Over the past week our Year 9s have experienced the best of the east coast on the 2019 HASS Tour! Their travels through Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney have included a visit to Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, the MCG and the Royal Australian Mint. Between their busy schedule, they also managed to fit in a trip to the Snowy Mountains were some students learnt to ski for the first time!

Dancing the Day away!

Year 10 History students participated in the Charleston Dance lesson earlier in the term.  Yr 10 History covers Australia from the end of WW up to the Civil Rights movement.  It is important that students actively engage in Australian history and enjoyed learning a dance from the 1920s.  It is always impressive to see how much effort out students put into activities and the joy they receive from engaging in these activities.

Leeanne Shanks

Teacher – Humanities and Social Sciences & Assistant Dean Alethea


Yr 8 Geography Field trip to Elizabeth Quays

Year 8 students went to Elizabeth Quays to explore the concept of liveability.  The Geography department is passionate about allowing students to get real life experience about the world around them.  It was interesting to note that our students were so well behaved a member of the public who is involved in the construction of the new apartments at Elizabeth Quays took the time to discuss with the students how the new buildings were constructed and the issues involved with digging into the river to create the underground parking and storage areas for each apartment.  We were all slightly agog when we were told the penthouse has three floors, its own elevator and costs $12.5 million.  Students were able to engage with the art created in the area and the water playground along with identifying all the strengths and weaknesses regarding the liveability of this new development.

Leeanne Shanks

Teacher – Humanities and Social Sciences and Assistant Dean Alethea

Year Eight Civics and Citizenship

Students became a SSS parliament for a lesson this week.  Students were given political parties and asked to represent their views regarding un fair bills that had been enacted into law in the past.  Students presented themselves very well and worked hard to create an answer based on their parties position on the bill.  It seems we have many future politicians in our mist – possibly even a future PM.

Leeanne Shanks

Teacher – Humanities and Social Sciences & Assistant Dean Alethea



HASS Think Tank

Members of Humanities and Social Sciences recently attended an after school HASS Think Tank Meeting to improve the profile of the HASS subjects during a time where STEM subjects are the political focus.  One particular strategy involved students being exposed to intellectual ideas through the use of Lego.  The intellectual discussion that arouse from the student explaining why they had chosen and created their Lego pieces in relation to the question drove the intellectual discussion past the normal responses.  This strategy also encouraged listening and communicating skills as students were directed to articulate their position through their Lego creation.  It could also be a strategy used within the home for parents to sit down with their children and both create a piece of work based on a question or dilemma with the home which would allow both parents and children to understand the others viewpoint or get to know each other on a deeper level.  One idea posed during the think tank was ‘how do you feel’.  The other idea posed was ‘how do we represent HASS’ and this was then built on ‘ how do we represent HASS and continue to compete in a STEM based world’.

This non-threatening communication form was incredibly effective and it is hoped it can be introduced within appropriate HASS lessons.

Leeanne Shanks
Teacher – Humanities and Social Sciences & Assistant Dean Alethea


Holocaust Historian at St Stephens School

Year 11 students once again enjoyed a thought provoking visit from Mr Ephraim Kaye.  Mr Kaye is the Director of International Seminars at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem is the national authority in Israel for the remembrance and Yr 11 Students were privileged to have such an estimated expert at our school to enhance their knowledge of the Holocaust.  Students were shown a presentation that encapsulated the idea that people were Upstanders, Bystanders or Perpetrators during the Holocaust.  It was interesting to watch the students pull these ideas apart and realise the vigilance needed in today’s society to be an upstanding citizen.

Once again, we were very grateful to have Mr Kaye visit us from Israel and appreciate his time and expertise.

Ms. Leeanne Shanks 
Assistant Dean of Alethea/Humanities and Social Sciences

HASS Tour – 2018

What a fantastic tour group.  I knew that this group was going to represent the best values of St Stephen’s School when the personal attendant to the Governor General of Australia invited our group to stay on the garden after the official tour and spend a little time relaxing on the gardens in front of the major dining room.  Tom Sorrell also played the piano beautifully in Government House. Lindsay MacFarlane, Lauren Bailey, Jayden Bray, Bianca Smout and Madeline Hays got the chance to sit at the executive table where the Governor General signs the bills that become laws in our country.  This group of students were complimented everywhere they went for their manners and attention given to the presenters.  Some other highlights of this tour were our trip to Old Parliament House where Stuart Gale, Dean of Carana, donned the white wig and became the Speaker of the House of Representatives with his attentive Barrister Emma Pattenden. At the New Parliament, there was a heated debate between our Prime Minister Jayden Bray and the Opposition Leader James Gishubi.  The Speaker of the House, Niall Goldberg was escorted into parliament by Lindsay MacFarlane, while his secretary Jayden Papworth completed administration duties.  All students articulately presented their views on the proposed bill and, once again, the presenter of this activity complimented our students and mistook them for older students.  The Australian War Memorial was another highlight and our school participated in a wreath laying ceremony where Jayden Papworth, Mitchell Booth, Lindsay MacFarlane and Sarah Chadwick were the stars.  They laid the wreath, recited the ode and thanked the veteran who gave up his time to talk to us.

Melbourne also had many highlights.  Students enjoyed the Islamic Museum and developed a more accurate understanding of the Muslim faith.  Students also learnt about the Holocaust at the Jewish Holocaust Centre and Lauren Bailey and Caleb Bolt lit a candle in remembrance to the 6 million people who were murdered while the Nazi’s ruled 21 countries.  We were lucky enough to hear from a 97 year old survivor who presented the aspects of his time under this rule in a way that was enlightening but not distressing to students. A balance like this is hard to achieve.  His closing statement that ‘young people need to remember that there will be cloudy days; however, they are always followed by sunny days and people must endure and understand that life is full of many types of days’ resonated with our students.  We then headed to Old Melbourne Jail where students spent time on a tour and learnt about Ned Kelly and then all got arrested in the Watch experience.  The presenter is a prison guard and her job is to be very strict with the students to show them what being arrested is like.  This tour group were so sweet that she kept breaking character and laughing with them.  Students then got to see the Melbourne Museum and watch the sun set from the Eureka Skydeck. One of my favourite moments was seeing the students at Sovereign Hill, a replicate of an old gold mining town in Ballarat.  Jayden Papworth, Sibella Dique, Madeline Hays and Edward Smith were all dressed up according to the time.  Edward was able to pull of distinguished gentleman of the late 1800s.  Our next day was at the MCG and then spent time at the Queen Victorian Markets.  Amy Lockley, Bianca Smout, Jayne Kay, Lorali Grasslin, Abbey Hazebroek and Millie Roddy-Clarke provided service to others by handing out our spare food to the homeless people in the area.

We thank PACER for their contribution to this tour and the financial assistance it provides to families going on the HASS Tour.  This assistance has made all the memories above possible and is appreciated by St Stephen’s School.

Ms. Leeanne Shanks 
Humanities and Social Sciences/Biblical Studies

Medieval Day

Students showed great creativity today when they created their own Medieval Village. Prac Student, Holly Nilan, inspired the students to become medieval sheriff’s, tavern owners, butchers, tax collectors and even undertakers. It was an effective way for students to demonstrate their understanding of Medieval History. It was a engaging lesson and the year eights had a fantastic time.

Leeanne Shanks

Humanities and Social Sciences/Biblical Studies Teacher

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey




Law & Order

As part of their Civics and Citizenship studies, theYear 7s have been learning about the Australian legal system, concepts of justice and the rule of law. Luckily enough Mr Graeme Slattery, who is a Year 7 father, is also a lawyer for an international law firm. Mr Slattery kindly offered to speak to the students, providing a real-world example of what it’s like to work in the legal system!

Year 7 Electoral Education Centre Excursion

On Wednesday 4th April, Mr Hummerston’s Year 7 HASS class journeyed their way to the Electoral Education Centre near Parliament House to learn about how Australians vote. Whilst there, they learnt lots of new information, showcased their knowledge learnt from class and took place in mock elections. The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves and we hope to one day see their name on a ballot paper!

James Hummerston

Teacher of Media, HASS and Design