Featured Schools, VIC

Celebrating 35 years of excellence

In 2024, Alphington Grammar School celebrates 35 years since its gates first opened in 1989. In this anniversary year, the school reflects on its history and celebrates the journey with a Twilight Festival and Winter Ball.

2024 is a special year for Alphington Grammar School. It has been 35 years since the school opened its doors in 1989. In its initial years, Alphington Grammar was a small school catering largely for students and families of Greek-Australian origin. From its modest beginnings the school was a project of passion and love. While the school hasn’t been without its establishment challenges, it has grown exponentially since its beginnings, and this has never been clearer than the growth the school has strategically undertaken in the last ten years.

In 2013, the current Principal Dr Vivianne Nikou was appointed the first female Principal. This ushered in a new era of growth and development. During Dr Nikou’s time as Principal, the school boasted major building projects such as the Lyceum Centre, a conference space and staff room; the renovation and expansion of the administration wing and student amenities block; a state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) wing; as well as additional music rooms and a dance and drama studio. 

Alphington Grammar School is preparing to expand to meet increasing demand. Image: Alphington Grammar School

Most recently the school has built a new library for primary and secondary students that provides a dynamic learning hub for students and staff to collaborate, study, undertake research and pursue academic excellence. 

“We embrace our rich cultural heritage in the most innovative ways,” Principal Dr Nikou said. 

“We provide the students with the opportunity to explore their own cultural heritage more deeply while also opening up the world beyond our shores. We recently had over 115 students travel to iconic locations in London, Italy, Sicily and Greece … an experience and personal growth no classroom can duplicate,” she said.

The school sees academic results that rival its much larger competitor schools, with enrolments increasing to over 650 students and many more on waiting lists in the past few years. With this success, the school is preparing to expand to meet ever-increasing demand.

An additional four purpose-built classrooms opened in April this year, and the School Council has also endorsed the planning stage for a custom built six-classroom block designed by the school’s architect, Mr Billy Kavellaris, and his team at KUD. The new facility will operate as a Wellness Centre with access to programs that support students’ social and emotional development.

The project will also include an underground car park as well as new sports facilities that embrace its idyllic setting alongside the Darebin Creek. Given the complexity of this plan, the school is rolling out the project in stages to ensure minimal disruption to classes.

Celebration

2024 has been a year of celebration as much as reflection. On 1 March, the Alphington Grammar School Twilight Festival saw more than 2,500 attendees come through the school gates to partake in the evening festivities. The festival hosted a wide variety of rides, activities, and food and drink stalls. From dodgem cars and a petting zoo to souvlakia, loukoumades, burgers and even Vietnamese street food. There was something for everyone to enjoy in celebration of the multicultural community the school has become.

Students performed in front of 2,500 attendees at the Alphington Grammar School Twilight Festival. Image: Alphington Grammar School

While attendees were enjoying the attractions and activities, the stage was home to student performances, DJ Thomas Nico, and guest alumni appearances that entertained children and adults alike throughout the night. At the official opening ceremony at 7pm guests were also honoured by a Welcome to Country smoking ceremony led by local Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Yarra. Other performances on the night included the Latin Band, Rock Band, Drumline, and a dragon dance, among many others. Students were given the chance to shine in front of their parents, peers, and members of the local community.

Adding to the atmosphere and the source of much of the excitement were the rides and attractions. The younger children were thoroughly entertained by the turbo tubs, laughing clown game and chair-o-plane; while the older children (and adults) lined up for the dodgem cars, atomic drop slide and cyclone until the late hours of the night. It was against this backdrop of fun and laughter that many attendees sat, either at the colourful tables or on picnic blankets, as they enjoyed the night and each other’s company.

The Alphington Grammar School Twilight Festival hosted a variety of rides. Image: Alphington Grammar School

The night was brought to a close by a fireworks display. The stunning showcase was the perfect way to end the festival and celebrate 35 years of excellence. 

“We would like to express our thanks for the support of our school and wider community on the night. It was an amazing display, not only of how far the school has come, but of the strong school spirit and values our community continues to uphold,” Principal Dr Nikou said.

Celebrations will continue at the Winter Ball held at the Park Hyatt, where parents, staff, and community members alike will come together to celebrate Alphington Grammar School’s legacy of excellence. 

Discover more about Alphington Grammar School here.

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