September 6, 2019

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Principal's Message


External Cladding Project

Parent's Night Out - last minute tickets!

First Aid - Hayfever

House News - de Lacy Feast Day

Cabaret tickets are now available!

STEM Spaghetti Challenge

Careers News

Performing Arts News

Counsellors: R U OK? Day

Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Sport News

Principal's Message

A Catholic Season of Creation

The Catholic Season of Creation runs from 1 September through to 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.  Based on the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” and the themes emerging from Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si”, this season is a call for Catholic communities to “systematically answer Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si to respect what scientists tell us about billions of years of cosmic evolution and contemplate God’s presence there.  We can recognise that the earth is being abused; that poor people are the first to suffer; and pray to be responsible carers for the multiple gifts of the earth as co-creators with God.”


Our own Directions Statement asserts that “Embracing a plurality of world views, we are a faith-filled community impelled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be co-builders with God and with each other, as we serve our world, especially the poor and vulnerable”.  We have tangibly expressed what it means to be a people in communion with our natural world and with each other.


In August, Dr Carmody Grey, a visiting theologian from the UK, addressed all staff and challenged us to recognise the way that our consumer choices influence and impact the Earth we share with all of God’s creation.  If her challenge makes us stop and think about one consumer choice that we are making, then she, and we, will be making a difference to our world.


At the following website,, you will find statements from Church Leaders regarding the Season of Creation, including one from Pope Francis.  His wisdom and gentle urging are inspiring.


Formation of the Heart

“We invite you to ponder God’s presence around our table and share in ‘voices from the heart.’” Mary Aikenhead Ministries has launched a new app, called “Voices from the Heart”, which presents in digital form thoughtful and contemporary daily reflections and prayer.  Beginning with a short quote from scripture and moving into contemporary story and reflection, the app invites you to silent prayer contemplating the prompts from each day and how we entertain these in our daily living. I highly recommend this app to all, for your personal prayer or for communal prayer.  You can download the free app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play and the web-based link can be found here



On Sunday 1 September, Pope Francis invited us, the faithful to celebrate the Season of Creation. The Pope said that the Season of Creation is “a period of more intense prayer and action for the benefit of the common home,” and he encouraged us to “feel in deep harmony with the men and women of goodwill” who are protecting creation. Click here to read the full statement.


Let us pray…

God, our Creator, whose presence fills our planet, help us to discern your vibrant presence among us and our kin in creation, especially in the mysteries of the bush. Help us to empathise with your creatures who are suffering and to serve you as agents for healing your creation. Awaken in us, the needs of our planet and help us care for all your creation. We make this prayer in the name of Christ who reconciles and restores all things in creation.  Amen



External Cladding Project

Last year Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) requested all Catholic schools provide information (including photos) of any external cladding on their buildings. Early this year CEM (in consultation with the Victorian Building Authority – VBA) organized for all schools who had external cladding to be inspected by a qualified Building Inspector – including St Columba’s College.


A 244-page report of the St Columba’s College inspection was prepared by the Building Inspector. This report was then presented to an Expert Committee in the offices of the VBA for a detailed analysis. The outcome of the report and its analysis was a requirement (issued through the City of Moonee Valley Building Surveyor) for all of the College’s external cladding to be replaced within 30 days. This requirement was stipulated even though no samples of the actual cladding materials had been tested.


To ensure that we were on the right track with the request, the College engaged the services of an Architect and Fire Engineer to undertake an independent inspection of all the College’s external cladding, including testing of samples, to determine accurately the scope of work required to be undertaken. A non-negotiable requirement of the City of Moonee Valley was for the cladding above the Buckley Street entrance into the Nicholson Building to be removed immediately. The College has undertaken those works and replaced this cladding with temporary cement sheeting.


As this extensive independent inspection has taken longer than 30 days, the College has requested an extension of time which has been granted and the City of Moonee Valley has been continually updated with the College’s progress. The College is aiming to have all the required cladding that needs to be replaced identified, removed and replaced before the start of the 2020 school year.


The main building that has external cladding is the Nicholson Building. As an interim safety measure the number of people allowed in the Hall and Theatrette at the same time has been restricted to 150 people. This restriction will remain in place until the required cladding has been replaced.


It is important to note that the safety of students, staff and visitors is a priority for the College. We have all the required emergency planning procedures in place in the unlikely event that they should be required, and these have recently been reviewed and endorsed. The cladding on the buildings has been in place for some time, and was approved material at the time of building construction.


Parent's Night Out - last minute tickets!

There are some last-minute tickets available for tomorrow night’s Parents’ Night Out! Hosted by our Parents’ Association. See below for details:


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. 



First Aid - Hayfever


Here at St Columba’s, we take hayfever very seriously. We have many students who suffer from Hayfever, Allergy related Asthma & even Pollen & Grass Anaphylaxis. So this is a reminder to parents that if your daughter is a Hayfever sufferer, she MUST have her antihistamine medication before coming to school. 


We check Melbourne Pollen multiple times per day for Pollen updates and change our pollen chart in Student Reception accordingly so our students are aware of the weather conditions. 


On high pollen days, our affected students are asked to remain indoors during break times and Room K102 will be available for use during these times. 


Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens such as pollens, dust mite, moulds and animal hair. Avoiding allergic triggers and taking appropriate treatments are the best ways to reduce the frequency of hay fever symptoms.


Symptoms of hayfever can be debilitating. Symptoms can be: runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing, blood nose, itchy or sore throat, breathing trouble and headache. This makes it very difficult for students to concentrate when they are symptomatic. 


Please download the Melb Pollen App and check out the following websites for more information:


House News - de Lacy Feast Day

de Lacy Feast Day – House Charity Visit

On Thursday 22 August, representatives of Briar Terrace (Shaun and Bernadette) visited the College to speak to the de Lacy students about the work of Briar Terrace and how simple acts of kindness can change someone’s life. We heard stories about how the friends of Briar Terrace feel accepted, loved and how these people feel that the interactions that they have had with the various volunteers has drastically changed their life. I was touched that they came to St Columba’s College to spread the message of kindness. When speaking to my friend and asked what she thought about their presentation and what she took away from it, she said “it was lovely how they gave people a second chance at life and a second chance to better themselves.” 


The overall message that was given was that everyone can make a difference to someone else’s life. We should endeavour to remember the following quote: “God doesn’t make junk”, and with that, we need to respect the dignity of all people we encounter in our lives. – Milly Haynes, DLYS3


de Lacy Feast Day – Celebration

Friday 23 August was the de Lacy House Feast Day, where we celebrated our House Patron, Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy. In 1835 she joined a mission to New South Wales, and she entered the Sisters of Charity as a novice. Prior to her journey to Australia, she gained nursing experience at the newly opened St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy was an extremely hard worker, assisting at all levels of hospital management, including nursing, where she was involved with the dispensing of prescription medications and trained other nursing sisters. She worked by implementing Mary Aikenhead’s policy that the Sisters of Charity would help people of any race, colour or creed. 

For our Feast Day, we celebrated with a short liturgy to acknowledge Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy’s work and life, living out the values of Mary Aikenhead. This was then followed by a shared lunch with the students and staff of de Lacy house. The lunch included pizza and chips, as well as lolly bags and cupcakes made by our House Representatives (Dominique Hanley-Leonard, Carla Reed,  Anita Staszko, Mia Cipriano, Julianne Cabanayan, Alanna Haynes). I would like to thank the House Representatives, as well as Mrs Condello, who made our feast day celebrations possible. – Donicka Birch, de Lacy House Captain


Cabaret tickets are now available!

Tickets are now available for the 2019 Cabaret ‘Dancing with the Stars’. 

When: Saturday 14 September at 7.30pm 

Where: St Columba’s College MPC building 

Cost: Adults $25, Under 10 Years $15


Visit to book your tickets today!

STEM Spaghetti Challenge

The Spaghetti Challenge, hosted by The University of Melbourne, was held on Thursday 8th of August. This challenge was a STEM driven project that required a team of students to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine, on a wider scale, with the aim of raising a flag. With only two weeks of designing and construction of our machine, we were able to produce a mechanism with 3 levels and 20 simple machines!


Our machine consisted of the following simple machines; pulleys, wheels and axles, inclined planes, wedges as well as levers. One element of the machine contained a chemical reaction formed from bicarb and vinegar. This machine was mostly built from a collection of recycled materials from our resource centre such as tubes, cardboard, old toys, plastic bottles and fabric. Other materials included dominos, marbles, balloons, party poppers and more. In order to reach our final product, we followed the design process and really utilised teamwork. As we attended the University of Melbourne we got to observe all the different designs that other schools had created and were inspired by the creativity among us.


In the end, this experience was fantastic and inspirational but definitely pushed us to our limits with our thinking processes, teamwork and problem-solving. The challenge required a lot of commitment and perseverance. This experience highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration, working in any team. Our team put in many hours of hard work and although we did not win any awards on the day, we were super proud of our efforts and the final product that was complete.


Thanks to Ms D’amico, Mr Roland, Ms Coyle and Ms Slattery for all the support and guidance throughout this project. We highly encourage students to participate next year! – The Spaghetti Engineer team: Mikaela, Amber, Ciara, Micaela


Careers News

VET Videos – VCAA 

VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) have recently released a series of ongoing videos showcasing VET in VCE and VCAL. Please click here to view the videos.


Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available for download below. It contains information on finding the right pathway for you, applying for courses outside of Victoria and key websites for students interested in studying trades and vocational learning. Also available to download below are flyers for Victorian, NSW and ACT Early Entry 2020 schemes. 


Careers Newsletter – Friday 6 September 

Early Entry Scheme – Victoria 2020 

Early Entry Scheme – NSW & ACT 2020


Performing Arts News

Theatre Club Excursion

On the 22 of August, the official St Columba’s Theatre Club went to a night at the theatre. A group of young passionate theatre lovers attended the comedy theatre to watch a Tony Award performance of Come From Away. Come From Away is a production about the thousands of passengers that were left stranded in Newfoundland, Canada during 9/11. It was truly a night to remember not only because of  the talented cast but the overall performance was breathtaking leading to a well-deserved standing ovation. 


It is fair to say the first St Columba’s Theatre Club night out was a huge success and we can’t wait to see the next production soon. – Hannah Eres



Spring Music Concert 

Limited tickets are still available for the upcoming Spring Music Concert! 

When: 17 September at 7.30pm 

Where: The Clocktower Centre, Moonee Ponds 

Who: Our talented students showcasing their musical talents and skills! 

How: Book your tickets via or call 9243 9191 


Counsellors: R U OK? Day

Wednesday 11 September is R U OK? Day.

R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to inspiring all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, “Are you ok?” By regularly reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations, we can all help build a more connected community and reduce our country’s high suicide rate.


Most people don’t openly share their feelings, particularly if they’re struggling. The best thing we can all do is regularly talk to the people we care about – regardless of whether they are at risk – because connections are good for all of us.


The Counsellors at St Columba’s College are again asking our St Columba’s College community to reach out to one another and ask “Are you ok?”  This might be a friend, parent, child, another family member, a work colleague or anyone else in your community.


In this newsletter, we are including some tips for how to start the R U OK? conversation, as well as how to say “I’m not ok” when you are struggling and need support. Click here to access the flyer for these great tips!


It’s ok to say “I’m not ok”

When you’re feeling anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, it’s natural to feel like there’s no hope.  But asking for help and getting expert support are the best ways to recover and embrace life. There are many ways you can access support including:

  • College Counsellors
  • Visiting your local doctor
  • Kids Helpline
  • eHeadspace
  • Making an appointment to see a counsellor or psychologist (


Expert Help

Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If someone’s been really low for more than 2 weeks – or at risk – please contact a professional as soon as you can:

  • Crisis Line for immediate help (call 1800 RUOKDAY (7865 329)
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24 hours 7 days a week confidential telephone counselling)


Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Yr 9 ‘Dinner Party’ Girls had a Tea Ceremony after making their own stoneware teacups. This was their first experience in the ceramic subject using pinch, coil and slab techniques. Some of their choices included English Breakfast tea, White strawberry tea, Sencha, Shincha green tea, fruit tea and a biscuit of course! We listened to Elle’s family wedding story, involving the ceremony and meaning of tea. We discussed different ways of holding and using cups. We certainly enjoyed the experience and have a deeper appreciation of tea and cups. See the photos below for an insight into the Tea Ceremony!


Sport News

School Basketball Championship

Over the past two months, the St Columba’s Intermediate Basketball team has been playing and training for the School Basketball Championships. Our team progressed through to the Championships through qualification and had the opportunity to play against the state’s best schools. We played some amazing basketball and progressed to the Elite 8 stage of the tournament to try and get through to the State final. Unfortunately, we were not able to progress past our group, however, we were ranked 7th in the State by the end of the day. A huge effort by our players who should be congratulated on the effort, process and commitment. Well done to the following players who represented our community at the highest level for school basketball: Georgia Hanna, Gabrielle Duggan, Amelia Marino, Macey Boyle, Bianca Jones, Ailish Devlin, Scarlett Wilms, Sarah Pamment, Taylah Babic, Ally Hornibrook. – Mr Joshua Di Pietro (Coach)


SCSA Junior Netball Competition

On Wednesday the 28 August girls from Years 7 to 8 travelled to Waverley Netball Centre to participate in the first-ever SCSA Junior Netball Competition. St Columba’s sent a total of 6 junior teams to compete in a round-robin competition which allowed students to play against other Melbourne schools and demonstrate their netball abilities. St Columba’s had a great day out with 5 out of the 6 teams making the semi-finals, which was an amazing achievement.  Well done to all the girls who participated and thanks to all the staff for their hard work.