November 8, 2019

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Principal's Message

Prayer During November

2020 Year 11 Students’ Blazers for Embroidery - Friday 6 December

First Aid Reminders

Change of Preference for Year 12 Students

Careers Newsletter

Gift Drive for St Vincent de Paul Society's Soup Van

Parenting in the Digital World Workshop

Parents’ Association Update

STEM MAD Showcase 2019

STEM RMIT Excursion

Fiontar Excurison

St Columba’s Class of 1969 50th Reunion

de Lacy House Captain Address

de Lacy Student Achievement

Student Achievements

Principal's Message

8 November 2019


Transition Program 2019

There is a buzz of excitement in the air, and not just because we draw ever closer to the long warm days of the summer break. Our students and staff are looking forward to the Transition Program that will commence on Friday 22 November. We are excited to launch this program for the first time this year for all of our students, giving each girl an opportunity to experience two weeks of her 2020 classes at the end of this year. Previously, we had our senior students in transition classes while the remainder of the school finished the year with their current timetable. With the whole community in transition we are able to support quality learning time, limiting the need to swap and change teachers who were operating under two different timetables. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr Frank Bonavia, who has worked to deliver the College timetable earlier than normal to ensure a sound start to our 2020 curriculum from Friday 22 November. Teaching staff have also been working to ensure that their transition programs are ready to go. I would like to acknowledge the teachers and teaching teams for the thinking and planning that has gone into these programs.


Supporting our girls to build their resilience

A recent article I read, highlighting some of the findings of the Skillsroad survey, indicated that 74% of girls (aged 15-24) “reported feeling levels of stress, sadness or anxiety which effected how they studied, worked or lived”. As a mother of three daughters, and a woman leading a community responsible for over 1000 girls, studies of this type always make me think about how we can positively support our girls experiencing these emotions. It is not the absence of stress, sadness or anxiety that is our aim – a mix of these emotions in our lives is normal. It is the capacity to deal with these emotions so that their impact is limited and that they do not influence our behaviour in an ongoing way. The same article goes on to offer parents four practical measures to support our girls to self-regulate their emotions and to build the capacity of our young women to draw on the tools that support positive mental health well into their bright futures. I have shared my own summary of these, drawing on some of the messages we have been sharing with you and our girls through our social and emotional learning curriculum.


1.              Show, don’t tell

Lead by example. Our own modelling of how we self-regulate our emotions and respond to problems that arise will have the biggest impact on how our girls will deal with their own emotions and problems. Our capacity to draw on our emotional intelligence will provide the best example for our girls that most issues and problems can be overcome.


2.              Find solving strategies, not solutions

Put simply, let’s arm our daughters with the strategies they need to find a solution, rather than stepping in and solving a problem for them. I have written about this in previous editions of the Iona. This is integrally connected to resilience. A growing body of research suggests that our young people will be less able to cope with the demands that will face them in adult life if they do not learn how to manage failure and setbacks, especially when we are around to love them through the failures, giving them the strong message that they are always enough.


3.              Have courageous conversations

One of the hardest things I have had to do as a parent is to face the topics that make me uncomfortable or put me in a position where there is potential conflict or tension with my daughters, and I have failed with this on many occasions. Our girls need to learn that they can trust us, that we will be there no matter what, and that we trust them to make smart decisions because we are in conversation with them.


4.              Praise effort, not outcome, image or appearance

This is linked to the research around growth mindset, which your daughters should be able to tell you a lot about. Let’s provide feedback to them about what they have some control over – their effort, responses, organisation and relationships. Let’s communicate with them about the things that will make the most difference in their lives.

For a copy of the article follow this link.

Prayer During November


For Catholics the month of November is holy and precious as we remember, give thanks and pray for all who have died. Let us pray…


Lord, in November,

We call to mind all those whose lives are done.

We thank you that their time, now completed,

however short or long, sad or joyful,

is gathered up, looked on and known by you.


We offer up remembrance: those whose absence

we feel daily; those who have shaped us;

those who have nurtured us; the people we are grateful

to have walked with; all those we hardly knew

but wished we’d known better. We give thanks

for all they gave and all the future owes them.


Lord, your love embraces every person

who has ever lived; you promised that you lost none.

May your Spirit make us always thankful

for all our gifts of love and cherished memory.


Anne Richards and the Mission Theology Advisory Group

2020 Year 11 Students’ Blazers for Embroidery - Friday 6 December

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

Noone Image Wear will be collecting the blazers on:


DAY:            Friday 6 December 2019

VENUE:      Gayip Biik

TIME:          12.00pm directly after Mass


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


Families have been sent a copy of the information provided by Noone which includes the payment form. Please print off this form or a hard copy payment form can be collected by your daughter at 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. Should you wish to hand the blazer in prior to the December 6, you will need to drop it in directly to the Niddrie store.


Blazers that are handed in after Friday 6 December 2019 to the Niddrie store will incur a $25 administration fee.


Blazers will be available for collection on the first day of term 1 2020. 

First Aid Reminders

Hayfever season is well and truly upon us. The College has had an influx of students in Sick Bay with a range of hayfever symptoms including breathing difficulties/Asthma-like symptoms.


If you know your daughter suffers from hayfever it is recommended that she have an antihistamine prior to coming to school.


When students are going off-site they MUST carry their Ventolin/Asthma medication on their person. Students without their prescribed medication may not be permitted to leave the grounds.


Medical conditions should be monitored and managed by the students and Parents/Legal Guardians.


Students are encouraged to check the pollen chart in Student Reception and are invited to sit in K102 at recess and lunchtime on moderate and high pollen days.

Change of Preference for Year 12 Students

In the Change of Preference (CoP) document linked to below, there is information provided for Year 12 students about reordering their preferences for future studies.  


Change of Preference PDF

Careers Newsletter

Dear St Columba’s Community. 


This week’s newsletter includes information on the following topics:

·         Upcoming career events

·         How cybersafe are you? Take the quiz

·         How to land a career in gaming and programming

·         New careers in computer science and cybersecurity magazines

·         Articles form Careers in STEM

·         RMIT – online engineering game

·         New careers in mining guide

·         Resources for students interested in pharmacy and economics

·         Updates from Monash University, La Trobe University, RMIT

·         Theatre at The University of Melbourne

·         FlickerUp Film Competition

·         Study a second language at uni

·         University scholarships resource

·         Preparing for exams

·         Defence Force career events

·         Macleay College – reduction in annual fees

·         Articles from the Australian Careers Service

·         Studying neuroscience

·         Resource engineering at Monash University

·         Free online study skills subjects through Charles Sturt University

·         Join The University of Melbourne ‘Future Law’ blog

·         Join the Deakin University Architecture and Built Environment blog

·         Careers in marketing, public relations and events management

·         Careers in engineering

·         Nanotechnology – the science of small

·         What are employers looking for?


Please find links below to the careers newsletter and change of preferences document for Year 12 students for 2020.


Careers Newsletter

Change of Preferences PDF


Thank You.

Gift Drive for St Vincent de Paul Society's Soup Van


The College is currently working with the St Vincent de Paul Society (Footscray Conference) to find gifts for their clients at their annual Christmas lunch.


Each year, St Vincent de Paul host a Christmas lunch for their soup van clients. These are people in our community who are experiencing homelessness and make use of their soup van service throughout the year. Most of the clients are adult men and women, some families and their children.


We have taken on the mammoth responsibility of sourcing approximately 400 gifts for those attending this year’s Christmas lunch on Sunday 1 December.


Our aim is to give each of the adults at this lunch a new backpack which would include a new towel, pillowcase and pair of socks in it. It is likely that this will be the only gift these clients will receive at Christmas and we’d love to make it a very special and useful gift for each of them.


We’ve negotiated to purchase Crumpler backpacks at the cost price of $15 (RRP $49) each and have received a generous donation of socks from Underworks and toiletries from Pinchapoo.


So far, the staff and students have managed to raise enough funds to purchase 135 of these backpacks, which means we still have some funds to raise to be able to provide a gift for each of the guests.


If you, or anyone you know, would like to ‘buy a pack’ by donating $15 or can donate a new towel and/or pillowcase to go in one of the packs, please see one of our Front Office staff. Donations will be accepted until the end of the school year and a range of fundraising activities will be run throughout November.


Further enquiries can be directed to Narelle Fewster at at the College.

Parenting in the Digital World Workshop






Parents are invited to a workshop being presented by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation on Parenting in the Digital World, Strategies to Help!


This workshop will take place on Wednesday, 13 November from 6.30 to 7.30 pm in the Theatrette (Nicholson Building). Insight into the online worlds of young people including the latest trends, risks and research, and social media use will be the focus of this workshop. Advice for parents will be provided to help manage a child’s life online.



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


We still have places available for this event but please note that it is limited to 100 guests. To register for this event please complete this booking form.


We look forward to seeing you on this night.

Parents’ Association Update

Parents’ Association Update including Raffle Winners and Notice of Annual General Meeting, Tuesday 19 November.


It is a busy time on the Parents’ Association calendar:


Year 12 VCE and VCAL cupcakes: We are all incredibly proud of our Year 12 students and wish them well at this important time in their year. To celebrate these students’ efforts members of the Parents’ Association handed-out special cupcakes to the students coming out of their English exam and to the VCAL students on their last day. Thanks to Kathy, Loriana, Tania, Maria, Tina, Zeena and Angela for their help on the day. And a special thanks to Cathy McPherson for coordinating the event. 


The Parents’ Association is also proud to be associated with the opening of the Art Show. This year, we were delighted to be able to feed the many families and friends that came along to enjoy this amazing showcase of the artistic talents of students of the College. In addition, we drew the winners of the annual Parents’ Association fund-raising raffle. The winners were 1st prize – Ed Leahy (Strathmore); 2nd prize – Fiona Hili (Staff); 3rd prize – Filomena Petrecca (Maribyrnong). Thanks to all for your generous support of the raffle, the proceeds of which assist the Parents’ Association to be actively involved in the College and community. And thanks to Alma, Suzette, Zeena and Maria for your super-hot work behind the BBQ on the night!!


Finally, we’re delighted to invite all parents to the Parents’ Association Annual General Meeting to be held at 7pm, Tuesday 19 November in the Bruton building. All are welcome to attend, whether active members of the Association or just to hear about our accomplishments in 2019 and plans for 2020.


Importantly, the following office bearer roles will be voted on: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. With all of the current office bearers standing down, this is a fantastic opportunity for a new team to lead the Association for 2020. In addition, the agenda for this year’s meeting will include an opportunity to vote on extending the maximum tenure of the President role from two to three years. This will allow a new President to take a more strategic view on the role and direction of the Association into the future.


If you would like more information about the Parents’ Association, the office bearer roles or to nominate for an office bearer role, please contact Parents’ Association President Nicole Purcell e:

STEM MAD Showcase 2019

On Thursday 10 October students from Year 8 and 10 attended the CEM STEM MAD (making a difference)  Showcase at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne.


A number items were submitted as entries for this event. St. Columba’s College was awarded Third place overall in the Secondary division for the interactive cube chair and Chill Out book. Ms Dunbar’s Year 8 Fiontar classes won the Sustainability Award for their class project. The College was also awarded the Student Wellbeing Award for the interactive teddy bear and story book. This is a wonderful achievement for the College and demonstrates that we are truly leading the way in providing our students with an innovative curriculum that builds STEM skills.


Here is an account written by Year 10 students about the 2019 CEM STEM MAD Showcase:


“After presenting our products on the final day of PBL week, we were entered into a competition called STEM MAD, the MAD part standing for Make A Difference. The amazing part about the showcase was that we began to consider how our products actually made a difference.


So the difference our project makes is inspired by the Catholic Social Teaching of “The Common Good”.  This is reached when we work together to improve the wellbeing of people in our society and the wider world. That is exactly what we have tried to achieve with our product – something that will improve the wellbeing and achievement of people in our community, which can then hopefully spread to more people in the world.


We want to help students at schools learn in a different way, an independant way, a way that empowers them, and in a way that allows to have fun while learning. Our products provide basic skills (counting, shape matching, tying a shoelace, etc) but in an interactive way that makes it enjoyable for students to learn. And it is only recently that we have realised that despite the products being made for special needs children, they would also be accessible for primary school students.


We have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities that we have been given this year in the STEM department, and highly encourage all students to give it a go, with the wonderful facilities that the College offers. What we have learnt from these experiences is that they are valuable and the future-focused STEM skills we are developing can be transferred to all areas of our learning – It is amazing what can come out of it!!”


Denise Mai, Karen Cen, Juliana Basilone and Mikaela Mihocic (Year 10)

STEM RMIT Excursion

On Wednesday 23 October several girls got the opportunity to travel to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for RMIT’s School of Engineering annual exhibition. At the expo, we got the chance to see over 1,000 students present more than 180 projects. The projects presented, showed the future of engineering and its direct impact on our environment, economy, industry and society. We were warmly welcomed by the students that gave us a presentation on the areas of engineering and the skills they entail.


We also participated in a hands-on activity with Boeing where we designed and constructed planes out of cardboard and used a robotic arm to test them so that each throw was consistent. It was an amazing opportunity to learn more about RMIT directly from students and industry, as well as seeing examples of how engineering can create solutions to real-life problems. 


Sarah Pamment – Year 10 CTRS1

Fiontar Excurison

On Friday 25 October, my Fiontar class went to the Melbourne CBD. We visited many places around the theme of Cultural Diversity. We went to Lygon Street, Chinatown and Lonsdale Street. It was interesting finding different locations and the history attached to them, like the oldest pizza shop, famous theatres, Tianjin Gardens and Brunetti’s (yum). There were monuments I haven’t noticed before, and many different people of diverse heritage flock to these areas. Melbourne looked like a truly diverse place.


Now I know that many nationalities, with their rich histories have had a big impact on the formation and success of Melbourne. Without them, Melbourne would not be what it is today. I love how inclusive this makes Melbourne feel and how different cultures create different opportunities for activities with your friends.


Charlotte Leighton – Year 8 BRNJ3

St Columba’s Class of 1969 50th Reunion

The committee of Gabrielle Smith, Marg Harvey and Patrice Duggan organised a reunion for the graduating class of 1969 at Moonee Valley Racecourse. Several attendees had been at the College since infant school in 1959. All had a great time catching up and hearing about each other’s lives. They can hardly wait for the next reunion!

de Lacy House Captain Address


Being the de Lacy House Captain for 2019 has been such a privilege and a massive challenge. The role has helped me grow, giving me the opportunity to work with a variety of year levels across the de Lacy house. 


This year the de Lacy girls strived to uphold our theme “BE THAT GIRL” based on a quote from Lorna Jane. I wanted to help make our house a place for the girls to all feel safe to be whoever they wanted to be, never give up and work towards their own goal.


As a house, we always try our best to do what we can for our house charity Briar Terrace, a small cottage providing companionship for individuals who have lost family ties, support and live in what is considered to be personal aloneness. The hope is to bring support to each person’s human spirit, enabling greater health and happiness.  We started out the year with a bang, winning the overall junior aggregate at the athletics carnival and the rest of the year followed with more amazing achievements.


I would like to thank the de Lacy house for giving me the opportunity to represent them in 2019. It has been nothing but a pleasure. My thank yous must extend to my house representatives; Domi, Mia, Carla, Julianne, Alanna and Anita, the work that they did this year did not go unnoticed and I am so grateful for their help. My role as House Captain this year wouldn’t have been possible without Mrs Condello and the house teachers whose support and assistance helped make this year such a success. 


To Chetha Nawana, the 2020 de Lacy House Captain, I wish you the best of luck. I have great faith in all that you will do next year. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be an incredible leader.


Good luck and go de Lacy!

de Lacy Student Achievement


On October 27, Emily Portaro (Year 10, DLYS1) competed in the Victorian All Schools competition and came first in the Triple Jump event. 


Congratulations to Emily who now proceeds to the next stage where she will be competing in the National All Schools competition in Perth representing Victoria.  All the best Emily!!!

Student Achievements

Recently, two of our Year 7 students competed in the Shepparton Cup, Victoria’s largest junior soccer tournament. The weekend hosted over 200 Victorian teams with thousands of spectators in attendance. The College is very proud of Cartia Genovesi (CTRJ1) and Madison Larizza (CHLJ1), who were runners up in the girls under 14 division. Next year sees Cartia entering a National Premier League Division and Madison joining a prominent community club.