October 10, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Alumnae Talks

The Great Book Swap

Pierre Bonnard Excusion

Parents Social Night

Mango Drive

Little Pantry

Thank you from our Dancers

Safety Around Schools

Advocating for Neurodiverse Children - Parent Webinar

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Welcome back to Term 4.

I hope that the term break was restful, and provided some respite from the busyness of the school term.

I take this opportunity to wish our Year 12s all the best as they enter this final week of formal classes. We also offer up our prayers for the students who will shortly be sitting their VCAA exams. May they enter this time confident in their preparation, knowing they have the support of their teachers and their families as they navigate the next stages of their learning and work pathways.

School Drop-Offs and Pick-Ups

Following on from my note in the letter sent to all families on Monday 2 October, last week schools received an email from Moonee Valley City Council indicating that the Council has received several complaints from residents regarding illegal parking, overstays in the pink zones and parents arriving too early and queuing and parking in the pink pick-up zones before the bell.

To ensure all road users are safe, particularly our most vulnerable, our children, we have been asked to include the following key road safety messages in our newsletter 

Can walking, cycling or scooting to and from school be your first choice?

Our school has a Walking School Bus and Active Path routes.  Check the online school map to see the routes available to our school.

On the days that you cannot walk, scoot or cycle……. plan to park a few streets away and walk into the school at pick up and drop off times.  

When driving in and around the school zone is your only option, think about the safety of all, especially the children

  • Do not double park
  • Do not park over driveways
  • Do not cause a safety issue in and around the school

Pink zones

  • You can only stay in this zone for two minutes. If you overstay this time limit, you could receive an infringement.
  • Plan to arrive after the bell rings, not before, as you cannot wait in the pink zone.

More information regarding Safety Around Schools can found below, in this edition of IONA.

Term 4 eSafety Webinars for Parents and Carers

We continue to take a strong and consistent stance regarding poor behaviour in the online space. We are in partnership with parents in setting clear boundaries with regards to expected behaviour. I have included the information below from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner regarding webinars for parents and carers.

Join eSafety’s expert education team for a free live webinar designed for parents and carers.

Topics in Term 4 include:

  • Wellbeing and digital technologies (30 minutes)

For parents and carers of young people in secondary school.

  • Getting the most out of gaming (45 minutes)

For parents and carers of children aged 7 to 14.

  • Navigating online friendships (30 minutes)

For parents and carers of young people in secondary schooI.

  • Getting started with social media: TikTok, YouTube, Instagram (30 minutes)

For parents and carers of young people in primary and secondary school.

Use this link to take you to the registration page.



Dear Heavenly Father,

Together as one, St. Columba’s College community, with hearts full of hope, gratitude, and love, lift our voices in prayer on behalf of our Year 12 students, who stand on the threshold of a new chapter in their lives, their final exams and graduation.

In a year dedicated to the values of Truth and Love, we are reminded of Your eternal presence in our lives, guiding us towards a deeper understanding of these profound virtues. As our Year 12 students embark on their journey into the world beyond these walls, we pray that they carry the torch of Truth and Love with them, lighting the way for themselves and others.

May the Truth they seek be not just the answers on exam papers, but a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. May they always seek the truth in all its forms, and may this quest for truth lead them to a life of integrity, honesty, and authenticity.

May the Love they have experienced within these walls overflow into the world. May they be beacons of compassion, kindness, and empathy, sharing the love they have received from their families, teachers, and friends with all they encounter. Let their hearts be open to the needs of others, just as Yours is open to each of us.

As they step into the world, may they remember the legacy of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity, who have inspired and guided us with their mission of selfless service. May our Year 12 students continue in this mission, making the world a better place through acts of love and kindness.

We ask for Your blessings upon each of them as they face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Grant them the strength to persevere, the wisdom to make sound choices, and the courage to follow their dreams.

May they always know that they are welcome here, that our doors and hearts remain open to them, and that they carry a piece of St. Columba’s College with them wherever they go.

In Your name, we offer this prayer, trusting in Your guidance and love.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

End of Term College Assembly

The end of term Assembly on Thursday 14 September was once again, a wonderful celebration of all that our students have participated or excelled in.

Congratulation to Piashay and Sarah, our College Co-Captains who arranged for a quick visit from the amazing Essendon footballer, Dyson Heppell. It was most fitting as we were celebrating Footy Colours Day.

Amelia U and Eloise M, our Environment Captain gave an update on behalf of the College’s Laudato Si Committee. Their message can be read here:

Inspired by the principles of Laudato Si and its call to care for our common home, we’ve noticed that we generate a significant amount of paper waste within our school due to various activities.

This is particularly concerning as we are a laptop school and as such, the amount of material that needs to be printed should be minimal. We encourage all staff and students to think about this before printing material – is this completely necessary? We will be providing our College community with tips and reminders about reducing paper use in the coming months. Also, to promote sustainability, we’re initiating a new effort to reduce waste when printing.

Starting next term, we’ll be placing collection boxes for one-sided used paper throughout the school. This way, we can repurpose paper that still has one blank side, reducing our environmental footprint and conserving resources. Your participation in this endeavour will make a positive impact on our school’s sustainability efforts, so please join our efforts. We are hoping that this will also enable us to achieve our Level 3 Earthcare accreditation.

And whilst we’re on the topic of reducing our environmental footprint, we are thrilled to announce the relaunch of our Precious Plastic Program, a vital initiative for our school’s commitment to sustainability. To streamline our efforts, we have established a convenient collection point at the bottom of Kernan in the stairwell. We kindly request your active participation by sorting plastic lids into the appropriate bins, helping us recycle and reduce plastic waste effectively. To make sorting easier, we’ve provided a brief how-to video to guide you. Your support is crucial as we strive to do the right thing for our environment and future generations.

The College encourages families to collect plastic lids that you would otherwise throw away and send them in with your child. Your support would be much appreciated.

Congratulations to all the students who presented at the assembly or were acknowledged.

Graduating Class of 2023

Best wishes to our Year 12 students who are finishing formal classes this week. To date this term, the cohort has been really settled and working towards their final days of classes and their exams. This week, our aim is to celebrate them and their 6 year journeys. We look forward to celebrating their Graduation with them this Friday.

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 31 October. This meeting will be held online. Feel free to join us via this Google Meet –

Parent Forum: Reporting Processes

Thank you to the seven parents who took the time to join Rita, Greta and I last night for our consultation regarding our reporting processes. There was a robust dialogue which provided lots of positive feedback but also provided us with areas which need strengthening in the future.

Alumnae Talks

On the last day of term 3, the Year 10 cohort was incredibly lucky to have a St Columba’s alumnae, Angelica P, come to speak to us about her journey and experiences throughout her childhood and high school years.

Gel began her talk with a friendly smile, speaking about her early childhood, filled with love and laughter, uncaring and totally oblivious to the rest of the world, as we all once were. As she talked, she flipped through slides of her presentation with lovely photos from her youth, briefly explaining the colourful adventure that was her childhood, all the way up until the beginning of high school. It was at this point of Gel’s talk where we believe hit the hardest and was most relatable, as she spoke from her heart and from the mindset of a young teenage girl, much like the cohort that sat before her. She was shameless in admitting that she, much like the majority of us, struggled with body image. She talked about the incredibly difficult social standards that young girls are expected to live up to, and the impact that it had on her and her school life.

For Gel, she explained that this mindset was partially responsible for her decision to quit dance, because she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. Being uncomfortable in your own skin creates a deep sense of insecurity, and unknowingly changes the course of someone’s healthy lifestyle, much like it did to Gel’s. We know it made many students feel less alone, and more hopeful after hearing how Gel so bravely overcame her own negative mindset. Gel spoke about how her issue with body image, and her later eating disorder, were starting points marking a very low point in her life where she felt she was spiralling. We, as two teenage girls of many who experience similar struggles, felt very safe when she spoke about this. It’s difficult to explain, but there was a sort of lingering softness in the air, even when Gel was speaking of the most terrible parts of her life, almost reassuring us that everything gets better, or it will. Just so, she then moved on to talk about what happened when she dug herself out of her spiral; her recovery. She restored a healthy relationship with food and exercise, highlighting the fact that your own, personal value does not depend on what society describes as ‘a perfect girl’ or ‘a perfect body’. She emphasised that everyone is uniquely beautiful, everyone deserves to be happy and deserves to live their life in whichever way they chose, without having to worry about what others might say. She was truly inspiring in the way she carried herself through the talk, and in the way she connected with more than several students in that room. She was brutally honest, but quickly became someone comforting and trustworthy. We want to express our gratitude on behalf of all the year 10’s, to Angelica, who took time out of her day to speak to us about something she knows is inevitable when living as a girl in this society.

We hope she recognizes that what she is doing for teenagers in her daily life; promoting healthy food relationships and courses for body positivity, is such a beautiful thing. We both understand how difficult it would have been for her to talk about something so delicate, and we also understand that many of our classmates might not have wanted to outwardly express their relatability. However, both of us sit here, writing a short article to thank her for speaking about body image to the extent that she did, because she definitely has the ability to make a difference.

The Great Book Swap

On Wednesday September 6,  Year 10 Literacy in collaboration with the St Columba’s Library staff, hosted the annual Great Book Swap. During recess and lunch, students and staff came together in the library to swap books for a gold coin donation.

The Great Book Swap is an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. This year, the Great Book Swap was held on  Indigenous Literacy Day, which takes place annually on the first Wednesday in September, and aims to raise awareness about the educational struggles faced by Australia’s First Nations communities.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event by donating books and money and buying raffle tickets.

We raised $ 390 for a great cause.

Pierre Bonnard Excusion

The Year 10 French class visited the Pierre Bonnard exhibition at the NGV. We walked around and took in the colourful and vibrant paintings of the beloved painter whilst learning about how his distinctive style came to be. The still life and interior paintings particularly drew us in and we admired Bonnard’s ability to capture Parisian life in the twentieth century. With a somber environment to enrich our visit to the exhibition, we had the unique opportunity to immerse ourselves. Following the exhibition, we made our way down to Roule Galette, a traditional French creperie, where we indulged in French cuisine and even got to practise by ordering in French. A truly memorable outing.

Mango Drive

It’s Mango season again, Check out the wonderful recipes mango season has to offer this summer while supporting our wonderful Bahay Tuluyan partners, helping kids in the Philippines! Orders close at 12 p.m. on Sunday, October 22nd. Mangoes will be available for pickup in early December, with the exact dates to be confirmed.

Little Pantry

Thank you from our Dancers

On behalf of the Private dance students we just want to say thank you for family, teachers, friends for coming to watch the  Wired in Wonderland Cabaret on Saturday 9th of September it was such a magical night and we also would like to thank the Backstage Crew, Ally Grima and Nathan for helping with the sound, music and lights and good job to the Yr 7 private dance students who worked very hard with Miss Linda and Miss Trigona. Thanks so much to Miss Linda, Miss Boicos, Miss Brown, Miss Murton and Miss Trigona for making the night possible. Ms Grima thanks so much for supporting our students!

Safety Around Schools

A reminder to our families to be mindful when dropping off or picking up students at the College. Moonee Valley City Council have provided valuable information (below) for your reference.

Advocating for Neurodiverse Children - Parent Webinar

Advocating for Neurodiverse Children with Amanda Lecaude

​🗓 Date: 16th October at 7.30 pm

​🔍 Event Description:

​Parents and carers of neurodiverse children, if you are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to supporting your child through their education, you’re not alone.

📅 Join us for an enlightening webinar on 16th October at 7:30 pm, featuring Amanda Lecaude and Rachel Stewart, sharing insights and strategies for parents of children with neurodiverse learning needs.

📚 Amanda Lecaudé is an experienced Academic Life Coach, Executive Function Coach and Organising Expert. She is very passionate about ensuring all children/students (both neuro typical and those with learning challenges) are equipped with simple and effective organisational, time management and study skills as they are key to their success and enjoyment at school and in life.
Rachel is an author of ‘Creating Connections’, a transformational life coach and parent engagement specialist with many years experience and passion for transforming the relationship between parents and teachers to support children to thrive.

​💡Amanda and Rachel will share techniques to advocate effectively for your child—strategies you won’t find in any guidebook.
🎁 Plus, we’re giving away access to resources, including a lineup of invaluable parent workshops and our private parent group.
🛑 Don’t miss this chance to transform your relationships with educators as you guide your child through their formal learning.
👉 Register today for the chance to learn and be supported by like minded parents!

Click here to register:

Important Dates

Wednesday 11 October – Last Day of Year 12 Classes

Thursday 12 October – Year 12 Breakfast and Peer Assembly

Friday 13 October – Year 12 Farewell Assembly and Graduation

Monday 16 October – Spring Concert

Tuesday 17 October – Year 9 Future Directions Industry Day and One Year On Reunion Class of 2022

Thursday 18 October – Syn FM Schools on Air Excursion

Friday 19 October – 2024 Student Leadership Training Day

Tuesday 24 October – Year 12 English Exam