November 8, 2023

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Principal's Message

Notices from the Deputy Principal


Bahay Tuluyan Bike Ride

Law in Action

Astro Science

Meet Me Where I'm At

Fuse Cup

Energy and Cars

Meet Ms Sandra Boicos

Meet Mr Lance Jilbert

Meet Ms Daniella Misho

Dorothea Mackeller Poetry Awards

Happy Families - Parent information

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Synod on Synodality

This Synod, an opportunity for the church to listen deeply to the people of God, met for 6 days between 4 to 28 October. At the assembly’s closing mass, Pope Francis offered these reflections about our Church in his homily.

Brothers and sisters, I think of the victims of the atrocities of war; the sufferings of migrants, the hidden pain of those who are living alone and in poverty; those who are crushed by the burdens of life; those who have no more tears to shed, those who have no voice. And I think too of how often, behind fine words and attractive promises, people are exploited or nothing is done to prevent that from happening. It is a grave sin to exploit the vulnerable, a grave sin that corrodes fraternity and devastates society. As disciples of Jesus, we desire to bring to the world a different type of leaven, that of the Gospel. To put God in first place and, together with him, those whom he especially loves: the poor and the weak.

This, brothers and sisters, is the Church we are called to “dream”: a Church that is the servant of all, the servant of the least of our brothers and sisters. A Church that never demands an attestation of “good behaviour,” but welcomes, serves, loves and forgives. A Church with open doors that is a haven of mercy. “The merciful man”, said John Chrysostom, “is as a harbour to those who are in need; and the harbour receives all who are escaping shipwreck, and frees them from danger, whether they be evil or good; whatsoever kind of men they be that are in peril, it receives them into its shelter. You also, when you see a man suffering shipwreck on land through poverty, do not sit in judgment on him, nor require explanations, but relieve his distress.” (In pauperem Lazarum, II, 5).

As a Catholic College, St Columba’s is committed to this mission that welcomes, serves, loves and forgives. Each and every day we strive to be in right relationship with one another and with our planet, and as we live our calling to make a response to the most vulnerable.

Updated Student Digital Citizenship Policy

We have recently updated the Student Digital Citizenship Policy, which is provided here for your information. House Group Teachers have worked with students to understand the various elements of this Policy. This is supported by the work we do in our House Group Lessons related to cyber-safety and cyber-bullying. With the rate of advancements in this space, this is a policy that will be reviewed on a more regular basis.

Education in relation to digital citizenship is something that must be done in partnership with families. When it comes to online safety, the eSafety Commissioner can help. This organisation educates Australians about online safety risks and help to remove harmful content such as cyberbullying of children and young people, adult cyber abuseimage-based abuse and illegal and restricted content.

The eSafety Commissioner can support with:

Earlier this year, we also provided details about our online safety hub (accessible from your SEQTA Welcome page) for families, provided through our partnership with ySafe. Through this hub you can get advice about the latest apps and games, learn more about online safety topics from online experts, and get help with social media incidents.

If you have any concerns about your child’s safety and/or behaviour online please do not hesitate to contact the House Group Teacher or Leader.

Changes resulting from the House System Review

Last term I shared the recommendations that arose from the House System Review conducted by our external partner, Lucy Carroll. As a result of the recommendations based on the community consultation, and the feedback provided through the review process, the following changes will be implemented from 2024.

Kate Macpherson (currently de Lacy House Leader) has been appointed to a new role at the College, Director of Students. This role aims to provide an additional level of support to the House Group Teachers and House Leaders in supporting all students at the College. This means that Nakkita Egan as the Head of Students (a Leadership Team role) can focus on the more strategic elements of student wellbeing programs at the College.

House Group time has been extended on 3 days a week, and will run for 15 minutes on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, allowing for additional time to build connection in House Groups. On Wednesday and Friday, when there is no House Group, classes will commence at 8.35am. A copy of the 2024 timetable (which will commence on 22 November) is provided below for your information. There is no change to the start and finish times for each day.

The allocation and delivery of the House Lesson, which allows for the implementation of our Social/Emotional curriculum, has changed to allow us to make a response to the recommendations in relation to connection and relationships being fundamental to the delivery of this program. This will now be core group based to build on existing teacher and student relationships.

In relation to student mentoring, we are working on developing a program led by our Peer Support Leaders, who currently support the Year 7 Transition Program.

We look forward to implementing these changes and monitoring their impact on the programs we deliver at St Columba’s College.

Mondays             Day 1 and Day 6
Tuesdays             Day 2 and Day 7
Wednesdays       Day 3 and Day 8
Thursdays           Day 4 and Day 9
Fridays                 Day 5 and Day 10

Timetable for Days 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9

LessonStartEndDuration (minutes)
House Group8.35 AM8.50 AM15
Lesson 18.55 AM10.10 AM75
Recess10.10 AM10.30 AM20
Lesson 210.30 AM11.45 AM75
Brain Break11.45 AM11.50 AM5
Lesson 311.50 AM1.05 PM75
Lunch1.05 PM1.45 PM40
Lesson 41.45 PM3.00 PM75

Timetable for Days 3, 5, 8, 10

LessonStartEnd Duration (minutes)
House GroupNANA0
Lesson 18.35 AM9.50 AM75
Recess9.50 AM10.15 AM25
Lesson 210.15 AM11.30 AM75
Brain Break11.30 AM11.40 AM10
Lesson 311.40 AM12.55 PM75
Lunch12.55 PM1.45 PM50
Lesson 41.45 PM3.00 PM75

COVID Procedures

As you might be aware from media reporting, there has been a rise in the number of reported COVID cases in recent weeks. While there is no requirement to self-isolate, it is recommended that infected individuals stay home for at least 5 days and until there are no longer any symptoms, as per the Victorian Government COVID website (reviewed on 3 November).

I take this opportunity to remind families about the illness prevention measures we should all be taking to support the physical health of everyone in the community. Attention to hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze hygiene, are proven effective measures to prevent the spread of illness. As per my previous communications, if your child is unwell, please keep them at home.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Correspondence for families

Families and students will have received the following correspondence from the College on Friday 3 November and are asked to acknowledge and return the letters by Friday 17 November, prior to the commencement of Transition:

  • 2024 Year 11 Expectations
  • 2024 Year 12 Expectations

We have also been monitoring the engagement of our students in the important whole school and year level events that are such an integral part of our learning community. These events, or experiences, help to develop a sense of belonging for students to the College, their cohort and other students and staff – a feeling of belonging and connectedness supports mental health and wellbeing. Families of students identified as being absent regularly for these activities, can expect to receive a letter in the coming weeks. We welcome the opportunity to discuss any concerns regarding these events with parents/legal guardians and your child.

All students progressing to Year 11 at St Columba’s College have the opportunity (not compulsory) to have braid sewn onto their Blazer lapels. A letter, discussing this year’s process, timeline and cost will be sent out to families within the next week.

Bronntanais o Dhia Program

The goals of the Program are as follows:

  1. To extend opportunities for positive reinforcement of student achievement & behaviour
  2. To build a holistic story of an individual student’s development
  3. To extend the pursuit of excellence into a wider range of fields
  4. To promote additional opportunities for students to demonstrate their skills

Blazer badges (embroidery on the pocket of their college blazer arranged by Noone Imagewear) are available by earning thresholds of points within the three categories of our Learning and Wellbeing Framework – Homework and Study Policy 311023

Connect    Engage      Learn

Students who qualify for the opportunity to purchase a badge for their blazer should note the following:

  • Events and activities are predetermined for earning points towards a blazer badge
  • The cost of an award badge is $34.50. This includes dry cleaning cost, removal and reattachment of the pocket with one award image. If the blazer is already dry cleaned (with tag attached), deduct $9.50 from the overall cost. For each additional award at the same time of submission, there is another $10.00 per award image
  • Students are automatically awarded commendations on the completion of an activity or event
  • When students have reached a threshold within one of the categories, Engage, Connect, Learn, they are able to apply for a blazer badge
  • Students must apply for an award in the year that they are allocated the points. They cannot apply for an award retrospectively (a year or two later). Any points received at the Celebration of Excellence evening, may be used in the application of a Connect, Engage or Learn award in the following year due to the early cut off date for semester 2 applications.
  • Blazer badges are awarded each semester at a College Assembly
  • Students are able to print off, or save electronically, a commendations report at the end of each year as a record of their participation in co curricular events and activities

Applications for 2023 must be submitted no later than Monday 20 November.

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC)

The PEC is always looking for greater parent involvement – remember, every parent in our STCC community is a member of the PEC. If you are interested in coming along, our final meeting for 2023 is, Tuesday 21 November. This meeting will be a blended meeting. You are welcome to attend in person or feel free to join us online via this Google Meet –

On Tuesday 24 October, the majority of Year 12 students commenced their VCE examinations with their English exam. Members of PEC were there at the end of the exam to hand out beautiful cupcakes as a well deserved treat. It was lovely to see the surprised faces of the students as they emerged and saw what was awaiting them.


On this Saturday, as we approach Remembrance Day, our hearts are heavy with the weight of history. It is the anniversary of the armistice that marked the end of the First World War in 1918, a war that claimed the lives of countless young souls. We pause to remember their sacrifice, their courage, and the poppies that bloom amid the crosses in Flanders fields, a poignant symbol of that era’s pain and loss. These words penned in May 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who had just witnessed the death of a close friend in Belgium, remind us of the sacrifices made by those who came before us.

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In the midst of conflict, in places like Ukraine and Gaza, the world continues to witness the toll of war and the suffering of those caught in its grip. As we reflect on Remembrance Day, let us also extend our thoughts to those affected by contemporary conflicts. Their struggle for peace is a reminder of the work that remains to be done.

Surely the Lord’s mercies are not over,
God’s deeds of faithful love not exhausted;
every morning they are renewed;
‘and so I shall put my hope in him.’
The Lord is good to those who trust him,
to all who search for him.
It is good to wait in silence
for God to save.
(Lamentations 3:26)

In these trying times, as we remember those who have given their lives for the cause of peace, we find solace in the words of Lamentations. The Lord’s mercies are not exhausted, and every morning brings the promise of renewal. We trust in the goodness of the Lord and wait in hopeful silence for salvation.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
The Ode of Remembrance

Bahay Tuluyan Bike Ride

On Friday the 27th of October, a team of 23 eager students tackled a return bike ride from school to Williamstown to raise money for Bahay Tuluyan. Bahay Tuluyan operate in the Philippines to get kids off the streets and protect them from unsafe life situations caused by poverty. They run a range of programs that provide holistic, rights-based and empowering approaches to development of young people experiencing injustice.

The bike ride has links to our college values and allowed us to take social action that displays ‘preferential option for the poor’ by raising money directed to children living in poverty and ‘going to the margins’ through learning about the poverty conditions of children in the Philippines prior to completing the bike ride. We feel proud to have taken action to advocate for a brilliant organisation and make a difference. We trained hard to tackle the ride and exceeded our fundraising target – collecting $2,160.39 for Bahay Tuluyan to help children go to school and have a safe place to escape abuse.

The bike ride of nearly 35 km, saw us ride from our college to the Commonwealth Reserve in Williamstown (and back). We left school at 10:30, (accompanied by a police escort as far as the river track) and passed the Essendon Rowing club before taking our first break behind the Footscray Art Center. Our second break allowed us to see the Westgate Bridge memorial plaque near Williamstown Backwater. Then we tackled the final stretch to Williamstown Commonwealth Reserve Rotunda. After lunch we returned to school (again with the assistance of our police escort) and returned to school, elated and tired at 2:30pm.

Thank you to all of the teachers, parents and families who have supported us. Thank you especially to Mr Bramham, Mr Morris, Ms Murton, Ms Robinson, Mr Jilbert and especially Ms Breman for helping make this extraordinary opportunity possible. I hope I have the privilege to undertake this again next year!

Law in Action

Students visited Melbourne’s Magistrates’ Court and Supreme Court where they spent time immersed in the daily running of the legal system. They listened to summary offences, such as minor theft and a cross-examination of a witness to a murder trial. In the afternoon, students were part of a mock jury empanelment run by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Astro Science

On Tuesday October 31st the year 10 Astro Science elective students launched their bottle rockets for the first time. They have spent the last few lessons learning about the history of rockets, changes in design and fuel types and the aerodynamic forces involved in launching a rocket. Students then designed their own rockets, calculated centre of mass and centre of pressure, and practiced measuring the rocket trajectory. The bottle rockets used pressurised water as a fuel propulsion source, with most rockets reaching over 20m in height. The students will now redesign their rockets to get the highest and straightest launch in our final test flights.

Meet Me Where I'm At

The 2023 St Columba’s College Online Exhibition of Art, Design and Media will be launched on Thursday 23rd November.
Last year’s 125 Exhibition and artwork from 2020 and 2021 can still be viewed at the website link.

Fuse Cup

In late October, Mariana, Deborah and I were lucky enough to attend the Fuse Cup esports State and National Finals at Emmanuel College in the Gold Coast. There were four different video games being played that day, but we were doing Just Dance 2023. There were so many different teams from all around Australia, and we even made friends with a New South Wales team!

We started off the day with a welcome, and a structure of how the day would run. Just Dance was the last game of the day, so we had some time to practise and prepare.

Soon enough, it was our turn. Nerves started to rush through as we stepped onto the stage. We cheered each other on as we danced against the other Victorian team. Mariana went first, then Deborah, then lastly me. And we won! We all got awarded a trophy and a place in the national finals the next day. We were all super excited.

We arrived the next day, nervous, but already proud of our achievement of becoming the state champions. In the finals there were 4 teams, South Australia, New South Wales (who happened to be the friends we made the day before) Queensland, and us, Victoria. We had so much fun, and we came third! Thank you to Mr Jilbert for organising this opportunity and to Nathan for holding practices at lunchtime. It was an amazing experience that I and my teammates will hold onto for many years to come.

Energy and Cars

In this energy topic, we learnt about different types of energy. For example: kinetic and potential energy. Recently, we conducted a practical experiment that shows us different types of energy transfer and transformation. For the experiment, we first built a toy car using bottle caps, skewers and toilet paper roll. We then stretched a rubber band to different lengths while attaching it to the car. We were investigating whether the car would move further if you stretch the rubber band further and the hypothesis was supported! The elastic potential energy from the elastic band transfers its energy to the car which causes it to move further when it has more elastic potential energy.

Meet Ms Sandra Boicos

For our Year Nine Journalism task, Ms Grima gave us the opportunity to interview any teacher to combat the negative portrayals of teachers in the media. On the news and in the papers, we only ever see negative stories about teachers. This gives many people a bad view on them, many believe that they are lazy and that it isn’t a difficult job. When deciding who to interview, Ms Sandra Boicos stood out in our minds. Ms Boicos is a remarkable teacher who makes an effort to connect and engage with her students. She has had a teaching career spanning almost three decades and has worked at many schools, primarily Gisborne Secondary and St Columba’s College.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I had a fantastic Primary School teacher in Grade Prep and then I had her again in Grade Three. I just loved her because she would come in, this is gonna sound ridiculous, and decorate our classrooms like nobody I’d ever seen. No decorations I’ve ever seen. So I was very inspired by her to become a teacher.

What challenges do you face as a teacher and how do you overcome them?

Students are different every year. So I suppose in my subject, Visual Arts, it’s always trying to relate the work back to something that interests the students. You can imagine over the course of time how much that has changed. When I first started teaching, I was teaching co-ed and they were interested in Ninja Turtles but all of a sudden Ninja Turtles doesn’t really cut it now, for girls or anybody in 2023. I suppose what’s happening in their world and then related back to them is one of the challenges. 

How do you see teaching evolving in the future?

I can see teaching almost being like what happens at university, I can’t help but feel that very soon we might have some classes online. As a result of what’s happened with Covid we know that it can work to some degree. I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts off at the senior level like Year Eleven/Twelve  and they have one or two days where they’re studying from home. I can also see that happening because of the teacher shortages.

In the negative portrayal of teachers in the media, what would you like to share about the values and importance of teaching?

I get really peeved when I hear things about teachers because the first thing they say to us is, “oh but look at all the holidays” but we don’t get the holidays. It’s basically working from home. For instance in these holidays that we just had, I teach senior classes. I had forty seven art folios, sacs and trial exams to mark. If people knew how long it took to mark those things, that was my entire two weeks, I still haven’t finished. I’ve still got one lot of exams to mark because I just didn’t get the time to finish. It’s disappointing because outside of your family, we’re the next people that you spend a lot of time with. We get to know you or try to get to know you. We’re specialists in our field but that seems to account for nothing.

How do you stay with current teaching practices or trends to create the best possible learning experience for your students?

I do a lot of research, I love curriculum, I’m really lucky, some people don’t like curriculum. But I like to change things up a lot and I suppose because of my research, because of what I find out there, because I like to know what students are relating to, I combine those three together to create some awesome classes. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t work and then I go back, I look at them, and I think okay, I’ve got a tweak this somehow because I had five girls interested and twenty not interested. Now how do I tailor this for the rest of them? So I’m always looking at my practice.

Is there a particular quote or motto that you live by?

Yeah I do, which is probably gonna sound not very good but I always go in thinking, “it’s okay Sandra, it’s okay, you just remember you know more than they do”.

Interviewing Ms Boicos has provided us with valuable insight into the world of teaching. Teachers play a crucial role in our education and development. However, this is rarely recognised in the media. We hear of unfortunate stories of teachers who have negatively impacted their students, but never the ones, like Ms Boicos, who leave life lasting positive impacts. The media fails to acknowledge the hard work and dedication these teachers put into their craft and the vital roles that they play in our lives.  

Meet Mr Lance Jilbert

I’m Charlize and I’m Sarah. Recently we interviewed Mr Jilbert about his career in education and his commitment to the teaching profession.

How long have you been working as a teacher? 

I think this is my 21st year of teaching, which makes me sound old. Oh, you don’t look 21. Oh, thank you, thank you. That’s what I was fishing for. 

What inspired you to be a teacher? 

Well, it’s funny, how long have we got? When I was in Year 12, I really loved the subject of Psychology and I didn’t think we had a great Psychology teacher. We couldn’t really understand a lot and I was really good at it. So, what would often happen is the teacher would teach and then the other kids in the class would come and sit with me and I would teach them. So, I was a bit of a nerd. But I really enjoyed being able to explain something in a way that they understood and I really enjoyed having to change the way that I taught it so that I could connect with each person. My mum is a primary school teacher but that didn’t really even enter into my thoughts. I was halfway through Year 12, when I thought, “I really enjoy teaching”. So, I went into teaching and I haven’t really done anything other than that although I have explored almost every subject and every role within teaching. 

Well do you have a favourite role?

Honestly, this is probably going to sound corny but the role that I’m in right now is my favourite. The role of faith and mission leader in the college is a very positive opportunity. I get to celebrate everything that we do at the college. I’ve been in Catholic schools since I started teaching. I love how welcoming and inclusive they are. I love that we are, pretty much all day every day, about loving each other and being the best you can to be of service to others. I think they’re admirable pursuits. To be able to be in a leadership position that encourages this with not only our students but our staff and our community every day makes me smile every time I come to work. My second favourite role would be timetabling. I was Director of Operations for a long time at another school and it’s a big maths puzzle. But there can be a lot of pressure. I did that job during the pandemic and by the end I needed a break from it. 

So what role does religion and faith play in your life? 

A very big role. It’s something that drives me every day. I have three boys aged four, six and eight. They go to Catholic schools. My wife and I met at a teaching position in a Catholic school. And so, Catholicism is integral to the way that we go about our lives. The thing I love the most about faith is that we get to share it and that’s why I love it being in this position. When your day is about how can I encourage others to love and share and be of service to others then it’s all positive. I absolutely love, and I know I’m saying I love a lot, but I love the fact that I was able to get into that position here at this school. We have a really unique charism at St Columba’s. The Sisters of Charity have given us values to aspire to.

Do you dislike anything about teaching? Are there any challenges?

The old school chalk and talk where I give you a test or I give you an essay and then I correct it. I think that’s boring for both the student and the teacher. So I really like to try and change my classes so that they’re more engaging and there’s less written work that needs to be corrected. And if you’re not having fun in class, then I’m not really having fun teaching it as well. Every time I take on a new class or a new subject, it takes me a little while to just kind of find my feet.

So, we were reading an article discussing the issue of teacher bashing which is now considered the norm in Australian society. Have you ever been on the receiving end of negative opinions or known another teacher who has?

It’s often a subtle thing that I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realise is wrong. I’ll give you an example. There are people that I catch up with on the school holidays, who always ask, “Are you on school holidays again?” and then add, “It must be great to have so many holidays.’ My usual response is, “Well, if it’s that easy, you go ahead and do it.”Surprisingly, the same people will reply, “I couldn’t be in a classroom full of kids!” I’ve stopped reading newspapers because the media undoubtedly portray teachers in a negative way. There are some countries overseas, Finland for example, where they revere their teachers. It’s a high status job like a doctor or lawyer.

I think teachers got a lot more credit during COVID because parents had to do what teachers do every day. I’ll admit that I’ve got an even bigger appreciation for primary school teachers since the pandemic when my eldest was in prep in 2021. Primary school teachers do an amazing job and it’s full on all the time. Now that parents no longer have to homeschool, I’m not sure that the appreciation has hung around.

Do you feel valued at St Columba’s? 

I definitely do feel appreciated here at the college. The leadership team work hard to make sure that our teachers feel appreciated. We know it’s one of the hardest times to be a teacher. One, because of the prevailing teacher bashing culture, and two, because there’s a lot to do every day. I understand that staff can be worn out. At St Columba’s we have started a staff well-being committee this year to try to find ways to improve staff health and wellbeing. Two years of COVID-affected teaching wore people out. There’s a lot of movement in teaching at the moment and so we definitely want to make sure that our staff feel appreciated. If teachers feel valued then that improves student learning. To be honest, it is a joy to teach St Columba’s students. 

Would you recommend teaching as a career? 

I would recommend being a teacher but I don’t think it’s for everybody. I remember being asked at the end of my four years of uni, “What can we do to encourage others to choose teaching?” It’s a tricky question because the initiatives that are often used to get people into teaching are usually short-sighted. A higher pay bracket is not going to make someone a good teacher and it’s not necessarily going to encourage people who would be good teachers to enter teaching. Those that make great teachers do teaching regardless of the paycheck and they’re happy being teachers because that’s what they want to do. What we need to do is make sure that we don’t lose teachers. Those people came to teaching because they knew they were going to be good at it and they loved it. And if we can treat those people better so that they don’t leave the teaching profession, then we’re going to have enough teachers. So, we do need to address the culture of teacher bashing.

And final question, just to lighten it up a bit. We know you love to work the sausage sizzle. What’s your favourite type of sausage? 

I went to Germany a couple of years ago on a study tour, so lots of different types of bratwurst and… I can’t think of any other sausage names right now! Wait, kielbasa, that’s my favourite type of sausage. When my mother-in-law serves them up, I like eating all of them. Whatever she does to them makes them absolutely awesome!

Mr Lance Jilbert (left) with Mr Brad Taylor (right)

Meet Ms Daniella Misho

Recently, we interviewed Humanities and English teacher at St Columba’s College, Ms Daniella Misho. Ms Misho has been teaching at St Columba’s College for three years and in this time she has been able to use her experiences in the classroom to grow her expertise and provide better quality teaching for all of her students. We wanted to know what her thoughts are about her profession and also her opinion on ‘teacher bashing’ which is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. 

When did you decide you were going to be a teacher?

I actually realised in Grade 3 that I was going to be a teacher. Partly because my teacher really gave me inspiration to pursue a career in education. Also around this time, I would help my little brother with his schoolwork; he’s five years younger than me. He actually knew his times tables when he was in kindergarten, so that’s when I was like maybe I have something here.

How long have you worked at St Columba’s and why do you enjoy working here? 

This is my third year at St Columba’s. I really love the students here. They are always so lovely and they allow me to enjoy what I teach.

What are the challenges of working in education?

The main challenges of working in education for me is definitely some of the admin work. Things like marking can get a bit hectic and sometimes I struggle to get it done in the time frame we have.

Have you ever witnessed teacher discrimination?

Teacher discrimination; here and there, yes. But not ever to an extreme.

Have you ever personally faced teacher discrimination?

Sometimes I feel like my voice isn’t heard partly because of my age and my lack of experience. 

Do you think that teachers are perceived in a negative way by society? 

Yes. I do. I think they’re undervalued and that’s shown by what we get paid and by the negative things that I’ve heard some people say about my profession, including some of my friends.

Do you feel valued by your students? 

Yes, I do. There are moments when I’m teaching that I can see my students are really excited by the topic, what they have achieved and how they have improved their marks. That’s really nice to see.

Teaching is a difficult job, how do you maintain your dedication?

I just need to continuously remind myself of why I do what I do. I have a philosophy about my zeal for teaching and I hold that close to my heart and I also pray a lot so that I can seek some guidance in reminding myself why exactly I do what I do.

Ms Daniella Misho (centre) with Year 12 O’Brien students

Dorothea Mackeller Poetry Awards

Dorothea MacKeller Poetry Awards is a national poetry competition held in June of each year where students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity by creating and submitting an original poem. This year eleven St. Columba’s students submitted their work to be judged and were among 6400 entries Australia-wide. I would like to acknowledge and congratulate these students for sharing their creativity and passion for poetry, and more so, for having the courage to take a chance and have a go.
Congratulations to: 
Amelia U- Year 19
Pia L  – Year 9
Chelsey A  – Year 7
Maja J  Year 10
Tiana C –  Year 9
Isabella V –  Year 11
Natalie K – Year 10
Arpita S – Year 9
Heloise C – Year 8
Camilla M Year 7
Here are some poems our students entered in the competition.
Blue Butterflies
by Tiana C
As a child my father told me to follow my dreams.
He told me that when I grew up
and entered the wicked world,
I could be anything and do anything.
A young girl with her head in the clouds.
A young girl as innocent as a delicate blue butterfly.
I really believed that society would allow me to be whoever I wanted.
Looking back, it’s obvious they all envisioned me as a nitwit nurse,
or a senseless seamstress,
or a perfect princess.


Back then it never occurred to me the distinct barrier that separated two groups of people in society.
This barrier a glass ceiling, transparent and invisible,
invisible, but still there.
What I didn’t realise back then was the power the persistent patriarchy possessed and still possesses today.
This power a weapon holding women in a chokehold
like a sharp-edged knife at the throat
Don’t move, don’t speak,
or risk losing any form of dignity you have left.


When I see a blue butterfly I no longer cross my fingers and make a wish for world peace
instead I wish for equality.
I wish to be valid and worth something in society
I wish for future generations.
I wish that no girl be told she’s bossy when she acts like a leader
I wish no girl be told to turn on her location when she walks home at night,
I wish no girl be told she was asking for it when she is abused,
I wish no girl be told mind her business when she stands up for herself.
We claim we are working as a society to end gender inequality, but where’s the end?
I don’t see anyone doing anything, or helping anyone
so how will this get better?
Change is a windmill.
Turning and moving and possibly producing energy
but what good will that do but fuel the hypocrites?
Fuel the misogynists.


In a word that’s wicked and deceitful,
She is still a dreamer.
She still dreams on blue butterflies.
Unknown Fear 
by Isabella V
Why is the journey so far from the light?,
I weave through treacherous roads,
Yet I am lead back to the place I will never call home,
Why are you letting me suffer?,
Is it me who is the problem?,
Am I too insufferable to just be let go?,
I try and I try so very hard to keep going,
But my body caves in and want to give up,
This weight on my back is like constant needles shot through my spine,
I cry and I cry but no one will hear,
No one will hear the excruciating pains of having this fear,
Please tell me how to get out of this hole,
I want to get out, please let me go,
I plead and I plead but it’s a never ending circle,
Laps upon laps I am getting dizzy,
Let me be in the place where they shine,
Sparkle, glitter and glam,
When will that be mine?,
Why is the journey so far from the light?,
I will never give up and I will win this fight.

Our Planets Been Invaded
by Natalie K

Grey, barron and vast,
Why is it there in place of grass?
Why are there street lights,
Blocking my view of starry nights?
Ashy black and white roads,
Paving the way for truckloads,
Of dead trees and live cattle,
Toxin spewing tail pipes rattle,
Trees cut to our liking,
For electrical wire piping,
Nature out of the way,
So us humans can play?
We’re forgetting our roots,
Too used to boots, mass produced,
Plastics, clothes and toys,
All for what? Our little girls and boys?
Our planet’s been invaded,
Look at the mess we’ve created,
No one seems to care,
We’re killing our source of breathable air,
The list of animal extinctions,
Growing with yearly distinctions,
We only have one planet, One shot,
Why are we messing it up so bad if it’s all we’ve got?

Happy Families - Parent information

Enough: Parent Webinar

Since 2010 mood disorders in children and teens, like anxiety and depression, have been steadily rising.

The rise of online gaming, Discord, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok has changed the way kids relate to one another. But it’s also changed their expectations for one another – and themselves – and is associated with anxiety, perfectionism, bullying, and self-loathing. In short, our children are worried that they are not enough and their daily interactions with one another, their screens, and even with us, are reinforcing that fear.

In this webinar you’ll discover:

  • why so many of our kids don’t feel enough
  • how our best-intentioned efforts to help them feel enough backfire
  • solutions that shift your child’s focus from worrying if they’ll ever be enough to no longer even thinking about it, and
  • how to establish a relationship that leaves no doubt that they really are enough

Click here to access the webinar.

Inside Story, Outside Behaviour

Access the full story here.

Important Dates

Thursday 9 November – STEM Mad National Showcase, Physics Exam, Geography Exam, Text & Traditions Exam, Year 9 Music Solo Recital and Cape York Student Info Session

Friday 10 November – Visual Communications Exam and Global Politics Exam

Monday 13 November – Year 10 & 11 Exams Commence, Art Making & Exhibiting Exam and Music Repertoire Performance

Tuesday 14 November – Drama Exam, Religion & Society Exam, Japanese Second Language Exam and Junior Performing Arts Concert

Wednesday 15 November – Italian Exam, French Exam and Cape York Immersion Parent Info Session

Thursday 16 November – Year 9 Exams Commence