Jo Topfer

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Some personal words from Jo Topfer, past parent and ex-Trust Board Member on the importance of the Scholarship Fund for SCEGGS.

We first started thinking about the right school for our girls about the week after they were born. I began looking at a number of co-ed and girls’ schools located all around Sydney for the “right” school. We were looking for a school that offered a great education producing grounded, confident young women who could contribute to society. We wanted a community that had a strong commitment to social justice and one that was socially and culturally diverse. We were looking for a school large enough to provide good facilities and resources but small enough to ensure that staff would personally know and care about each student.

It did not take us long to choose SCEGGS. I was influenced by two of my mother’s first cousins who went to SCEGGS in the 1930s and early 1940s and who were extraordinary women, each was ground breaking in their chosen professions of Veterinary Science and Occupational Therapy. Further, I had noticed that a number of really impressive women that I had met both professionally and socially since moving to Sydney in 1985 were SCEGGS alumni. So the girls were enrolled for Year 7 and my initial impressions of the school were further strengthened when I attended several Open Days over a number of years. The girls I met then seemed to come from everywhere, had different backgrounds and each possessed individual opinions and aspirations.

Fast forward six years later and those impressions were reinforced by my experiences as a SCEGGS parent. Rob and I attended and hosted a number of Class Parent functions and have met lots of other parents who reflect an enormous range of backgrounds, professions, cultures, viewpoints and of course, locations! The girls that attend SCEGGS, including my daughters, are at home in a variety of different social and cultural settings and have a diverse group of friends and acquaintances.

It is this diversity that helps make a SCEGGS education so special. And it is this social and cultural mix that both the School and the Trust Boards believe is important to retain and foster. But how do we achieve this at a time when a combination of strained economic conditions and rising school fees, largely due to the need to attract the best educators, are likely to result in a reduced range of families coming to SCEGGS over time?

The School Board has recently reviewed the broader policy issues of the Scholarship Program to continue to retain and foster diversity at SCEGGS. It is the role of the SCEGGS Trust, with the support of the whole school community, to realise the goal of ensuring the on-going provision of SCEGGS' unique education through supporting the SCEGGS Scholarship Fund.

SCEGGS would like to strengthen its Scholarship Fund to achieve a goal, over time, of having 10 percent of students supported by either a scholarship or fee assistance. Already, the Scholarship Program has increased by 80 percent over five years and now have around 36 to 40 girls benefiting from a SCEGGS scholarship. A description of these scholarships can be found on this website in the Enrolments section.

I believe that a good education goes beyond simply doing well in the HSC. I wanted my children and the children of succeeding generations that pass through SCEGGS to benefit from both its generally egalitarian nature and the school community’s diversity. The Trust cannot achieve this alone. I hope everyone in the SCEGGS community will assist with the Scholarship Fund so we can continue to offer those girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity to come to SCEGGS that chance. Every gift makes a difference and I would like to encourage everyone to support the Scholarship Fund by donating what they can comfortably afford in order to make the Scholarship Program really effective.

Jo Topfer
Past SCEGGS Parent

If you would like to make a gift to the Scholarship Fund or would simply like to find out more about it, you are most welcome to contact the Director Office on 02 9339 9428 or email any time to discuss any aspect of the Trust's work. Alternatively, visit How to Give on this website if you would like to make a gift to the Scholarship Fund.