July 16, 2021

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Principal's Message


Principal for a Day

Mary Poppins

Father's Day Breakfast - Save The Date

STC Veggie Garden

Amazon Breakfast

An Invitation for STC Families

Principal's Message

Back into lockdown

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing about being sent back into lockdown, and here we are in the same position once again.  Hopefully, it will be a short circuit breaker to support the contact tracing staff to feel confident that they have tracked and managed all of the exposures.  Please refer to my letter dated 15 July for details regarding the operation of the next three school days.  Thanks to all for the agility that makes this community so responsive.

Mary Aikenhead Feast Day – 22 July

This coming week we celebrate the Feast of Mary Aikenhead, a woman inspired by God to live an extensively useful life in the service of others, especially the poor and the marginalised.  Not only is her own personal mission an example of the life we are called to lead in the footsteps of Jesus, her leadership qualities are a testament to her commitment to partnership, innovation, trust in divine providence, and hope in the spirit of endeavour and endurance.  As a privileged young woman who made a deliberate and conscious decision to live a humble and simple life, devoid of the trappings of wealth, there is much we can learn from her life of devotion and service.

The latest Mary Aikenhead Ministries newsletter, Journeys, describes the renewed focus for the canonisation of Mary Aikenhead.  I include the excerpt from the newsletter and the daily prayer for the beatification of Venerable Mary Aikenhead:

Bringing Venerable Mary Aikenhead to the World:  The “Cause”

Renewed energy and prayer are needed for the canonisation of Venerable Mary Aikenhead.  We, of course, know and believe that Mary Aikenhead is a saint.  However, there are official Vatican processes to be followed to have her declared a saint for the universal Church.  The canonisation process is lengthy and difficult.  We refer to this process as the “Cause”.  The Cause passes through four stages:  Servant of God; Venerable; Blessed and finally Saint.

Mary Aikenhead was declared Venerable by Pope Francis on March 18, 2015.  It was a day of great rejoicing for those who had worked so hard for many years to have her Cause passed through the Vatican office referred to as the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.  Sr Josephine McDonald RSC, now deceased, had worked assiduously for years as Vice-Postulator, to bring about this wonderful occasion.

Many throughout the world are now working diligently to have Mary Aikenhead declared Blessed.  There is a network of Cause Contact sisters in Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Zambia, Nigeria, Malawi and the United States.  I am the Cause Contact sister for Australia and I meet regularly via zoom with the other sisters.

To assist this process, we can encourage more favours to be granted through the intercession of Venerable Mary Aikenhead.  Requests or favours granted can be communicated to myself via email:  Prayer cards are also available through this email.

Let us have this great and holy woman whose name we honour in our ministries declared Blessed.  Let us also celebrate her life as each March 18th comes around.

Elizabeth Dodds rsc
Sisters of Charity of Australia


22 July, is the Feast day of Venerable Mary Aikenhead, foundress of the Sisters of Charity. 

“Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory”

We give thanks to God for the gift of Mary Aikenhead to our world – for the Religious Sisters of Charity around the world and to the laity who continue the work of Kingdom building in our community. 

Let us pray: 

Lord God, you call each of us to share our gifts and talents in unique and creative ways within our community. 

We give thanks to God for the gift of Mary Aikenhead to our world – for the Religious Sisters of Charity and to the laity who continue the work of Kingdom building in our community. 

Help us to live by Mary’s example, ministering to those in greatest need and turning to prayer as a source of comfort and strength. Amen 

Venerable Mary Aikenhead: Pray for us.

Principal for a Day

On Friday the 18th June, Tiana Ciavarella (Year 7) was our College Principal for a Day. She shared her experience and her thoughts, at the whole school assembly earlier this week. Here is what she shared:

Good afternoon students and teachers. My name is Tiana Ciavarella and I am in year 7. On Friday the 18th of June, I was Principal for a Day.

The first thing I did on the day at 8:15 was attend a prayer session in the chapel. It was good to take some time out to reflect and think about positive contributions I could make in the future. After the prayer, Ms Grima and I joined Mrs Almeida and Mrs Zanic in the boardroom for a marketing meeting on Google meet. We spoke with Clayton from Digi Storm about our school’s current enrolment system and the future plans for online enrolment. At around 9:45 we headed to the School Archives. As I walked in, I practically had a heart attack! There was a mannequin wearing one of the school’s past uniforms staring right at me. I thought it was a student from 100 years ago who’d been locked up like Harry Potter! Luckily, she wasn’t alive! As I examined the room, I detected many trophies, plaques, photos and school records on display. There was even a stamping machine from the olden days! It was really cool to see old pictures of the school buildings and to see what has been demolished and what is still standing. Later, we joined Jasmine Davies for morning tea in Ms Grima’s office. Jasmine’s application was really great, so Ms McDonald and Ms Grima wanted to give her an opportunity to speak with Ms Grima about her ideas too. We had some delicious muffins and slices. As we shared morning tea, we talked about online learning and our Principal for a Day applications. At 10:30, I tuned into Ms Grima and Ms McDonald’s cyclical meeting. We talked about the plans being made for 125 years of St Columba’s College. We spoke about the opening mass which is going to be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as presentations to organise, information about Columba’s coaches, the student planner, upcoming and recent surveys and scheduling meetings. I was astonished to hear that even experienced leaders need feedback from others. This can be done through reviews of teachers. It is not required but Ms Grima says that it is good to be done so the staff and others being reviewed know what they are doing well and what they could improve on. After that, I met Deb; Ms Grima’s PA. She has a really important job because she keeps Ms Grima’s day organised. We chatted about covid restrictions, policies, catering arrangements and also girls who used to attend the college who are role models. Then, I attended a policy review meeting with Ms Grima, Ms McDonald and Deb. When I got a glance at the grid of policies, I was shocked once again! There were so many! After checking that the policy review dates were sorted, it was lunch time. Just as you all have lunch at 1:05, so did we! I got to have lunch with the Student Executive team who are really nice year 12’s! As we munched on yummy food from Benny and Me, the girls were able to ask any questions they liked. After lunch at 1:45, Ms Grima and I had a talk about my proposed initiative which is a soundproof recording booth that would have special equipment for all students grades 7-12. This would be beneficial because recording at home is tricky and I’m sure the language teachers would prefer high quality sound when hearing their students pronounce those vowels! Hopefully we can implement this after discussion with the school board about budgets and other important things. The last thing on my agenda was a learning walk around the school. Ms Grima and I walked around and looked at what was happening in some classes. I also went to the Pathways Centre for the first time. After returning back to Ms Grima’s office and taking some final photos, I was exhausted. It had been a long but exciting day, and I loved every second of it. The day was full of surprises and I learnt so much. 

A positive surprise from my day was:

Having lunch with the year 12s because I look up to them and it’s remarkable to think that one day I’ll be like them in year 12 and will be well on my way to achieving great things. 

3 things I learnt about leadership:

  1. It takes a whole group to lead a school, not one just person. There are so many things that happen behind the scenes that nobody knows about.
  2. Student voice, surveys and reviews are important. Principals and others leaders certainly aren’t perfect, and they have regular reviews to get feedback and help them to set goals for their ongoing learning.
  3. Sometimes, a principal or leader’s schedule can get busy and they have to be very organised and on the ball.

I want to thank Ms Grima for not only allowing me the opportunity to be principal for a day, but also for all of the hard work and effort she puts in to make our school a happy and safe environment. Same goes to all of the staff working at our school. 

Lastly, don’t forget that this term’s year 9’s and 10’s will be able to apply to become Principal for a Day! At this stage, the date will be Friday the 27th of August 2021.

I hope you will all take the time to put in an application because trust me, it’s really fun to be principal!


Mary Poppins

Tickets are now on sale for the St Columba’s and St Bernard’s musical of Mary Poppins.

Performances will be held at the Frank Fitzgerald Auditorium (St Bernard’s College), from 5th to 7th of August.

Click here to secure your ticket.

Father's Day Breakfast - Save The Date

STC Veggie Garden

After much anticipation, the new student-run vegetable garden and native garden has been planted. The Environment Group were very excited to be given the project with the garden beds connecting the learning courtyard to the canteen being cleared to make way for the new garden. At the start of Term 2, a Design Competition and survey was held to give students the opportunity to share their ideas and vision for the garden. We received many creative entries and aspects of all of the designs were incorporated. The standout was the design by Tiana Ciaravella (Year 7) who was awarded with a sustainable gift pack and an assembly shoutout.

Over multiple Environment Group meetings and with the input of the school gardener and my knowledgeable Dad, the final design was established and presented for approval. There was so much excitement leading up to the planting days with a Fiontar class helping to germinate seedlings in egg cartons and the garden being a key point of conversation at the Mother’s Day High Tea.

Despite lockdowns, rain and gail force winds, the garden was planted by passionate students over three days after school. The first day saw the planting of the edible plants that are currently in season or perennials including leafy greens, strawberries, peas and multiple herbs. The produce that we grow will likely be sold to eager staff members and the canteen. We then interspersed flowers like Nasturtiums and African Daisies between the edibles to attract pollinating insects and to add some cheerful colour. On the final day, we were helped by our Social Justice Captains to plant the native garden which features two beautiful Burgundy Willow Myrtle trees and the traditional Myrnong root bush tucker plants. Mr Rowland, our STEAM technician expertly made some acrylic signs so students will be able to wander around and learn about the plants in the garden with some of the signs including their botanical names.

I would like to thank all of the people who helped the garden come into fruition, in particular the girls and my parents who gave their time and enthusiasm to help plant. A special mention to Jasmine Barrass (Year 12) who attended all three plantings, helped me with delegating tasks and diligently stayed behind to cleanup. It has been so rewarding to see how the whole student and staff body have taken an interest in the project and it is my greatest hope that our community will be empowered by our success to continue to create more positive environmental change.

Amazon Breakfast

The College has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) over the past few years in various initiatives such as Year 9 coding and the Year 10 PBL program. This term, Amazon staff joined us for a breakfast to discuss pathways into technology, sustainability, diversity in the workplace as well as inclusion and equity. AWS is committed to initiatives that provide young people with comprehensive resources for building skills in the cloud. These skills will drive innovation in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and voice and facial recognition, a field where girls are underrepresented. So it was very pleasing to see that students across all year levels registered for the event! 

If you are interested in learning more about these free initiatives visit:


Student Perspective:

On the 22nd of June, 30 students ranging from years 7-12 were very fortunate to be able to attend the Amazon Breakfast. We were privileged to be able to have four members of Amazon with us and although we could only see them remotely via Google Meet we were still able to take a lot out of the experience.

It was fascinating to hear about the journey each of the panel members took in order to enter the technology field. They spoke about resilience and grit and how they overcame their struggles in order to get to where they are today. They highlighted the importance of being yourself no matter where you are as it is different minds and different ideas that make a team. 

They also explained Amazon’s sustainability plan which is to have only electric delivery vehicles by 2025. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is committed to running the business in the most environmentally friendly way possible and achieving 100% renewable energy usage for global infrastructure. There was also a Q & A session where students submitted questions to the panel to be answered.

Overall it was an amazing experience and we would like to sincerely thank the Amazon Crew for talking to all of us.

 Sophia D’Aspromonte – Year 7

Our selfie with the Amazonians as they like to call themselves!

An Invitation for STC Families

Elevate Education are offering free webinars for parents, designed to help you support your daughter’s education.

The Term three webinar dates are:

  • July 21st  – Motivation and the role of parents in shaping mindset.
  • August 4th  – Technology devices and how to stay focused and balanced.
  • August 18th – Note taking skills to help your child deepen their revision.
  • September 1st – Exam Homestretch and how to support your child in the final weeks.

Register for the webinars here.