September 11, 2020

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Principal's Message


From the Deputy Principal


Families in Focus Workshop

Virtual Charity Run

Student Executive and Representative 2021

O'Brien House News

Happy Birthday to Bahay Tuluyan

Australian Mathematics Competition

Project Based Learning

Career News

SCSA Sports Performance Competition Winners

Year 7 Immunisations - Monday 14th September

Spring has Sprung - First Aid

Year 7 2022 Enrolment - Important Update

Academic Excellence Scholarships – Important Update

Principal's Message

Conversation with the Leadership Team

Thank you to the 49 families who joined us online on Wednesday, 9 September for our third “conversation” with the Leadership Team. The focus this term was on wellbeing – what it is, how we can support and promote it, and some of the related work we are doing at the College. A timely topic, given our “R U OK” focus on 10 September. I introduced the evening in the following way:

This pandemic has certainly given us the opportunity to normalise mental health and wellbeing discourse, to acknowledge that the circumstances of our lives have a deep impact on the way we interact with the world and with one another, and that at some stage, most of us will need to accept and deal with a mental health issue, in the way we deal with physical ailments when they arise. In fact, we are being urged to name the negative thoughts and feelings that we have, acknowledge that they are a part of our nature (hopefully transitory), find a way to manage them, and when they are not short-lived to seek support to manage them.

Tapping into the wisdom of our parent community, we asked via an online forum, what are some of the ways that families are supporting their girls to build and maintain their wellbeing at this time. I share some of their insights below:

  • Remain positive. Encourage them to take a break from the screen and get outside to exercise or just get some fresh air. Listen when they talk about their day or what’s happening in class – no matter how trivial.
  • Exercise with them, help them maintain routines, talk to them at the beginning of the day about what they have on, check in throughout the day about how they are going, talk at the end of the day about what they still need to do.
  • Pray together if they will let you.
  • Stay connected to peers. Encouragement and support. Regulating screen time. Regular exercise and get outdoors.
  • Encourage and believe in them – let them express their feelings.
  • Spend individual quality time one on one with each child to listen and speak to them.
  • Listen, listen, listen.
  • Acknowledge their feelings of frustration.
  • Encourage variety in their day.
  • Let them know that it’s ok to feel this way.

We are in the midst of planning for Term 4 with the roadmap outline provided by Premier Andrews last Sunday. We are very aware that some students, especially our Year 7s, have not had the opportunity to connect and engage with the College and with their peers. Discussions are underway regarding how we can continue to imagine “transition” for these girls, when we welcome students back onsite.

It has been a privilege to be in partnership with families as we navigate this tricky and uncertain time for adolescents (and for the adults as well) and we remain grateful for your support. As always, please do not hesitate to contact your daughter’s House Teacher or House Leader if you have any concerns.


Virtual Instrumental Music Concert

What great fun it was to join the virtual Instrumental Music Concert on the evening of Thursday, 10 September. It was great to pop in and out of “rooms” to listen to the girls perform their individual pieces, which they have largely learned online, and to witness the support and encouragement for each girl from her Instrumental Instructor and from her peers. The creativity and innovation of the Music Staff, and their commitment to maintain engagement and motivation for learning during this period of remote learning is commendable. Thank you to all of the St Columba’s College music staff for an inspiring evening.


Year 12 Students – Centrelink Student Resource Kit

Centrelink has developed a new Student Resource Kit to inform students about payments they can access after high school.

The kit includes factsheets, guides to online services, tips on claiming, tools to work out how much students could get each fortnight, translated material and videos. Please click here to access the information sheet and the link to download the resource kit.


Prayer for Spring


Dear God,


Spring is a metaphor for change. Some changes we eagerly await, and some we abhor. Some changes we plan and others arrive uninvited. To all these changes we ask the gift of Your perspective beckoning us to expectation, hope, and rebirth.


May the sunlight and the rain be reminders that You are at work renewing the earth. As a God of renewal, You are ever at work in our lives, too.


Open our eyes and lives to the needed changes in our lives this Spring. Awaken us to new life and perspective, for we pray in Jesus’ name.



From the Deputy Principal

Year 12 Virtual Parent Information Night


Parents and guardians are invited to meet with the Principal, Head of Students and myself on Monday 14 September. This provides us an opportunity to outline the final weeks of your daughter’s schooling at the College and the arrangements, for the various celebrations being planned, to acknowledge our Year 12 students. A letter, providing further details, will be sent in the coming weeks.



Celebration of Excellence


In term 4, we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students throughout 2020. Not only do we want to celebrate all that they have achieved at St Columba’s College, we also want to acknowledge their achievements beyond our school setting.


If your daughter has been successful in an external endeavour (eg. passed a Music examination, represented the state in a particular sport etc) this year, please forward the following to Tanya Almeida via this email address (


  •         Name of student
  •         Achievement
  •         If possible, a relevant photo


Managing student illness in schools during coronavirus


One of the most important things we can do to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community is to stay at home when we are unwell, even when we have the mildest of symptoms.


 What you need to know:

  1. If a child is unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms, they must stay at home.

 If a child becomes unwell during the day, they must be collected from school as soon as possible.


  1. If a child has any of the symptoms of COVID-19 outlined below, however mild, they should get tested and they must remain at home until they receive their results:
  • fever 
  • chills or sweats 
  • cough 
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath 
  • runny nose 
  • loss of sense of smell or taste.

In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be considered symptoms.


For further advice:

Visit:.Where to get tested


  1. A child must stay at home until they are symptom-free, even if their COVID-19 test is negative.

If a person has tested positive for COVID-19, they must isolate until they receive clearance from the DHHS. Read the What to do if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)(PDF) factsheet for more information.


If a person is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the DHHS will get in contact to tell them they are a close contact of a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19. A close contact must quarantine at home.


Read the What to do if you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus COVID-19 factsheet for more information.


For information on the minimum periods students need to stay at home for other conditions, refer to the DHHS School exclusion table


  1. Children do not need a medical certificate before returning to school.

Once symptoms have cleared, there is no requirement from the CECV or DHHS for students to have a medical certificate before they return to school.


If you have any further questions please feel free to contact the college.



Riding the Corona Coaster


Dr Micheal Carr-Gregg has put together a presentation in partnership with SchoolTV which explores the uncertainty of not know what will happen next. It is a valuable resource and well worth the time investment to watch it.


SPECIAL REPORT: Riding the Corona Coaster


Parents and Carers: Be Kind to yourself


In these unpredictable and uncertain times, it is easy to feel like you don’t have it altogether. Remote learning has been challenging for all involved, students, teachers and parents, and all in different ways. Berry Street offers some ways to help manage and a key reminder that you can do this!


Parents and carers: be kind to yourself


Support for Parents with preventing Depression and Anxiety in young people


The Student Mental Wellbeing Hub is an invaluable resource for seeking information regarding wellbeing. They have a great link to supporting parents with some more of the difficult issues regarding wellbeing. See the following link found on the website for supporting students and preventing Depression and Anxiety.


Student Wellbeing Hub for Secondary Online safety secondary


Support for Parents in Preventing Depression & Anxiety

Families in Focus Workshop

Next Monday, Moonee Valley Libraries in partnership with MVCC Children Services Team are delivering a family resilience workshop “Families in Focus” which will be presented by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.


Our aim is to tap into families in our community who would really benefit from this workshop. It would be great if you could help us reach this demographic by promoting the workshop to your networks. The workshop is free with limited spots and can be booked through Eventbrite.


Access the flyer here.

Virtual Charity Run

Next weekend (September 19 and 20) our charity runners will be embarking on their 16km runs, and continuing to raise funds for the Sisters of Charity. There is still time to support their efforts, and the work of the Sisters of Charity. Visit our Go Fund Me page here.

St Columba’s College shares a common history with the Sisters of Charity Foundation, through the founder of the Sisters of Charity, Mary Aikenhead.  The Sisters of Charity, have left their mark in Australia through their dedication to education and the development of schools, including St Columba’s College; and providing care, support and hope to disadvantaged members of our community. It is this history of charity and giving, where the students of St Columba’s College strengthen their Catholic identity through action for others.

Thank you to our sponsors: Centec, Academy Uniforms, Benny & Me, Barry Plant, Bentons Finer Bathroom, Ryan’s Bus, CFS, Melbourne Business, Noones and ADD Air Conditioning.

Student Executive and Representative 2021

The Student Executive for 2021 has been announced and will comprise:


College Co-Captains:

  • Alysha Lowrie
  • Grace Saporito

Specialist Captains:

  • Arts – Allanah Hessey
  • Justice – Bridget Kennedy and Carla Perrone
  • Liturgy – Catherine Nicolaci and Florence Cooper
  • Sports – Sarah Pamment
  • Environment – Adele Roeder


House Captains and Representatives:


Molly Tyrell – Captain

  • Elizabeth Sumanovic (J1)
  • Isabell Moschini (J2)
  • Jemma Moschini (J3)
  • Emily Moschini (S1)
  • Lucy Saporito (S2)
  • Bianca Cicciarello (S3)

Caitlyn McDonald – Captain

  • Bella Page (J1)
  • Maria Doukas (J2)
  • Jaz Davis (J3)
  • Alexandra Hatzievangelou (S1)
  • Coco Noce (S2)
  • Chloe Nguyen (S3)

Emily Dungan – Captain

  • Olivia Sember (J1)
  • Charlotte Mollica (J2)
  • Maddison Papadatos (J3)
  • Gabrielle Duggan (S1)
  • Amelia Crulli (S2)
  • Emily Arena (S3)

Juliana Basilone – Captain

  • Annie Sharkey (J1)
  • Charlotte Hrehoresin (J2)
  • Thinara Jayathungage (J3)
  • Siana Larkin (S1)
  • Alyssa Origlia (S2)
  • Kara Mercuri (S3)

Mikaela Mihocic – Captain

  • Alessia Oliveri (J1)
  • Poppy Gallaughar (J2)
  • Sophie Conroy (J3)
  • Giorgia Puopolo (S1)
  • Georgia Cariaga (S2)
  • Luci Srour (S3)

Antonia Crea – Captain

  • Madeleine Campana (J1)
  • Siena Rumoro (J2)
  • Sophia McMenamin (J3)
  • Laila Mariani (S1)
  • Francesca Chiera (S2)
  • Sophia Chiera (S3)

Stephanie Nass – Captain

  • Maddison Camburn (J1)
  • Tara Ganci (J2)
  • Emma Sheridan (J3)
  • Matilda Wellington (S1)
  • Nicole Mecca (S2)
  • Emily Ng (S3)

Fire Carriers

Lauren Nicolas (OBNS3) and Siana Larkin (SNMS1) have been inducted as FIRE carriers this year.


FIRE Carriers is an acronym for Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education. The FIRE carrier project is an initiative of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry which seeks to keep the Reconciliation flame alight in schools, educating the wider community about Reconciliation, our shared history and culture.

Thanks to all the staff who have supported, interviewed and provided feedback to all of the candidates throughout this process.

O'Brien House News

O’Brien House Feast Day


This year’s O’Brien’s Feast Day was very different to usual. The re-invented celebration enabled us to stay connected as a community while being still in lockdown.


We participated in a liturgy, read the House Prayer and acknowledged our Patron, Sister Mary Francis De Sales O’Brien. We were reminded to walk in her footsteps.


Everyone dressed in orange as a part of a fun ‘best dressed’ competition. When our cameras were on in our meet it was nice to see a lot of orange which helped make the day feel a little bit more special.  The celebration concluded with a Kahoot with lots of questions about our O’Brien This was a great way to involve all students from Years 7-12.

Happy Birthday to Bahay Tuluyan

The St Columba’s Community has been blessed to learn from and walk with our friends at Bahay Tuluyan in the Philippines for many years. Catherine Scerri, alumni, who visited BT when she was in Year 10, later returned and has remained for the past 17 years. She is currently the Deputy Director. We are invited to share in the life-giving work of BT via the following two ventures. We hope you can support.


The first is BT’s birthday on 10 October.  With BT’s Australians friends, we are invited to celebrate in a ‘Local Meal, Global Reach’ where we are encouraging families (or friends – depending on restrictions) to share a rice meal to help BT celebrate its birthday.  Tickets are $30 for a family and include a zoom link up to some of our kids here at BT.    All funds will help us to keep supporting our kids.


Secondly, we are invited to participate in a Mango Drive which will take place in October, with mangoes delivered in late November or December.  Can you help support our friends and partners in the Philippines in their amazing work supporting and loving children?


For more information, you like to visit these websites:

Australian Mathematics Competition

On Friday 31st July 40 Year 11 and 12 students took part in the competition testing their mathematical minds against students across Australia. The results are in and there have been 4 Distinctions awarded to Nhi Quynh Nguyen, Florence Cooper, Lillian Nguyen and Sarah Pamment. There have also been 6 Credits awarded to Grace Saporito, Alessandra Dent, Stephanie Walsh, Jade Nguyen, Alice Chew and Jessica Nguyen. Congratulations to all the girls who took part and showed that our senior students have strong maths skills.

Project Based Learning

Project-based learning engages a design thinking process to respond to a real problem or challenge that is provided in a design brief. Our students need to be innovative, work in a group and create tangible results to represent what they have learnt with an industry representative.


The aim is to develop a deep knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, character strength, global citizenship and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project.


This year our students worked with industry representatives from Amazon, Akorn, Melbourne Zoo, Accenture and City of Moonee Valley.


Here are some thoughts from our students:

Generators Job Cluster – Melbourne Zoo


The generator’s job cluster was connected with Zoos Victoria for our PBL week. Our job was to create an enrichment task that can be used by the penguins at Melbourne Zoo. An enrichment task is something that will help the animal to move/behave in a natural way or engage their senses. We were lucky enough to start the 3 days with a presentation from the education officer from Zoos Victoria, Kirsty —-. We then worked through the design thinking process to empathise, define and ideate using the design brief we were given. By breaking it down into the sections of the design thinking process, our group really didn’t run into many if not any problems. The only issue that kind of arose for us was our eagerness to jump straight to the ideate stage. This meant we were coming up with ideas even when we didn’t really need to be. To solve this we just took a step back and made sure we were working through all the steps in order so that we had as much information as possible when we did get to the ideate stage. We needed to engage all of the 6 C’s (communication, critical thinking, collaboration, global citizenship, character strengths and creativity) to work through this problem. We really improved our communication and collaboration skills through this process as working in a small team for 3 days with people you don’t typically work with remotely was definitely something that required us to focus on those 2 particular skills. At the conclusion of the program, we got to present our ideas to our peers and had our presentations recorded to be sent to Kirsty before being passed onto the Melbourne Zoo’s penguin enrichment team. Overall, I think all of us really enjoyed our PBL program and gained a lot from it in the way of the 6 C’s and using the design thinking process.


Written by: Imogen, Siana, Eloise, Katherine and Isabella


Informers Cluster – City of Moonee Valley


PBL week also known as project based learning has been a different experience for all of us in Year 10. During these tough times we have had to adapt to online learning and engage in what has been an amazing opportunity. There are 5 different cluster groups, Careers, Technologist, Informers, Generators and Designers who are all working with different organisations. We are from the informers cluster which comprises jobs involving teaching and business services. During PBL week we have been working very closely with the Valley Youth Organisation.  They are a local community based in Moonee Ponds that encourages young people from ages 12 – 25 to express themselves and participate in many engaging events. Some of these events include the mini ice skating rink in Moonee Ponds a few years ago, lockdown quizzes and The Mad Hatters tea party. 

Our job as a group was to help the Moonee Valley Youth council design a more creative way of presenting the Young people’s awards. A few things we had to consider in order for us to meet the brief were, how will the community know about the awards and nomination process? how will nominees be assessed? how will the awards be presented? And what should the recipient/s receive for their achievements? We then had to come up with a presentation to present to the Moonee Valley Youth organization and other classmates about the different ideas we came up with and which one would be the most effective. This experience was definitely one to remember because not only did we get to work with  our friends to create an idea which would help the Moonee Valley Youth Organisation but we also got the chance to learn lots of new things not only about ourselves but the organisation were were working with and what they do to help our community.


Written by: Emily Moschini, Alissa – Rose Probyn, Isabella Hodder and Giselle Di Giacomo

Career News

This edition of the Careers News features :


  • Virtual open day dates
  • Missed an open day? You can still access recorded webinars!
  • New health courses at Victoria University
  • National Careers Institute – new website
  • Emerging occupations
  • RMIT University update
  • Monash University update
  • Year 12 students – university scholarships
  • Learn about VET subjects and school based apprenticeships
  • Three humanitarian STEM jobs making a huge impact
  • Early Admission programs – September closing dates
  • Upcoming virtual career events

Access the newsletter here.


Visit the Pathways website here

SCSA Sports Performance Competition Winners

The SCSA Sports Performance Competition ended last Friday.


All the videos were excellent and judging the winners were quite challenging.


Below are the final results per category and their winning videos:


Best creativity – Stephanie Tripolino from Clonard College –


Best skilled – Bianca Recinos from St Aloysius College:


Best team collaboration – Chloe Taylor(Student Executive) from St Columba’s College:\


Best choreography – Kate Lavers from Mount St Joseph’s Girls College:


Best entertaining – Sarah Pamment from St Columba’s College:\

Congratulations to the STC girls and well done to all the participants!

Year 7 Immunisations - Monday 14th September

A reminder that all Year 7 students who are due for their 2nd dose of HPV will be required to attend STCC on Monday 14 September.


There will be NO online classes on this day for Year 7 students.


The College will be adhering strictly to Covid 19 protocols.


Students are grouped in their core groups. Your daughter will need to arrive 5 minutes prior to the time of her core group class time. Students can wear casual clothes.


Times are as follows:


7.1 – 9.30am – 9.50am


7.2 – 10.00am – 10.20am


7.3 – 10.30am – 10.50am


7.4 – 11.00am – 11.20am


7.5 – 11.30am – 11.50am


7.6 – 12.00am – 12.20am


7.7 – 12.30am -12.50am


Students will enter through the Nicholson Building, at the front of the College and proceed to the Hall foyer to be temperature checked.


Students will need to remain supervised for 15 mins post their immunisation.


Please ensure your daughter:


* Is well hydrated and eaten prior to immunisation 

* Is wearing comfortable clothing (upper arm easily accessible)

* Is wearing a face mask at all times


If you are intending to drop off your daughter and wait both the front car park and the basketball courts (enter from Buckley Street) will be available for parking.

Spring has Sprung - First Aid



Pollens from trees and grasses are a common trigger for people with asthma that can worsen or flare-up asthma and hay fever symptoms.


For many people in Australia with asthma or hay fever, August to March and with some grasses up to May, (or the dry season in tropical areas) is a challenging time.


At these times of the year, there is often an increased amount of pollen in the air, that can make life uncomfortable or lead to hospitalisation.


Problems with pollen are usually caused by grasses, weeds, and trees which are wind-pollinated. Australian native plants are usually less of an issue, although there are a few exceptions such as the Cypress Pine and Australian Oak.


Major thunderstorms during spring can make things even worse because the combination of pollen, moisture, and changes in air pressure leads to the bursting of pollen grains. This creates much smaller particles carrying the allergens that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Pollen itself is too large to be inhaled into the lungs, but the burst pollen can lead to dramatic and serious asthma attacks in those who have not taken their asthma or hay fever medications or may have undiagnosed asthma and hay fever.


This occurrence of burst pollen was originally shown to occur with rye grass pollen but is now thought to occur with other grass pollens and perhaps some tree pollens as well. There is also some evidence that these smaller particles from pollens may occur after rain and that the wet conditions associated with thunderstorms and rain also greatly increase the amounts of fungal spores in the air. 




If you find you have symptoms of:


  • Wheezing or other symptoms of asthma (cough, shortness of breath and a tight chest) during spring and/or summer with no reason you can think of
  • Runny, itchy or blocked nose
  • Irritable, itchy, watery and red eyes
  • Itchy ears, throat or the top part of the mouth called the pallet

Have a discussion with your doctor. Your doctor can help you to manage these symptoms or refer you for testing or to a specialist if needed.



It is important to continue to take your preventer medication for asthma and hay fever medication, to reduce the likelihood of hay fever and asthma flare-ups and minimise the impact of pollen on seasonal asthma and allergy.


  1. You should also carry your reliever medication with you at all times, even when you are feeling well
  2. Make sure your written Asthma Action Plan is up to date and you have read it and understood your doctors instructions, so you know what to do if your asthma starts to get worse. Upload an in date Asthma Plan to your Medical Profile in PAM
  3. Be aware of high pollen days

If you experience hay fever and/or pollen is a trigger for your asthma, it’s important to be aware of when high levels of pollen are present in the air.


Don’t forget on high pollen days to close your windows and doors. It’s easy for pollen outdoors to make its way inside. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it is turned to ‘recirculate’ so it doesn’t bring the outdoor pollens inside. 




There are a number of pollen monitoring apps and websites that are a useful resource for people with asthma and hay fever over spring.  




To reduce the chance of reacting to pollen, see your doctor to make sure your asthma is well controlled, take an Asthma Control Test, and ensure you are taking the right medications, with the right technique. If you still have problems, the following tips may help:


  • Take your medications for asthma and hay-fever as prescribed (Before attending school)
  • Stay indoors whenever possible during the peak pollen season, on windy days and during thunderstorms
  • Maintain good air quality indoors, including using recirculated air when pollen levels are high
  • Avoid activities that you know will increase your exposure to pollens that you are allergic to, such as mowing the grass
  • Shower after outdoor activities when there are high levels of pollen
  • Nasal irrigation (with a rinse bottle, spray, or other devices) can improve nasal symptoms by flushing out the irritants in your nose and help with clearing excess mucus.

See your doctor if symptoms persist.


Have your Doctor complete either an Asthma or Allergic Rhinitis Action Plan & upload to Medical Profile in PAM.


This must be done on a yearly basis or if there is a change in care or condition.  

Year 7 2022 Enrolment - Important Update

Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) has reviewed the enrolment dates for Year 7 2022 due to the impact of COVID-19.  As a result, the enrolment timeline has been extended with new dates listed below:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 9 October 2020
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Tuesday 1 December 2020
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Tuesday 15 December 2020

If your daughter is currently in Grade 5 and you wish to enrol her at the College, please ensure you submit an application form by the designated date.


An Application for Enrolment form can be downloaded from the College website or collected from Reception. You can also book in for a virtual tour via the College website.

Academic Excellence Scholarships – Important Update

Due to the current COVID-19 situation and reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions, the Scholarship Testing date has been rescheduled.

 Registration closing date is Friday 9 October 2020

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 17 October 2020


Details about the scholarships on offer and online registration are available on the College website.