November 18, 2022

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Principal's Message

Prayer for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Vinnies Footscray Soup Van Visit

Year 9 Advanced Maths – Drawing Parabola’s

Christmas Treats for St Vincent de Paul

Year 10 Reflection Day


2022 Principal's reading Challenge

Principal's Message

A Reflection on Religion

I came across a reflection by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI some time ago asking about the essence of true religion. While there are probably a dozen different ways to answer this question, for me it comes down to Jesus, and what we are tasked to do, and who we are called to be, as true disciples of Christ’s teachings. As Fr Rolheiser explains, Jesus was clear in his message:

“…that religion is about how we care for the poor, pure and simple. He tells that, on the last day, we will be judged by God on one basis: Did we care for the poor? Did we give bread to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked? Notice that there are no orthodoxy tests, no creedal formula to recite, no catechetical requirements to measure up to, nor even questions about private morality, only the question of how we treated the poor.

Jesus also tells us that beyond the requirement of caring for the poor we are to “Be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate.”  The final challenge of Jesus is for each of us to have a heart that, like the father of the prodigal son and the older brother, can embrace both the weakness of one and the anger of the other.

In the end, all of these have to be shaped by a heart that radiates God’s all-embracing compassion, understanding, forgiveness, gentleness, warmth, and non-discriminating love.”

No easy task, and I think each of us fails and succeeds in our calling as people of faith each day. What matters is that we try, and in our conversations with God, we ask for guidance, love and forgiveness in our journeys as human people.


No, I have not lost the ability to count – this is the title of our 2022 Visual Arts Exhibition. Opening on Thursday 24 November, at 5.30pm, the exhibition will showcase the work of our talented students across Years 7 to 12 in all of the Visual Arts disciplines.

The Parent Engagement Committee will be hosting a sausage sizzle on the night and the raffle will also be drawn. Please come along and celebrate the achievements of our students and our staff, and join in some community fun.

Celebration of Excellence Evening

After two failed attempts (thanks to COVID) we are looking forward to hosting our presentation of awards in a different way this year. We will host a Celebration of Excellence evening, on Thursday 1 December, to provide families with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of their child/ren across a range of categories and activities. Invitations to the families of students receiving awards will be sent within the next few days.

Celebrating the success of a recent past student

Past student and College Co-Captain, Hannah Eres, has been studying a Bachelor of Youth Work at ACU.  She has been offered a wonderful opportunity in Fiji.  In Hannah’s own words:

“I am going to work with the young people of Fiji to help solve problems faced by youth. I will be participating in a home stay to fully immerse myself into Fijian culture. I feel very grateful that I have been offered a grant to fund my trip.”

We offer our congratulations and best wishes to Hannah.

Prayer for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

We pray, God of love, compassion and healing, we pray to you on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: 

For women and girls who have experienced violent relationships, that they can find safety and healing from their trauma, and rebuild their lives; 

For children who have witnessed violence in their homes against their mothers and sisters and other family members, that they will experience healing and hope; 

For indigenous women and refugee women who have been impacted by extreme violence, that deep and lasting change will ensure their safety; 

For individuals and organisations working to prevent violence against women and girls and help survivors of violence, that their courage and generosity will endure; 

For men who speak out against forms of expression that demean women or condone violence against them, that their voices will grow stronger; 

For the men and boys who have behaved violently towards women and girls that they will have a change of heart, repent in meaningful ways, and seek whatever help they need to lead changed lives. 

God of love, we commend these prayers to you and for your compassion to flood the hearts of all people. 

We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the Holy Spirit. 


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Bronntanais o Dhia Program

Application Process for Students 

Students are encouraged to monitor their progress in accumulating points and hours of service on SEQTA. I have included the list of points needed for each of the categories: Engage, Connect, Learn here.

Once a student has reached a recognition threshold for one or more of the categories (Engage, Connect, Learn), they may complete and submit the Bronntanais ó Dhia Award Application Form which they have been provided with via email and on SEQTA notices.

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 $8.00 per award image. If applications are approved, blazers are handed in at the end of the College year between Wednesday 7 December and Monday 12 December.

If students would like to apply for a badge (or 2), they must have their applications in no later than Friday 25 November.

We look forward to acknowledging the efforts of our students who have participated so well in our co-curricular program.

2022 – 2023 Peer Support Leaders

We take this opportunity to congratulate the following students on being successful in their application to take on the role of Peer Support Leader (PSL) for the remainder of this year and semester 1 of 2023.

The PSLs participated in a Training Day on Friday 11 November. The level of enthusiasm and engagement shown by these new student leaders was exceptional. These students were provided with an opportunity to provide me with feedback following the Training Day. Some of the feedback is provided below:

Students were asked to list three important things that they learned at the Training Day. Some responses are listed here:

  • It’s not my responsibility to fix all the year sevens problems
  • Let a teacher/house leader etc know if a student has a serious problem
  • Reframing to show that you are engaged and listening to the student


  • how to solve conflict between the younger girls who may have troubles
  • useful ways to reword negative sentences to make new perspectives on situations
  • how all people see things differently and that i have to remember that everyone sees things in a different perspective
  • It is important that we do not solve problems, but let the students solve the problems themselves
  • Talking to any lonely student is a great way to help them feel more welcomed into the school community
  • Reframing a way something is said can help see situations in a more positive light

All PSLs will be involved in the Orientation Day for our incoming 2023 Year 7 students on Wednesday 7 December, Induction Day for our Year 7 students on 2 February and Year 7 Camp towards the end of term 1 2023. We thank them, in advance, for the support they will provide to students and staff at these important events.

2023 Year 11 Students’ Blazers for BRAIDING – Wednesday 7 to Monday 12 December

As you may be aware, all students progressing to Year 11 at St Columba’s College have the opportunity (not compulsory) to have braid sewn onto their Blazer lapels. Our uniform supplier, Noone, offers this service.

The cost of the service is $40.00, payable at the time by Credit Card only.

The final day of term 4 for students is Tuesday 6 December. Following this date, families have until Monday 12 December to arrange for the dry cleaning of the blazer and its drop off to Front Reception at the College. Students who wish to take up this opportunity must submit their blazers (with their payment form) to Front Reception. The blazer must be dry-cleaned or the braid cannot be applied.  Please do not wear the blazer after it has been dry-cleaned.

Families will be 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 Student Reception.  Please complete all details on the form especially the expiry date and the three-digit number on the back of the card.

On the day that the blazer is dropped off to Front Reception (no later than 12.00pm Monday 12 December), please ensure that your child’s blazer has been clearly labelled with her full name on the inside pocket, that all badges have been removed and that the payment form is not stapled to the blazer.  The form must be handed in along with the blazer.

If a new blazer is required, please purchase from the Noone Niddrie store before Monday 12 December and pay for the braid at the time of purchase.  Clearly name the blazer.

No late blazers can be dropped to the school or the Noone store.

Blazers will be available for collection on the first day of term 1 2023.

Parent Education Program: Disarming anxiety before it becomes a disorder by Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.

In urban Australia it takes approximately eight years between onset of symptoms and a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, and over twice that time in rural settings. That’s a long time for a child or young person to live with the turmoil of anxiety without getting the help they need.

Kids with a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder include those experiencing social anxiety, separation anxiety, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias or overwhelming fears. Beyond Blue statistics states 1 in 14 children experiences an anxiety disorder. Sadly, a great deal of childhood anxiety goes undetected.

Early detection is critical

Anxiety can be overlooked for many reasons. Often day-to-day functioning of anxious kids isn’t affected in obvious ways, and they can appear happy, but the signs of anxiety will be there if you know what to look for. Anxiety shows through behaviour and language, and is felt physically by a child. Avoidance and over-planning are the two most common behaviours displayed by anxious kids. Long before they become a child’s patterned response to anxiety-inducing events there are generally many subtle signs of anxiety including poor concentration, irritability, becoming upset over minor issues and constantly seeking reassurance. Anxious children and young people can feel nauseous, experience headaches, have difficulty sitting still and constantly feel on edge.

Anxiety is individual

Just as children display symptoms of anxiety in unique ways, they also react differently to everyday events. One child’s highly anticipated school camp maybe another child’s anxiety-inducing nightmare. Knowing the events that trigger anxiety in a child or young person is key to early detection and management.

The tools anxious kids need

Children and young people who experience anxiety need self-management tools to allow healthy functioning and prevent anxiety from deteriorating into a full-blown disorder. Knowledge of how and when to use management tools such as mindfulness, deep breathing, exercise and thought distancing are critical to good mental health, allowing kids to turn the dial down on their anxiety while they get on with the activities that make them happy.

Lifestyle factors that minimise anxiety

Anxiety maybe commonplace but its origins are complex. Poor diet, lack of exercise, social media, sleep problems and an inability to relax all play a part in exacerbating a child’s anxiety. And of course, the pandemic is a frightening time for children.

Attempts to help children minimise anxiety need to include healthy eating that ensures good gut health, frequent exercise that releases adrenalin and the stress hormone cortisol, plenty of endorphin-inducing free play in natural environments and developing good sleep habits that will last a lifetime.

In closing

No child or young person should suffer needlessly from anxiety. Life can feel very grey when anxiety is a constant companion. As a parent you help your child by being on the lookout for early signs of anxiety, recognising the events that cause your child stress and teaching them the tools they need to push anxiety into the background while they get on with enjoying life. Anxiety is not something to be feared, but a condition to be understood and managed before it spirals into a disorder needing professional intervention.

Vinnies Footscray Soup Van Visit

Speaking on behalf of my grade, many of us were amazed at how a 30-minute presentation could be so eye-opening. Before this, I was not aware of the issues surrounding the housing crisis and the poor living conditions that exist only an hour’s drive away. After hearing the stories from the residents of Dandenong’s caravan park, I learnt the value of small luxuries, like sharing a cup of tea with a loved one or even just myself. Small goods bring, like teabags and biscuits, are the highlight of people’s day, especially for those less fortunate. This presentation served as a reminder of how our small acts of kindness can impact others around us, and so, for those in our school community who were unfortunately unable to attend, I ask you to take a moment next time you open the pantry or walk down the supermarket aisle, to think how a small action could create a positive impact for someone who could really use it.

Alexandra Grima, 2023 Justice Captain

St Vincent’s ‘Making a Difference’ incursion emphasised the importance of biblical teachings. Some people may not appreciate the meaning of these lessons, but I think this incursion did a great job of proving that these principles are worthwhile. Toby and the St Vincent’s team put values, such as love and compassion, into practice by aiding caravan parks and soup vans for Victorians experiencing homelessness and financial struggle.

After attending Vinnie’s Winter Sleep-Out earlier this year, I appreciated furthering my understanding of the housing crisis and learning ways to improve the quality of life in our community. Toby’s presentation of in-depth information on the issues made me eager to support St Vincent Christmas Appeal.

Thank you, Toby and Vinnie’s team, for teaching us about this terrible problem, and inspiring us to help make a difference.

Monique Davood, 2023 Liturgy Captain

Year 9 Advanced Maths – Drawing Parabola’s

Over the past few weeks the students in Year 9 Advanced Maths have been learning about parabola’s, the graphical representation of a quadratic equation. The students have learnt how the different formats of the equation give information for the graph and how the restriction of the domain (possible x values) allows you to only see part of the graph. Using this knowledge and the program Desmos students created “faces” using only parabolas with restrictions. The work they have produced is outstanding, below are examples of what they were able to produce.

Christmas Treats for St Vincent de Paul

For the past few weeks, the students of Williams Senior 2 have been donating Christmas treats for those less fortunate than us. The hamper will be donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society to bring families in need some Christmas cheer.

Year 10 Reflection Day

Recently the Year 10 students went to many different places of worship for different religions. My class went to the Islamic Museum of Australia, where we met Sherene Hassan who is a Muslim woman, who was born in Australia and we learnt about her stories and her experiences. One of the main things that I took out of the experience with Sherene is that people need to respect the way others choose to believe. After talking to her we explored the museums galleries, some of which were filled with paintings and other with history of some famous Mosques.


2022 Principal's reading Challenge

Once again Sophia Library hosted their annual Principal’s Reading Challenge for 2022.

While there were many participants who signed up, only a third of the participants managed to complete the challenge. However, staff are very proud of all the girls who participated, especially those who completed it. To celebrate their efforts, library staff will host an award ceremony and pizza lunch on November 28th in the Library Think Tank. Please refer to the infographic below for some statistics.