2024 is indeed a very 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. The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) had the vision of establishing a non-denominational school not only to embrace Hellenic values alongside the teaching of the Greek language, culture and history, but also to encourage families of other cultural backgrounds, who would themselves become passionate Philhellenes.
From its modest beginnings the school was, for the GCM, a project of passion and love. Many people in the extended Greek community helped get it started. 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.
With a newly elected School Council led at the time by the current President of the GCM, Bill Papastergiadis OAM, the desire was to build a school that could cater for the changing make up of Greek Australian families, which saw many more mixed marriages, and for families of other cultures seeking a more intimate learning environment for their children.
“Education is at the heart of the strategic direction of the Greek Community. Looking into the future, Alphington Grammar School will continue to expand and meet the community demands for a quality independent school education that sets students up for success. We are appreciative of the efforts of the previous boards which had the courage to proceed with the setup of the school, and their support at every juncture,” Mr Papastergiadis OAM said.
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 can boast 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. 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. It also houses an extensive collection of Greek texts and music resources.
A wealth of learning opportunities and programs both in the school and beyond ear marks Alphington Grammar School as the “jewel in the crown” of the GCM. With its focus on lifelong learning and ensuring a legacy underpinned by Hellenic values remains for the Greek Community and multiple generations of students to come, the school is going from strength to strength.
Alphington Grammar School is one of the most successful multicultural schools in Australia.
“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 undertaking their learning in an open classroom in Athens, Crete, Nafpilo, Lefkada, Delphi and the monasteries of Meteora… an experience and personal growth no classroom can duplicate.”
The school’s track record in achieving academic results that rivals its much larger and affluent competitor schools, now sees enrolments increase to over 650 students and many more on waiting lists. Alphington Grammar is now ready to roll out its next strategic plan.
An additional 4 purpose-built classrooms are to open in April this year. As the school grows and waiting lists expand, the School Council has also endorsed the planning stage for a custom built 6-classroom block designed by the school’s Architect, 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.
“Continuing to focus on building culture and meaningful relationships while honouring our past and the unique journey of this school is an exciting period to be part of,” Co-Chair of School Council, Michael Karamitos, said.
“The new building project will ensure we provide a vibrant learning environment that respects and celebrates academic excellence and personal development while catering for the increased demand for places in our school.”
For those interested in hearing more about initiatives endorsed by the GCM, the Annual General Meeting will be held at 12 noon on Sunday 17 February at Alphington Grammar School. Families interested in enrolling or finding out about Scholarships at Alphington Grammar should contact the School’s Registrar and register to attend the monthly tour mornings. The School’s Family Festival on Friday 1 March at 4.00 to 9.00pm is open to the wider community, and its Open Day will be held on Saturday 16 March from 10.00am to 1.00pm.