April 1, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

St Patrick's Cathedral - Catholic Education Week

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees

Year 7 Writing Competition

Year 8 Science - Exploring Cells

STEAM Workshop with College Staff

Library News

Sports Results

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2024 Application for Enrolment

Principal's Message


It has been a long term.  Students are reporting feeling tired, and that they are looking forward to a rest.  We look back in gratitude for the term that has been.  The interruptions to onsite learning have occurred for various reasons, however, to a large extent we have been able to run our programs as we have planned them.  We are grateful for the rhythm and life of the school routine that nourishes and sustains us all, adults and students alike.

I am grateful for your support of the College, as we called a remote learning day for our Year 8, 9, and 10 students.  To everyone’s credit, this was easy to initiate, and it has eased the burden of class over onsite.

I would like to acknowledge all of the College staff who over the past two weeks have taken on additional lessons and duties to support their colleagues who were absent for various reasons. There is a shared commitment to ensuring that the learning program continues to operate for all of our students.  This is community in action!


The Easter Triduum is almost upon us – the three most holy days of the Christian calendar.  In the space of those 3 days we go from mourning to jubilation as we recognise what Jesus’ sacrifice means for our eternal lives. In this time of prayer, we are called to reflect on the death and resurrection moments in our own lives, on the love that Jesus showed for humankind in his willingness to enter in God’s plan for him, and to recognise and accept God’s love for humanity in the promise of the resurrection.

May the triumphant resurrection of Christ continue to fill us with hope as we work for justice, peace, compassion and love.

Staff Movement

At the end of this term we will farewell the following staff members:

  • Mr Chuong Nguyen – after 19 years with the College, Mr Nguyen has accepted an IT Manager role at another Catholic school.
  • Ms Alison Rogers – after 3 years with us in various roles, Ms Rogers has accepted a teaching position at another school.
  • Mr Leon Duncan – after 10 years enthusiastically supporting the Instrumental Music Program at the College, Mr Duncan will take on a role at another College.

We are grateful for the dedicated service these staff members have offered the College. We wish them all the very best as they embark on their new endeavours.

Staff changes

Our new Head of Students, Ms Rebecca Spiteri, will replace Ms Nakkita Egan as she commences her parental leave at the end of this term.  Mr Michael Camilleri will step into the Cahill House Leader role, for the remainder of the year.

We wish Ms Egan all the very best as she awaits the arrival of her first child.

While Ms Carmel Anile-Saade is on long service leave for Term Two, Ms Sarah Wallace, will take on the responsibilities of the Cunningham House Leader.


Easter Vigil reading:

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke Lk 24:1-12

Why look among the dead for someone who is alive?

On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, the women went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there. As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women lowered their eyes. But the two men said to them, ‘Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day?’ And they remembered his words.

When the women returned from the tomb they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.

Peter, however, went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths, but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Best wishes for the term break

It has been a very busy but successful Term 1. The vast majority of events planned for the term have been able to go ahead and they have been wonderful occasions of celebration and community building. It has been unfortunate that, as a result of contracting COVID or being a close contact, some students have missed out on an event. I hope the holiday break is a time of rest and recuperation for all members of our community as we look forward to exciting plans for Term 2.

Stay safe!

Mothers’ Day High Tea – Saturday 7 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 Amazing Grace, so we can be sure that the food will be delicious. Tickets may be purchased up until Wednesday 27 April or until sold out.

Year 7 Transition Survey

As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improving the school, we believe it is critical to seek each parent and student’s opinion on a range of issues relating to St. Columba’s College. This feedback is very important to us as we continue to build a successful school and strengthen our reputation as an ‘educator of choice’.

As such, we have engaged the professional services of MYP Corporation (MYPCorp) to undertake a strictly private and confidential School Results Survey on our behalf. It will need to be completed online between 26 April and 10 May.

Thank you, in advance, to all the Year 7 students and their parents or guardians who take the time to participate in the survey.

Save the date – Parent Education Program

As part of our Parent Education Program, we will be hosting a session entitled, “Providing Drug Education through a Safety Lens” on Tuesday 17 May. Sharon Torpey, our guest speaker, is the Founder and Director of Drug Education Australia which is a leading provider of high quality, factual drug education.

You can read more about the work of this organisation via this link:

Our intention is to host parents on site in the Theatrette. If parents are interested in attending, please RSVP using this form.

Recent Session Facilitated by Real Schools

On Monday 21 March, Simon Dewar from Real Schools, led a workshop for parents entitled, “Building a Restorative Community and Understanding Shame”. The webinar can be viewed here. We thank those parents who took the time to be online with Simon.

Parenting Support

Recent events have led to many questions being asked by our children, it can be difficult to determine the best way to answer these questions. Dr Justin Coulson has written a great resource to having these conversations. Access the article here and access more parenting support at

St Patrick's Cathedral - Catholic Education Week

On the 17th March, Joyce Fogarty, Social Justice Captain, and I were privileged to join Mrs Grima in representing St Columba’s College at the 2022 Catholic Education Week celebration, held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Catholic Education Week is an annual celebration that honours Catholic Education within schools across the Archdiocese of Melbourne and St. Patrick’s legacy. 

The morning began with hundreds of students pouring through the Cathedral as the ethereal chime of the Cathedral’s bells filled the air. Primary and Secondary schools across Victoria came together to celebrate the role of Catholic Education in shaping students as faith-filled followers of God’s light of justice. Although COVID-19 may have prevented the procession of each schools’ banner, all schools demonstrated resilience and presented their banner adjacent to each other, a cacophony of colours and patterns all united as one. The cantor from Genazzano FCJ College, Kew also performed a delicate and beautiful piece, which echoed across the Cathedral, encouraging all for reflection and peace during these difficult times.

This year’s theme, being the ‘Way of the Gospel’, was deeply explored through Archbishop Peter A Comensoli’s homily. Speaking on the life of St. Patrick, he shared how St. Patrick inspired whole communities to become God’s light to the nation, with us being the recipients of such light.

Attending the mass was also an extraordinary way to commemorate St. Columba’s College’s 125th year, with myself being fortunate enough to share a special reading to all. It was truly an amazing experience stepping up to speak at the golden lectern and share the words of the Lord, which explored how to live the ‘Way of the Gospel’ by preaching goodness to others, regardless if we feel afraid or too weak to do so.

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Friday the 18th of March was National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, which is Australia’s key bullying prevention initiative focussed on identifying solutions to bullying on an individual, school and community level.

The theme for 2022 was Kindness Culture – by building “Kindness Culture” together in schools through inclusion, respectful for all and a sense of community belonging. The Student Wellbeing Action Team (SWAT) raised awareness about the day by encouraging students to think about how to create a Kindness Culture at the College; identify strategies to respond to bullying personally or online; and think about the role bystanders can play in mitigating the impact of bullying. It was encouraging to see students take a stand together and support the initiative with creative coping strategies and the clear message that bullying and violence is not Ok

Cyber and Online Bullying

It goes without saying that young people were on their devices more frequently, for longer periods of time, and often unsupervised, during the past two years of covid-19. Data indicates that the incidence of bullying and exposure to harmful content online increased over this time. Support services like National counselling service Kidshelpine, noted a significant increase in the numbers of young people reaching out for support and information in relation to bullying, keeping safe online, and coping with cyberbullying. Parents remain central in helping their young person navigate the online world safely and responsibly. Putting age-appropriate limits around screen time and content; familiarising themselves with the social media platforms young people are using; and encouraging respectful communication are the main ways parents can guide the choices their young person makes online.

What to do if your young person is being bullied online;

  1. Try to resist immediately taking away their device: This could alienate them from their friends, reduce their social supports and doesn’t teach them anything about managing online safety.
  2. Stay calm and keep communication open: You want your child to feel confident that you’re not immediately going to get upset, angry or anxious if they talk to you.
  3. Listen, think, pause: Allow time to explore the issue fully and understand how it is impacting your child, before you come up with a plan to address the issue.
  4. Act to protect your child if necessary: if your child is being threatened, or if they indicate to you they are at-risk, get professional help. 000, contact a counsellor or support service like Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800.
  5. Empower your child: Build your child’s confidence and guide them to make good decisions for themselves, avoid telling them what to do.
  6. Collect evidence: Take screen shots, collect information about what has been said, dates, times. 
  7. Report the online harm: report it to the social media site, gaming site or other app that was used to send, post or share the harmful content (this can be the fastest way to get it removed) – to find out how see t  If the site, game or app doesn’t help you within 48 hours, and the cyberbullying is serious enough (ie. threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating), eSafety can ask them to remove the harmful content
  8. Prevent further contact: help your child to use in-app functions to ignore, mute or block the person. Advise your child to avoid retaliating or responding to messages. Encourage your child to check privacy settings and restrict how can see their posts and profile page. Encourage your child to ask their friends if harmful content is still being posted and to report if it is.
  9. Seek support from school: contact a trusted staff member, House Leader, House Teacher or College Counsellor.
  10. Encourage positive connections and coping strategies
  11. Stay aware: check in with your child about how they are feeling, monitor sleep and eating habits, their ability to concentrate, make decisions and their overall mood. If you notice changes that concern you, seek support from a Psychologist, College Counsellor or mental health service (ie. Headspace).

For more information about what young people can do to address online issues and bullying; 


Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees

Each year, many of our students express interest in attending the Walk for Justice for Refugees – Palm Sunday. Students are welcome to attend.

Details of the event:

Date & Time: Sunday, 10 April 2022 at 2:00 pm(Australian Eastern Daylight Time)

Location: State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 3000, Melbourne, Australia

For more information, please click here.

“The event itself is really great, peaceful,
heart warming, inspiring.
it really is a great intro to activism”

 – Renee Fleeton

This event is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the continuing injustice and cruelty experienced by refugees and people who are seeking asylum. This year, organisers of the Palm Sunday events are aware of the need for COVID-safety. We recommend the wearing of masks and social distancing at all Palm Sunday actions and events.

Rallies and actions will be held in various cities and towns across Australia. Here are also some other ways that students can take further action:

  • Email local MPs
  • Take a selfie with the message Justice & A Fair Go for Refugees and send it to the school for their social media page
  • Join the Twitter storm action or other social media accounts: send a message to the PM in a post calling for Justice and A Fair Go for Refugees – use the hashtags #justice4refugees and #GameOver


  • will be attending as a member of the public
  • are expected to make their own way to and from the city
  • should bring their student ID card, a mobile phone, and a secure bag/pocket to store these items
  • can represent the school and wear the uniform
  • are advised to eat lunch beforehand

There will be a St Columba’s banner to show our collective support for the cause. This will also help students to find their peers and teachers. We will meet as a group. CAPSA contingent meeting time: 1:00pm

Location: Treasury Gardens (specifically the north-west Spring Street corner, near Treasury Place)

Year 7 Writing Competition

All Year 7 students are invited to write and submit ONE original piece of writing based on their experiences of first term at St Columba’s College.

This can be a descriptive or reflective piece (of approximately 400 words).

Your piece should be typed and emailed to Mr Harrison.

There is a book prize for the two entries deemed to be the most engaging and thoughtful.

It must be your best possible writing.

Features of Reflective Writing:  communicating your response to thoughts and feelings in personal writing

Features of Descriptive Writing: communicating thoughts in images and the use of the senses.

Due Date: the first week of Term 2.

Year 8 Science - Exploring Cells

The VR experience was a very fun, unique and informative way to learn about cells. The VR goggles allowed us to really see clearly the different things that were in the cell, where they were placed and how they moved around.

We had a full 360° view of the cells in our body. As we were watching the video, the teacher explained and went through the three main parts in the cell which were the membrane, the nucleus, and the cytoplasm.

The instructions on how to use the VR were very clear and easy to follow which made the experience more enjoyable. We had little to no technical difficulties or issues with the VR goggles. The experience was very different to the usual way we learn, which made it fun for everyone and kept people focused on what we were learning. Personally, we felt like the best way we learn is visually and this task was something that allowed us to really learn our best. This allowed us to remember what we learned about cells permanently.

Ash Kaur and Grace Vostri – Year 8 students


In science class on 29th March, with Mrs Condello, we got the thrilling opportunity to use the VR headset and watch the youtube video “Cellscape Vr biology guided tour” to have a close up experience of the beautiful world that is the human cells. We are studying a new unit, called Cells. The VR guided tour  was really fascinating and eye opening to have such a visual representation of the human cells, especially seeing all the organelles (They pose as the organs, except for a cell). It was really cool to discover that if we were actually in the human cell we would only be a hundred nanometers tall. We also got to see the inside of the cell and a substance called cytoplasm filled with a jelly-like substance. Our personal favourite part was seeing all the tiny pieces of protein floating around and knowing that the cells are spending a lot of time producing new protein to replace the old. Overall, this was a new and novel experience that we will  never forget! 

Liliana Read and Matilda Rogers – Year 8 students

STEAM Workshop with College Staff

The College is working in partnership with the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS), Monash University, Brisbane Catholic Education and the University of Queensland on an ARC (Australian Research Council) project. 

The project aims to generate research-informed principles of practice for a Problem Based Learning (PBL) model of STEAM Education. Participation in the project will be the driving paradigm for cross-disciplinary STEAM learning at the College. The project is being led by the STEAM Committee (Ms Boicos, Ms Caccamo, Ms Devlin, Ms D’Amico and Ms Nguyen). 

As part of our ongoing work on the project, staff have participated in two workshops to gain a better understanding of STEAM pedagogy and practices. The aim of this professional learning is to understand our teachers’ perceptions around STEAM education and to encourage cross-disciplinary connections providing opportunity for quality STEAM lessons to be integrated into the curriculum.

During the workshop on Tuesday 15th March, we began with a short reflective painting exercise of concentric circles in which teachers made connections not just to Art, but also to Science, the natural environment and Religion. That was followed up with the ‘spider web’ exercise, where teachers passed a ball of string between each other when they felt there was a link between subject areas. At the end of the task, a large web of interconnected string was created to communicate the relationships made between one subject area and another. 

It was wonderful to see staff working towards a shared understanding of STEAM integrated education and exploring opportunities to make connections across learning areas. 

Library News

Principal’s Reading Challenge 2021 Certificate of Achievement Award Ceremony
On Friday 11th March, the Library was very happy to (finally!) host the abovementioned Ceremony, during which students who successfully completed the Challenge last year were awarded their Certificate by Principal Rita Grima. Following this, students enjoyed a celebratory morning tea.

Sports Results

The Athletics and Swimming Carnivals where are great success and we are so please to share the final results from the days. Thank you to all who helped make the carnivals a wonderful experience for students, and well done to all our competitors.

Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2024 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2023. 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 are available here.

Registration closing date is Friday 15 July 2022

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 23 July 2022

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

Year 7 2024 Application for Enrolment

Year 7 2024 Applications for Enrolment are now open.

Please be aware of the key enrolment dates:

  • Applications for Year 7 2024 Enrolment closes 19 August 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out on 21 October 2022
  • The offer of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by 11 November 2022