March 4, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Reminders to Parents/Legal Guardians

Year 9 Camp Information

Library News

Elevate Education Webinars

Year 11 Seminar Day

Identifying Cognitive Distortions

Year 7 2024 - Application for Enrolments

Year 7 Parent/Guardian Meet and Greet

Principal's Message

Lent 2022

As we come into the season of Lent we become more intentional and deliberate about the presence of God in our lives, and how we can manifest this knowing more actively in our day to day living.  The call to fasting serves as a reminder; each time we think about what it is we are giving up, we are prompted to recall why we undertake this act of sacrifice, and then how this brings us closer to God.

This year the Pope’s Lenten message draws on a theme from Galatians.

“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal 6:9-10).

This short video provides a summary of the message, and this link takes you to Pope Francis’ message in full.

Thank you to Renee Fleeton, Head of Faith and Mission, who provided a beautiful Ash Wednesday service for our House Groups, in the absence of being able to mark the start of this Lenten journey gathered as a community.

Ecological Justice asks us to consider our relationship with God through our relationship with Mother Earth.  As we commence March, and the season of Lent, Catholic Earthcare Australia has provided some of the important ecological justice dates coming up this month.

High Achievers Assembly

It was a pleasure to welcome back our Year 12, 2021 students and their families to celebrate their great achievements on Friday, 18 February 2022.  We also acknowledged the many Year 11 students completing a Unit 3/4 study in 2021 who received the highest scores for their subjects.  Our VCE Dux, Therese Hockey, and VCAL High Achiever, Alessia Cremasco, spoke eloquently and passionately about their learning journeys, and I am sure inspired our students to make a commitment to whatever pathway they choose.  I spoke to the students about the types of leaders that will be needed into the future.

You will be expected to be leaders – each and everyone one of you. This doesn’t always mean that you have to hold a formal leadership position but that you carry a leadership mindset, and this mindset has many dimensions.  In some new research, six Leadership Paradoxes for the Post-Pandemic Era, have been described:

  • Strategic Executor
  • Humble Hero
  • Tech-Savvy Humanist
  • Traditioned Innovator
  • High-Integrity Politician
  • Globally-Minded Localist

It’s impossible to be all things to everyone – I hope that all of you see yourselves in at least some of these mindsets – as young leaders, in a long tradition of women who have gone out and done great things in the world.

The full article describing these mindsets can be found at

Swimming Carnival

I was so proud of our community on Tuesday, as we weathered the inclement conditions that “rained” down upon us.  All of the students I spoke with were excited to be at the carnival, and the rain was in no way spoiling their fun.  We look forward to an equally enjoyable Athletics Carnival in the coming week.

I would like to acknowledge Shellie Murton, Danielle Caccamo, the Health and Physical Education staff, and the myriad other helpers who ensure that events such as these run smoothly and efficiently.  Thank you to all of the staff members for their contributions on the day.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

High Achievers’ Assembly – Friday 18 February

The College was thrilled to be able to recognise and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our students during 2021, and in particular, the 2021 Year 12 students. The High Achievers’ assembly was an opportunity to welcome our graduates and their families back to the College, to acknowledge more than 46 students for their hard work and persistence, to celebrate their wonderful achievements and wish them all the best for the new challenges of life beyond secondary school.

Click here for our full list of High Achievers.

Student Leadership Day – Friday 28 February

On Friday, our Year 12 Student Executive Team and our recently elected House Representatives participated in a whole day Leadership training day where they had the opportunity to learn more about servant leadership at St. Columba’s College and develop some skills to assist them in their roles this year.

We commenced the day with a Badge Ceremony where their leadership badges were blessed by Ms Fleeton and they were presented with their badges by Ms Grima. We recorded this ceremony and the link is provided here.

Congratulations to all of the Year 7 to 11 students who will be taking on the role of House Representatives.

Also on this day, the inaugural Student Engagement Team (SET) was elected. Two representatives from each year level as well as the College Co-Captains form this team. Congratulations, once again, to the following students who will be part of this important group:

7Sienna Randello
7Ella Woodyatt
8Tiana Ciavarella
8Arsh preet kaur
9Emily Zanko
9Emily Sparano
10Madison Camburn
10Tereza Quinn
11Lisa-Marie Agresta
11Georgia Cutajar
12Elle Hardwick
12Amelia Glenk

The SET’s brief is outlined below:

  • Undertaking research and consultation about aspects of the school operations, culture, climate or practices that may need change or improvement
  • Developing and implementing projects to change and improve school operations, culture, climate or practices
  • Contributing legitimate perspectives and opinions on issues  that matter in the classroom, the school, and the community.
  • Developing ‘initiatives that identify those at the margins and encourage appropriate and respectful responses that alleviate injustice and advance inclusion.’

           (By This Everyone Will Know)

Celebration of Excellence

In term 4, we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students throughout 2022. We are hoping that we will finally be able to hold an evening event where parents are able to attend too.

Not only do we want to celebrate all that they have achieved at St Columba’s College, we also want to acknowledge their achievements beyond our school setting.

If your daughter has been successful in an external endeavour (eg. passed a Music examination, represented the state in a particular sport etc) this year, please forward the following to Tanya Almeida via this email address

  • Name of student
  • Achievement
  • If possible, a relevant photo

Reminders to Parents/Legal Guardians

Safety Reminder

We remind all families dropping off or picking up students around St Columba’s College, to observe the 40km school zone speed limit.

Sick Bay

The College has seen an increase in the number of students presenting themselves to Sick Bay at the beginning of the school day. Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell in any way.

Year 9 Camp Information

Following on from the Year 9 Camp Information night on Wednesday 23rd February, please find the presented information here.

In addition, the student information sheet that was handed out to Year 9 students on the 24th of February can be accessed here.

If you have any queries regarding the camp for this year, please call or email either Mr Heath Morris, Bruton House Leader or Ms Nicole Mazzarella, Cater House Leader.

Library News

Parent Resources in the Sophia Library

A new Parent Resources section has been created in the Sophia Library to support families.  You can access this site via the Parent Resources Link on SEQTA, click on the Parent Library Guide button and enter the following password when requested: SLCparentresources

All the titles are available for loan and if you are interested in borrowing any please contact the Sophia Library staff using the ‘Email Me’ button on the Parent Resources site to arrange collection.

Blind Date with a Book wrap-up!

To celebrate Library Lovers’ Day/Month, Sophia Library once again ran their Blind Date with a Book event through February.

It was a huge success and Library staff were thrilled to have so many students involved.

Elevate Education Webinars

We’re excited to announce that parents of our school have exclusive access to Elevate Education’s Parent Webinar Series this year. Elevate works with our students, delivering high impact workshops on study skills, motivation, wellbeing, and exam preparation. By tuning into their webinar series, you will learn how to better support your children at home through reinforcing the skills they learn at school.

The webinars are run live online where the presenter will share Elevate’s key research and skills, and will conduct a live Q&A so you can ask them questions directly.

Upcoming Webinar for Parents 9th March 7-8pm – Time Management & Beating Procrastination

Year 11 Seminar Day

On Tuesday 22nd February, all Year 11 students were given an invaluable opportunity of attending Your Choicez’s Respectful Relationships Seminar Day, which was presented by Katie Kobler. She unpacked the concepts of consent in relationships and what respectful relationships look like through a variety of activities, discussions, statistics and stories. 

The main lessons I learnt from this informative and important conversation with Katie are how vulnerable the young people of today are in the world of romance and the importance of bringing awareness to what a healthy and unhealthy relationship looks like.

Living amongst sexual abusers is a scary thought, but what’s even scarier is that ANYONE can be a victim of a sexual crime. The disturbing reality of this is the exact reason why sexual abuse is a topic that must be spoken more often in our society, whether that’s through seminars or at lunchtime with your friends. Educating ourselves about the motives behind these unacceptable behaviours to prevent being victims of them is the first step to eliminating these awful acts.

I know this because I am extremely grateful for this opportunity as the information I have learnt is invaluable.

Identifying Cognitive Distortions

Adolescents can be their own worst critics. They can get stuck in negative thinking patterns that can amp up their anxiety, or make painful emotions feel overwhelming e.g. If your daughter wasn’t invited to a birthday party, she may decide that everyone who went to the party hates her. Or If she forgets a line in a school play, she may insist that she ruined the whole performance.

 These negative thinking patterns are often unrealistic, but they can have significant impacts on emotions, behaviours, and our world views.  Mental health experts call them “cognitive distortions” or thinking errors. We all make thinking errors but if that kind of thinking becomes entrenched and chronic, it’s likely to have a negative impact on your daughter’s emotional life.  

 Teaching your daughter to recognize and identify the following cognitive distortions can be helpful. 

  1. All-or-Nothing Thinking / Black-and-White Thinking 

Seeing things in only two categories, so they’re either good or bad, black or white, with no shades of grey, e.g. “If I didn’t get that A then I’m a failure”. “Either I do it right or not at all.”

  1. Emotional Reasoning

Assuming that because we feel a certain way what we think must be true, e.g. “I feel lonely; therefore no one likes me.” “I feel embarrassed so I must be an idiot “I feel anxious; therefore, I must be in danger.”

  1. Overgeneralization

Seeing a pattern based upon a single event, or being overly broad in the conclusions we draw. E.g. “This person didn’t want to hang out with me. No one ever wants to hang out with me!”. “I messed up my chemistry experiment today. I never do anything right!”

  1. Labelling

Assigning labels to ourselves or other people. e.g.“ I’m a loser”, “I’m disgusting.”,  “She’s horrible.” “She’s irrelevant.”


Predicting something is going to turn out in a negative way e.g. “If I go, people will make fun of me.” “If I talk, I will mess up and not say what I mean.” 

  1. Mind Reading 

Imagining we know what others are thinking e.g. “She thinks I’m an idiot.” “I’m not going to make the team” 

  1. Catastrophizing/Magnifying or Minimisation

Blowing things out of proportion (catastrophizing) or inappropriately shrinking something to make it seem less important e.g.   “It would be terrible if I failed.” “If I get a bad grade then I will never go to University.” “That’s what I’m supposed to do, so it doesn’t count.” “Those successes were easy so they don’t matter.” 

  1. Mental Filter 

Only paying attention to certain types of evidence e.g. you have many positive conversations in a day, and one in which you say something embarrassing. You focus with total horror only on the embarrassing statement you made, forgetting all your other social interactions. 

  1. Personalization

Blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t completely your fault e.g. “It was my fault my group got a bad grade.” 

  1. Should and Must

Using critical words like “should” “must” can make us feel guilty, or like we have already failed. And if we apply ”shoulds” to other people the result is often frustrating. E.g. “I should get things right.” “I should do well; if I don’t, I’m a failure.”

 The goal is to model for your daughter that we all make thinking mistakes. Identifying and recognizing “cognitive distortions” can lead to restructuring thinking – often de-escalating concerns – which assists problem solving.  

More information on how to challenge cognitive distortions will be published in the next IONA.

Adapted from:

Year 7 2024 - Application for Enrolments

Year 7 2024 Application for Enrolments are now open. We invite all families with Year 7 2024 daughters to submit an application.

Year 7 Parent/Guardian Meet and Greet