Welcome to The Athenaeum
What an exciting start to Semester 2, with our Principal, Dr Scott welcoming staff, students and guests to our new building, The Athenaeum, named after Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Courage.
If you’ve ever been to Athens and visited the Acropolis, you’ll know that standing next to the western wing of the Erechtheion is an olive tree. According to Greek mythology, Poseidon, God of the Sea, and Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Courage, held a competition here, vying for the hearts and minds of local citizens. Poseidon struck his trident on a rock and a salty spring burst forth symbolising power. Athena offered an olive tree, which the citizens deemed both beautiful and useful as a food source, a shade giver and a fuel provider. And so, they chose Athena as the patron deity of their city and accordingly, their city became known as Athens. Later, Plato founded his school, the Akademia on the outskirts of the city walls of ancient Athens beside a grove of olive trees dedicated to the Goddess Athena.
It seemed only fitting therefore, that at the entrance of The Athenaeum, we planted an olive tree, a link back to ancient times and an enduring symbol of wisdom and courage.
On Monday, Dr Scott, Chair of the Board, Mr Gary Turner, members of the Wenona Board, our staff and our Student Leaders attended a Smoking Ceremony, to mark the official opening of The Athenaeum. Undertaken by Indigenous Elder, Mr Matthew Doyle, the ceremony was a purification ritual to cleanse Wenona’s new space.
Dr Scott then officially welcomed staff to The Athenaeum, addressing them informally in the West Commons area before they toured the new building.
Tuesday marked the start of Term 3 for our students. There was an archway of blue and white balloons at the entrance of The Athenaeum, together with our new digital signage, displaying our values of Courage, Strength, Grace and Wisdom.
Dr Scott welcomed each year group to The Athenaeum, starting with a very excited Year 12, who had an opportunity to move into their new lockers – where they each found a tote bag and a handwritten card from their PC teacher. They then had an opportunity to tour their new space before the rest of the School went through.
The pool was very popular with all age groups. And our Woodstock students were very fond of the new polished floors in the gym area.
The changing lights on the stairwell kept some students amused, while for our budding Masterchefs, it was the new Food Tech kitchen that was the main event.
The stunning new Science labs were also a big hit with students.
Our Year 12 students have already settled in well to their new space, taking full advantage of the Quiet Area upstairs as they prepare for their upcoming Trials in a few weeks.
Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to organise an official opening for The Athenaeum. But on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, Dr Scott and members of our Executive welcomed two small groups to the building, taking care to socially distance as much as possible.
Director of Foundation and Community Engagement, Mrs Sonia Brennan said, "We were delighted to be able to show a small group of WPA and Alumnae Executive through The Athenaeum this week. And we look forward to being able to show more parents through in the coming months.”
“We are so grateful to the Wenona community for your generous support of this fantastic new building, which offers so many wonderful opportunities to our students. It was incredibly rewarding to see the joy and excitement on our students' faces as they went through the building on Tuesday, and it has been fantastic to see our Year 12 students settling in and making great use of the space. Thank you all for your patience and support. We really couldn't have done it without you."