March 28, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Catholic Education Week Mass

VCE News

Sophia Library News

Sports News

Exploring Pathways

Ice Hockey

Radio news RMIT excursion

Year 9 Ceramics

Pi For Everyone

Moonee Valley Art Show

Lisa Fuller's Visit to the Year 9s

Reviewing Communications within the College


The Art of Good Conversation with Young People

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Webinar for Parents

Ossur Mobility Clinic

Principal's Message

Parent Engagement Committee

Thank you to the members of the Parent Engagement Committee (PEC) who hosted a sociable gathering for Year 7 families on Tuesday, 21 March at their annual meet and greet event.  It was a lovely opportunity for families to meet one another, to informally chat with members of the College Leadership Team, and to hear more about the work of the PEC.  They are a small, committed and hard-working group who endeavour on the part of families to build connection to the College community.  For more information about upcoming meetings and events you can visit the PEC page on the College website.

Catholic Education Week Mass

It was my pleasure to represent the College community, along with six of our student leaders and Mr Lance Jilbert, at the Catholic Education Week mass on 17 March.  It is always an honour to sit amongst other students and educators as we celebrate what Catholic education brings to the life of its communities – more than just great learning, our Catholic schools create communities where the Gospel values are inherent in everything we do.  Young people and adults alike are imbued with a spirit of service and commitment to bringing the message of Jesus to life, both while at school, and in whatever endeavours they choose to pursue beyond the school gates.  Thanks to Isabell M, Jemma M, Lucia R, Daniella S, Elizabeth S and Estelle T for representing the College with pride.

Coming up to Holy Week

The end of the Term One will see us commemorating the most significant events in our Christian Calendar; the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Easter Triduum enables us to reflect not only on the death and resurrection moments in our own lives, but also on the love that Jesus showed for humankind in his willingness to enter in God’s plan for him, and God’s love for humanity in the promise of the resurrection.  The extract below is from renowned theologian Dr Ron Rolheiser, a Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate priest.  He reflects on what it means when we say Jesus takes away the sin of the world, a belief we proclaim during each mass when we say:  Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

How Jesus Takes Away the Sin of The World

“Jesus takes away the sin of the world away by transforming it, by changing it, by taking it inside of himself and transmuting it.  We see examples of this throughout his entire life, although it is most manifest in the love and forgiveness he shows at the time of his death.

In simple language, Jesus took away the sin of the community by taking in hatred and giving back love; by taking in anger and giving out graciousness; by taking in envy and giving back blessing; by taking in bitterness and giving out warmth; by taking in pettiness and giving back compassion; by taking in chaos and giving back peace; and by taking in sin and giving back forgiveness.

This is not an easy thing to do.  What comes naturally is to give back in kind:  hatred for hatred, anger for anger, coldness for coldness, revenge for hurt.  Someone hits us so we hit back.

This dynamic is not just something we are asked to admire in Jesus.  The incarnation is meant to be ongoing.  We are asked to continue to give flesh to God, to continue to do what Jesus did. Thus, our task too is to help take away the sin of the world.

We do this whenever we take in hatred, anger, envy, pettiness, and bitterness, hold them, transmute them, and eventually give them back as love, graciousness, blessing, compassion, warmth, and forgiveness.”

Term Break

This is the last IONA for the term.  We look back over the term that has been with gratitude:  for the learning opportunities; for the commitment and dedication of our staff; for the life-giving relationships we encounter in community; and for joy and delight our young people bring to us every single day.  We also look forward in gratitude for the break that lies ahead – may it bring peace, rest, and replenishment.

We will welcome all students back for Term Two on 26 April.


Feast of the Annunciation

Last Saturday, March 25th, we celebrated the feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates the moment when the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Mary said “Yes” to God’s gift, even though it meant accepting the unknown and difficult path that lay ahead of her. Her faith and trust in God’s plan ultimately led to the birth of our Savior.

Mary Aikenhead, similarly, said “Yes” to God’s call when Archbishop Polding asked for Sisters to come to Australia in 1838. She recognized the need and potential for service in Australia and was willing to take the risk and answer the call. Five Religious Sisters of Charity then said “Yes” to actually coming to Australia, leaving their homes in Ireland to establish a presence in Sydney, and ultimately all over the country, providing care for the poor, sick and marginalized. We remember and honour them as Houses, Cahill, Cater, de Lacy, O’Brien and Williams.

Reflecting on Mary’s example and that of the Religious Sisters of Charity, we might ask ourselves, what is God calling us to say “Yes” to in our own lives? What opportunities for service and growth might we be missing out on by not trusting in God’s plan and taking a risk?

Let us pray:

Dear God, we ask for the grace and courage to say “Yes” to your call, just as Mary and the Sisters of Charity did. Help us to recognise the needs of those around us and to trust in your plan, even when it seems risky or uncertain. May our yeses lead to the growth of your Kingdom and the care of those in need. Amen.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Keeping our 2022 Graduates connected

Five of our recent graduates have taken on the role of Columba’s Coach this year. They have already commenced working with our Units 1 to 4 VCE students and with some of our junior students. The Coaches can be found in the Library on Thursday afternoons from 3:15 – 4:30pm. We hope that you will encourage your child to make good use of this resource that the College has provided.

We also have a number of graduates who are supporting the College as SAC Supervisors and assisting in junior mathematics classes. Others have signed up to assist with setting up our Multi Purpose Centre for our whole school events.

We have also developed a list of graduates who are available for tutoring outside of the College. Should your child require some individual support with a particular subject, please contact Ms Louise Newton ( who will be able to share contact details with you for someone on our Tutoring list. Discussion relating to payment occurs directly between the family and the tutor.

All of this assistance is invaluable and much appreciated!

Parent and Student Engagement through our Committees

Recently, we asked for parent volunteers to join two of our College Committees. We also have student representation as part of these teams.

Child Safe Committee

Rita Grima

Brigitte McDonald

Nakkita Egan – Head of Students

Shannon Borg – Cater House Leader

Oliviah Chitima – Counsellor

Charlotte Mollica – Year 10 House Representative (Cater)

Tiana Ciavarella – Year 9 House Representative (Cahill)

Gael Prior – Parent

Meredith De Lure – Parent

Karen Bell – Parent

Janelle Hurley – Parent

Laudato si Committee

Betty Nellanikat – Parent

Alexandra G – Justice Captain (Year 12)

Monique D – Liturgy Captain (Year 12)

Eloise M – Environment Captain (Year 12)

Amelia U – Year 9 House Representative (Bruton)

Hilary Breman – Justice Leader

Sandra Boicos – STEAM Leader

Lance Jilbert – Head of Faith & Mission

Brigitte McDonald

Rita Grima

Thank you to all the parents, students and staff who are actively participating in these important teams.

Mothers’ Day High Tea – Saturday 13 May

An invitation to our annual Mothers’ Day High Tea has been sent to families already. We have had a good response to date and are looking forward to celebrating the special women in our students’ lives. We have partnered with Taylor Made, so we can be sure that the food will be delicious. Tickets may be purchased up until Friday 14 April or until sold out.

Year 7 Parent Meet & Greet

Thank you to the parents and legal guardians that took the time out of their busy schedules to connect with the College and with other Year 7 parents and legal guardians. It was a relaxed but lovely evening.

Parent Education Program – Happy Families

As part of our membership to Happy Families, we receive useful reading and other resources for our community. The article, “The art of good conversation with young people”, has been attached for your information.

Celebration of Excellence Evening

In term 4, we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students throughout 2023.

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 child 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 Donna Kellett via this email address

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

Catholic Education Week Mass

On Friday the 17th of March, a group of students including myself, attended a mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, in Representation of our Catholic school St Columba’s College. We assisted our Principle Ms Grima along with Mr Jilbert on this special day during Catholic Education week. It was quite fitting that we were at St Patrick’s Cathedral, on St Patrick’s day! To begin the morning, we arrived in the city bright and early, where we were lucky enough to enjoy visiting beautiful statues and historical monuments including the former site of the Sisters of Charity’s other Melbourne school, Catholic Ladies College. I truly valued this experience because as a school born from a strong, independent order, it is important to recognise where we originate from in order to be grateful for the opportunity the Sisters of Charity have provided us with – Catholic education. During the mass, there was an incredible orchestra represented by Avilla College, and we witnessed a ceremony where students from each school paraded into the cathedral holding up their banners. There were over 100 schools!! It was so exciting to get a real insight into the community and see the variety of Catholic schools who share the same values as ours. During the Mass we listened to many important readings from the Gospel, and were taught the importance of taking opportunities no matter what age you are, as Jesus has a plan for us all. Overall, this experience was very eye opening and special. I am proud to be a St Columba’s student and believe that there is value in celebrating the history of our College and Catholic Education in Australia.

VCE News


Special Exam Arrangement applications to VCAA close on the 6th of April.  All students completing a unit 3 and 4 sequence, who would like to apply for special provisions for their exams, need to ensure that they have met with the VCE Leader well in advance of this date.

There have been some changes to the application process.  The VCAA have now put greater emphasis on how the College has supported the student throughout their time at school.  This means that if a student only comes forward in Year 12 and asks for support through their exams, the College and VCAA may not be able to provide much support, if any. Evidence collection will be crucial moving forward.

Special Provisions do not roll over.  If a student was given special provisions in Year 10 or 11, they will need to reapply to their House Leader or the VCE Leader for the following year.  These applications begin in term 4.

Please use the following LINK for more information on Special Exam Arrangements and the supporting evidence requirements that the College will require you to provide.


All students who complete Units 1-4 in any subject are required to complete summative assessment tasks called SACs.  For some art subjects assessments can be called SATs (School Assessed Tasks).

If a student is absent from these compulsory assessments then they need to fill in the Reschedule Form on the day of their return to the College. At this time they need to upload appropriate supporting documentation for their absence.

Supporting documentation must cover the date of the scheduled task. If this process is not followed students will receive a zero for the task and may risk being awarded an ‘N’ for the unit.

The following is a list of appropriate supporting documents for absences from assessment tasks:

  • Illness and medical reasons- Doctor’s certificate required
  • Covid 19 positive – DHHS communication with name and dates required
  • Death/Funeral – Death/funeral newspaper notice required
  • Family reasons – Statutory Declaration required
  • Excursion/Retreats – Excursion list from supervising teacher
  • VET Subject Commitments – Conversation with VCE Leader

Please note that a pharmacist note is considered a statutory declaration and isn’t accepted for medical absences.

It is not appropriate to miss an assessment for the following reasons, and a reschedule will not be issued:

  • Truancy
  • Going to the airport to farewell a family member
  • Unapproved absences
  • Family holidays
  • Licence test
  • Work commitments, etc.

If an Assessment is missed for one of these reasons, the student will be issued a zero result and may receive an ‘N’ for the Unit.


The GAT will take place on June 15th. This is an all-day assessment, broken into 2 parts, that involves all Year 12 students and any Year 11 student that completes a Unit 3 and 4.

The following students are required for each section, as per 2022 rules.  If this changes, we will let students know:

Part A – All Year 12 students, including all VCE VM students

Part B – All VCE ATAR Major, VCE Major and students completing a second year VET

Special Exam Arrangement applications for all students for the GAT, including VCE VM students, need to be completed by April 6th.

Sophia Library News

Holiday Opening Hours – April School Holidays

The Sophia Library will be open from 10am – 3pm each weekday (except Public Holidays) for students to use.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Ms Ngaire Brown Head of Library.

New Library Mascot

Introducing Sophia the Library Mascot. Sophia is the new Library Mascot. She is named after the Sophia Library. The word Sophia means wisdom in Ancient Greek and the Library is a place where students can gain knowledge and wisdom to assist them with their studies.

Sports News

We kicked off the year with an all new whole school sports event.  This new event allowed more fun competition and opportunities to participate, with 3 events happening all in one day!  Years 7’s & 8’s were swimming at the East Keilor Leisure Centre, 9‘s & 10’s played volleyball at MSAC and the 11’s & 12’s headed to a Sports Centre to do a variety of fun activities and sport games!  It was a great day with an increase of participation and we look forward to running this event again in 2024.

Nunan Cup & CGSAV Tennis Tournament 

Our college tennis tournament, The Nunan Cup, was once again run over two very successful afternoons held at St Bernard’s College.  With a great turn out we saw some great competition happening between all three categories – Juniors, Intermediates and Seniors.  Our winner and runner up from each category are as follows:

Junior Champion:  Carla P

Junior Runner Up:  Isabel C

Intermediate Champion: Caitlin G

Intermediate Runner Up: Sophie C

Senior Champion: Minuki HT

Senior Runner Up: Zoe M

We then went on to attend the CGSAV Tennis Tournament, also being the host school for this event.  Our teams put in a great effort, with our Juniors and Intermediates making it through to the semi finals – and our intermediates continuing on to the Grand Final but unfortunately lost by just one point to Marian College. 

CGSAV Swimming Competition

We attended the CGSAV Swimming Competition on the 20th March with a team of Juniors and Intermediates.  Our swimmers all put in their best effort with many first places won!  Overall our intermediates came in at 2nd place and our Juniors won their category! 

Exploring Pathways

On Tuesday the 14th of March the Year 10s attended a seminar regarding the various Early Entry programs offered by universities. We were visited by Victoria University, Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University. It was a great opportunity for us as Year 10s to learn about the different options available to us if we endeavour to continue to university. Year 10 is a crucial year because it is the year where you begin making some big decisions about careers and subject selection. At this point in our studies, we need to take into consideration what university we want to attend, what course we want to study, and then therefore how we can achieve this. The early entry program seminar helped us learn what was on offer for us regarding the different ways we can get into university. It allowed us to develop a better understanding of the requirements that are suited for these specific universities. It was interesting to hear the different types of programs that universities run, such as the Aspire program from La Trobe and Block Model from Vic Uni. 

Andree Ioannou and Angelique Hatzopoulos – Year 10

As part of our Exploring Pathways class, the Year 10s heard from Future Student Advisors at ACU, VU, and Latrobe talk about how their university’s Early Entrance Programs work. The presentation came at a crucial time when we are beginning to plan our life after school and how we will achieve our ambitions and goals. We learnt that universities not only take into account academic scores, but also value community work and engagement in extracurricular activities. So many of us walked out of the presentation surprised and intrigued by the range of incentives on offer to apply for early entrance programs, which included scholarships and access to online resources for year 11 and 12. It was also really positive to hear that many previous St. Columba’s students successfully applied for an early entrance position. Ultimately, the presentation was a really informative one which we all learnt so much from. 

Zoe Triantafillis  – Year 10

In our year 10 Pathways lesson this week we were fortunate enough to have representatives come to speak to us about opportunities their universities offer. We had representatives come from La TrobeUniversity, VictoriaUniversity and Australian Catholic University to share with us information about their Early Entry Program. We heard lots of details about all the scholarships open to us and for the first time we heard about doing a university course in Year 12. The representatives also told us about their Early Entry program options which allows you to apply for University, in Year 11 as a conditional entry, before you sit your Year 12 exams. This is so that you can secure your place early which takes some of the stress out of the exam period. The students are extremely thankful for the experience and had a lot to take away for the seminar. 

Mary Saad – Year 10

Access the presentation here.

Ice Hockey

On the 17th of March our VET Sport and Recreation class participated in an Ice Skating excursion with St Francis’ Sport and Recreation class. We had an instructor who demonstrated and explained how to Ice-skate and then taught us skills to be able to participate in a game of Ice-hockey. The current topic we are studying is Workplace Health and Safety. By participating in an excursion in a high risk environment there was an opportunity for us to identify any workplace hazards we could see and learn of the possible control measures put in place to ensure the safety of all. In our course one of our upcoming units requires us to coach. By undertaking this excursion we were able to learn ways to be good instructors ourselves. Our coach, Matthew, was a great example of how to instruct a group and make sure that all risks and hazards are minimised. Through Matthew, we were able to understand how coaches instruct in high risk environments, and were able to recognise coaching skills that we can use when instructing others.

This excursion was one of the best excursions we’ve ever had, being able to learn new skills and develop some long lasting friendships along the way. Being immersed in a different environment from the regular classroom allowed us to learn in new ways and have some fun whilst doing it. Ice Hockey was probably our favourite part as neither of us have played before. Overall this excursion was a great experience that will be remembered by the Sport and Rec class for many years to come.

Radio news RMIT excursion

On Monday the 6th of March, both the year 9 journalism classes attended an excursion to RMIT university to work on their radio news skills. The students were taught how to create and produce radio news by two workers from SYN radio. 

We arrived at school promptly to catch the train to Melbourne Central, from which we walked to RMIT university. Jasmine and Imogen, two of the SYN radio workers, worked with our classes to teach us the proper formatting of a radio news, how to speak properly and how to hold in the giggles while on live radio.

We all worked in groups of 4-5 to prepare a 2 minute radio segment on any chosen topic.

At lunch, we were able to go onto the university campus to buy some food.

After lunch, we went back into the RMIT building to finalise our scripts and prepare ourselves to be on live radio. The idea of being on live radio was really scary for a lot of us but with the help of Imogen and Jasmine, we were able to get over our fears and give it our best shot.

The broadcasting worked by letting each group into the live radio room, one at a time to present their segment. We each had our own microphone to speak into which made us feel like professionals. You may think that speaking in front of a microphone on live radio is a really scary thing, which it was at first,  but when we got into the flow of it, it turned out to be like having a regular conversation with our friends and we forgot the microphones were even there!

After the live radio session concluded, we walked back to Melbourne central and were given some time to grab some lunch.  We then took the train back to Essendon Station from which we were dismissed at the end of the day.

Overall it was a really fun and enjoyable day in which we all learnt new skills and gained more confidence.

Year 9 Ceramics

Our students don’t always like working in groups, but working with others is an essential skill to learn with collaboration being identified as an important 21st century workplace skill. This semester, in Year 9 Ceramics, students were asked to create a small tile that connected in some way to the tiles their peers were creating. Working in table groups and using colour, texture, pattern and shape to produce their artwork, students created tiles that represented a landscape. As you can see, the results were impressive, but even more notable was the improvement in their performance, teamwork and ability to solve problems. And this is what education is about: students’ growth and learning.

Pi For Everyone

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi, which is approximately equal to 3.14159 and is celebrated on March 14th. Pi is used in a wide range of calculations and formulas, such as determining the circumference and area of a circle, calculating the volume of a sphere, and even in algorithms for data compression and encryption.

At STC, the mathematics department challenged students to memorise as many digits of pi as possible. Memorising digits of pi is no easy feat. Pi is an irrational number, which means that its decimal representation goes on forever without repeating. This would require a lot of practice, dedication, and a good memory. Our student with the most robust memory was able to recite 121 digits of pi!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Pi Day Challenge.

Congratulations to the following students for remembering the most digits of pi in their year level.

Year 7: Mariana V & Camilla M-M
Year 8: Anabelle D
Year 9: Alchol M
Year 11: Jessica P
Year 12: Sarah T

Moonee Valley Art Show

Lisa Fuller's Visit to the Year 9s

On Tuesday the 14th of March, the Year 9 students were paid a visit by the award-winning author, publishing consultant and editor Lisa Fuller. Lisa Fuller is a Wuilli Wuilli woman from Eidsvold, Queensland, and she’s descended from the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng nations. Lisa is the author of the well known novel Ghost Bird, which the Year 9 Students are studying this term. Fuller met us on Tuesday via Google Meet throughout lessons 1, 2 and 3 and it was truly interesting to hear her speak about her debut novel and how she came to write it. Lisa Fuller provided us with an insight into the writing process of Ghost Bird and how hard it was for her to write about such a touchy topic. Lisa spoke mainly about her Aboriginal spirituality and the significance of community in her culture. She explained how she had to ask for permission from all of her family members to include their beliefs (although she had to change some aspects) and how the character Pop in the novel is based off Lisa’s Pop who sadly passed away right before she wrote Ghost Bird. One of the most interesting things I learnt from this experience was that when Lisa Fuller was growing up in Eidsvold and about half of the kids at school were Indigenous Australians, there were no books at school or the local library that Lisa could relate to. No books about Australian history or First Nations people and this made Lisa feel alone and isolated growing up. Fuller told us how she wants Ghost Bird to be a book that her daughter and nieces can read so that they can feel proud to be Aboriginal. She wants them to have a positive experience growing up; an experience she never had. Moreover, toward the end of the session, Lisa handed it over to us Year 9’s and we were able to ask her any questions we had, regarding Fuller or the novel itself. Some amazing questions were asked, all of which will most definitely help us in writing our essays at the end of term. Overall, it was a fascinating experience for the 9 students and also the teachers. We are all extremely grateful for the time Lisa Fuller took to meet with us and for the enthusiasm she showed in each session.

Reviewing Communications within the College

The College is in the process of viewing what applications are used for communication and how we can better streamline how communication flows through the College and its community. Term 2 will see information being available to staff, students and families to clarify this further. This is being done to better use the applications we utilise as a College, clarify what to use and when to use it and to be able to better log communications relevant to our students.


Parents who were unable to attend our PIN for SEQTA on the 6 March, a recording is now available that goes through some of the main things to help you logging in to the platform and working your way around it. If you have any further questions, please contact the following
Need to log in for the first time– Front Reception
Consent2Go: Front Reception or HelpDesk /
General SEQTA inquiries or issues: Ms Natasha Le Noel – Learning Technologies Leader

The Art of Good Conversation with Young People

Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2025 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2024 (current students only). Students are encouraged to take up this opportunity and will receive a report of their achievement levels for each area tested. Further details and online registration click here.

Registration closing date is Friday 14 July 2023

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 22 July 2023

Please note the College does not have practise papers for the testing as this is conducted by an external organisation, Academic Assessment Services.

Webinar for Parents

Upcoming webinar for parents – How to Help Improve Your Child’s Memory

We’re excited to announce that Elevate Education will be hosting a free webinar for our parents on Wednesday 29th March.

Elevate Education 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 you can help better support your children at home through reinforcing the skills they learn at school:

Wednesday 29th March
How to Help Improve Your Child’s Memory

In this webinar Elevate will be covering:

✅ How memory actually works (and how it has nothing to do with brain capacity)

✅ The most effective environments to assist in memorisation

✅ 3 techniques you can implement overnight to improve revision

We hope to see you there!

Click here to register for free

Ossur Mobility Clinic

These schools holidays St Columba’s College will be hosting the Ossur Mobility Clinic 2023. The clinic looks to support amputees of all ages and abilities.