April 29, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Year 7 Camp Marysville

Year 9 Camp

2022 SCSA Swimming Competition

Year 7 Writing Competition

2022 Languages Poster Competition

Moonee Valley City Council - Parent Survey

NCCD and Supporting Students with Disability

College Online Shop

Principal's Message

Welcome Back

It has been a pleasure to welcome students and staff back on site, and I know that everyone is looking forward to a productive and engaging term ahead.

I provided an update regarding our COVID-safe measures, as we commence the term, in the letter emailed to all families on 26 April. Please take the time to review these measures.

We opened the term with a wonderful assembly, celebrating the achievements of Term 1, and acknowledging Anzac Day with a special service. At this time, when war rages in Ukraine, it is especially pertinent for us to remember, and learn from, the conflicts of the past. It was a privilege to welcome Bradley Clark, Bill Anderson and James Cooper, past servicemen who are either friends or family members of our students. They participated in the wreath laying ceremony, and joined us for the remainder of the assembly. Their presence made this an especially significant service.

In this special anniversary year for the College, I spoke to the students about the first call for students in 1897, and the characteristics of the first Principal, Mother Ursula Bruton.

This is the advertisement for the College that appeared in the Essendon Gazette on 1 July 1897.




Conducted by the Sisters of Charity.

Under the patronage of His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne

The course of studies embraces all the branches of a high-class English Education: Latin and the Modern languages; Elocution and Calisthenics; Vocal and Instrumental Music, including Pianoforte, Organ and Violin; Painting, Illuminating, and Needlework in all its branches.

Pupils are prepared for the Matriculation Examination, Melbourne University, and also for the Theoretical and Practical Musical Examinations, Royal Academy, London. Every attention is paid to the Moral and Religious training of the pupils, and the acquirement by them of natural and refined manners is made the subject of constant watchfulness.

The College will open on Tuesday 13th, July, 1897. Prospectus forwarded on application to the Superioress.

Does that look like anything we do today – in parts yes. I want to focus on who the Superioress was – Mother Ursula Bruton.

At the end of 1895, Mother Ursula was transferred to Melbourne from Sydney. She was commissioned with the task of establishing a convent for the Sisters of Charity in Essendon. She also took responsibility for St Monica’s in Essendon and found herself with a primary school which catered for students only as far as eighth grade. She began an enthusiastic and tireless campaign. With resources secured by convincing local community members about the importance of a quality Catholic education for all, a commitment to hard work and an endeavour to make a positive difference to others through education, she purchased the Gillespie Mansion (now known as the Bruton Building) and opened as St Columba’s Ladies College on 13 July 1897. Sadly, she was not permitted to see St Columba’s College flourish. She died rather suddenly on 4 November 1899 after developing pneumonia. The report in the Essendon Gazette of the time states:

Simple in her life, beautiful in her mind, her remembrance will be long cherished by the Catholics of Essendon, by folk of other denominations and particularly by the scholars of the convent, who adored her and were deeply affected by her death.

From writings about the establishment of our College, this is what we know about our first College Principal – Of strong and resolute character, she was blessed with a uniformly calm and gentle manner, her very presence commanded attention and respect. She was renowned for her discipline, tempered by a loving heart, and a warm concern for each one under her care. She had a special gift of making each student feel that she had a personal interest in her and all her concerns.

We are grateful to this legend of a woman for what we enjoy today, for her visionary leadership, her belief in the power of education, especially for girls, for her commitment to partnership and for using her talents and the resources at hand to empower and lift others. Remember, the quote I shared with you at the beginning of the year – one of my favourites:

“start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”

Mother Ursula Bruton all over, I believe. Today, we remember Mother Ursula Bruton, and give thanks for a woman of unconquerable spirit whose vision to educate young women beyond early secondary school blazed a trail for girls’ education years before its time.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Election Statement 2022

I have attached a statement

from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. It encourages us to consider how our vote can best support the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Some food for thought. The statement offers a different perspective about the key issues for our society as we consider the best way to exercise our democratic right to contribute to the future of our nation.

“As we offer this statement, we acknowledge no one political party fully embodies Catholic social teaching. Nevertheless, we offer this statement to encourage Catholics and people of good will to reflect on the good they can do for their community by using their vote for the good of all.”

Global Mentoring Program

As part of our association with the Alliance of Girls schools Australasia, we have two current students who will participate in the 2022 Global Student Mentoring Programme. This is a mentorship program for Year 11 students designed to help them fulfil their potential, build skills for the achievement of future goals and create international connections with like-minded young women.

We congratulate Monique Davood and Sarah Truccolo who expressed interest in the program and have been selected to participate in the pilot program this year.

Monique Davood and Sarah Truccolo

The program was also seeking past students to act as mentors, and after advertising amongst our Alumnae, Emily Abdilla, a past student of the College, has been selected to mentor Monique and Sarah. We look forward to hearing about the opportunity that this provides for our students.


Resurrection Light

Risen Christ, when darkness overwhelms us

may your dawn beckon.

When fear paralyses us 

may your touch release us.

When grief torments us 

may your peace enfold us.

When memories haunt us 

may your presence heal us.

When justice fails us 

may your anger ignite us.

When apathy stagnates us 

may your challenge renew us.

When courage leaves us 

may your spirit inspire us.

When despair grips us 

may your hope restore us. 

And when death threatens us 

may your resurrection light lead us.


Annabel Shilson-Thomas/CAFOD

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Education Program – Sharon Torpey from Drug Education Australia

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.

Drug Education Australia delivers education programs to school communities and sporting groups, providing the latest and most accurate information around drug and alcohol use. Sharon is a qualified Health Education Teacher, with 25 years of experience connecting with young people and their parents. She has three children of her own so can empathise with parents and carers regarding the challenges of supporting and guiding young people through the teenage years.

The objective here is to build young people’s capacity to make safer, healthier decisions while they enjoy growing independence. Parents and Carers are a key component to achieving this objective as research shows that young people who remain connected to their families and communities are less likely to experience problems with drugs.

Our Parents/Caregivers’ sessions will provide:

  • current information about drug use in this age group,
  • up to date information about specific drugs that are more common for this age group including alcohol, vaping, and cannabis.
  • information about the teenage brain and how this influences their decision making, risk-taking, and connection and communication with parents/carers
  • helpful tips and strategies to help parents and carers to support their young people with their safer, healthier decisions.
  • time to answer your questions.

Never underestimate the impact you as a parent or carer can have on your child’s decision-making.  Research shows that parent/carer disapproval is the number 1 reason teenagers don’t experiment with alcohol and other drugs.

By working as a team parent, school, and community we can empower our young people to make safer and healthier decisions

“Knowledge gives young people the power to make informed decisions.”

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

College Assembly

On our first day of term students and staff attended a College Assembly. We took the opportunity to acknowledge Easter, to recap on the wonderful events of term 1, highlight upcoming events and also to commemorate ANZAC Day with a special service. We were privileged to have servicemen, relatives and friends of our students, present to assist with the wreath laying.

We thank the following special guests for their attendance which certainly enhanced our service:

I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional bugle playing of The Last Post and The Rouse by Meghan Price.

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. Students and parents have until the 10 May to complete the survey.

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

Year 7 Camp Marysville

This year, the 2022 Year 7s were fortunate enough to go on camp! Year 7 camp has not been held in a few years due to the covid-19 pandemic. However this year was different. The Year 7s attended the marvelous Camp Marysville which contained a ravishing campsite, spectacular views, a range of animals and incredible amusement activities. The excitement of this event filled the bodies of many of the girls, and also a few of the teachers. In spite of this, there were many fun and amusing activities that the Year 7 girls participated in. Some of which were rock climbing, cycling, bush walking, initiatives, bush crafts and loads more. All of those activities gave the Year 7s a rollercoaster of emotions, especially the rock climbing. While some girls might say it was a breeze others might say it was ridiculously high and absolutely terrifying. These activities required the girls to use their mental, physical, and some of their social abilities. However, it was still a good experience to encounter. 

Not just that but we learnt life lessons that would stick with us in case of emergencies. One of them was how to start a fire using different materials such as a flint and steel. The staff there were impeccable. They helped the girls in many ways and were always there to help. They were vibrant, encouraging and optimistic leaders that helped make camp as memorable as possible. They were amazing moral support and were always trying to find ways to push us out of our comfort zones. The Year 10 Peer Support Leaders were also great and encouraging. This helped many of the girls feel brave and good about themselves that they had accomplished one of their goals.

The Year 7s were extremely grateful that they had the privilege to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity and are extremely thankful. 

Year 9 Camp

The Year 9 camp is an opportunity for the students of St Columba’s College to challenge themselves, in a controlled environment, to push past discomforts and difficulties alongside their peers. This year, the students participated in high ropes activities, abseiling, flying foxes and hikes as activities, and tents, camp cooking and constantly being with others as their challenges outside of the activities.

 “We were able to have small games throughout each day, like minute to win it games where we were put in small groups and versed another camp group in one minute games. We also got to do fun activities such as abseiling, archery, hikes, high ropes and low ropes. A super fun experience is when we got to stargaze and reflect on our time. During camp everyone had the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone. This whole experience was great, it was so much fun and an amazing opportunity to learn life skills. We had amazing camp guides and teachers to support us along the way. It was great to be able to learn how to make our own food and set up our tents. It was a lovely trip filled with lots of laughter and teamwork.” 

Emily Peraic and Sacha Pondeljak

2022 SCSA Swimming Competition

On Thursday night 31st March, we took a team of St Columba’s best swimmers to the SCSA Swimming competition at MSAC.  Due to covid we did have a smaller team than usual but parents were able to attend this year and with their support our Juniors were awarded 1st place in division 2!

A big congratulations to all swimmers for their hard work and dedication during the busy 1st term.  A special thank you to the small group of intermediate and senior swimmers who rose to the challenge of swimming as many races as they could possibly do for this competition.  The entire team competed with enthusiasm and demonstrated the St Columba’s spirit.

The team would like to say a special thank you to the coaches Mr Mercieca, Ms Marusic, Ms Krajcer and Ms Robinson for their commitment once again this year.  Thank you for sharing your expertise, advice and motivation.

Once again congratulations team!

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 300 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 second week of Term 2.

2022 Languages Poster Competition

Each year, all students are invited to create a poster to promote Languages at St Columba’s College. The poster must promote all three languages offered at the college and the importance of learning a language. This year is was great to see the so many students get involved. The entries we received were of excellent quality making it very difficult for the judges to choose a winner. 

The 2022 Languages poster competition winner is Kiran Nasir of Year 9. Kiran’s Languages poster will be displayed around the College to help promote the importance of learning a language. The runners-up were Isabella Adigrati and Maja Jugovic. Congratulations to Kiran and all the girls who entered.

Poster by Kiran Nasir

Moonee Valley City Council - Parent Survey

Better Moves Around Schools (BMAS) expanded program is a long-term partnership between Council and school leaders in Moonee Valley to encourage walking and cycling to and from school, and to reduce road safety issues around schools.

Your response to this survey will assist us in better understanding current travel patterns to and from school.

This survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete, and is designed for parents and their child/children who attend school in Moonee Valley. We encourage parents to complete this survey with their child/children as the input of students is valuable.

Your responses to this survey are completely anonymous and will be presented in group form alongside the responses of other people who participate. For further information, please see our privacy policy.


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.

Access the NCCD fact sheet here.

College Online Shop

The College has set up a College Online Shop that will enable all non school fees payments to be easily made online. The College Online Shop can be accessed via SEQTA and/or the College website.
All communications regarding required payments of certain items will have a link to enable you to access the College Online Shop even quicker.
The College is wanting to ensure that all non school fees payments are made through the College Online Shop after 31 May 2022.
Should you have any queries regarding this easier payments process, please contact the College Receptionist in the first instance