How did we begin?

In April 2008 the Victorian Premier announced the establishment of two new selective entry government schools. They were to be coeducational and to be built in the growth corridors at Berwick and Werribee and were to open in 2010.

The existing Government Selective Entry Schools (Melbourne High School, and The Mac. Robertson Girls’ High School) were established in 1905 and have a long and proud history and tradition. They are the top performing schools in the state and student competition to gain entry is fierce. Nossal High School joins them and Suzanne Cory High School in Werribee to form the Selective Entry Schools’ Network.

Three Principals were seconded to the Department of Education to work on the school designs and to set the structures and processes in place to create a selective schools network and to establish local links and networks.

For Nossal, building works began in 2009 after a joint program to build and extend roads and services through the Monash University campus at Berwick to the school site.

The original Werribee school site was found to be unsuitable, so was moved to another location, delaying Suzanne Cory High School’s opening until 2011.

In May 2009 Mr Roger Page was appointed Principal and, with the previous Assistant Principal, Dr Toni Meath and Business Manager, Ms Gayl Shute set up the Nossal office at Monash, Berwick and began the myriad tasks associated with planning a new school.

The school name, celebrating the achievements of Sir Gustav Nossal, was finally agreed in May 2009, and the joint entry exam took place in June at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. 200 students were selected (from 97 different schools – half Government and half independent) to become the foundation Year 9 cohort. Student numbers are capped at 208 per year level (for a maximum of 800 in Years 9-12).

Two Leading Teachers were appointed late in 2009 (Ms Sheryl Thompson and Mr Wayne Haworth) followed by the remaining teaching staff in November and December.

Opening in 2010

Building delays at Nossal saw construction fall behind, necessitating alternative accommodation arrangements for Term 1 2010 (not the start we had envisaged).

Fortunately, Monash University offered full access to their facilities. Two portables were acquired to house the science classes and teacher office, and Nossal High School opened in February 2010 at Monash University. Sir Gustav Nossal attended the Foundation assembly and presented badges to each of the 200 students. This tradition is repeated each February with each new intake.

The University students resumed in March so a City Experience program was developed and the students spent the remainder of Term 1 working at Monash or in Chapter House in the city.

The school buildings were partially completed and one third was opened for the start of Term 2 2010. Late in Term 2 the remainder of the building was opened for use, although the builders were still onsite for most of Term 3 finishing things off and tidying up.

The Jean Russell Centre (Professional Development Centre) opened in Term 3 and provides teacher programs and training for staff from local schools.

The foundation cohort helped to establish many of the aspects of school live – they established a highly effective Student Representative Council, they created and voted on names for each of our four Houses, Garuda, Pegasus, Griffin and Phoenix.

Our first House Performing Arts Festival and first Speech Night were both held at the Berwick Church of Christ so that we could accommodate an audience of proud parents and families.  (Both these events were had at this venue in 2011).

School Council President – Mr Gavin Swayne

School Captains – Michelle Nguyen and Brandon Jo

Dux – Randall Chu (Year 9)

 So what happened in 2011?

Our school population doubled and so did the number of staff, all welcomed by Sir Gus at the now annual Foundation Assembly tradition.  Another 200 Year 9s joined the school in 2011, and this cohort again came from over 90 different schools.  The foundation cohort had a lot of adjusting to accommodate a new group of students.

School Council President – Mr Gavin Swayne

School Captains – Theresa Lim and Aswin Raveendran

Dux – Levi Barker, Randall Chu, and Ying Yew (Year 10)

 Completed buildings in 2012

The Stage two building works (gym, lecture theatre, performing arts and music building) were expected to be completed in 2010 but were significantly delayed; the final building works were completed in early 2012.

Also in 2012 with now over 600 students we moved our House Performing Arts Festival to the Kingston Arts Centre and our Speech Night was held at Robert Blackwood Hall on the Clayton campus of Monash University for the first time.

We had the majority of our Year 11s (our most senior cohort) completed Unit 3 & 4 VCAA examinations for the first time – all students completed at least one study, whilst many completed two.  We were delighted and proud of our first VCE results at the end of this year.

School Council President – Dr Bruce Verity

School Captains – Levi Barker and Hasini Ilangaratne

Dux – Randall Chu (Year 11)

 Full capacity and our first Year 12 VCE graduation – 2013

We welcomed our fourth cohort to reach full capacity in 2013.   Each of these four cohorts form our foundation cohort of students and each year level did much to form the culture and traditions of a new school.  They were the ‘guinea pigs’ as we developed culture, structures, process and aspects of this new and unique school.  They provided significant and considered feedback to refine and improve things for each subsequent group of students.

We held our first Valedictory Dinner at Eithad Stadium with over 550 guests in late November 2013 and this has quickly become a tradition, with all subsequent graduates sharing in this special event at the same location.  Randall Chu was given the honour of giving the Valedictorian’s Speech and Yuxin Chen was the Dux in 2013. Our first full set of VCE results were truly impressive and much to be proud of.  All students received and accepted offers to tertiary placements of their choice.

Our inaugural Assistant Principal, Dr Toni Meath was appointed to the principalship of The Mac.Robertson’s Girls’ High School in May 2013 and Ms Sue Harrap became the Acting Assistant Principal for the remainder of 2013.

We ran a competition amongst students to name our Alumni – not surprisingly, The Old Nossalonians was the winner.

School Council President – Dr Bruce Verity

School Captains – Shirlene Perera and Lachlan Doughty

Valedictorian – Randall Chu

Dux – Yuxin Chen

2014

Signified the first time we could actually consolidate our practice – there was no need to re-invent the school because we were not adding another two hundred students and 20 staff members as we had done in previous years.  We did however make a significant change to the leadership of the school by creating a second assistant principal position.  Ms Sue Harrap and Mr Wayne Haworth were appointed to the new substantive assistant principal positions.

School Council President – Mr Alan Lachman

School Captains – Jynx Khairnar and Natasha Anderson

Valedictorian – Subi Ramesh

Dux – Jason Zhou

Old Nossalonian’s President – Bhawanni Kirkland

2015

Things don’t stay the same for long, so after significant consultation, a rigorous tender process and much work behind the scenes, we began work on the next phase of the school’s master plan for grounds and facilities.  Work began in August on an extension to the main building, a fitness center adjacent to the hard courts, an outdoor area for the IRC and the development of our school oval.

Mr Wayne Haworth was appointed the principal of Mount Alexander College in Flemington at the end of Term 1, and our new substantive assistant principal, Mr Keith Butler joined Ms Harrap at the start of Term 3.

School Council President – Mr Alan Lachman

School Captains – Sanjiv Ganesan and Natasha Aulia

Valedictorian – Nathan Dalton

Dux – Qi Wei Wang

Old Nossalonian’s President – Shevin Dissanyake