My warmest wishes to you as 2020 heads towards its long-awaited end and my thanks for your contribution to Skyline through what has been a challenging period – especially for our Students and Alumni as they have overcome even more considerable barriers to success, not least in isolation, remote studies, deepening digital divide and unemployment – for themselves and their families.
Despite these uncertain times, under the leadership of our Chair Katrina Reynen and all our committed Directors, I’m so proud to share with you that Skyline’s impact has, against the odds, grown in value, with our 2020 social return on investment evaluation conducted by Think Impact showing that for every dollar invested $13.20 in value has been returned to community. I invite you to read this important report here. I salute the immense heavy lifting of my dedicated colleagues throughout this incredible year – thank you Andrew, Annie, David, Kerryn, Leah, Nancy and Rachel – your commitment to our people is exemplary – your dedication to Skyline and our Team is momentous.
Miraculously, when many of our loyal donors saw us so challenged during the COVID19 pandemic those who could, kindly and rapidly responded enabling us to pivot into digital operations mode. Thanks particularly to The Baker, Erdi and Bank of Melbourne Foundations, Skyline has been able to transform our service delivery, launching our online learning management system for blended learning, and bringing much awaited efficiencies to our operations through Zoho and the diverse functionality it offers.
We are immensely grateful for the magnificent contribution from our dear friends at UBS enabling us to innovatively respond to the challenges wrought by COVID19, including curriculum tutoring, provision of laptops, and an end of year exam revision series delivered by our high ability Skyline Alumni and their peers – which attracted 650 participants from our partner schools and over 8,200 views of the replays. From this we have learnt so much and are now well positioned to develop our business model and incubate a social enterprise to both engage Alumni in meaningful work and support more students in our VCE Program.
Our 2020 Graduation and Induction Ceremony last weekend saw a record 49 graduates and 82 inductees with thanks again to our incredible donors. Particularly, we are so delighted to have celebrated our first graduates from the North East Region thanks to our Patron Tina Reddrop’s incredible community leadership; and to have been awarded the very first multi-year Progress grant from the generous Bank of Melbourne Foundation, enabling 90 new students over three years to join our transformational program – please see here Penny Fowler’s announcement! If you weren’t able to attend the 2020 Graduation and Induction Ceremony in person, it can be seen by clicking the link here– make sure you check Michelle Noble’s message from MECCA who so kindly supports our girls to realise their dreams! Check out our wonderful Director and Alumna Jasmin’s keynote address; Alumna Felicia’s story, and enjoy Hayden Clapham our MC from Kyneton High School, and addresses from graduates Lily from Surf Coast Secondary College in Torquay and Simon from Western Port Secondary College followed by their presentation of our 2021 Inductees, while our elected Skyline Alumni community leaders Shehelah and Adrianpresent the honour roll of our Class of 2020 graduates. A wall of love created by Alumni and friends (including Directors and Staff 😊) was gifted in an unprecedented Skyline Music Video – just one of the many innovative and thoughtful elements created to make the event a memorable and lovely day for our Students, who could otherwise be without their critical rites of passage this year.
In the Skyline VCE Program, so much has unfolded in 2020 including seamless, and uplifted, service delivery online since early March. Students have routinely rated our masterclasses with a nine, or more, out of ten, and their feedback continues to lift us to find more ways to accelerate these extraordinary young Victorians’ towards their aspirations. As one Year 12 Student wrote in their evaluation ‘Skyline makes me feel loved’.
Thanks to Skyline’s care and kindness, I felt more encouraged and hopeful during those tough periods of isolation. Student (2020)
In the Skyline Alumni Program active engagement has increased to 126 Alumni – testament to many proactive initiatives including support through weekly Connect Live sessions, regular outreach to check in on wellbeing, internships, employment opportunities; and one to one coaching and five year life planning. So many Alumni have been supported in diverse tangible ways this year evidencing the critical importance of light touch shepherding for our high ability graduates as they confront the challenges of life after school, which Alumna Kirrilly from the Geelong region illustrates so well in a video for our Class of 2020 here.
I had a severe lack of motivation after graduating high school and didn’t see myself going to university. I probably would have still been unemployed and not have started at Uni if I didn’t have Skyline’s support. Alumnus (2020)
As I head off on a break, to spend precious time with my loved ones, please accept my heartfelt appreciation for your part in supporting what has been an extraordinary year. I wish you peace and time to rest and reflect as we together compose our new normal in 2021.
Chief Executive Officer