June 24, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Strictly Ballroom - Tickets Now on Sale

New Shade Structure

STCC's Got Talent

Cater House Celebration Day

Change the Frame

SCSA Cross Country Event

Mock Interviews

Year 7 Bunsen Burner Licence

Year 7 2024 Applications for Enrolment

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Principal's Message

St Columba’s Day

What a joy it was to celebrate St Columba’s day this year, especially after the fruitless planning of the last two years. A fun day was had by all. There was a strong focus on our House Partners throughout the day, ensuring that in our abundance, we remain in solidarity with those who are the most vulnerable in our society.

Our “Walk for the Margins” raised $4710.00. It was a really enjoyable morning as a united College community, we made a very small sacrifice to show our appreciation for the funds raised. Thank you to all of the families who made a contribution. The Sisters of Charity Foundation, to which all of the money will be donated, does amazing and vital work with those who are marginalised. Just recently I received the following email seeking support.

Almost every week in this country, a woman is killed by a current or former partner.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation helps fund small charities across Australia that protect women and children escaping family violence. We provided $20,000 to Hearts of Purple to purchase duress alarm watches for survivors at high risk of being killed – women like Lauren, a mum of two who was attacked by her abusive partner as she was trying to leave the family home.

As a school with a determined focus on the empowerment of women, this is certainly a cause worth supporting.

Girls’ Schools and Leadership Role Models

In a recent study shared with us by the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (ASGA), it was revealed that,

In the treatment of female politicians —like Julia Gillard — girls saw evidence of gender discrimination, rather than gender equality. They saw women targeted, and men tolerated; women scrutinised, and men left alone. The sustained discrimination and misogyny they witnessed had taught them that yes, they can certainly rise, but there are inherent risks associated with living a woman’s life in the public eye that may well mean their downfall.

So, what can educators of girls do to counter this implicit pedagogy? How to encourage girls to feel the fear and do it anyway? Girls are smart. They can see the risks involved for any women who try to ‘take up too much space’ and so the only course of action for educators is to develop in girls the confidence and motivation to lead — the courage and grit to be change-makers in a gender-biased world. For girls’ schools, it would seem the answer is simply to ‘stay the course’.

And the evidence is in an interesting statistic from the recent federal election in Australia.

We saw the election (and in one case, re-election) of eight formidable female ‘teal’ independent MPs. These eight women saw that change was needed and they made it happen. Interestingly, but in no way surprising, five out of the eight are graduates of girls’ schools.

To put this figure into perspective: while girls’ schools make up just 2% of schools in Australia, they make up 63% of these successful teal independents. Why is this the case?

Girls’ schools are at the forefront of gender equality, deliberately challenging gendered norms and purposefully building girls’ confidence — determined to furnish students with both the conviction and self-belief to see the risks of public life for women, feel the fear, and do it anyway. That’s why 63% of the strong female independents are graduates from a sector that represents only 2% of all Australian schools. It’s just the girls’ school edge.

(eBrief, Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, from Paule, M., & Yelin, H. (2022). “I don’t want to be known for it”: Girls, leadership role models and the problem of representation’. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 25(1), 238-255.

Recently, this was highlighted in an article entitled “Why girls’ schools succeed at producing women who lead” written by Loren Bridge, Executive Officer, ASGA, published in the Age. You can read the article in full by following this link.

Gift from the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries

Just this week we were curious to open an intriguing parcel sent to us from Mary Aikenhead Ministries. We were delighted to find within the very tight packaging a print of the beautiful tapestry that adorns the foyer of St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. The tapestry tells the story of the Sisters of Charity in Australia from 1838. It was designed and hand woven by Margaret Grafton on the occasion of the Sisters’ 150th anniversary in Australia in 1988. We are very pleased to have this connection with St Vincent’s, through the Sisters and the print, which now hangs proudly in College Reception. We are grateful to the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries for their generous and thoughtful gift on the significant occasion of our 125th Anniversary.

A Restful Term Break

We wish all our students and teachers a relaxing term break over the next two weeks. May it be a time of rest and rejuvenation, and we look forward to a wonderful Term 3.


We celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, our last day of term two. Lets us remain safe and healthy as we enter the holiday period and ask Jesus to walk with us this day and forever:

My Heart goes out to those in pain, feeling lonely, overcome by life’s struggles and to those who seek to understand and comfort them.

My Heart draws in those at the edges, those feeling alienated and lost and all those whose arms create community.

 My Heart is strengthened by day to day faithfulness, standing with, walking beside and when invited – by walking in front.

My heart is your heart,

Let me walk with hope, love, compassion, justice and truth.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

St. Columba’s Day – Thursday 16 June

Thank you to the families who sponsored our ‘Walk for the Margins’. Due to your generosity, $4,710 was raised.

Back at school, the celebrations kicked off with the college community gathering in the Hall to sing happy birthday and cut the beautiful cake made by Eiffel Tower. Our youngest student, Mikalya Hawas and our oldest student, Julia Tran assisted Rita Grima with the cutting of the cake.

The students then had the opportunity to participate in the carnival and all the activities provided – there was a Lipsync Challenge, Sumo suit wrestling, face painting, a chocolate coin toss, a thrift shop, tote bag painting just to name a few.

Many thanks to the Student Executive Team and staff for all their efforts in the preparation for the day and energy and enthusiasm they showed on the day in providing such wonderful service to our community.

Here is a link to the video re-cap of the day.

College Assembly – Thursday 23 June

Our assembly was a fitting way to end a busy term! We had more student speakers than ever before sharing the wonderful school, and learning experiences, of term 2. Thank you to all the students who took the opportunity to present in front of the whole school.

Not only did this assembly continue to highlight the ways that our curriculum is having our students ‘go to the margins’, but we had a particular focus on Laudato Si and our efforts to care for creation. Our Acknowledgement of Country and Prayer also related to this theme.

Here is the report from our Environment Captain, Julianne Cabanayan:

The encyclical letter Laudato Si by Pope Francis is the most comprehensive Vatican document to date on environmentalism, ethics, and Christian faith. The document is intended for all people, not Catholics or Christians alone.

“The Laudato Si goals goals help us look at the inter-related nature of reality, our ‘integral ecology’ which simply put, means ‘everything is connected’; our relationship with God, with our neighbours, and with our common home.

The earth and all life on it are part of God’s creation. We are called to respect this gift. We are responsible for taking care of the world we live in and for sharing all the wonders and resources the earth gives us. Our changing environment prompts us to stop and think about how we live on our planet.

Recently, the College has formed a Laudato Si Committee which comprises staff and students. We are pleased to be able to say that we are meeting the goals of Laudato Si in a number of ways already but as we know, we can always do more and be better.

Recently, an energy audit was conducted where members of our Student Engagement Team checked the classrooms and other spaces within the College at lunchtime and after school on two separate days. Where rooms were not being used, the appliances that were left on, were noted.

In each room, there are at least 5 appliances which use energy. As you can see from the graph below, a number of appliances are being left on when no one is in the room. In order to more fully achieve the goal of ‘adoption of simple lifestyles’ we are asking all staff and students to commit to be conscious of this when leaving classrooms. Ensure that all appliances are turned off so that our energy usage is decreased and we are not wasting this valuable resource.

Another energy audit will be conducted late term 3.

Thank you to these members of SET who gathered this baseline data.

On May 30 to June 2nd, the environment group held the veggie garden replanting.

Although the weather was cold and we experienced some rain, there were times in which the sun did shine and had assisted in driving a successful planting. This small action relates to the laudato si goal of community and empowerment through the involvement of students as well as adoption of sustainable, or simple, lifestyle as we chose to be outside instead of using up energy if indoors and we are working on growing our own food. Have a look at all the plants we have planted, located in the walkway after the learning courtyard.

SEQTA Parent Information Night – Monday 8 August    

Parents who would like to learn more about our new Learning Management System, SEQTA, are invited to attend an information night at the College on 8 August. We are hoping that this session will be hands on and have therefore decided to hold it on site in the Hall. We will provide further information about the evening in the next issue of Iona.

Please RSVP to Front Reception, 9337 5311, so that we can ensure adequate tables and chairs.

We look forward to seeing many parents there.

Strictly Ballroom - Tickets Now on Sale

The Strictly Ballroom musical tickets are now on sale, get your today. CLICK HERE

New Shade Structure

The College is very excited about the very recent installation of a large shade structure in the Learning Courtyard that will provide weather protection over the outdoor classroom in this area.
The shade structure will now enable the outdoor learning area to be more usable throughout the year as well as providing additional shade for the students during recess and lunchtimes.
The College would like to thank the Victorian Government for partially funding this terrific piece of infrastructure through its School Shade Sail Program through the provision of a $25,000 grant.

STCC's Got Talent

STCC’s Got Talent – and boy do we have it in spades. Much to our delight, term 2, saw STCC host and present a number of performances which encouraged our students to become active participants in the broader school community and grow outside the classroom environment. 

Saturday May 21 kicked off our performances for the term. Ms Linda Henderson’s LHD private dancers returned to the stage and treated us to a dance spectacular. The theme was ‘party time’ and the dancers took us on a trip down memory lane by dancing to party anthems loved by all. Congratulations to all students involved and to Ms Linda for continuing to bring her knowledge and passion to the Dance program which was on show for all to see.

On Wednesday, May 25, our VCE Music Performance students presented their Units 1 and 3 solo recital repertoire. Year 11 students, Lauren Ryan-Green and Rachel Duquemin performed 10 minutes of classical voice and percussion repertoire respectively. Year 12 students, Imogen Rawlings, Meikah Mercieca and Siana Larkin performed 15 minutes of contemporary voice, classical voice and percussion repertoire respectively. For the first time since 2020, parents were able to attend this recital to support their daughters’ performances. Congratulations to all students for the wonderful performance of wide-ranging music. A thank you to Mr Chan for working tirelessly in rehearsing and performing with the students. 

On Thursday May 26 our budding musicians treated our community to a wonderful repertoire of music from classical to contemporary and everything in between – a celebration of their learning over the past few months. String, percussion, brass and voice ensembles were all represented. 

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Pei Sun Lai, Mr Evan Clements, Ms Emma Downing, the sessional staff and our instrumental students for the hard work that went into this night. Thanks again for the work you all do to keep the Music program alive and well at STC. 

On Monday May 30, the VCE Drama Ensemble Performance celebrated the dedicated and talented Year 11 and 12 Drama students who presented a variety of ensemble performances which form crucial assessment pieces for Units 1 and 3. Students responded to the stimulus material – No Wo(man) is an Island – Or are they? This was no easy feat, and congratulations must go out to the Year 11 and 12 Drama students who under the supervision of Ms Caitlyn Devlin researched, brainstormed, scripted and tirelessly rehearsed their performances. Through this, students developed transferable skills like problem-solving, creativity, communication, critical thinking and teamwork, all of which will hold them in good stead for the future.

Our final performance for the term was on Thursday June 9 – the Junior Performing Arts Concert (JPAC) which saw the growing talents of each of the Year 7 & 8 students participate in Music, Dance, and Drama. Students were given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience of their parents, family members, friends and members of our college community. This concert was not just about performers being in the spotlight but rather a chance for our students to foster the development of their collaborative and creative problem-solving skills, and their ability to confidently perform in front of an audience.

Of course, all of this would not be possible without the hard work of our Backstage Crew, led by Mr Terry Read who together with his team effortlessly created lighting and sound effects, that helped create an engaging space. A huge thank you to Mr Read and his extraordinary Backstage Crew.

Finally, to our staff, who by virtue of goodwill, continually support the Performing Arts Programs at the College, by supervising our concerts after school hours and during the busiest of times. My heartfelt thanks to you all.

Cater House Celebration Day

On June 21st, Cater House recognised and paid homage to our House Patron and former Sister of Charity, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater. Students were invited to reflect on the year that has been and encouraged to continue to give thanks for what they have to look forward to, and as always what they have to be grateful for. In light of our theme for the year “If not now, then when? A call to justice” students were asked to reflect upon their actions throughout the year and upon times they have challenged an injustice or advocated on behalf of others. I hope that for the remainder of the year as members of Cater House, staff and students can continue to lead by example, and like Sister Cater, be bold, creative and courageous in order to make small changes in our world. 

It is always such a privilege to organise a special liturgy and salubrious feast for the staff and students in Cater to celebrate our House and House patron. We were spoilt with a shared lunch of delicious pizza and a wonderful Cater cake made by Linh Speranza, who was so generous in what she created. Students were also gifted lolly bags, which contained a purple ruler that was made in our STEAM lab. I would like to express sincere gratitude to Jen Tran for making the rulers, the Cater House Group Teachers, House Representatives and House Captain for their support in preparing for such a special event – it was a wonderful celebration.

Change the Frame

This term, as a response to our theme ‘Going to the Margins’, the Visual Arts team purposely put-up artworks on cardboard around the College, in places where the school community would be able to find them. The idea was to bring awareness to the plight of those experiencing homelessness.

‘Change the Frame’, asked us all to rethink our understanding of homelessness, by offering our artworks a dry, safe and warm place for the night, because by changing the frame around a situation, you not only change your perception of it, but its meaning to you.

This initiative was inspired by the street artist Michael Aaron Williams who simply tapes his homeless people drawings to walls so that anyone who passes by might want to stop, take them off the wall, and bring them home. And if no one does? “They will cease to exist,” Williams says. “They will be destroyed and blown away in the wind or other forces that will rip them down and throw them away.”

As the weather got colder in Melbourne, we asked our community to decide on the fate of the characters they walked past in the school grounds; whether they would end up discarded, trampled on and thrown away or, lovingly taken home for a night or a couple of days. We asked for a gold coin donation in return with all money raised going to a wonderful organisation called COTS (Christmas on the Streets) who help people experiencing homelessness. Thank you to all our students and staff for getting behind this initiative. We raised over $300 over the course of the term.

SCSA Cross Country Event

After a rainy night, we woke to a very cold, wet start and only a small team of 9 participants.  After arriving at Yarra Bend, Fairfield we took a walk around the track with umbrellas in the rain.  Luckily the rain cleared and the sun came out for our juniors to compete.

The juniors did an amazing job, with three coming in the top 10 and winning overall juniors category. Unfortunately with no intermediates this year, we waited in anticipation for the seniors to compete.  There were only two seniors, determined to run their last Cross Country event representing the college.  We both placed in the top 20 which will keep the college team in Division 1 for next year.

We braved the presentations in the on and off rain, but it was well worth it to find out that our little team came 7th overall out of 9 teams, which was a great effort.

A special thanks to Ms Murton and Mr Reade for training us and supporting us throughout our journey.  We hope to have a larger team next year, let’s keep up the spirit girls!

Overall 7th/9

Seniors 8th/9 (2)

Inters n/a

Juniors 1th/9 (7)

Mock Interviews

Year 9 students have been busy preparing for and participating in the Mock Interview program, a highlight on the academic calendar. Students immerse themselves in the world of work, researching and applying for a job, landing an interview and finally presenting themselves to the Mock Interview where local employers, alumni, parents and friends of the college play the role of hiring panel.

This year students were supported in their preparation for the Mock Interviews by local employers Bo Guner from Bo & Co. and Diane Caruso, owner of Bowls Baby and St Rose cafe. Bo and Diane shared their knowledge and perspective of the hiring process, divulged tips and tricks to write a killer resume and stand out at interview, as well as how to impress at a trial shift.

Combined with the work of their Future Directions teachers, the students were thoroughly prepared for their interviews and the feedback from employers showed this.

“The cohort of young women interviewed this evening were exceptional. If this reflects what the next round of adults in the working world is going to be, we are in good hands.” Jason Holmes TRG

Well done year 9s and thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers.

Year 7 Bunsen Burner Licence

Our Year 7s have been in the science labs, first port of call is to learn to use the bunsen burner are receive their licences. We asked Year 7 student student Alana Smirnis to reflect on the experience:

In science we had a great time learning about bunsen burners and we learned how to use them. At first some students were a bit scared to work with a flame but then we all got the hang of lighting a match and it was a really interesting and fun topic to learn about.

Year 7 2024 Applications for Enrolment

Do you have a daughter currently in Grade 5 and wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College? If so, please take note of the following enrolment dates for Year 7 2024:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 19 August 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Friday 21 October 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 11 November 2022

Online applications are open for Year 7 2024 and can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.

Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2024 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2023. Students are encouraged to take up this opportunity and will receive a report of their achievement levels for each area tested. Further details and online registration are available here.

Registration closing date is Friday 15 July 2022

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 23 July 2022

Please note the College does not have practise papers for the testing as this is conducted by an external organisation, Academic Assessment Services.