March 22, 2019

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Principal's Message

Prayer for our Lenten Journey

Parents' Association News

Catholic Education Week

Careers Newsletter

Sports News


Health & PE News

Performing Arts News

Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Williams House Feast Day

Principal's Message

Strengthening Resilience in our Children


There has been a great deal in the media this week about parents in the US who have stepped in and paved the way through illegal means for their children to enter College (university). I believe the term that has been used is “snowplow” parents, those who plough ahead clearing obstacles in their child’s path to success, trying to ensure they don’t experience failure and frustration. The research is very clear on this parenting (or overparenting) style; a child has to experience failure and obstacles as they are growing, and learn how to deal with these if they are going to be able to manage them in their adult lives. Of course, as parents we must support our children. It’s up to us, however, how to discern what that support is to ensure that they move into their adult lives as happy, confident and secure young people, who know how to face the challenges that will inevitably cross their paths. We build resilience by talking our children through hurdles and failures, and acknowledging that their sense of self remains intact no matter what the outcome of the difficulty. As parents, this is the harder road to travel, but it is the one that will have the most long-term benefits on a child’s capacity to cope and manage as they seek to develop a sense of self and identity through their adolescent years.


Palm Sunday Rally


The St Columba’s College community will be represented at the Palm Sunday Walk on Sunday, 14 April 2019 for those seeking asylum in Melbourne. Parents, students and staff are invited to participate, joining Ava Maria College and St Bernard’s College. Our school banners will be held high as we walk in solidarity with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Everyone is welcome to join us.


We see this as an opportunity to make it clear to our law and policy makers that human beings have a right to seek refuge and asylum, and have a basic human entitlement to live lives free from war and terror. Our current policies of off-shore, long-term detention for people seeking refuge and asylum are punitive, inhumane, not in the spirit of our commitment to the United Nations Refugee Convention and do not reflect the type of Australia we want to be.


This prayer and reflection will be held at:


Cardinal Knox Centre

Cathedral Room

383 Albert Street, East Melbourne

(Enter via the Lansdowne St Car Park)


Light refreshments will be served from 12.30 pm by the event organisers and the prayer and reflection will begin at 1.00 pm. We will join the Walk for Justice for Refugees at 2.00 pm at the State Library of Victoria.


You can either meet us at Essendon station at 11.30 am to get the train in together, or meet at the Cardinal Knox Centre at 12.30 pm. Alternatively, you could join us when we arrive at the State Library at around 2.00 pm. Please email Renee Fleeton to register your interest:


The Catholic community stands for compassion and the fair and humane treatment for people seeking asylum in Australia.



Prayer for our Lenten Journey

Prayer for our Lenten Journey



Teach me a new freedom.

Freedom to reject comparison

And to embrace uniqueness.

Freedom to cut ties with greed

And feast on love.

Freedom to abstain from overindulgence

And feast on self-control.

Freedom to leave behind selfish thoughts

And to focus on the needs of others.

Freedom to fend off insecurity

And to embrace grace.

Lord, at this time of Lent,

Thank you for the freedom you bring.






Parents' Association News

The Parents’ Association was proud to host the 2019 Year 7 Parent Cocktail Party on Friday 15 March. It was great to see so many new families to St Columba’s there, as well as those with students already at the College. Guests were treated to a delicious supper and fantastic company. Thank you to all who attended, including the St Columba’s staff leadership team and the fabulous Parents’ Association team that hosted and catered for the event.


Many parents expressed interested in connecting with the College via the Parents’ Association. Our next meeting is on Tuesday 23 April. If you have any questions about the Parents’ Association or would like to get involved please contact Nicole Purcell (e:


See photos from the fun night in the gallery below!


Catholic Education Week

On a beautiful Melbourne day seven Year 9 students represented St Columba’s College with pride and grace at the Catholic Education Week celebration, at St Patrick’s Cathedral. This Mass is held in part to recognise the contribution Catholic schools make towards forming students of faith who work towards a more just world.


With students filling every part of the Cathedral, mass began with a procession of school banners being carried by a range of senior students and some so small they were barely taller than the pews. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli stopped the service before it even started to welcome all the students and staff sitting behind the sanctuary who were not able to see the altar, making sure everyone felt welcome. The music was particularly impressive and led by three female cantors from Academy of Mary Immaculate Fitzroy. A lone female bagpiper also played a moving piece.


Bishop Peter’s homily was directed to the students and spoke of Saint Patrick. He told us that a saint is someone found by God and since we are found by God we too are saints.

See the gallery below for pictures of the Mass.

Careers Newsletter

The latest Careers Newsletter is available to download. It contains important information about scholarships, university courses in Sports and health, and career information for Victoria Police and the Defence Force.


Careers Newsletter – March 22 2019

Sports News

It has been a busy start to Term 1, with the College participating in two external competitions for rowing and tennis. Below are two student reflections of the events. We would also like to acknowledge the individual achievement of Lucy Bray, who competed last week in the SSV and Head of Schoolgirls (HOSG) regatta doing an amazing job in winning gold in the Open and Year 10 Division 1 Single Scull at the SSV Regatta. Lucy continued her success in the HOSG, racing in the Year 10 Division 1 Single Scull to win a silver against a very tough opponent from Geelong.  Congratulations on an impressive week of racing!

2019 Head of Schoolgirls Regatta Rowing


The 2019 Head of Schoolgirls Rowing Regatta was held over three days, beginning on Friday 15 March through to Sunday 17 March, on the magnificent Barwon River in Geelong.  The event is the leading schoolgirls regatta on the rowing calendar and this year attracted 2144 competitors from schools all over Victoria. A group of enthusiastic St Columba’s girls, represented the College. Annika Sirotic (Year 8), Emma Grogan, Morgan Kukuljan and Stephanie Clarke (Year 9) and our youngest member, Daisi Kukuljan (Year 7) as the coxswain, rowed in the Coxed Quad Sculls Year 9 Division 3 event that attracted 24 entries.  The team made it to D Final on Sunday, where we came second with a personal best time.


We are fortunate to have fantastic coaches in Glenn Bottrell and Barry Gardner, the dedication of the St Columba’s sports teachers and the support of the Essendon Rowing Club.  A special mention and congratulations goes to Lucy Bray (Year 10) from the Footscray City Rowing Club who came second in the Single Scull Year 10, Division 1, A Final. What an atmosphere and how proud we were to represent St Columba’s College! – Stephanie Clarke


2019 SCSA Tennis Competition

On Wednesday 6 March, a team of eager St Columba’s tennis players and staff headed Geelong to compete in the SCSA tennis tournament hosted by St Columba’s at The Geelong Lawn Tennis Club.


We had junior, intermediate and senior teams with one singles player, two double A players and two double B players. Juniors, intermediate and senior teams commenced the competition with a round robin which determined the order of play in the finals. The girls played exceptionally well despite the ruthless competition, landing the juniors, intermediate and senior teams into the Grand Final!  


The juniors played off against OLSH for the second year in a row in an extremely close final, with St Columba’s coming out on top with the title of  SCSA Junior Tennis Champions. The Best Juniors Grand Finals player was awarded to Angeliki Katis. Both intermediate and seniors played with great determination and energy in the finals but unfortunately were defeated by OLSH and Sacred Heart Geelong. The Best Intermediate and Senior Grand Finals players were Emily Collins and Lauren Peart.


All matches were played with immense skill and competitiveness. All three St Columba’s teams were united throughout the day, offering support to fellow peers and excellent sportspersonship. A large congratulations to the St Columba’s College Tennis team who approached the day with such enthusiasm and excitement. The team would like to extend a special thanks to the staff that were involved for their constant devotion to the team.


Congratulations girls on your constant efforts, we look forward to seeing all of you on the tennis court next year. Bring on 2020 SCSA tennis! – Stephanie Fedele


Below is a gallery, showcasing our rowing and tennis teams, and Lucy after her win.




Moomba Birdman Rally


The Birdman Rally was held on Sunday 10th March as part of the Moomba Festival at Birrarung Marr. It is a competition where entrants build homemade gliders, hang-gliders and human-powered aircraft to fly across Melbourne’s Yarra River. This was the first time the College has participated in this event. I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the following students for their dedication to the project and for the design and construction of the craft as well as fundraising for the Sisters Of Charity Foundation: Sarah Pamment, Ciara Cashin, Amber Dao, Luci Srour, Adele Roeder, Sarah Rodgers, Jasmine Barrass, Annalise Donnelly, Shania Ambegoda, Juliana Basilone, Melina Borreli, Verona Augello, and Erin Kube. The students received wonderful feedback from the judges who commented on how engaged and passionate they were – a testament to how hard they worked during the Design Thinking Process and fundraising stages of this competition!


Here is an article written by Sarah, Ciara and Amber about the Birdman Rally experience:


After several weeks of hardwork and intense planning, the team of 13 girls together with engineer Kelsey Rowe, Mr Rowland (STEM Lab Assistant) and Ms D’Amico (STEM Curriculum Leader) finally got to show off our wonderful craft, ‘Fidelis et Fortis.’ Our participation in this event was really significant to us, being the first girls school to participate in this event and the only Victorian school in the competition. Once we arrived in Birrarung Marr and setup, we nervously waited for our time to shine. We spent the day engaging with other competitors, judges and media personnel. Ms Fewster who piloted the craft, achieved a distance of 7 metres. We fundraised a total of $3384 for the Sisters of Charity Foundation.

The overall judging results for the Schools Category were:

–       Craft Design: 6/10

–       Craft Build: 6/10

–       Craft Take Off / Landing: 7/10

–       Jump Metre Points: 7

–       Total Points: 26

Each and everyone of us have learnt so much and are grateful for the opportunity to utilise our critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills. The countdown has begun for next year, where we hope to raise an even larger amount for the well deserving, Sisters of Charity Foundation and fly a further distance. We can’t wait to come back bigger and better!


Please click on the link below to see short a recap of the lead up to the event, and the process behind building the craft:


Birdman Rally Video 1


Birdman Rally Video 2


VR Glasses


In other STEM news, virtual reality has arrived in St Columba’s classrooms! Students in Year 11 Geography used virtual reality goggles to experience hazards and disasters, viewing floods in Bangladesh and the Philippines, while Year 12 Biology students viewed the ultrastructure of cells.


Studies show that a virtual environment can stimulate learning and comprehension. Virtual reality has the potential to make a difference to lead learners to new discoveries and to encourage them in their studies. Students can participate in the learning environment with a sense of presence of being part of the environment. Virtual reality is a powerful tool in supporting STEM education here at the College.


Here is also a link to an article about how all girls schools are setting up students for the future, it’s an interesting read.


Below is a short gallery of photos from the Birdman Rally and students experiencing VR in the classroom:



Health & PE News

Year 9 Health and PE


Students in Year 9 have recently been studying fitness training and energy systems. Below is a student reflection of the learning undertaken in class in these areas:


Our Term 1 Health topic is about fitness and training programs. Our two main focuses were training methods and energy systems. Firstly, we undertook a series of fitness tests to see where our current level of ability was in each fitness component. Each student has uploaded these onto the school system to be viewed at home. In Health, we looked at the 10 principles of training, such as specificity, variety, progressive overload and individuality. All of these aspects are what make a training program successful.


Next, we looked at the different energy systems of the body. These are ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis and the aerobic energy system. We went through a series of activities to use these energy systems, one of which was riding stationary exercise bikes and running, to test our lactic acid threshold, which occurred in our physical activity session. We have also sampled different training types, such as interval training, plyometric training and resistance training in the new gym at school.


In our health lessons, we were to define each training method and explain their effects on our body and fitness levels.


To conclude this topic we will create a training program to cater to our personal goals and fitness components that we have identified we want to improve. Chloe Caffari and Siana Larkin (Year 9)



Performing Arts News

Congratulations to this year’s Music Ensemble captains (R-L) Aoife Larkin, Imogen Rawlings, Sophia Basile, Jade Burch, Olivia Thompson, Florence Cooper, Jessica Nguyen & Cecilia Cooper.


Visual Arts - Student Art Spotlight

Florence Cooper


Congratulations to St Columba’s student Florence Cooper (DLYS2) who was announced as the winner of the International Women’s Day Art Competition by Valley Youth. Florence created a stunning drawing representing all the women who are important in her life. The judging panel, whichmade up of four young people from the Young People’s Committee and Eva Giannoulidis from Ceramica Mechanica, were unanimous in selecting her sketch to take away the main prize.


The judges had these words to say about her artwork:


“The artwork encapsulates the importance of togetherness and standing united, and having support systems in place to have the confidence and resilience to achieve one’s ambitions. To see one’s self in others, and to aspire to be like the women who make us who we are, is beautifully depicted in the soft and gentle artwork. Florence Marjory’s ‘Vires Dante’ reminds me of the important older women that shaped my life, especially my childhood. My grandmother, the elderly next door neighbour who gave me cups of milky tea and minties. It’s so important to see young people of Moonee Valley recognising the women that make them feel special and valued. The drawing showcases the way we are stronger with our community of incredible women who help hold us up and reach our full potential.  There is a sense of personal connection evoked by the artwork, that calls the viewer to reflect on the inspirational women in their own life. The personalities of these women have been so beautifully depicted, with the image of unity portrayed through individuality of each one. There is a strong sense of knowing we are many, but together we are one.”


Florence will be presented with her award in April. (Florence, pictured below with her artwork)




Faye Shee Durnion


Congratulations to Faye Shee-Durnion (OBNS3) our College Co-Captain, who was announced as one of the winners of the Design for Change T-Shirt Competition. HUMIFORM; the organisers of the competition aims to amplify and unite the voices of young people around issues they care about. Humiform create ethically made printed t-shirts that are crowdsourced, designed and voted on by young people, for young people.  


Faye explains her thoughts behind the design:


“I created this design to be entered in a competition for the making of ethically produced t-shirts that advocate for social and environmental issues. My design, ‘Seas’ focuses on the issue of climate change and the increase in ocean levels and temperature due to the increase of greenhouse gases that are slowly warming our planet. The slogan reflects the current state of young people, in an active stance against the government’s lack of action to combat these issues, speaking up in the name of climate justice. Our consumption of meat and dairy products releases a significant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, our reliance on fossil fuels emits toxic emissions and our general blindness to our fastened consumption of resources all contribute. I want to be able to conserve the one earth we have for as long as possible for the generations that are to come. To keep the intrinsic beauty of our flora and fauna alive and well, so that we may also continue to prosper in unity for many centuries to come. So, as the Australian government is a signatory to the Paris Agreement (2016), I would, amongst many other young people, like to see the government put a higher value on climate action and prevent the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and rather, harness the natural abundant renewable resources we have, such as solar, wind and the fuel alternatives of biogas or bioethanol. For as long as this action is not taken, the seas rise and so will we.”


Over 750 people voted for their favourite design for the first ever Design for Change Competition!


Ethically made t-shirts printed with the winning designs are now available to pre-order for a limited time only. Follow the link to pre-orders your T-Shirts. Pre-orders close April 5:



Williams House Feast Day

On the 8 March, the College celebrated Williams’ House Feast Day with a special mass and shared lunch. Below is a student reflection by House Representative Genevieve of the day:


On Friday 8 March, it was not only International Women’s Day, it was also Williams Feast Day, a day for all students and staff in Williams House. At the beginning of the day, we all gathered in the chapel to pray and acknowledge our House Patron, Sr Mary Xavier Williams.


During lesson one, our House Representatives, Hannah Groenewegen (House Captain), Mr Bramham (House Leader) and I set up Gayip Biik with lots of blue decorations and streamers to make for a really festive occasion. During lunch, all members of Williams House came together in Gayip Biik to share a feast. We ate delicious pizza lunch from Crust Pizza, Essendon, which was served by the house reps and Year 12 Williams students.


After pizza, Hannah made a speech in honour of the occasion, followed by cutting of the cake that was generously made and donated by Linh Speranza. Cupcakes and lolly bags filled with a variety of delicious blue lollies were enjoyed by everybody as a thank-you for coming and helping us celebrate our feast day. Overall, it was a very successful day filled with lots of fun and laughter for everyone in Williams House. – Genevieve Galea, WMSJ1 House Representative