August 12, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

CSPA 2022 Parent Survey

VCE News

Cunningham House Celebration Day

Junior Production - 18th & 19th August

Spring Music Concert - 8th September

Unwell or Injured Students

Girl Power Engineering and IT

Sports News

Year 7 2024 - Applications for Enrolment Closing

Celebration of Excellence

Principal's Message

125-year Celebration Eucharist

It was a pleasure to host parents and special guests, including many Sisters of Charity, at our celebration Eucharist on Friday 12 August. At such a significant event in the College’s history, it is important to pause and give thanks to God, and to the many people over time working in God’s name, who have shaped our wonderful school community.

Fond, and sometimes, funny memories were shared over morning tea by those with connections to the College across several decades. Once again, the emerging theme was the significance of this school in shaping lives in the service of God, for both adults and students.

A very special thank you to the many people involved in ensuring this Eucharistic celebration was a very special commemoration, especially after the re-schedules due to the impact of COVID.


Thank you to the parents who attended the SEQTA PIN earlier this week to learn more about the ENGAGE Portal. I take this opportunity to remind families again that we have a staged roll-out of the many features within this tool, as teachers learn more about SEQTA in general, and as we begin to transfer the learning program into this portal.


The 8th of August is the Feast day of St Mary MacKillop. On the 10th anniversary of her canonization in 2020, the Sisters of St Joseph produced a beautiful prayer resource. This weeks prayer from day 2 reflecting on the value of education.


Notices from the Deputy Principal


One of the major events being organised to acknowledge our 125th anniversary is a Gala Dinner to be held on Friday 2 September at the Park Hyatt, Essendon Fields. A feature of this evening will be a Silent Auction which we hope will allow us to raise funds to support the important work of the Sisters of Charity Foundation – an organisation that assists those who are marginalised.

We seek your support for this major fundraising initiative. If you are able to assist in any way, whether that be through providing a product, voucher or monetary donation, we would be most appreciative and would look to recognize your contribution on the evening, as well as on any printed or electronic material produced for the event.

If you have any questions in relation to the above or are able to assist, please contact Donna Kellett on 9337 5311 or

We hope to see you at this special event!


The College held a SEQTA workshop on Monday 8 August. Thank you to those parents who took the time to be with us on this evening. Those in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to find out how to use SEQTA to support their child’s engagement in their learning and said that it was very informative.


Impersonation Accounts on Social Media

Impersonation accounts on TikTok, Instagram and many other popular social media and gaming platforms are becoming a key online safety issue for young people and schools.

Please view the 15min Quick Chat by ySafe which unpacks the issues, discusses the consequences of these impersonation accounts and what can be done if this happens to you or your child.

The following are some steps that can be taken by schools and parents:

  1. Report
  • To the platform and the eSafety Commission

(capture URLs, usernames and conversations)

  1. Educate
  • Young people and the wider community about negative online behaviours
  1. Empower bystanders to become upstanders
  • Listen to young people
  • Encourage them to report (even anonymously)
  • Take real action

Tik Tok’s Stalking Feature

Tik Tok is an incredibly popular app, particularly amongst teenagers. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic. Using this platform regularly, either as a consumer or content creator, increases your digital footprint. On its own, this poses great risks such as being more prone to phishing attacks and stalking. This is an important reason why you should care about your digital footprint.

Access this link to read about this concerning feature:

The article provides instructions on how to change settings to ensure greater privacy.


Vaping began as an idea to help smokers quit but has quickly developed into a multi-billion-dollar industry and is contributing to the enormous wealth, power, and influence of the international tobacco industry..

As young people continue to be inundated with images and videos of glamorous vaping tricks and e-cigarette use, the tobacco industry is working hard to keep up. In recent years, they have been pumping large sums of money into marketing campaigns that specifically target young people.

A recent survey conducted by the Cancer Council Victoria found that only 12% of young people aged 18-24 believed vaping was harmful to their health. While many young people view vaping as a harmless or even healthy activity, the reality is that it comes with serious risks. Young people often believe vaping is a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes. We need to ensure students have a clear understanding of the health impacts, making them aware that:

  • Vapes contain nicotine. While some vapes do not contain nicotine, most products do. Vapes that do not have nicotine are often modified devices or black-market products that use other unknown chemicals instead. The nicotine in e-cigarettes can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that can have harmful effects on the developing brain. Vaping is very addictive, with evidence showing the possibility that it is more addictive than cigarettes and is considered a gateway to other drugs.
  • Vapes contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, commonly found in household products such as laundry and dish detergents, soap, glue and adhesives. Some of the chemicals used in e-cigarettes are known to be carcinogens, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.
  • Vaping increases your chance of lung conditions such as coughing, wheezing, and asthma, with 60 deaths in the United States thought to be related to lung injuries due to vaping.

It is also important that we all understand the law. In Australia, it is illegal to sell, supply or possess nicotine vaping products without a doctor’s prescription.

The penalty for selling e-cigarettes, vapes and their components is $10,000 for an individual.

St Columba’s College is:

  • Ensuring students understand the power of tobacco companies and empowering students to make good choices.
  • Limiting the capacity for vaping at school by installing cameras and vape detectors
  • Encouraging parents to have conversations about vaping.

However, this is not just an issue for schools but more importantly for parents, as most vape usage occurs out of school hours at parties and in other social situations.

5 suggestions for parents to help tackle vaping

  1. Watch this Four Cornersprogram
  2. Download and read this excellentfact sheet
  3. Start the conversation

Having an open and honest conversation with your child about vaping can help them make informed decisions about whether or not to try it. It is important to remember that ultimately, the decision is up to them. But, as a parent, you can help them by providing accurate information and being there to support them.

Here are some questions to help start the conversation:

  • What do you know about vaping?
  • Have you ever tried vaping?
  • Do you know anyone who vapes?
  • What do you think the risks are?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • Where did you get it from?
  • How did you pay for it?
  • Will you try it again?
  • Do you understand the consequences if caught vaping at school?
  1. Talk to your child about the health risks or watch the Four Corners program together.

It has taken many years to make changes to the sale of cigarettes, understand the health implications, and change legislation to help reduce cigarette consumption and the impact on the health of our community. We can’t wait for years. St. Columba’s College is committed to the health and safety of our students, so please partner with us in educating your children.

CSPA 2022 Parent Survey

Click Here to have your say.

VCE News

GAT – 7th of September 2022

The GAT will be run at the College for all unit 3 and 4 students, VCE VET students and Senior VCAL students. The GAT is held over 2 sessions.

Part A begins at 9:30 and runs to 11:45. This is compulsory for all Unit 3 and 4 students, VCE VET students and Senior VCAL students.

Part B begins at 1:15pm and runs to 3pm. This is for all unit 3 and 4 and VCE VET students.

Students will receive an email with their seating and their HUB assignment. Students are required to arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of the GAT. The list of allowable materials for the GAT can be found on the following link.

A parent information sheet can be found on the following link.

GAT practice materials can be found on the VCE Student Google classroom.

Students who are Covid positive and will miss the GAT will need to provide DHHS communication from reporting a positive RAT, by Friday 9th of September in order for a GAT exemption to be applied for by the VCAA due date.  A picture of a positive RAT will not be accepted by the College or by the VCAA. All other medical absences from the GAT will need to be supported by a medical certificate.

Trial Exams

The Trial exams will run from Monday 26th of September to Friday 30th of September. It is expected that all unit 3 and 4 students and scored VCE VET students will attend their trial examination. This is an excellent opportunity to get valuable feedback from VCE teachers about where your student currently stands in their preparation for the VCAA examinations. The expectation is that all students follow the same rules for the trial examinations as they follow for the VCAA examinations. Students should be aware of what materials are allowable for their examination by either reading the information in the exam navigator or speaking to their teacher.

Special Provisions

VCE Special provisions do not roll over to the following year. If your student has special provisions this year, and will be completing a VCE unit next year (2023), then they will need to reapply for those provisions.  Applications for special provisions in 2023 will open in term 4.

Special provisions are provided to ensure that all students, regardless of challenges, are able to access the VCE as equitably as possible. If you are unsure whether your student would be eligible for special provisions, please reach out to the VCE Leader or House Leader.

Rescheduling SACs

If your student has missed a SAC, they are required to complete a reschedule form within 3 days of returning to the College. In order to be eligible to receive a score for that assessment, a medical certificate will need to be provided at the time of completing the reschedule form.

If your student is absent from a SAC due to Covid, a picture of a positive RAT is not appropriate evidence. It is expected that the positive result has been reported to the DHHS and their communication indicating quarantine dates will be provided for evidence.

If your student does not complete the reschedule form, despite reminders by their teachers, they will receive a zero for the task and your student will need to complete a redemption task to satisfy the requirements of the outcomes.

Cunningham House Celebration Day

Cunningham celebrated it’s House Celebration Day on Thursday 28th 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 and confidence. Our 2022 Cunningham House Theme is “Live in the present moment, it is a gift from God.” Being able to live in the present moment and come together as a House to share lunch was truly a gift from God.

Junior Production - 18th & 19th August

Year 7 to 9 junior production students have been working hard attending weekly rehearsals over the last 3 months and are ready to showcase their performance of Law & Order: Fairytale Unit on 18th & 19th August.
If you love fairy tales, this show is not to be missed!
Get in quick to snap up the last few tickets.

Spring Music Concert - 8th September

The first Spring Music Concert to take place in 3 years will be going ahead on Thursday 8th September.
Taking place at The Clocktower Centre in Moonee Ponds we will be showcasing all the talented music ensembles and the fantastic array of music they’ve been working on this year.
To book your tickets please visit or call 9243 9191.
Please note students under 14 must be accompanied by an adult to attend this event.

Unwell or Injured Students

Attention families, please ensure that you and your child follow the College’s procedure, should your child become unwell or injured while at school.

Unwell or injured students should present to student reception and then into the first aid room to be assessed by the College Nurse. Students are not to email or contact their parents/guardians.

The College Nurse will assess the student, often giving them some time to rest and then reassess after 20 minutes, checking for any improvement or deterioration. The College Nurse will contact the parents/guardians of the student if it is deemed necessary for them to go home.

At present, many students are contacting their parents/guardians directly and bypassing the first aid room. We ask you to please follow the College’s procedure, and encourage you children to visit the first aid room and seek assistance from the College Nurse, should they become unwell or injured.

We thank you for your support with this matter.

Girl Power Engineering and IT

I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the Girl Power Engineering and IT program which is a free program based on eligibility open to Year 9 girls across Victoria and is offered by Melbourne University. The highlight of this program for me was learning about how science and technology impacts our daily lives. Participation in this program gives you the opportunity to be involved with the University over four years. Year 9 is a 3 day stay on campus over Term 2 holidays, Year 10 is work experience over a week and Year 11 and 12 is mentorship by Melbourne University. In my 3 day stay on campus I was surrounded by like minded individuals and got the privilege to learn from professors and students from Melbourne University.

My first day involved meeting all the other girls from across Victoria and an introduction to the program. We then had the privilege to attend a lecture on the topic “What is engineering?” by esteemed Professor David Shallcross who is an expert in chemical engineering. This lecture was interesting to me since prior to this lecture I was unaware of the different disciplines in engineering. Without this information I would have had to make subject choices in school based on limited information.

The next few days were a combination of travelling to lectures, attending workshops, visiting various labs and an opportunity to travel around the beautiful historic campus. 

Workshops and lectures

  • In one of our first workshops on campus we got to work with robots, and the chance to code a NAO robot by exploring different systems involving code. We made the robots say hello, dance as well as numerous other actions. 
  • In a lecture run by Professor Andrew Ooi, he taught us about the design process and how engineers work towards constantly improving already-great designs to meet the needs of the present. He showed us innovations in the medical field that involved heart stents and how surgeons originally used angioplasty procedures in the case of coronary artery disease but now use stents. We then took the information we learned from him and brainstormed in groups of our own to improve designs of everyday objects. 
  • In another one of our workshops we learnt about how maths used in engineering is quite different from the maths we are familiar with at school. In this workshop we used maths and excel spreadsheets to calculate and solve real world problems that involved the statistics of the pandemic in Victoria. 
  • The laser presentation was one of my favourite lectures because Sejeong Kim the lecturer explained how lasers work and taught us about the electromagnetic spectrum. She also explained that in her research she is working with nanotechnology to create nanowires for 2D material-based photonic and optoelectronic devices.
  • In this workshop we were able to use Marita Cheng’s Robogals program, which includes Arduino boards which we connected to Scratch. By doing this we learnt how to connect wires and code light bulbs to flash when a button is pushed. 
  • This workshop took place in the Telstra maker space and we were taught about sustainable engineering. A type of sustainable engineering includes windmills, which is what we made out of laser cut pieces of wood, vacuum sealed plastic blades and a motor with a bulb that would light up when the blades turned.

Some of the labs we visited are listed below:

  • The CAREN stands for Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment – The study in progress that we learnt about was examining how healthy adults react to trips so they can help the elderly improve their reaction skills to prevent fatal falls.
  • Another fantastic new space to learn is the new Telstra maker space – This space is an area for any student at Melbourne University to use for projects. It is fully equipped with multiple 3D printers, vacuum sealers, laser cutters and many other machines.
  • The HCI labs are located underground, and are equipped with chemical equipment which is used by undergraduate and masters students’ as well as academics conducting research. In this session we learnt about how in  some areas of the world there are houses in the middle of lakes. The area where some houses are built would be flooded in the wet months so they were designed to withstand the weather. To apply our problem solving skills through engineering we participated in an activity to design a contraption that could hold as many marbles as it could without sinking into a tub of water. 

Over the course of the program the key message that I took away is that engineering is all about ‘innovation’ to solve real-world challenges which will lead to a more sustainable future. It gave me an insight to the different jobs and disciplines within the broad term of ‘engineering.’ Most importantly, girls can do it too! This program encourages young girls to be a part of this discipline.

Would you like to learn about engineering? When you are in Year 9 apply for this amazing opportunity and experience it for yourself!

Sports News

SCSA Football

It was an intense and muddy day out on the field for our one football team made up of year 8, 9 & 10 students. They were all excited to finally be able to compete in the annual SCSA football competition on July 18, after missing out on the last two years due to Covid-19. 

Despite their efforts not being reflected on the scoreboard, each member of the Intermediate team kept their heads up and gave it everything they had, showing amazing sportsmanship and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, they were defeated in three out of the four games that they played, drawing with their opponents in the last game. 

On behalf of the team, I would like to especially thank Ms Murton, Mr Bramham & Mr Kelly for their support and encouragement at training and on game day, as well as Isabella from AFL for providing some words of wisdom to our players and accompanying us on game day.

Annalise Ferbrache – Year 12 Student, Team Coach and College Co-Captain

SCSA Volleyball

As the host school for this event, we participated with 6 teams as well as coordinated this full day event at MSAC.  Our teams all had a great time while competing in 5-6 games each.  Our two intermediate teams made it through to the grand final with our Inter A team winning overall.  Also a big congratulations to Sharla Garth-Nocera for being awarded with the Best Player of the Grand Final.

Victorian All School Cross Country Championship

Congratulations to Maddison Crotty for participating in the Victoria All School Cross Country Championship on the 23rd July where she placed 24th out of 105 runners from around Victoria.

Such a fantastic effort!
Well done Maddison.

Year 7 2024 - Applications for Enrolment Closing

Do you have a daughter currently in Grade 5 and wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College? If so, please submit an Application for Enrolment by the closing date, next Friday 19 August.

Other key enrolment dates for 2022:

  • Offers of Enrolment will be emailed out Friday 21 October 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 11 November 2022

Online applications are open for Year 7 2024 and can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.

Celebration of Excellence

In term 4, we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students throughout 2022. Not only do we want to celebrate all that they have achieved at St Columba’s College, we also want to acknowledge their achievements beyond our school setting.

If your daughter has been successful in an external endeavour (eg. passed a Music examination, represented the state in a particular sport etc) this year, please forward the following to Tanya Almeida at

Please include:

  •         Name of student
  •         Achievement
  •         If possible, a relevant photo