So well organised as usual by our Carnivals Coordinator Frank Dowling, supported so very well by our Student Sports Captains and Vice Captains and teaching and non-teaching staff. Overall attendance and participation on the day for Years 7, 8 and 9 was, both as required and expected, outstanding
- Year 12 Badge Ceremony – where we officially acknowledge our Seniors. Wonderful to see so many of their family members present and to catch up with parents with whom I have enjoyed relationships in all of their preceding years
- Year 7 Camp – as you read, our At School Camp and Away Camp are in process. Respective coordinators Chrissie Lodder and Dave McMillan have done an amazing job in providing the best experience for all of our 328 Year 7 students. My sincere thanks to our staff at the Away Camp who, through working at the Away Camp Monday to Thursday, are giving up significant time from their own families. I often reflect on the goodwill across all of our teaching and non-teaching staff – we are truly fortunate
2. Our CHSHS landscape to begin 2018:
- Student number of 1660: Year 7 – 328 students; Year 8 – 288 students; Year 9 – 292 students; Year 10 – 285; Year 11 - 201; Year 12 – 266
- Within that number of 1660, we have 236 students for whom English is a second language and 120 students with a verified disability – truly blessed with our diversity
- Staff number of teaching and non-teaching staff – 227
3. Q Parents:
I strongly recommend, if not already, you sign up to Q Parents. Why? You are able to so readily remotely access your child’s timetable, the status of your fees, your child’s attendance record and your child’s Assessment Planner – google Q Parents and it is easy to register. Later in the year, while we have previously mailed out documents like Assessment Planners, we will cease that practice in the knowledge you have ready access electronically. If you are a family that does not have digital access, let us know and we will be glad to provide hard copy documents as needed. We will continue to mail out report cards
4. Staffing changes in 2018:
- We welcome new Deputy Principals Kerri-Ann Frew and Will Curthoys. We congratulate Deputy Principal Ian Insley who is now working as Principal for 2018 at Crow’s Nest State School
- We also welcome 14 new teaching staff and a number of wonderful Teacher Aides who are working in classrooms with our students
5. The annual Toastmasters course for our student leaders has begun with graduation on 13 March – this is a super program each year where our student leaders work with the great members of Compass Toastmasters over seven Tuesday evenings to become so very confident in their body language and ability to speak in front of both small and large groups. No sense electing leaders unless one invests in their learning and capacity
6. I am requesting your understanding and co-operation:
- When you are driving in our school precinct please remember you are at the same time modelling responsible behaviour to our young people. Please do not park in the Southtown Shops carpark while you wait to collect your child nor for any of our large at school events. We enjoy a tremendous relationship with our shop neighbours and recognise that they have a living to earn which is supported by available car parks for their customers
- Please do not pull up and have your child jump in the car at positions that are not designated for parking – incredibly unsafe. I suggest you make an arrangement with your child that you will collect him/her from an agreed position in an outlying street
- There is a designated section on South Street for a two minute pick up and drop off – the timing is to allow as many members of our family community as possible to collect children with ease. If you park there, interminably, it is not fair to others not to mention it flaunts local traffic regulations
- I do not permit our students to remain at the Southtown Shop area [inclusive of all shops] after 3.15pm. The Deputy Principals and I monitor our students’ behaviour and respect to the wider community from school exit time up to and including 3.15pm and so exit from the area by then is essential. Our students understand that if parents/carers are not able to collect them from the shop area by 3.15pm they will re-position to our side of South Street as they wait for you
- On matters other than driver behaviour – should you wish to make contact with your child through a working day, by all means text which is a common method of communication however a reminder that our students are not permitted to access their phones during a lesson or walking between lessons. Best times to send messages is in our breaks: 11.15am – 11.55am and 1.15pm - 1.45pm
- A reminder that external people to our school, inclusive of our family members, are not permitted to enter the school grounds or buildings without having made a prior appointment and signed in at our main office. This is a Workplace Health and Safety requirement and of course a courtesy to our students and staff
7. For your awareness:
- Year 12 Exam Block dates – Wednesday 14 March through to Monday 19 March inclusive. Students are required at school for their specific exams [schedule will be placed on our website soon] but not at other times unless they have been instructed by their teacher/s as a result of having to catch up on schoolwork or they wish to access our Library for study purposes
- Free Dress Day Monday 5 March – all students are encouraged to participate as our student leaders use the gold coin donation required to participate to ‘save up’ and ultimately fund such great organisations like Toowoomba Hospice where our school has sponsored a room for the past four years [$4000 per room]. A reminder that all students are required to wear covered shoes and wear clothing that is modest and respectful. Singlet tops are not permitted. Pastoral Care teachers will check compliance at the start of the day. Should there be an issue staff will contact families to collect your child, head home to change and return as soon as possible
- With reporting coming up for Term 1 – if you see on your child’s report card that a teacher has indicated an R – it is a request for you to make contact with the teacher to discuss how you and our teacher might work together to lift engagement. Please respond with your contact as soon as possible as it is imperative that we remain connected in support of your child and our student
- On our website you will see a couple of documents that I believe you will find worthwhile – use the pathway Support and Resources – Parent Resources and you will see ‘Family Technology Charter’ which has the approval of the E Safety Commission and ‘Raising Hell – why bringing up kids in the age of social media is sending parents crazy’

Best wishes
Maryanne Walsh






December 05
Principal's blog 5 December 2017

Dear Families:


Many recent wonderful occasions on which to reflect:
- Our Awards Night – a packed auditorium at HumeRidge, speeches by our students that impressed everyone in terms of their wonderful delivery, celebration for students who were presented with awards, the smooth running of the event by our School Captains and Vice Captains  - all features of a superb family occasion
- Our Flexi School Graduation/Awards and Formal – the most stunning celebrations both at the Empire Church theatre. A super mix of community members who give so much time to our students at Flexi, business people and organisations who provide scholarships to further learning and of course families, so proud
- Our mainstream Graduation and Formal – The Graduation was mixed with warmth, humour, reflection and was a stellar celebration for our young people. The Formal, for the first time at USQ given our number of 600, was a show of major proportions as we witnessed our young people absolutely transformed from the green uniform
- Excellent QCS results have come through for those year 12s who are OP eligible
- The Walker Film and TV Awards night which showcased the absolutely superb work of our students in years 11 and 12 and saw the introduction of the inaugural Bennett Zeller award in memory of our delightful Ben
- Our Christmas Choir singing at Bupa Mackenzie Street – an annual event and again this year, the effect for our lovely older generation was tangible – smiles everywhere
- Our Cross Cultural Captains 2018 Charlene Marom and Cynthia Zhang, along with fellow year 11 student Priyenka Menon, speaking as part of the Youth Panel at the recent  National Interfaith Conference held in Toowoomba. Their topic – how to respect people of all cultures and faiths in a diverse community. My goodness they were sensational to listen to
- Our Junior and Senior Gold Ceremonies – again, lovely to recognise so many of our students who continue to show respect for themselves, their families and their school
- Our Junior Captains and Vice Captains accompanying me to the recent White Ribbon Day Toowoomba Community Breakfast we are a dedicated White Ribbon Ambassador school which means within our school we talk about domestic and family violence, how to support our students in such situations, how to skill our students as ethical bystanders in terms of their actions to act protectively when they are aware of such situations and work with our students so they, as adults, do not become victims or perpetrators


Looking ahead to 2018:


- Day 1 of Term 1 is Monday 22 January and we welcome Year 7, 8 and 12 students that day. Day 2 – Tuesday 23 January - all students are required on this day and this means we are joined by our Year 9, 10 and 11 students. On their first day students in the respective year levels are required to wear full Formal Uniform inclusive of their black leather shoes
- BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] laptops for all students in Years 7-10 inclusive – in 2017 all of our Year 7s and 8s have been required to bring their own laptops to school. This has been a major success and is the strategy now employed by state secondary schools as the previous federal government funding for computers in schools has come to an end. In 2018, all students in Years 9 and 10 will join our Year 7s and 8s in terms of being required to bring a laptop to school. Our Year 11s and 12s are also already doing so. Families, please access our school website [on the home page under Quicklinks] to download the specifications required for when you purchase a laptop. The laptop you purchase should be a minimum of 128gb to allow for the work that needs to be done in working weeks in school – anything less will not cope with the software that will be installed in the on-boarding process by our Computer Technicians. Stay away from anything that is 32gb or 64gb. On-boarding – what is it? For a cost of $50 our students will be linked to our network and Office will be loaded on – saving hundreds of dollars to our families. So – do not buy anything with Office or Adobe on it already – our Computer Technicians will load these on when on-boarding. Screen size – best size is between 14 and 15.6 inches. Anything bigger may not fit into your child’s school locker. Also stay away from the $300 specials you may see advertised – these are normally coloured laptops – they just do not have the capacity needed. Investing in a second battery [around $50] is a good idea as well as a charging facility is not provided at school. Some of our students bring a version of the portable battery pack. I notice in Toowoomba there is currently a really good machine for sale for $797. It has storage of 1TB and a 15.6" screen. As I say though – go to our website and check all details
- If you have changed addresses please do let us know – we always like to think that what we post to you actually arrives and in a timely fashion
- Formal Uniform dates 2018 – these dates are scheduled for 2018 and will be in the mail-out that is posted this week. Please place those perhaps on your fridge at home so you are always aware. Heads of Year will also give the dates to their year level students in Week 1 2018. On these days the formal uniform is required to be worn in full. The dates are on our website under Calendar and News/Events Calendar
- 50th Anniversary of our school – again check our website [on the home page under Quicklinks] but Saturday 28 April past students have a tour and a lunch;  Sunday 29 April past and current staff have a lunch and a Community Fair is planned for Sunday 4 November with market stalls, food and drink, outdoor theatre at night. From 90 students in 1968 to 1673 students in 2018. Overwhelming!


Thank you to you all, on behalf of all of our staff, for what has felt like such a quick year but one packed with the joy of young people, their happiness and their success.
Maryanne Walsh




September 11
Principal's blog 11 September 2017

Dear Families
School Social was recently held in our Hall Wednesday 13 September. Our student leadership group, particularly the year 11 contingent who have direct oversight of that event, did an absolutely marvellous job in planning, budgeting, preparing and cleaning up. It was such fun for hundreds of our students and a great way to finish the term
Term 3 report cards will be posted to be received over these holidays. Please take a close look at whether any of your child’s teachers are requesting an interview with you. If so I urge you to contact our school to make a time. The fact that a teacher will ask to meet with you suggests he/she sees the need to be greater than that of a phone call and important to ensure your child engages to the best of his/her ability. As always with our parent interviews around engagement/performance, please bring your child with you
Congratulations to our USQ Head Start graduates – earlier this term we celebrated 11 of our students graduating their programs in a range of disciplines: Biology; Cinematic Language; Economics; Foundation Psychology; Corporate Finance; Engineering and Spatial Science Applications; Marketing; Language, Culture and Customs; Physics and Scriptwriting. The Head Start program is open to students for participation in Semester 2 Year 11 and Semester 1 Year 12. Such a great initiative from USQ which allows our students to taste university life and, in successfully completing their subjects, take off time in the length of their university course once they actually begin such post school
Wonderful celebration recently for our teaching and non-teaching staff who have achieved 30 - 40 year milestones in their careers in education. When I look at the calibre of these good people I am just so thankful that they have influenced the lives of our youth. What is crucial in education is to build positive relationships with students so that they are encouraged to learn to the best of their ability and most importantly to keep abreast of new trends in knowledge. I hold these people in the greatest of regard for their dedication to our young people and the profession of teaching in general
Director General of Education Jim Watterston was in Toowoomba recently to visit our Flexi School. He has in a number of forums over time labelled our Flexi School as world’s best practice in re-engaging young people into education. As Jim rightly says, ‘every child and young person deserves the chance to succeed’.  There are times where students are not well enough physically or mentally to participate in a mainstream program. What Flexi provides, courtesy of our exceptional teaching and non-teaching staff, is a small, individually case managed environment where students may still attain their Queensland Certificate of Education and re-build capacity and confidence. The destinations of our graduates include USQ; TAFE; fulltime apprenticeships and/or fulltime work. Wide involvement from business people and community groups is an underpinning of the ongoing success of our Flexi. Such a fabulous program
We start term 4 with a full formal uniform day for all year levels on Friday 6 October. The remainder of required formal uniform days are on our website
Best wishes
Maryanne Walsh
August 03
Principal's blog 3 August 2017

Dear Families

1. Wonderful again to see so many families engaged in our parent/student/teacher afternoon/evening. I appreciate very much the time you take in support of your child/children and equally appreciate the time our staff take to be so well prepared for discussion. Importantly, the child is present for such discussions as it is only then that the conversation makes the difference – as we know, parent and teacher could chat forever about the potential of the child but it is folly not to include the ‘main player’ – the student

2. For your interest:

-  Our 2016 School Annual Report is up on our website. State schools are required to post the annual report for the previous year by 30 June of the following year. It lists facts and figures for the year gone as well as looking ahead to the year to follow

- Speaking of the year to follow [which is the year 2017]  in relation to facilities, plans continue to be formed for the building of a Performing Arts Centre, complete refurbishment of our Art precinct and refurbishment and extensions to our Hospitality facilities. As these plans firm I will be more specific but suffice to say the cost will be 10.5 million dollars in capital works augmented by further multiple thousands of dollars as allocated by the Department of Education and Training. These improved and enhanced facilities will be mostly in place to begin 2019 and prepare us for the year 2020 when our school is mooted to grow to 1750 students and near 300 teaching and non-teaching staff

- On our website, in the Quick Links section, you will see information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] covering all aspects of how NDIS will work for parents and carers of a child with a disability

3. Safety of our students:

-  I have confirmed with our students [and why] that I do not permit them to be in local parks, in particular Lake Annand before or after school while in school uniform. They also understand that our students are not permitted to change out of their school uniform on exit from school rather they are to travel to and from school in full uniform. In monitoring this over the past weeks it is no surprise to me, and something for which I am always thankful, that there is 100% compliance with this directive. Families, this is not a new situation – I have always been clear that our students come to school and go home from school directly other than of course where they have alternate arrangements where they might meet families or the like. In recent times our local police, with whom we enjoy a very positive relationship, have advised me that some of the parks local to the school have served as areas where illegal drugs are exchanged and/or used – it is best that our students stay right away from those who see young people as a ‘captive audience’

Do you drop off and/or or pick up your child in Catto street? The other week there was a serious accident near the corner of South and Catto streets. It occurred at the busy time of afternoon where a number of our students were waiting for pick up. A car had turned the corner from South into Catto, at speed, the driver lost control and smashed into a fence. Some of our students were sitting only meters away. Exceptionally lucky that there was no injury. To this end Catto street neighbours contacted me to say that there had been other dangerous behaviours with drivers compromising the safety of our students – pulling up illegally too close to the intersection to collect children, speeding around the corner etc. In order to keep our students safe I have directed them to wait for pick up and be dropped off well into Catto street, nowhere near the intersection. Our staff on bus duty of an afternoon have worked with our students to ensure that has been happening and, as always, our students have been excellent in their understanding and cooperation. As parents/carers I ask that you observe the same protocol in terms of drop-off and pick-up ie drive well into Catto street and do not pull up anywhere near the intersection. I do appreciate your understanding

- Our Athletics Carnival comes up this week – full day Wednesday 9 August and a host of related events on Tuesday 8 August throughout the afternoon. As with every year and such events, given it is a school day, student attendance is mandatory. Please ensure your child brings sun protection. I do realise that participation in athletics is not suited to everyone and for that very reason the day is shaped so that there is something for everyone regardless of aptitude in this area. Students have a wonderful time with each other and their teachers and as I say always to our students, the mark of respect shown for the incredible amount of hours put in by our student and staff organisers, is through their attendance. Because of this clearly articulated expectation to our students we have very few absences on the day with a follow up text message requesting explanation being communicated to parents whose child is absent

- Year 10 to 11 subject selection evening Monday 14 August from 6pm through to 7pm in our Hall – our year 10 students understand that if they are contemplating returning to Year 11 in 2018, participation in this evening is required – such is the importance of sharing the information regarding the very different nature of Years 11 and 12. So much for parents to know!  Your child also understands that he/she will sit with you – this lends itself to the conversations that will naturally unfold as the information is shared. Students will have a sign on sheet to sign at the front of the Hall. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of this night in terms of assisting our Year 10s to make the best possible choices around subject selection and future pathways. From 5.15pm on in our Library on the same night you will see a host of people from local businesses and educational organisations showing what they have to offer to further your child’s pathway – this was a huge success last year. You are most welcome to begin your night in our Library
USQ Scholarships for our Year 12s – this year there are 2 types – the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships which reward academic achievement and the Future Community Leaders Scholarships which recognise potential for community leadership. There is no longer a Principal’s Recommendation Guaranteed Entry element. All information, including application forms, is now up on the USQ website. Have a look also at the offering to Year 9 and 10 students who are interested in Science – a three day experience during the September holidays run by the Science Schools Foundation

4. Eisteddfod performances have been beyond amazing – I invite you to look at our website for specific detail about results but what an absolute pleasure it has been to see the quality of performance and the enjoyment for our students. I acknowledge here the commitment of our students and their families and skill and dedication of our teachers Jess Johansen and Jeff Poole. Further on Performing Arts – I have not seen anything quite like the recent Creative Generation [C Gen] for State Schools on Stage which was held at the Brisbane Convention Centre. As I have written to our staff, to see a 700 strong choir in action and synchronise for 2 hours with the most wonderful singers, dancers and musicians from primary, special and secondary schools around the State took my breath away. The fact that these students experienced the mentoring of famous artists in the week leading up to the event was an experience of a lifetime for our 9 students and I have no doubt every one of the other 1491 students involved. Absolutely extraordinary. Upcoming in C Gen is the State Final for Voices and our Choir which is one of 5 schools across the State to perform in the Final on 17 August at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music

Best regards

Maryanne Walsh


June 08
Principal's blog 8 June 2017


Dear Families
- Parents/Carers of our Year 11 and 12 students – currently the students at our mainstream campus are on exam block – started Wednesday 7 June and concludes Monday 12 June. The 11s return to school and to regular classes the next day Tuesday 13 June. It is imperative that they are at school every day up to the end of term as their teachers will be giving back assessment, going through it to further value add to their learning and then beginning to teach new work. This new work will not be repeated after the holidays so it is essential that all students are present. On Tuesday 13 June, every Year 12 student is also required to be in attendance at school [unless the student has a school based traineeship/SAT] – and on from there until the end of term. Those students who are sitting the QCS exam later in Term 3 will have specific arrangements on Tuesday 13 June and those not sitting the exam will have separate arrangements – however every Year 12 is required to be at school unless, as I say, the student has a Tuesday SAT. These specific arrangements for the 12s are posted to our website and our Year 12s are well aware of them. Our 12s will again be in these same arrangements on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June
- Parents/Carers of students in all other year levels – it remains an expectation that all students are in full attendance until the end of term. As with the older students, teachers will be returning assessment and analysing it with their students and then beginning to teach new work. This is not to be missed. I am well aware that, as schools approach the end of a term, some students may seek to mislead their families and say ‘we are not doing anything in class, assessment is over’. Please do not believe that. Attendance is a major contributor to student success and we are very focussed on maximum attendance for every child
- Parents/Carers of our Year 7/8 students – due to the cyclone that occurred at the end of Term 1 which resulted in the Activities Day being cancelled, this day will now be run by our student leadership group on the last day of Term 2 Friday 23 June. This is such a great day – our students love it. On that morning we also have Crazy Hair day which is a very good fundraiser for our Interact Club – these are such wonderful ways to end the term
- Parent/Carers of our Year 10 students – looking ahead to an exciting time with our 10s ie Subject Selection evening for any student who is looking to enrol to Year 11 in 2018. The evening is Monday 14 August from 6.00 pm to 7.20 pm. Our students understand, if they are seeking enrolment to Year 11, their attendance on the night, in the company of a parent/carer, is mandatory. Our students also know they sit with their families on the night to ensure discussion happens easily. So much valuable information and advice is shared with families on this night – it is imperative to be there. Please set aside the date on your calendars. From 5 pm on that night in our Library - I suggest you arrive early to see this – is the Centenary Heights SHS Tertiary Expo. This is a display and series of presentations from representatives of tertiary and other career pathways. Really great information!
- Student safety – a reminder that our students riding bikes to and from school are required to wear helmets all the way. On the rare occasion where a student does not have a helmet we keep the bike overnight until a parent is able to collect it or the student comes with a helmet to wear. In such a case we work with the student to ensure he/she arrives home safely via an alternate method. On another matter relating to student safety – our students understand I expect them to go directly home of an afternoon unless they are have family arrangements to meet elsewhere. Similarly I expect them to come straight to school – they are not to stop off in local skate parks or shops. Just recently police have advised us of incidences of both violence and provision of illegal drugs in local parks – as I say our students are to travel directly to and from school
- Great news – our boys and girls senior basketball teams recently finishing 1st and 2nd respectively in the John Armstrong School Cup finals; our Choir finishing 1st in the Creative Generation regional final and students Coralee Brand, Melanie Kaye, Asa Belley, Monica Simmons and Cindy Cui having their Art works displayed at USQ as a result of their strong placings in the USQ Vision Art Works competition. Coralee’s work was placed 1st from 100 entries. Well done to our students and staff
- Reporting for Term 2 – reports will be posted as follows:
Year 7 – Wednesday 12 July
Year 8 – Wednesday 12 July
Year 9 – Thursday 13 July
Year 10 – Thursday 13 July
Year 11 – Friday 14 July
Year 12 – Friday 14 July
With Parent/Student/Teacher interviews on Tuesday 1 August from 3.20 pm - 6.30 pm -
details of the online booking system will be posted with reports
- Full school uniform dates for Term 3:
All school - Friday 14 July and Wednesday 19 July
Year 7 and 8 – Thursday 10 August
Year 9 – Friday 11 August
Year 10 – Monday 7 August
Year 11 – Tuesday 15 August
Year 12 – Wednesday 16 August
Best regards
Maryanne Walsh
May 16
Principal's blog 16 May 2017

Dear Families

1. Congratulations to:
- Our Choirs – both Choirs were simply amazing at the recent Toowoomba Choral Eisteddfod with our Gospel Choir taking home 2nd place. What never ceases to amaze me when I have the pleasure of viewing the performances from all participating schools, is the level of class and quality that underpins such events. It is just a treat! Well done to our students and their teacher Mrs Heidi Law – our school community is justifiably proud of you
- Our year 11 Sport and Recreation class and their teacher Mrs Chrissie Bartlett – as part of the program of learning in Sport and Recreation, our students officiated at the recent Toowoomba District Primary Schools Cross Country. Incredibly positive and unsolicited feedback has been coming in from so many quarters – here I name a couple – last week, at the annual Rankin dinner for student leaders and their Principals, a gentleman from The Glennie School leaned over to me to say ‘your students officiated at the primary cross country the other day – they were absolutely amazing!’ He went on to describe their manner with the younger students, ability to communicate with staff from other schools and capacity to take charge of the running of the event. An email that came through soon after the event from the organiser, a teacher at Toowoomba East SS ‘Congratulations and a huge thank you for the help and support received from your students. They conducted themselves in a professional manner, being organised and willing to help with any task they were asked to perform. They were also proactive and took initiative when they could see things needed to be done’
- Our students Kyrna Crump and Isak Shepherd who both came first in their respective groups at the recent cross Country for students with disabilities – so very well done!
- Our full school community for an outstanding school cross country experience. Well done yet again to organising teachers Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett so ably assisted by our staff and student Sports Captains and Vice Captains
2. Thank you to:
- All 8 teams of students who will participate in the annual Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research on the weekend of 20 and 21 May. Many of our student participants juggle their work, sporting, cultural and school commitments to walk through the night and sleep out in Queen’s Park in order to raise funds. We, again this year, represent the largest contingent of school students in the district. I thank also our supervising staff Catherine Andress, Jason Attwood, Chrissie Bartlett, Tiffany Beck, Chrissie Lodder, Matt Russell and Jess Zylstra – a huge commitment from them!
- Our Interact Club of students and their organising teacher for the Lifeline Can Appeal, Mrs Sandy Feldman. Our annual school drive began on 4 May with the process being our students bring in to school whatever can/cans they have on Thursdays and Fridays. They are stored in our hired container and presented on full school parade at the end of the appeal period to Darling Downs Lifeline CEO Derek Tuffield. As Derek says ‘the difference this drive makes to families who really struggle is immeasurable.’ If you are in a position to assist in this way, please have your child bring in a can or two. The record, achieved in 2016, is 7625 cans – immensely satisfying as our students and staff continue to support our school desire to look for ways to assist those in need
- Toowoomba East Rotary – members Glen Postle and Harry Spencer drove our 3 students – year 11 at our Flexi School - Daniel Mawhood, Anna May McCarthy and James Cook to and from the RYPEN camp held at Camp Duckadang. This was fully funded by Rotary and focussed on engendering leadership qualities and teamwork. In my chats with Daniel, Anna May and James, they have taken so much out of the experience and rate it as immensely successful. They will, on 1 June, address the lunch of Toowoomba East Rotary members with their thanks and feedback. I have no doubt they will do a great job. I take the opportunity to acknowledge Toowoomba East Rotary who are such a tremendous community partner to us in so many ways
- Our student leadership group – a large number of our students have volunteered for the second year in a row to work at the annual Toowoomba Camelia and Garden Show on the weekend of 15 and 16 July. All funds go to the Toowoomba Hospice, the most fabulous organisation to which, for 3 years now, our student leaders have donated $4000 of their raised funds to Adopt-a-Room
- Our P and C Executive – they do such a marvellous job and in between their own work and family lives. It was P and C Day on Friday 12 May and our student Captains and Vice Captains accompanied me to the workplaces of our Executive to give a small donation of our thanks – coffee vouchers!

You can see above, families, that we rightly place ongoing emphasis as a school community on the notion of giving of yourself to be aware of and assist with the needs of others - as it should be when tasked with influencing young lives to go and become contributing members of society.

3. Parents/Carers - seeking your goodwill in co-operating with the Council signage on South Street outlining the area that is a 2 minute pickup/drop-off. Especially at the end of the school day we see a number of cars waiting outside that signage which is in fact no parking. As Council advises, such practice has the potential to clog traffic moving down South Street and also blindside other drivers. At my request Traffic Officers have attended the area and will continue to do so at random times in order to keep our students safe and be respectful to our business neighbours. As a courtesy to you, the Traffic Officers have asked me to advise that they will issue on the spot fines now that they have attended initially to warn. I am hopeful this practice of parking outside designated areas will cease not from the threat of fines rather that you understand it compromises student safety and local goodwill. There are other areas in surrounding streets to wait for your child – I suggest you set up an alternate meeting area
4. CHSHS 50th Anniversary in 2018 – if you are a past student with photos or stories and/or a person who would like to be involved in the organisation, please check out our website as plans are now beginning to shape
5. NAPLAN – the annual NAPLAN testing went smoothly with the very deliberate process in our school being to ensure students understand this is something that will assist us to guide them through future years and the assessment itself is not to be daunting. A range of early student feedback confirms mission accomplished

Best wishes
Maryanne Walsh

March 28
Principal's blog 28 March 2017

Dear Families

- Congratulations to our student leaders who have recently graduated their Toastmasters training program! This is our 14th year, partnering with Compass Toastmasters, where our elected student leaders for the year participate over seven Tuesday evenings and learn the skills and confidence that come with quality public speaking. Once we present our student leaders with their badges it is indeed appropriate for us to support their performance as leaders in many ways – one such way is this training. It is absolute gold as our young leaders then present and speak so very well to a range of audiences as the year goes both within and outside our school community. In my view this is also a life skill and yet another thing that goes to building the confidence in our young people today. Many thanks to Compass Toastmasters – their interaction with our students is superb. Families, I do hope you enjoyed the Graduation – there is no question you would have been very proud

- The Jade Ochnio ramp has its official opening this week. Jade is one of our students and in 2015 she mooted the idea of building a ramp across from G block to S block to ensure our students in wheelchairs did not need to use the access road to cross from one side to the other. The ramp was finished towards the end of last year and landscaping has been recently completed. Student leaders in 2016 took Jade’s idea and ran with it applying for and being successful in securing a USQ Grant to contribute to the structure. Jade and her mum will come in for its official opening and the unveiling of the plaque. I am exceptionally pleased for Jade, her teachers and her mum as Jade has long battled ill health but will have the highlight of seeing her great idea come to fruition

- Year 7 and 8 Activities day – Friday 31 March – this is truly one of the highlights of the year for our youngest students as well as our student leaders. The day is months in the planning by our full student leadership group along with one of the Heads of Year 12, this year Mrs Sandy Hearnden. They plan and run the activities, resource them, budget for the day, plan the food, advertise at year parades and mentor our 7s and 8s. It is a huge day and wonderful for the teachers and students to have such a fun day together not to mention the quality leadership exercise it is for our student leaders

- My sincere thanks to our P and C Executive for their ongoing work within our school. President Wayne Heading, Vice President Alastair Webb and Treasurer Charles Corbett were re-elected at last week’s P and C AGM. Outgoing Secretary Simone Hohenhaus and Vice President Kev Fowler have been just the best people with whom to work – every one of these aforementioned good souls are busy both with work and family and yet give so readily of their time. We are very keen to hear from anyone within our 1456 families who might apply for the position of Secretary for 2017. Please contact my Assistant Bec Moore at school should you wish to find out more about the position. Honestly our Executive is a fabulous group of people

- This year I am deep in discussion with both Central and Regional Office Facilities staff regarding the capital works that will take place at our school beginning 2018. In line with the tracked growth of our school, 1750 and on by the year 2020, a 5 million dollar Performing Arts building will eventuate that will house 2 x Drama rooms; 2 x Dance rooms; a mini theatre to cater to our Film and TV program as well as a staff room and amenities. Alongside this will be major refurbishments to and expansion of our Hospitality kitchens and Art rooms. Exciting times! It is my pleasure often, and that of our Business Managers, to work with our regional facilities staff – they are always advocating for ways to enhance the environment of our school and have tremendous vision as they guide us forward

- Harmony Day parade this week will see a super show of our 56 nationalities and 33 spoken languages! Exceptionally well done to our Cross Cultural Captains Sei Jeong and Coralee Brand along with our International Student Co-ordinator Rita Hsu – between them they have put together the most brilliant program. We are truly blessed at the great CHSHS with our diversity and multiculturalism

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh









March 03
Principal's blog 3 March 2017

Term 1 is well underway with the usual pace of a large, dynamic secondary school. Welcome to 2017!

Already we have enjoyed events such as our Senior Badge ceremony, Year 7 Meet and Greet afternoon, swimming carnival and Year 7 at-school and away-from-school camps. All have been wonderful successes. I wish to make mention of our student leaders – our Sports Captains and Vice Captains in their exemplary leadership with the organisation and smooth running of the swim carnival and a wide range of our student leadership group and other seniors as well who assisted our staff to host the Meet and Greet. Truly great ambassadors for our school. While acknowledging appropriate people in relation to these events – staff Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett have no peer when it comes to the quality of our carnivals; Dave McMillan and Mary-Anne Searle-Tebbit spent hours upon hours making the Year 7 camps the greatest of successes, Mary-Anne, similarly with the Year 7 Meet and Greet, and Catherine Andress for her organisation underpinning our Senior Badge ceremony. It is essential that we celebrate and support our students with opportunities for participation and leadership and I remain incredibly grateful to our staff for their goodwill in making these great things happen

Speaking of our student leaders – please take time to look at our website and see who they are and their messages of intent for this year. They are already nearly through their leadership training which is run for us each year by the excellent Compass Toastmasters. Seven weeks of Tuesday nights, lots of fun and learning culminating in the graduation which takes place on the last Tuesday night of the course – honestly, you cannot believe the difference in competence and confidence at the end of this seven weeks. It is then our good fortune at Centenary Heights State High School to watch our young leaders display their learning as they speak so very well to a variety of large and small groups both within and outside our community

Speaking of our community – we have begun this year with 1630 students across both our mainstream and Flexi School campuses - 1560 on the mainstream campus from Years 7-12 and 70 at our Flexi School campus in Years 10-12. Our staff number (teaching and non-teaching) is 223. We have 111 students in our fabulous Special Education Unit, 196 students for whom English is a second language, 44 different nationalities and 60 spoken languages. I often say to our students that they will receive their exposure to travel right in their own ‘back yard’ given the diversity we have with us each and every day. This diversity is our daily teacher – and our learning is to respect and value each other’s differences

Our 2016 Year 12s – the annual survey, comprising a phone call to each family of our previous Year’s 12s (this survey was 272 families), is about to be shared with all of our staff who will enjoy enormously reading of the destinations and settled lives of our most recent past students. 88% of our OP eligible students attained their 1st or 2nd preference for tertiary study and the very vast majority have moved into fulltime work, traineeships or tertiary study. While we remain a highly successful academic school our equal emphasis is on provision of work experience and school based traineeships while students are moving through Years 9-12. This positions them so well for careers in trades. In 2016, our students in these year levels participated in a total of 1391 days of work experience. My sincere thanks to our Career Pathways team at both of our campuses and the multitude of employers who continue to show faith in our school and our students

Our P and C – you will see, in the mail-out you receive soon with report cards, a brochure displaying the work and achievements of our P and C – truly amazing. They could not achieve as well without your dedication as families to donating as small as $20 each year. Our Executive and I are then able to leave you alone in terms of fundraisers as we recognise that families are so busy these days and find it hard to give of their time. If you have not yet donated your $20 please contact our Textbook Office on 46367576. It is tax deductible!

Dates coming up:

- Free Dress day Monday 6 March – students understand they are to wear modest dress, remain consistent with the type and amount of jewellery worn, remain make-up free and wear covered shoes. Students donate a gold coin in their Pastoral Care groups that morning with all proceeds going to our student leadership group and in turn to projects within our school and around Toowoomba. One such project has been for three years now the funding of a room at Toowoomba Hospice - $4000 each year

- Formal Uniform days per year level – these dates begin next Tuesday 7 March with Year 7s and 8s; Wednesday 8 March for Year 9s; Thursday 9 March for Year 10s; Friday 10 March for Year 11s and Monday 13 March for Year 12s. All such dates for the year are now on our website. On these days every student in the respective year level is required in full formal uniform

- Term 1 reports posted:

   Year 7 – posted by 22 March

   Year 8 -12 posted by 26 April and emailed from 21 April

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh


December 07
Principal's blog 7 December 2017

Dear Families

The year has closed with the most delightful ceremonies and events – our Year 12 Graduation and Formal for both our Flexi School and mainstream campuses; the Year 7, 8 and 9 Gold Level Ceremony where we also announced our Junior Captains and Vice Captains for 2017 Rocco Wighton, Chelsea Golding, Lachlan Sharpe and Grace Callow; end of year trips for students in Years 7-11 and our Christmas Choir singing at local residential care villages.

Wonderful recent news – we will be receiving a Performing Arts block! This will service the burgeoning following of our students in the performing arts – two specialist dance rooms; two specialist drama rooms; a multimedia theatre; staffroom and amenities. Five million dollars’ worth of facility. The project brief will begin in Semester 2 2017 with work beginning the following year.

Sincere thanks to all of our staff and students and your good selves for what was a packed yet stellar year at our great school. I again thank our P and C for their super work and wonderful collegiality and ask once again for all of our families to support our school through a minimum $20 donation in the year 2017 [suggest you pay it with your 2017 fees] – it makes the work of our P and C so much easier as they toil away and secure such great enhancements for our school – tuckshop expansion; oval rejuvenation; shade over the terraces; safe lighting around the school – a long list – too long for here. 2017 ideally will see more handball courts, cricket nets and shade.

Very best wishes for a safe Christmas and holiday with your families.

Maryanne Walsh

November 03
Principal's blog 3 November 2016

Dear Families
- How good was Awards Night? 1500 people in the wonderful HumeRidge auditorium celebrating an enormous number of students who have shone in the areas of sport, cultural activity, vocational and academic fields and not the least, community service. Sincere appreciation to staff members Carley McCormack and Lyndal Hegarty, along with a number of colleagues who worked with them over a period of months, for quality assuring the fine product that was our Awards Night. Sincere thanks to all of our students as well – they represented themselves, their families and our school with great aplomb
- Year 7, 8 and 9 Gold Ceremony coming up on the morning of Wednesday 30 November. We very much look forward to our parents/carers joining us on this great occasion
- Our Flexi School Graduation and Awards Day Tuesday 8 November at the Empire Church Theatre will be the usual emotional and wonderful family occasion that it always is. Students in years 10, 11 and 12 have achieved amazing things and deservedly will share the limelight on this day. That same night we have our Flexi Formal at the same venue with arrivals beginning at 5pm – it is such a great look. If you have time please come along to view. We love our Flexi!!
- Election of 2017 Student Leaders – this process has now finished. It involves, for students in years 8, 10 and 11 who nominate for the available positions, submitting their applications, going through a short list process and then interview. Students and staff lodge their votes and our system for students replicates, to the letter, the voting process that occurs within our wider community when voting in a State, Federal or Council election. Every year, with this year the same, we are blessed with a plethora of fabulous nominees – the depth is extraordinary. When I introduced the 2017 elected leaders to our full student and staff community earlier this week, I was being entirely honest when I said I would have been happy to have all of the nominees elected ie if we had that many positions
- Parents of students in years 7, 8 and 9 in 2017- confirmation that, at an earlier P and C meeting, it was endorsed that our junior students from 2017 will no longer wear shorts with the formal uniform. As with the older grades, girls will be required to wear the formal skirt and boys, long green pants with plain black belt. Our Uniform Shop is well stocked for this change
- During our full school 4 year review in August, previously mentioned in an earlier Newsletter by me, one of our Reviewers was walking through our school and randomly spoke with one of our lads with a question ‘what do you like about this school?’ The response: ‘you don’t have to be good at anything like cultural, sporting or academic but you do have to try your best and be your best – always’
- Our boom gates have been such a welcome addition to the assurance of safety for our students – it is incredibly comforting to know that our students may walk through the front of the school before, during and after school without having to negotiate drivers who have declined to observe our verbal and signed requests for consideration. Families, please now feel similarly comforted
- At our Awards Night I spoke of the great work of our P and C Executive in terms of working towards greater facilities for our school. In our end of year mailout with term 4 report cards, you will receive a visual of the quality of what they have achieved – hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on facilities. I ask most unashamedly for every family to consider donating a minimum of $20 per year towards our P and C to allow them to enter into government partnerships and/or lodge submissions for shared projects such as, in 2017, further enhancement of our oval, erection of cricket nets and more handball courts. This opportunity for donation will come with that end of year mail-out – I urge you to consider
- Friday morning 18 November is the year 12 Graduation at HumeRidge. Invitations will be emailed this week to parents of our year 12s. Bring your tissues – this is a superb occasion.
Very best wishes
Maryanne Walsh
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