February 18, 2022

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Principal's Message

Prayer - World Social Justice Day

Notices from the Deputy Principal

14th Anniversary of the National Apology Liturgy

SCSA Sports Leaders Breakfast

Welcome to Year 7 English at St Columba's

Anxiety and How to Manage it

PEC Meeting

Alumnae Reunions

Principal's Message

Our COVID Response

Thank you to all the families supporting us with the COVID response we are required to implement at the College.  Your notifications, and monitoring of your child for symptoms, support us to keep the spread of the virus and its impact low.  I appreciate your patience with the flood of communication you are receiving from us at this time.

On Friday, 18 February 2022, it was announced that existing COVID-Safe measures in schools would continue until the end of Term One.

As a result, rapid antigen surveillance testing will also continue until the end of Term One. We are expecting the delivery of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for weeks five and six within the coming week.

The testing settings will remain the same, with all primary and secondary school students and staff, recommended to test at home twice a week.  As a reminder, in previous correspondence, we recommended that testing occur before students come to school on Monday and Thursday mornings.  RAT use will remain voluntary for staff and students but is strongly encouraged.

Several changes to the COVID-Safe settings in place in Victoria were also announced.  We do not yet have the full detail of the impact on schools.  We do know that from 6.00pm on Friday, 18 February 2022, QR code check-in requirements will no longer be in place in schools.

We will keep you posted regarding further changes that may impact our COVID-Safe measures.

Catholic Earthcare Australia

The College is currently exploring its response to ecological justice through the Laudato Si Action Platform and Catholic Earthcare Australia.

Catholic Earthcare Australia was incorporated into Caritas Australia in 2018 to create synergies between agencies that respond to the “cry of the earth” and the “cry of the poor”. This program has four arms – Schools, Families, Parishes and Youth.

If your family is interested in pursuing ecological justice or looking for ways to enhance the response you are already making, there is an upcoming webinar for families or individuals who have signed up to the Earthcare families’ program, or who are interested in the program.

Details about the February webinars on ‘Integral Ecology’ and ‘Forming the Heart’ can be found by following this link.

Prayer - World Social Justice Day

World Social Justice Day 20th Feb 


Loving God, we are all part of your one creation and it is your desire
that we be gathered together as one family.

Fill our hearts with the fire of your love and with a firm commitment
to bringing about greater justice for all beings.

By sharing the many gifts you give us, may we do our part to ensure equality
for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

With a growing awareness of our common home and of the one web of life in which we live,
may we see fresh possibilities for responding each day with compassion and courage.

May there be an end to division, strife and war.

May we renew our efforts to pray, advocate and work for an end
to all forms of exploitation, injustice and suffering.

We ask this especially on this World Day of Social Justice in the name of Jesus our Brother and Friend.



There are many social justice issues in the world today. Gender inequality, systemic racism, and unemployment are just a few. Since 2009, every February 20th has been the UN observance known as “World Day of Social Justice”. The purpose of the day is to focus on the plight of social injustice throughout the world and to press for improvements and solutions (UN, 2014). The day also pledged to promote equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality for all. World Day of Social Justice recognises the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as discrimination, poverty, gender equity and access to justice for all.

Our students understand their place of privilege in this world, a home, access to food and water and a good education. With that in mind they use this opportunity to raise awareness of issues and make changes in their life which act to support others. This world day of social justice I say thank you to the students for hearing the message and to their families who share the message with them. Together we can make positive change in our world.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Wearing of masks

Currently, schools are mandated to do several things as a result of COVID. The term 1 2022 School Operations Guide from Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools says this about the wearing of masks for students:

“Students in Grade 3 and above must wear a face mask indoors at school, unless a
lawful exception applies. Students must wear face masks even if vaccinated.
Students are not required to wear masks outside, however they are strongly
recommended if physical distance cannot be maintained, even outdoors, when
students are not undertaking physical exercise (for example; masks are strongly
recommended when classes are held outside).”

Ignoring the request to wear a mask correctly (over mouth and nose) or responding rudely or disrespectfully to the request is unacceptable and will result in a consequence.

Should a student have an exemption which allows them not to wear a mask, the College requires this information from a parent in writing so that we can update our records. The eligible exemptions can be found here:

This information has been provided to all students via the Student Bulletin.

We would appreciate your cooperation in supporting the health and wellbeing of every student and staff member at St. Columba’s College.

Columba’s Coaches: Brigitte McDonald

This program, now in its second year, aims to:

  • Create opportunities for recent graduates to remain connected and engaged with the St Columba’s College community
  • Promote these connections to our broader community
  • Provide a tutoring service to our current senior students which will support our goal to improve student learning outcomes

The Columba’s Coach plays an important role in supporting student learning across Year 11 and 12 Unit 3/4 students.  This year we have expanded the program so that the Coaches will be supporting students of six different subjects in 2022 as opposed to three in 2021. A Columba’s Coach will be a high performing student in one or more of the following subjects: English, Further Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Legal Studies, and will have a desire to work with and assist the learning of other students.

The following graduates have been successful in their application to be Columba’s Coaches for 2022:

We look forward to working with them in this capacity.

Columba’s Coaching sessions will take place from 3.15 to 4.45pm and will be held in the Library. The days are yet to be determined and will depend on the Coaches university commitments. Year 11 and 12 students studying the subjects listed above will book into a session using a link provided. A maximum of 10 students may work with a Coach each week, so it is important to get in early to book a spot.

Parent Information Night

On Wednesday 9 February, members of the College’s Leadership Team and members of the House Leader Team, hosted two online Parent Information sessions: one for our Year 7 families and one for Year 12 families.

The recordings are provided here for your information:

Year 7 PIN

Year 12 PIN

Thank you to those families who took the time to connect with us.

Bronntanais o Dhia Program

In 2021, our new recognition program entitled, Bronntanais o Dhia was launched. This is a Gaelic phrase which translates to “gifts from God”. We feel it is a very apt name for our program as it celebrates the practise and development of the gifts and talents of our students for the good of our College community.

I have provided a link here so that you can read over the document for a better understanding of how it will operate this year.

14th Anniversary of the National Apology Liturgy

On Monday February 14 2022, students and teachers gathered together for the 14th Anniversary of the National Apology. The Liturgy was hosted during lunch time to reflect on the empassioned speech delivered by Kevin Rudd, apologising to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government.

National Sorry Day acknowledges and raises awareness of the history and continued effect of the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their families, communities and culture.

The sun shone brightly over the O Favoured One school statue and our students (Tiana Ciavarella, Chelsea Dinh-Thai, Joyce Fogarty, Eloise Sexton, Sophia D’Aspromonte and Giada Fernandes), who contributed meaningfully to the service with prayers and readings and by passing the school’s Message Stick.

The music of Archie Roach echoed through the Learning Courtyard; it was a powerful way of helping our school community to find empathy for the experiences of others, especially when it comes to matters of national consciousness.

We acknowledged the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people and recognise that the Apology means a shared sorrow for our nation and is an essential step in the process of healing.

St Columba’s is dedicated to making these events possible in the hope that we can walk together towards a better future and to show our commitment towards creating harmony between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

SCSA Sports Leaders Breakfast

On Tuesday 15th of February, 4 members of St Columba’s student executive were lucky enough to meet Jelena Dokic at an SCSA sports leadership breakfast at MSAC. Jelena informed us all about her life story including the ups and downs she endured. Jelena retired from tennis after being ranked number 4 in the world in 2002. She is currently a tennis commentator, tennis coach and writer. Her book “unbreakable”, published in 2018 talks much about her survival, being a refugee twice, surviving on the tennis court and most importantly how she survived her father. At the sports leadership breakfast she discussed how she endured huge challenges; being an “outsider” in her new country, poverty and racism. By 18, she was in the world’s top 10 and by 19 she was No. 4. Her story moved the whole room and was truly inspirational for those listening.

Welcome to Year 7 English at St Columba's

As parents of Year 7 students we understand how important it is that you are fully informed and understand the processes, expectations and learning decisions made to improve her language confidence and competence as she moves through her first year at the College.

Here is a guide to Year 7 English at St Columba’s College.

Anxiety and How to Manage it

Anxiety and how to manage it: pre-teens and teenagers:

 As we all know, the last two years have been challenging due to COVID-19. As we start the new school year, students might experience a range of emotions from excitement to anxiety. Even pretty easy-going children get butterflies, and children prone to anxiety get clingier and more nervous than usual. For most students the new-school-year worries will fade and the anxious behaviours will be transient. An understanding of anxiety might be helpful in supporting your child

About anxiety

Anxiety is the feeling of worry, apprehension or dread that something bad is going to happen or that you can’t cope with a situation. It’s also the physical reactions that go with the feeling, like ‘butterflies in the stomach’, tension, shakiness, nausea and sweating. And it’s behaviour like avoiding what’s causing the anxiety or wanting a lot of reassurance.

Anxiety can happen in response to a specific situation or event, but it continues after the situation has passed. It can happen without a specific situation or event too.

Anxiety is a common and natural part of life. Everyone feels anxious sometimes.

Anxiety in pre-teens and teenagers

Anxiety is very common in the pre-teen and teenage years.

This is because adolescence is a time of emotional, physical and social change, which is happening at the same time as teenage brains are changing. Teenagers are seeking new experiences and more independence. It’s natural for teenagers to feel anxious about these changes, opportunities and challenges.

For example, teenagers might feel anxious about starting secondary school, looking a particular way, fitting in with friends, performing in plays at school or going to school formals. Also, as their independence increases, teenagers might feel anxious about responsibilities, money and employment.

Anxiety in teenagers isn’t always a bad thing. Feeling anxious can help to keep teenagers safe by getting them to think about the situation they’re in. It can also motivate them to do their best. And it can help them get ready for challenging situations like public speaking or sporting events.

Helping preteens and teenagers manage anxious feelings

Learning to manage anxiety is an important life skill, which you can help your child learn. Here are some ideas.

Encourage your child to talk about anxieties

Just talking about the things that make them anxious can reduce the amount of anxiety your child feels. Talking and listening also helps you understand what’s going on for your child. And when you understand, you’re better able to help your child manage anxieties or find solutions to problems.

Acknowledge your child’s feelings

Your child’s anxiety is real, even if the thing they feel anxious about is unlikely to happen. This means it’s important to acknowledge your child’s anxiety and tell them you’re confident they can handle it. This is better than telling them not to worry. For example, if your child is anxious about whether they’ll pass an exam, let them know you understand how they feel but you’re sure they’ll do their best.

When you acknowledge your child’s feelings with warmth and compassion, it helps your child to use self-compassion in challenging situations too.

Encourage brave behaviour

This involves gently encouraging your child to set small goals for things they feel anxious about. Just avoid pushing your child to face situations they don’t feel ready to face. For example, your child might be anxious about performing in front of others. As a first step, you could suggest your child practises their lines in front of the family.

You can help your child behave bravely by encouraging them to use:

  • positive self-talk – for example, ‘I can handle this. I’ve been in situations like this before’
  • self-compassion – for example, ‘It’s OK if I do this differently from other people. This way works for me’
  • assertiveness – for example, ‘I need some help with this project’.

It’s also good to praise your child for doing something they feel anxious about, no matter how small it is.

Helping pre-teens and teenagers feel safe and secure

When pre-teens and teenagers feel safe and secure, they’re better able to cope with the everyday challenges and anxiety of adolescence. You can help your child feel safe and secure by:

  • spending time with your child – for example, preparing dinner or going to see a movie together
  • having a family routine that includes time for some family meals, plus other family rituals
  • making time in your family routine for things that your child finds relaxing, like listening to music, reading books or going for walks
  • spending time with people your child likes, trusts and feels comfortable around.

Encouraging pre-teens and teenagers to make healthy choices

Healthy lifestyle choices can often help your child handle anxiety. For example, going for a walk instead of sitting at home worrying can help to clear your child’s mind.

Here are some healthy choices that can help your child with everyday anxiety:

  • Get plenty of physical activity, sleep and healthy food and drink.  
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress by not putting things off or being late.
  • Do breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises or mindfulness exercises. 

When to be concerned about anxiety

If you’re concerned about your child’s anxiety, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. You might consider seeing your GP or another health professional if your child:

  • constantly feels nervous, anxious or on edge, or can’t stop or control worrying
  • has anxious feelings that go on for weeks, months or even longer
  • has anxious feelings that interfere with their schoolwork, socialising and everyday activities.

When anxiety is severe and long lasting, it might be an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders usually respond very well to professional treatment. And the earlier anxiety disorders are treated, the less likely they are to affect young people’s mental health and development in the long term.

Professional help for anxiety

You can get professional help for your child’s anxiety from:

  • a school counsellor  
  • a psychologist
  • a GP  
  • local community health centre or mental health services.
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • Kids Helpline – Teens
  • Beyond Blue – Young people
  • eheadspace

Adapted from:

PEC Meeting

Just a friendly reminder next Tuesday, Feb 22nd 7.30pm will be our first Parent Engagement Committee meeting for the year.

The meeting is held online and the link can be found by contacting us on:

Everyone is welcome to join us, both old and new members. This is a great opportunity for you to see what the committee is about and how we work to bring the college community together.

Alumnae Reunions

On Saturday 5th March from 2 – 4 pm, we will welcome back the class of 2020 for a high tea in Gayip Biik. 2020 graduates can book their place here.
The class of 2001 will also make an appearance for a school tour from 3pm before their reunion event later that day, we invite 2001 graduates to join the private Facebook page “St Columba’s Class of 2001”, for more information regarding the 20 year reunion.