May 2, 2023

< All Issues


Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Sophia Library News

Year 9 Mock Interviews

Iftar Dinner at Sirius College

VYL to India

The Big Issue

Romeo and Juliet

NCCD And Supporting Students With Disability

Parent Webinar - How to Help Get (& Keep!) Your Child Motivated

Enrolments and Scholarships

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Welcome Back

It has been a very positive start to the term. Students and staff have returned energised and ready to tackle a great term of learning.  The start of term assembly allowed us to commemorate ANZAC day with a very moving service.  One of our talented instrumental students, Julia Speranza, played the last post, as each House Captain laid a wreath in their House Colour under the flag posts at the front of the College.  We were privileged to hear from Jacqueline Dinan, class of 1987, who shared with us stories from her book capturing the recollections of women who made contributions to the war effort during World War 2.  Members of the Student Executive also spoke about the various activities and events we have to look forward to this term, and encouraged students to participate and contribute to community spirit.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to face teacher shortages.  We will do our best to support a consistent learning program for those classes where Casual Relief Teachers will be conducting lessons.

Generation Donation to the College

It was a great surprise to open what appeared to be an ordinary piece of mail and find a generous anonymous donation to the College, acknowledging the great work that is happening here on behalf of the young people in our care.  I would like to express my gratitude to the anonymous donor.  The money will support the upgrade of furniture in the Slater Building.


Father, we come before you with hearts full of gratitude and joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. We thank you for the sacrifice he made on the cross, and for the victory he achieved over sin and death through his resurrection. Because of him, we have the hope of eternal life, and the assurance of your love and grace.

We also thank you for the blessings of family and friends that we have connected with during our Easter holidays. We are grateful for the opportunity to share fellowship, love, and joy with those closest to us. We ask that you continue to bless our relationships, and help us to cherish and nurture them with your love and guidance so that we may see that Jesus is alive in us.
As we look to the future, we pray that you would help us to keep our hearts and minds focused on you, and on the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Help us to live our lives in a way that reflects the love and grace that you have shown us.We ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Venerable Mary Aikenhead, Pray for us.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

College Assembly

We welcomed students back to term 2 on Wednesday 26 April with a College assembly. Members of the Student Engagement Team did a wonderful job in leading the ANZAC Day Service – thank you to Jasmine Davies, Anastasia Donovan, Ava Scalpello, Sienna Seyis, Charlize Bellette and Taylor Navarro. Julia Speranza performed the Last Post and Rouse wonderfully and the choir performed a beautiful rendition of ‘In Flanders Fields’. The House Captain represented the students and staff of their House by each laying a wreath at the flagpoles. It was a moving service.

We were thrilled to be able to welcome back one of our alumna and author, Jacqueline Dinan, who has written three books, in particular, Between the Dances – a collection of short stories about women during World War Two that she addressed us about at the assembly. We thank Jacqueline, once again, for taking time to be with our community.

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC) – Father/Male Mentor and Daughter Evening

There will be a PEC meeting tonight at the College at 7:30pm. All parents are welcome.

Apologies to any families who may have missed out on the opportunity to come along to this event on Tuesday 16 May. We were overwhelmed by the response and had to close the RSVP link early due to numbers. If there are any families that have indicated that they are coming but subsequently will not be available due to unforeseen circumstances, please let the College know as we do have a waiting list of people who would still like to attend.

Traffic safety

At the end of term 1, the College received a complaint from one of our neighbours who described dangerous driving in Leslie Road and Stanley Street. This neighbour did obtain the licence plate of the car and has advised us, rightly, that in the event of this unsafe behaviour in the future, the police will be contacted. In order to ensure the safety of students, staff and parents, I ask that drivers use caution when dropping off and collecting their children.

Sophia Library News

2023 Principal’s Reading Challenge

The 2023 Principal’s Reading Challenge has started, and it has been pleasing to see students signing up. The PRC runs from Week Two of Term Two to Week Nine of Term Three. This year there have been some adjustments to the challenge where students can choose a reading goal of their choice 12, 15 or 18 books. They can also choose to read one genre of book or a number of genres including Non Fiction books (new for 2023). All students who reach their reading goal will be invited to a Celebration Lunch at the beginning of Term Four.

Year 9 Mock Interviews

Iftar Dinner at Sirius College

On the 3rd of April, myself, Alexandra Grima (Justice Captain), Miss Wallace and Ms Robinson attended the Student and Education Leaders Iftar Dinner at the Eastmeadows campus of Sirius College. This occasion presented us with a unique opportunity to experience the communal tradition of an Iftar dinner during the season of Ramadan, as well as a chance to augment positive relations with a network of education and community leaders in Victoria. I was also given the opportunity to be involved in discussing contemporary issues impacting our modern world through a student leaders’ discussion panel. This was an activity I was honoured to participate in. We were asked questions regarding the theme ‘Overcoming calamities with our “bare hands”’. Not only did this panel discussion deepen my understanding of the world’s calamities, but it also helped me to appreciate the world’s ability to overcome these adversities with an emphasis on personal responsibility and free-will, rather than on materialism, power and influence.

The recitation of the Holy Qur’an that preceded the dinner was truly beautiful to listen to and it gave me a deeper insight into Ramadan and its significance. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is one of the most sacred times for Muslims. During this month, Muslims observe a strict daily fast from dawn until sunset. They are not allowed to eat or drink, not even water, during daylight hours. Due to this, it was very special to be able to share in this meal containing a range of Middle Eastern food with them. Throughout this dinner, I felt that in a model of interfaith discourse, we were able to find common middle ground where we all had a vested interest as we discussed the key political, social and economic issues of our world.

To conclude the night, each table worked together to answer geography questions in a fun game of Kahoot to build our teamwork skills and to strengthen the newly-formed relationships we had made.

I would like to thank Mr Jilbert and the RE team for organising Ally and I to attend this event – it was a truly humbling experience and I got a lot out of it. I hope that the future leaders of our College will find this event just as rewarding as I did.

VYL to India

During the course of Term 1, four of our Year 9 students were part of a virtual program designed to prepare them to live and work as global citizens and future leaders in an increasingly interconnected globalised world. Read what Arshpreet Kaur, Emily Tulloch, Sophia D’Aspromante and Arpita Sondhi had to say about the program. 

Sophia D’Aspromante

“In this program, we worked with the students, Rishaan, Saina, Prathvi and Tanisha from the Ridge Valley School in India to come up with a STEM solution to one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development goals. During the program we learned a lot about using the design thinking process. This process provided a scaffold to build our understanding of the problem, to create innovative ideas and to develop a viable solution. We had to learn to really listen to other people’s ideas and to come to a compromise when settling on a decision. Collaboration was the most important factor in this process.”

Emily Tulloch 

“This program was such a blast for all of us, and the new and exciting experiences started on day one, where we were able to meet the other Victorian students in this program. But I think we all agree that the part of this program that we enjoyed the most was the time we got to spend working with our buddies from India. Together we worked on a possible solution to our chosen Sustainable Development Goal, goal number 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities. Through lots of discussion and brainstorming, we agreed on creating a new sanitary napkin that is more sustainable. After lots of research, we found that this could be done quite easily. Instead of using harmful materials like plastic, rayon and cotton, we could use bamboo fiber. Bamboo doesn’t just absorb better, but it is also much more sustainable.” 

Arshpreet Kaur

“I enjoyed becoming a better global citizen through this program, as it allowed me to gain knowledge of problems I never knew existed in the world. Learning about other countries’ problems and how people are going through a rough patch in their life made me more enthusiastic to learn about how we can solve them.”

Arpita Sondhi 

“I enjoyed this program because of the skills I got to develop. I was able to improve my public speaking skills as well as my confidence in stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. Sophia and I were often chosen to speak about how our group was going, which for us meant speaking on a virtual stage to all the participants. I would definitely recommend the future year 9’s to sign up to this program, because it was completely worth it and it will teach you lots of new skills that will help you in the future with your learning and job prospects.


The Big Issue

On the 28th March, VCE VM year 11 students visited The Big Issue. It was an interesting and insightful experience. We went there to learn more about homelessness and the marginalisation we have in Australia. We listened to a guest speaker (whose name will be kept confidential) that has experienced homelessness here in Melbourne. He shared with us his story on the events and life experiences that lead him to be homeless. We also participated in a puzzle activity where we learnt about how it feels to be left out and how other people are affected by living on the streets, losing their jobs and having to leave their home due to family violence or abuse. We also discussed and dispelled the myths surrounding stereotypes of homelessness and how best to treat those we see that are on our streets.

From this excursion we learnt that people don’t choose to be homeless, their situation and circumstances can change the direction of their life and leave them with no option but to be pushed out on the streets. Some of the reasons could be financial difficulties and home abuse or domestic violence. In Victoria, there are over 140,000 homeless people but only 7% of those people are actually living homeless on the street, the rest are in abandoned houses, boarding houses, couch surfing, and homeless shelters. The Big Issue classroom had us all take part in an activity to show us the meaning of being marginalised. There were four groups and each group had to finish a puzzle but were all given different instructions to follow: one group was told to simply do the puzzle, another group was told to do the puzzle in silence one person at a time, another group was given a puzzle that had mis-matched pieces, and the last group was told to have one person do the puzzle while the rest of the group was disruptive to the class. There was one person in the class that wasn’t allowed to be in any of the groups because she was “too tall’. This showed us how some people live in a bubble where all things go right for them, while other people in our community are found to be in different and sometimes challenging circumstances that prevent them from achieving their end goal, while the one person that was singled out showed us how homeless people are marginalised simply because of situations or circumstances they can’t help, just like how this girl couldn’t control how tall she was.

Our guest speaker was invited to talk to us about his story and experience of being homeless in Melbourne. He was very brave to share his story with us, it could be very daunting and difficult for him to share that part of his life without fearing judgement. We learnt that he battled with a mental illness and understand that can be a sensitive topic. Our guest speaker developed schizophrenia after his mother passed away as he had difficulties overcoming and accepting her death. The schizophrenia made it hard for him to work a normal everyday job. Once diagnosed, he realised how his mental illness held him back from his everyday workload. He became distant from work – unable to work and eventually he had to quit his job which saw him financially compromised. He eventually heard about the Big Issue and now works with them – selling The Big Issue magazine and talking to students to overcome the stigma around homelessness. We are grateful that he was brave to share his story to us and give us insight into homelessness.

Romeo and Juliet

On the 27th of April, the Year 9 students had an incursion for their Romeo and Juliet Unit in English. We were lucky enough to see the play performed live by the Eagle’s Nest Theatre Company. The Eagle’s Nest Theatre Company are a small theatre company that perform historical plays for classroom aged students so that they can gain more of an understanding of the Shakespearian era, storylines and also some of the main scenes that are in the plays. 

There were three actors that performed the show for us and their names were Jo, Richard and Chris. Jo played Juliet, Richard played Romeo and Chris played all of the other characters, such as the Capulet parents, Benvolio and Mercutio and also Friar Lawrence. We first watched a shortened 60 minute version of the play, so that we were not sitting there for two hours like the original play. It was quite interactive and they took advantage of the seating; in some scenes they came up to the sides and talked to us like we were a part of the play. 

There were also some interesting parts in the play where they adapted the characters to make it shorter. Then we were given the opportunity to ask some questions to the actors about the play and also they performed some of the main scenes that are in the play in a variety of ways so that we could see all of the points of view from all of the different characters in the scene. 

Overall, I believe that this incursion was very beneficial to my learning and I thank the College for the opportunity given to  the Year 9 cohort to guide us and support our learning for this topic.

NCCD And Supporting Students With Disability

The NCCD is an annual collection of information about Australian school students with disabilities. The NCCD enables schools, education authorities and governments to better understand the needs of students with disabilities and how they can be best supported at school.

As a parent, guardian or carer, what do I need to know?

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) is a yearly count of students by all Australian schools across the country. The aim of the NCCD is to provide the Australian Government with information about the number of students with disability in Australian schools and the type of adjustments they need in order to access and participate in education on the same basis as other students. From 2018, the NCCD will be used by the Australian Government to inform funding for schools, known as the ‘student with disability loading’.

If you are a parent, guardian or carer of a child with disability who requires ongoing adjustments at school, a teacher or another school staff member will consult with you to understand your child’s needs. This collaborative approach ensures the most appropriate adjustments are chosen to support your child’s learning and participation at school. In some cases, an individual education plan (IEP) or personal learning plan (PLP) may be developed to document specific educational goals and to review your child’s progress over time.

Parent Webinar - How to Help Get (& Keep!) Your Child Motivated

Upcoming webinar for parents – How to Help Get (& Keep!) Your Child Motivated 

We’re excited to announce that on Wednesday May 10th, Elevate Education will be hosting its first free webinar of the term for parents.

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 10th May 

How to Help Get (& Keep) Your Child Motivated 

Click here to register for free

Here’s what Elevate will be covering on the night:

✅ What impact does praise and reassurance have on your child’s motivation?

✅ What are the best type of goals to be setting with your child?

✅ How can you help your child create meaningful and lasting motivation?

Enrolments and Scholarships

Applications for Enrolment

Do you have a daughter currently in Grade 5 and wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College? If so, please take note of the following enrolment dates for Year 7 2025:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 18 August 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Friday 20 October 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 10 November 2023

Online applications are open for Year 7 2025 can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.


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.

Important Dates

Thursday 4 May – Parent Teacher Interviews, early finish for students

Friday 5 May – Parent Teacher Interviews, independent study day for students

Tuesday 9 May – Parent Teacher Interviews, early finish for students

Wednesday 10 May – Parent Teacher Interviews, independent study day for students

Saturday 13 May – Mother’s Day High Tea