This year, Berwick College is celebrating its 40th Anniversary! We warmly invite our alumni, past staff and leaders of the College to dinner. Share in a 3-course meal (drinks are available to be purchased at bar prices) and reminisce on the proud 40-year history of educating students in the City of Casey.
A special program of activities will include music performances, memorabilia and photo displays. Prior to dinner our College will be open to view student work in the VCE Art and Technology Exhibition – Carol Bullock Gallery. See the physical changes to the grounds and have a photo at your favourite meeting place.
Raffles will be conducted on the night with all funds raised to go towards the future Berwick Community Learning and Support Centre. The proposed Centre will provide health and wellbeing support, and connection to specialist partnerships, for our students, staff, past students, families and members of the community.
If you would like to sponsor an aspect of this event, please let us know.

BERWICK FOUNDATION GROUP GATHER TO CELEBRATE

“ The privilege of attending a growing and developing secondary school at Berwick High School cannot be underestimated,” commented foundation teacher Rob Hansen when he addressed an appreciative group of Foundation students and teachers gathering at Slippery Jacks restaurant in Beaconsfield recently.

Nearly 40 people met to celebrate the part that the College had played in shaping them as individuals during the inaugural foundation dinner. This group, which has now met twice in the past two years, have commenced an annual tradition of joining to acknowledge their special educational experience together.

Chief Executive Officer of the Challenge Foundation and former student Dave Rogers urged fellow students and past teachers to look to supporting those whose lives have been touched by cancer. As one of the guest speakers Rogers described his early education as challenging him to find what he was suited to in life. “After leaving at the end of Year 10 in 1980 I journeyed to a camp in America and discovered that recreation and dealing with young people was something with which I was comfortable. From there my life has been transformed by trying to assist young kids who suffer with their families through the challenge that is cancer.” The former Berwick College Student Representative leader now heads up a multi-million dollar organisation that attempts to support children from 0-19 who face the journey with cancer. Challenge works through Monash Medical centre as well as the Royal Children’s Hospital.

The foundation group also listened to John Waterhouse from Beaconhills College. The former history teacher and current archivist has built up a large collection of history at the College. He also heads a successful program that encourages the development of alumni and is the President of the Archivists’ Association of Australia. He urged the group to consider a similar program of being involved with Berwick’s story as well as inscribing their own story for future generations.

Current Principal Kerri Bolch indicated that she supports the concept of growing the Foundation Year and certainly supports an organisation being developed which focuses on past students and teachers reinforcing the current College activities. Hopefully out of this embryo will grow an effectively functioning group that sustains the Berwick Story.

Foundation Dinner group photo
From left to right: Craig and Christine Sholer, Karen Irwin, Andrew Hopgood and Tracey Blundy

BERWICK’S FOUNDING FATHER ‘GONGED’Bruce Coller 1

A passion for education and learning is a key quality for excellence in teaching. Dr. Bruce Coller has certainly demonstrated that over his lifetime. The quietly spoken chemist not only made a lasting impression at Monash University but he was responsible for creating the foundations upon which Berwick College rests today.

Bruce Coller has been recognised in 2013 with a “Council on the Ageing Senior Achiever Award” for his volunteer teaching of African students. But the effort he employed to ensure Berwick had a secondary college of note in the district was monumental. Bruce joined with people like Graeme Sweeney, Marshall Baillieu, Ron Wheeldon and Ian Chisholm to establish the Berwick High School Promotion Committee to lobby the state government to ensure Berwick residents were accorded their right to local secondary education. The result was a school being established on Windy Ridge in Manuka Road in 1977 which blossomed from 113 students to become one of the biggest single campus colleges in the state of Victoria.

This devotion to initiating an educational institution of note did not remain the only pursuit Bruce Coller followed. He became the founding secretary of the interim school council which later became formalised as a normal school council. Bruce served the community with distinction overseeing the construction of stages 2 and 3 of the College and ensured that Berwick’s facilities matched the best in the state. The Coller boys, Ian and Ross, both attended their local secondary college quietly achieving excellence while father Bruce became the school’s longest serving School Council secretary developing many of the initiatives that mark current practice in the school. The Leisure Centre, part of a joint use agreement with the City of Casey, the Performing Arts Centre and other facilities enjoyed by the community were all affected by Bruce Coller’s eye for detail and vision for the future.

How do you measure a debt such as that owed by the School to someone as dedicated as Bruce Coller for his inspirational effort? Certainly the title of Founding Father is well deserved. Berwick College would do well to record and recognise such a contribution as that of Dr Bruce Coller.

By Rob Hansen.

Massive Crowd at Berwick Bowls Club for 2003 Reunion

An amazing vibrant crowd of more than 130 people packed into the Berwick Bowls Club last Saturday August 3 2013. The class of 2003 returned to the environs where they had spent much of their formative years at Edwin Flack oval and Berwick Secondary College. One of the biggest VCE groups to travel through Berwick SC it was heartening to witness that they really enjoyed reuniting to reminisce and catch up.

Organiser Megan Griffiths demonstrated the power of Social Media as the entire event was organised through Facebook. Megan commented, “We had contact from 240 people and over 130 turned up tonight.”  Teachers who were a major influence upon the group also joined them through the evening and included Mark Woodbridge, Peter Buff, Rob Osborne and Rob Hansen.

Rob Hansen asked Megan to suggest to the group that maintaining contact with the school was important and hopefully a method will be devised to encourage the class of 2003 to do just that.

Later this year the class of 1993 will also be gathering to recognise their 20th anniversary since departing from the College. Past student Sarah Higgott (Wogan)  is gathering a group together  to organise a reunion event.

Past Teacher Honoured

Former Berwick College teacher Mr Robert Taylor is a recipient of the Order Of Australia in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours. Mr Taylor received the honour for his 60 year contribution to the Scouting movement and for his dedication in helping the community.

To read the article click here

Past Student Sinks Her Teeth Into Seaweed

Former Berwick College student, and now a Deakin University Marine Biologist, Dr. Alecia Bellgrove, is researching the edible seaweeds in the waters off the Warrnambool coast. She hopes to help establishing an industry where Australia can take a larger slice of the $7 billion global seaweed market.

To read the article click here.

More information:

Website: http://www.pozible.com/project/22607

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wouldyoulikeseaweed

Twitter: @DeakinSeaweed

 

How To Organise A Reunion

Since the school began there have been numerous Reunions organised for past students and staff. Last year there was a Foundation Year get together where the first group of students from 1977 met to initiate an annual dinner and gathering.

Other alumni also meet to celebrate 10, 20 or 25 years since the groups joined the world outside the doors of their secondary school. Some also have celebrated milestones such as 150 years of education – Scotch College did that a few years ago.

What do you need to do?

  • As perhaps ten years looms (or other milestone) gather a group of friends and determine to meet.
  • Form a small committee to plan, book and ultimately organise your gathering.
  • Contact the College (8768 1000) to see what assistance is available. The school has data which might be used to contact people from your year.
  • Contact Rob Hansen robhansen85@gmail.com to see if his help is needed.
  • Commence the process of communicating with your fellow colleagues – then good luck!

 

Contact

Mr Rob Hansen
robhansen85@gmail.com

 

Berwick College Foundation Launched

The Foundation year for Berwick College gathered in the VCE Centre of the College to pay tribute to those who planned, established and organised the educational cornerstone for Berwick College.

Nearly 50 former students, teachers and administrators shared vivid memories, laughs and warm expressions of joy at seeing one another again. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a Foundation Plaque as well as a photo of the first Year 12 group. Rob Osborne, long time Year 12 coordinator and VCE teacher for over two decades mentioned the special bond that hallmarked the 17 students who completed Higher School Certificate together in 1982. “This was the first such year 12 group and they enjoyed an intimate relationship with their teachers – something that was unique because of the size of the group,” commented Rob Osborne. A large photo of the group was presented by Rob to current principal Kerri Bolch.

Mr John Collins, who served the College with distinction from 1980 as both assistant Principal as well as Principal, also commented on the special nature of the Foundation group. He noted that, “I could see that you all developed a tight bond with one another as well as your teachers. It was a joy to lead such students and was something I will never forget.” He then presented a large plaque to Roger Hall current School Council President. The plaque contains the names of the foundation students of 1977, the Year 12 students of 1982, the first teachers as well as those who were the first School Council President, Mr Ron Wheeldon, as well as Dr Bruce Coller, the first School Council Secretary. These two gentlemen led the drive to establish the school in Berwick.

A slide show of photos from the 1980’s was one of the key moments that brought gasps and amusement to the gathered throng. This had been carefully prepared by former foundation student and current Pakenham Gazette photographer Donna Oates, whose camera skills created a wonderful legacy for the College.

The Foundation Launch organiser Rob Hansen (a foundation teacher) observed that there were many requests during the evening for an annual Foundation Dinner. “Hopefully we will be able to accommodate these requests but the College has made a commitment to display the new plaque and create an area to commemorate the Foundation Year. This will be the beginning of moves to celebrate and publicise the school’s rich history that has so far spanned 35 years since 1977.”

Karen Cleared Hurdles At Berwick High

“ The ingenuity of Foundation Sport Teacher Sue Ryan hallmarked the inventiveness of my teachers at Berwick High School,” remarked foundation student Karen Crebbin (nee Bertoncello). “Mrs Ryan had no hurdles for her athletics team so she encouraged us to jump over rubbish bins as a substitute for the real thing. A lack of equipment was never seen as a huge hurdle by our foundation teachers.”

Karen Crebbin was one of 113 students who warily entered the freshly constructed red brick buildings on Orientation Day 1977 when the school was almost ready for receiving its first intake. “It was all a bit daunting. We came from small primary schools – in my case St Michael’s Berwick- and Berwick High promised to be much different. Imagine my shock to discover that my name was not even on the list when the names were read out. That was quickly adjusted and I was soon ready to participate in one of the most exciting phases of my life.”

Karen eventually married another foundation student Tom Crebbin who suffered from glandular fever on the first day when the brand new school opened . However, the pair has notched some pretty impressive milestones during the 35 years since 1977. Tom enjoyed the adrenaline rush of VFL football having been selected to play for Richmond in the top Australian Rules competition. He trained as a primary teacher specialising in P.E. and enjoyed a long stint at Haileybury College for sixteen years. Today he has been working at St. Katherine’s College in Toorak.

“Despite the lack of facilities in our early secondary schooling we managed to develop a close bond with our teachers and received a wonderful education, largely because classes were small – particularly in Year 12 when there were only 17 of us receiving almost individual tuition. My impressions of our life then are still indelibly etched in my memory. We enjoyed Friday Discos in room 6 at lunchtimes, special trips to the Ice Rinks at Dandenong and many a walk to Akoonah Park for sport.”

Karen completed an excellent Year 12 and was accepted into the science faculty at Monash University. An Honours year was a bonus for her after which she worked for the International conglomerate of Monsanto Chemicals. Karen then completed a doctorate to gain a PHD and worked for David Bull Laboratories which later became Fauldings then Hospira. Today she is the Regulatory Affairs Manager for the Belgian company U.C.B. Its full title is United Chemicals Belgium. “My work consists of liaising with the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia to ensure that our drugs are processed correctly according to the standards set by the T.G.A. U.C.B. has developed a series of drugs to work within the central nervous system for people suffering from epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease as well as rheumatoid arthritis. Probably Zyrtek is one of our best known products which is used for allergies.”

At the end of October 2012, Karen and Tom headed off to the mother country while Karen is contracted to work in Brussels for three years. Berwick Secondary College recognised its foundation students by placing a commemorative plaque and other items to hail the Foundation year.

Berwick College Foundlings meet to plan thirty year festivities

On a miserable, wet afternoon on July 29th 2012, seven foundation members of the Berwick College met together in the toasty environs at the Central Hotel Beaconsfield to share past memories. However, it was not all reminisces as the group has decided to invite their other fellow foundation class colleagues as well as that famous collection of teachers who cemented the foundations of the College’s history.

Founding teachers Laurie Cantwell, Julie Misso and Rob Hansen met with Karen Irwin, Jane Foster, Donna Oates as well as Jenny McCraw to swap stories and reflect upon a unique experience when they commenced the activities upon which the current College has been fabricated. The group has undertaken to offer their collegiate colleagues the chance to celebrate thirty years since the first HSC graduates passed into the community.

 

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

The concept of I shall grow (CRESCAM) is highly appropriate as we salute thirty years since the very first year 12 at Berwick College.

There were only 17 students in that inaugural Year 12 group (Higher School Certificate graduates) but they have all made a mark in our community. In November of this year it is planned to recognise not only that group of eminent students but it is also the intention to focus upon all of those who commenced their education in 1977 – including the teachers who made it all possible as well as support staff who worked tirelessly. A festive event will be organised where hopefully all who comprised the Foundation Group will come together once more. Details will emerge after a meeting (Thursday August 23rd) of some of the participants who will commence the planning and communicating. Expect to be advised!!

Berwick College is also embarking upon a program to showcase our students and teachers who have carved a niche in our community. By accessing the College website readers can already learn of some of the past pupils who have made a difference. The series will continue in 2012 and further narratives will be added to the Berwick story and to the website page for Past Students.

Mr Rob Osborne is the only name missing from the accompanying photo of Class of 1982. As the initial Year 12 Coordinator Rob began a role which spanned many years as the mentor, father figure and guiding light for thousands of Berwick’s Year 12 students. His contribution is inestimable and many of his charges have expressed profound appreciation for his influence. The foundation has been rock solid.

Contact

Mr Rob Hansen
robhansen85@gmail.com