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Me & My Mentor

24 Aug 2018

Alison Heard teaches Drama, Music and Theatre Studies at Genazzano FCJ College and shares her enthusiasm for the creative arts with her students. For the past four years she’s also been a Year 7 homeroom teacher, helping students who join the College to become part of the vibrant school community. Alison has taught music to Elena, now in Year 11 and a House Captain, and to Miranda who is in Year 7 and a Co-Curricular Captain for Year 7/8. Both girls see performing arts and being involved in the College co-curricular program as a valuable part of their education at Genazzano.


I balance academic subjects with music, singing, debating, cricket and swimming. I work better when I’m busy and I’ve learnt an incredible amount through trying different activities. I’m working on my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, so I volunteer every Friday at Kew Library, I’m studying trombone and I’m part of the school stage band. I’ve been on camps to Wilson’s Prom and Anglesea and even waking at 4am to start a long hike would not have been possible without the support of the teachers and girls with me!

I’ve played piano since Grade 2 and started singing and trombone in Year 5. Ms Heard taught me Music in Year 7 and she made the subject fun. I remember playing the glockenspiel and Ms Heard always insisting the instruments were put away correctly when we finished!

When I started Year 8 I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue with music but Ms Heard’s enthusiasm and passion for what she teaches was instrumental in me staying with my musical pursuits. She reminded me of the enjoyment that music brings.


I knew nobody when I came to Genazzano in Year 6 and it seemed to be such a big school! But I felt part of the community here quickly and I made friends by joining co-curricular activities. I’m involved in choir, strings, the netball team, debating, athletics and volleyball. I enjoy extending my skills.

I’ve had many favourite moments at school. For the Year 7/8 production I worked behind the scenes and did the lighting. I enjoyed the da Vinci Decathlon - an academic competition between schools, and Year 7 camp this year was in Phillip Island. In Year 6 I did the Father-Daughter camp at Mount Eliza and I still remember my Dad on the high ropes looking very nervous!

I study Music with Ms Heard and during every class she encourages us to take that extra step and to be the best we can be. She encourages us to be creative, too. During one composition task, for every note value, she asked us to perform a movement to assist with remembering the rhythm - she certainly makes music interesting.


After finishing degrees in performing arts, music, drama and theatre studies, I was a casual relief teacher. I stepped away from teaching for a while, but I missed the ongoing contact with young people and I came to Genazzano.

I chose to be a Year 7 homeroom teacher because it’s a wonderful year. Some of the girls are new to the school and I like helping them develop new friendships and get involved in school. We have about 130 co-curricular activities - from ceramics and chess to AFL umpiring and Genproductions that provides students with the technical skills to put on a production. It would be hard to find a student at Genazzano who isn’t involved in music, drama or theatre.

Elena was extremely enthusiastic in music classes. She always had her hand up to ask questions and when I think of Elena I immediately think of her commitment to the trombone and the school bands and ensembles. I always encourage students to keep up music because it doesn’t only teach you to play an instrument, you learn to work as part of a group which is a valuable skill.

Miranda is in my Year 7 music class and she’s very similar to Elena because of her enthusiasm and focus. She’s performed a few composition tasks this year and she always sets herself that extra challenge. Miranda likes to put herself forward, extend herself and she always does a good job.

Genazzano FCJ College is launching a General Excellence Scholarship for girls entering Years 8 to 10 in 2019.

GENAZZANO FCJ COLLEGE\ 301 Cotham Road, Kew 03 8862 1000


Written by Sarah Marinos, image by Greg Briggs and published in the August 22-28, 2018 edition of the Domain Review