Last week SMGS held its annual Foundation Day service, a celebration where we show our gratitude for the wisdom, courage and commitment demonstrated by those who contributed to the establishment of the school.

There was a full house in the Snowy Shed, which included the SMGS Chairman, Mr Michael Jones, the Board Directors, the Executive, parents, students and special guests: Mr Peter Brulisauer – Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Perisher; Mr Bruce Marshall – long-term friend of the school and past Board Member; Mr Neil Thew – Manager, Community Relations, Snowy Hydro; and Ms Kirsten Seaver – the Monaro Post.

During this year’s Foundation Day service, we were treated to some excellent speeches, including that from the SMGS Chairman, Principal, Andrew Leslie and a memorable Occasional Address by alumnus, Mr Jeremy Witherdin (a separate write-up about Jeremy’s occasional address can be found here).

Audience members were entertained by our Junior School singing group who sang “Fight”, Shelby Holland, Year 10, who performed “Imagine”, Rebecca Matthes, Year 11, who read her Maria Kisich winning speech, ‘In celebration of last’, and music from our school band led by Mrs Sue Sell, who accompanied and played during the processional, recessional and school song.

A snapshot of the Chairman’s speech and the awards presentation is as follows:

The Founding of this Special School

In the Chairman’s address, ever the inspiration, Mr Michael Jones touched on how our vibrant school came to be.

Mr Michael Jones during his Chairman’s Address.

As a result of the determination of families and business leaders, with the support of the Snowy River Shire, Snowy Mountains Grammar School commenced in 1996, after a trial Winter School in 1995, and was established through the generous support of Redlands and the voluntary hours of many people committed to achieving what others said was “unnecessary”. Mr Jones continued his address, reflecting on why the school was started, saying, “I remember 40 parents at a public meeting at Lake Crackenback in August 1994, saying “we want a school of choice for our children”.

It is for the children – the students – that this school exists.
The education of young people and the challenge to the status quo is necessary. Left to their natural course, all things and people tend toward atrophy and decay.

Education, particularly a broad liberal education like SMGS provides, brings creativity and renewal – day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.

We – all of us – must take a stand against those things which corrode the body, the spirit, the mind and the community.

The ability of the human being to think creatively, adapt to, and even change the environment in which we live and work, is unique across all life in God’s creation.

The founders of SMGS knew that creative thinking, effort and determination is necessary to bring ideas into reality.

Today we have two K-12 schools in Jindabyne – both burgeoning with enrolments and now offering primary and secondary education, and a boarding alternative – offering a real “choice” in education, in learning and teaching.

That is what those before us achieved and enabled.

We stand here today, and we stand tall, because it is on our founders’ shoulders that we stand.

Mr Jones then turned his focus on to our students by asking them to contemplate their future. He said, “What is your idea of the world in which we live?
In the next 15 to 30 years – that is not that long – you may well be parents, teachers, or Board Directors of this school.

How will you use the opportunity and privilege of this education – thinking and learning about life and people in the world and universe in which we live?

How will you apply that learning? How will you serve?
How will you continue to renew your body and spirit and mind?

How will you preserve the cleanliness of this environment, and your bodies and minds?

You know what?  It does make a difference! How and what we think.

What we see and feel is very much influenced by the environment around us – and those around us see how we behave, much more than we realise for ourselves.

We must participate in creating the future that we desire, or others will create it for us!

When we walk out today, be proud and stand tall, because that is what the founders of this school are – proud of this school – proud of each student and staff member – and proud to have you stand on their shoulders.

As students sang the school song, they all stood a little bit taller and a little bit prouder, just as the Chairman had encouraged.

Cordis Spiritus Awards

The Cordis Spiritus Award is presented to one Year 6 and one Year 12 student. This award reflects the spirit of the Snowy Mountains, that has been demonstrated by so many wonderfully resourceful and determined pioneers of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, one of Australia’s greatest engineering feats. This spirit has been anchored in our school, where many of the same attributes live on today. The recipients of this Award have been chosen as they best demonstrate the attributes of a student of our school, with regard to their behaviour, respect, trustworthiness and courtesy shown to all, a student who is accepting of their peers, remaining friendly and promoting a strong sense of belonging in their school community. This student should also show a strong and positive involvement in a wide range of school events and activities in academic, sporting, cultural and community service, a student who has a desire to work for the betterment of others, not simply for personal reward. The Award is to recognise unreserved reliability that is combined with a persistent, determined and committed resolve characterised by the ‘never-give-up attitude’ and consistency of approach in all tasks and in all situations.

For this award, level of achievement is not a criterion, rather the emphasis is on capable and regular participation in a wide range of situations within and for the school, with the spirit of ‘having a go’ being espoused at all times.

Year 6 Cordis Spiritus Award Recipient

Mrs Marcia Elliott presented the Year 6 Cordis Spiritus Award to Chloe Chilcott. Of Chloe’s significant contribution to school life at SMGS, Mrs Elliott said,

“It has been such a pleasure to watch Chloe develop from a very shy, young girl into this capable, confident student who stands before you today.

Chloe embraces life to the fullest and there are very few activities that she hasn’t attempted over the years. Obviously with a former Winter Olympian as a mother, skiing has been very close to her heart. She is a valued member of the SMGS Interschools Moguls, Alpine and Skier X teams with some impressive results at state and national levels.

Horses are also a great passion of Chloe’s and she spends a great deal of her time involved in school equestrian activities. She is a keen team member in the Snowy Mountains Interschools Equestrian Competition each year and she is always available to assist younger riders in any way she can.

In the rest of her spare time Chloe manages to fit in netball, touch football, swim squad and her great love of dance. She has been dancing since age 4 and this joy of dancing shines through her many performances in ballet, jazz, hip hop and musical theatre.

Chloe has been singing with the Junior School Choir throughout the years and her enthusiasm and effort have been much appreciated. Her flair for music, dance and drama are a great asset to the school.

Within the classroom, Chloe demonstrates a determined approach towards her work and a sound work ethic. She is a self-motivated learner and committed towards achieving her personal best and being a proud student of Snowy Mountains Grammar School. She displays a kind, caring attitude towards all students in the Junior School and is courteous and helpful towards all staff members.

I am incredibly proud to be able to present Chloe with this prestigious award today. Congratulations, Chloe, and on behalf of the whole Snowy Mountains Grammar School community, I commend you on being such a worthy recipient.”

2017 Year 6 Cordis Spiritus Award Recipient

Year 12 Cordis Spiritus Award Recipient

Mrs Sue West presented the Year 12 Cordis Spiritus Award to Joshua Kuner. Of Joshua’s contribution to our school’s community, Sue said,

“One of the very rewarding and emotional parts of my job is watching young people grow and develop into fine young adults.

I clearly remember this bright, happy little boy who joined our Junior School in Kindergarten.  Josh was involved from his first day, he was athletic and he was keen, on foot and on skis, and indeed in the water or wherever you needed him.  Josh quickly secured places in all our sporting teams and immediately showed the qualities that have become his trademark – a keen sense of sportsmanship, a quiet calming spirit, great natural skill, and a real commitment to the team.  In more recent times, Josh has continued to be an integral part of the Snowsports team, of most ISA teams and, above all, he always gives of his very best on all occasions.

More recently Josh has become a wonderful role model for younger students.  His academic results continue to be outstanding and he has been a member of many Snowsports teams that have won gold at the Australian National Championships.  Josh is our current School Captain, he is a leader who leads by example, he is approachable and he is very focused on achieving to his potential in everything he undertakes, but most of all he is a down-to-earth, modest, reliable member of our school community.

Josh, this award is the most fitting tribute that the school community could bestow upon you and, on behalf of staff and students, I thank you for your dedication, your sense of purpose, your friendly outlook and enthusiastic leadership and your commitment to our school.”

2017 Year 12 Cordis Spiritus Award Recipient

House Service Awards

The House Service Awards were first presented in 2012. Presented to students who are not currently in a Prefect role, the award is to recognise the achievements and work of students in service to their house as a school community throughout the year. Students at Snowy Mountains Grammar School have many opportunities to participate pastorally, to contribute to the activities initiated by their house and to work with staff and their peers at sporting and cultural functions.


House Captain Isabella Oatley presented the Mowamba House Service Award. Of the recipient, she said,

“I am honoured as Mowamba House Captain to present the Mowamba House Service Award for 2017. The student receiving this award has been an integral member of our house since arriving at Snowy Mountains Grammar School in Year 7 and since then has always been willing to assist in any way possible. Even though dealing with challenges, he participates and succeeds in every carnival, finishing his events and standing with his house cheering on other Mowamba members. He is always encouraging and is an incredible role model to our younger house members and the wider school community. The recipient was also the winner of one of the 2017 Country Women’s Association Education Scholarships. The recipient of this award is Tom Hansen.”


House Captain Isabella Emmert presented the Twynam House Service Award. Of the recipient, she said,

“The recipient of the Twynam House Service Award for 2017 is one who is continually building relationships with students within our house, these being both with students in her own year group and with those in the younger years. She can always be relied upon to offer assistance at school events and within the community, where she really does lead by example to other students.

Her bubbly nature and bright personality builds Twynam spirit and allows for positive contributions towards our house. Twynam is in good hands for the years to come! It is my great honour to announce the 2017 Twynam House Service Award recipient is Sophie Pidcock.”


House Captain Thomas Davis presented the Cascades House Service Award. Of the recipient, he said,

“The 2017 Cascades House Service Award is going to a student who we believe has matured and developed as a student leader within our community and Cascades House.

Initially this student was the one you would look to for a Dad joke or a somewhat frustrating pun. However, they are now being looked upon as a senior student and a role model.

This student has one of the loudest voices behind the Cascades chants and could have a very promising career in cheerleading. Assisting with interventions within my tutor groups, volunteering to be the bell boy at debating and helping me in my role as House Captain, are just a few among the many things this student has done this year.

The 2017 Cascades House Service Award deservingly goes to Cooper De Pagter.”


House Captain Callum Bradshaw presented the Kiandra House Service Award. Of the recipient, he said,

“It is my pleasure to award the 2017 Kiandra House Service Award to a student we believe has been an outstanding figure in our house. This student represents the very definition of house spirit – energy, excitement and encouragement. Her enthusiasm alone brings life and joy into Kiandra, and members of the house look up to her. Her leadership skills are second to none, always seeking to support younger students in and outside the house, and she comes up with fantastic ideas that are authentic and outstanding.

Sportsmanship, courage, chanting and costuming are some of the many traits this student possesses. As House Captain, it a treasure to have this student in my house, and I’m sure she will continue the tradition of Kiandra next year, and extend beyond as a senior leader of this school.

Without further ado, the recipient of the 2017 Kiandra House Service Award goes to Antonia Murphy.”