July 31, 2020

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Principal's Message


Year 10 Self Expression

Cater House News

Parenting in a Digital World

Year 7 Poetry

Careers News

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2022 Enrolment - Important Update

Principal's Message

Progress Interviews

Thank you to all of the Year 10, 11 and 12 families who joined us online for these interviews on Wednesday, 29 July.  From all accounts this was hugely successful, and a great way for teachers to connect with families to discuss their daughter’s learning.  Families who participated in the online interviews will receive a survey shortly and we would be grateful for your feedback as we continue to ensure we are responsive to the needs of our times, and to the needs of our students and their families.

Year 7, 8 and 9 interviews are scheduled for Wednesday, 26 August and you will receive information regarding these interviews in coming weeks.

Wellbeing Resources for Parents and Carers

As we find ourselves yet again in remote and flexible learning, we recognise that this can be challenging for both students, and parents and carers.  New Department of Education and Training resources for parents and carers can be found by following the links below:

The first is an easy to read and use resource targeted at particular age groups that supports parents and carers with suggestions for activities you can do with your daughter(s).  The second has resources related to managing screen time, especially for our students and daughters who are in remote learning mode once again.

For those of you who are football fans, the Department of Education and Training and Melbourne Football Club have developed a new series of wellbeing videos.  Featuring both AFL and AFLW players, the videos provide students with tips on resilience, managing stress and anxiety, gratitude and staying active.

Protecting Everyone’s Wellbeing and Safety

I would like to assure all our families that we continue to be mindful and vigilant about protecting the health and safety of our students and staff who are onsite.  I would like to acknowledge the cooperation we have had from our Year 10, 11 and 12 girls who are on campus and wearing their masks.  While I know they are uncomfortable, I would ask that over break times these masks stay on and that all girls remember to be physically distant from one another.  I would be grateful if you could remind your daughter(s) about our expectations.



ON Wednesday 22 July, we celebrated the feast day of Venerable Mary Aikenhead, the foundress of the Sisters of Charity.

On 22 July 1858, at noon, Mother Mary Aikenhead received Holy communion, as she was close to death. From that time until her death at 3:00 pm, she remained in silent prayer. This day is the feast of St Mary Magdalene.

The Requiem Mass was celebrated in Donnybrooke Chapel. A deputation from Dublin’s working men came and begged, as a favour, to be allowed to carry her coffin to the grave.

We give thanks to God for the gift of Mary Aikenhead to our world – for the many Sisters of Charity and laity who continue the work of God in loving all, especially those most in need.

Let us pray:

God our creator, you call us into being and we recognise your presence amongst us. We gather in joy and thanksgiving to remember the life of Mary Aikenhead. In the spirit of Mary Aikenhead, we respond to your call to service the poor and to be co-workers in your mission.

May we be enlivened and nourished by the Holy Spirit who breathes life and love into our hearts and calls us to the service of others.

May the amazing grace of Christ cover us, the enduring love of God encircle us, and the pure friendship of the Spirit inspire us, both today and evermore. Amen.

Venerable Mary Aikenhead, Pray for and with us.



Year 10 Self Expression

During the extended holiday’s Grace Philemona (Year 10) put some of her skills from Collage to Camera into practice by creating a collage at home. 

“My collage is about self expression as I believe that I’m able to express myself more visually than verbally. Overall I just wanted my mind to be occupied by something else, doing this made me think more deeply about myself and what things I felt best represented me and my style. Some of the images represent themes such as the ‘have the time of your life’ which is a reminder to have fun and live life to the fullest. It also kind of represents what my teenage life is like at the moment. Other images like the butterflies represent being free, beautiful and unbounded. Another final image is of Lisa Simpson closing her eyes and holding a book. I think she looks happy and at peace and that image reminds me to take a moment to appreciate all the small things.”



Cater House News

Cater Feast Day


Each year, I take such pride as House Leader in organising a salubrious feast for the staff and students in Cater to celebrate our House patron, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater. This year, however, we adapted our plans and instead joined together for a liturgy held via Google Meets. We welcomed our Year 7s to their first Feast Day celebration and the Year 12s to their last with an optimistic attitude towards being able to celebrate together when it is safe to do so. 

In light of our Cater House theme for the year ‘…like a girl’, students were encouraged to reflect upon their actions throughout the year. To think about when they have stood out from the pack; what they have learned about themselves through these challenging times, and what they can do now that they didn’t think was possible. As members of Cater House, I urged students to continue to lead by example, to be strong females in the wider St Columba’s community and like Sister Cater, be bold, creative and courageous in order to change the stereotypes around what it means to do things ‘…like a girl.’ I look forward to celebrating Cater Feast Day with our community when all students return to school.


A Message from Cater House Captain – Ivy Kr_lovi_

With two thirds of the Cater house in lockdown, the Cater leadership team adapted regular plans for feast day celebrations, opting for a Google Meets call to bring the house together on our special day and to reinforce a sense of community. From the perspective of the students, the liturgy was a time to consider the Catholic teachings and the way in which the actions of our House patron, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater, have inspired us and provided guidance throughout this turbulent year. 

During the prayers of the faithful, an opportunity was provided for students to be meditative and at peace with themselves. This acted as a much needed break from the current confusion and disorganisation that schooling amongst a global pandemic can at times bring. With the response said in unison, girls were ensured that as a community, we are going to get through these struggles and continue to thrive in our circumstances. The liturgy concluded with my final blessing which encouraged the girls of Cater to consider gratitude for what we have, even in times of hardship. To simulate the notion of our usual Cater feast, chocolates in purple wrappers were handed out in homerooms – an indication of the celebration that is to come once all students are able to learn on site once more.


Parenting in a Digital World

It can be difficult to support our children to stay safe as they navigate their digital world and it is clear that all adults in their world need to participate in educating them to avoid harmful online experiences. Children not only need to be technically competent, but also need to use technology appropriately and ethically.

Some simple steps that parents may find helpful include:

  • Know what your child is doing online and get involved where possible by playing games together and interacting with the apps that they are using. It is important for parents to have used all of the apps that the child is accessing themselves to know exactly what they are provided access to.
  • Foster communication between yourself and your child. If something does go wrong, the child needs to feel they can tell you or another adult exactly what has happened. It is also important that they feel they can do this immediately so that a situation can be dealt with as effectively as possible. According to the eSafety Commissioner, ‘Reassure your child they can always come to you, no matter what. Let them know you will not cut off internet access if they report feeling uncomfortable or unsafe when online Ñ this is a real concern that may stop your child from communicating with you openly’.
  • Set boundaries and rules around the use of technology. But don’t forget to adhere to them yourself.  These might include
    • Having regular,  device free family time
    • Not having your daughter using her laptop in her bedroom with the door closed
    • Asking your daughter to surrender her mobile at night
    • Setting up your router to have a separate account for the young people in the household (Your internet provider can step you through this)

The important thing for parents to remember is that there are still no apps for wisdom, experience, and ethics and that lessons to be learned by children require limits, consequences, empathy, and compassion.

The following links provide information that parents may find useful to prevent harm, such as that caused by cyberbullying, as well as responding to harm that has taken place:

eSafety Commissioner Parent Information

Online Safety Guide for parents


Year 7 Poetry

The 7.4 English class has been exploring poetry. Students have put pen to paper to write their own poems, here are just a few:

The Bad News 

I feel as my knuckles quiver and shake
I am exhausted like a river running through my veins
This has been a long road we are almost to the end
His head smoothed like a sheet of polished brass
This is it the doctor comes
The car falls of the cliff

And yet crashes, the last raindrop falls off the stick
We are back in the same room
Whitewashed walls clamber at the side
The lids of my eyes blink steadily
As the eruption of waves clear all that I see
His big eyes look up at me as if to say why me?

The world whirls around
I can’t hide from the cruel world
Deep in the trenches, my thoughts lay gaping
My heart thumping loud in my head
I feel my hands withering in despair
My lips chattering on this cold winter’s day

What is next for us
This world of grief, powerless to change this
Drowning, slipping away from all that was once merry and glee
The oil paints drying up back home
The animals lying on the bed getting cold and dusty
As if to say Amen

Scarlett Williams – Year 7



I can feel the earth spinning under my feet
And the people around me float away
Slowly into the darkness
Their stares melt me
Until I feel like the puddle
That the pouring rain left behind

Fear swells inside me 
It wraps itself around my lungs
So tight that my breath comes out in frosty fog

Makes me feel like a bare tree

A tree that cracks and rips
It doesn’t give any shade
And nobody sits under it in the summer
Because it is covered in dry, dusty dirt

I am invisible
No one talks to me for a good reason
Only to hiss a stinging comment
And when they do, my body burns
Until the needle-sharp pain pierces my skin
And the cold air bites my cheeks.

I hate that nobody believes in second chances
I hate that I am underestimated
I hate that I am put in the rusty box
That sits at the back of the cupboard
under the house

Sometimes it angers me to a boiling point
Where a great monster roars and bears its teeth
But I don’t dare show it
For there is nothing much left of me now
Just an unknown character
A blank sheet of paper 
A fragment of glass
Swept away
And carelessly thrown into the bin

Again, I slowly become aware of my surroundings
Out of my pathetic daydream
My feet sweep back onto the ground
But this time I decide
That I won’t let people wither me to the floor
So I come back stronger
My skin feels tough
I am determined
to face whatever is coming
And I realise
That maybe a small change each day is all I need.

Lucia Ragnanese – Year 7

Careers News

This edition of the Careers News features :

  • Applications for NIDA, WAAPA, and the VCA
  • Career and course exploration resources
  • Electrical apprenticeships (Melbourne and Canberra)
  • Creative arts competition
  • Learn financial literacy skills and go into the draw to win $1000!
  • Love humanities? Check out these amazing courses and initiatives at 4 universities
  • Virtual open days start next week – have you registered your place yet?
  • University applications – VTAC opens on Monday and early entry applications closing in August
  • STEM quizzes
  • Upcoming webinars and online career events

Access the newsletter here.

Visit the Pathways website here.


Academic Excellence Scholarships

Due to the current COVID-19 situation and reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions, the Scholarship Testing date has been rescheduled.

Registration closing date is Friday 21 August 2020

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 29 August 2020

Details about the scholarships on offer and online registration are available on the College website.


Year 7 2022 Enrolment - Important Update

Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) has reviewed the enrolment dates for Year 7 2022 due to the impact of COVID-19.  As a result, the enrolment timeline has been extended with new dates listed below:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 9 October 2020
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Tuesday 1 December 2020
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Tuesday 15 December 2020

If your daughter is currently in Grade 5 and you wish to enrol her at the College, please ensure you submit an application form by the designated date.

An Application for Enrolment form can be downloaded from the College website or collected from Reception. You can also book in for a virtual tour via the College website.