From the Deputy Headmaster…
Around 150 years ago, a scientist by the name of Dmitri Mendeleev formulated the first Periodic Table. Up until then, although many elements had been discovered, there was no universally accepted way to organise the elements. For the Chemistry nerds looking back from our throne of modern science, there were many aspects of Mendeleev’s achievement that could be called remarkable. However, perhaps the greatest of them all was the fact that he left blank spaces for elements not yet discovered. In other words, Mendeleev’s work with the elements that he had in front of him was done with such precision, that he was able to boldly predict - with certainty later confirmed - not only the existence of, but the chemical properties of future elements. WOW.
Today we hosted our ‘new student pizza lunch’. An annual tradition where we invite newly minted OAGS students to gather together and celebrate their successful transition into our community. These students gathered in the Media Centre, a space that has served us well, but one which is about to be expanded and renovated into the new student HUB, Library and Administration precinct. This major capital works project will culminate with brand new spaces for student learning and collaboration. It will also free up the space currently hosting the library in order to provide two more classrooms to accommodate our growth moving forward. With our current waiting lists in Transition and Year 7, the evidence is quite clear - we need more space and our building programme will deliver it.
One of the most intriguing spaces that Mendeleev left open on his ancient Periodic Table was for element number 43 - Technetium (Tc). He knew it would have to be discovered one day, and approximately 70 years later it was, but only by chance. Tc is a radioactive element that is a by-product of its lighter cousin Molybdenum. As nuclear science took off in the 1900s, Tc was discovered as a left-over product of reactions with Uranium. Mendeleev’s space was now filled and Tc went on to become a revolutionary diagnostic isotope in Medicine which changed the way certain cancers could be detected and diagnosed.
The spaces we are building at OAGS will soon be filled with our steadily expanding student population. Who knows what they will go on to achieve as they graduate and pursue postgraduate studies and opportunities? Some will find themselves in Medicine, others in Engineering, some in Trades, still others Apprenticeships. As they occupy and thrive in the spaces we provide here at OAGS we are building a reputation as the school of choice to launch our students into the opportunities that lie beyond. Seven of our scholarship applicants are current Year 6 School and Vice Captains from schools around our region, invitations have just gone out for enrichment via our talented student program ‘LEAP’ and our Year 12 cohort are only 50 days shy of graduation.
But for now, we make space for a break. Semester 1 has thrown its challenges at us all and our students and staff are in need of a break. To that end I wish you all a safe and joy-filled winter holiday and I look forward to seeing you back in Term 3.