February 8, 2019

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Principal's Message

Prayer of Welcome

Deputy Principal News

St Columba’s College Plenary Council 2020


Library News

Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Careers News

AFLW - St Bernard's Junior Football

2019 Choir & Ensemble Schedule

Principal's Message

Welcome Back


There is nothing like the sense of excitement and anticipation as a new school year commences. It is a time filled with hope for what is to come. The Year 7 students, especially, have had a terrific start, with many smiles and reports of how delightful they have been in their classes.


A letter was sent to all families two weeks ago detailing important information regarding the start of the year. The mail-out also contained our new College Directions Statement, which was the culmination of our work over the course of last year. We have high expectations of our students and ourselves as we work to bring our vision to life over the next four years.


The College Assembly on Monday, 4 February was a wonderful opportunity to gather and celebrate who we are as a College community. I would like to congratulate the Year 12 Student Executive on their exemplary work in planning and running the assembly and offer thanks to Mr Tim Huf for his work with the students.


My address to the community focussed on growth mindset, especially in relation to some of the changes that have been introduced in the College this year. The following is an excerpt from my address, which followed on from a description of what it means to be a well-educated young person in the 21st century:


There’s a lot to learn, it can’t happen all at once, and it might be a bit overwhelming. What I would like you to understand as we begin this new year is that we all believe that you can. Last year you heard a great deal about growth mindset and this won’t change because we are not interested in hearing that you can’t, or that you are not good at something – remember a growth mindset means that you have the belief in yourself that you have the capacity to learn – if you apply yourself and give something a go. I believe that Mary Aikenhead had a growth mindset. Although that is not what it would have been called in the 1800s. One of my favourite Mary Aikenhead quotes is this – “This has never been done before, that is no reason why it should not be done now!” She believed that with the endeavour, hard-work, partnerships and an unshakeable trust in God, she could make things happen. 


Even though her health gave her many reasons to give up, Mary Aikenhead never did. From her home at Harold’s Cross, at her round table, she wrote many letters inspiring others to dream courageous visions, to have compassion for human suffering, to recognise and agitate against unjust structures that are the cause of poverty, to work with others to solve problems and to remain determined when faced with hardship. A growth mindset if I ever saw one, and a great role model for our learning together as a St Columba’s community.


Prayer of Welcome

Lord Jesus, we ask for Your help as we begin this new school year.

Allow us to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before us.

Open our eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities

that this new school year brings.

Open our hearts and minds to new friends and new teachers.

Give us a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with our studies

and courage to accept new opportunities.

Help us to be attentive and let us experience Your presence in our new friends.

Jesus, inspire us to be the best that we are called to be!


Deputy Principal News

It is with great pleasure that I welcome all members of the St Columba’s College community to the 2019 Academic Year. I hope that families have had a restful and much deserved break. We are looking forward to working with our students this year to ensure that they find enjoyment and success in their learning. We will also be working to forge even greater relationships with our parents.


Mobile Phone Policy

Families will remember that students will be required to place their mobile phones in their lockers throughout the school day and therefore, will not be permitted to make or receive phone calls or texts. Should a student, or a parent or guardian, need to make contact in an emergency, they are able to make this contact through Front or Student Reception.

This new arrangement will encourage students to take responsibility and ownership for their actions. In particular, they will need to ensure that they have everything they need for the school day before they leave home in the morning. In the event that a parent or guardian delivers an item to school for their daughter, she will be emailed to advise that it can be collected from Front or Student Reception. The expectation is that students will check their emails during the day.


College Resources

When a student commences at St Columba’s College, they receive a new lock, ID card and College badge. Additionally, each year, students receive a College Planner. Students have been reminded that, should they lose one of these items, they will incur a cost for their replacement. If parents could remind students to label all personal items, including books, laptops, calculators and uniform pieces, that would be appreciated.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

St Columba’s College Plenary Council 2020

Over the past year and a half, the Australian Catholic Church has sought discernment, prayer and dialogue around the current experience of Church and in particular, what God might be asking of Australia at this time. We were very lucky to have Ms Julie Taylor, an experienced educator and faith formation leader, explore this process with our students. Below is her report, gathering the responses of our students, which will submit to the Australian Bishops as part of this exciting stage of our Church.



From September 3 – 5 2018 a process was established to engage a representative group (selection) of students from St Columba’s College to reflect on and engage in dialogue around the key question posed by the Plenary Council “What is God asking of us in Australia at this time?”


The students generally found this question ‘too big’ and were more able to respond initially to the following 2 questions:

·       What do I need / hope for / desire to nourish and strengthen my own faith / spiritual life?

·       What do I need / hope for / desire of the Australian church to support me in this?


In total 128 students took part in the process (26 of these were from one class).


What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?


From reflecting on the student’s responses, they articulated what God was asking in terms of their hopes for the Church in the future:


1. Hope for the Church to be of more relevance to Young People:

That the Church needed to be more responsive to the signs of the times and be brought in to the 21st Century! As young people, they felt the Church was not responding to nor meeting their needs in any way. They felt disengaged and excluded at so many levels and that their voice was not being listened to. The church in their eyes was for ‘older’ people and not meeting their needs nor inviting them in, in any way that was ‘age relevant.’

They didn’t feel any sense of belonging to a church or Parish community but understood that the primary schools they attended were located in a particular parish and where they lived was also located in a particular parish. Since leaving primary school, connection with any sense of Parish community was tenuous. However, they identified strongly with St Columba’s being a faith community.

They gave expression of hope for a church that is welcoming of them as young girls/women who were willing to contribute if their voice was listened to and that opportunities to engage them in meaningful (and age appropriate) dialogue, prayer, liturgy and social action was afforded them


2. Hope for Gender Equality & Inclusiveness:

For the Church to be more inclusive and accepting of all (irrespective of race, gender, religion, sexual identity/preference etc) in response particularly to the belief they held dear, that God loved everyone! There was great energy around the Church accepting same-sex marriage and being open to celebrate love this way sacramentally.


3. Hope for the Role of Women in the Church to be enhanced:

That the role, status and position of women in the Church be addressed in an equal and just manner. The collaborative style of female leadership was identified as a strength and that it was critical at this time in history, to lessen male dominance in the hierarchy of the church with an openness to female ordination and a movement towards equal rights for women in the church.


4. Hope for the Eucharist to be more engaging/relevant for young people:

Students generally expressed that they felt very passive in Eucharistic celebrations and that only selected students played an active role. The selection of music was identified as not being age appropriate, lyrically or musically, and that the potential of music lifting one’s spirit in prayer was recognised as critical. The role, skill and capacities of the Presiding Priest/homilist to truly engage the students was identified as vital yet often lacking.


5. Hope for more age-appropriate engagement at the Parish-level:

Most students were completely disengaged from any form of Parish life within and beyond liturgical celebrations. The opportunity for spiritual nourishment (eg meditation, other forms of prayer and liturgy) to help them connect with God was non-existent yet desired.

The opportunity to have young people engaged in social justice initiatives at the Parish-level was seen as an area that students would be willing to participate in.


6. Hope for Religious Education that engages young people in theological/philosophical/ ethical dialogue:

While there was a mixed response to how students felt about the Religious Education Curriculum, they expressed their desire/interest in conversations around deep issues of meaning. The capacity to assist students to discern the difference between the literal and metaphoric while holding this all in an expression of faith presented them with more questions than answers.

Questions such as: ‘Who is God?’ ‘Is God male or female?’ ‘What is faith?’ were pondered and a desire for a space to be both reflective and in dialogue around such questions would be appreciated.


7. Hope for a church that responds justly and compassionately in relation to the sexual abuse crisis:

Students were abhorred by the sexual abuse scandal in the Church and felt that there was a need for a more open and honest space for this to be addressed. They felt there should be zero tolerance of such abuse, that those responsible should accept responsibility for their actions, that the church should take action against them, and that the victims should be supported pastorally and practically. Their faith and trust in the church was wavering and they hoped for a church again where this faith and trust was restored so they and others could feel safe.


The St Columba’s Tutoring Group is once again being held each Thursday after school from 3.30 – 4.15pm, in the Library. The sessions are facilitated by a Learning Support Officer and attendance is free of charge.


Students are invited to attend with any class work they need to complete, revision or simply to get some help with understanding a topic or task.


No prior appointments need to be made. Students do not necessarily have to remain for the whole 45 minutes and they will need to make their own travel arrangements after leaving the College grounds.


For further information, please contact Suzanne Krajcer, LDT Leader, either via 9331 9465 or at

Library News

The Sophia Library staff welcome all students back to the school year.  We look forward to working with all students and staff, continuing to promote our reading culture and supporting the information needs of the College.


Opening Hours

Monday           7.45am – 4.30pm

Tuesday          7.45am – 4.30pm

Wednesday     7.45am – 4.30pm

Thursday    7.45am – 4.30pm

Friday              7.45am – 4.00pm



A reminder that all Library items borrowed before the holidays are now due.  Student overdue reminder emails are sent out weekly.

Students are reminded to use their Student ID card to borrow books from Kiosk (self-checkout).  As Year 7 students do not presently have a Student ID card, they may borrow from the Library Desk, using their planner.

What can I borrow?

Students may borrow up to 5 items at a time for a duration of 2 weeks. Items may be renewed, if not reserved by another student. These include items from fiction, non-fiction, manga, biographies, picture storybooks, audiobooks and LOTE novels.

Magazines and newspapers can be enjoyed in the Library, but cannot be borrowed.



Don’t forget we have a great range of eResources available to students, including EBSCO for senior students and Britannica Online for junior students. All are available via the Library Home Page or check out the link below:


Students may also borrow items from our e-platform OverDrive.

The OverDrive collection is an extension of our physical library – but it’s online, with 24/7 access to eBooks. It’s convenient for students to check out titles at home, on the weekends or during school breaks with no worries about misplacing a book – these digital titles automatically return at the end of the lending period!

To use OverDrive, students can browse our secure custom website and borrow anytime, anywhere on a computer, tablet, smartphone or eReader.  Students will be required to login using their College email address. Books can be read through a browser, or via the OverDrive app – students can search the Apple/Google Play store for the app and download it free.


Mobile phone usage

Parents and students will be aware that mobile phone usage within the school is restricted between the hours of 8:40 am and 3:25 pm (3:10 pm on Tuesdays). As with the rest of the school, phones cannot be used in the Library during these times.



As students are required to bring their own devices to school, the library no longer provides access to laptops.


Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Rhiannon Pondeljak is a very talented Year 9 Visual Arts student who has excelled both in her Year 8 class last year and in art lessons which she takes part in outside of school. Rhiannon has had a personal preference for creating realistic artworks, especially portraits and still lives, but began challenging herself to produce more expressive images and those containing social commentary.


The main concept of these pieces was to take features and traits that are typically considered ‘ugly’ and depict them in a way that is visually appealing, hence the patchy watercolour, strange colour scheme & asymmetrical proportions. All pieces were created using a combination of tube watercolour & gouache paints as well as coloured pencils and fine-liners of various sizes to enhance details. Below are three pieces in the series along with the inspiration behind the work.


This piece uses a quote in the background from Quentin Tarantino’s film ‘True Romance’ as I felt it added to the whole idea of imperfections being kind of romanticised or glorified.

This image features the title of a song by the Pixies (Where is My Mind) in the background.

The final image in the series features a background with a lyric from ‘Therapy’ by All Time Low.


Careers News

Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available to download below. It contains important information on part-time and casual work opportunities, volunteering and further education news.

Careers Newsletter – February 8 2019


Year 9 Future Directions Seminar Days

Last year, Year 9 students took part in Future Directions Seminar Days across a range of industries. Below is a reflection of the ‘Be a Designer’ Seminar sessions, after which students Stephanie Nass, Kacy Liddle and Lauren Nicolas received workshop scholarships to the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Student Reflection – Be a Designer Seminar Days


Students also attended Seminar Days in the Health Industry. Below, students Amelia Galteri and Tara Failla have written a reflection of their experiences in the health industry.

Student Reflection – Health Services Seminar Days 


AFLW - St Bernard's Junior Football

St Bernard’s Junior Football Club registrations will be held on Sunday 24 February at the Perrett Pavilion, St Bernard’s College.


Students interested in playing in the junior teams of Girls U12, U15 & U18 are encouraged to sign up and develop their skills while having fun and meeting new people!


Please see the attached flyer for further information.


St Bernard’s Junior Football Club Registration Flyer

2019 Choir & Ensemble Schedule

Ensemble and choir rehearsals have started again this term. Please see the rehearsal timetable below.

2019 Ensemble & Choir Schedule