August 9, 2019

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Principal's Message


Deputy Principal

Year 7 2021 Enrolments Closing Soon!

Accessing the Parent Access Module (PAM)

Sports News

Social Justice News

Careers News

Parents' Night Out!

Counsellors - Teens: Money Management

Year 9 Reflection Day

Performing Arts - Upcoming Events!

Community Events & News

Principal's Message

Student Attendance

A recent report released by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership has reaffirmed the importance of student attendance at school and the link between student attendance and achievement. Our attendance data at St Columba’s College is very positive and reflects the generally positive picture of overall attendance in Australian schools:

  • Years 1-10 students attend, on average, 92% of ‘available school days’ in Australia (ACARA, 2018).
  • The overall proportion of Australian students who attend school regularly is also good, with 75% of Years 1-10 students attending at least 90% of available school days (ACARA, 2018).

There are, however, areas of concern and some of these are relevant to us at St Columba’s:

  •  25% of Australian school students attend less than 90% of school days – this equates to approximately 20 or more days absent in a school year.
  • attendance rates tend to decline in secondary school, from Year 8 onwards.

We monitor attendance closely at the College and aim to have attendance rates for all students at least at 90%. Where a student’s attendance falls below this level, we work with families to determine the factors having an impact on a student’s capacity to attend school. The first step in this process is to alert parents to the issue to provide an opportunity for discussion. This week, letters have been sent to families where attendance rates have fallen below the expected 90% mark. We appreciate that many families have informed us of particular absences, and that over time, with consistent attendance, these rates will resolve themselves. We are committed to ensuring that parents have the information they require from the College to support decision-making around this issue. I encourage you to use this communication as an opportunity for conversation with your daughter and with the College to ensure that, jointly, we provide your daughter the best opportunity to achieve her full potential across all areas of school life.


The Wedding Singer

Thanks to all those that supported our students in their commitment to this year’s joint St Bernard’s and St Columba’s College Musical, The Wedding Singer. To see the students on stage is to witness their absolute delight and pure pleasure in presenting their work to the audience. Congratulations to all the students on their wonderful performances. A special thank you to our Performing Arts staff for their accompaniment of the students as they prepared for the show and to all the families who provided love, encouragement, transport and moral support during both the rehearsal period and the performances. 



Yesterday, we the Australian church celebrate the feast of Mary MacKillop, our first Saint. As a woman of great faith, she promoted the dignity of all people, she worked tirelessly to help others in building God’s kingdom where people were fed, comforted, educated and loved.

Let us pray this litany in honour of St Mary of the Cross.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Mary MacKillop, Pray for us.

Mother Mary of the Cross, Pray for us.

Lover of the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.

Friend of St Joseph, Pray for us.

Witness to the Gospel, Pray for us.

Woman of Prayer, Pray for us.

Bearer of pain, Pray for us.

Refuge of the homeless, Pray for us.

Comforter of the dying, Pray for us.

Friend of the Poor, Pray for us.

Companion of the destitute, Pray for us.

Guide for little children, Pray for us.

Strength of the sick, Pray for us.

Light of the illiterate, Pray for us.

Keeper of the dream, Pray for us.

Child of the Church, Pray for us.

Example to all, Pray for us.

Daughter of Australia, Pray for us.


Holy God, source of all goodness,

In Mary MacKillop, you show us a woman of faith

Who lived by the power of your cross and pioneered new ways of living the gospel.

Help us to live in ways that respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land.

We ask this through Christ, who lives and reigns forever, AMEN.


Venerable Mary Aikenhead, Pray for us.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Deputy Principal

Parent Notified Student Absences

As you are aware, the current practice when a student is absent is for the parent or legal guardian to inform the College by ringing the Absentee Line on that morning on 9331 0648. Your daughter’s name, student ID number, House Group and reason for the absence is needed. A written note or medical certificate is also required upon your daughter’s return to school.


From the commencement of Term 3, parents have had the option to notify the College of a student’s absence online via PAM or ring the Absentee Line. Notification can be made up until 9.00am on the morning of the absence. Notification after 9.00am will need to be made via phone. A written note or medical certificate is still required upon your daughter’s return to school.


The Parent Access Module (PAM) Parent Instructions can be located on the PAM Homepage under School Links -> Parent Links on the left-hand side. Please FOLLOW this link to access the St Columba’s College PAM login page (if you are having difficulties following the link, please copy & paste the following URL into your browser: 


The instructions relating to the use of the Parent Notified Absence function begin on page 7 of the Parent Instructions.


We hope that parents will find the option of using PAM for this purpose, to be user-friendly and convenient. Please contact the College if you have any feedback about this process.


Student Bulletin Information    


You may now be aware that as of Term 3, parents are able to view the daily notices that appear on the Student Bulletin. These automatically appear on the PAM homepage on the right-hand side, above the Calendar section. Again, we hope this supports improved communication between the College and our families.

Year 7 2021 Enrolments Closing Soon!

A reminder to submit an application for enrolment form for Year 7 2021 (currently Grade 5).

An application form must be submitted even if you already have a daughter at the College.

Applications can be downloaded from the College website or collected from Reception. Closing date for applications is Friday 23 August. Any queries please contact me on 9331 9128.


Accessing the Parent Access Module (PAM)

Now that we are well into Semester 2 parents are encouraged to regularly access the Parent Access Module (PAM) associated with our learning management system SIMON. Not only is PAM used for excursion notifications and medical information, but also ongoing assessment results and Interim and End of Semester Report access, subject information including Handbooks, Parent/Teacher Interview bookings, student timetables, notification of absences and attendance information.


For your benefit, we have created a step-by-step user manual. To access this guide, open PAM through the College website: and log in to the Parent Access Module using your ID and password, or click here: PAM User Guide.


Sports News


On Tuesday 30 July, the St Columba’s volleyball teams took to MSAC for the SCSA volleyball competition. After weeks of before-school training sessions with our amazing coaches, Ms Hicks for the seniors, Ms Patti and Mr Vo for the intermediates and Ms Coyle, Mr Morris and Mr Twomey for the Juniors, our girls were ready to take the court!


We had a good day out, with all our girls giving it their best shot and some great teamwork on display! Our junior A and C teams fought down to the last serve, both making the grand finals of their respective leagues. However, they were unable to come home with the title, finishing in 2nd Place – great effort girls! Although our Junior B, Intermediate teams and Senior teams were unable to make the finals, they played some awesome volleyball throughout the day. Special thanks to our coaches who organized and cheered on the teams on the day, we couldn’t have done it without them.



On Wednesday 17 July, Ms King – Sports Coordinator, Niamh Vahland – O’Brien House Captain and myself attended the Moonee Valley City Council’s Ready, Set, Equity – Women and Girls in Sport forum at the Clocktower! It was a great night as we listened to a range of great guest speakers including Michael Stinear, the Coach of the Melbourne Demons AFLW, Angela Pippos, sports journalist and author, Moana Hope – AFLW star, and females in positions of leadership from local sports clubs such as Strathmore Cricket Club and Aberfeldie Jets Basketball Club. The speakers explored gender equality and female participation in sport in our local Moonee Valley community! – Isabella Santilli, Sports Captain 



On Thursday 24 July the College’s junior and senior football teams had the opportunity to participate in a round-robin tournament and represent St Columba’s College in the SCSA Football competition at Royal Park in Parkville. In the lead up to this, the girls had four training sessions over a six week period. In this short period of time, there were vast amounts of improvements seen in everyone, there were strong team bonds formed and huge amounts of enjoyment.


All up we played five other Colleges. Our first game was against a school who came out very strong and unfortunately, we lost by only 4 points. We went on and played another 4 games, they were all very competitive games and our effort led us into the grand final.  In the grand final, we played OLSH, who came out extremely strong beating us by 4 goals.  Overall, it was an enjoyable day with a great outcome for all the junior girls.


The junior team was coached by Mr Rutty and Mr Huf. The girls took the coaches by surprise and absolutely excelled in the competition. We were all extremely happy to have made it to the grand final.  The senior team was coached by Mr Frank Rowland and Ms Marlene Amari and had around twenty to thirty girls in the team. The girls improved a huge amount throughout the weeks of training and even on comp day. The girls won one out of their five games, a huge achievement for the team as many of them have never played football before.


On behalf of all the girls, we would like to give a massive thank you to all the coaches and all the girls for giving it their all throughout every game that was played. – Claudia Santoro CTRJ3 , Ruby Pound OBNJ1

Social Justice News

ONE GIRL – Ambassador Program

One Girl is a Melbourne-based charity harnessing the power of education to drive change for girls and their communities. Over 130 million girls around the world aren’t in school, just because they were born a girl and we’re on a mission to change this.


They work in Sierra Leone and Uganda, some of the worst places on earth to be born a girl. Almost half of all female youth in Sierra Leone (15-24 years old) are illiterate. Up to 40% of girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone are married before they turn 18.


You can change this by supporting One Girl’s four girl-focused education projects. For every year a girl can stay in school, her income will increase between 10 and 25 per cent. And for every dollar she earns, she’ll reinvest 90 per cent of it back into her family. She’s less likely to be sold as a child bride, and she can marry later and have children when she’s ready.


And the best bit? She’s more likely to educate her own children – creating a ripple effect of opportunity that will benefit generations to come. Giving girls access to education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. 


They are calling for applications to participate in an ambassador program that helps develop leadership and advocacy skills. Please encourage your daughter to consider submitting an application. 


Check out their website to find the application or speak with Ms Fleeton


Careers News

Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available to download below. It contains information on upcoming Open Days and other events, important dates and more. Included below are also information flyers on Entry Schemes in Vic, NSW, ACT; University Application Dates, Scholarship resources and All Things Year 12 – UAC and VTAC.


Careers Newsletter – August 9 2019 

Early Entry Schemes VIC, NSW, ACT – 2020

University Applications Key Dates 2020

Scholarship Resources 2020

All Things VTAC & UAC 2020


Years 9 & 10 Careers Expo and PIN – Student Reflection 

On Tuesday 16 July, the College held an information night for the Year 9 and 10 students to attend. This allowed them to get an insight into potential courses that they may be interested in so that can select appropriate subjects to correspond with their course of choice. The night consisted of many universities such as RMIT, Latrobe University, Melbourne University, the Australian Catholic University, Deakin University and a few more, who provided information about their courses. 


Domain leaders and ex-St Columba’s College students were also involved by answering questions about subjects and talking about their pathways respectively. This gave the Year 9 girls some insight on what the subjects are all about and the career pathways of the ex-students. The expo then ended with a student and parent information session, which explained study options, the subjects available for 2020, along with the subject selection process and the timeline, so both students and parents knew what was going to happen during this time of the year. – Elle Hardwick CHLJ2


Parents' Night Out!

When: Saturday 7 September 2019 at 7.30pm 

Where: Riverside Golf Course, 55 – 75 Newsom Street, ASCOT VALE 3032 

Cost: $50 per head or $95 per couple 

Price includes finger food, the first glass of bubbles/beer/wine on arrival* and entertainment. *Drinks are at bar prices after this. 

RSVP: 30 August 2019 via 




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 Two of this series. 


Money management tips for teenagers

Part of learning about managing money is learning to spend responsibly and appreciate the value of things. These tips might help with your child’s learning:

  • Encourage your child to price and manage her weekly transport costs. This might include school bus fares, social outings and so on. Get her to work out the cheapest option.
  • If you have a pre-teen child, give your child some money to spend on a family day out – but the money has to last your child for the whole day.
  • Let your child buy birthday, Christmas or other presents for her siblings or other extended family members. Working out what to spend on these family members will help her learn to plan and budget. And your child might also better appreciate the gifts she gets from others.
  • Include your child in family financial decisions – for example, when you’re planning a holiday.
  • Make sure your child is aware of what things really cost. If she has saved $100 for a skateboard and it costs $180, help her make a plan for saving the rest. If you agree to help her with the cost, get her to come up with a plan for paying you back.
  • Give your child a budget for her birthday party to decide what to buy or where to go.
  • Step in to help the first time your child runs out of money, but let her know that next time she’ll have to deal with the consequences herself.


Giving your child Pocket Money or an allowance can help her start learning about managing money. But whether you do this depends on your values and financial situation. If you do give pocket money, how much to give depends on what you think is reasonable and what it’s for. For example, you might give an allowance to cover travel to school, lunches or clothes, or just for spending as your child pleases.


Paying your child to help around the house is a complex issue. You might choose to pay your child for a few extra jobs, like raking leaves or babysitting, if it helps your child towards her savings goal. But linking family contribution to pocket money might interfere with the idea of your child contributing just because she’s a family member. Just go with what works for you and your child. If you do decide to link pocket money to chores, it’s a good idea for the chores to be regular – for example, tidying up the bedroom daily or weekly, putting out rubbish bins each week, feeding the family pet each day, washing the car each week and so on. This gets your child in the habit of working to earn money.


You might also consider having your child’s friends work for you and your child work for their family – teenagers often do a better job and learn more at someone else’s house. These kinds of arrangements also strengthen young people’s social skills and ability to accept payment graciously.


Informal jobs that your child could do at a friend’s place include feeding their pets while they’re on holiday, babysitting or cleaning cars.


As they grow up, children start to think about saving for something they want. This is a key step in learning money management and developing responsible financial habits. These tips can help encourage your child to save:

  • Encourage your child to always save some of her pocket money or birthday money.
  • Help your child set short-term and long-term savings goals. It might help to use a chart so she can see the savings growing and see how close she is to her goal.
  • Encourage your child to get involved with school banking.
  • Help your child set up a savings account with restricted access, making it harder for her to spend her money straight away. Your child can add an ATM card when she’s older. Also talk with your child about the pros and cons of having easy access to savings.
  • Try a pocket money app. You can use it to set a savings goal with your child, choose a pocket money amount, and track saving and spending.
  • Encourage your child to shop around for the best savings account. Many banks offer no-fee accounts for people under 18 years.


You’ll probably be your child’s first lender. This is a good chance to teach your child about the importance of repaying loans as part of money management.


For example, perhaps your child has been saving for some special sneakers and now they’re on sale. You might lend her the last $20 that she needs so she can buy them before the price goes back up. But you might also discuss and agree on a repayment plan.


You might also want to discuss borrowing money from friends, or lending money to friends. Is it something you would encourage? You could talk about why or why not and the importance of paying the money back as soon as you can.


Year 9 Reflection Day

On 26 July, Year 9 students had our Reflection Day, run by the NET team. At first, we got to know the group and where they came from and how they got to where they are today. We did lots of fun activities all throughout the day, getting to know them and ourselves. By lesson 4 the games had stopped and we went on to a bit more serious matter. The NET team started the lesson with a performance about Jesus what he did and will always do; strive for peace. After the performance, we were given a sheet with 2 questions and to write our own prayer. The NET team sat all around the gym and some year 9’s went to talk to them about their problems and then we prayed. The day ended with tears as we reflected and supported each other. We left with a final prayer, leaving us with a new perspective on our approach to social justice. – Reyziah Pama, DLYJ3


On Friday 26 July, Year 9 students had the opportunity to have an Encounter Day with the NET team. The day was a great experience to really connect with Jesus and to find Jesus in our everyday lives. The NET team was a really energetic, fun team of young adults who came and taught us about how to connect with Jesus. The day was filled with many fun activities and presentations, teaching us about the differences between good and evil and how acts of God can be found in our lives each day. This Reflection Day was an experience that will be carried with us for a long time as we now have a greater understanding of how we can connect with God and find good in the world. – Monique Hrehoresin, CNMJ1


Performing Arts - Upcoming Events!

Spring Music Concert

What: Spring Music Concert

When: Tuesday 17 September at 7:30pm

Where: The Clocktower Centre – Moonee Ponds


Tickets will go on sale from Monday 12 August. Get in quick to receive the early bird offer and save $5 per ticket! Bookings can be made via: 


Junior Production – R + J

What: The Junior Production performance of Romeo & Juliet

When: 5 & 6 September at 7:30pm

Where: St Columba’s College – The Drama Studio

Tickets on sale Thursday 15 August – visit to book yours today!


Community Events & News


St Bernard’s RESPECT evening 

St Bernard’s Social Justice Network presents: Cultivating a Culture of Respect 


When: Wednesday 28 August, 7.30pm 

Where: St Bernard’s College Auditorium

What: An evening of discussion about respect, featuring guest speakers from SBC, STC, Psychologists and men and women in sport. 

RSVP and book your free tickets via 

Basketball – Female players wanted! 

St Bernard’s Old Collegians Basketball Club’s motto is to  “encourage all children to play”. We are welcoming all female players to join.  With the support of our communities, we believe that girls can prosper and grow to belong to St Bernard’s Old Collegians Basketball Club.


The club is seeking expressions of interest for female players interested in the following division for the upcoming seasons: Under 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s & 19s. 


If you are interested in playing, please contact our List Manager (details below), with your name, contact number, email, your daughter’s name and date of birth. 


Phil Thorpe, List Manager – St Bernard’s Old Collegians Basketball Club – 0416 188 413 or email



St Columba’s Honour Boards

The College recently installed new Honour Boards in Gayip-Biik, recognising our past College Co-Captains, Award Winners and College Dux. A special thank you to Ms Therese Chapman, Archivist, for coordinating the new boards. See the photos below!