September 20, 2019

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Principal's Message


St Columba’s College Art Acquisition Program

Enrolments - Student Exits

Head of Students

Parents' Association

Social Justice News

Library News

Humanities News

Year 10 PBL

Careers News


Sport: Charity Run

Principal's Message

Fathers’ Day Breakfast

It was a great privilege to host our students and their fathers and male mentors at our inaugural Fathers’ Day Breakfast on 5 September. There was a wonderful ambience in Gayip-biik as we celebrated the special role that fathers and father figures have in the lives of our young women. The interaction between our girls and their dads and male mentors was something very special to witness. Thanks to all the dads, step-dads, uncles and grandfathers that supported this event.


Thanks to Brigitte McDonald and Donna Kellett for their superb organisation, and to Shane Taylor for the reflective prayer marking the importance of men in the lives of our young women, in the image of God, our creator and father.


Spring Music Concert and Cabaret

What an absolute musical treat the concert was once again this year. The polished and professional performances are a testament to the hours of rehearsals, and to high expectations that our Performing Arts Staff have of their students. Congratulations to our student performers who entertained us with great delight. A special mention to the Year 12 Music students as they prepare for their performance exams. I am sure that based on their performances at the concert they will do well indeed.


Thanks to Madison Foley, Laura Danby and Emma Downing for their organisation of, and contribution to, this wonderful event, and to all of our Instrumental Staff for their work with the students. A special mention to Terry Reade and his backstage crew for their contribution to the seamless transition between items which made for a very polished show.


The Linda Henderson Dance Cabaret was another wonderful night of entertainment as our private dance students showcased their considerable talents and all that they had learnt over the year. The use of movement, space and music were inventively combined for a spectacular show. It was wonderful to witness the connection of past students to support the Cabaret and our students in the precise execution of their dance moves. Well done to Miss Linda for all that she brings to this program.


Charity Run

Another Charity Run is done and dusted for this year. Congratulations to all of our students who participated in this event. Their commitment and endeavour over several months of early morning training, as well as a 4:00am start on the day of the run is to be commended. This opportunity would not be possible if not for the commitment of a few dedicated staff members who each year support this event. Thanks to Camille King for her organisation and to Cherie Beckingham, Nella Cirillo, Ann Hyland, Sofie Scollo and Jacque Wozniak for their support, not only on the day but over the last few months as they trained with the girls.


Leadership Team Immersion

The Leadership Team were privileged to spend the day together on Thursday, 19 September, immersed in visiting sites that are significant for the work of the Sisters of Charity and Mary Aikenhead Ministries here in Melbourne. What we experienced across the course of the day was a commitment to continuing the mission of the Sisters from those who work at the St Vincent’s Hospitals across various areas of health care, with a particular emphasis on ministering to the margins. It was an incredibly moving and special day. Our education ministry contributes significantly to this work as we instil in our students a commitment to living out the values of Mary Aikenhead Ministries.


My Movements

I will be having some further surgery related to my treatment during the holidays and will not be available in the first two weeks of Term 4. Ms Brigitte McDonald will be available to take any queries that you may have.


Term Break

I would like to wish all of our students a restful term break. To all our families who are travelling, we wish you happy and safe travels. We look forward to welcoming back all of our students for the commencement of Term 4.



Gratitude at the end of Term

We thank you, Lord, for this term. For the challenges, the successes, and the mistakes from which we have learnt. Be with us as we spend our time with family and friends. Give us strength and courage to do what is right: to be witnesses of our faith. Help us to be a practical Christian these holidays, to appreciate what others do for us, to give time and effort to help others. To be peacemakers in our family. Keep us safe in our activities; give us good rest and good fun. Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term. We thank you for our students, teachers and families who support us in so many ways. May we always be conscious of you in our lives. Amen.





St Columba’s College Art Acquisition Program

St Columba’s College Art Acquisition Program

A new Art Acquisition Program is being introduced this year to celebrate and acknowledge the artistic talents of our students. The Program also aims to promote excellence in the Visual Arts learning area and to beautify the College with the original artworks of our students.


Artworks will be selected by the following personnel and team each year prior to the College Art Exhibition, for purchase by the College: 

  • Principal (Senior work) 
  • Deputy Principal (Junior work) 
  • Art Domain (Senior work)
  • Head of Students (Junior work)
  • Head of Learning & Teaching (Junior work)
  • Head of Faith & Mission (Senior work)


The final decisions will be made by Thursday 24 October and the artworks will become the permanent property of the College. 


Students will receive payment for their works in the form of a cheque. If their work is selected:

  • a Year 7 or 8 student will be awarded $100
  • a Year 9 or 10 student will be awarded $200 
  • a Year 11 or 12 student will be awarded $400 


Students, whose work has been selected, will be acknowledged at the Awards Assembly for Years 7-11 and at the High Achievers Assembly in 2020  for any Year 12s whose work has been selected. 


Students whose works will be on display during the Art Exhibition may wish not to have their work considered for the College’s Art Acquisition Program. Should they wish not to sell their work, they will advise their art teacher by Wednesday 16 October.


Enrolments - Student Exits

Notification of students intending to leave St Columba’s College at the conclusion of the 2019 school year would be greatly appreciated as planning for 2020 is underway. We would like to be able to finalise any possible enrolments as there are families who are seeking places for their daughters at the College in Years 8 – 12.


The notification process is for a formal letter or email of notification to be sent to the Principal, Ms Rita Grima. A reminder that the College’s Fee Policy states a term’s notice is required if you are withdrawing your daughter from the College. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


Head of Students

In November, the Year 12 students will look forward to celebrating an exciting milestone in their lives – the completion of their secondary school education. This, however, should not mean risking their health or safety. Good Times, Great Breaks is a coordinated, community response that provides information and on-the-ground support for young people celebrating the end of school in Victoria’s coastal regions. Young people planning to celebrate in Victorian coastal regions are encouraged to visit the Good Times, Great Breaks website for registration, information and safety tips. Those planning to celebrate or volunteer overseas are encouraged to visit the Australian Government website Smart Traveller for registrations, safety tips and security, local laws and customs. 


The College encourages parents to discuss end-of-school leaver celebrations to help reduce the risk of alcohol and drug-related harm to their daughters. We encourage parents and their daughters to visit the websites mentioned to help ensure celebrations are safe and enjoyable for all.


Parents' Association

This is a busy time of the year for the Parents’ Association.


Thanks to all who came along and enjoyed a lovely night at Riverside for our annual Parents’ Night Out.  Particular thanks to the organisers Alma Kennedy, Kathy Palumbieri, Princess Navarro and Dani Dungan and the College Leadership who joined the celebrations. Lots of fantastic feedback about the food, venue, DJ and company on the night!


And come and say hello to us at the opening of the Art Show on 24 October – a dedicated team will be cooking up our now world-famous sausage sizzle for the event.


All welcome at our next meeting on Tuesday 22 October, 7:30pm.


For the diaries: We’d also really love to see parents to our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 19 November, 7 pm, where new office bearers will be voted in and we celebrate the year that was. More details to come in future editions of IONA.


If you’d like to find out more about the Parents’ Association, and how to get involved, please contact Parents’ Association President, Nicole Purcell (e:



Social Justice News

Social Justice Statement 2019–2020 “Making it Real: Genuine Human Encounter in Our Digital World”


We celebrate Social Justice Sunday on 29 September. This year, the Australian Bishops’ Social Justice Statement is titled: ‘Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world’. It shares Pope Francis’ challenge to us to ‘boldly become citizens of the digital world’.  It points out that we are called not just to be inhabitants of this world, but active citizens shaping it.


Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world, affirms the positive possibilities for encounter and solidarity offered by new digital media while warning of those elements of our digital world that may be harmful.  These include information overload; social isolation; marginalisation of the vulnerable; consumerism and fake news.


The Statement reminds us that the new digital media cannot be seen as neutral or ‘unaffected by any moral considerations’.  While many users do not realise it, the core business of social media platforms is to sell advertising and maximise profits. People’s personal lives may be reduced to data that is traded for profit or power, and it is used to target and influence us in ways previously unthinkable. Pushing users to more extreme positions and promoting fake news and conspiracy theories sells, but this is at odds with human solidarity.


The Statement amplifies Pope Francis’ call to us to ‘boldly become citizens of the digital world’, with the image of the Good Samaritan as our inspiration. We are called not only to love our neighbour but to bring the love of God to the new global neighbourhood. The Statement points out that we are called not just to be inhabitants of this new digital world, but active citizens shaping it. All of us – whether we are users, communities, industrial or political leaders – have a role to play in rejecting hatred, divisions and falsehoods. We have a duty to foster a neighbourhood that promotes those human attributes and social values that lend themselves to genuine human encounter – love, understanding, beauty, goodness, truth and trustworthiness, joy and hope.


We invite you to read this full statement by clicking here (please embed the attached document here).


Climate Justice 


I pause for the millionth time calling my daughter to move faster we need to get going “mummy has lots to do today”. I look back to see what has caught her attention this time and find a little three-year-old crouched down gently running her fingers through the newly blossomed native daisy’s spotted along our garden path. I put the bags and coats in the car, go back and crouch down next to her.


This moment is precious because my little one is teaching me what it means to care for creation. She understands what Pope Francis is constantly reminding us, that we are Stewards of Creation. We have a responsibility to share our love with all of God’s creation and that includes the animals and flowers. As Justice Leader, it is my responsibility to lead initiatives and student development that promotes justice for all. It would be remiss of me to let the ever-growing message for Climate Justice pass without raising the issue within our community. We are feeling the effects of more extreme weather, scientists – experts in their field – are telling us there is a significant issue, our children and young people are screaming out about this issue and Pope Francis has declared the climate emergency we face requires our immediate attention and we must ACT. Doing this with love and compassion for the environment and for each other.


This month thousands of young people around the world will rally demanding Climate Justice and we must decide what our action will be. At the College, we raise awareness and will be writing to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment. Our environmental group are leading initiatives with students and meet regularly to enact change. Year 7 are exploring Stewardship in their RE lessons. I’m not one to join crowds of people in demanding change so I plan on making other small but significant steps for climate justice. I carry my reusable shopping bags and straws, my family use drink bottles which can be filled. We reuse and recycle as much as we can around our home and if we do travel by air I contribute carbon offsets. More than this I use my voice to speak with family and friends about the choices we make affecting our planet. I want my little girl to have an opportunity to stop with her children and see the beauty in the flowers along the footpath. What are you doing? What ideas can you share with the STC community? Please have conversations, write letters and ask questions of the policymakers in this country because people power is an amazing force and one that our government must listen to. They must begin to act in our best interests to promote Climate Justice. See the gallery below for some inspiring images of our future.

Need more info? Check out these links:


Catholic Earthcare Australia:


Our vision is for an ecologically sustainable and resilient Australia, where Catholic communities play an active part in the holistic care of social, human and environmental ecology.


Climate Action Summit:


The UN Secretary – General’s Climate Action Summit will include a Youth Climate Summit. It will be held on 21st Sep and bring together some 500 young activists, entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers across the globe.


UN Sustainable Development Goals:


The lazy person’s guide to saving the world.

Library News

Term 3 Holiday Library Hours

The Library is open for Private Study during the Term Break.

Week 1: Monday to Thursday: 8.30 am to 4.00 pm (not open on Public Holiday Friday 27 September)

Week 2: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8.30 am to 4.00 pm

* Wednesday 2 October 8.30am to 3.30pm

Students must first sign in at Front Reception, then sign the register on the Library Desk. Students may bring covered hot drinks and water bottles, but no food is to be consumed in the Library. Casual clothes may be worn.


Suggested Holiday Reading


Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

An inspiring, powerful read on sisterhood and the ability to change. Adapted from Cinderella, the story begins when the ‘ugly’ stepsisters desperately try to fit into the glass slipper. Forced by their mother, the girls cut off their toes and are maimed for life. True to the original story, Cinderella escapes from her locked room, fits into the glass slipper and lives happily ever after…or does she?


Through the infamous characterisation of the ugly stepsisters, Donnelly tackles the issues of labelling, stereotyping and unlikely heroes. The stepsisters, despised by their community, are forced to fend for themselves. Bella – the younger of the two – goes out of her way to show the community that people can change…regardless of what ‘Fate’ has in store. With the help of ‘Chance’, Bella learns what it means to forgive, love and – most of all – fight for the ones she cherishes…even Cinderella, who caused the loss of happiness years ago.

Perfect holiday read.


Kiss Me in Paris – Catherine Rider

A short but brilliant story that is perfect for all ages. Serena travels to Paris for one day to re-enact her parents’ experience many years ago, and visit all of the same places. This is a poignant time for Serena as her father is no longer with her. Life, it seems, has other ideas in mind. What Serena plans is turned on its head, as is her perception of her parents’ time in Paris, their relationship, and her idea of love.


Year 10 PBL and Year 8 Fiontar


In celebration of student learning, Year 10 PBL and Year 8 Fiontar works are currently showcased around the Library. Both subjects were asked to create a product to help the community. See the gallery below for images from both units.

Humanities News

All Year 8 students participated in a Geography fieldwork excursion to the Docklands. The focus for the day was to collect, record and analyse data to apply to a new reimagined city suburb for the year 2050. Students were asked to investigate and consider the economical, environmental, social and wellbeing demands.


At different stages, groups of students were also responsible for navigating their classes to different areas – an entertaining and challenging task for many students who took the long route. Below, Year 8 students reflect on this experience.


On Wednesday 11 September we went on an excursion to Docklands. The first stop was the western side of Marvel Stadium, followed by the Yarra River, Victorian Harbour, The District Docklands, Community Hub then lastly Southern Cross Station. Each student had to answer questions about each place we visited, such as infrastructure. At the community Hub, we started our assessment to create a suburb. During this task, we learnt about how suburbs work and what is needed to create a sustainable suburb. We also learnt about how a city might become overpopulated and what is needed to help grow the city to sustain the new population. – Georgia Cutajar CNMJ3


The recent Geography excursion that Year 8’s attended was very informative and enlightening. We learned about the history and landscaping of the new Docklands, whilst simultaneously learning about how to navigate our way through the city. We also learnt about what makes a city liveable and how the Government used urban renewal to build what we now know as Docklands. 


Our excursion began with a train ride into the Southern Cross Station. We analysed the architecture and discussed as a class about our first impressions of the station as well as creating predictions for the station in the future. From there the first group of students used a map to navigate our way to Marvel Stadium. Here we stood on the western side of Marvel Stadium and overlooked the water recording what vessels and other forms of transport we could see. As we walked to our next destination we observed the indigenous history and culture around us. Overall, the excursion was very informative and relevant to our current unit. – Maddi Wong, BRNJ1 and Olivia Russo, DLYJ2


Year 10 PBL

Recently Year 10 students participated in the Project-Based Learning program, which challenges students to solve a real-life issue. Below is a link to the student reflections of their PBL week and their resulting projects. Check out our gallery for images of their projects.


Year 10 PBL Week Student Reflections



St Columba’s College is currently working towards being registered as an eSmart School.

eSmart is a holistic approach to changing the behaviour of ICT users and connects cyber safety with overall wellbeing. It focuses on creating cultures of respect and personal responsibility and provides users with practical knowledge to ensure online safety and security. Being an eSmart school requires a whole school approach to create long-term behaviour change. eSmart supports:

  • reduction of bullying
  • reduction of cyberbullying
  • increase in digital citizenship
  • increase in student wellbeing



  • students feel safer as their awareness increases
  • teachers feel more confident to use technology and provide advice to students on cybersafety
  • a more positive culture within the school due to a reduction in bullying
  • improvement in the management of issues and incidents

eSMART Week 2019

eSmart week took place on September 2 to 5 this year. To celebrate eSmart week and to raise awareness about eSmart practices the following eLearning events took place:

  • Monday 2 September – lunchtime in STEM Lab – Xbox Fruit Ninja competition promoting Safe gaming event and short sessions with breaks for healthier screen time
  • Tuesday 3 September – recess in Staffroom promoting safe Social Media practices and support in checking privacy settings
  • Thursday 5 September – lunchtime on the courts – Basketball 3 point competition promoting being physically active instead of being on screens

Parent Workshop Evening

Being eSmart involves all of our community and we are providing parents with the opportunity to also upskill in relation to being eSmart by offering a practical workshop on for parents to attend – Parenting in a Digital World. This workshop will be held on Wednesday 13 November at 6.30pm – 7.30pm and will be run by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.


This workshop will provide insight into the online worlds of young people including the latest trends, risks and research, and include a strong focus on social media. It also focuses on advice parents can use to help manage a child’s life online.


  • Parents/carers will develop an understanding of the appeal of social media and how to support young people to stay safe.
  • Parents/carers will know where and how to report inappropriate content and how best to support young people who are experiencing harm.
  • Parents/carers will be equipped with the latest research regarding online behaviours

Please register your interest using this form by Friday 8 November. Only 100 places are available for this event.


Sport: Charity Run

Last Friday, St Columba’s College and St Bernard’s College participated in the annual Charity Run. Beginning our training sessions during the cold winter mornings of July, every Tuesday and Thursday morning students gathered at Aberfeldie Park before sunrise to train for the Marby 150. With support from Ms Beckingham, Ms King, Ms Hyland, Ms Cirillo, Ms Scollo and Ms Wozniak, we all worked extremely hard throughout the term to improve and prepare for the run. As a team, we overcame the blood, sweat, tears and stitches all to be rewarded with our Charity Run breakfasts, which were enough of an incentive for most of us to always try our best.


With each student contributing a minimum of $85, plus additional funds from sponsors, all money raised is donated to a charity of St Columba’s and St Bernard’s choosing. This year the donations went towards Brother Beausang Catholic Education Centre. This is a great aspect of the activity, as it not only encourages physical activity in students but also gives back to the community.


The day of the Charity Run is always the highlight. Despite the 12 hour day from 4 am to 4 pm, it is always extremely fun to get active and spend with all our friends. In total, the students run just over 37 laps around the Maribyrnong River in groups to complete an amount of 150km throughout the day. If we weren’t running, we were cheering on our peers with the help of past students and parents who came down to support us on the day. It is such a fun and exciting day for everyone, and it makes all the hard training and early mornings worth it! Thanks to all who participated and supported the 2019 Charity Run – Dominique Hanley-Leonard