September 12, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

CGSAV Netball

Music News

Season of Creation Week

Charity Run

Junior Production

Texts and Traditions

Centre of Italian Studies - Italian Poetry Competition Excursion

Junior Netball Competition

Caritas Art Competition

Parent webinar - This isn't what I signed up for!

Urban Experience

Sophia Library News

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Charity Run

It is certainly a testament to the stamina, perseverance and resilience of our students and staff, that they endured the chilly and blustery conditions on Friday 8 September to complete this year’s Charity Run event. One-hour in the freezing conditions on Friday morning was enough for me, so I am in awe and admiration for the commitment shown by students and staff. Thank you to the community for the funds raised, which this year will go to St Bernard’s College Charity, Edmund Rice Foundation Australia.

Dance Cabaret

Congratulations to our private dance students for the spectacular show, Wired in Wonderland, on Saturday night. Our creative and imaginative Miss Linda, took the story of Alice in Wonderland, and adapted it to a modern theme – the rabbit hole that is technology in our lives. A brilliant concept, artfully executed by our dancers. Thank you to the staff who supported throughout rehearsals and on the night, and to the back stage crew who enhance the performance through light, sound, and by keeping things on track. Congratulations especially to Miss Linda Henderson, for her commitment to the Dance Program at the College.

STEAM Learning at St Columba’s College

It’s been a huge couple of weeks for STEAM Learning at the College. Student presentations at the University of Melbourne, our own STEAM Expo, the selection of 5 group projects for the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools STEAM Exhibition, and the unveiling of a great project that was part of a curriculum project for a STEAM elective.  We love to see our students acquiring and applying new knowledge in the course of their learning.

Year 12 Students

We wish our Year 12 Students all the best as they enter into the last few weeks of their formal secondary education. For students sitting VCAA exams, the trial exams over the term break will provide essential exam practice, and the opportunity for teachers to provide ongoing feedback in response to exam questions.

The College Co-Captains and the Student Executive have been working with Ms Nakkita Egan, Head of Students, and Ms Brigitte McDonald, to shape up a memorable program to mark the last week of formal classes.

Term Break

I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and restful term break, and we look forward to welcoming you all back on Monday 2 October for the commencement of Term 4.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC)

The PEC is always looking for greater parent involvement. If you are interested in coming along, our next meeting is tonight, Tuesday 12 September. This meeting will be a blended meeting. Feel free to pop along in person (meeting will be held in the Boardroom on Level 1 in the Bruton building) or join us online –

Parent Forum – Reporting and Parent Teacher Interviews

We are in the process of planning one or two Parent Forums about our reporting processes and in particular, our Parent Teacher Interviews sessions. The forum or forums will be face to face events that will run for approximately 70mins. We would love to be in dialogue with you about what is working well with regards to information you are receiving about your child’s learning progress and what improvements can be made to best support your child, and you, as their caregiver.

The proposed date is Monday 9 October. We are open to offering a forum at 3:00pm and a second one at 6:30pm. If you would be interested in being part of this important process and provide input into possible changes and improvements, please DM me via SEQTA – provide your name and the time that would best suit you (ie 3:00pm or 6:30pm). If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Fathers’ Day Breakfast – Thursday 31 August

It was lovely to finally celebrate the special men in our young people’s lives at our Fathers’ Day Breakfast last Thursday. More than 180 men and their children came along to share food and enjoy quality time with each other. We received lots of lovely feedback from our guests on the day who appreciated the opportunity to spend this time with their children and other dads.

We hope that all fathers enjoyed their special day on Sunday.

Cybersafety Workshop by Victoria Police – Wednesday 30 August

Thank you to those parents who attended this session last week. There are still some brochures provided by our guest speakers that can be collected at Front Reception.

CGSAV Netball

On our way to Werribee Eagle Sports Centre the STC netballers were ready for a long day of netball ahead. Competing against many CGSAV schools we were lucky enough to have seven outstanding teams represent St Columba’s College this year. Ms Palmer led our warm up as a group, with all the players preparing for the games. After the warm up we all headed off to our courts for our first games. If our team was not playing, we were always cheering and supporting our peers. Our breaks between games were involved with hanging out with friends, sharing snacks (mostly junk food) and having a laugh. As the day continued all the teams had a win and all were trying their best, it was fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm on the court. After our last games the results were in with four out of the seven teams into the grand final. With an amazing effort all four teams came out with the win, Junior A and B, Intermediate A and Senior A. Their performance was unbelievable and we were all very proud of how hard the girls worked throughout the entire day. With all the other teams cheering and encouraging the players on the court pushed them all to the final siren. Two of the grand final players got Player of the Match Natalie M (Junior A) and Chiara R (Inters A), making us all proud. For the year 12’s it was sad to finish our last year of CGSAV netball but on the way home we still had the music blasting and singing some tunes to celebrate a day of victory for St Columba’s College. Thank you to all the teachers, especially Ms Palmer and Ms Murton that made the day happen from try outs to the terrific day that could not have happened without all your hard work!!

Music News

St Bernard’s Assembly Performance (Friday, 28 July) 

The term started with a combined St Bernard’s and St Columba’s Choir Performance on Friday, 28 July. 

The Choirs from both schools performed two songs, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ and ‘Found Tonight’ (from Hamilton) together at St Bernard’s college assembly. This assembly was to celebrate all the activities run during St Bernard’s College Languages Week. The Choirs performed to special guests and St Bernard’s staff and students. 

Rock Band Recording Session at Xavier College (Saturday, 5 August) 

The Rock Band resumed their final recording session at Xavier College on Saturday, 5 August. This recording session focused on the vocal recordings for both ‘So What’ (performed by Pink) and ‘Kiwi’ (performed by Harry Styles), layering on top of the instrumental recordings completed in term 2. It was an intense recording session which ran in a small recording studio between 9am-2pm on a Saturday.

The Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools (PAVCSS) 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass 

On Wednesday, 9 August, the College’s Senior and Junior Choir as well as some instrumentalists rehearsed together with Sacre Cœur and Siena College at Siena College in preparation for The Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass. 

This was a successful rehearsal which prepared all the musicians for a successful Mass on Friday, 18 September at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Our lovely Arts Captain, Lauren Ryan-Green was selected to be the Cantor for a number of hymns. Many new friendships were formed through this collaborative effort, including the Music Directors from all three schools.  

Victorian School Music Festival (Monday, 21 August) 

The Senior Concert Band participated in the Victorian School Music Festival at Hawthorn Arts Centre on Monday, 21 August. The ensemble performed ‘Treasure’ (performed originally by Bruno Mars) and ‘Bamboo Warrior’ – a dramatic work inspired by the musical culture of the Far East. The ensemble performed well in the Intermediate Concert Band section and received a Silver award for their performance. 

A big congratulations to all students and staff in their preparations and commitment in collaborative music making. 

Term 4 Music Events 

Term 4 Music event preparations are well under way.

Upcoming Term 4 Music events are: 

  • Year 12 VCE Music Performance Recital – Wednesday, 4 October
  • Annual Spring Music Rehearsal Day & Concert – Thursday, 16 October
  • Year 10 and Year 11 VCE Music Performance Recital – Wednesday, 1 November
  • Year 9 Music Solo Recital – Thursday, 9 November
  • Junior Performing Arts Concert – Tuesday, 14 November 

Spring Music Concert (Thursday, 16 October)

The College is proud to present its annual Spring Music Concert.

This wonderful evening will showcase various ensembles, from Concert Bands to Big Band, Choirs, Orchestra, Rock Band, the Year 9 class Band, smaller ensembles, such as Guitar, Percussion, Woodwind and Brass Ensemble.

The night promises a huge variety of music. There will also be year 12 solo performances as well as a finale featuring all performers in one crescendo of music, performing Africa by Toto.

Come and celebrate the success of St Columba’s students, and enjoy a fantastic evening of musical excellence!

For tickets, please go to

Season of Creation Week

Laudato Si Week was St Columba’s way of celebrating the Season of Creation in 2023. Season of Creation runs from the 1st of September to the 31st of October and it is an event in the Catholic Church to recognise all of the creations that God made and also how to look after our common home, Earth. This year’s theme was Let justice and peace flow. This week we had activities that we were able to run throughout the week such as the creation of beeswax wraps, liturgies and also reminders and notices in the student and staff bulletin to inform people and remind people about what was happening and also how they can get involved at home and at school. 

To start the week, on Monday the 8th, and also to end the week, a the environment club girls and many others joined Ms McDonald, Eloise M, Environment Captain, and Ms Boicos to make their very own Beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly way to wrap up your lunch or snack and take them to either work or school. They are made from beeswax and fabric. There was a selection of fabric out and we were able to pick out a piece that we liked and then had to put the wax on and then iron it to make sure that they would stick. We also had to hang them up on the clothes line so that they would be able to dry and not get creased. It was ;lots of fun, however the iron did overheat and that did cause the fire alarm to go off and the whole school had to evacuate in the middle of lunchtime. This however resulted in the beeswax wraps not being able to be created on the Monday. Aside from that it was a good experience and it will benefit the environment as well because “Using the 186.9 million pounds of film recovered as reported by the most recent ACC Film report, we can estimate that the current recycling rate is 1.8%.” says recycling

One of the other activities that was run was a liturgy by Monique D, Liturgy Captain, on Tuesday the 5th of September. The liturgy ran during lunchtime and it was used to get to know more about this year’s season of creation theme Let justice and peace flow. It showed us more about the season of creation this year and what it means to people around the world. We learned about Tati’s story and how she and her family live in Indonesia with her husband and children. The forests that they rely on are slowly disappearing, endangering the wildlife that live in there such as orangutans, rhino’s and tigers as well as the people who live there as they use the forest for medicine, food and fish. We also completed a reflection activity during the liturgy to write down  what we could do to care for our common home on gum tree leaves. This allowed us to reflect on what we’re doing ourselves and how we could improve that to effectively care for our common home. 

Overall Laudato Si Week was a successful event run by the Laudato Si committee that was able to connect people to the earth and keep what is happening to creation in mind. It also allowed people to make promises to the environment and to themselves about what they are going to do in the future. 

Charity Run

For the past 42 years, students across St Bernard’s College and St Columba’s College have teamed up and trained tirelessly for weeks every Tuesday and Thursday morning, for the annual Maribyrnong 150 Charity Run event. The day consists of a continuous relay between year levels that aims to achieve a total of 150 km around the Maribyrnong River. Our charities we supported this year were Edmund Rice Foundation Australia (formally Brother Beausang Catholic Education Centre) and Ruben Centre.

Leading up to the event, the year 12 students competed in the annual Charity Run Netball Game, held at St Columba’s. Although the girls fought hard for their first win, the boys unfortunately came out once again leaving them undefeated. On Friday morning on the 8th of September, at 3.30am, students arrived at the home base, Essendon Rowing Club and settled in for a long day of running and fun ahead. At 4am, the year 12 boys started the relay before handing it over to the year 12 girls for their final first lap. This rotation continued between each year level with the goal of reaching 150 km within 12 hours. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, as we battled some of the harshest conditions that the event has ever seen, but it didn’t stop us. We were kept occupied with card games like uno, charades, the famous table tennis face off and of course spending time with friends. Throughout the day we had many visitors from teachers, parents and dogs who came down to support or even run a lap with the students to keep us motivated. The final lap for the day was completed by all students where there was lots of singing and cheering, accompanied by a bit of rain. Lastly, we had a presentation to congratulate every student once again for all their hard work and dedication and of course a big thanks to our many sponsors who help support and keep the day functioning smoothly. 

Thank you to all staff, from St Bernard’s and St Columba’s, for training us very hard and without you the day would have never gone ahead so thank you. Also a big thank you to all the parents, students, staff and community who helped raise an amazing $11,000 that goes towards our charities for the year. The day was a huge success and, being a Hall of Fame participant, I would encourage all students to get behind such an amazing school co-curricular activity that all goes to a good cause and is so rewarding by the end of it. Congratulations once again to everyone involved in the charity run event, and good luck to participants for the future.

Junior Production

Texts and Traditions

On the 29th of August, the 3/4 Texts and Traditions class went on an insightful excursion to St Vincent’s Hospital and a walking tour of Essendon to develop a deeper understanding of the mission and life of the Sisters of Charity. Accompanied by Sister Cathy Meese and Linda Di Sipio, we were fortunate to get a glimpse into the history and welcoming culture of St Vincent’s Hospital. Following through the hospital, we gained an extensive perception of the goals and heart of Mary Aikenhead Ministries, their unlimited hospitality and extending efforts to allow access to healthcare for people short of resources. Afterwards, joined with clinical social worker, Katrina, we shared lunch and discussed the issue of homelessness. Sister Cathy shared touching stories and wisdom gained through experiences in walking with the homeless and ex-prisoners. 

When we returned to Essendon, we embodied what the Sisters of Charity were known as, ‘the walking nuns’.  Arriving at multiple locations including Garryowen, their first home in Essendon,  where they were first commissioned to work in Essendon, St Monica’s Primary School and other places of ministry which further developed our historical knowledge of the Sisters. 

This excursion was truly heartwarming and allowed us to obtain a deeper comprehension of our passages of study as well as how the values of Mary Aikenhead are interpreted and used in today’s society.

Centre of Italian Studies - Italian Poetry Competition Excursion

Our names are Trinity R and Caterina S, and we are writing on behalf of the Year 7 and 8s who participated in the Centre of Italian Studies Italian Poetry Competition, which took place on the 8th of September. This was a fabulous opportunity and an awesome day! With Ms Grando and Ms D’Astoli, we started the excursion by walking to Essendon Station and caught public transport to Carlton. Before heading off to the Centre of Italian Studies (CIS), we were able to walk through Melbourne Central and see the stunning Dome shaped roof. When we arrived at the CIS building and met the lovely staff who were there (Stella and Stefano), we got straight into the Poetry Competition. 

For the competition, we were instructed to learn an Italian poem of our choice and recite it in front of the judges. The year 7 students were acquainted with Stella, and the year 8 students were acquainted with Stefano. It was such a fun experience to recite it to Stella and/or Stefano as we received feedback that helped us become more fluent and confident with learning the beautiful language. After the poetry competition, we had a quick break and got straight on to an activity and had to write landmarks, famous people, food and soccer teams in Italian. We also learnt a song that Stefano taught us on the piano. After finishing up at CIS, We walked a few streets down to arrive on Lygon Street, where we had an amazing lunch and dessert at Brunetti’s. At Brunetti’s we had some delicious pizza and ice cream. After this, we were lucky enough to have some free time to explore Lygon Street! This was truly one of the best excursions and we recommend it in the future as it was a truly spectacular experience. Learning the poem in Italian has helped us build our confidence and appreciation for the language and we are truly grateful for this experience.

Junior Netball Competition

My name is Sophie F and I’m in year 7.  I was one of the participants who attended the CGSAV Junior Netball Competition held on Tuesday 5th of September. This one day round-robin tournament was held at Eagle Stadium and we had a group of enthusiastic junior netballers proudly represent our school.

We played against schools from all different parts of Melbourne. The day involved four games played in good spirit. A particular highlight was how well we worked together and supported our team mates. Well done to our D team who narrowly missed a Grand Final win. Also to our E team who were competitive all day winning two of their four matches.  Finally, a special thank-you to the staff, Ms Murton and Ms Dickson, who organised and attended the day and to the students who participated and gave it their all. Overall it was such a fun and enjoyable day that I was grateful to be a part of.

Caritas Art Competition

Leading up to Seasons of Creation week Caritas ran an art competition- ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’ seeking artworks that reflect the following:

Prophet Amos cries out, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)

The Justice and Indigenous perspectives group recognise the shifts in the forever changing environment with its people connecting with each other, the environment and within themselves. We hold the school values close to our hearts and drawing on Amos’s river imagery, the theme challenged us to act for ecological justice, creating change and speaking out with communities most impacted by rising sea levels, biodiversity losses and other consequences of climate injustice. The following students reflected deeply on this concept of Eco-Justice and produced some beautiful artwork.  Tiana Ciavarella’s Year 9 artwork was selected to promote events and publications for the curator and Imogen Rawling’s work from year 7 came 2nd overall in the Catholic Secondary School’s Category voted by the archbishop. We congratulate all the students for their entities and for their beautiful artworks.

Imogen’s work is an intricate embroidery and cyanotype image, titled ‘A blur of colour’, the theme ‘Let justice and peace flow’ is explored. With the bright, detailed stitchwork of the Rainbow Lorikeet and the Australian flowers accompanying it, the endangered, rare and beautiful Red Swamp Banksia and the surreal blue hibiscus, we find that we must uphold justice and peace, by supporting the native plants and animals of Australia. Due to bushfires, climate change, invasive predators and habitat destruction, many of our beautiful and special flora and fauna have begun to find it difficult to survive. Sadly, more than 550 species of animals are at risk of disappearing. As well as the animals at risk, a terrible 1,402 plants and flower species are at the brink of extinction. This piece represents how we must act for justice and peace to right the wrongs we have done to the world.

Imogen R Year 7 & Tiana C Year 9

Julia S Year 11 & Sophia D Year 9

Parent webinar - This isn't what I signed up for!

Remember when you brought that perfect, little baby home from the hospital all those years ago?

Sure, life was challenging back then. The insomnia, the tantrums, the crying…. But those baby smiles, squishy knees, and toddler cuddles made up for all of that.

As your child grew, you found yourself in that comfortable space between your child having enough independence that you didn’t have to watch them like a hawk, but also not so much independence that you had to worry about them constantly.

Until now.

The teenage years.

You will likely have noticed an increase of emotional outbursts, risky behaviour, mental health challenges,  information overload about sex— and that’s just YOU! Somehow you have to manage all of that for your teen, too! (Not to mention how desperately you want to make the most of the precious years you have left with your child at home.)

“You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger.
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together.
All I know, all I know is….”

…the Happy Families “Smells Like Teen Spirit Summit” will save the day.

Get backstage with 10 of the world’s biggest “raising teens” rockstars. Led by Dr Justin Coulson, they’ll help you face the most hardcore parenting teen challenges.

Thursday 14 September
All Day Online Event

Recording Access Included


Urban Experience

Urban Experience was a program introduced to the school in 2023 and it was meant to build independence, friendships, social skills and get us to know our college values better. Well it certainly did just that. It allowed us over the course of the week to build leadership skills, independence, trust, strengthen our social skills and gave us the opportunity to build friendships we will cherish for years to come. The program lasted a week with different activities on the agenda for each day. On Monday, we all congregated in Gayip-Biik to meet up with the St Bernard’s class and we all got to know each other by the end, even though it was quite awkward as we didn’t know most of the people we were working with. We covered some crucial topics like respectful relationships, teamwork and communication before putting our skills into practice in the city with an amazing race style game to lead us to the Fitzroy Gardens. From there in the final hour we walked to the Catholic Theological College (CTC) on Victoria Parade and we planned what we wanted the rest of the week to look like. On Tuesday, 9.7 had a visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral where we learned more about the cathedral and uncovered some stories and different parts of the church. We also visited St Vincent’s Hospital to learn about the Sisters of Charity. We also learnt about Front Yard, which is a youth homelessness organisation and we learned about how serious the issue of homelessness is in Australia.  We also heard some stories about what the people were going through which was confronting as it is not often that this issue is talked about. On Wednesday and Thursday, both of these days we had to explore the city and learn more about Melbourne’s Central Business District’s sights and attractions with a worksheet we were completing along the way. There were lots of laughs, food and interesting facts along the journey with it all ending on Friday. Friday was the last day of 9.7’s Urban Experience and we started off at the Queen Victoria Market. We learnt about the market in the morning and found different historical sights as well, all whilst eating hot jam donuts. Finally we went back to CTC to complete our assessment task and have one last session with St Bernard’s students to reflect on the week and the personal growth that we have achieved.

Sophia Library News

Sofia Library Opening Hours September Holidays

The Sophia Library will be open to students 8.30am – 3.30pm each day of the September school holidays except for the Grand Final Eve Public Holiday (29th September).

Important Dates

Wednesday 13 September – Careers in STEM Excursion

Thursday 14 September – End of Term Assembly and Footy Colours Day

Friday 15 September – Last Day of Term 3!

Saturday 16 September to Sunday 1 October – School Holidays

Monday 2 October – First Day of Term 4

Tuesday 3 October – Year 12 Drama Solo Performance Evening

Wednesday 4 October – VCE Recital

Thursday 5 October – Model UN Competition

Monday 9 October – Parent Forum: Reviewing Reporting & Parent Teacher Interviews