November 22, 2019

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Principal's Message


Online Art Gallery

Celebrating Fiontar in 2019

Parenting in the Digital World

Careers Newsletter

House Performing Arts Festival 2019

Principal's Message

End of another VCAA exam period


I would like to acknowledge and congratulate all of our Year 12 students who completed their VCAA exams. The girls have been wonderful examples of resilience, courage, perseverance, confidence and good humour. That there was a very balanced perspective to all that this entailed was very evident. We look forward to celebrating their results and tertiary placements with them when these are published in mid-December.


Year 9, 10 and 11 Exams


Congratulations to all of our students in Years 9, 10 and 11 who have also completed a full exam schedule. The feedback from teachers has been very positive – the girls were very mature in their approach to this form of assessment and this will be excellent preparation for the girls who will complete VCAA exams in the years ahead.


We are now an eSmart School


Thank you to Carolyn Slattery who has worked to ensure that we have achieved our status as an eSmart school. There was particular recognition and praise for the quality of the documentation that was provided to support our application.


Recently we held our eSmart evening for parents. These evenings prompt important conversations about how we all deal with issues relating to the safety and responsibility of our girls in their connected and online world. They are also opportunities to set shared expectations of behaviour, so that there is consistent messaging from school and from home about appropriate and responsible digital citizenship.


On 17 February 2020, we will hold another eSmart session for families, which will follow a PAM information session for new or interested families who would like to know how to access and use our primary family communication tool. More on this in the new year.


Parents’ Association 


It was a pleasure to attend the Parents’ Association Annual General Meeting this week. We have a band of dedicated and committed parents who make a rich contribution to the College community. I would like to thank outgoing Executive members – James Williams and Alma Kennedy – for their work this year. It is good to know what we will retain their expertise as committee members in 2020, along with all of the hard-working committee members of 2019. I would also like to acknowledge Nicole Purcell, who has been President of the Association for the past two years, and will be Acting President into 2020. Thanks to Suzette Bayona, for taking on the role of Vice President, Natalie Donnelly for taking on the role of Treasurer and Angela Whelan for assuming Secretary responsibilities. The last function of the Parents’ Association will be the Second-Hand Uniform and Book Sale to be held on Monday, 9 December from 6.00 pm. 




Today we celebrate the great feast of St Cecilia, the patron saint of Musicians. We give thanks to God for the life of St Cecilia, for all creative people in our world and in our history, who help us realise God’s grandeur in all creation; our God of love, hope, justice and compassion – present and active in our world.


Musicians, dancers, actors, poets, artists and all creative people – we give thanks!


Let us pray together…


Creator God, we celebrate the feast of Saint Cecilia.

We thank you for dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, poets,

Conductors, composers,

And all who enhance our lives through the arts.

Enriched by the sharing of their creativity,

May we come to know your creative energy alive within us and in our world.

Lift up our hearts to you, and we will sing your praises, now and forever.



St Cecilia, pray for and with us.

St Columba, pray for and with us.

St Ignatius of Loyola, pray for and with us.


Venerable Mary Aikenhead, pray for and with us

Online Art Gallery

The Visual Arts Domain are proud to announce the launch of our Online Art Gallery which celebrates the artistic achievements of our students. Click on the link below to view some of our senior art work from 2019 in Art, Media and Studio Arts-Photography & Textiles.

Online Gallery Link

Celebrating Fiontar in 2019

As this year’s Fiontar Program has come to an end, now is the opportune time to celebrate the many achievements of our students. On the whole, the Year 8 cohort in 2019 responded to the innovative learning opportunities presented in the Fiontar Program with enthusiasm and a willingness to challenge their preconceived beliefs and opinions.


The year commenced with the Sustainability Unit with the whole cohort attending an excursion to CERES on the first day. There, students explored a range of sustainability issues which assisted them in choosing the elective course they wished to enrol in. With a focus on making a difference in the world, the electives on offer in 2019 included: Change Make-Her, Save the World, Grand Designs, Active Adolescence, and Seed to Saucepan. A brief outline of each elective is attached below.


Based around a media project, the Change Make-Her elective enabled students to research and communicate relevant sustainability messages to a defined audience. Students wrote and published a zine, which is a small-circulation and self-published magazine, with a sustainability focus. The project culminated in a ‘Zine Fair’. Of particular note were those students who endeavoured to create Sustainability Apps that enabled the local community to locate businesses who promote sustainable practices.


The Save Our World elective asked students to engage in debates regarding sustainability issues and understand that such discussions should be informed by facts, evidence and social impact analyses. The students were then encouraged to examine how their lifestyle choices influence resource availability and management. The students’ final projects utilised technologies and other sustainable sciences to create a workable solution to a contemporary problem. This class was assisted by Kelsey Rowe (CSIRO STEM Professional) to ensure that their design briefs and final products were genuine solutions to real-world sustainability problems.


Students participating in the Active Adolescence elective went out into the local community to participate in a range of sustainable activities that aimed to build awareness about sustainability and other environmental issues. Although practically orientated, students were personally challenged to change their lifestyle and encourage their local community to do the same. The range of projects that were undertaken by this elective group were truly eclectic, with all students independently choosing a particular societal issue to investigate.  


In Grand Designs students participated in a problem based group scenario. Groups were allocated a plot of land and they were then asked to design a 5-star energy rated and sustainable home. In order to do so, students had to undertake marketplace research, demonstrate architectural design skills, and then communicate the final product using an annotated poster to a potential purchaser. Students also adopted the persona of an Interior Designer as they chose sustainable furnishings for the home. The students were fortunate enough to attend a seminar presented by Anna Galluzo (Senior Project Manager at RMB Property Group), who shared her expertise with our budding architects.


Food security is a major contemporary issue that has the potential to significantly impact the way humans live in the future. Students enrolled in the Seed to Saucepan elective examined the issues surrounding food and how individual choices make a difference to the sustainability of our world. Students investigated the entire food cycle from the manufacture, transport, and marketing of particular food items, to the eventual cooking of various meals. A particular highlight for this group was their trip to the Queen Victoria Markets where they investigated the sustainable practices being adopted by the various proprietors.


The second Fiontar unit that the Year 8 students participated in was ‘Create’. The unit commenced with a new initiative where students were introduced to a range of STEM-related skills over a two day period. Students were taught how to correctly use hammers, electric drills, saws, hot-glue guns and utility knives. They also investigated a range of technology including the software programs TinkerCad and Adobe Illustrator. This enabled them to create digital designs to send to the 3D Printer and Laser Cutter. Prior to the commencement of their Create electives, the Year 8 students also participated in the annual ‘Chair Challenge’ which entailed each group taking up the challenge of producing a chair that could be flat-packed and shipped to a person currently living in a refugee camp. The challenge was that students were only provided with a single piece of cardboard – no adhesive materials were allowed! The final products demonstrated the students’ critical and creative thinking skills as they endeavoured to achieve the challenge despite the various constraints placed upon them. A huge thank you to Melissa D’Amico and Frank Rowland for assisting in the coordination of the STEM skills program.


For the remaining five days of the Create unit, students participated in a range of elective options, including: Graphic Designers, Grandioso Design, Robot to the Rescue, Escape Room Challenge, The Inventors Group and Entertain Me! Highlights of these electives include:


  • The Grandioso Design class reconceptualised a Community Housing Project. Students examined social and environmental sustainability issues before constructing their own design for a new community precinct. These students represented the College at the STEM-MAD Showcase where they attained the Sustainability Award.
  • The Graphic Design Group created a range of designs for the library based on a Design Brief provided by Ms Dunbar.
  • The Robot to the Rescue class participated in a scenario where they needed to code robots to search for potential survivors after a natural disaster. Several groups were able to successfully code their robots to complete a predetermined track. 
  • Loretta Peszek spent many of her lunchtimes in the STEM Lab creating a futuristic cityscape using approximately 150 boxes created by the Year 8 cohort during the STEM Skills Days.


The final unit was the Me!Bourne unit. The students participated in a range of excursions that asked them to consider a range of societal issues. For instance, on the Marginalised Melbourne Day the students were asked to examine the validity of Melbourne being awarded the title of the World’s Most Liveable City. Students were posed with the question of whether Melbourne is truly a liveable city for all Melbournians. Students also investigated the value of public spaces such as the MCG Precinct as well as examined Melbourne’s Indigenous past. The final excursion day asked students to consider the importance of cultural diversity in Melbourne’s CBD. A key focus of these excursions was the development of students’ critical thinking skills as they were challenged to evaluate their preconceived beliefs by considering divergent opinions regarding particular topics. The depth of thinking evident in many students’ reflection tasks was a testament to their ability to think critically about some very complex societal issues.


Hence, it has been an extremely productive year for the Year 8 students. It has also been a very rewarding process working with the classes throughout the year. I would like to particularly express my thanks to the 2019 Fiontar Staff: Katy Marriner, David Bramham, Janice Dunbar, Carmel Anil-Saade, Jacque Wozniak, Madison Foley, Jacinta Chute and Alison Rogers. These staff members worked tirelessly to create truly authentic learning opportunities that allowed students to develop their critical and creative thinking skills, as well as their intercultural and ethical capabilities.

Parenting in the Digital World


On 13 November Judy Fallon from the Alannah and Madeline Foundation presented to parents. Thank you for all who attended. It can be difficult to support our children to stay safe as they navigate their digital world and it is clear that all adults in their world need to participate in educating them to avoid harmful online experiences. Children not only need to be technically competent, but also need to use technology appropriately and ethically. 


Some takeaways from this presentation that parents may find helpful include:

  • Know what your child is doing online and get involved where possible by playing games together and interacting with the apps that they are using. It is important for parents to have used all of the apps that the child is accessing themselves to know exactly what they have access to. 
  • Foster communication between yourself and your child. If something does go wrong, the child needs to feel they can tell you or another adult exactly what has happened. It is also important that they feel they can do this immediately so that a situation can be dealt with as effectively as possible. According to the eSafety Commissioner, it is important to ‘reassure your child they can always come to you, no matter what. Let them know you will not cut off internet access if they report feeling uncomfortable or unsafe when online — this is a real concern that may stop your child from communicating with you openly’.
  • Set boundaries and rules around the use of technology. But don’t forget to adhere to them yourself. 


The important thing for parents to remember is that there are still no apps for wisdom, experience, and ethics. Lessons to be learned by children require limits, consequences, empathy, and compassion.


The following links provide information that parents may find useful to prevent harm, such as that caused by cyberbullying, as well as responding to harm that has taken place:


eSafety Commissioner Parent Information


Online Safety Guide for parents


Careers Newsletter

Dear St Columba’s Community, 


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


·         Whitehouse Institute of Design – Open Day

·         The University of Melbourne Student Union – VCE Summer School

·         Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Open Day and Online Experience Day

·         Monash University – A Future Without Change

·         How to write a resume and cover letter

·         How to get a tax file number

·         Your rights at work

·         Accounting career articles from The Footnotes

·         Dates for your diary

·         Upcoming Defence Force career events

·         Rental tips for year 12 students moving out of home in 2020

·         Get VET initiative – watch videos about VET subjects

·         Recommended career websites

·         Career Portfolio

·         Filmmaking summer school – Melbourne

·         The University of Melbourne – VCE Summer School

·         Short courses at JMC Academy

·         ConocoPhillips Science Experience – Year 9 and 10

·         Careers in real estate and property

·         Updates from Monash University

·         Free online mindfulness program

·         My Health Career website

·         Physiotherapy versus Occupational Therapy

·         Fashion Marketing at Collarts

·         Scholarships in Hotel Management and Natural Health courses

Please find the link to the Careers Newsletter below.

November 22 Careers Newsletter

Thank You.

House Performing Arts Festival 2019

The House Performing Arts Festival is an annual College event, that allows students to showcase their many talents whilst competing to earn points for their house. The Triple Threat component of the competition allowed the students to sing, dance and act. This year’s theme was “All the way to Broadway”. Each house was required to show a musical production unfold, including auditions, rehearsals, and of course, the final showstopper performance of the musical. From A Chorus Line, to Hairspray, to Aladdin – the College was decked out in talent with students from Years 7-10 participating. Despite every single house putting some incredible talent on display, Cunningham came out with the win after an amazing take on Wicked.


As well as the Triple Threat performance, the Year 10 leaders also created a Battle of the Bands act, showcasing the musical talents of the students in their house. There was a range of different songs performed including mashups, ballads and pop hits using many different instruments. The Year 10 leaders put in an immense amount of effort organising the arrangements, harmonies and student participants by themselves using the talents and artistry of the house members. Cahill ended up coming first place in this competition with their mashup of four popular hits.


St Columba’s College would like to thank Brendon Tollit, Jack Stewart and Adele Trigona for adjudicating this year’s competition, as well as the Head of Performing Arts, Ms Danby, for all of her continued support and organisation in this year’s festival. Without the ongoing assistance from the Performing Arts staff, none of the outstanding performances would have been possible, so we are extremely grateful towards them. And of course, we must extend our gratitude to the amazing performers and all of the Year 10 organisers, who put in a countless amount of time, effort and energy to make this year’s competition as exciting and professional as possible.


Until next year.