May 3, 2019

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Principal's Message

Eastertide Prayer

PAM - User Support

Staff Professional Learning

Scholarships & Enrolment

Year 7 Camp

Sports News

House News

Library News

Faith News

Careers News

Principal's Message

Progress Interviews

Thanks to all the families who took the opportunity to attend progress interviews for their daughters over the last two weeks. These interviews are one means of receiving feedback about your daughter’s progress with her studies, in addition to the feedback you should be receiving through the Parent Access Module (PAM). Of course, if you have questions or concerns at any point I would encourage you to make contact with your daughter’s teacher.


The work that is planned for learning, teaching and assessment is mapped against the Victorian Curriculum, and teacher assessment is always against standards that are described for each area of the curriculum we teach. In this way our assessment of learning is criterion-referenced – we use a variety of student work across the course of a unit to determine student achievement and progress against standards. It is important that accurate and honest feedback is provided to students to support them to set goals for their own learning, and to have an understanding of what they need to do to improve. Student self-reflection using feedback provided is a meta-cognitive process whereby students relate their feedback from teachers, to the progression against the standards summarised in the unit rubric. This is an important skill in itself as we support our students to be self-determining and self-driven learners.


College Uniform Survey

One of the most recognisable features of any school is the uniform worn by its students. A uniform should establish a sense of pride, belonging, purpose and identity among students. The College uniform and the way it is worn provides a statement about the way we perceive ourselves and the way in which the public perceives us.


All students share in the responsibility to maintain the College’s reputation by the correct wearing of the uniform.


We also expect that parents will support the College by ensuring their daughter(s) is/are equipped to wear the correct College uniform each day.


A Uniform Review Committee has been established to consider the current uniform and grooming requirements with a view to potentially make some adjustments that take into account the feedback from students, parents and staff of St Columba’s College.


We ask that you complete the following preliminary survey to help the Committee with their deliberations and decisions.


Please click on the link below and complete this survey by 9.00 am, Wednesday 15 May 2019.


2019 College Uniform Survey for Parents


Eastertide Prayer

As we continue our Easter celebrations until the great feast of Pentecost, we celebrate God present amongst us and we ask for help as we work towards building God’s kingdom.


God of our journey, God of hope,

we give you thanks and praise,

as we gather in this second week of our new term together.

May all who are part of this community

find a welcome place to grow and be.

Especially at this Easter time,

give us the grace to begin our journey

with hope and joy.


This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


PAM - User Support

This year we have expanded on our use of the Parent Access Module (PAM) associated with our learning management system SIMON. Building upon the use of PAM for ongoing assessment results and Interim and End of Semester Report access, we now also employ this system for excursion notifications and medical information for your daughter. As the functional design of the system is expanded by the organisation, we will be rolling out further functions when they become available.


For your benefit, we have created a step-by-step user manual. To access this guide, open via PAM via the following steps:


1. Access PAM via the homepage on desktop (left, red boxes) or mobile (right, last navy box):




2. Log in to PAM. Enter your Parent ID and Password (you should already have this information. If not, please contact Helpdesk on 9331 9107 or email If you have forgotten your password, click ‘Forgot Password’ below the username and password boxes to reset it.


3. The guide can be found in the Parent Links section (refer to E in the image below) of the loading page.


4. The user manual includes information on the different sections of the module as well as instructions for accessing and using specific functions. See image of the contents page below.


If you have any further questions in the use of PAM, please contact Helpdesk on 9331 9107 or email


Staff Professional Learning

On the last day of Term 1 during the student free day, the teaching staff undertook professional learning with a focus on improvement. The focus for the day was based on the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s ‘Standards for Teachers’. The Learning Objectives for the day centred on using evidence to inform our practice and differentiating our learning and teaching. As the College is collaborating with the Melbourne University Graduate School of Education in 2019, we had guest facilitators attend and work with our staff.


The three sessions throughout the day linked to our Annual Action Plan as we continue to build an inclusive learning culture that supports students to achieve their potential. Our community’s drive to improve learning, teaching and wellbeing at St Columba’s will continue throughout the year as we explore new ways to challenge our students.

Scholarships & Enrolment

Year 7 2021 Enrolment

A reminder to parents if you currently have a daughter in Grade 5 and you wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College, please ensure that you have submitted an Application for Enrolment Form. Application forms can be downloaded from the website or you may collect one from Reception.


Applications for Year 7 2021 close on Friday 23 August 2019.


Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2021 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2020. Details and online registration are available on the College website.


Registration closing date is Wednesday 5 June 2019


Scholarship testing date is Saturday 15 June 2019


Year 7 Camp

From Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 March, Year 7 students and teachers attended a camp at Camp Marysville. The Year 7 students had an opportunity to participate in a number of activities including canoeing, a bush walk, bush skills, initiatives, an indigenous cultural session and a climbing wall. They also spent a night sleeping in a tent and experienced camp cooking, as well as sleeping in a cabin for a night. Here are some reflections from a few Year 7 students, and some snapshots from the camp:


Year 7 Camp was an incredible experience that taught us many important attributes such as teamwork, confidence, courage, respect, kindness, generosity and more. We also had an opportunity to learn about the aboriginal people and the land that we were visiting.


We were invited to participate in a variety of activities such as climbing, canoeing, bush skills, a cultural session, aboriginal storytelling, a campfire and much more. Some of these activities were a great opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. This was particularly evident in the rock climbing/abseiling and canoeing. We were able to encourage each other and support each other as we completed the tasks that we may not have originally felt comfortable doing. This was a great way to get to know each other, support one another and try something new because while some of us were fairly confident in some of the activities, others were less confident and needed assistance and encouragement.


This experience was also a great opportunity to learn about the culture of the Indigenous Australians who had originally lived on the land. We learnt about this through a cultural session and a night time aboriginal storytime session.

Overall, this was a really great experience and I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate. I learnt so much through this experience and I found that OEG did a wonderful job organising the camp so that we could all have a great time. This was an amazing chance to learn more about the people in our group, have a fun experience and learn skills about teamwork, courage, respect, confidence and more. I found the camp to be a really worthwhile and enjoyable experience. – Madeleine Campana OBNJ1


I had a great time at camp. The activities I enjoyed were canoeing and bush skills which included building a hut. I had a go at rock climbing but didn’t feel like it was for me – but at least I challenged myself to try it. On the first night, I was in a cabin and I liked how we got to pick who we wanted to share a cabin with.


On the second day, we had some more activities. My favourite activities that day were building a hut and setting up the tent because we slept in a tent on the second night. We then made our own dinner as a group which was spaghetti bolognese which tasted pretty good for cooking food outdoors! We then sat by the fire, where we roasted marshmallows and an OEG person made nursery rhymes into a rap song with us doing a beat to it and repeating him. This was a very fun part of my experience at camp in Marysville. After this, we went back to our tents and got ready for bed. On the third day, we packed up, got ready for the day ahead of us and had breakfast. We then moved into our last activity which was rock climbing and afterwards, had lunch. After lunch, the OEG people said goodbye to us and we went home on the bus.


My reflection on camp overall is that I had a great experience and made some new friends that I had never talked to before. Camp has given me some confidence and independence which will help me in the future. It has taught me to not be afraid when facing new experiences. – Rosie Zuccarelli CTRJ2


Sports News

SCSA Swimming and Diving


The SCSA Division 1 Swimming Competition was held on Wednesday 3 April at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.  In the weeks leading up to the competition, in the early hours of the morning, while most of us were curled up in our warm beds savouring the final hour of sleep, the members of the St Columba’s College swim team were steadily counting the laps up and down the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre pool. Lap after the lap, the girls trained hard and gave their all to represent the College.  Although we were outclassed on the night, it was not due to a lack of effort or determination. The entire swim team competed with enthusiasm and grit and demonstrated the St Columba’s spirit.


The night started really well with the senior medley relay team placing 5th. Best overall swimmer, with an outstanding result, is Alex Arrowsmith who came first in the intermediate 50 metres freestyle! A special mention and award for Best Team Members go to Clare Kelly and Alessandra Dent. Not only did these girls compete in a huge number of events, but they managed to place in the majority of the events they competed in. Super job girls and well done! Also, huge congratulations to our STC diving team who placed 5th. Notably, Charlise Rizzo placed second in her division while Elena Shnaber and Riley Firman placed 3rd in their respective divisions. Best Newcomer goes to Jemima Davis. Fantastic effort on the night, we loved your enthusiasm and we look forward to seeing you achieve fabulous things as part of the swim team for many years to come.


Where would a sporting team be without its supporters and cheer squad? Huge thanks go to Ally Doyle, Briante Gillian and Isabella Santilli for coming along on the night, cheering us on and making us all feel loved and supported. Great job girls – couldn’t have done it without you!


And finally, a huge thank you to Ms Robinson, Ms Krajcer and Mr Le Joseph – our super coaches who were also up at the crack of dawn, counting our laps and encouraging us the whole way. Thank you for sharing your expertise, advice and motivation. We appreciate all of your hard work in preparing us for this competition.


Once again, well done to all of the girls who swam, dived and cheered us on! It was great to be a part of this team and it will be missed next year. – Donicka Birch, St Columba’s 2019 Swimming Co-Captain




On the weekend of 23 and 24 April, the St Columba’s rowing teams participated at two regattas for the first time after ten weeks of training. The first day was down on the Footscray straight, with wet weather and even wetter socks. For our first experience racing, the 750 metres seemed less intimidating than expected. The year 12’s, though unfortunately suffering one dislodged seat, meaning one less member rowing, had fun racing a team with three years’ experience. There was great support and encouragement from the sidelines though we lacked experience and the rain showed no sign of stopping. The next day, however, the weather had cleared up and the races were more intense. The Essendon club Henley regatta was only 350 metres and the competition was incredibly fast. Still proud of our efforts, all the St Columba’s teams revelled in the fact that we technically walked away with a gold, silver and bronze, competing in three boat heats. The regattas were good fun altogether and we definitely look forward to more! – Faye Shee-Durnion




The Athletics carnival on April 2 brought a day full of  joy and school spirit. The day consisted of multiple activities and students taking part in a variety of events. As for Cater, we experienced a great victory of placing first in 3 components and the overall winner for Athletics Carnival 2019. It was fantastic to see the girls in Cater come together as a house by students offering to fill a spot in the race. The novelties and the teacher-student relay always spark up good fun, as does the Year 12’s annual costume parade. The Year 12 tradition continued with students getting creative with their costumes, adding to the positive feel for the day. Cater was extremely elated with our performance which was definitely evident with the cheering and celebration heard! I thank all the girls for their hard work who made my last athletics carnival one I’ll never forget! – Melissa Mazzeo, Cater House Captain

The Athletics Carnival results can be accessed here, including personal records and aggregate results for each House. Below are the overall House results:

House News

Congratulations to Emily Portaro (Yr 10, DLYS1) for winning her Triple Jump Event at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney in early April. Emily won the nationals under 17s with a personal best of 12.07m. Well done Emily!





Library News

Library Opening Hours – Term 2

Monday – Thursday 7.45am – 4.30pm

Friday                       7.45am – 4.00pm


Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge 2019

The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge is now open and St Columba’s is excited to be participating again this year! The Challenge requires students from Year 7-10 to read 15 books (10 from the book lists and 5 of their own choosing). Of course, they can read EVEN more if they like!

Getting involved is easy:

1. Students can let a library staff member know they are keen to participate. They will register students online.


2. Once registered, students can log in using their personal username and password.


2. If you would like their name to appear on the online Honour Roll, a parent/guardian will need to provide permission via CareMonkey – a letter will be sent out by the school via that medium.


4. It’s reading time! Students then enter the books they’ve read into their online record.


5. Once students have completed the challenge, they will need to hand into library staff a printed list of their completed books, signed by a parent/guardian. Staff will then verify that they have completed the Challenge.


For more information about the Challenge and to view the book lists, visit The Library also has hard copies of the book lists available for students to look at. We would love it if you could encourage students to get involved!


Top 10 Reads

At the end of each term, the Top 10 most popular reads are collated from borrowing statistics, then displayed in the Library.  Term 1’s Top 10 reads were as follows:

1) To all the boys I’ve loved before – Jenny Han

2) Archie: Volume 1 – Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish

3) Unmasked: young adult edition – Turia Pitt

4) We are displaced: my journey and stories from refugee girls around the world – Malala Yousafzai and Liz Welch

5) The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne

6) Red queen – Victoria Aveyard

7) The sun is also a star – Nicola Yoon

8) Heartless – Marissa Meyer

9) The hate U give – Angie Thomas

10) Phantom Limbs – Paula Garner


Student book reviews

A child called It – Dave Pelzer

Review By: Elona Wong


The book “A Child Called It” is an autobiography written by Dave Pelzer about his horrible childhood, caused by abuse from his alcoholic mother. Throughout the book, you read about how torturous his mother was to him through her “games,” and how she would use food to threaten him. Suffering from his mother’s abuse, he uses his motivation and strength to share his story. The book’s themes are abuse, sadness, emotion and torture.


Unmasked: Young Readers’ Edition – Turia Pitt

Review By: Kristina Rados


Unmasked is a biography about Turia Pitt and how her life was dramatically affected while she was competing in a one hundred kilometre ultra-marathon in the Kimberley, Western Australia in 2011. During the marathon, Turia was trapped in a fire which resulted in 60% of her body being burnt. While her injuries were horrific and she was both physically and emotionally scarred, her book focuses on the event and how she continues to live her life since.


Assassination Classroom – Yusei Matsui

Review By: Kata Jugovic


I recommend this book series because it’s really fun to read – because of the fact that a class full of failures suddenly have something so important to do, that could cost them their very lives if they don’t do something about it.  The book’s themes are action, friendship and mystery.


Faith News

Annual Shoah Memorial Service Reflection


On 29 April, the four of us attended the Annual Shoah Memorial Service at Siena College in Camberwell. The service was a Christian commemoration of the tragedy of the Holocaust. It was a wonderful evening as both the Christian and Jewish community were united to remember those who died in the massacre. Students draped the altar in a black cloth symbolising death, a yellow star such as that with which Jews were marked in Nazi Germany, and a white cloth symbolising holiness and rebirth. Six candles were lighted, representing the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a final candle, the Candle of Hope. A Shoah survivor was invited to speak and a member of the Jewish community recited the Kaddish – the traditional Jewish prayer for those who have died. – Lara Yildiz, Alyssa Origlia, Quynh Pham and Alana Werden (pictured).




Days for Girls – Movie Fundraiser

Days for Girls is an organisation that our students work with to create reusable feminine hygiene kits for girls in Timor Leste. On Monday 13 May, DFG will be hosting a movie fundraiser, showing the film ‘Top End Wedding’. Please see the flyer below for more information:


Days for Girls Movie Fundraiser – Flyer


Careers News

The latest Careers Newsletter is available for download below. It contains information on the VCE and Careers Expo, upcoming tertiary information evenings for both prospective students and parents, and key websites. The Early Entry Schemes for 2020 flyer can also be accessed below.

Careers Newsletter – May 3 2019

Early Entry Schemes 2020