July 26, 2019

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Principal's Message


Verification Forms - DUE TODAY

Careers News

House News

Mobile Phone Ban

Library News

Visual Arts - Year 7

Counsellors - Teens: Money Management

Year 12 Retreat

Principal's Message

Welcome back!

I hope that our students had a restful break and that families had opportunities to reconnect and enjoy time together. We are looking forward to a busy and productive term ahead.


Senior Pathways Expo

On Tuesday 16 July, we held our Senior Pathways Expo which was very well attended with hundreds of Year 9 and 10 students and their parents and was well supported by the Pathways Team, Domain Leaders and other staff who came along to assist. The feedback from parents and students was very positive. It provided them with important information, about the VCE, VET and VCAL programs the College offers, to assist them to discern the best possible subject selections for their chosen pathways. Representatives from universities and TAFEs were also on hand with valuable information and advice, as were ten of our alumnae who were able to share their educational and career journeys with those present. Many thanks to the parents who came along to support this event.


Mary Aikenhead Ministries Conference

Members of the College’s Leadership Team were fortunate to participate in the Mary Aikenhead Ministries’ (MAM) 10th Anniversary Conference on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The conference was held at the Catholic Leadership Centre and was very well attended by delegates from the education, health, aged care and outreach sectors of MAM. The conference was an opportunity to gather to honour all those who have contributed to the vision and mission of MAM during the last 10 years.


The conference theme was ‘The call for all to a shared and collaborative leadership to respond to the needs of the poor’ in the spirit of Mary Aikenhead. Our heritage and values place service of the poor at the heart of our work and we explored how our ministries demonstrate a preferential option for the poor and what this means in the context of our work.


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:18-19


Those in attendance were challenged and inspired by excellent presenters including our own Dr Gavin Brown. Delegates also had the opportunity to provide feedback to the Trustees of MAM about the foundational document which has been developed to articulate MAM’s overarching mission, vision, values and guiding principles.


Many thanks to Shane Taylor our Head of Faith and Mission and Debra Randall, Personal Assistant to the Principal, who took such an active part in the preparation and organisation of the conference. Thanks also to Laura Danby and Madison Foley who led the choir and musicians during the welcome and ritual at the commencement of the conference and at the Eucharist of Thanksgiving, which was celebrated by Bishop Mark Edwards. The delegates were entertained by some of our talented students – a trio of Irish dancers. Sincere thanks to Gabrielle Hanley-Leonard, Dominique Hanley-Leonard and Caitlin Hanley-Smith.



Prayer – Feast of St Anne and St Joachim

Today we celebrate the feast of Mary’s parents and Jesus’ grandparents, Anne and Joachim. We thank God for their lives and examples of faith. We also pray for our parents and grandparents, those who have loved us and who have modelled faith-filled lives with their God and their communities. On this day, we are invited to recall a moment when we felt their love and their faith. We pray in thanksgiving for St Anne and St Joachim, for our parents and grandparents – may we too, model our lives upon their example.




Verification Forms - DUE TODAY

THIS IS A REMINDER TO ALL PARENTS – Student Verification Forms are now overdue


At the end of Term 2, the College sent to parents:

  • a copy of the student detail information we currently hold concerning their  daughter
  • a parent occupation form
  • an extra emergency contact form
  • and the Annual Building Fund Request.


We would appreciate these forms being returned to the College by Friday 26 July regardless if there are no changes to your circumstances.


If you require further clarification regarding this matter please do not hesitate to contact the College on 9337 5311.


Careers News

Careers Newsletter

The Careers Newsletter is available below. It contains information on gap years, tertiary institution application dates and more. 


Careers Newsletter – July 26 2019 


Senior Pathways Expo Evening

On June 16 Year 10 students were invited to a Careers Expo alongside a Parent Information Night regarding Subject Selections, as we begin our VCE, VET or VCAL journeys. The Expo and Information Night provided students and our parents the opportunity to explore future pathways, specifically the learning opportunities that are available to students and the range of learning pathways available at St Columba’s.


The Careers Expo provided us with many resources to further support us in choosing which careers we are interested in pursuing in the near future. We were given the opportunity to speak to a range of University Representatives, including representatives from Melbourne University, La Trobe University, RMIT, ACU and a multitude of many others as well as past students from St Columba’s who discussed their career journeys and insights on the work they do. We were also able to speak to the Domain Leaders of all subjects, to gain additional insight into the subjects offered in 2020.


After the Careers Expo, a parent information session was held which covered pathway options available to students, which are VCE, VET and VCAL. We were given explanations as to the future pathways and the qualifications each provided. The information was presented by a range of speakers which included the Head of Learning, Pathways Coordinator, VCE Coordinator, VCAL Coordinator and the VET Coordinator.


Overall, both the Careers Expo and the Parent Information Night was helpful and very informative. Furthermore, it gave the Year 10s and their parents the opportunity to be informed about the subject selection process and the educational programs offered by St Columba’s College. – Elleshay Mendoza, DLYS2 


House News

Cater Feast Day Celebration

On July 25 Cater House celebrated our Feast Day in recognition of our House Patron and former Sister of Charity, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater. The event is an annual celebration of our House Patron that consisted of a whole House liturgy followed by a shared lunch. It was delightful to be able to share a lunchtime all together as a House by presenting a liturgy and enjoying the delicious feast of lasagna, pizza, hot chips and of course, a well enjoyed Cater cake. The food was well enjoyed as we all had a great time sitting at lunch with our House and also leaving with adorable purple lolly bags. Many girls were involved as well as members of staff, acknowledging the historical influence of Sister Cater and how we live through her work. As members of Cater house, we are continually inspired by her fundamental qualities of courage and creativity.

The day was fantastic and I felt honoured as the 2019 Cater Captain to share the experience with my Cater family. These are the things that make my final year memorable and I will cherish forever. A massive thank you to our House Leader, Miss Mazz for the incredible work and prior planning as well as our 2019 House Representatives in all you did to make the day come together fantastically. – Melissa Mazzeo, Cater House Captain


It is always such a privilege to organise such a salubrious feast for the staff and students in Cater to celebrate our House patron, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater. We also welcomed some members of senior leadership who joined us for our liturgy and our delicious lunch. Students were invited to reflect on the year that has been and encouraged to continue to ‘peel back their layers’ through the gift of storytelling in line with our 2019 House theme, “The secret life of us.” Students were gifted with lolly bags, which also contained a purple love heart keyring that was made in our STEM lab here at school. The students were urged to attach their keyring to their pencil case or school backpack to symbolise their sense of belonging to Cater House. I would like to express sincere gratitude to Frank Rowland for his help in making the hearts, 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. – Nicole Mazzarella, Cater House Leader


Bruton Bake-Off

On June 27 the community of St Columba’s College celebrated the feast of St Columba. The members of Bruton House organised the well known Bruton Bake-Off. For those who may not be familiar with this, the Bruton Bake Off provides an opportunity for the girls and staff at St Columba’s to get involved by baking delicious sweets in the hope of winning a prize. After judging, all entries are divided up and sold to the community to enjoy.


Not only is it an enjoyable and interactive way to get involved in St Columba’s Day, but it is also a great way to raise money for the Bruton House charity, The Good Samaritan Inn. This year, thanks to the outstanding number of participants, we raised an incredible $700 which we have proudly donated to The Good Samaritan Inn. This money will go towards the running costs of the accommodation that houses families escaping domestic violence situations. The time and effort that was put into all the entries were honestly remarkable which proves just how eager the girls are to support this worthy charity.


For more information regarding the Good Samaritan Inn, and to donate yourself, please visit


Williams House

Congratulations to Kiara Evans, WMSS1, who recently won Gold at the Taekwondo Australian Open and Gold and Silver at the Presidents Cup (Oceania Region). Her next Challenge will be the State Championships and then, if successful, the National Championships in September 2019. Congratulations Kiara!


If you would like to share a student’s achievements, both at the College and in her co-curricular activities, please email

Mobile Phone Ban

There has been much discussion regarding the recent decision by the Victorian government to ban mobile phones in Victorian public schools from Term 1 in 2020. As a school that has implemented a mobile phone policy that requires students to not use their mobile phone until the final bell of the school day it is clear that there are many benefits to this policy including a reduction in distractions enabling a more focused, positive and supportive environment with greater potential for more positive education outcomes.


In relation to the mobile phone ban in schools, leading child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has stated “All schools have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment in which to learn. “This significant policy initiative is designed to ensure the wellbeing of young people while at school, free of distraction and potentially cyberbullying.”


Please read the following article published by Eureka Street for a student’s view of the ban of mobile phones in school. I would also encourage you to chat with your child about their experiences so far in relation to the reduced use of a mobile phone throughout the day – and feel free to share any feedback you receive.


Article: A student’s view of mobile phone bans  


Library News

Library Opening Hours – Term 3

Monday – Thursday: 7.45am – 4.30pm

Friday: 7.45am – 4.00pm


Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge 2019

There’s still time for students to join the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge! We would LOVE to reach our goal of 100 participants, but presently have just 44 students signed up. Hence, we’d REALLY love it if parents/guardians could encourage students to get involved! As a reminder: the Challenge requires students from Years 7-10 to read 15 books (10 from the book lists and 5 of their own choosing). Of course, they can read even more if they like!


Getting involved is easy!:

  • Students can let a library staff member know they are keen to participate. They will register students online.
  • Once registered, students can log in using their personal username and password.
  • If you would like their name to appear on the online Honour Roll, a parent/guardian will need to provide permission via PAM – a letter will be sent out by the College via that medium.
  • It’s reading time! Students then enter the books they’ve read into their online record.
  • Once students have completed the challenge, they will need to hand into library staff a printed list of their completed books, signed by a parent/guardian. Staff will then verify that they have completed the Challenge.


For more information about the Challenge and to view the book lists, visit The Library also has hard copies of the book lists available for students to look at. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement of the students’ participation!


Top 10 Reads for Term 2

At the end of each term, the Top 10 most popular reads are collated from borrowing statistics, then displayed in the Library.  Term 2’s Top 10 reads were as follows:

  1. To all the boys I’ve loved before – Jenny Han
  2. Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda – Becky Albertalli
  3. Riverdale:  all-new stories (Volume 3) – Greg Murray, Aaron Allen and Thomas Pitilli
  4. The lost stories (Ranger’s Apprentice series) – John Flanagan
  5. Pennies for Hitler – Jackie French
  6. Ouran High School host club (Volume 2) – Bisco Hatori
  7. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon
  8. With malice – Eileen Cook
  9. Five feet apart – Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
  10. Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly


Library Staff book review


Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng

A sharp, insightful and affecting book about an elderly woman who opens her home to Andy, an international student. The story of their unconventional friendship is told with wit and empathy. The book also touches on racism and the lack of connection in contemporary Australian society. Highly recommended for senior students and staff.


Student book reviews


A Child Called It – by Dave Pelzer

Review By: Elena Wong


The book “A Child Called It” is an autobiography written by Dave Pelzer about his horrible childhood, caused by abuse from his alcoholic mother. Throughout the book, you read about how torturous his mother was to him through her “games,” and how she would use food to threaten him. Suffering because of his mother’s abuse, he uses his motivation and strength to share his story. The book’s themes are abuse, sadness, emotion and torture.


Unmasked: Young Readers’ Edition by Turia Pitt

Review By: Kristina Rados


“Unmasked” is a biography about Turia Pitt and how her life was dramatically affected while she was competing in a one hundred kilometre ultra-marathon in the Kimberley, Western Australia in 2011. During the marathon, Turia was trapped in a fire which caused up to 60 per cent of her body being burnt. While her injuries were horrific and she was both physically and emotionally scarred, her book focuses on the event and how she continues to live her life since.


Assassination Classroom by Yusei Matsui

Review By: Kata Jugovic


I recommend this book series because it’s really fun to read – a class full of failures suddenly have something so important to do, that could cost them their very lives if they don’t do something about it.  The book’s themes are action, friendship and mystery.


Visual Arts - Year 7

The Visual Arts have had a changeup at Year 7! The focus is now on providing an opportunity for the students to experience a variety of materials and techniques- Ceramics being one of them. These photos show some of the students experiencing clay for the first time and I think the sheer joy is evident! The task was to create the ‘tallest tower’ to discover the possibilities and limitations of using clay as a medium. We look forward to seeing what the girls create! 


Counsellors - Teens: Money Management

Over the next few issues of IONA, we will be providing some helpful tips in assisting teenagers to develop positive money management. Below is week one of this series. 


Modelling money management

Your child learns by watching how you deal with money. So one of the best ways to help your child learn skills for managing money is by modelling responsible attitudes to money and money management.


For example, you can send responsible and positive messages when you:

  • set savings goals
  • set aside money for emergencies
  • prioritise the things you need to buy over the things you want to buy
  • work hard to save for something
  • organise your earnings to pay bills
  • avoid impulse buying and check prices instead.


As your child gets older, it’s a good idea to give your child more control and responsibility for their money and how they spend it. This will help your child learn important and lifelong money management skills. You might decide that the more your child has done to earn her own money, the more freedom she can have to decide what to do with it. But it helps to work out some clear guidelines about using money with your child – for example, discuss how much can go into savings, spending and donating.


These guidelines might apply whether it’s pocket money you’ve given your child or money she has earned herself – for example, from a part-time job. It’s important to guide your child towards saving some of her money, rather than spending it all.


Your child will make some mistakes with money management, whether it’s losing a $50 note, spending her week’s allowance in two days, or spending all her money on something that doesn’t seem so good once she has bought it. Instead of giving your child more money, it’s a good idea to talk with your child about what she has learned from the experience and what she might do differently next time.


It can be easy for teenagers to run up large mobile phone bills. It’s a good idea to talk with your child about different types of phone plans. You can suggest starting with a pre-paid plan that has a monthly limit, or agree to track your child’s spending on her phone plan so she doesn’t overspend.


Year 12 Retreat

On the first 3 days of Term 3, the Year 12 cohort attended our annual Year 12 retreat. This retreat was different from many in the past, as we stayed in Collins Street, in the middle of our busy city. The retreat was a chance to withdraw from our everyday life, and to reflect on what is within us. Staying in the city for a retreat was a unique experience since the city was bustling around us, but we still had the chance to take part in mindful group activities such as morning meditation, group reflection and plenty of downtime. 


We had the opportunity to spend time with our friends, going to Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum, NGV and Melbourne Zoo. After visiting all these places, we were encouraged to find meaning in our everyday lives, approaching the application of Catholic values in a modern-day context. We heard from a guest speaker, Rose from Christmas on the Streets (COTS), who inspired us to find our purpose and use our gifts to respond compassionately to the issues around us, contextually the homeless. 


Our final day, though short, was spent amongst our peers as we recounted the days prior, relaxed and prepared ourselves for the return to Year 12 life.