November 19, 2021

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Principal's Message


Celebrating 125 Years - Intergenerational Photos

VCAL Farewell

Year 9 Mock Interviews

Year 7 English

Principal's Message

School News

It has been re-energising to have students and staff onsite as we slowly resume the programs that are so important to the experience of schooling for our young people.  Students have navigated the challenges of exams with grace and calm, and a diligent level of preparation.

Today we commenced our 2022 classes with excitement, particularly for students who are exploring new studies through our elective program.  We hope that this provides a small taste of the learning adventures that 2022 will bring.

It was a delight to be able to celebrate Year 12 Graduation at the Coburg Drive-In Cinemas this week – not the way we usually mark the end of 13 years of formal schooling, but a great celebration none-the-less.  Families gathered in their cars and shared the joy that comes with marking these significant milestones, especially as Year 12 students make their way in the adult world.  Congratulations to all of our Year 12 students for their achievements.  I would like to acknowledge Mrs Brigitte McDonald, and her graduation committee, for their work and effort in ensuring that we were able to suitably acknowledge this very important milestone.

Feedback from Surveys

As you would be aware, collecting feedback from our community is important for the Leadership Team as we work to plan and deliver the best education possible for the students entrusted to our care.  Thank you to the Year 12 students (127 respondents) and their families (131 respondents) who participated in the Exit Surveys.  The feedback provided affirmation for the College, with all areas of the survey receiving either an excellent outcome or a good outcome.  None of the survey areas were listed as requiring attention or in need of immediate action.

  • Parent Surveys – overall satisfaction score of 79% (3.96 out of 5)
  • Student Surveys – overall satisfaction score of 70% (3.51 out of 5)

While the outcomes are pleasing, we aspire to achieving an excellent outcome in each of the survey areas and will work with the feedback to ensure we are responding to the concerns raised.

Two key areas emerged from the feedback.  One in relation to reporting and the second in relation to the consistency of the learning experienced by our students.  In relation to reporting, the introduction of SEQTA (as I introduced in a previous edition of the IONA) will allow teachers to consolidate their work flow through one management system.  Learning, teaching, assessment, reporting and wellbeing will all be managed through this one tool.  We are confident that once we make the transition to SEQTA, we can begin addressing the concerns in relation to reporting that have been raised as part of the surveys.

In relation to students’ perception of their learning experience, we have a committed and dedicated teaching staff who undertake a performance and development program each year.  This element of our professional learning program involves coaching, peer classroom observations and feedback from students directly to their teachers.  The implementation of the Instructional Model, hampered somewhat by the lockdowns this year, will continue to inform the shared language of learning that aims to improve the consistency of the learning experience for our students.

Thank you to all the families who participated in the MACSSIS – Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools School Improvement Surveys.  These results are not yet available to schools.

Change to Religious Freedom Laws

In coming weeks, the Victorian Parliament will vote on legislation that will affect religious freedom and the independence, integrity and ethos of Catholic agencies and organisations, including schools.

Under current laws, Catholic organisations – along with other Christian, Jewish, Islamic and all faith-based educational establishments – have the right to choose to hire employees who are dedicated to upholding their religious identity.

The proposed Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021 will seriously diminish the rights of religious organisations to manage their activities according to their faith and conscience.

The Bill puts forward measures that replace the current, well-working approach, which will mean Catholic organisations will have to prove that staffing positions have an ‘inherent’ religious requirement, if challenged.

Catholics run service organisations ranging from schools to aged care and hospitals, and provide social support to people in need across the community.  Suddenly, the government is determined to tell them whether or not religious identity should be a factor in managing employment matters.  While the College is an equal opportunity employer, we do expect our staff to support the Catholic values of the College.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is working with its agencies in asking the state government to reconsider the Bill and abandon the proposal to introduce an inherent requirement test.  Catholic school communities need to play their part in this debate.

I share with you Archbishop Peter’s letter to Victorian members of parliament and the Standing up for religious freedom fact sheet, which you can access via these links.

Archbishop Peter’s letter and the fact sheet outline the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s position on the changes to the Equal Opportunity Act.  The Standing up for religious freedom fact sheet also includes actions that members of Catholic communities can take to stand up for our religious freedom.

If any of our families are interested in contacting their local member to add their voice to this debate, please contact my Personal Assistant, Debbie Randall, on 9337 5311 or, who will provide you with further information.



Let us pray … 

God of the Cosmos, you chose to restore all things in Christ your Son, Move our hearts, in the love of Christ, to care for all you have made, especially for all who need our help. Make us worthy stewards of the gifts you have given, as we generously give ourselves for the sake of the kingdom where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Celebrating 125 Years - Intergenerational Photos

To celebrate 125 years of St Columba’s College, we are offering our Alumnae the opportunity to be part of our Intergenerational Photography session which will be held on Wednesday 16 March.

Our Intergenerational Photography will showcase generations of St Columba’s College students (past and present) who belong to the same familial group.

Any current student/s attending St Columba’s College in 2022, along with a family member or members who are St Columba’s College Alumnae – Great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, aunts and cousins, with either a maternal of paternal connection to the student/s, are warmly invited to be part of this significant event.

The photographs will be available for you to purchase as a wonderful memento of your family, and will also be used by St Columba’s College as part of our 125 year celebrations, in print and online.

If you would like to take part in the Intergenerational Photography session, please submit the Expressions of Interest form. The link will remain open until the 18 December 2021.

VCAL Farewell

On Thursday the 28th of October, the Year 12 VCAL class held a Farewell lunch to mark the end of their time at the College. 

Celebrations were held under the beautiful arches of the Bruton Building making it the perfect setting of what was truly a special event. 

The Year 12 VCAL students and their teachers spent the afternoon laughing and reminiscing about the great times they shared during their two year journey in the program. 

It was a special moment that highlighted the close knit nature of the class, and the long lasting friendships that have been made. 

Congratulations to our Year 12 VCAl students – we wish them all the best in their future careers. 


Year 9 Mock Interviews

This term our Year 9 students were fortunate enough to participate in Mock Interviews as part of their Future Directions Careers program. Students were required to apply for their dream jobs in a variety of industries such as in Health, Law, Fashion, Fitness and Graphic Design.  

In the lead up to the night, students carefully developed their resumes and cover letters and prepared for questions they may be asked about their ‘job’. Due to Covid restrictions, interviews were conducted virtually with students onsite in their best interview attire ready to be interviewed by a panel of two potential ‘employers or recruiters’. 

The students gained so much from this experience, enabling them to further develop their skills and confidence in presenting themselves and communicating in a formal setting. 

Of course, this event could not have been a success without the amazing support of our parent volunteers, members of the wider community, Year 9 Future Directions team and Careers Team. 

Here are some comments from students and volunteers below:  

I was completely impressed at the confidence & enthusiasm of the Year 9 ladies that we interviewed.  Some of these girls made me actually believe they were applying for that very role (as opposed to it being simply a mock session).

Rita Gabrielle Falzon
Integration Program Manager
AN/Z Transition & Transformation

I really enjoyed the experience and I thought that the girls were great. They should all feel very proud of their performance.

Lisa McQuilken
Senior Lecturer

On behalf of the MMVLLEN team, it was our pleasure to be involved and support mock industry practice interviews.

The students came across very mature and well prepared with some sophisticated responses for a year 9 level!

Boyd Maplestone
Chief Executive Officer
Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley LLEN Inc.

My interview went really well. I went for the job of a personal trainer and received really good feedback such as I was very confident, answered all the questions and was easy to get along with. The experience was definitely beneficial as I had never done a job interview before.  

Emilia Setka
Year 9 Student

I thought the mock interviews were a great way to see what an interview was like before having an interview in real life. The interviewers were really nice and understood how stressful it was. They gave great feedback on how to improve my interviews in the future. Overall a great experience. 

Sabrina Chard
Year 9 Student 

When first starting the mock interview I had two interviewers, which were really friendly and nice. They greeted me and started asking me some job questions. I answered them in full sentences, I was determined to sound confident in what I was saying. At the end of the mock interview, they both asked if I had any questions. 

I said “What would a day at your hospital look like? They were both very surprised and said that it was a very good question. 

At the end of the interview, they gave me some feedback which was all positive. They said that I was very confident, I maintained eye contact and that I had done the interview really well. I was very surprised as I was really  nervous in the beginning but in the end, I felt happy.

Chanel La Rosa
Year 9 Student

Year 7 English

This term in Year 7 English we have been studying the novel ‘Skellig’, and have put together a folio of our 3 best pieces of creative writing based on the book’s main themes.

I’d like to share 2 pieces of writing from my folio.

Descriptive writing: Creating a Mythological creature

Have you ever felt so petrified it was as if your heart had exploded out of your chest?

It all began on November 5th, 2005. I was in downtown Chicago and it was a chilly winter’s night. The time was late; around 10 o’clock, and the wide streets were as quiet as a calm sea. I was making my way to my favourite library on Ralumn Avenue, with my Beats headphones securely resting on my messy brown curls.

My feet were led, dragging along the cracked pavement. It had been a crazy night, and my monstrous, 4-inch black boots were screaming for help. I was the type of girl who loved to go out and party like a wild animal, but could never forget where she came from. Every now and again, slouching on the couch with a book of adventure, sipping a large mug filled with hot cocoa was exactly what I needed. It was my father who once said, “A great book is one where everything seems too real.”

I was almost at the library when I heard it.

And you could say I was daydreaming. Or that I was half asleep. Because what emerged from behind me was right out of a nightmare.

Slimy. Bloodshot eyes. A malicious grin.

Its skin was lumpy yet wet-looking. Vibrant green and darkish shades of purple were splashed all over its body, as if a painter had taken no effort to carefully paint on the colours. Drops of bubbly yellow saliva oozed from its smirked lip. An open wound struck its belly; a sack of fat. It had yellow webbed feet like a duck, but a long thin alligator tail. Its beady eyes glared at me. It had no arms, only crimson tentacles attached to its body. The creature heaved and panted loudly, its round body pulsating like an artery filled with blood. Its voice was high-pitched and squeaky, but I couldn’t make out the words. Some sort of gibberish. Its inhumane way of speaking was threatening to me.

I noticed the creature slowly sliding toward me, continuing to slobber. Then it maniacally laughed as it stuck out its orange tongue and slurped up a red Honda parked on the street. SLURRPPPP!!!

I stared in horror. Unable to speak. Or move. I was paralysed with fear. Overcome with dread. I could feel my heart, a racing car on a highway. Getting faster and faster.

It was getting closer and closer.

3 poems based on the themes of Skellig

I created 3 different poems. Each poem is about 80-90 words and focuses on different themes of the book. The first 2 themes I looked at were magic and mystery (poem 1). This poem is from the perspective of Mina writing in her journal, and talks about Skellig and his secrets (or him being the secret) – and these are the secrets only Mina and Micheal know. The second 2 themes were dreams and imagination (poem 2). This poem is about how children are able to dream and imagine so easily, and the contrast between that and an adult’s ability (to dream and imagine). It touches on the “hollow” heart of an older person and how they see the world differently. Lastly, I wrote about the importance of hope (poem 3). This poem is about Joy and is written from the perspective of Micheal’s father. It is about the doubts he has about their daughter’s life and how Micheal’s hope is the reason why they (Micheal’s parents) should hope too.

Magic and Mystery

One’s secrets can be disheartening,

But one’s secrets can uncover something more.

Looking into the deepest depths,

As wings arise,

And bluebottles sprawl.

Stunned by what is seen,

With open eyes the lovely gift of magic awaits.

Cracked and crooked feathers,

Upon uneven wings.


Curiosity blossoms,

Like a flower in the spring.

Should we keep quiet?

Should we tell the world?

The dancing, the aspirin,

27 and 53.

Holding them close,

The secrets only we know.

Dreams and Imagination

A child sings with the bluebirds,

She dances along to the trembling wind.

An open heart, she has.

With nothing to worry her,

She can dream.

About spring,

When the flowers blossom,

And Persephone too.

She is happy and imaginative.

A hollow heart.

No dreaming allowed.

A gate which says “Do not enter”,

A barrier that stops imagination.

In an adult’s life,

There’s no room for spring,

Or Persephone.

All imagination is lost,

Gone as the fluffy clouds at the close of day.


Why hope for sun when snow is falling?

Why hope for happiness when you are crying?

Why hope that things will turn out when you’re failing miserably?

Why hope that our daughter will survive?

She will be strong like her mother,

At least I hope.

She will keep fighting,

At least I hope.

She will get to meet her older brother,

And snuggle in his arms.

Because he has hope.

More than all of us combined.

He is the reason why we should hope.