August 1, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Reflection on the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Inquiry for Full Registration

Year 12 Retreat

STCC and SBC Combine Concert

Monash University Symposium

CGSAV inter-school footy competition

Urban Experience

Cunningham House Celebration Day

Let Justice and Peace Flow - Art Competition

Parent Wellbeing Webinar

Library News

Year 7 2025 Applications For Enrolment

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Planning for 2024 Programs

It’s an exciting time of the year when students in Years 8-11 begin planning their study programs for 2024.  It was wonderful to see so many families attend the Pathways Evening to find out more about what’s on offer, and how the senior programs work at the College.

The Pathways Centre Staff and subject teachers are a great source of information and advice as students ponder which electives and subjects to choose.  It’s important that they are making their choices based on what interests them, and what inspires their curiosity.  We encourage students to review their Semester One reports, and review their assessment feedback data on SEQTA.  These are a great source of information to support decision-making.

Students entering Year 9 and Year 10 in 2024 should not feel that their choices will pre-determine their study pathways forward.  This time should be one for exploration and finding out – learning as much about what does interest and excite them, as what doesn’t.  I encourage all families to utilise the resources we have here at the College as students prepare their subject choices for submission.

Foxford Innovation Centre

It was great to see the builders on Friday as they set up their site for the commencement of the building project.  There are significant in-ground works that need to take place before we will see the building form take shape.  We will keep the community up-to-date with the progress of works.

As students were reminded all of last week, the Leslie Road entrance is the only student entry and exit point for the duration of the building works.  A reminder also to families that during the school day there will be no visitor parking on site.


O Holy Mother and Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as parents, you guided and nurtured Mary and, under your protection and love, watched her grow in holiness.
Through your faithfulness and goodness the Will of God was fulfilled; the fruits of your virtue and faith brought salvation to the whole world with the birth of the baby Jesus.

“The Word was made flesh
and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14).

Most Holy St’s Anne and Joachim, come close to us and guide our hand and our hearts in the way of virtue.
Help us to parent our children and grandchildren with a gentle heart as you did.
Show us how to raise our children in faith and bring our families into the Light of Jesus.
Remain close to us and help us on our journey to salvation.
St’s Anne and Joachim, we place our petitions in your hands and ask that you lay them before the child Jesus.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC)

The PEC is always looking for greater parent involvement. If you are interested in coming along to the next meeting on Tuesday 8 August email the team at This meeting will be held online –

STCC Day – Funds raised

Congratulation to all the staff and students who helped to run activities or stalls to raise money for our House Partners and the Sisters of Charity Foundation and for everyone’s generosity on the day.

The total amount raised will be distributed in the following way:

BrutonGood Samaritan Inn$561.90
O’BrienMcAuley Community Services for Women$965
CaterSt Paul’s College, Villa Maria Catholic Homes$596.90
CunninghamSister Francesca Healy Cottage$138
de LacyBriar Terrace$582.90
WilliamsSt Mary’s House of Welcome$220.60
CahillPrague House$310.60


The Sisters of Charity will be gifted $840.15.

Transition Survey for Year 7 students and their Parents/Legal Guardians

Recently all Year 7 students and their families were provided with the opportunity to provide the College with feedback about their experience of transitioning from primary to secondary school. Thank you to the 96 parents and legal guardians and the 87 students who took the time to share their thoughts.

Overwhelmingly, the feedback was extremely positive. Parents noted the College’s welcoming, supportive and inclusive culture. The responders also provided some suggestions for improvement which will be shared with the relevant staff or committees to consider. The Student Engagement Team will be provided with the student data in the next few weeks to consider the areas for improvement too.

Thanks, once again, for your support in participating in this survey as we continue to build a successful school and strengthen our reputation as an ‘educator of choice’.

Snow Trip to Falls Creek

Bright and early on the 21st July the first-ever adventurous group of Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 students left the college at 4:30 am for a lengthy bus ride to Falls Creek. After hours of talking and laughter without much sleep, we finally arrived at our destination. The sun was shining as we unpacked our luggage and collected our skis or boarding gear eager to get out on to the snow. Shortly after, we hiked up and checked in at our accommodation – Ripparoo Ski Lodge.  After settling in quickly, we headed back out, took the chair lift up to the Ski School where we completed our first lesson for 90 minutes. The instructors were great and taught us the basics. Most students were beginners with only a few experienced skiers. We finished the lesson knowing how to stop and turn, and soon realised that it was much harder than it seemed! We ended the day with fun in the snow and dinner at The Man restaurant followed by hot chocolates, snacks, movies and more!

On day two, we were up early with Ms McDonald knocking on our doors for breakfast at 7 am. We were served by the fantastic staff, with many options of bacon and eggs, cereal, porridge and fruit salad. With great excitement we made it up to the top of the mountain by 8:30 am for the second lesson. All the students were in awe of the fresh, fluffy snow and clear blue skies. We spent the whole day exploring the many different runs including Wombat’s trail, Drovers Run. Travelling up and down the chair lifts and flying down the mountains with twists and turns filled all the students with great satisfaction as we were all getting the hang of it!

We stopped for lunch at Cloud 9 where we relaxed with pasta and garlic bread as we laughed about our failing attempts down the mountain. The day was filled with many falls on our backsides and even skiing backwards! Moments like these will always be remembered. By the end of the day, we were grateful to be able to relax at our accommodation and share our adventures with others. We reflected on how quickly we were able to improve our skills and feel confident in ourselves to give the different runs a go.

On Sunday, we all woke up to the aroma of maple syrup and pancakes as the lovely chefs spoiled us with a delicious breakfast. We were up early at Cloud 9 once again for our last lesson, with many sad faces as we knew it was our last day. Despite this we all made the most of it being professional skiers and snowboarders at this point we were impatient to go down the different slopes, each offering its own unique challenges and breathtaking views. The thrill of gliding down the slopes, the rush of wind against our faces, and the occasional snowflakes falling gently from the sky created an unforgettable experience. Our last lunch was at the Last Hoot for some delicious pizzas.

In the end, it was liberating to conquer our fears and witness the progress we had each made throughout the three days. We all made new friends, bonds and experiences that we were all truly grateful for!! We definitely recommend this experience to all future students interested in the St Columba’s Ski trip and thank the teachers who took the time to travel with and supervise us. Particular thanks to Ms Shellie Murton who did much of the planning for this trip.

Alessia M

Parent Education Program – Cybersafety

A representative from Victoria Police will be providing our parents with a session which will raise parents’ awareness of the increasing concerns surrounding young people’s use of online social platforms. The legalities surrounding young people’s use of these platforms will also be presented.
This will be an ‘in person’ session held in the College’s Theatrette on Wednesday 30 August at 6:30pm.
We look forward to seeing you then.

Reflection on the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Inquiry for Full Registration

My name is Molly McGuire and I teach English, Humanities and Innovative Programs at St Columba’s College. I have recently completed the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Inquiry for Full Registration. The Inquiry Process ensures that all teachers are qualified and suitable to provide educational services in the classroom. This process must be completed in a teacher’s first five years of being in the classroom and involves identifying the needs of specific learners, undertaking research in and out of the classroom, and engaging in professional learning to ensure all decisions made will be effective. My inquiry question was “How can I differentiate learning in the acquisition of film metalanguage?” with a focus on my Year 7 English class who would be studying “The Black Stallion” directed by Carroll Ballard. My inquiry was centred around the way in which I would deliver content and assessment based on the varied needs of my students. With the mentorship of Therese Chapman, who has years of experience in education, I knew that I would be well supported to deliver and record all the necessary steps to achieve my full registration.

I began my inquiry process by identifying the specific learners I would be focussing on, and by reviewing all the data provided about the class I was teaching. Thankfully, St Columba’s College collects and records student data in a way that ensures it is easily accessible and clear for teachers to use to inform their practice. With the help of Therese, and through professional conversations with the colleagues in my team, I was able to create a series of lessons which was accessible to all students and allowed them multiple opportunities to thrive. I also collaborated with a member of our Learning Diversity Team, Madeleine Martin, to discuss the best strategies to support students with additional needs, which would not only help me educate my focus class, but my other classes too. I implemented my lessons, and as I did this I saw the benefits of the inquiry process come to life. I was able to see the effectiveness of clear instruction and data informed teaching in real-time. On completion of the process, all teachers are required to present their work and findings, and in my case this was to Therese and our principal, Rita Grima. After reviewing the final product, I was so grateful to be able to have a thought provoking discussion with Therese and Rita, two very knowledgeable teachers and leaders, about the challenges of the contemporary classroom and the benefits of using student voice in the classroom to allow teachers to deliver engaging lessons. I am able to reflect on the process fondly with a new understanding of what teaching involves and a sincere appreciation of the collegiality at St Columba’s College. Here, all teachers work together collaboratively to support our students’ learning.

Ms Molly McGuire, STCC Teacher

My name is Daniela Grando, and I am currently teaching Year 7-10 Italian, as well as Year 10 Exploring Pathways at St Columba’s College. Like Molly, I have recently completed the VIT Inquiry for Full Registration. For my Inquiry, I chose to focus on my Year 7 Italian class and their unit on ‘La Famiglia’ (The Family). In this unit, students were working on developing the language skills, vocabulary and grammar required to write descriptive paragraphs about their family members in Italian. This would include information such as their family member’s name, age, adjectives to describe them, hobbies, likes and dislikes, and any additional details that students wished to include. Students were also learning how to incorporate conjunctions and adverbs to help link and add detail to their sentences, allowing for cohesive and engaging descriptions. The Inquiry question I developed was ‘How can I support learners of different levels of ability in a Year 7 Italian class to develop their descriptive language in Italian?’. I chose this focus as I was interested in exploring the potential for inclusive practices in a Languages classroom. More specifically, I hoped to develop strategies that would support all students to not only access the learning, but to also thrive in the Italian classroom.

After getting to know my students, their specific needs, strengths and interests, I collaborated with my colleague Rosalba D’Astoli-Iannuzzi, for whose support and guidance throughout the process I am very grateful. It was through this collaboration that we were able to share ideas and develop a lesson sequence that would scaffold students through the writing process. This allowed me to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based strategies that sought to not only provide students with the support they required, but also to ensure that each learner was appropriately challenged according to their abilities. Students were encouraged to experiment with familiar and new language, and through a collaborative drafting process between myself and the students, they were prompted to reflect on their writing and continually strive for improvement. I found this collaborative approach to be particularly beneficial in prompting students to draw on their existing knowledge, make connections to their new learning, reflect on their language choices, enact feedback and extend their writing where possible. With students at the centre of their learning, they were able to engage in meaningful reflective practice. At the end of the unit, it was wonderful to see the sense of pride students displayed in their work. Most learners were limited to writing short simple sentences at the start of the unit. However, by the end of the unit, they were able to not only write more extended and complex sentences, but also link them together to construct paragraphs. Moreover, they were able to reflect on this, and make connections between their language learning in Italian and their broader language and literacy skills in English. This allowed students to recognise the skills they were learning in the Italian classroom as transferable to other areas, such as English.

Throughout the Inquiry process, my VIT mentor Therese Chapman provided constant encouragement and support. Our professional conversations and the feedback she provided me with allowed me to reflect on and refine my teaching practice. At the end of the process, I had the opportunity to present and discuss my Inquiry with Therese Chapman and Rita Grima. This was a great opportunity to reflect on my learnings from this experience, and discuss broader questions of inclusive practice, language and literacy.

Ms Daniela Grando, STCC Teacher

Year 12 Retreat

Year 12 Retreat was better than I ever anticipated, and fully solidified itself as an unforgettable experience I’ll cherish forever. Including The Amazing (G)race, free time and reflection activities, Year 12 retreat was a collection of exciting tasks and amazing memories. 

The Amazing (G)race acted as both a highly independent and enjoyable way to connect more to our school’s roots whilst simultaneously allowing for freedom to diverge and travel at our own will. Whilst learning more about the Sisters of Charity and their work, we were able to experience amazing food and activities all whilst hanging out with our friends and our designated teacher.  

Back at CYC we were given time for both reflection activities and free time over our three day stay. The reflective activities were super relaxing and insightful. Rather than being a drag or a stark contrast to the retreat’s overall “easy going vibe”, the activities were really rewarding and intuitive. Through reflecting on our time and STC, reading our year 7 letters, making friendship bracelets and getting to grow deeper connections with one another, all the activities came out as super fulfilling and enjoyable.  

Free time afforded us the opportunity to either watch a movie, play board games, Nintendo Switch, Karaoke or simply relax and enjoy each others company. In the limited time we have left, free time was precious and super enjoyable to be able to just hangout with friends without any activity or task looming over us.  

All in all, it was an incredible experience that acted as a great way to connect with our highschool friends one last time before the intense and gruelling end of year exams approach. It was a super fun adventure all of us will treasure even after our St Columba’s journey ends! 

 Lucinda C, Year 12 Student 


From Monday, the 24th, to Wednesday, the 26th of July, the Year 12 cohort had their annual retreat at the heritage-listed building, city CYC, in Melbourne. After arriving, we had a reflection activity with Ms Hilli, recording voice memos with friends about our expectations for the three days. The first day ended with a short mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and a coffee stop on the way back. 

Tuesday featured Mr Jilbert’s long-awaited Amazing (G)race, where students in groups of 10 explored Melbourne’s significant sites related to the Sisters of Charity. The weather was terrific, and some of us even made a donut pit stop on the way back! 

On the final day, we received our year seven letters from our first reflection day, cherishing memories of our time at St Columba’s throughout the past six years. We also listened to the voice recordings we made on the first day and made another recording talking about how we felt afterwards. 

The retreat was a wonderful opportunity for Year 12s to step away from school, enjoy time with friends and teachers, and create lasting memories. A moment I will never forget is playing games with Mr Lee and Mr Jilbert, which got a bit hectic but was so much fun! I will remember so much from this retreat, and I hope my fellow year 12’s have made just as many memories as I have.  


STCC and SBC Combine Concert

On the second last day of term 2, St Columba’s and St Bernard’s music students got together to rehearse and perform musical items together at the Frank Fitzgerald Auditorium.

The following St Columba’s College music ensembles worked collaboratively with like-ensembles from St Bernard’s College:
– Senior and Junior Choir
– Intermediate Concert Band
– Senior Concert Band
– Jazz Band
– Rock Band
– Guitar Ensemble
Students from both schools rehearsed during the day. In the evening, they performed their standalone repertoire as well as combined repertoire chosen by both ensemble directors from both colleges.
It was a highlight for students from both schools to be able to work with like-minded musicians.
The performances were of a high standard and new friendships were established from such a wonderful partnership.
Congratulations to all students and staff for a successful combined concert!

Monash University Symposium

The Unit 3/4 Chemistry class received the opportunity to experience the Organic Chemistry unit of the subject in a practical manner at the Monash University’s symposium. We were able to utilise the machinery we had been learning about in the topic, including an Infrared Spectrometer (IR), and a Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (H NMR) to identify an ‘unknown molecule’. When using the IR spectrometer, we placed samples of a compound on a crystal, which reflected particular characteristics of the molecule on a graph, allowing us to identify the specific bonds present in the molecule. To further narrow down the structure of the molecule, we next conducted the H NMR, where we were introduced to lab equipment such as an electronic pipette. By conducting the H NMR, we were once again provided with a graph, which could be used to determine the characteristics of Hydrogen in the compound. Eventually, we were able to determine that our element contained a benzene ring, and a carboxylic acid group.

To conclude our experience, we were able to work with a staff member at Monash to analyse data results to determine the structure of other mystery compounds. Some of the data we were given included a C NMR, H NMRs of both high and low resolution, IR’s and mass spectrometry.

Overall, the excursion was an invaluable experience, which provided us with a pragmatic perspective on Organic Chemistry, and allowed us to develop further insight and appreciation of what it is like to study Chemistry in university.

CGSAV inter-school footy competition

On the 19th of July, a junior and senior team travelled to western oval to host and play a 4 game round-robin representing the college. We played the schools: Mount St Joseph, Kilbreda, Santa Maria and Sacred Heart Oakley. 

The junior team won 1 out of 4 games, although the result was unfortunate it did not reflect all their hard work and determination while playing. All the girls in the junior team should be proud of their teamwork, efforts and of course having fun while they were playing. Shoutout to Mr Arthurson for mentoring and guiding the girls throughout the day and the seniors for their endless cheering and encouragement while they were playing. 

The senior team won 3 out of 4 games, taking out a win in the grand final against Kilbreda who we lost to and bringing home the winning plaque. Congratulations to all the girls for all their hard work, exceptional teamwork and of course our excellent skills pulling through our well deserved win. Special mentions to Mr Rowland and Ms Stevenson for their excellent coaching and support. 

Congratulations to Charlotte R for winning the best grand final player for the senior team, couldn’t have done it without you! 

Finally a shout out to Ms Murton for organising and supporting a fantastic day 

I encourage all students to participate in the CGSAV inter-school Footy competition, it is a day you won’t forget. Full of endless laughs, creation of new friendships and of course playing a sport we all love.

Urban Experience

In the second week of Term 3, the class of 9.3 embarked on the Year 9 Urban Experience in collaboration with St Bernards. This experience is an opportunity for Year 9 students to learn outside of our school community by spending the week exploring Melbourne’s CBD. Urban aimed to build new relationships, gain an elevated understanding of ourselves and each other and develop skills useful in the real world. The experience tested our teamwork with new people, our resolve in facing challenges, in making decisions and our independence in new environments. Another objective of the week was to live our College values of compassion, hope, justice, love and truth and see them within our city, ourselves and each other. 

One of the greatest learning aspects of the experience was learning to work with new people who had different interests and personalities. At the beginning of the week, we were placed in our assigned groups. This proved for some to be a little bit awkward, and our communication with one another was limited. However, as the week progressed, we grew more comfortable in each other’s presence. By the end of the week, we managed to effectively work together as a team to achieve our objectives. And, we had plenty of laughs along the way! Another challenge we faced was navigating the city, as we had to quickly adapt to our surroundings and become independent in travelling through the CBD. This meant that we had to manage our own time, make our own decisions and arrive at our destinations promptly. One of the hardest things about the experience was arriving in the city by 8:45 am every morning! 

Additionally, the most enjoyable part of the experience was learning about all the different locations that we visited in the city. We saw so many things we didn’t know existed, and it made us realise just how much the CBD has to offer. Some of the locations that we visited included Parliament House, where we had a tour of the building and learnt about the Victorian Parliament. We were also able to see the Hellenic Museum, a small building that showcases many artefacts of Greek history and culture. Our favourite location was Queen Victoria Market, where we explored the various shops filled with food and merchandise and bought the famous jam doughnuts! 

Finally, by looking through the lens of our College values, we gained new perspectives about our city. We learnt that the values can be seen in many different aspects of Melbourne. We also came to understand the flaws of Melbourne such as homelessness, poverty and pollution. We discovered that by incorporating the values into our daily lives we could better improve the culture of our city and our life back at school. 

Overall, the week was an awesome, fun experience with a plethora of opportunities for growth in many areas socially, educationally and individually. We learnt so much through the week and look forward to future programs in association with St Bernards!

Cunningham House Celebration Day

Cunningham celebrated its House Celebration Day on Thursday 27th July. We gathered to honour Sister Mary Xavier Cunningham for whom our House is named after. Sister Mary Xavier Cunningham was the first Australian to enter the Sisters of Charity and was the head of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney for 22 years. She spent her life in the service of those who were sick and vulnerable. We aspire to follow her example of courage, generosity, love and adoration. Our 2023 Theme is “Love and truth” and I shared with the students and teachers my favourite bible verse:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13

Our Celebration Day was a great success with a shared lunch, cutting a yummy cake and playing games thanks to all those students and staff who assisted.

Let Justice and Peace Flow - Art Competition

Create artwork for ecological justice, creating change and speaking out with communities most impacted by rising sea levels, biodiversity losses and other consequences of climate injustice. Imagine what Ecological Justice looks like.

Artwork can be any size and any still visual medium (e.g. photograph, painting, sculpture, digital image). Each entry must be submitted individually in an image format (JPEG, PNG or PDF). The only rule is it must explore the theme ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’. Entries close at 9 am, 11th August 2023 and emailed with an explanation to Ms Breman.

Parent Wellbeing Webinar

We Need to Talk About Parent Wellbeing

Mental Health is on everyone’s lips. There are countless news articles about mental health every year – in fact over the course of a typical day, there are more articles published about mental health than there are about other hot topics like AI, the risk of a recession, and even Taylor Swift!

With 44% of Australian adults having experienced a mental disorder over the course of their lives, and 1 in 5 having experienced symptoms of a mental disorder over the last 12 months, it’s no surprise that Google searches for mental health queries reached an all-time high in 2021.

Australian parents and Aussie kids are struggling. Anxiety, depression, and burnout are breaking too many of our kids, and too many of us. Parents are floundering. Children are languishing. Our mental health services are overwhelmed. And we need answers and help. Now.

In the past 20 years, researchers have made enormous progress on how we can increase wellbeing, even when mental illness is a part of our lives. And in this webinar, Dr Justin Coulson – one of Australia’s leading parenting and wellbeing speakers – will walk you through the most cutting-edge stats, strategies, and supports to build wellbeing in your family, your children, and even in you!

Join this webinar to learn –

  • how to flourish even if you or your kids are in the midst of mental health challenges

  • the 5 most powerful evidence-based interventions to build a flourishing life

  • the secret to a life well lived, and

  • the biggest risk factors and protective factors of mental health

Monday 21 August

8pm AEST | check my time zone

We Need to Talk About Parent Wellbeing

*Note that the link will only work if you are already signed into your school’s page

Log in:

Password: happyscce

Library News

Overdue Books

Overdue notices are sent to students once per week to remind them to return their overdue book(s). A student will receive three notices to remind them that they have overdue book(s). A follow up message will then be sent requesting payment for the book(s). The Library Staff do understand that from time to time students may misplace items borrowed. 

If you have any concerns or questions about overdue books please do not hesitate to contact me at the College.

Year 7 2025 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 2025:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 18 August 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Friday 20 October 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 10 November 2023

Online applications are open for Year 7 2025 can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.

Important Dates

Wednesday 2 August – Volleyball Competition and Year 10 Reflection Day

Thursday 3 August – Student Elections

Friday 4 August – Year 12 2024 Online Subject Selection Closes and St Vinnies Winter Sleepout

Monday 7 August – 9.6 Urban Experience Begins

Tuesday 8 August – Year 12 VTAC Online Information Session

Wednesday 9 August – Year 11 2024 Online Subject Selection Opens

Thursday 10 August – Parent Teach Interviews, Early Finish for Students

Friday 11 August – Parent Teacher Interviews, Independent Study Day for Students