Primary School News

Year 6 trip to Canberra

As part of the study of Australian government, Year 6 journeyed to Canberra for a jam packed three-day excursion. First stop was Parliament House to watch a very spirited question time. The girls found it concerning that the politicians were arguing with each other and didn’t seem to be listening to one another. Given the current political turmoil the government is in, we certainly experienced a show like no other. Our guide showed us the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. The girls learnt about the roles in a parliamentary meeting and asked many intelligent questions.

At the Australian War Memorial, students were stunned at how young the soldiers were when they went to war and stated that they found the personal stories so touching. We toured many exhibits, such as an army truck used in Afghanistan, a uniform worn by a soldier in WWII (complete with mud) and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Poppies were placed in the tomb as Chiara Leonardi read a moving poem. We also watched a video on the Vietnam War. It was a great learning experience and it expanded the girls’ knowledge of Australian wartime and our history.

The excitement was palpable as we took the bus to the highly anticipated night time visit to Questacon as is evidenced by this recount. 

“Questacon had to be a highlight of our trip! One of their current exhibitions is all about colours! We excitedly hurried into the earthquake exhibit. This shaky experience taught us a lot about natural disasters.  Finally we reached what everyone was waiting for… Free Fall. Free fall was in a room called ExciteQ. Free Fall is a 6 metre high slide. It might sound simple but once you get to the top and hang by your fingertips, it is so scary. Once you let go you fall into vertical drop and it feels like you are weightless. Then at the very last second it curves and you glide safely into the slide. I only went on it once but some courageous Year 6’s took the plunge FIVE times. Questacon was amazing!”

The girls said they really enjoyed learning so much about our nation’s capital and they loved the opportunity to bond with girls they didn’t know very well. As one student said, “I just loved the Canberra experience because there are so many opportunities to turn back time and visit our Australian history.”

The girls were an absolute credit to the school. Many people commented on how respectful and well behaved they were. Thank you to Miss Ball, Mrs Mannes and Miss Chatfield for accompanying the girls on the trip.

 

Mrs Maryanne Dwyer

Head of Primary

The Rainbow Writing Competition

The fortnightly Rainbow Writing Competition has seen some wonderful entries and has given the girls the freedom to express their creative writing talents. House points and prizes are awarded to exemplar texts that showcase creative flair. Please enjoy the following prize winning entry written by Elina Degani,Year 5.

 

Alone as a Geisha

The sad smile creeps slowly onto Nai Nai’s face. “Your parents would be so proud,” she says, almost a whisper. I look into the mirror. The rusted gold curves on the outline of the mirror bring joy to most people but me. The other villages say that I’m blunt and gloomy. Ever since…well since I could remember. The rusted, golden curves on the mirror just looked like an unnecessary accessory. I can’t find the beauty in anything…according to other people.

I jump back to reality. Nai Nai is looking at me, waiting for an answer. “Yeah, I wish they were here.” I wasn’t lying. The only thing is that I said it happily but I can’t find a speck of happiness in me. Nai Nai looks concerned.

“My flower, my sweet, my girl. I know exactly how you feel. I was on your boat 10 years ago,” she said, remembering. “Back then, in China, children didn’t care about what other people thought of us. We would just go out and live our lives.  I met him. His black hair was gelled and slicked back. His mother was very strict. Even so, he made his hair scruffy so his curls fell down his face. His eyes were the colour of the ocean. Just like yours, but brighter. They stood out even with his handsome features.” She smiled, remembering. “That man, was your Ye Ye.”

Silence filled the room. My blue eyes, my naturally curly hair, I took my looks from my Ye Ye. “World War ll started…crushing our dreams and all our hopes.” The smile faded from her face. “He left to go, to fight! He never came back. Your Weida de Nai Nai started to lose hope. That loss of hope spread to all of us. But not me, even until this day, I haven’t lost hope. People think I’m crazy! 1940 was a long time ago Jīliè. Things have changed.”

“I’m sorry for bringing sadness to you,” she said apologetically. “But I want you to know that you are not alone. Something tells me I need to see your smile more. It is the only thing I have left of your Ye Ye.”

Now we were back to the start. Was I proud?  While Nai Nai and my parents were proud. Was I? How could I be sure that I was doing well if even I wasn’t proud? I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t me. I wasn’t the Jīliè Nai Nai was praising.  

I had a white face with lips the colour of red wine. The sound of laughter and chattering filled the room. They weren’t Chinese. Definitely. They seemed Western with their tanned bodies and short shorts. I was behind the curtain so they couldn’t see me. Měiróng hé yúlè lǎoshī looked at me with a smile and gave me a thumbs up. It was 10 minutes until I went up to the stage. I had to dance. It was me who had to be their entertainment. Shìlì was dancing so beautifully with her long, thick hair swaying as she moved gracefully. Her hair was filled with pins and flowers. Her dress was red with white and cream coloured blossoms. She had an umbrella that she spun every few minutes. As beautiful as she looked on the outside, it wasn’t the same on the inside. I could never look like her, I couldn’t find the beauty in anything. Wúqíng was a nickname that Shìlì gave me. It meant emotionless. Sometimes I would weep in my pillow at night until it was soaked. Not just because of Shìlì.

My dress was a deep shade of blue, the colour of my eyes, like the ocean, with blush pink cherry blossoms. They gave me a purple umbrella as the colour purple meant wealth. There were so many pins and clips in my hair I couldn’t even move my head without getting a stabbing pain.

“Finishing touch!” said Měiróng hé yúlè lǎoshī with a sound of delight. A maid passed her a bowl of white paint. She dabbed it on my face. Now, I really didn’t look like me. I went up to the stage. All of the eyes were on me.

I didn’t dance the dance that Měiróng hé yúlè lǎoshī taught me. I danced the dance that my Chénmò taught me. The one that my mum taught me. From the corner of my eye I could see Shìlì with her mouth gaped, almost touching the floor. Měiróng hé yúlè lǎoshī mouthing to me ‘stop’ but I didn’t listen. I let the movement of my beauty within take control of me. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says about you because that doesn’t matter. You are not living your life around their words. You are living your life around your thoughts and words. I could find beauty in anything I wished.

I opened my eyes, not daring to look behind me. I look into the audience. They were clapping and cheering. Nia Nai was there crying with tears of joy. I take a bow and leave the stage, not looking at Měiróng hé yúlè lǎoshī or Shìlì or even her little gang. I just strode straight ahead.

I ran into my Nai Nai’s arms. “I’m so proud of you my little fierce” she said smiling. I jerked away as soon as she said the word ‘fierce.’ Was I kind? Sure. Was I beautiful? Yes. But was I fierce? No. She looked me in the eye. “Didn’t you know? Jīliè means fierce in Chinese.” I didn’t know what to feel. If that had been said to me before, would I be more fierce? More Jīliè?

We were the only ones left in the function room. From the corner of my eye I saw a man. He wasn’t that old. But he certainly wasn’t young either. He had bags under his eyes but yet he had a huge smile on his face. He had chocolate brown curls and ocean blue eyes. He stood there with arms wide open. I ran into them, my hot tears streaming down my face at full speed. I was hugging my Ye Ye.

Hint: translate the names to simplified Chinese to see what they mean.

 

Elina Degani, Year 5