February 7, 2020

< All Issues


Principal's Message


Safer Internet Day

Partnership with Real Schools

Conversations with the Leadership Team

de Lacy House News

Tutoring Group Returns for 2020

College Photos

First Aid Reminders 2020

House Welcomes

Careers News

Parent's Association News

Principal's Message

Welcome to the 2020 Academic Year

Welcome back to you all. We were very excited to see all our students return for 2020, ready and eager for another brilliant year of learning. I offer a special welcome to our new Year 7 students and to the 20 new students who have joined us in Years 8 to 12. I also take this opportunity to introduce the new members of staff to the College Community:

Nakkita Egan: Head of Students

Tanya AlmeidaCommunications Coordinator

Sarah Wallace: Religious Education

Melissa Vella: Mathematics, Science, Fiontar

Pei Sun Lai: Music, Instrumental Program Coordinator

Thy Nguyen: Mathematics

Yasmin Quinlan: Humanities, English

Madeleine Martin: Learning Diversity

Caitlyn Devlin: Drama

Stephen Woodhams: Finance Officer


New Instrumental Program Staff

Andrew Day, Kathryn Cooper, Judy Ferguson, Darcie Foley, Gabriella Ibbot, Karen Ngo, Aaron Syrjanen.


Opening School Assembly

At our Opening School Assembly on Monday, 3 February, I asked each member of St Columba’s College to commit to three personal challenges that would support our community in meeting some of the goals we have set for ourselves:

  •  “Do One Thing” – committing to our sustainable community on behalf of our mother Earth.
  • Being Compassion – taking action because we are moved by what we see and feel.
  • Participation and community building – taking advantage of the opportunities that are offered at St Columba’s College.

Below is a brief excerpt of my address to the students at this assembly, providing some context to one of the three challenges we have been asked to take on.

Over time, as human beings, our ill-considered and negligent use of the earth and her resources has had an impact on earth’s capacity to sustain life. The good news is that the scientists are telling us that it’s not too late and that we can still make a difference, if we act now and act urgently. So, while the debate rages on in the background, as individuals, and as a community, we decide to take action.

This year, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” turns five years old. It’s an encyclical, a piece of writing from the Pope, in this case Pope Francis, that helps us to reflect on what our Catholic faith calls us to do, and who we are to be. Laudato Si’ is a document of breath-taking beauty. It communicates a sense of life, a real hope for the healing of creation. 

But Laudato Si’ is not only beautiful. It is also challenging, and it is persistent in its recognition that creation was entrusted to our care and that we have let selfishness and short-sightedness lead to its ruin.

I turn to Laudato Si’, because, no matter what the climate scientists or the climate deniers, might be debating, it is our Catholic faith that calls us strongly into right relationship with our planet – to balance the take with the give, the use with the protect, to ensure that we live symbiotically, in a mutually beneficial relationship with our Earth. 

So, back to our action. Some of you will remember that in 2018 I asked you to “do one thing”. Well it’s time to resurrect our “do one thing” to ensure that we are protecting the planet that affords us life. As a school, we will continue our focus on becoming a more sustainable community, one that is more in tune with the earth, we will work to ensure that we are protecting and nurturing our patch of the planet, being mindful of our consumption and about how our use of resources contributes to the broader global crisis. Community action requires individual commitment, so I am asking you to leave this assembly thinking about an action you will commit to. Becoming a more sustainable community is not something that we arrive at, it’s something that we are challenged by and continue to work towards every single day.


A Prayer for our Earth

Pope Francis


After the devastation of the fires in Australia, the floods in Pakistan, the rising sea level of pacific nations and volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, we are challenged by Pope Francis in how we care for the earth and its poor.


All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united

with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle 

for justice, love and peace. Amen.

Safer Internet Day

This Tuesday, 11 February, is Safer Internet Day. This year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’ and Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is encouraging parents to mark the day by starting family conversations about online safety. 

Click here, to access information regarding Safer Internet Day, resources and courses to help you stay informed.


Partnership with Real Schools

St Columba’s College has embarked on a three year partnership with Real Schools. This organisation exists to build partnerships and experiences to help schools achieve their potential in three key areas: Committed teachers, Caring students and Connected communities. The work we are doing with Real Schools is part of our College’s Annual Action Plan.

On Thursday 30 January, all staff were involved in a professional learning day where we worked with Simon Dewar, one of the Directors of Real Schools. The program for the day encompassed the following important topics:

·         Overview of the 3-year Partnership

·         School Culture

·         Understanding Human Behaviour – what makes our girls tick?

·         Working Restoratively 

A Parent Information Night will be organised in the coming months so that we can begin sharing our learning with you. We hope to see many of you there.

Conversations with the Leadership Team

As one way of building ‘Connected Communities’ which promote positive relationships and partnerships that support the learning and wellbeing of your daughter, we are eager to meet informally with our parents over coffee. We hope this will be a great opportunity to share what is happening at the College and hear your feedback.  

An invitation will be sent to parents in the coming weeks for our first ‘conversation’ on Tuesday 3 March.

de Lacy House News

In December 2019, Emily Portaro (pictured, centre) from Year 11 from de Lacy House S1 competed in the under 18s long jump and triple jump events at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney. Emily, 16 years of age, did extremely well for her age category and achieved 7th place in the long jump event and achieved her personal best of 5.58m. She also came 3rd in her individual age group. Emily achieved first place as well as her personal best of 12.60m in the triple jump event. 


What a fantastic effort Emily! Congratulations.


Tutoring Group Returns for 2020

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 a Maths teacher. 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


College Photos

Yesterday was College Photo Day. You can order photos online via National Photography, you can find information and instructions for photo ordering here.

First Aid Reminders 2020

Anaphylaxis Plans are required annually. Please scan & upload all new Action Plans directly to PAM (Medical ProfileAnaphylaxis). All Action Plans require name, a recent photograph, emergency details, list of allergens, medical or nurse practitioner’s signature, plan date, review date, and medications prescribed if applicable. 


Asthma Plans are also required annually. Please have the Medical Practitioner complete all sections including name, emergency contact, dosage of reliever medication, additional medication if applicable, Dr’s name & signature. Again these are required to be scanned and uploaded into PAM (Medical Profile – Asthma). Spacers used with reliever medication provide more inhaler medication reaching into the lungs. Spacers can be either plastic (reusable) or disposable cardboard (reusable up to 7 days and available from pharmacies)


Diabetic Management Plans, Epilepsy Management Plans and all other medical plans are required to be signed by College staff before being uploaded to PAM.


Please take 10 minutes to review and amend your daughter’s Medical Profile. Excursions have already started and students may not be able to attend any offsite activities if their medical profile has not been correctly completed and details saved. 


Medications at school ONLY refers to medications that are for the individual student and are stored in a Medical Bag in Student Reception. Please only tick and complete this section if you have given the College, Medication for your daughterthis includes Epipens.


Sanitary Items- Please supply your daughter with an emergency pack containing underwear and sanitary items she may require whilst at school. These can be either kept in her locker or school bag. 


Please note that blank Action Plans can be found in the Wellbeing section on PAM and for any questions please contact your daughter’s House Group Teacher or House Leader in the first instance. 


Thank you and I look forward to working in conjunction with you to ensure your daughter is safe and well whilst at school.


House Welcomes

This week Cater, Cunningham and de Lacy Houses acknowledged their Year 12s students in their final year of schooling at St Columba’s, and invited their Year 7s, new students and new staff to come together and be officially welcomed as members of their house. 

House Welcomes were held  in the chapel followed by a BBQ in the courtyard where families and students gathered and got to know each other. 

Each night was a wonderful success, as we watched the St Columba’s College community grow and strengthen. Thank-you to all who attended, and a big thank-you to those who made each House Welcome possible.


Please be aware of the upcoming House Welcomes:

Cahill House – Monday 10 February

Bruton House – Tuesday 11 February

Williams House – Wednesday 12 February 

O’Brien House – Thursday 13 February


Careers News

Welcome back!

Your daughter has just come back to school and if you are both reading this, chances are that she is thinking about exploring her career and pathway options. It’s never too early to start thinking about career ideas, researching her options, developing a career action plan, or simply having a discussion with the Pathways Team. 

If she is in Year 12, it is essential that she discuss her options with the key people in her life as soon as possible. Have no idea what she would like to do when she leaves school? No stress! The Pathways Team will be organising interviews this term to discuss her options. Information about dates and times will be communicated directly to your daughter in the near future via email and Student Bulletin notices. A second round of career interviews will also be scheduled in Term 3.

As a starting point, if your daughter is interested in studying at university or TAFE in the future, it’s important that she attend open days and plan out her course interests early.

Careers Newsletter

Welcome to the first Careers Newsletter for 2020. In this edition we’ll explore:

  •  Casual employment – links, tax file number and rights and responsibilities at work
  •  Parent resource – supporting the school to work transition
  •  Filmmaking competition for secondary school students
  •  Compare rankings and ratings of undergraduate Australian university courses
  •  Charles Sturt University
  •  ADF Gap Year program (Yr 12 students)

Please read the fortnightly Careers Newsletter to ensure parent and daughter keep up to date with upcoming career events and key dates. 

Find this week’s edition of the Careers Newsletter here.


Parent's Association News

The Parents’ Association is delighted to welcome new and returning families to St Columba’s College and extend a particularly warm welcome to all new parents that have joined the College community.


Parents are welcome to join the Parents’ Association for 2020 or just come along to the occasional meeting, but what we really hope is that parents take advantage of the range of events that provide an opportunity to meet other parents or to see more of your daughter’s College life.


The Parents’ Association typically meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm in the Bruton Building. This year we will be introducing an exciting innovation – Google meetings – so you can participate in our meetings without having to attend the College in person. This is a great alternative for busy parents who find it hard to make meetings onsite. Our meeting schedule for 2020 is:

·         Feb 18

·         Mar 17

·         Apr 21                  

·         May 19 (Father/ male mentor – daughter activity night)

·         Jun 9

·         Jul 28                    

·         Aug 18

·         Sep 15

·         Oct 13

·         Nov 17 (Annual General Meeting)


And make sure that the following dates are in your diary:

·          Fri 13 March – Year 7 Parent Cocktail Party

·         Tue 19 May –  Father/male mentor – daughter activity night

·         Sat 5 September – PA Social Night

·         Mon 7 December – 2nd hand book/uniform sale.

If you would like more information about the Parents’ Association, please contact Parents’ Association President Nicole Purcell e:


Year 7 Parents Cocktail Party


The Parents’ Association is delighted to welcome Year 7 parents to the College community. To celebrate this important milestone and provide a fantastic opportunity for you to meet other Year 7 parents, you’re invited to attend the Year 7 Parents Cocktail Party. Don’t miss out on this special night on the College calendar!

When: Friday 13th March 7pm

Where: St Columba’s College, Essendon

Dress: Smart casual

Canapes and beverages will be provided. 

Look out for your email invitation with RSVP details which will be sent out by the College shortly.