October 9, 2020

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Returning to On-site School

STC Online Shop

Careers News

Year 10 Immunisations

Bruton House News

Women at NASA: Leadership and Success in STEM

Term 4 live parent webinars

Virtual Charity Run

Student Leadership Training

Cyber Safety Family Night

Principal's Message

Joy and Anticipation

Anticipation and joy abound as we look forward to welcoming students and staff back onsite from Monday, 12 October.  Please refer to the letter sent to families on Thursday, 8 October for details communicated to parents and legal guardians about arrangements until Friday, 23 October.

As you may recall, we distributed a survey late in June asking for your feedback on proposed timetable structures, given our learnings from the first period of lockdown and remote learning.  We have also sought feedback through student focus groups.  We are currently preparing a timetable structure that we propose to trial for the remainder of Term 4, once all students are onsite from Monday, 26 October.  These arrangements will be finalised and communicated in the coming week.

For those parents sending students to school on Monday, the following link takes you to a 4-minute video with Dr Anthea Rhodes as she highlights some common concerns parents and children have, and how you can support your child in the lead up to the return to school.

Supporting your child to get back to on-site learning


The GAT and Year 12 Arrangements

Congratulations to the Year 11 and Year 12 students for the way they managed their preparation for the GAT.  Students arrived to sit this 3-hour test with an air of calm accomplishment.  Once again, they have shown us their determination and resilience through this pandemic.

The last day of classes for Year 12 students will be Monday, 26 October, followed by a celebration morning on Tuesday, 27 October, with a few other activities to mark the end of 13 years of formal schooling along the way.  It has been challenging making plans to ensure that we celebrate this milestone appropriately and I would like to acknowledge the way the girls have been working with us to ensure a fun and safe approach to these activities, working within the restrictions that are in place.



As per my letter dated 29 September, I would ask all families to remind their daughters to adhere to the physical distancing measures the College has instituted to ensure the health and wellbeing of each member of the community.  We will be strictly enforcing the community requirements to maintain physical distancing and have been advised by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) that compliance with community restrictions will be monitored by authorised officers.  I have included these once again for your information. Thank you for your ongoing co-operation with these arrangements:

  • To ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff, all members of the community are asked to maintain physical distancing by not hugging, touching each other, sharing food or other items such as pens, rulers etc.
  • Face masks need to be worn by students at all times they are onsite; no other face covering is permissible.  Teachers will wear masks as they move about the site, and in shared staff spaces.  Masks do not have to be worn while teaching.
  • In order to support the physical distancing protocols, only students purchasing items from the Foodstore are expected to be lining up.  Access will also be restricted – we will advertise times that students in different year levels can access the Foodstore in the Student Bulletin.  Friends need to move away and wait for these girls elsewhere.  Students are encouraged to order food in the morning to minimise congestion at the Foodstore during break times.  Online ordering will also be available from Monday, 12 October.  Information has been communicated to families this week.
  • There will be hand sanitising facilities across the College.  Students need to take responsibility for their own health and hygiene through regular hand-washing, and are encouraged to have their own personal bottle of hand sanitiser with them.
  • Classrooms will be open at break times and students are permitted to eat and drink in those rooms.  Students are expected to clean up after themselves and wipe down the tables that they are sitting at.  The classroom doors must remain open.
  • Doors into corridors will remain open to maximise fresh air flow indoors.
  • Drinking fountains have been adjusted to allow only for the filling of water bottles; students will not be able to drink directly from the fountains.
  • There will be physical distancing markers and reminders in place around the College – we ask all students to be respectful of these.
  • Staggered dismissal times will be in place at the end of each lesson.  Individual teachers in classrooms will manage these dismissal times.
  • The three entrances to the College will be open at the start and end of the day to ease congestion at the Leslie Road gate.
  • Exit times at the end of the day will be staggered and there will be three exit points for students:
    • Leslie Road gate for students heading toward Rose Street for access to public transport; 
    • Buckley Street gate for students heading in the direction of Lorraine Street and Lincoln Road; and 
    • Stanley Street gate for students being collected by car in Stanley Street and surrounding areas.
  • Visitors to the College will be restricted, and we ask that you come into the College only if it is absolutely necessary.  We will be enacting physical distancing protocols in College Reception.
  • Parents collecting their daughters from the College should remain in their cars.


Fratelli Tutti

On the eve of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis published his third encyclical centering on the key themes of Friendship and solidarity. A world that looks beyond a global pandemic with no roadmap can find one in Pope Francis’ new encyclical, It is a vision of the dignity of every human being from which flows the call to build a new culture of fraternity and dialogue.

Pope Francis writes early in the encyclical: “It is my desire that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” Let us pray together in the words of Pope Francis.

A Prayer to the Creator

Lord, God of our Human Family,

You created all human beings equal in dignity:

Pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit.

And inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter, dialogue, justice and peace.

Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open

To all the peoples and nations of the earth.

May we recognise the goodness and beauty that you have sown in each of us,

and thus, forge bonds of unity, common projects and shared dreams. Amen.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Conversations with Leadership

Last term, on Wednesday 9 September, we held our third ‘Conversations with the Leadership Team’. The theme for that session centred around the mental health and wellbeing of our girls. At this event, we discussed the College’s three-year partnership with Real Schools and the work they have been doing with our staff around the embedding of Restorative Practices. We also alerted the parents online, to the upcoming parent webinar, “Building a Resilient Teen” that Simon Dewar from Real Schools, would be leading in term 4.

As parents, we all want our children to be resilient. Resilience helps us to deal effectively with the challenges that life throws at us and helps us bounce back from adversity. It’s more than dealing with the challenges, as there is also a strong correlation between resilience and being successful, caring and empathetic. These are traits that we want to instil in our own children. 

This session is designed to support you with raising a resilient child in today’s world.  The tips and advice will be practical, easy to implement and immediately useful.

Here is a brief video from Simon about the upcoming webinar:

The parent webinar, being held on Monday 26 October at 7.00pm, can be accessed via this Zoom link:

2021 Year 11 Students’ Blazers for Embroidery – Thursday 3rd December

All students progressing to Year 11 have the opportunity to have piping sewn onto their Blazer lapels.

Students who wish to take up this opportunity must submit their blazers (with their payment form) on:

DAY: Thursday 3 December 2020

TO: Front Reception

TIME: any time between 8.15am and 12.30pm

The cost of the service is $48.00, payable at the time by Credit Card only. Price includes dry cleaning.

Families have been sent a copy of the payment form provided by Noone. Please print off this form or a hard copy payment form can be collected from either Student Reception or outside the House Leader’s Office.

On the day of collection, students must ensure that they have clearly labelled their Blazer with their full name on the inside pocket, that all badges have been removed and that the payment form is submitted.

Final Days at St Columba’s for our Year 12s

We are looking forward to celebrating the girls’ graduation on the 19 and 20 October. Families will receive a letter today outlining the final days of schooling and information about the Graduation Ceremonies today.

Our Year 12 students are set to commence their final exams this month in what has been an extraordinary curve-balling year, a super stressful and testing time for many, including parents. October happens to also be Mental Health Awareness month.

Here is the link to an article by Daniel Merza who unpacks 5 tenacity tips to help parents to support their daughter to manage stress and avoid distress so they can finish school strong and create a hopeful future:

Click here to access a short video for each tenacity tip

Best wishes to all the Year 12 students and their families for the upcoming exams.

Returning to On-site School

Advice for Parents for Returning to On-site School

Life is full of transitions and regardless of when it happens, it is still one of the most challenging things a person has to go through. Anyone who’s gone through a transition will attest to its hardship, some of the common feelings during a transition include self-doubt, fear, anxiety (caused by uncertainty), stress ( caused by an overwhelming amount of new things), and sadness.

Transitions in life are unavoidable. Starting secondary school, moving places, starting a new job, starting or ending a relationship

This is now an important opportunity for us to teach a valuable life lesson for children. This support allows them to set up ways of coping with the anxiety and stress that comes with transitions in life. Please find below a range of resources that will help you support your daughter’s transition back to on-site learning.

Return to School advice for Parents

SPECIAL REPORT: Coronavirus – The Transition Back

SPECIAL REPORT: Wellbeing Checklist for Secondary

SPECIAL REPORT: Riding the Corona Coaster

STC Online Shop

St Columba’s College welcomes you to a new partnership with CDFpay. This solution is an online payment platform offered by the Catholic Development Fund Melbourne (CDF).

We understand there are many times when you may need to provide your credit/debit card details to the school, complete payment envelopes or provide cash to your daughter to pay for various school activities and events, but cash isn’t the only option in today’s world; which is why we want to make it convenient for you to make payments going forward.

This term we are introducing CDFpay, which is a cash-free solution for our Foodstore and various College initiatives.

We will be encouraging all parents to use this simple, cash-free platform in the future. Please be assured that we will not turn away parents/students who choose to pay via cash, however to ensure the success and drive the full benefits of this program we encourage your participation.

The benefits of our school going cash-free with CDFpay are:

  • Greater security: a safer option where you don’t have to be concerned about your daughter losing money from her bags and pockets.
  • Anytime, any device: order and pay for lunches (while setting dietary needs & allergy requirements), or College events/items from your mobile, tablet or computer at any time.
  • Fast & easy payments: it allows credit card or bank transfer payments. Stored credit cards make the process of paying for every College initiative, including lunch orders, faster and easier than ever.
  • Reduced administration: counting and handling cash is time consuming for the College. CDFpay steamlines the payment procedure for everyone.

More information can be found via the College website or by clicking HERE.

We look forward to working with you as we implement CDFpay in our College community.

Careers News

This edition of the Careers News features :


  • Film Competition
  • Victoria Youth Employment Program
  • ATAR no longer required – Torrens University
  • La Trobe University
  • Narrow down uni preferences
  • Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • Construction, Trades and Architecture Expo
  • The University of Melbourne
  • University Applications
  • Virtual Events


Access the newsletter here.

Visit the Pathways website here.

Year 10 Immunisations

On Monday 12 October, your daughter is scheduled to receive her Meningococcal ACWY immunisation. There will be NO Year 10 classes on this day.

Students will be required to attend the school during their allocated time to receive their immunisation. Students may wear casual clothing.

The scheduled times are listed below based on Exploring Pathways groups.

Roll Class




9.30 AM

9.50 AM


9.55 AM

10.15 AM


10.20 AM

10.40 AM


10.50 AM

11.10 AM


11.15 AM

11.35 AM


11.40 AM

12.00 PM

Your daughter will need to arrive 5 minutes prior to the above scheduled time.

If you are planning on driving your daughter to the College on the day, you will need to remain in your car.

She will enter the Nicholson building sliding doors via the car park and make her way to the Hall Foyer where she will have her temperature taken.

Your daughter will need to stay at the College for a period of 15 minutes after her immunisation to ensure that she does not have an adverse reaction before she is able to travel home.

Please ensure your daughter:

* Is well hydrated and eaten prior to her immunisation

* Is wearing comfortable clothing (upper arm easily accessible)

* Is wearing a face mask at all times

If your daughter is receiving her immunisation from her family doctor, please disregard this notice.

Bruton House News

Another fortnight in the Remote Land of Bruton


Spring has seen the start of new life and so it was in the land of Bruton. The electoral season for Student Executive and House Representatives was upon us. I would like to congratulate all of the Bruton girls who went outside their comfort zones to put together wonderful applications and interviews for a wide range of positions.


We gathered together to announce the Student Executive for 2021, including our Ella announcing the next Bruton House Captain – Molly Tyrell. 


Bruton would like to congratulate the following members for being elected as members of the Student Executive or House Representatives.


Grace Saporito Co-College Captain,  Molly Tyrell Bruton House Captain, Elizabeth Sumanovic HR Junior 1, Isabelle Moschini HR Junior 2, Jemma Moschini HR Junior 3, Emily Moschini HR Senior 1, Lucy Saporito HR Senior 2 and Bianca Cicciarello HR Senior 3. It is good to see several sisters wanting to take on leadership roles in the school. 


The House lesson this week saw the girls participate in a RED scavenger hunt and the winners are indicated below. We aimed to get some more RED into the school annual and I believe we will be successful.


Junior 1 Sienna Micallef and Kari Brennan 

Junior 2 Maya Foti

Junior 3  Charlotte Leighton 

Senior 1 Giada Fernandes

Senior 2 Claudia Passalacqua

Senior 3 Angelica Matarazzo

Women at NASA: Leadership and Success in STEM

Students in year levels 9-12 were invited to attend a webinar held by Quantum Victoria and RMIT in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States of America. On Tuesday 15th September students across these year levels attended the special LIVE interactive event, Women at NASA: Leadership and Success in STEMM. The webinar provided students with the opportunity to hear from three leading women in STEMM who work at NASA. Each of the women shared their career path, successes and things they wish they had known when they were a student. The event was designed for students who have an interest and passion for STEM.


Follow the links for more information on the opportunities available to students from NASA and the Australian Space Agency. 

Here is what Year 11 student, Antonia Crea had to say about the experience:


After listening to these women speak to us about their life and career stories, I was able to gain a broader understanding of different career paths in the STEM field and that there is no one-way journey. Each of these women shared their experiences of working in a male dominated field and how they were able to stand out in an industry where they have been undermined by their gender. Either through engineering degrees, internships or space programs, Dr Marliee Roell, Ms Jamie Nehrir and Dr Laura Judd all had a different spark that led to their love for science, however all shared the same passion for STEM and related fields. I learnt that there are so many other potential job prospects when working with NASA, stemming from meteorology to electrical and avionics engineering. There is even the possibility to work with NASA from Australia through partnering associations and the Australian Space Agency. The women also shared their experiences of failure and the importance of making every opportunity a learning experience for success, whilst enforcing the idea that there is no defined path for any job, whether that be a journey to a career at NASA or elsewhere, the possibilities are endless. 

Image taken by NASA displaying the SAGE III that both Dr Roell and Ms Nehrir have been working on in the US.

Dr Laura Judd, Associate Program Manager for NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Program.


Dr Marilee Roell, Science Manager (SAGE III on ISS Mission)

Ms Jamie Nehrir, Missions Operations Manager

Term 4 live parent webinars

Elevate Education’s Parent Webinar Series: Empowering Parents to Reinforce Study Skills at Home, will be running through term 4.


Topics Covered:

  • Wednesday 21st October – Independent Learning: How to know that your child is focusing on the right kind of work that gets top marks.
  • Wednesday 4th November – Stress & Wellbeing: Understanding your child’s stress triggers, symptoms, and a toolkit for stabilising during tough periods.
  • Wednesday 18th November – Exam Preparation: Developing a pre-exam roadmap with your child to maximise their chances of success and keep overwhelm at bay.
  • Wednesday 2nd December – Technology: Understanding the impact of technology on your child’s habits and how to develop techniques for responsible device use.


You can register here:


Webinar Format:  The webinar will run online from 6pm – 7pm. The webinars are live, where the Presenter will share Elevate’s key research and skills, plus answer questions so parents can get the specific tools they need. 


To contact Elevate directly you can: Call 1300 667 945, Email or head to

Virtual Charity Run

On Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September students from both St Columba’s and St Bernard’s participated in the annual College Charity Run. The event was held virtually for the first time ever, with participants running in their own neighbourhood.

During this time of lockdown it was wonderful to see how connected our communities were during this event. The famous charity runs tops could be seen splashed around the Maribyrnong River over the course of the weekend as well as other locations throughout Melbourne. Students who hadn’t seen each other in a long time were passing each other with a smile and offering words of encouragement to each other as they worked towards completing 16km over the course of the weekend.

This year the money raised was donated to The Sisters of Charity Foundation; who provide services and undertake projects such as safe housing for refugees, bikes for children with disabilities and scholarships for Tertiary students. Through the support of the sponsors, students and the community, we were able to raise over $10,000 that will go entirely to the Foundation, to support their incredible work.

Congratulations to all the participants, their commitment and hard work over the past months of training certainly paid off. Changing the format of the event didn’t stop any of our students and it showed how special this event is to individual students, their families, our community and each College.

A huge thank you to all staff involved in the running of this event. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to make this event happen.

Student Leadership Training

Student Leadership Training Day (October 6, 2020)

To start off our Term 4, the 2021 Student Executive came together for the first time on an all too familiar video chat. We had the privilege of zooming with Lucy and Amy from yLead, in preparation for our student leadership roles next year. This day provided us with the opportunity to cultivate our vision for 2021 by motivating us to clarify our values and appreciate the variety of leadership skills at our disposal as student leaders.


The day comprised three sections, an introduction to leadership, identifying our values and understanding the importance of collaboration and adaptability in leadership positions, as well as developing a common vision. Lucy and Amy inspired us to be creative with our responses by encouraging us to express our ideas through a values’ tree and train tracks, adopting a new way to identify what actions we would like to stop, continue and start for 2021. From this experience, we were able to identify when we see St Columba’s at its best and how we can contribute to the growth of our community, by better understanding the potential role and impact our team can have on the students and staff at the College.


As we danced our way out of the zoom call, we headed into our final session with Ms Fleeton where we divulged deeper into our theme of hope for 2021, which we began to explore from a religious perspective. We are looking forward to coming together, in person, to further work on implementing our goals by drawing on the many skills developed during our sessions with yLead. The 2021 Student Executive is very excited to see our College community back together and to begin to make up for all that we missed this year.

Cyber Safety Family Night

On Wednesday October 7th many families of our 2020 year 7 students and prospective families of our 2021 year 7 students joined together to workshop strategies to overcome and deal with some of the hazards our young people face in the inline worlds. We were very capably led by Trent Ray and Sam Macaulay from the Cyber Safety Project.

The night started with a quiz about terms used in the social media sphere. This enabled Trent to springboard into a reminder to take care about sharing passwords and allowing friends access to our accounts. We considered the use of ‘Streaks’ on platforms to encourage young people to connect every day. Trent reminded us that images posted of our friends are filtered and the ’highlights reel’ and may not reflect real life. We examined the fear of missing out (FOMO) and how this pushes our young people to stay online. We reflected on the use of “being honest” (TBH) from someone and how this can often be a negative experience. We identified the process of DOXING, the process of people collecting our personal information a small bit at a time, but piece the puzzle together to get a clear idea about our lives. Finally, we considered the term ‘bystander’, someone who is aware that bullying might be occurring but does not intervene.

We then looked in detail at how we preserve our personal information, when to reveal our information and how to recognise legitimate times to share information.  Trent asked us to consider who can see our social media profile and information, asking us to think about the number of followers we have and if we really know them. We examined what we use for our profile picture which is always public, and the other information we put up online, personal and generic. Families were presented with examples of how our throw away comments can be interpreted by people who don’t know the context or know us very well. We also looked at how posts and photos that we feel are inoffensive can be interpreted by others in a very different way. We then considered how our posts can be used to track our movements and the risks of DOXING. Next our families were asked to consider their own situations and strategies to ensure their information is guarded such as being mindful of the posts we make and who is seeing them, checking the privacy settings of all our social media accounts, and reducing the number of friends we have on those accounts.

In the next section of the workshop, Sam described a cyber bullying experience he had at school, how devastating it was, how hurtful the words and actions of his peers were, and how one friend stood up and saved him. It reminded us how hard it is that we stand up against any bullying and how one supporting voice can make the difference for someone getting bullied. We were asked to consider if we could be that one voice.  Trent then discussed the laws about bullying online, which many may not realise they are criminal offences. Trent discussed some of the things we can do to be an ‘upstander’ rather than a ‘bystander’. He reminded us we can contact platform providers if we feel individuals are breaking the code of conduct. He also recommended using the eSafety Commissioner if we feel we are not getting results from contact platform providers.  Trent also suggested thinking and talking about who is the support crew our young people can turn to? He recommended discussing this as a family and identifying someone to confide in if things go wrong.

Trent then went into more detail about how our data and information can be tracked, how the metadata, of our posts can be used to trace our movements and our associations such as school or sporting groups. How friends comments can divulge information can be used to enable predators to be familiar with us. Trent described how these situations can develop into unwanted pressure on young people and possibly become victims to scammers and other unsavoury advances. Sam took us through some of the types of settings that social media platforms have and how they can be used to help families control and protect their young people.

Trent asked our families to reflect on the images we release online, have we tagged others and places, and have we asked our friends before tagging them.  He suggested we do a followers audit, considering our friends list and deciding if they really should be our friends. Are they people we have met face to face? Trent suggested asking would you invite these people home to your house? This question is a good litmus test to trim your friends list. He also suggested auditing our privacy setting, recognising what people can see and using settings that help us manage our social media time better.

In the last session Trent revisited some of the laws that exist in Victoria and the issues of revealing images and videos. He described the process that a young person and family needs to do if they receive inappropriate images. This includes;

●     Do not engage in or forward on such images

●     Delete the image straight away

●     Tell an adult about the image

●     Unfriend the sender

●     Report the incident to the police

Lasty Sam described a real life experience he had as a young teacher of a young student which illustrated how easily innocent behaviour of our young people can be easily abused by predators. He described three important steps if you discover your daughter has been communicating with a predator:

  1. Stop all communication
  2. Collect evidence (screen shots and times)
  3. Report within 48 hrs to the police

Trent examined strategies when our young people want to use or access social media especially when their friends are pressuring them to join. He suggested not saying “no” but changing the conversation to “not yet”. This gives parents and guardians  time to investigate the site and make informed decisions.

This led to Sam and Trent taking us through the 3 Ps: Plan, Prevent, Protect, which gave us a detailed scaffold of how we can implement and create a safer online experience for ourselves and the young people we care for.

Overall It was an extremely informative night. I highly recommended visiting the Cyber Safety Project website where you can access several resources that Sam and Trent recommended:

eSafety Commisioner:

Another greatest resource is This is a constantly updated list of contact information for social media apps, gaming networks, and related companies – so you know where to get help for bullying, harassment, threats, and other forms of misuse.