Rethinking Stress

“I’m so stressed!!”
This is a comment I hear many students make, particularly when coming into an exam or an assessment period. Something I find helpful in my sessions with students is to remind them that stress is not inherently a bad thing. In fact, stress is a normal reaction that we all feel as human beings towards situations that are challenging. Not enough stress in life can result in boredom, apathy, low mood and ultimately a lack of working to one’s potential. However, too much stress also costs our performance by creating distress, and can result in fatigue, physical ill-health and anxiety. Our aim at SCEGGS is to facilitate students to experience an optimal amount of stress. This is when students are pushed out of their comfort zone and rise to that challenge. Optimal stress can have a range of benefits including an increase in energy and focus, a sense of pride and can lead people to accomplish things they never thought they could. This idea is backed by research that suggests short term moderate stress for a few hours, like an exam or speech, primes the brain for alertness resulting in better learning and memory (Jaret, 2015).

So how can you as parents make stress more beneficial for your daughters?

Stay calm and connected
It's normal to feel stress coming up to exams, big assessment periods or waiting for results. But, stress as an emotion can be catching. You may have noticed this in your own household. If one person is stressed this feeling may go through the entire household and before you know it everyone’s heart is racing!

Regular communication during a shared activity like going for a walk or driving in the car or doing something they like to do can be helpful. Get a good understanding of your daughter’s study routines and plans so that you can help them balance out schoolwork with time for fun, family and friends in an age appropriate way. Communicate regularly with your daughter in a calm, non-judgmental, non-blaming way, as this will encourage them to speak honestly with you about how they are feeling. And if you do notice yourself, or your daughter, beginning to become distressed, one of the most effective things to do is to take a few deep breaths and stay calm. This breaks the cycle and helps contain and regulate emotions.

Encourage helpful thinking
It’s important for us all to help your daughters keep things in perspective. To remind them that you and their teachers are here to support them. Tell them that while there their exams or assignments are important, their value as human beings and the value of their education is not reflected simply in a mark. Thinking inflexibly about situations or jumping to the worst possible scenario is not going to be helpful in keeping them at the optimal level of stress, which is where they learn and perform best. We need to help them to think in a balanced way, recognising that they will need to prioritise tasks and develop the resilience to deal with minor setbacks and disappointments.

In order to do this, you can ask things like:

  • Is that a helpful way of thinking about that situation?
  • What is a more helpful way of thinking about it?
  • Is that the only possible explanation?
  • What are some other ways of thinking about this situation?

It is so important that you try to ask these questions rather than react to your child’s worry in the moment and try to fix things for them.

Nurture a healthy lifestyle
Often when I first meet students, I ask about their sleep, diet and level of exercise. I talk about this being the foundation of our emotional house. If our foundations are rocky, our emotions too will be more susceptible to extremes and more likely to be unstable.

Encourage your daughter to not forget the simple things like sleeping. According to the Student Wellbeing survey we conducted last year over half of our High school students (60%) report waking up feeling quite exhausted or exhausted. According to experts’ school aged children 6-13 years old require 9-11 hours of sleep per night and young people aged 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep (Sleep Connection, 2019).

Remind your daughter to go to sleep at a regular time and remove phones before bed. Good sleepers usually take 30 minutes to fall asleep at night and may wake a few times throughout the night. It is unrealistic for your daughter to expect that she will fall asleep straight away. Encourage your daughter to engage in a non-screen activity in bed 30 minutes to 1 hour before sleep time to help your daughter unwind and prepare for sleep. As a household you may consider turning off main lights and using just lamps 1-2 hours before bedtime. Low lighting helps the release of melatonin which encourages human bodies to sleep.

Keep a watchful eye
The most commons signs of too much stress is when you see changes in your daughter's emotions (for example agitation, anxiousness or sadness), behaviour (this may include withdrawal from activities they normally enjoy or too much socialising and not enough studying), physicality (such as headaches, or a gain or reduction in appetite or weight) and cognitions (difficulties with memory, inability to focus and negative perspective). It’s important to point out that most young people leading up to an exam period or an assignment period are going to show signs of stress and this is perfectly normal. But if changes are intense, frequent, persist for more than two weeks and are not easily explained or alleviated by an external stressor such as an exam period there may be something more going on.

If you do notice changes in your daughter that you find concerning, telling your daughter what changes you have noticed in their behaviour, without nagging or blaming, and asking them whether they have noticed changes too, can be helpful. You can also contact their Year Co-ordinator, Form Teacher, Director of Pastoral Care, one of the School Counsellors or speak to your GP. I have also included a few apps that you, and your daughter, might find helpful in managing stress at the end of this article.

Jaret, P. 2015, The Surprising Benefits of Stress Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley, viewed 4 Sept 2019, 
The Sleep Connection, Sleep for Children and Teenagers: Amount of Sleep Required, viewed 4 Sept 2019, 

Apps to help manage stress

  • Reachout Breathe
  • Reachout worry time
  • Smiling Mind


Dr Melissa Saxton
School Psychologist



How green was the Festival on Forbes? The numbers are in and the community has achieved an outstanding result!

This year the Festival committee made a conscious effort to reduce what was being brought into the School. It is estimated that the 2017 Festival on Forbes produced 20,000 litres of unsorted waste. You may have noticed there were no balloons and no excess plastic or packaging this year. As a result, the amount of waste removed after the fair was only 12,020 litres. 28% of the waste was cardboard and paper, 3% was organic food waste, 4% was green waste and 52% was mixed recycling. Only 13%, or 1580L, of the waste from the Festival on Forbes went to landfill. This is an amazing result! However, it could not have been achieved without the fantastic student waste warriors who worked tirelessly at the bins helping people to correctly dispose of their waste and the maintenance team.

gr waste warriors from FoF

Festival goers were clearly thirsty! The Sydney water refill stations were constantly used throughout the day consuming 217 litres of water. Combined with the availability of the reusable water bottles, this meant we saved 362 600ml bottles from being purchased. This would amount to 5Kg of plastic going into landfill and a saving of 543 litres of water which would otherwise have been used in manufacturing the bottles.

gr water stations

Finally, single use takeaway coffee cups and lids were reduced to just a single bag, thanks to the "Borrow a mug" campaign. Of course, we also thank everyone who contributed to this result by bringing their own keep cup!

gr borrow a mug

Overall the campaign to make Festival on Forbes a more environmentally friendly event was a huge success. These excellent results could not have been achieved without the support of the school community. The planet thanks you for your efforts.



Ulrika Aroney, Juliet Schmidt, Sarah Stuart-Jones (FoF Green team)
and Sue Zipfinger



All girls from K-12 must be in full summer uniform commencing Week 1 of Term IV.

Summer uniform items are now available for purchase through the School Shop.

Clare Reid
School Shop Manager



The English Department is very pleased to announce that entries by Year 8 students, Ruby Cooney and Samara Foulds, were shortlisted in the Mosman Youth Awards in Literature, Annual Prose and Poetry competition, 2019.

At a presentation on 28 August, Samara Foulds’ short story, Finding Happiness, was announced the winning entry. We congratulate Samara and encourage both her and Ruby to keep writing!

en Misman Youth Award Samara Fouls

Marilyn Pretorius
Head of English



Secondary Sport

Australian Interschools Snowsports Championships
SCEGGS had six girls compete at the Australian Interschools Snowsports Championships held at Mt Buller over the past week and they produced some outstanding results.

Division 1 Cross Country
Phoebe Cridland placed 1st individually to win the Gold Medal.

Division 1 Moguls
Isabelle Senes and Claudia Holmes placed 9th as a team.

Division 1 Skier Cross
Eliza-Grace Gannon and Claudia Woods placed 8th as a team.

Division 2 Alpine
Lily Punch placed 3rd individually and won the Bronze Medal.

Further congratulations to Phoebe Cridland who also won the Australian U’20 5km cross-country event in Falls Creek and who has qualified for the Australian Junior Team. Well done to Lily Punch who also competed in Falls Creek at the Australian Junior Nationals to record some excellent results in the U’16 Giant Slalom events finishing 7th and 6th in both her races.

As we conclude the Snowsports season for 2019, I would like to give a big thank you to all the families involved this year. Thank you so much for your support given to me and Ms Axford, getting girls to their races on time and performing team manager duties. Well done to our two captains Phoebe Cridland and Isabelle Senes for supporting the girls and keeping everyone updated with your daily reports.

Sport 4

sp Eliza  Claudia

sp Issy  Claudia H

Sport 3

Sport 2

Sport 1 Lily P

Well done to Amelia Whelan who represented NSW in the 2019 Joseph D'Onofrio Challenge in Melbourne. Amelia gained Silver Medals in both the U14 and U12 Girls Foil categories.

Any students wishing to try fencing for the first time you are welcome to attend the Fencing NSW Centre in Alexandria on a Wednesday or Friday afternoon and ask for Adriano.

Sports Amelia Whelan Fencing

Touch Trials
Tuesday Sept 17 – Years 8 and 9 must attend
3:15pm–5:00pm at Moore Park Synthetic Turf
A bus will bring all players to and from Moore Park after school

Indoor Hockey Trials
Indoor Hockey trials are commencing on Friday September 13 from 6:45am–8am for all players. Players are to bring their own indoor hockey stick, shinpads, gloves and mouthguard.

Good cheap indoor sticks can be purchased at Just Hockey:

Players should also consider buying a left-handed indoor glove (or both) 

Expectations on the sidelines at Saturday Sport
With the last rounds approaching and semis and finals coming up in the secondary school we thought it timely to give some reminders for being a spectator at sport.

Saturday sport is a wonderful time for families and can become very exciting when scores are close. We ask that all parents keep a two metre distance from the sidelines of sports such as Touch, Hockey, and Soccer. Parents should spectate well away from the coach and team, so players are completely engaged with their teammates and coaches.

Players, especially younger students, can find it very intimidating and embarrassing when parents are yelling constantly at them or are creeping onto the field/court themselves. Parents need to be mindful that their own children are not the only players on the field and should be politely cheering for the whole team. It also makes it very difficult for umpires to adjudicate the match when they are dodging parents on the field.

We all love our dogs and they are very much part of the family but please be respectful when bringing them to matches. Not all venues allow dogs at their grounds so you should check first before bringing them. Under no circumstances should dogs be brought into school gyms or pool areas (unless they are an assistance dog). Please make sure all dogs are kept away from the teams, especially during the half time team talk. That adorable new family puppy becomes a massive distraction when showing it off before the game and at half time. Finally, please come prepared and clean up after your dog!


Alison Gowan
Director of Sport

Primary Sport

Rhythmic Gymnastics
Congratulations to Hannah James and Georgia Farrow for their performances at the Level 4 Trial competition held on Sunday 25 August at MLC School, Burwood.

spP rhythmic Gym

Artistic Gymnastics
Congratulations to the following girls who competed in the Kincoppal-Rose Bay Invitation Artistic Gymnastics Carnival on Sunday 8 September.

Level 1
Sarah Ibrahim - Gold Banding
Victoria Poniros - Gold Banding - First Ever Competition

Level 2
Nina Genc - Gold Banding
Lily-Mae Cook - Gold Banding
Stella Argyrides - Silver Banding
Lucinda Cook - Silver Banding
Ella Chong - Silver Banding

Level 3
Katarina Giannikouris - Gold Banding - 3rd Overall
Emma Talbot - Silver Banding
Zoe Lindner - Silver Banding
Isobel Murray - Silver Banding
Olga Giannikouris - Silver Banding

spP Gym 2

spP Gym Photo 1

Years 4-6 IPSHA Basketball Trials
IPSHA Basketball trials will be held on the following dates:

- Tuesday 17 September, Week 9
- Tuesday 24 September, Week 10

Venue: Moore Park Netball and Basketball Courts
Moore Park, Cnr Robertson & Lang Road.

Girls will need to have a water bottle and SCEGGS Basketball top (available in the School Shop).

Pick up from the venue is at 4:50pm or from the SCEGGS Sports Hall at approximately 5:20pm.

Year 3 Football Trials
Year 3 Football Trials will be held on Tuesday 24 September, Week 10
Venue: Moore Park All-Weather Turf Field. Parking on Robertson Road.

Girls will need to have a water bottle, shin pads and long SCEGGS sports socks. (socks available in the School Shop).

Pick up from the venue is at 4:50pm or from the SCEGGS Sports Hall at approximately 5:20pm.

Sue Phillips
Primary Sport Co-ordinator



SCEGGS HSC Music Examination – Music 2 and Music Extension
Well done to the Music 1 students who have completed their HSC performance examinations this week.
Next week, the Music 2 and Music Extension students will be examined by NESA markers on their performances. Good luck girls!

Vocal Lunchtime Concert – Studio of Jessica O’Donoghue
Congratulations to the students of Ms Jessica O’Donoghue who performed in their lunch time concert on Monday 9 September in the Diana Bowman Music Classroom 1. It was wonderful to see the array of talented vocalists who are progressing well in their stages of development. Thank you to Ms O’Donoghue for her teaching and guidance of students. Thank you also to Ms Heidi Jones for her accompaniment.

Year 3 Choir Visit to Beehive Industries
Congratulations to the Year 3 Choir who performed in Beehive Industries on Monday 9 September. The students’ performance was much enjoyed by the staff and volunteers. They sang five songs, including "My Favourite Things" and "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah". Thank you to their teachers, Ms Kate Brown, Ms Felicity Permezel and Ms Ellen Sheil, who accompanied the students for this performance. Special thank you to Mrs Bronwyn Cleworth who directed the performance and to Ms Stephanie Holmes who accompanied the choir. This was a lovely opportunity for our students to share their music with our local community.

Australian School Band & Orchestra Festival
On Sunday, three SCEGGS String Ensembles performed in the Australian School Band and Orchestra Festival (ASBOF) at the University of NSW – Sinfonietta and Chamber Strings from the primary school and Amati Strings, the top string ensemble in the Secondary School. Girls from Year 2 to Year 11 represented the School with their music making. Sinfonietta, Chamber Strings and Amati Strings each gained a Gold Award for their performances in different sections of the Festival. Mrs Anne Sweeney was joined by Mrs Stephanie Holmes, Ms Dominique Gallery and Ms Rachel Valentine who assisted greatly on the day. Congratulations, girls!

Have a listen to Sinfonietta's performance below.

m sinfonietta

m concert 1

m concert 2

Upcoming performances and events in Term 3:
Primary Clarinet Concert – Monday 16 September
1:10–1:40pm Primary Music Room

Year 8 and 9 Elective Music Excursion – Meet the Music with Sydney Symphony
Wednesday 18 September, 6:30pm – Sydney Opera House (Concert Hall)

Primary Piano Concert – Friday 20 September
3:30–4:30pm Great Hall

Pauline Chow
Head of Music



Chicago – The Musical
We are off to see the musical Chicago at the Capitol Theatre on Sunday 15 September at 6pm. This production stars Natalie Bassingthwaite, Tom Burlinson and Casey Donovan.

Theatre Club
Our theatre club enjoyed its final play for the season on Monday night, attending a production of Splinter by Hilary Bell at Griffin Theatre.

In the dark of a Sydney winter, Hilary Bell’s disquieting and downright chilling thriller Splinter channels tabloid news and primal fears alike.

A couple are reunited with their missing daughter. Fierce love has sustained them through her unbearable absence. But now she’s home...something just isn’t right. How do they stop their imaginations running wild? Maybe if they return to the beach house where they spent their happiest summers, they’ll return to their old selves.

The play featured actors Simon Gleeson and Lucy Bell giving powerful performances and impressing with their emotional range. A thought-provoking play to end the subscription.

Thankyou to Mrs Jan Morice who convenes the Theatre Club each year, offering the girls access to a range of live performance and venues. Theatre Club 2020 will be announced in Term 4.

dr Theatre Club

Upstage and Downstage
While you probably know that upstage is farther away from the audience and downstage is closer to the edge of the stage, do you know why? Theatre pros coined the term due to the use of raked, or inclined, stages. The sloped architecture creates better sightlines and acoustics for audiences. But this also meant that as performers walked away from the house, they were hiking up the stage. (Speaking of stage directions: Stage Right and Stage Left always refer to the perspective of the performer when standing on the stage and facing the audience.)

It's all a circus, kid. A three-ring circus. These trials - the whole world - all showbusiness. But kid, you're working with a star - the biggest!
– Billy Flynn (Chicago)

Peter Eyers
Head of Drama



P & F Events
Fri 13 - Sun 15 September
  Year 10 Father/Daughter Camp
 Where   Glenworth Valley Camping 
69 Cooks Road, Glenworth Valley
 Cost   Father/Daughter $194
Daughter only supplement $85
 Online Booking
 Contact   Dougal Kennedy at:
Friday 13 September   Year 11 Parents Cocktail Drinks
6:30pm   Hosted by Katharine Seymour and Grant Leonard
Online Booking
Contact   Anne-Valerie is the contact for further information
 Go to the Parent Portal for contact information 


Penny Gerstle
President of the P&F Association