June 26, 2020

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Principal's Message


Mission Australia Youth Survey

Recent Concern From Residents

Year 10-12 Progress Interviews

E-Safety Website

Good Stress? Resilience is key

CSEF Closing Date Has Been Extended to 24 July 2020

STC Students Helping Our Front-line Workers

SCSA Sports Update - Term 3

Library News

Careers News

Elizabeth Fritsche wins Ada Cambridge Short Story Competition

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2022 Enrolment

Principal's Message

This very unusual term is drawing to a close.  I write to thank you for your ongoing support during our period of remote learning and the transition back to face to face teaching.  The girls have been exceptional in adjusting to both paradigms and have demonstrated great joy in being back with their teachers and peers.


I hope that the Year 10, 11 and 12 students who have been involved in Assessment Week have been committed to their revision to ensure that they will be satisfied with their efforts and pleased with their results.


During Term 2, we have consulted with parents, staff and students about what we have learned during the COVID-19 isolation period and what we wish to carry forward at St Columba’s College.  We hope to share the recommendations from these consultations with the community in the near future.


One area of exploration that we are ready to seek your feedback on is a revised structure of the school day.  This timetable structure has been designed using the feedback about breaks, length of the school day, balance of face to face teaching and time to work with individual students, and the overall support of community wellbeing.  If this structure is implemented it would be as a trial, and we will continue to consult the community during the trial period.  I invite you to use this link to offer your thoughts about what we are proposing.  We are grateful for the time taken to provide us with feedback.






House Group

8:40 AM

8:50 AM


Lesson 1

8:55 AM

10:05 AM


Rest Break 1

10:05 AM

10:25 AM


Lesson 2


11:35 AM


Rest Break 2

11:35 AM

11:55 AM


Lesson 3

11:55 AM

1:05 PM


Lunch 1

1:05 PM

1:25 PM


Lunch 2

1:25 PM

1:45 PM


Lesson 4

1:50 PM

3:00 PM



A few reminders for families for the commencement of Term 3:


  • We are really excited to be offering an alternative format for Parent/Teacher Interviews for our Year 10, 11 and 12 families next term.  Please read further on in the IONA for an explanation about how these will operate, and when appointment bookings will open.
  • As we have been instructing during Term 2, if your daughter is unwell she should be kept home.  Absences should be communicated via PAM, preferably.  A reminder that Parent Notified Absences do impact on a student’s overall attendance percentage and that the College has a 90% attendance requirement.  You are able to check your daughter’s attendance at any time by accessing PAM – click on your daughter’s image and name – click on Attendance.
  • Our uniform policy has undergone some changes this year to afford students more flexibility in what they choose to wear.  With this flexibility also comes an expectation that students are wearing the uniform to a high standard.  This has not necessarily been the case for all students in the last few weeks of Term 2.
  • In preparation for Term 3, we ask that families please support their daughters to ensure that they have appropriate uniform items and that they fit appropriately.  Noone, the College uniform supplier, does take orders for uniform items that are out of stock and provides the College with an update regarding this should this be a concern.
  • In addition to uniform, grooming has also been a concern.  We ask that families take the opportunity, during the holiday break, to rectify issues such as hair and nails.  We wish to encourage students to be proud of who they are, rather than applying artificial treatments to be something else or to mimic celebrities.  The uniform policy is designed to manage the distraction of fashion and image pressures and to help ensure that we focus on the real work of our school – learning.  A copy of the uniform and grooming requirements in available on PAM.


I take this opportunity again to thank you for your encouragement of your daughter and her teachers and hope that the break is a safe and rejuvenating one.

I take this opportunity to thank Mrs Rosemary Montalto as she completes her period of replacement teaching with us.  Mrs Montalto will be replaced by Mr Sam Avery who will join us for Semester 2.



We thank you Lord, for this term.

For the challenges, the successes,

the opportunities and the joys

and the mistakes from which we have learnt

during our remote and face to face learning.


Be with us

as we spend our time with family and friends.

Give us strength and courage to do what is right;

to be witnesses of our faith.


Help us to appreciate what others do for us,

to give time and effort to help others, to be peacemakers in our family.

Keep us safe in our activities; give us good rest and good fun.

Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term.

We thank you for our classmates, teachers, parents and a community that cares for us.


May we always be conscious of you in our lives. Amen.




Mission Australia Youth Survey

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is Australia’s largest online youth survey, providing a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to ‘speak up’ about the issues that really concern them. St Columba’s College participated in the Mission Australia Youth Survey for the first time last year.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey urges young people across Australia to get involved and speak up in the charity’s annual Youth Survey.

“Last year we heard that many young people did not have the avenues to speak up on the issues that matter to them. The Youth Survey 2020 provides a forum for young people to highlight their personal aspirations and concerns, and express the issues they think are important in Australia today. In a climate where young people are actively seeking out opportunities to make their views known, the Youth Survey 2020 offers a safe and reliable platform to speak up. Their valuable insights provide up-to-date evidence to inform advocacy and policy change on the issues that affect their lives.”

The results are used by Government, academic and communities to develop policies and programs for young Australians.

The survey is open now and closes on the 31 July 2020, with results to be analysed and released before the end of the year. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous.

Parents of students aged between 15 and 19 were sent a letter requesting that consent be provided by 4.00 pm on Wednesday 24 June 2020 for their daughters to access and complete the survey.

We aim to provide the results of the survey to our community later this year. Thanking you in advance for your support of this initiative.


Recent Concern From Residents

Recently, we have had some complaints from local residents about parents using or blocking their driveways when waiting to collect their daughters at the end of the school day. Please refrain from doing this as it inconveniences our neighbours and brings disrepute to the College. We understand that this complaint has been forwarded to the Council who may decide to send out parking inspectors to issue fines.

Year 10-12 Progress Interviews

You and your daughter(s) are warmly invited to attend the Year 10-12 Online Progress Interviews. We strongly believe in the benefits of communication between parents, students and teachers and would look forward to meeting with you virtually. These interviews are designed to provide an opportunity to discuss your daughter’s progress and how you may support her learning at home. 


The Year 10-12 Online Progress Interviews will be held on:

Wednesday 29 July 2.20pm – 8.30pm (Please note there will be a break between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm) 

  • Appointment times can be made online via PAM from Friday 26 June, until 4.00pm on Friday 17 July. If required, instructions for accessing the system can be found here
  • You may schedule an interview with as many teachers as you wish, even if they have not requested an interview
  • When you log on, the system displays only your own child/children. Bookings are made for individual parents/legal guardians, not for couples. Couples can however log on to the system simultaneously to coordinate bookings. If two parents/legal guardians wish to attend a single interview time slot, one parent/legal guardian should make the booking then both can attend
  • Your daughter is expected to attend these interviews with you. 
  • If you encounter any problems using the system please notify the school office, via email at

You will receive a copy of your daughter’s Semester One report in Term 3. Instructions on how to access the Semester report, Learning Areas and Parent Teacher Interview links via the Parent Access Module (PAM) have been outlined in the PAM User Guide located in the Knowledge Banks section of PAM. 


Further information will be provided on how to access the online interviews early next term.


E-Safety Website

The e-safety website gives great advice and tips for parents about supporting kids to stay safe online. With the upcoming Holiday break there will be many more students on devices. The evidence showed that while in remote learning, the rise of incidents and reports to the e-safety commissioner did rise, so it is important to help our girls to understand the dangers of the web and how best to navigate it.

Of particular concern was a report made to the college about student’s use of a website called ‘Omegle’. It is a website that puts you in a chat room with a person you haven’t met to start up a conversation. It sounds quiet innocent, however this website is notorious for online predators. This is only one website that has these types of dangers and the e-safety website is a great website for parents to stay up to date with the everchanging online landscape.

Please visit the e-safety website here.

Good Stress? Resilience is key

Resilience is the ability to overcome serious hardships or challenge. It is reported to be a key characteristic that assist people to have more positive health and life outcomes. However, for a long-time resilience was thought the resilience was inherited not taught. Harvard University’s recent 2020 paper ‘Connecting the brain to the rest of the body’ busts this myth and claims that there ‘is no such thing as a resilience gene’ (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2020). 

Children that have resilience are able to easily overcome difficult circumstances and also achieve a ‘bounce back’ when they experience stress. Children who lack resilience often let negative experiences continue to impact them and they find it more difficult to process and overcome such challenges.

The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (2020) list four factors that assist children to have positive outcomes despite adverse effects. These include;

  • having at least one stable, caring and supportive child-adult relationship,
  • feeling a sense of mastery (self-efficacy and perceived control) over life circumstances, including a belief that they can overcome hardships,
  • possessing strong executive function and self-regulation skills which enable them to execute adaptive skills to cope effectively with difficult circumstances and manage their own behaviour and emotions, and
  • the support of faith, hope or cultural traditions to ground them when challenged by a major stressor or severely disruptive event.


(The Alliance of Girls’ School Australasia, 2020)

The point to take away is that not all stress or hardships are bad. Life is full of stress and being able to deal effectively with this stress is a crucial lesson to learn for adolescents. Supporting girls to cope with ‘positive stress’ where it is able to be managed by themselves with the assistance of a supportive adult, is a way in which they are able to develop resilience.  You can learn resilience at any point in your life and it is the practice of exposure to these positive stressors, and support to be guided through this stress by caring adults is essential. Helping girls deal with stress and build resilience and grit supports them to have more positive wellbeing outcomes.

For more information about developing resilience in teens, click here.


The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia. (2020). Harvard University researchers say there is no such thing as a ‘resilience gene’. eBrief Research Summary for Principals. Tugun, Queensland, Australia.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child [US]. (2020). Connecting the brain to the rest of the body: Early childhood development and lifelong health are deeply intertwined. Working Paper 15. Cambridge, MA, US: Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. Retrieved from:

CSEF Closing Date Has Been Extended to 24 July 2020

Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF)

The CSEF a Victorian Government initiative which will assist eligible families with the costs associated with school camps, sports and excursions.


To be eligible for receipt of the CSEF you must:

  • be a Victorian primary or secondary school student up to the age of eighteen; and
  • hold a means tested concession card, and/or
  • be a temporary foster parent,
  • eligibility will be subject to the parent/legal guardian’s concession card being successfully validated with Centrelink

Annual Amount:

  • $ 225 per year paid for eligible secondary school students.

Payments will go directly to the school and be tied to the student expenses relating to camps, sport and excursions.


How to Apply:

Application forms are available from the College office. The valid Concession Card will be photocopied to accompany your application. Parents are encouraged to lodge the application form by 24th July 2020.   

For further information, click here.  

Download the form here.


STC Students Helping Our Front-line Workers

As the world continues to search for ways to fight COVID-19, students from the Year 9 Tinker Design Create elective and Make it Monday have used 3D printing technology to produce face shields for the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.

Inspired by an episode of the Channel 10 program ‘The Project’ where 3D printing was being showcased to help with the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) around the country and world, students across year levels have come together to construct the face shields. The College’s 3D printers have been working non-stop since early May to print the components required to construct the shields.   

The simple, yet effective design has been easy to assemble and can be cleaned for reuse. The shield consists of an A4 sized plastic sheet, more commonly used as cover for binding documents which is then attached to a 3D printed support frame and secured to the head using an elastic band



The Year 9 Tinker Design Create students have also explored using TinkerCAD to design clips to minimise the irritation to the back of the ears caused by wearing surgical face masks.  

The face shields have been donated to the Perioperative Services Manager at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Ms Nikki Dennis, who said they will be used in theatre and in the sterilisation unit of the hospital. 



A big thank you to all students who took the time to participate in the construction of the face shields, Nathan Farrugia and to Mr Rowland for setting up and monitoring the 3D prints. It is truly amazing to see first hand how 3D printing can transform spools of filament into physical objects allowing for the transformation of a digital design into a product that our healthcare workers can use!

SCSA Sports Update - Term 3

All SCSA schools have been notified of the possible continuation of interschool sporting events in Term 3. 

At this stage the following interschool sporting events and competitions have been CANCELLED for Term 3. 

  • SCSA AFL Competition
  • SCSA Volleyball Competition

The following interschool sports events and competitions are still awaiting a decision.

  • SCSA Soccer Competition
  • SCSA Netball Competition

Resumption of interschool sport is dependent on advice from the Department of Health and Human Services on 12 July.

Library News

Sophia Library staff were delighted to welcome back all students after the remote learning period. In order to keep staff and students safe, the Library has implemented a number of new measures. These include reduced seating, the regular disinfecting of high-use surfaces, hand sanitiser stations, a single entry and exit point, a maximum of sixty students, and the quarantining of all returned books for 72 hours. 

The Sophia Library will be open for study purposes in the first week of the Term 2 break. The opening hours are:

Monday 29th June to Friday 3rd July (week 1): 8.30am-3.30pm each day.

Monday 6th July to Friday 10th July (week 2): closed all week.

Students using the library during the break are asked to sign in at Front Reception, and also sign the register at the Library desk.

Holiday borrowing has been underway for the last two weeks. Any book borrowed from the Library can be enjoyed over the term break and is not due back until the first week of Term 3.

Plenty of time to catch up on your reading!

Careers News

This edition of the Careers News features :

  • Changes to the cost of university courses, 2021
  • New Bachelor of Climate Science and Adaptation at the University of Newcastle
  • University of Tasmania, Schools Recommendation Program
  • Cyber Security at Victoria University
  • Focus on agriculture
  • The University of Melbourne – updates
  • Health Information Management, La Trobe University
  • Virtual career events

Access the newsletter here.

Visit the Pathways website here.

Elizabeth Fritsche wins Ada Cambridge Short Story Competition

Elizabeth Fritsche of de Lacy, Year 12 recently entered the ‘Young Ada Short Story’ section of the Ada Cambridge Literary Awards at the Williamstown Literary Festival. Young writers from Melbourne’s western suburbs were invited to write a story about something that matters to them in their world, whether it is love, friendship, discoveries, injustice or loss.

Last month Elizabeth was excited to hear that her story, ‘Only if you can imagine it so É  ‘, had been short-listed, but then she was invited to attend the on-line awards ceremony, where she was told that she had won the entire competition. Author Peter Goldsworthy read out a section of her story, which will be published in anthology of the winning entries in all categories of the competition. Her prize is $250, but more important still is the recognition and encouragement she has received to continue her writing. Congratulations Elizabeth!

Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2022 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2021. Details and online registration are available on the College website.

Registration closing date is Friday 17 July 2020

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 25 July 2020

Year 7 2022 Enrolment

A reminder if your daughter is currently in Grade 5 and you wish to send her to St Columba’s College, please ensure you have submitted an application form even if you already have a daughter at the College. Applications can be downloaded from the College website or collected from Reception.

Please note that the Catholic Education Office of Melbourne has now extended the enrolment period for Year 7 2022 enrolments.

 Applications for Year 7 2022 close on Friday 9 October 2020.