August 23, 2019

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Principal's Message


Parent's Night Out

VCE Art Immersion

Social Justice: Soup Van

Counsellors: Money Management

Performing Arts News

Careers News

English News

Learning Technologies

Sports - Soccer

Principal's Message


On Thursday last week, the College gathered as a whole community in a beautiful service that marked the Feast of the Assumption. We welcomed several Sisters of Charity and members of our wider community, including Alumnae and the College Board. The celebrations were a poignant moment for all of us to mark why it is that we exist as a community, with students taking a key role in the service. A special thank you to our Performing Arts staff and students, who added so much to the celebrations through music and song. 


Last week we also welcomed the parents and students of the Year 7 2020 class for a special Parent Information Night. These nights serve as a key event in the transition period, welcoming the newest members of our College community. We had over 200 excited students who are keen and ready to commence their learning journey with us, eager to learn more about the many opportunities they can seize in both their learning and cocurricular activities. We look forward to welcoming these students and their families back to the College for Orientation Day in November.



 Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy

Today we celebrate the feast of Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy, one of the first five Sisters of Charity to arrive in Sydney on 1838. Sister de Lacy’s contribution to health care in Sydney was phenomenal and the systems that she instituted have supported so many people for so many years.


Let us pray…


Thank you loving God for the gift of Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy whose life is a testament to her strong faith, her compassion and her determination to bring Christ’s message of tenderness and love to the sick, “the stranger” and to all those who live on the fringes of society. She was their supporter and advocate. May we remember and follow in the footsteps of Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy and to pursue our dreams, walk in new pathways and to have steadfast faith in the providence of God.



Venerable Mary Aikenhead, pray with us and for us.

Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy, pray with us and for us.


Parent's 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 


VCE Art Immersion

On Friday, 2 August, the VCE Art Unit 2 class attended an excursion to view artists and art galleries, as well as spend time working on our folios. We arrived in the City by 9:30 am and took a five-minute walk to the historic Nicholas Building that held many intriguing rooms and secret shops we hadn’t even known existed. Behind the wooden door of Room 12 on the 4th floor was a spacious art studio which we rented out for the day. It had a glossy red floor and white walls, along with fairy lights that were scattered across the wall above our heads. We worked on our art folios for a while, each doing her work, which was beneficial to our artistic growth, and experimentation. Our teacher brought art supplies and then made everyone’s day when he somehow fit a kettle, tea, sugar and some snacks into his bulging bag for all of us to devour and enjoy.


Once we worked on our folios and had our tea, our teacher took us to a number of small art exhibitions mostly along Flinders Lane. We found this very interesting and beneficial as it helped us with our upcoming assessment task, based on culture and contemporary art. We also got to see the captivating work of one of the artists we are studying, Rosemary Laing, We also enjoyed the Craft gallery, which is a non-profit organization for artists to have the opportunity to exhibit their work. Currently, there is an exhibition called ‘See You In The Soup Soft Stories’, which is based on ‘Melbourne’s epicurean landscape’. This exhibition includes miniature restaurant dioramas, made out of felt, as well as showcasing the larger felt objects, such as noodles and vegetables, hanging from the roof. We even got the opportunity to talk to one of the artists whose work we were viewing. It was very useful and worthwhile to be able to experience art up close rather than in the classroom.


After the gallery visits were complete, we had our lunch, went back to the studio and continued to work on our folios, leaving to go back to school at around 3:00 pm. It was a day full of inspiration, and interconnectedness which enabled us to grow closer and bond as a class. Furthermore, this trip became immensely beneficial to our love and appreciation of the Visual Arts. – Anisa Haddad, CNMS3 Bianca Mancini, OBNS3 Lauren Singarella, DLYS1

Gallery images: Isobel Knowles and Cat Rabbit courtesy of Craft Gallery;  Emily Floyd courtesy of Anna Schwartz Gallery; Historic Nicholas Building; Nicholas Building Studio; Nicholas Building Studio Students Working; Rosemary Laing courtesy of Tolarno Galleries.


Social Justice: Soup Van

Last Wednesday evening, six amazing Year 11 students accompanied by Ms Fewster and Mrs Birkett went out into the cold working with the Vinnies team on the City Soup Van run. These girls rose to the occasion, especially after their nervousness at the first stop in North Melbourne. When confronted with the reality of how others live, it makes us all think about our own comfortable lives. Words and thoughts, such as overwhelming, how lucky they were to have such nice things at home and a bed come to mind. But these students moved from beyond themselves and encountered new friends as they were – making no judgements or labels, but just humbly enjoying the conversations with their new friends whilst sharing a hot chocolate, recognising the dignity of each.


We thank these young women and staff, as they model for us, ways of authentic encounter, ways of living the Gospel and loving the poor.


Counsellors: 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 Three of this series. 


Smart Shopping 

Smart shopping is a key part of budgeting and money management.

You can help your child learn this skill by:

  • talking with your child about your consumer values and shopping choices
  • being a smart shopping role model when you’re planning your purchases
  • being a smart shopping role model when you’re at the shops.


Talking about consumer values and shopping choices

As part of your daily life with your child, you can talk about your values and how these influence your shopping choices. You could tell your child why you’re prepared to pay more for something that’s important to you – for example, free-range eggs or softer toilet paper. Or why you prefer to buy the cheapest product – for example, so there’s more money left over for other things the family needs.


When you’re talking with your child, you could also talk about how your family budget influences your choices. This can help your child understand why we can’t always have everything we want. It can be hard for young children to understand the value of money if they never see it. If you take money out of an ATM, talk to your child about how it got there.


Planning purchases: role-modelling tips

Planning your purchases can help you resist marketing and advertising pressure, both for everyday shopping and expensive purchases. These tips can help you be a planning role model for your child:

  • Do some research before you shop. Check out products online to show your child that you need information before you buy something.
  • Shop around with your child. Whether you’re looking in catalogues, shopping online or shopping at a shopping centre, this can teach your child to compare prices and value.
  • Talk with your child about how advertising can influence shopping decisions.
  • Make a list of what you’re going to buy before you go shopping, and stick to it. This can help you avoid impulse buys that really add up.
  • Set a spending limit. At the shops, buy less so you stick to the limit, or shop around so that you get what you need with the money you have to spend.


At the shops: role-modelling tips

When you’re at the shops, you can show your child how to keep price, value and budget in mind. These tips can help:

  • If you have a list and a spending limit, stick to them. If your child can read, you could give him the list and he can help you stick to it. And if your child can add up, she could help you keep to your spending limit.
  • Talk with your child about what you’re buying and why. For example, ‘I’m choosing this brand of crackers because we get two packets for the same price as one packet in the other brands’.
  • If you’re not sure, read the label and pause before buying. Is this the product that you want? If it’s an expensive purchase, you might also like to ask the salesperson to show you how the product works, or check what’s inside the box.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. This helps your child learn about not giving into pressure from salespeople or special offers.
  • Keep the receipt. Let your child know that it’s OK to take something back if it’s faulty or parts are missing – but you need the receipt to do this.
  • For bigger purchases like electronics or furniture, you might be able to negotiate a good price. Often all you have to do is ask. It’s a good skill for children and grown-ups to have.


An everyday activity like shopping can be a great way to help your child learn. Looking at signs and labels and talking about prices can help your child build literacy and numeracy skills. And understanding food choices can help your child learn about healthy eating.


Performing Arts News

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: EXTRA SHOW ADDED! 6 September at 5:30pm

Where: St Columba’s College – The Drama Studio

Tickets on sale now visit to book yours today!




Careers News

The latest Careers Newsletter is available for download. It contains information about the high demand for bi-lingual law graduates, new medical programs, and upcoming Open Days. Also available for download is an information flyer about Medical courses at universities in 2020. 


Careers Newsletter – August 23 


Medical Courses 2020 Flyer


English News


In this year’s DAV debating season, the D grade teams have had the experience of debating about many Australian social issues. The topics included ‘That horse racing should be banned’, ‘That all political parties should not have quotas for female candidates’, ‘That convicted criminals should not be allowed to publish accounts of their crimes’ and ‘That refugees should have full access to the Australian welfare system.’ As Year 9 students, we have found these debates so eye-opening, giving us exposure to important social issues, some of which have political and legal implications. Through debating we have felt empowered by the expression of our views and learned to consider others’ points of view.


Debating has helped us to improve our public speaking and communication skills. It has certainly built our confidence, particularly when presenting in class and completing various tasks in the classroom. We do not feel as daunted by public speaking and have been eager to participate in other public speaking opportunities. Apart from broadening our knowledge and understanding of various issues in Australia, our participation in the DAV debating has helped us to expand our vocabulary and our language skills to become more fluent in expressing our ideas. It has been an opportunity to expand our logical and critical thinking skills and helped us to develop our ability to use persuasive language to construct compelling arguments. Eloise and I have been debating for three years now and inspired our friend Alanna to join debating this year. Alanna is enjoying her experience, says it is an ‘amazing experience’ and encourages anyone thinking of participating in debating to do it.


As undefeated contenders for our district, we are looking forward to the finals. – Eloise Sexton, Alisha Maslac & Alanna Haynes



Writing Competition

Students in all year levels are encouraged to participate in this year’s writing competition. 

This year’s competition is about narrative writing of approximately 300 words on a free topic. It is due by the end of August and there is a prize for the best piece at junior, middle and senior levels. Pieces to be emailed to Mr Harrison.


Learning Technologies

Finding a healthy balance for teens and screen time


What is screen time?

Screen time refers to the amount of time spent looking at a screen. Screens include TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, and video consoles. Due to their many uses for education, communication and leisure activities, it is often difficult to control the amount of time children spend using screens. Small amounts of screen time can be useful and enjoyable for families. They can offer time for children to connect with others and to be creative.


Potential effects on health

Screens in the form of a laptop are used regularly in your daughter’s educational setting here at St Columba’s College to enhance learning experiences. Screen time can be part of a healthy lifestyle for teenagers but there needs to be a balance of screen time with other activities that are positive for their development and wellbeing. Throughout the average day, your daughter is most likely exposed to a screen for a significant amount of time. The research on the effects of screen time on children is still emerging but Health Professionals are starting to see some potential effects on child health including;

  • Sleep – The light emitted from screens has been shown to prevent sleep onset in children when used in the evening or just before sleep.
  • Communication skills – Screen use can isolate children from what is going on around them. Families may miss out on the everyday interactions that build healthy relationships.
  • Exposure to potentially harmful information – There is growing evidence that the Internet and social media platforms provide children with the opportunity to give and receive inappropriate and hurtful messages.
  • Neck and back strain – While there are clear guidelines for ergonomic use of desktop computers, guidelines to suit all types of screens are much more difficult to provide.
  • Eye health – When children stare at the screen for a long time, they may blink less than normal which can dry the eyes. This can lead to eye strain and fatigue.


How much is too much?

It is difficult to put a number on appropriate screen time for teenagers. The right amount of screen time can depend on a range of factors such as your daughter’s age and maturity, the kind of content they are consuming, their learning needs and your family routine. It can be easy to focus only on the clock, but the quality and nature of what they are doing online, and your involvement, are just as important.


Key Advice

To help your child use screens in a balanced and healthy way consider the following tips:

  • 8-12 hours of sleep and 1 hour of exercise should always take priority over screen time.
  • Set short screen time sessions
  • Monitor the use of screens and consider turning off the TV and other devices during meals.
  • Keep TVs and screens out of bedrooms.
  • Be a role model for your children, by being active and limiting your own use of screens.
  • Teach your children what is appropriate to share online and to think before posting messages and images. (Most social media platforms require users to be 13 years and over.)
  • Develop a set of family guidelines relating to screen time. Guidelines might cover where your child can use screens, when your child can use screens, how your child can use screens and how you handle screen time for children of different ages.
  • Encourage non-screen related socialising and leisure activities
  • Avoid screen time before bed and consider keeping screens out of bedrooms at night
  • Use parental controls to block/filter Internet and television content. You can also set devices to the “do not disturb” mode to help limit screen use.
  • The brightness and blue light from screens can be changed to a dimmer and ‘warmer’ setting.


For further advice, there are organisations that help review content suitability for children including Common Sense Media ( and the eSafety Commissioner ( For information on parental control settings, visit

Examples of screen time rules can be found online, along with timetables. Examples include: or the Common sense media familycontract


Sports - Soccer

On Tuesday 20 August, the college soccer teams travelled to Darebin International Sports Centre to represent St. Columba’s College in the Division 1 SCSA Soccer tournament. With the help of the coaches, Ms D’Amico, Ms Slattery and Ms Vella, the girls underwent 4 weeks of training and team bonding to prepare for the day. The College versed 5 other catholic girls schools throughout the day with all the girls giving it their best shot and having fun. 


The junior team had an incredible tournament and made it all the way to the grand final! Up against Academy, the girls managed to play through extra time and eventually ending the game in penalties, with St. Columba’s coming out on top! The intermediate team had an amazing tournament, showing off some excellent talent, but just falling short of making finals. The senior team, coached by Ms Vella, also made it to the grand final and played against Sacred Heart Oakleigh, but unfortunately after a dominating game, lost 2-1 and took 2nd place. 


Overall, the competition was an enjoyable day with great outcomes for all teams, despite the cold weather! All the teams played extremely well, showcasing their abilities and improving as the day went on. Everyone showed amazing teamwork and sportsmanship both on and off the field and represented St. Columba’s with great pride. A massive thanks to all the coaches and Ms King who made the day possible, and a huge congratulations to all the girls for an amazing day of soccer! – Ella Cashin, BRNS3