December 6, 2019

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Principal's Message


PAM Accounts - Parents of Year 12 Students

2019 Awards Assembly

MAEA Student Leadership Training

St Columba’s College Snow Trip 2020

Parenting Girls Online Course

de Lacy News - Briar Terrace

Advent 2019

Careers Newsletter

Sophia Library Infographic and Holiday Reading Recommendations

Library News

Class of 2019 Results

Principal's Message

Awards Assembly 


It’s hard to believe that this is the last edition of the Iona for 2019. Time seems to tumble away in the busyness of our lives, and we can forget to acknowledge the moments of grace that have blessed our lives in community this year. 


One of these moments was the celebration of learning that took place at the Awards Assembly on Thursday, 5 December. It was a proud occasion for students, staff and parents as we acknowledged those students who have endeavoured with their academic program this year, as well as those students who make a significant contribution to building College community.


In my address I encouraged all girls to ensure that whatever it is they are undertaking they do this to the best of their ability. The following is an excerpt from my address:


I have this wonderful book at home called speeches that changed the world, and Martin Luther King Jr figures prominently in that book. He held such a wonderful vision for what life could be like for all people, and he was remarkable in the way he could share his ideas. Six months before he was assassinated, he spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on 26 October 1967, 52 years ago. His words still hold true today –


“If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”


The lesson here isn’t that you have to all go out and be street sweepers obviously; but it is about committing 100% to whatever it is that you are doing, for there is dignity and integrity in doing that well.


God’s gift to you is life; what you do with your life is your gift to God. I have used this quote before – I remember reading it as a very young student while at secondary school and it has stuck with me. It challenges me to reflect and to act – what am I doing to make the world a better place? Am I using the gifts and talents that I have, whatever they may be, in the best way that I can?


When the Sisters first imagined their schools, and this school, I wonder what they wanted for the pupils whom they would be educating? I’m quite certain that the education they provided was an education for all, in the sense that the gift you receive through the privilege of education, you will then go forth and multiply and use for the benefit of others. So, while today, we are celebrating individual achievements and triumphs, we know that our gifts and talents bring us to the fullness of life when we work to ensure we bring fullness of life to others.


Congratulations to all of our award winners, and thank you to all of the families that attended the assembly. Your presence and support are valued and appreciated.




There are members of the College community who are leaving us at the end of the year to pursue various pathways.


To our students – keep hold of the tradition of the Sisters of Charity that has nurtured you during your time here. Always remember our challenge to live the Gospel and serve the poor.


We are also farewelling several staff members. I would like to acknowledge and thank each one for their contribution and commitment to the education of the young women of St Columba’s College. We say good-bye to:


Staff Member

Years of Service

Mrs Fil Coviello


Ms Jaime Brown


Mr Tim Huf


Ms Rachel Lang


Ms Jenny Liggett


Mrs Claire Thompson


Ms Laura Danby



I’d also like to thank Mr Bao Vo, Mrs Eve Bacak, Ms Melissa Byrne, Mr David Lovatt, and Mrs Mary O’Brien, who have completed contracts with the College, and some of our instrumental music contractors, Ms Tamara Kohler, Mr Richard Butler, Ms Tahli Foley, and Mr Matthew Hoyne.


It is also with sadness that we farewell Mrs Ginella Casa, Mrs Diana Barresi, Mrs Anna Pitsillou and Mr Connor Fogarty, our marvellous canteen assistants who have so faithfully and gracefully served us for the past eight years. We wish them well into the future.


A personal thank you


I’m very pleased to say that my health is back on track after the challenging news of my breast cancer diagnosis in February. Thank you to everyone who sent along messages of encouragement and support, and to all of you who took the time to ask after my wellbeing over the course of this year. It has meant a great deal to me.


Christmas Blessings


I wish you every grace and blessing for this coming Christmas period and pray that the Spirit of Joy and Promise – seen, heard and felt in the newborn baby in Bethlehem lives in your own hearts at this special time.


I look forward to seeing you all in 2020.



Advent is a time of waiting


“Stay awake because you do not know the day when your master is coming”


Matt. 24:42.





Advent is a time of waiting.  We often find ourselves waiting for things in life, sometimes with impatience and sometimes in excited anticipation. Advent is a time when we look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ.


Preparations for Christmas can be busy.  Unfortunately, rather than being a time of quiet reflection, during which we look forward to the Light of Christ coming into the world, these few weeks can become a time of hectic preparation for a very commercial Christmas!


But Advent is the time to come and rest, to find comfort and peace in our God.


Rather than allowing impatience to overcome us, perhaps we could begin to see these spaces as gift; time to stop rushing; time to be still. 


Waiting teaches us to be patient. By acknowledging Advent as a time of waiting, of hopeful expectation, of preparation, our Christmas will be all the more meaningful and enjoyable.  Our waiting is always in hope and in this season of Advent, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.


PAM Accounts - Parents of Year 12 Students

Later this year, we will be farewelling some families who have a Year 12 daughter here currently. This may be their last daughter journeying through secondary education or they may have a younger daughter who will become a member of the St Columba’s College community in the future. To those of you who will be moving on with their daughters, a warm thank you for allowing us to partner with you in the nurturing of your daughters.


Please note that on Friday January 31 2020, your PAM account for your Year 12 daughter will be suspended. You may wish to download and save your daughter’s reports, for instance, prior to this date. Year 12 students have also been advised that their G-Suite accounts will be suspended at this time too. A reminder will be included in an Iona edition towards the end of term 4. Your daughters will also receive a reminder email in January to ensure they are able to save any important documentation that they require.

2019 Awards Assembly

On Thursday, 5 December, the College community acknowledged and celebrated the students who have excelled in one or more of the three pillars of the College’s Learning and Wellbeing Framework – Learn, Engage, Connect. It was wonderful to have so many parents there to participate in this event. A warm congratulations, once again, to the following 2019 award recipients.

Learning Excellence Awards

Rich Task – Sophia McMenamin and Madison Camurn

Fiontar – Tara Werden and Elisha Khoury


Year 7 – Madeleine Campana and Siena Rumoro

Year 8 – Sarah Truccolo and Ella Dzielakowski

Year 9 – Imogen Rawlings and Sophie Leighton

Year 10 – Jasmine Barrass

English Core Plus – Adele Roeder

Year 11 – Claire Reedy

Health & Physical Education

Year 7- Alexandra Sciberras and Erin D’Agostini

Year 8 – Charlotte Leighton and Claudia De La Porte

Year 9 – Zoe De Silva Abeyewickreme and Sophie Leighton

Year 10

Community Health – Alysha Lowrie

Essentials for Life – Melina Borrelli

Life Be In It – Ruby Allison

Sports Coaching – Liana Rivellese

Year 11

Health & Human Development – Alanah Coli

Physical Education – Charlotte Calleri


Year 7 – Mia Tascone and Victoria Giannarakis

Year 8 – Rachel Duquemin

Year 9

Geography – Corrie Sawicki-Bennett

History – Alisha Maslac

Markets & Citizenship – Maya Riquelme-Gerbino

Year 10

Geography – Jasmine Barrass

History – Therese Hockey

Markets & Citizenship – Alysha Lowrie

Year 11

Accounting – Liana Pallisco

Business Management – Alanah Coli

Economics – Tiffany Truong

Geography – Genevieve Devers

History – Chetha Nawana

Legal Studies – Isabella Vinci


Year 7

French – Emy Augson and Nicole Andrada

Italian – Madeleine Campana

Japanese – Mia Tran and Julia Speranza

Year 8

French – Monique Davood and Stella Vu

Italian – Alessia Mastromauro and Siena Mariani

Japanese – Emily Ng and Kate Loeliger

Year 9

Italian – Alexandra Arrowsmith

Japanese – Eloise Sexton

Year 10

French – Jasmine Barrass

Italian – Alexandra Hatzievangelou

Japanese – Ammie Ng

Year 11

Italian – Stephanie Umbrella

Japanese – Phoebe Nguyen


Year 7 – Mia Tascone.  Mia also received the ICAS Mathematics Competition Principles Award

Year 8 – Sarah Truccolo and Angelina Lo Presti

Year 9 – Alanna Haynes and Isabella Giampiccolo

Year 10

Foundation Mathematics – Hannah Byrne

General Mathematics – Alexandra Hatzievangelou

Mathematical Methods – Phoebe Mikhail

Year 11

General Mathematics – Emily Kersovanic

Mathematical Methods – Jessica Nguyen


Year 10 Exploring Pathways – Adele Roeder

VET Events – Cassandra Santo

VET – Sport & Recreation – Natalie Janius

VCAL Recognition of Excellence Award – Ella Brebner

Performing Arts

Year 7

Dance – Victoria Giannarakis and Julia Vukadin

Drama – Poppy Gallaughar and Grace Filipovic

Music – Mia McKinley and Nicole Andrada

Year 8

Dance – Matilda Lawrie and Georgia Cutajar

Drama – Georgia Cutajar and Grace Hewat

Music – Vasiliki Simos and Elena Schaber

Year 9

Dance – Imogen Rawlings

Drama – Meikah Mercieca

Music – Claudia Velardo

Year 10

Dance Units 1&2 – Juliana Basilone

Music – Sibelle Speranza

Year 11

Music Performance – Lauren Galtieri

Theatre Studies – Ivy Krslovic

Cronin Encouragement Award – Rachel Duquemin

The Eileen Stainkamph Award – Florence Cooper and Sibelle Speranza

Religious Education

Year 7 – Emma Tran and Madeleine Campana

Year 8 – Rose-Mary Vu and Taylor Watson

Year 9 – Alisha Maslac and Scarlett Wilms

Year 10 Unit 1 Religion & Society – Therese Hockey

Year 11 Unit 2 Texts & Society is Ivy Kryslovic


Year 7 – Madeleine Campana

Year 8 – Stella Vu

Year 9 – Giada Fernandes and Zoe De Silva Abeyewickreme

Year 10 – Jasmine Barrass and Therese Hockey

Astrophysics – Therese Hockey

Year 11

Biology – Claire Reedy

Physics – Mikayla Gallina

Psychology – Alysha Lowrie

STEM & Technology

Marshall Medal for Excellence in STEM – Grace Saporito and Antonia Crea

Year 9

Code Name BOT – Isabella Giampiccolo

Digital Design &Technology – Isabelle Delija

Tinker Design & Create – Isabelle Delija

Visual Arts

Year 7 are Anna-Leisa Dao and Charlotte Hrehoresin

Year 8 are Rosemary Trinh and Matilda Lawrie

Year 9

Beauty & the Beast, Madeleine Baldacchino

Designer Life – Marie Ioannou

Pocket Produser – Meikah Mercieca

Reality Check – Jessica Pane

Riot of Colour – Georgia Chard

The Dinner Party – Bianca Anandan

Year 10

Unreal World – Elleshay Mendoza

Collage to Camera – Madeline Farrugia

Corset Couture – Molly Tyrrell

iDesign – Quynh Pham

Make it Funky – Cynthia Gale

Year 11

Art – Bianca Mancini

Media – Sarah Fritz

Studio Arts Photography – Emily Kersovanic

Studio Arts Textiles – Elizabeth Fritsche

2019 Art Acquisition Awards

Head of Students Award – Junior Work by Alannah Guidanella

Deputy Principal Award – Junior Work by Madison Ostrowski

Head of Learning & Teaching Award – Junior Work by Marie Ioannou

Pursuit of Excellence Awards

Year 7 – Tara Ganci

Year 8 – Piashay Soler

Year 9 – Lillian Nguyen

Year 10 – Ciara Cashin

Year 11 – Janeca Cabanayan

Edwina Veronica Bowlen Memorial Scholarship

Year 8 – Piashay Soler

House Patron Leadership Awards

Bruton – Maya Riquelme-Gerbino

Cahill – Corrie Sawicki-Bennett

Cater – Imogen Rawlings

Cunningham – Annalise Ferbrache

de Lacy – Julianne Cabanayan

O’Brien – Alissa-Rose Probyn and

Williams – Matilda Wellington

Outstanding Community Service Awards

Year 7 – Kathy Vo

Year 8 – Monique Davood

Year 9 – Madeleine Baldacchino

Year 10 – Bridget Kennedy

Year 11 – Claire Reedy

ADF Leadership & Teamwork Award – Sibelle Speranza

Moonee Valley Foundation Award – Isobel Scott

MAEA Student Leadership Training

On Monday 2 December five members of the 2020 Student Executive attended the Mary Aikenhead Education Australia Student Leadership Retreat accompanied Mrs Thompson. 


The event was hosted by our sister school St Vincent’s College Potts Point, and student leaders from our sister schools Catholic Ladies College, Eltham and Mt St Michael’s College, Ashgrove also attended. The retreat was a fantastic opportunity for our College Co-Captains, Liturgy and Social Justice Co-Captains to build their leadership capacity, share stories and form relationships with other student leaders across the four Mary Aikenhead Ministries schools. 


Thank you to Hannah Eres, Paige Samuels, Bridget Dervan, Carla Perrone and Janeca Cabanayan for taking the time out of your VCE studies to attend the retreat, we look forward to seeing how the planning from the retreat is turned into action for 2020.

St Columba’s College Snow Trip 2020


St Columba’s College is excited to offer a snow trip next year and into the future. The Snow Trip provides students with an opportunity to try a new sport and experience a new environment.  The ski/snowboard program is offered to interested students (Years 8-12) of all skiing/snowboarding abilities.


This is an inclusive, 3 day skiing/boarding package trip to Mt Hotham, with students to be transported at 3:30pm to Mt Hotham from St Columba’s College via bus, on Thursday 20 August. Students will return back to school late Sunday 23 August. Students will be staying at Snowbird Inn at Mount Hotham. The trip includes the following:


  • Return transfers (St Columba’s to Mt Hotham) 
  • 3 nights accommodation at Snowbird Inn (located on the mountain)
  • 3 cooked breakfasts
  • 3 freshly made lunches at The Snowbird Inn Bistro with fruit and drink
  • 3 cooked dinners
  • 3 day ski/board hire (helmet included and mandatory)
  • 3 day unlimited lift & group lessons
  • Night skiing is also included


Students will be accommodated in groups of 2-6 depending on the available rooms.  The accommodation has drying rooms for wet gear, meals area and bathroom/shower for each room.


Students are organised into groups for lessons, which will be according to their ability with St Columba’s students. Teachers are available at all times with a mobile phone in case of emergencies.  Students will need to also comply with the buddy and group system (regular roll check times with teachers throughout the day).


The total cost of the trip is $1149. This may vary depending on the number of students attending the trip.  To secure a position, a non-refundable deposit of $249 is required to be paid by Friday 21 February. The remainder of the cost is to be paid in instalments as follows:


  • 2nd instalment $450 (paid to the College Business Office) by Wednesday 25 March 
  • Final payment $450 (paid to the College Business Office) by Wednesday 24 June


If you prefer, the full amount may also be paid to the College Business Office.


There are limited places available. However, minimum numbers will be needed to ensure the trip will run and there will be a maximum number of places offered in line with supervision requirements. Should minimum numbers not be met, any deposits held will be refunded.

Other points for consideration include:


  • As this is a College excursion, students are expected to behave according to all College expectations and rules;
  • Student must only ski/board runs that have been designated safe for all levels;
  • Students will need appropriate snow clothing which may be purchased or hired. Further information about the cost of hiring can be requested;
  • Helmets are mandatory and wrist guards for beginner snowboarders;
  • Student ID’s will need to be carried around at all times with emergency contact details and staff mobile numbers;
  • All students must be an Ambulance Member (Private Health extra or Ambulance Victoria member).


All expressions of interest for the Snow Trip please click here.


If you have any further queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Ms King on 9331 9193 or via email

Parenting Girls Online Course

Parenting Girls is an online course which explores the big issues facing girls. It covers topics like self-esteem, positive body image, friendship and conflict, digital dramas, mental health and sexuality. Appropriate for parents of girls aged 3-15, the course gives parents the tools required to help their daughter navigate the trials and demands of contemporary girlhood.

The course can be accessed at

de Lacy News - Briar Terrace


On Thursday 31st October, Isabella, Chetha and I visited our House Charity, Briar Terrace. Briar Terrace supports people who may be feeling isolated or don’t have anyone who they can talk to or lean on for support. They provide a place where they can stay in one of the rooms or just stay in the common room talking with other people and sharing a snack or meal. Accompanied by Mrs Condello, we arrived at Briar Terrace and we were instantly greeted by Bernadette, who runs Briar Terrace. As we entered the house, we saw everyone  enjoying a snack, reading the paper and having a great conversation with one another. 

We sat down and began talking to everyone and it was a great experience to see how Bernadette runs Briar Terrace and how everyone interacts with each other, as if they were all family. We really enjoyed sitting down and getting to know each person. We learnt about what community groups they are apart of and what some of their interests are. The people who were there also engaged with us and questioned us about our interests, school and family and it was nice getting to know them and what they do and their favourite pastimes. 

As students we only get to hear about the great work that is done at Briar Terrace and we don’t really see the impact that it makes on people’s lives but going there to talk to people and the volunteers gave us an insight and first hand experience that enhanced our understanding of Birar Terrace further. 


This is one way that de Lacy students support Briar Terrace.

Advent 2019

Our new Year 9s embrace prayerfulness in Advent – We wait, we watch, we pray together.


It is the last school week of the year! It is Advent – we watch, we wait, we pray and hope for fresh new beginnings, reflecting on the year past with its struggles, realisations, challenges and new awakenings.


One of the joys of this transition phase with our new Year 9 RE classes in preparing them for our first unit ‘Prayer and Belief’, was to have the girls make a Prayer Box. The first Sisters of Charity sent to Australia by their foundress Mary Aikenhead were gifted with special prayer items to give them significant prayerful guidance in their most difficult work amongst the many broken people of the early colonies. 


After reflection on this event, thinking about the nature of prayer and what it means to pray, students decorated and filled their boxes with symbols and images that connect them with a sense of the sacred – connecting them to God through prayer. 


In a gallery walk, each girl explained to the other the significance of the items, many religious artefacts and family symbols handed down through the generations. They will keep their prayer boxes in a special place at home or gift them to someone special in their lives. 


Below are photos of the Class 96 for 2020 with their prayer boxes. The girls then wrote personal reflective letters to themselves as an act of prayer during Advent. It is hoped, on opening these sealed letters at the end of next year, they will come to know and understand their faith journeys in greater depth and bring them closer to God.


During Advent, we wait and hope for renewal, deep joy and the love that is God at Christmas.

Careers Newsletter

Dear St Columba’s Community, 


This is the final Careers newsletter for 2019 and includes the following topics:

  • Love sport? Study a sports course with one the following Football Clubs after school: Richmond, St Kilda or Carlton.
  • Search university courses across Australia with the Course Seeker website
  • Explore careers in the Australian Public Service
  • Year 10 students – preparing for uni early entry programs in NSW and Canberra
  • Apprenticeship websites
  • 10 exciting careers working with animals
  • Exciting STEM careers in Defence
  • You don’t have to go to university to get a great job in STEM
  • Dates for your diary
  • Learn about courses in arts, acting, film and music at The University of Melbourne
  •  Focus article: increasing the chance of gaining graduate employment after university
  • Write about your experiences in finding a job
  • What jobs do computer science grads do in banks?
  • Meet Aussie NASA engineer Will Reid
  • Meet Dr Alisa Glukhova – working on a cure for cancer
  • Animal Career Discovery Day, RSPCA
  • Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University
  • RMIT Bendigo Flight School – Information Sessions
  • RMIT – Business School tours and course advice
  • Careers in early childhood education
  • Dates for your diary
  • Careers with the Victoria Police
  • Digital technologies traineeship through Swinburne University
  • Collarts – creative media industry partners
  • Academy of Interactive Entertainment – School Holiday Programs.
  • Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship for 2019 Year 12 students
  • Looking for a casual job?
  • Examples of internships at universities (law, science, arts and sport)
  • Global logistics and maritime management
  • Study in the US
  • Focus on the importance of volunteering when searching for jobs


Please click here for the Careers Newsletter.


Thank You.

Sophia Library Infographic and Holiday Reading Recommendations

Here is a snapshot of the Sophia Library in 2019!



Here is some recommended reading for the Summer holidays.


Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris


I enjoyed this as much as I did The Tattooist of Auschwitz – despite the subject matter, Heather Morris DOES write in a very accessible and easy-to-read way. I was interested to note that there has been some concern expressed by relatives of Cilka, regarding the way she was portrayed. Speaking only from a reader’s perspective, I found her to be a very powerful character, and certainly the situations in which she found herself elicited sympathy. Her resilience was quite incredible. I appreciated being able to learn more about the character and her life.

Library News


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students, staff and parents for their constant support and usage of the Library. After seven years, I have decided to step down as Head of Library and focus on Domain Leader of Humanities for 2020. Although I will no longer be in the position, I will still be involved in some Wider Reading classes.


Since my appointment, we have moved the Library twice, loaned out approximately 50, 987 books, held over 2100 Wider Reading Classes, defied the belief that students no longer read due to the onslaught of technology, and created a wondrous virtual and physical space and collections. The Sophia Library is one of many spaces that is a representation of student voice. It is a place that is heavily utilised by the school community.


As a strong advocate of literacy, I will continue to encourage the whole community to keep on reading. There are not enough words to stress the importance of reading (especially fiction) and the positive impact it has on student learning and achievement. In a recent study, it was found that teenage students who read fiction daily, outperformed their peers by 26 points on a world recognised test for reading, mathematics and science (Jerrim, J 2019 Are all types of reading equal, or are some more equal than others?).

Year 8 Picture Storybooks


In Term 3, all Year 8 students worked with the Library to create a picture story book using the themes ‘displacement and hope’. The Year 8 Picture Storybook chosen to be showcased is Ai-My Vu’s ‘When the Sun Rises.’ Her book will be displayed as a frieze all year long in the Tranquility Corner of the Sophia Library.

Class of 2019 Results

St Columba’s College is proud to announce Clare Wilson as our 2019 College Dux, achieving an amazing ATAR score of 98.1.

Clare was one of 54 students who achieved an ATAR over 80, with 25 students receiving a score of over 90. 

Our graduates have now begun their 2020 studies, here is where they have all headed:

We recognise the hard work and effort of all our students during the VCE period and congratulate them on successfully completing their VCE in 2019. 

We would also like to thank the tireless efforts of our VCE and VCAL teachers, College support staff and the wider College Community, who have offered unwavering support of the girls during this time. 

Congratulations girls!