FROM LEFT: Billy Bayldon, 17, received the Pierre de Coubertin Award, and Tom Martin, 17, received the Senior Male Sports Person of the Year Award.
FROM LEFT: Billy Bayldon, 17, received the Pierre de Coubertin Award, and Tom Martin, 17, received the Senior Male Sports Person of the Year Award.

GSHS principal celebrates the students in speech

Here is the entire address from Gympie State High School principal Murray Wegner from the school's speech night:


Masters of Ceremonies Mimi Rogers and Mikaela Dodt, Councillor Mick Curran, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, students.

2014 has been one of the most exciting and rewarding years of my fifteen years at GSHS. 

It has been a time of renewal, with $300,000 Planned Maintenance seeing the external repainting of 7 blocks as well as the internal refurbishment of Manual Arts and 3 toilet blocks. 

The school has never presented better as it prepares for the arrival of year 7 in 2015 and Education Queensland embraces the biggest change in Education since year 8 moved to High School in 1964. 

Tonight, and at the Sports, CMSOE and Agricultural Awards over the coming weeks, we recognise and congratulate those students who have achieved their personal best, and thank the staff, parents and community who have assisted and inspired these achievements.

With a focus on demanding and delivering high standards, the school was guided by an Improvement agenda with focus areas of Successful Learners, Great People and Engaged Partners. 

Successful Learners had a focus on attendance, NAPLAN, QCE, Differentiation and the Learning Curve student planner.  Strategies implemented to improve attendance and results, including NAPLAN and QCE, have realised substantial benefits.

Our Semester 1 attendance improved by 25% from Semester 1 last year with 30% of year 8 and 32% of year 9 achieving 100% along with 22 year 11 students. 

While parents are responsible for ensuring children attend school, we have been proactive in maximising attendance and promoting the benefits of regular school attendance. 

Across the school, intervention strategies to improve behaviour have resulted in recorded incidents dropping by 40% and truancy decreasing by 30%.

The NAPLAN improvement agenda had as key priorities Reading, Writing, Numeracy and Upper Two Bands outcomes. 

"Turbo days" were introduced for year 8 and year 9 where the entire day was focussed on literacy and numeracy skills.   

Seventeen percent of year 9 students improved their reading proficiency by 2 or more bands. 

Our English staff embraced the "7 Steps to Writing success" program to raise our writing mean above the State mean, and comparable to the National mean.  Significantly, this occurred in a year when there was a national decline in writing at all years.

A big improvement was also seen in year 9 Numeracy, with 96% of students above the national Minimum Standard, compared to 93% for State Schools and 94% Nationally.

80% of our students improved by at least 1 band with 25% improving by 2 or more bands.

In fact, every one of the 5 NAPLAN strands showed that our percentage above the national Minimum Standard exceeded the State Schools percentage for that strand.

We are also celebrating the performance of the year 9 Indigenous students whose U2B% exceeded the State on every strand except Grammar and Punctuation and that every Indigenous student is above the National Minimum Standard. 

The significance of improved 2014 Naplan results can be attributed to hard work by staff and students, with homework support from parents, but it is also attributed to the Gonski funding campaign. 

Through the Great Results Guarantee, Gympie High received $113,000 for specialist programs such as "7 Steps to Writing Success" and "Manga High", an online numeracy program that students may use both at school and at home, Staff PD, Resources and Attendance Incentives. 

This amount increases to $350,000 next year and will assist in continuing improved educational outcomes.

The Senior School is on track to deliver an improved QCE attainment in 2014. 

Mr Allan devised the QCE Improvement Plan which monitors attendance and performance and allows for a Mentor to work with at-risk students. 

As a result our year 12 cohort has the best attendance of any year level.

The introduction of the QCE Improvement Plan and Senior Secondary Service Commitment has resulted in an attendance increase of 9% and students gaining an A, B or C by a staggering 16%. 

More appropriate subject selections by students in year 11 will see no student exiting year 12 this year failing Maths B or Maths C.  

Maths A data is constantly monitored to ensure students meet minimum standards required for numeracy for a QCE.

This year has been the most successful year in Senior Physical Education for a number of years.

With a cohort of 54 students, not one student has failed and we have 6 students who have achieved a VHA -to achieve a VHA standard the students must be exceptional in 4 different sports and consistently achieve an A standard with theory work.

 Both the Senior Secondary and Junior Secondary Improvement Agendas focus on a range of targeted strategies that have contributed to improved learning outcomes for students at Gympie High.

In Junior, Teaching is targeted to Upper, Middle and Lower groups based on Data profiles and "Getting to know your students", Master classes, customised English, Maths and Science classes, while in Senior, SET planning was revamped, a school based Youth Support Co-ordinator was a welcome addition to the wellbeing team and the Trade Training Centre opened to provide a further pathway for students. 

Classroom teachers have an in-depth knowledge of all students in their class via a Data placemat, facilitating a goal-setting achievement - oriented approach to learning. 

This complements the Learning Curve initiative this year which forms the basis of the wellbeing programs conducted in Form classes. 

Students are expected to have their planner with them every day and parents have been encouraged through the Newsletter to access the Learning Curve on-line materials and work with their student in tandem with the school as Engaged Partners.

Our work around Engaged Partners covers two areas, the Flying Start Initiative and a Parent and Community Engagement strategy. 

The year 7 building was officially opened by Mr David Gibson on 17th October.  This event signifies that everything is in place for the arrival of year 7. 

Ms Wilmore, Ms Cox and the Junior Secondary implementation team have focussed relentlessly on this transition, conducting information evenings, enrolment afternoons, school visits, a year 7 and 8 Scholarship Program and curriculum development. 

Ms Wilmore has secured year 7 staff from Jones Hill, One Mile, Cooran and Meridan Schools, and our Mr Haas and Ms Coull will also join the year 7 team.  A Junior Secondary Leadership structure will parallel our current student leadership model. 

The Junior Secondary phase focusses specifically on the academic, social and emotional needs of students and this will be met through quality teaching, our wellbeing programs, which are an acknowledged strength in this school, and parent involvement. 

Ms Wilmore has written at length in our Newsletters about what year 7 will look like at Gympie High in 2015, and all Newsletters can be accessed on our Website.

The adoption of the Schoolzine e Newsletter accessed by subscription was a key plank in our Parent and Community Engagement Strategy and an initiative that I am extremely proud of, and I am sure you are too. 

There have been 15 editions to date with regular contributions from the Admin, Faculty HODs and SACs, LPP, Business Services Manager, Well Being Co-ordinators, Guidance, Chaplain, SATs Officer, Sports Master, Indigenous support and Staff Profiles. 

I want to thank Ms Calvert, Ms West, Ms Collins, Mr Costa, Ms Kable and Ms Buckland, our Well Being Co-ordinators, not just for your programs, but for your consistently expansive reports. 

We now communicate via multiple channels - email, SMS, Web portal and Facebook. 

The Gympie Highlights program was launched at an Open Day in March to offer Junior Secondary and Primary students the opportunity to engage in specialist out-of-school programs. 

Stem Robotics, Agriculture, Biotechnology, Food Technology and Computer Game Programming workshops were conducted throughout the year and were a successful marketing strategy in terms of promoting parent participation in school events and providing opportunities for families to observe student learning, and celebrate student achievement.

An Enrolment Management Plan was gazetted in July, whereby the school has a designated catchment area. 

Out of catchment enrolments can be taken into our programs of Excellence, namely the STEM program, Rural Industry Program of Excellence, Country Music School of Excellence, Sports Extension Program of Excellence in Rugby League and Futsal, and Digital Media Program of Excellence. 

A notable feature of these programs is the array of links to external partners and training providers, which enrich the learning experience and deliver nationally recognised qualifications. 

I turn now to report on our Great people.

Mrs O'Donohue, and now Ms Gabbert's work in leading the Art and Science of Teaching implementation is an integral component of our school improvement agenda. 

A strong collaborative culture is a hallmark of this school and there is a belief that the collective efforts of staff can overcome obstacles such as attendance and lead to higher levels of student achievement. 

This Semester our school was fortunate to join other North Coast large schools in the Success Schools project as a Phase B school. 

The Success Schools project integrates ASOT to focus on successful teaching strategies to improve student engagement and performance in Literacy and Numeracy. 

Faculties have become Professional Learning Communities focussed on improving the Performance, Engagement and Capability of our entire school community.

I now move from EQs systemic agendas around Improvement to report on the extensive range of opportunities available to our diverse body of students :

The English faculty is in the third year of the Literacy Train program in Junior English classes and the pleasing results continue.  

With a strong focus on acquiring a wide range of reading comprehension strategies, including sophisticated extension strategies, as well as developing and extending vocabulary, students are attaining essential skills which will ensure success in all facets of school life and beyond. 

80% of Year 8s have shown pleasing progress with 28% of students improving their reading age by between two and three years, and another 6 students increasing their reading age by an astonishing five to seven years. 

The Year 9s have shown similarly outstanding results with 90% achieving significant improvement over the last two years. 

27% of students have improved their reading age by between three and six years with over a third of the cohort now reading at senior level. 

This year approximately 80 Year 8 and 9 students have completed "Unify", an extension project offered by the Brisbane School of Distance Education. 

The courses Write On and Critical Thinking provided students with an opportunity to engage with teachers in small online class group situation. 

Logging on once a week in the Cybrary for an entire term, students were challenged to develop and extend their creative writing skills beyond the mandated English curriculum and to extend the higher order thinking skills developed in day-to-day classwork.

The partnership with the Griffith University Business School continued that sees the 7 participants gaining a guaranteed entry to a Griffith Business School Degree next year. 

Students also experienced University level study through the UQ Enhanced Studies Program, the USC Headstart Program, the CQU and the Canberra AIE.

Four students were successful in gaining entry into the Canberra Academy of Interactive Entertainment in 2015 as part of their trip to Canberra in August. 

They are graduates from the 6th cohort of students continuing their pathway into a career in the game development industry.  

Of note, two students from the 1st and 2nd cohorts to graduate have had real success in 2014.Tom Spratt and Matt Korver formed their own company, have developed a number of games and with one of them were successful in taking out the coveted International award at the PAX games Conference in Seattle, "Best of PAX" and have since signed contracts with Sony and Steam to publish their games. 

Nine students in year 11 are on track to complete their Cert III with the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra. Studying C# programming and using the tools that created Angry Birds, they are developing cutting edge skills to equip them for the move to tertiary study and a career in the computer game development industry.  

A strong industry partnership has been established with the AIE in Canberra, with 18 students now having made the move to Canberra.

A significant shift of thinking this year saw the evolution of what was called our "Special Education Program" into what is now known  as our "Learning Partnerships Program".

The significance of this is that the name change reflects a change in thinking about how to manage students with Diverse learning needs that are in our schools.

We recognise we need to support ALL students - those with learning difficulties, with mental health issues, physical health issues, those with disabilities, Gifted and talented students and those with English as a Second Language.

Our Learning Partnerships Program promotes throughout the school the fact that we at Gympie SHS embrace these diversities and seek to support every student who enrols.

Mr Reid and Mr Brown co-ordinated the Youth Action Program in its new semester format, with a focus on fitness, fun and personal growth. It was the most popular year 9 elective.

Our Home Economics and hospitality students continue to earn the plaudits of Gympie for going above and beyond at a plethora of community events.

Initiatives in the Industrial Technology and Design faculty include a Certificate I in Construction, a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways, while 7 students commenced full time study at the Trade Training Centre.

For the first time, Gympie High exhibited poultry at the Gympie Show.  The School also was awarded Champion School at the Gympie Carcass Classic and placed first in the team competition.

STEM highlights this year include a 2nd place in the USC Science and Engineering Challenge and a trip to the Sydney Royal Easter Show where the students created a set of mechanised, automated farmer's boots.

Marine Science will replace Marine Studies in 2015, and a New Marine Aquatics program implemented.

40 School based traineeships have been completed this year, with a Certificate II in Community Pharmacy being completed for the first time by 4 students.

Indigenous students have participated in the Deadly Young Persons Program, the Murri Pathways Program, Cultural Celebrations and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience at the USC.

For the fifth consecutive year, our German Short Film was short listed in the Sydney German School Film Festival. 

Our students entered the Junior Section for the first time and were awarded second place. Frau Weise was euphoric!

 During the extended drought earlier this year, staff and students at Gympie High raised $1600 through a free dress day, a lunch time concert and lunch time collections, to go towards the purchasing of over 120 bales of prime Lucerne hay through the drought relief program run by local horse stud owner, Stan Johnston.

The bales were donated to a dozen local farming families from our school and provided some much needed and deserved relief during this time of hardship, thanks to the efforts of Mr Gregory.

As part of the Volunteer Support Program, a number of volunteers assist in classrooms, mentor students and assist with resource preparation. If anyone has an hour to spare and would like to be involved, please contact the school. 

Hi Artworks at the Gallery currently features work from 75 of our year 9 to 12 students, with Ka'ta Austin's original design being chosen as the official logo for this year's exhibition. 

Chaise Mallet won the Youth+Artist = Connections Project and has been working on a collegial level with local artists.

Yasmin Morris took out the Muster Main Stage Schools competition. Along with the opportunity to take her place on one of the most prestigious stages in the country music scene, Yasmin also secured 2 Fender Guitar and Amp packages for the school.

This year Mr Oliver's HPE department launched the "Centurions" brand for the school's sporting teams. 

"Centurion" represents the qualities that we hope our students display on the sporting field - honour, discipline, courage, teamwork & dedication.

The Centurion badge will be displayed alongside the school badge on the Sports Teams' travelling shirts.

Outstanding sporting achievements this year include :

The U15 Futsal girls won the Cramb cup  and the year 8 Futsal girls made the top 8 from 50 teams at the South East Qld Tournament.

Our Open mixed touch team were quarter finalists at the Qld All Schools Touch Tournament and the year 9 volleyball team were Runners-up, earning a silver medal through exhibiting excellent team spirit.

Mason Mahstedt was selected in the Open Boys Australian Futsal Team which toured China, Georganna Williamson was selected in the U.15 Girls Australian Futsal Team which toured Brazil and Lucy Couling toured the USA with the Australian Open girls.

Tom Redding (AWD) represented Queensland at the National Cross Country Titles in Perth, finishing a creditable sixth. Myrella Corbet-Robinson finished 8th in the U.14 Girls State Cross Country, and was also selected in the Queensland Athletics team for 1500m and 3000m.

Our Chaplain and School Nurse co-facilitated "Girls with a Purpose", a personal growth program for year 9 girls.  This year Chappy Joy has also mentored vocalists in our CMSOE program.

It is clear, and evidence based, that when a student is experiencing any type of emotional wellbeing issues, that that student is not able to engage fully in his/her learning.  I want to acknowledge the huge amount of support that goes on behind the scenes at Gympie SHS. 

We have a strong and dedicated support staff, in addition to the daily support which classroom teachers, Heads of Department, Heads of School and teacher-aides provide. 

The Guidance Officer, AVTs, (advisory visiting teachers), Youth Support Co-ordinator, Chaplain, School-based Health Nurse, volunteer mentors, external program facilitators who work with the school, and external government organisations, all work with dedication, vigilance, and professionalism  and give many hours outside of school time. 

These people hold a wealth of professional knowledge about student academic and personal wellbeing and strive to deliver the best support they can. They do this to help our students engage fully in education and in life.

This year marked 40 years of Teacher Aides in Qld Schools and the 40 years of service to Gympie High by Mrs Heyer was celebrated during the year. 

Janine along with Robyn Cook created our School display at the Gympie Show which again took out First Prize this year.

World Teachers' Day this Friday offers a chance to acknowledge our teachers and say thanks. Every day, Queensland teachers are making a difference educating and inspiring young Queenslanders and I trust that this Report exemplifies this.

During the year Gympie High bid farewell to a number of long serving staff whose contribution to this school is immeasurable and I place on public record our sincere thanks to Rosie O'Donohue, Greg Jones, Judy Summers and Yvonne Knight.

Other long serving staff whose services will be sorely missed by Gympie High in the near future include Dave Hyde, Mark Jelinek, Steve Cranna, Keith Brown, Ron Junggeburt and Barry Keast . Please join me in showing our appreciation and wishing these staff well in the next chapter of their lives.

I like to finish this report with feedback from the public on the calibre of our students, which is a credit to you, their parents and their teachers' :

"We were in Tamworth, and saw a lot of the Gympie crew. I hope the town realises what tremendous talent has come from AICM and the High School. A big thanks to the dedicated crew who ferry them to Tamworth and then from gig to gig" - Don and Shirley

"The group that I have the pleasure of training have been great so far, but my session yesterday was exceptional. I warned them all at the beginning of the session that we needed to be focused and on topic and we also had a lot of background noise to distract us, but they focused, stayed on task, and we completed with 20 minutes to spare!! 

They all put in a lot of effort yesterday, but this group in particular always seem too.

They always contribute well to discussions, help each other out, and their attendance to all training sessions has been exceptional.

The Gympie region has a lot to be proud of with these trainees" - SATs Trainer

The head of British Business recently reported that schools were too focussed on exam results, that there was a need to teach character to students. 

He said "By character, I mean resilience, humility, emotional intelligence, and team spirit, someone who will go the extra mile". 

A school head agreed saying "The best schools and the best young people of this generation will be focussed upon far bigger goals than merely exam grades - to rephrase Kipling, it will not be your exam results but your character that determines whether "yours is the world and everything in it". 

It is very satisfying then, for me to reflect on our long standing philosophy that "Gympie SHS is a community where character virtues are fostered with the aim of developing positive learning relationships and the achievement of one's personal best in all aspects of school life" and believe that, not only have we have been on the right track, but that we have come a long way down the track.

Thank you.



Kelly Goatham and

Emily Sawrey

Awarded to the two students with the highest academic achievement this year.



Kye Allen

Awarded to the Best Year 12 academic male or female student, most likely to get the highest OP.


Tom Martin

Tom played school futsal and was age champion at our school and Cooloola cross country and athletics carnivals. He also made Wide Bay teams in cross country and athletics and has just returned from the Queensland athletics titles in Brisbane.


Billy Bayldon

The award is named after the founder of the modern Olympics and is given to a student who upholds the true traditions of what sport is about, displaying qualities such as sportsmanship, fair play, competitiveness and determination.

Billy's attitude and participation towards sport during his time at Gympie High has been outstanding. He has participated in a number of school sports including futsal, soccer, rugby league and touch. He once again made the Wide Bay soccer team, a feat he has achieved since he was in Year 9 and was also part of the open mixed touch side which made the top 16 at the recent All School's touch titles in Brisbane.


Jake Reid

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Gympie Sub-Branch has offered two, one-off scholarships, for students entering Years 11 and 12 in 2015 in high schools in the Gympie area, to assist with educational expenses. The scholarships are offered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli during the First World War. Students had to apply in writing for these awards, providing details of their achievements to date and their aspirations for the future.


Nathaniel Rayner

Merit-based award for Year 12 student who shows academic excellence in their fields of study - physics and engineering.


Nicola Simpson

Merit-based award for Year 12 student who show academic excellence in their fields of study - chemistry and biology.



Amy Curran

This award acknowledges the achievements of young people who demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership and team work within our school and/or in the wider community.

Leadership and team work is underpinned by qualities such as supporting others and doing the best you can, which are values the ADF shares with the broader community.


Mimi Rogers


Jake Reid

This is for a Year 11 student involved in a leadership role in the school, including cultural, sporting, citizenship activities and excellent academic achievement.


Eli Geri

Awarded for the best Year 11 male student who demonstrated the most consistent performance across all subjects.

Eli has achieved: Accounting VHA4; BCT VHA1; Economic VHA5; English VHA1; Legal Studies VHA2 and Maths B HA7.


Hannah Byrne

Awarded for the best Year 11 female student who demonstrated the most consistent performance across all subjects.

Hannah has achieved: Biology VHA4; Chemistry HA10; English HA9; Maths B VHA4; Maths C HA10.


Grace Tucker and Hayden Moessinger

Presented to one male and one female Year 12 student involved in leadership roles in the school including sporting, cultural and citizenship activities while maintaining good academic achievement. Candidates are nominated by teachers.

Grace is a senior leader and has represented the school in volleyball, futsal and basketball; she has actively participated in Clean Up Australia Day and also helped with fundraising ventures at the swimming and athletics carnivals as well as the movie fundraisers for the PE department. At the same time, Grace has maintained an excellent academic record.

Hayden has competently fulfilled his duties as school captain while also being involved in sporting activities and achieving at a high level academically.

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