March 8, 2019

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Principal's Message


Business Manager Update

Finance - Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF)

Year 7 Parent Cocktail Evening

Religious Education Domain

Visual Arts - FireWorks Exhibit

Careers Newsletter

Swimming Carnival

Social Justice - Project Compassion

Principal's Message


The start of our Lenten Journey


On the morning of Wednesday, 6 March 2019, we gathered in the Multipurpose Centre to mark the start of our Lenten Journey. Each Lent we are encouraged to Give, Pray and Fast, and our ritual recognised the students who have volunteered to be Caritas Ambassadors, supporting the community to give of its substance, not just its surplus. Mr Taylor reminded us that the projects supported through Caritas are initiatives identified by communities in need, who are then supported through material needs and education to build a sustainable solution for their community into the future. I’d like to acknowledge the work of Ms Renee Fleeton and the Year 12 Student Executive for the very moving service as we each embark on our own individual Lenten journeys.


Opening College Mass


Our Opening College Mass was a tremendous celebration of our St Columba’s Community. Planned with imagination, creativity, and a sense of the sacred, we acknowledged the great traditions that have given rise to our expression as a faith community. Our Catholic heritage builds on the founding stories of the Gospels and our Mary Aikenhead Ministries and Sisters of Charity stories, give us inspiration for how we can respond creatively and intentionally to the Gospel challenges that continue to be relevant for our lives and our relationships today.


Our mass was scheduled on the back of a very difficult day for us as the Catholic Church, a day that tested the faith and resolve of many who questioned where they had placed their faith and trust. I believe Fr John Hannon, our Principal Celebrant, was honest and humble in openly acknowledging the egregious sins that have been committed, naming these issues before we began our celebration. He offered us hope for how we can reclaim our Church and our faith; after all, it is a living faith because of our words and actions, who we are to one another, and how we choose to be the living Gospel in our world today; all of us, not only the small percentage who have chosen a professed life. We acknowledge all of the priests and sisters, works, communities and agencies acting in the name of the Catholic Church who continue to be the face of compassion, hope and love to all those in need.


It is important that in the hype that surrounds what this means for Cardinal Pell, we do not forget the victims and survivors of abuse, and always pray that in the weeks, months and years that follow this decision, they are able to find some peace and healing from the atrocities that have been committed against them.


Moomba Birdman Rally


This community heads into the long weekend looking forward to the Moomba festivities and particularly the Birdman (perhaps Bird Woman) Rally in a special way. The learning of some of our STEM students will be on show as one of our talented and courageous teachers, Ms Narelle Fewster, pilots the craft on behalf of the students. We wish them well and know that whatever the outcome, the learning has been invaluable.


As the first all-girls’ College to enter the rally we take pride in our place as trailblazers for women, offering an example to all girls, and fulfilling one of our favourite Mary Aikenhead quotes, ”This has never been done before – that is no reason why it should not be done now!” I would like to acknowledge the work of Ms Melissa D’Amico for making this a reality for our students, Mr Frank Rowland, our STEM Lab Technician, who has supported the girls with design and construction, and Ms Narelle Fewster for accepting the challenge to pilot the craft. May I offer a reminder that as part of our participation we are fundraising for the Sisters of Charity Foundation, and it is not too late to make a contribution. Donations can be made by following this link:



On Wednesday we begin the sacred journey of Lent, along with faith-filled people all over the world. In our privileged lives, with daily water and food, we are called to give more, not from our surplus but from our substance. Let us join with Project Compassion in this life-saving work.


Creator God,

You are our constant hope!

In the season of Lent,

you call us to prayer, fasting and love of those most marginalised.

As a community of faith and courage,

let our gifts to Project Compassion

be symbols of hope and solidarity with our one human family.

Accompany us as we journey with Jesus

to bring ‘good news’ to all creation and

ready our hearts to work for the common good of all your people.

We ask this in Jesus’ name AMEN.



Business Manager Update

At the end of 2018, the College undertook a closed tender process to seek a new partner for the maintenance of the College’s lawns, gardens and grounds to commence in 2019.


The thorough process led to the successful appointment of Super Gardens. Super Gardens comes to the College with a wealth of expertise, knowledge and experience. Melbourne Airport, Essendon Fields, Ivanhoe Grammar School, St Catherine’s College, Monash Health group, Melbourne Racing Club, Stonington Mansion are some of the current Super Gardens clients.


Super Gardens won the 2018 Industry Award for the best commercial management & maintenance site in Victoria – being the Essendon Fields site. Brad is the new full-time gardener and I am sure he will quickly become an integral part of the St Columba’s College community. All the new equipment will be battery powered so noise and air pollution will be significantly reduced.


We look forward to seeing how Super Gardens will take the current standard of the College’s lawns, gardens and grounds up a peg or two as the College has set very high expectations, in order to maintain the integrity and the beauty of the property we hold in stewardship for Mary Aikenhead Ministries.


Finance - Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF)

Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF)


The CSEF a Victorian Government initiative which will assist eligible families with the costs associated with school camps, sports and excursions.



To be eligible for receipt of the CSEF you must:

  • be a Victorian primary or secondary school student up to the age of eighteen; and
  • hold a means-tested concession card, and/or
  • be a temporary foster parent,
  • eligibility will be subject to the parent/legal guardian’s concession card being successfully validated with Centrelink

Annual Amount:

  • $ 225 per year paid for eligible secondary school students.


Payments will go directly to the school and be tied to the student expenses relating to camps, sport and excursions.


How to Apply:


Application forms are available from the College office. The valid Concession Card needs to be photocopied to accompany your application. Applications close on 28 June 2019.



Year 7 Parent 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.

Religious Education Domain

Project Compassion Launch 2019


On Tuesday 5 March, three students from St Columba’s were given the opportunity to represent the College at the Project Compassion Launch hosted held at St Monica’s College in Epping.


The Mission and Vision of Project Compassion this year is to give “100% in the name of Hope”. In our lives, there aren’t many things we give 100% to. However, this is what we, as a Catholic community, want to focus on, especially during this Lenten period.


On the day, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli challenged us in our understanding of hope. He spoke of this virtue, a key aspect of our Christian faith and the work of Caritas.


He explained the four pillars of hope as follows:

To be Good,

To think for the Future,

To be realistic to what is possible,

And to work hard for what we believe in


Hope enables us to rise above our fears and helps those in great need to shape a better future for their communities. Through your generous support of Caritas Australia, you are demonstrating the power of hope.


In our busy and crowded lives, we often forget to step back and practise gratitude. We do not realise how privileged we are. We are blessed to have water today and tomorrow and to be able to attend school throughout the week. This is not the case for all young people around the world.


As the St Columba’s College Faith community, we are called to challenge one another to reflect these qualities, to inspire and lead each other. We have the opportunity now, to make the difference in the lives of others less fortunate. It is important that we uphold these pillars to provide hope to others as social justice leaders.


We invite you to watch this brief clip showing the work of Caritas:


For more information, please visit the Caritas website:


Lives Change when we all give 100%.



Written by Janeca Cabanayan, Paige Condron, Quynh Pham.



Year 7 Reflection Day


On Monday all Year 7 students explored the theme of Journey. This included their school, family, life and faith journeys, thus far, using a number of mediums and a fair amount of fun. We are grateful to the Essendon Baptist COmmunity Church for sharing their worship spaces with us. See our gallery below for images from the day!


Visual Arts - FireWorks Exhibit

FireWorks is an annual exhibition, held at the Incinerator Art Gallery adjacent to the Maribyrnong River. It features art and design works by VCE students who attend secondary schools in the Moonee Valley area. This year thirty-four students from nine schools were selected to exhibit. We are very pleased that six students from St Columba’s College class of 2018 were included in this year’s show, representing both VCE Art and VCE Studio Arts.


Jessica Nguyen, Tiana Monteleone, Isabella Iliovski and Raelee McNab exhibited their work from VCE Art, whilst Moira Rodriguez and Elaine Irons displayed work done as part of their Studio Arts (Textiles) course. We are particularly proud that Elaine took out a major prize, The Mayoral Award for Excellence in the Arts.


The exhibition was officially launched on the very warm evening of Friday 1 March and was extremely well attended by students, their families, art teachers, community members, the exhibition curators and local government representatives. It is open until 24 March and we encourage you to have a look – it is a great example of what young artists can achieve, both conceptually and with a high degree of technical skills.


See the gallery below for the works of our students:


Tiana –     Melted plastic

Isabella –  laser-cut image of stained glass

Jessica –  laser-cut sculpture of body organs

Raelee – “Galaxy Table”

Moira –    garment

Elaine –   garment



Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available to download below. It contains important information on degrees in the Bachelor of Arts domain, scholarships for high achievers and more.


Attached below is also an information flyer on Careers in Allied Health.


Careers Newsletter – March 7 2019


Careers in Allied Health Flyer



Swimming Carnival

Last Thursday, 28 February, the College held the Swimming Carnival at Queen’s Park Pool. It was a very hot day, but the students and staff made sure to be sunsmart while still having fun! The day saw great participation from all students, whether it be swimming in races, or cheering from the sidelines. Congratulations to the year level champions and Cahill House, the overall winner of the Carnival. Here is a short reflection of the day from Cahill House Captain, Victoria Rizzardo:


The St Columba’s Swimming Carnival is always a highlight of the busy and exciting school year. Last Thursday’s hot weather, however, made this year’s Carnival more of a treat than usual. But escaping the heat was only one of the day’s many rewards. The participation and encouraging cheers of so many girls contributed to the excitement and positive atmosphere of the day. With the great efforts of so many enthusiastic girls, it’s no surprise that Cahill took home the trophy.


Well done to all the girls who got involved in the fast-paced day. A big thanks goes out to all the teachers and House representatives who made the day possible, especially Ms Tran (Cahill House Leader) – this year’s win is the first of many!


Below are the results of the Carnival:


Year Level Champions:

Year 7 – Jaz Davis (Cahill)

Year 8 – Laura Overman (Cunningham)

Year 9 – Eliza Pitman (Bruton)

Year 10 – Clare Kelly (de Lacy)

Year 11 – Jemina Davis (Cahill)

Year 12 – Nicole Woolley (Williams)


House Results:


Social Justice - Project Compassion

Mr Huf was the chief pancake flipper, helping the faithful prepare ahead of the season of Lent. Our Student Executive alongside Mr Taylor and Mr Huf prepared, cooked and sold hundreds of pancakes on Tuesday to launch our Project Compassion campaign.


This year Project Compassion showcases many ways Caritas works around the world with local partners to offer hope to people most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice. Caritas explains, Project Compassion provides an opportunity for students to learn about life in different countries through the personal stories of people who have participated in Caritas Australia supported programs. Beginning to understand the issues of injustice and by witnessing the positive changes in the lives of people experiencing poverty, students can develop a deepening empathy and lifelong solidarity with people all around the world.


As Pope Francis said, “The future does have a name… and its name is hope.”


Students are encouraged to donate money to the Project Compassion collection boxes in their classrooms to support development projects around the world.


This appeal is an opportunity to practice generosity. You are empowering communities with hope and helping those in great need to shape a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.




Lives change when we all give 100%.