From the Acting Head: 2022 Foundation Day Church Service

17th May 2022


On Friday 13th May, Girton Grammar School celebrated 138 years of continuous operation at the annual Foundation Day Church Service.

Acting Head, Dr Emma O’Rielly, 2022 Foundation Day church service

The Acting Head, Dr Emma O’Rielly, gave a thought-provoking speech about Girton’s successive founders, each contributing to the school’s ongoing progression and growth within the context of their era.

Dr O’Rielly explained how the echoing of the original School founder’s (Mrs Aherne and Mrs Millward’s) sentiment through the years has allowed Girton to endure changes in ownership, worldwide pandemics, world wars, various economic depressions, and many other influences beyond the control of school Heads. Historical parallels were drawn between the recent COVID-19 pandemic and previous challenges faced by the Girton community. Dr O’Rielly said;

“Just like times past, including when the school closed in 1937 owing to an outbreak of polio in Bendigo, remarkable resilience has been shown over the past two years when it was most needed.

And also as in past times, loyalty, generosity, hard work, and shared affection for this school has helped us come together again.”

Dr O’Reilly concluded her address by explaining that honouring our school’s history and upholding school traditions while delivering a modern education that prepares students for the future are not mutually exclusive goals. She said;

“As an institution of great energy, Girton has always managed to be simultaneously progressive and steeped in tradition.

The two things – history and progression – do not represent opposing forces.

Indeed, one leverages the other. It is only because of our shared values and respect for school history and traditions that we can step confidently into the future, knowing that our community will always respond.

This does not mean that we cannot have divergent views.

It does not mean we cannot be radically adaptive to accommodate the demands of our time.

What our history and traditions do is give us something to fight for, a solid foundation on which to build, and an innate sense that we can fortify against future challenges we cannot foresee.”

Below is the recording of the 2022 Foundation Day Church Service. To view Dr O’Rielly’s speech, click the “play” button and the video will commence at the relevant point of the evening’s proceedings. (43.30)