Middle School


While you were sleeping – a message from Gary Velleman, Vice Principal

As we approach the end of the third week of the 2020 school calendar, it struck me as to how much happens behind the scenes – over the summer break – to have the school ready and operational for a new school year.  Overall, by the time students arrive, few give a moment of thought to what has transpired to ensure a smooth transition for all.

Like great umpires or referees, who control a game but remain unnoticed and quietly go about their business in the background, with minimum fuss or profile, Frank and his maintenance team are the unsung heroes of the College, overseeing and orchestrating an army of tradespeople and contractors, who, by Day 1, are a distant memory.  Samples of the work arranged and completed over the break include the:

  • refurbishment of the toilets in the VCE Building,
  • fitting of new awnings in the Kindergarten playground,
  • polishing and waxing of indoor courts,
  • health checks on and pruning of trees and garden upkeep,
  • upgrade of electrical and plumbing works,
  • overseeing of a graffiti artist bringing a tired wall to life and,
  • coordination of the purchase, delivery and installation of new lockers in the Middle School

Added to that, consider the work by Finance, HR, Communication, Registrar and others to integrate effectively over 70 new students (not including those starting at Kinder 3) and 20 new staff.  Each addition adds to the fabric of the College, bringing new ideas, new challenges and new opportunities.  By considering all of these elements, one can gain some insight into the scale of human capital invested in getting things “just right” for a new school year.

With the unwavering optimism and energy befitting the young, we enter 2020 knowing that taking time to notice and not to take for granted that which is under our nose, are critical in keeping us grounded and connected.  Whether it be our amazing Graduating class of 2019, where 36% volunteered as “buddies” on a Flying Fox camp (for young people with disabilities) the week after their VCE results came in, or our current cohort who helped make calls for JNF last Sunday, there are plenty of reasons to have Bialik up and running.


Welcome Back to School 2020

It’s been an exciting start to the school year and students are already jumping head-first into their activities, studies and friendship groups. It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces pouring through the gates, bringing the campus back to life!

There is so much to look forward to this year, including watching the newest addition to the Bialik family – the Bialik Creche – grow and expand; as well as programs as diverse as Entrepreneurship Week to Dogs for Life, an exciting Secondary School production, the Arts Festival, Science Week, STEM Day and so much more.

Wishing all our families a happy and challenging year ahead.

Here are a few photos of the first day of school for our new Preppies and students throughout the Year levels.


Etgar Students Donate to Youth Projects

During the year, the Etgar students raised funds for Youth Projects, an organisation that offers support and employment opportunities to at-risk young people.

The Years 8 and 9 students who participate in the Etgar program could elect to sell coffee from the Gary Peer coffee van, the profits of which were collected for this very important cause.

During the last week of Term 4, visited Youth Projects to present the organisation with the money that they raised. Kol ha’kavod!


Year 6s Shakespeare Dramas

Last week the Year 6 cohort presented their learning in Drama to an appreciative audience. Each class performed an abridged version of a Shakespearean play in the style of Elizabethan theatre, in The Solomon and Minnie Fisher Drama Studio. The children rose to the occasion by memorising Shakespearean language which they performed with aplomb.


Bnei Students Bring Smiles to Montefiore Residents

This week, a group of Year 7 Bnei Mitzvah students visited Montefiore Homes as part of their tikkun olam (repairing the world) rotation. They spent time talking to the residents and entertaining them. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon was had by all.


STEM Day for Middle School Focuses on Homelessness

The Years 7, 8 and 9 STEM Day focused on homelessness, understanding what it is, developing empathy and coming up with solutions.

Students heard from a guest speaker who developed the Ask Izzy mobile website to help people experiencing homelessness to find services. They also heard from another speaker who had been homeless before.

The students then worked in various fields, from Human-Centred Design to Support Technologies, Systems Thinking, City Design and they made awareness campaign videos. They worked in teams with members in each portfolio. That way, they were able to share their learning with the rest of their teams so that all benefited from all the workshops.

The day ended with watching the videos and having an expo, in which each team had a wall display of all their designs and solutions. Students visited each other’s teams and took turns at pitching their designs and solutions to each other and the teachers, who donated an amount of ‘Bialik Cash’ that they thought fit the quality of the ideas.

To conclude, gold, silver and bronze medals were given to the teams who raised the most ‘funding’ for their team’s ideas.

It was a rich day of collaboration and learning for all.


Art Session at Emmy Monash Brightens the Day

In addition to the Tikkun Olam program that the Year 7 cohort are immersed during Term 4, a group of Year 7 students joined some lovely residents from Emmy Monash for an art session yesterday using clay. The experience was very enriching for the students and residents alike. They created some beautiful pieces of art whilst chatting and laughing together.

The Emmy Monash team were extremely appreciative to have the Bialik students engage and interact in such a meaningful way with the residents. It was an experience that our students will also reflect back on and remember very fondly.


Year 6s Explore the Capital City

This week, the Year 6 cohort visited Canberra for a wonderfully fun-filled, educational camp. This annual adventure around the capital city is made possible by the Australian Government, which recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit their national capital as part of their civics and citizenship education.

The Australian Government contributed funding of $30 per eligible student under the Parliament and Civics Education rebate (PACER) program toward the travel expenses incurred. This contribution is paid directly to the school. We would like to thank the Australian Government for its support of this program.


Science Talent Search Stars

Congratulations to all the students who submitted entries to the Science Talent Search competition, which took place over the past few months. The following students were awarded bursaries at an award ceremony held on 28 October:

Kiera E, Year 6; Rebecca P, Year 7; Leon P, Year 10; Eden G, Year 9; Vanessa R, Year 9

Eden and Vanessa wrote this account of their experience:

Earlier this year a number of students from the Primary, Middle and Senior Schools began the journey to create a project for the Science Talent Search competition. This is an opportunity for school students of varying ages to express their scientific interests separate from the environment of a classroom.

The theme for this year’s competition was “Destination Moon: More Missions, More Science”. However, each student got to choose the format in which they wanted to present their project. Some students even diverged from the theme to do their own experimental research.

My team decided to stick to the theme and make an animation on moon exploration. Our animation centred around a fictional character, Dr Alex Stephan, and the moon base, M1SS1ON: MOON. He led a tour around the base explaining the purpose of each environment and how it came to be.

Earlier this year, we participated in the Jewish Schools STS Judging day held here, at Bialik College. Here explained our project and its purpose and answered questions from external judges.

In the last few months, all the submissions from across Victoria were assessed by a panel of judges. We were among the 667 other students across Victoria to win a Bursary Award. There were 2327 entries from over 3000 students.

On Monday the 28 October, we joined some other students from Bialik at the award ceremony at La Trobe University, Bundoora. Here we got to see other winning entries as well as explore the vast campus. We also got to hear from an interesting keynote speaker, James Kennedy. He is the author of the well-respected book, Fighting Chemophobia.


Sir Zelman Cowen Public Speaking Competition 2019

Anti-Semitism, climate change, happiness, immortality and Jewish humour were just some of the topics explored at the Sir Zelman Cowen Public Speaking Competition on Tuesday 29 October. The competition offered all students in Years 8 and 9 the opportunity to explore important themes, while developing their oracy skills.

The competition, which pays tribute to the memory of and is inspired by one of Australia’s leading Jewish figures, former Governor General Sir Zelman Cowen, involves students speaking on a topic of their choice associated either with the theme of “Heal the World” for Year 8 and “Jewish Life” for Year 9. The event was hosted by Max E and Shoshi F who seamlessly weaved humour into the challenging task of compering such a prestigious competition.

Overall winner of this year’s competition, Jennifer B (Year 8) spoke about life’s search for happiness and the power of being happy in our society. She expressed her ideas with passion, enthusiasm and most fittingly, a smile.

Sammy V, the winner for Year 8, challenged the audience to think about the ways in which being immortal would revolutionise modern society. He explored the cost and impact that living longer would have and would change the nature of humankind.

This year saw the Year 9 award given to Thomas T who passionately unpacked the anti-Semitic incident that occurred at a primary school in Melbourne. He discussed the ramifications and consequences that anti-Semitism has on our community today. 

Mazel tov to the other finalists, whose outstanding effort is highly commended: Natasha F, Isabella D, Lachie Z, Eden G, Joshua K, Monique Z, Benjamin G, Jem A and Daniel C.