February 22, 2019

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Principal's Message

Prayer - Love

Deputy Principal

Head of Learning

Admin: Student Information Notice

Parents' Association News

Careers News

STEM: Birdman Rally

Sport: Nunan Cup

House Welcomes: Bruton & O'Brien

Girls Got This

St Monica's Parish - Pastoral Assistant

Principal's Message

We are very pleased with the way that the girls have settled into the pattern and rhythm of their learning so far this year. I’d like to thank all the families who have supported us in following through with some of the changes we have instituted, especially in relation to the mobile phone policy. I understand that some parents have found it difficult to have limited contact with their daughter during the day, however, the change that has occurred throughout the College as a result of the new policy has been quite extraordinary. Some of the feedback I have received includes:


•    the girls being far more attentive and focussed in class;

•    students arriving for classes after recess and lunchtime calmer and ready to engage with the learning, not distracted by what they have been engaging with on their phones;

•    students talking and interacting with one another at recess and lunchtimes – there is a level of energy and noise in the school grounds that is productive and life-giving;

•    girls being more active during lunchtimes.


I would like to acknowledge the staff who have been consistent in their expectations of the girls as we grow accustomed to a new way of being together.


On Thursday, 21 February we welcomed and acknowledged our 2018 High Achievers, celebrating their academic achievements as part of their VCE or VCAL Programs, with their family and friends. In my address to the students, I encouraged each girl to find her light, and bring that gift to those around them, fulfilling the hope and promise that God has for all of us. I have included an excerpt of my address below:


Socrates was insistent that we should “know ourselves”, to be individually honest, to do what we know to be right, and not blindly follow the ideas of others, without really considering how they connect to our own values and beliefs. Not to hide behind the hatred of a group, the roar of the crowd, but to aim, hard as it might be, towards the ideal life. This is one way that you can be a light to the world – by discovering your true self and sharing this with others.


In one of his most famous sermons Jesus preached to the people who came to listen, this is from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead, they put it on a lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before people so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven”.


So two incredibly wise men who changed the course of history in their own ways have invited us to be the light for the world. Perhaps what we can all do is to find at least one way that we can bring light to the life of others – a friendly word, a welcoming smile, acknowledging the good that someone has done, contributing to something that is not all about me – you will think of many more. This is our mission as people of Faith to heed the call to live our lives to make a difference to the other.


Our 2018 High Achievers today are being acknowledged and celebrated for their pursuit of academic excellence. We have seen their light shine. We will hear shortly how they plan to apply their talents in the pathways they have chosen beyond our school gates. Now, like Jesus and Socrates, and our own Venerable Mary Aikenhead, how will you apply the talents that are yours in abundance to enable others to find their light and also let it shine. I talked about the qualities of Mary Aikenhead at the start of the year – inspiring others to dream courageous visions, to have compassion for human suffering, to recognise and agitate against unjust structures which are the cause of poverty, to work with others to solve problems and to remain determined when faced with hardship. Remember she started the sisters of Charity so that she and other like-minded women could go out, reach out and be with people in the circumstances of their real lives. Imagine the poor in mid-17th century Ireland – in sub-standard living conditions, little food, illness and disease – and then the angels appear bringing food, compassion and hope. Imagine the light of God filling the homes and the hearts of the poor in Ireland when the first Sisters of Charity started their visits. When Mary Aikenhead was no longer able to share her light in this way because of her poor health, she sat at her round table and wrote letters, bringing her light – influence, imagination and creativity – to the people in a different way.


As you have already heard from me we believe that every student here has their own light, and your goal, with our support and encouragement, and the love and care of your families, should be to find out what that light is. To cultivate it, draw it and then share it with the world, on behalf of the world, not only for your own purposes but also for the glory of God in whose name we do all things.

Prayer - Love

Suscipe – St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,

my memory, my understanding,

and my entire will,

All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.

To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace,

that is enough for me.


In the Ignatian view, love is always a verb. It’s not a passive state but an active offering, giving, serving and doing. In the Spiritual Exercises, love is always related to service. Our love for God is authentic when it involves giving of ourselves and making choices to serve God and others.


This notion of love begins with the nature of God, which Ignatius pictures in the Contemplation to Attain the Love of God. “God is Love loving,” as the Jesuit writer David Fleming puts it, giving of himself, present in all things, labouring to make a better world, bathing us in an endless stream of gifts and graces. Our love is modelled on God’s way of loving, expressed in the Suscipe prayer. We give ourselves to God as he has given himself to us.


The Ignatian idea of love is summed up in two statements at the end of the Spiritual Exercises, the first one is “Love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than in words.” There’s a touch of hyperbole here; obviously loving deeds and loving words should go together. But the point is clear enough: talk is cheap. Deeds matter. Ignatius’ second observation is: “Love consists in a mutual sharing of goods.” Lovers share what they have with each other. In short, love involves doing things rather than talking about them, and the main thing that lovers do is share. Love is not one-sided: it’s mutual.


Jim Manney (2017) Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. Loyola Press: Chicago.

Deputy Principal

Every Day Counts


Attending school every day is vital for students of all ages in order to achieve their maximum potential. At St. Columba’s College we are striving to provide an excellent education for our students and the building blocks for a great education begin with students coming to school each and every day.


Missing school can have a major impact on a child’s future – a student missing one day a fortnight will miss four full weeks by the end of the year. By Year 10 they will have missed more than a year of school if students were to adopt this pattern from primary school.


There is no safe number of days for missing school – each day a student misses puts them behind and can affect their educational outcomes.


Remember, every day counts. If your child must miss school, speak with your House Teacher or House Leader as early as possible.


Laws implemented in March 2014 dictate that parents can be fined for not sending students to school without an acceptable reason.


It is expected that students attend all timetabled classes, House Lessons and pre-arranged meetings and activities. It is acknowledged that there may be times, for a variety of reasons, when classes may be missed. In all cases, it is expected that students follow the absence procedure.


Students may not leave the College grounds without permission. A note signed by a parent or guardian is to be presented to the House Teacher and House Leader for co-signing. Students in Yr 7 – 9 must be collected by a parent or guardian or any emergency contact on the school’s system before the College will allow them to leave. Students in Years 10-12 are able to leave without an adult but they are required to sign out. If a student becomes ill while at school, arrangements to go home must be made through the First Aid centre. Parents may collect and sign out their daughter from the Main Reception in the event that she becomes ill during the day. The College prefers that medical appointments are made outside school hours.


School Approved Absences are:  

  • sickness with a medical certificate from a GP
  • excursions or official school functions
  • an absence that is approved by the Head of Students, Deputy Principal or Principal


All other absence from class will be recorded as Non-Approved Absences. A student enrolled at St Columba’s College must attend 90% of classes. If attendance falls below 90% for unacceptable reasons, the College will follow up the matter with the student and parents/guardians.


Extended Absences


If there is a situation that warrants an extended absence from the College, a letter must be written to the Principal, requesting permission prior to the absence. It is essential that planned vacations be restricted to school holiday times.


Swimming Carnival


The Interhouse Swimming Carnival will be held on Thursday 28 February, with students to make their own way to Queen’s Park pool by 8.35am. Students will be dismissed from the venue at 2.45pm. Please read the important reminders below:

  • This event is compulsory for all students. All absences will involve direct contact with parents and a written note of explanation will be required.
  • All students must remember to be SunSmart, with students required to apply sunscreen prior to arriving at the pool and to bring sunscreen to reapply, to wear a hat, and to bring a water bottle.
  • Bathers must be a one-piece swimsuit; bikinis are not appropriate. Years 7-9 students must wear their sports uniform. Years 10 -11 students may wear appropriate sports attire in their House colour. Year 12 students may dress up but must wear appropriate attire when competing in events. Students who are dressed inappropriately may be sent home.
  • Students are expected to bring their own lunch, snacks, drinks etc. Queen’s Park does have a small canteen where students can purchase a limited variety of snacks and drinks. Please note that students will not be permitted to leave the venue to buy food or receive take-away food.
  • In the event of inclement weather, families will be notified by an email (by 7am) and a notice on the College website (by 7am). It is therefore important that we have the most up-to-date contact details, including mobile numbers and email addresses. Please ensure all information (including your daughter’s medical information) is current on her PAM profile. If the event is cancelled, students will be expected to attend school and teaching will proceed as normal.
  • As per our Mobile Phone Policy, students are allowed to use a mobile device when directed by a staff member. For the Swimming Carnival, students will be permitted to use their mobile phone in an appropriate manner.

Head of Learning

Learning and Teaching at St Columba’s College


Learning is a core value of the College and viewed as the central activity of all individuals of our community.  As a community, we are committed to excellence, innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement because we believe that every student is capable of learning if they are motivated and engaged.  


In valuing learning at St Columba’s College, we challenge our students to achieve their personal best and aim to develop independent and critical thinkers. To support your daughter’s learning, students in Years 7-10 actively engaged in an Elevate Education study skills session this week. Year 11 and 12 students completed a similar study skills program in 2018.


Since 2001, Elevate Education has been transforming the way study skills programs and have developed a program drawing upon 15 years of research into the habits of the top students. Elevate’s high impact seminars & workshops help students improve their study techniques, increase motivation and build confidence.


On Monday 4 March 2019 at 7:30 pm, a Senior presenter from Elevate Education will share key research, skills, and answers questions to empower parents to reinforce study skills at home. This session will be held at the College in the Theatrette. If you would like to attend this session please indicate your interest by completing this form by Thursday 28 February.


As a learning community, we value the support parents and guardians provide in the growth of each individual student.  Over the year, you will receive feedback from your daughter’s subject teachers outlining your daughter’s progress in each of the subject areas.  I encourage you to open the lines of communication with your daughter’s subject teachers so you are able to support your daughter with well-targeted learning opportunities.


Admin: Student Information Notice

Please find attached important information regarding the Australian Government 2019 Student Residential Address and Other Information Collection Notice.


Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Sam Monk, Office Manager on 9331 9416.


2019 Collection Notice Information

2019 Collection Notice FAQs 

Parents' Association News

Year 7 Cocktail Evening

The Parents’ Association is delighted to invite all parents of year 7 students to the Year 7 Parent Cocktail Party on Friday 15 March, starting at 7:30 pm, at the College. This event is a special night on the College calendar, where parents meet other Year 7 parents and find out a bit more about College life from a parent’s perspectives. Look out for your special invitation and RSVP details for the event. We look forward to seeing you there on the night. Dress: Smart casual. A light supper will be provided.


Parents’ Association Meetings

The Parents’ Association plays an important role in St Columba’s College life, assisting to connect the college to the community, particularly parents.


The annual schedule of SCC Parents’ Association meetings kicked off this month, with our first meeting on Tuesday 19 February and we were delighted to welcome both returning and new parents on the night. Thanks also for the continued support of the Parents’ Association by College Principal, Rita Grima and College representative Frank Bonavia.


General meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, 7:30 pm in the Bruton building.


2019 PA Meeting Schedule:

• Feb 19

• March 19

• April 23 (1st day of Term 2)

• May 21 (Father/Male Mentor & Daughter Activity Night)

• June 18

• July 23  (Please note that this has been changed from 16 Jul due to a clash with another school event)

• August 20

• September 10

• October 22

• November 19 (Annual General Meeting)


2019 Event Schedule:

• Fri 15 March – Year 7 Parent Cocktail Party

• Tue 21 May – Father/Male Mentor & Daughter Activity Night

• Sat 7 September – PA Dinner Party

• Mon 9 December – Secondhand Book & Uniform sale.



All parents are welcome to be involved in the Parents’ Association – whether in a small or significant way. If you would like more information about the Parents’ Association, please contact Nicole Purcell e:



Careers News

Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available for download. It contains important information on students registering for their TFN, how to write resumes and cover letters, and understanding workers rights. Additionally, this week also includes flyers on available courses in the medical industry, including nursing, pharmaceutical and midwifery.


Careers Newsletter – February 22 2019

Pharmacy Courses

Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedicine Courses

Medical Radiation Courses


STEM: Birdman Rally

A STEM education is the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an interdisciplinary or integrated approach. Students gain and apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop creative and critical thinking skills within an authentic context. It may include inquiry and project-based learning.


STEM education helps to bridge the gender gaps sometimes found in maths and science fields. STEM is critically important for our current and future productivity, as well as for informed personal decision making and effective community, national and global citizenship.


Here at the College, we are kicking off another year of STEM with an entry into the Birdman Rally. The 2019 Birdman Rally will take place in Birrarung Marr on Sunday 10 March and is part of the Moomba festival held on the Labour Day weekend. The Birdman Rally is a competition for home-made gliders, hang-gliders and human-powered aircraft. St. Columba’s College will be the first all-girls’ school to enter the Competition.


Students from various year levels are currently working on designing and constructing a craft under the expert guidance of Ms Kelsey Rowe who is an Electrical Engineer working with the College as part of the CSIRO’s STEM Professional in Schools program. The craft will be piloted by a member of staff on the day.


The construction of the craft is only one part of the competition as there is a fundraising component also. The College will be fundraising for the Sisters of Charity Foundation which was founded in the year 2000. The Sisters of Charity Foundation is a not for profit company seeking to sustain the legacy of compassion the Sisters of Charity have administered in Australia for more than 175 years. The purpose of the Sisters of Charity Foundation is to provide hope, dignity and meaningful assistance to those who receive little or no funding from other sources. This is done through a Community Grants Program, Tertiary Scholarships and Providence House which provides emergency and transitional housing for asylum seekers.


Fundraising is well underway with a raffle of some awesome STEM prizes and the Sisters of Charity Foundation has been registered on Go Fundraise.


If you would like to make a donation in support of the College’s Birdman Rally entry please follow the link:


Students working hard on their craft for the Birdman Rally!



Sport: Nunan Cup

Nunan Cup Results

The tournament commenced on Wednesday 20 February with our juniors playing a round robin with the top 8 playing off in the finals. All juniors played extremely well with Tahlia Panuccio and Daisi Kukuljan making it into the finals.  After a thrilling match, Tahlia was awarded the Goodman Cup.


Thursday 21 February saw the intermediate and senior players also compete in a round robin with the top 8 playing off in the finals.  In the intermediates competition, it was a very close battle throughout the afternoon with Alisha Maslar and Alanna Haynes making it into the finals. After some remarkable shots and a gripping finish, Alisha was awarded the Wade Cup.


In the seniors’ competition, we had a straight final that was played out between Stephanie Fedele and Elise Baker.  It was a courteously fought out match with Stephanie being successful and was awarded the Nunan Cup.


Thank you and congratulations to all players that participated in the Nunan Cup.  All students who participated played with excellent sportsmanship and great competitiveness.  


Congratulations must also go to those students that have been selected to present the school in the SCSA tennis competition.

SCSA Tennis Team:


Singles: Tahlia Panuccio (Cahill)

Doubles A: Daisi Kukuljan (Williams) & Dainah Ginters (O’Brien)

Doubles B: Isabelle Macsero (De Lacy), Minuki Hewa Thondilayge (De Lacy) & Zahara Gruar (Cunningham)



Singles: Alisha Maslar (Bruton)

Doubles A: Alanna Haynes (De Lacy) & Alyssa Origlia (Cunningham)

Doubles B: Olivia Bourke (Williams), Adele Roeder (De Lacy) & Isabella Giampiccolo (Williams)



Singles: Stephanie Fedele (O’Brien)

Doubles A: Elise Baker (Cahill) & Catrina Le (Williams),

Doubles B: Eloise Sexton (Cunningham), Jasmine Barrass (O’Brien) & Shania Ambegoda (O’Brien)


House Welcomes: Bruton & O'Brien

O’Brien House Welcome

The Year 7 students as well as the new student of O’Brien house were officially welcomed into the school community on February 7. This ceremony also recognised the year 12 student of O’Brien as role models within the house and college community.


For the year 12 students it was a celebration of the last 6 years together and the year 7’s and new students, the beginning of their high school journey at St Columbus. The prayer service was run by our House Captain Niamh Vahland and our House Leader, Mrs Kathryn Hicks, where we were reminded of what it means to be apart of O’Brien house.


The ceremony finished with both the Year 7s, Year 12s and other new students receiving a badge to act as a reminder of their role within the college. The night was a great experience not only for our parents to meet our homeroom teachers but also for the student from the various year level to collaborate and get to know each other. – Caitlin Hanley-Smith



Bruton House Welcome

The first few weeks of school have been particularly exciting in the Bruton community. Our most recent event was the House Welcoming Ceremony. On this special night, we gathered as a Bruton community in a ceremony to welcome the new year 7’s and their parents, the new staff of Bruton House and to also award the Bruton year 12’s with their badges. Personally, I felt rather moved by this ceremony, particularly because it was an opportunity to gather not just with the students and teachers but with parents and friends also. It is important for us to remember that the Bruton community is not just limited within the college, but is extended out to families and friends.

On behalf of the Bruton community, I would specifically like to welcome the new staff into Bruton House. Ms Lauren Vella from Sydenham Catholic Regional College who will be taking on the role of house teacher for BRNS1. Ms Therese Patti from de Lacy house who will be house teacher for BRNJ3 and finally we would like to welcome Ms Danielle Caccamo to the administration team! We welcome the new staff with open arms and hope that they will feel blessed to be a part of our community. – Madeline Sammut – Bruton House Captain


Girls Got This

Moonee Valley City Council is running a program for young women, to help develop life skills.


The program gives young women the opportunity to develop life skills such as public speaking, self-care and confidence in a supportive space. Girls will be able to meet like-minded girls, be able to get involved in her community and be a part of conversations and topics that are important to girls. For young women aged 13-16.


First catch up Tuesday March 5, 4.30pm-6.30pm at the Valley Youth Space, 3 Matthews Avenue, Niddrie


To join simply fill out the form on your computer and send it to or check out for more information.

St Monica's Parish - Pastoral Assistant

St Columba’s College is part of a wider community within the Essendon area and Catholic community. As such, we  support the local parishes and schools, and community events which support our students.


Below is a position description for a role at St Monica’s Parish, for a Pastoral Assistant. If you are interested in this role, or know someone who is, please follow the directions in the attachment.


Position Description – St Monica’s