May 16, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Sports Update

Sophia Library News

Cahill House Celebration Day

Religion and Society

Little Shop of Horrors

Maytime Fair

Mock Interviews

Enrolments and Scholarships

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Introducing our new Social Worker

It has been a pleasure to welcome Karen Fitzpatrick as a member of staff. Karen joins our wellbeing team and will augment the services we are currently offering students and their families in the area of mental health and wellbeing. Karen will enable us to support a holistic and family centred approach to wellbeing within our school community. The school social work role is unique in its approach, as it focuses on the students in their school and broader social environment in order to promote and support successful educational outcomes.

Emerging from the COVID pandemic, coupled with other social stressors, our young people need as much support as possible to recover, strengthen and thrive in their education and personal development.

In Karen’s words…

‘One of the main contributions social workers make is having a holistic overview of the intersecting issues that people grapple with in their lives. This is underpinned by values of social justice and respect for human dignity. We have specialist clinical knowledge but also a much broader, systemic knowledge, skills and understanding of how to support people through the spectrum of challenges and transitions that arise in their lives. School social workers have specialist knowledge in working with children, young people and families to address issues such as social, emotional and mental health, life transitions, family change, managing study load, relationships, grief and loss, personal and social skill development and support for students with complex needs. Parents and carers play a valuable role in informing this work as well in order to meet the developmental, social and emotional needs of students and support them in their capacity to reach their full potential. I am a parent of two adolescent children and am well aware of the joys and challenges associated with this phase of the parenting journey. I am excited to become a part of the St Columba’s community, and getting to know students and their families’.

Welcome to Karen once again, who comes to us with expertise in hospital, community health, mental health and research settings, with a focus on women’s health and wellbeing through the life stages.

Young people and mobile phones

Adam Grant is an organisational psychologist and author who presents great research snippets through his social media presence. The latest piece of research relates to young people and mobile phones. In summary, “the earlier young people get smartphones, the worse their mental health as adults”. In a new study of more than 27,000 people, it was shown that owning a smartphone at a younger age “predicts lower self-worth, motivation and resilience. In addition, it also predicts more sadness, anxiety and aggression, especially for girls”. The recommendation in Adam’s summary is that smartphones should wait until high school.

A full copy of the research report can be found via this link. If you scroll towards the end of the report, there is a section that provides implications for parents. Our decision some years ago to remove phones from the school environment is also supported by the research. This is one area where we need to remain constantly vigilant, and we rely on parent support to remind students of the rules, and to reinforce our expectations when students choose to breach them.

House System Review

As you would be aware from the letter shared with you at the start of Term Two, we are conducting a review of our House System.

The review aims to capture voices and experiences across the whole school community, including current and past students, parents, teachers and leaders. This short video provides some background on the review.

Parents and guardians have a particular perspective that we are interested in understanding. Please take this opportunity to share your voice.

Survey – Please complete this anonymous 5-minute survey

Thanks so much for your contribution to this process. The survey will close on 31 May 2023.

If you have any questions, please do be in touch.


Last eek, our second group of Year 9 students went into the city on the faith aspect part of their Urban Experience program. Our students tackled the challenges of the day with enthusiasm and without complaint despite the poor weather. They heard from a group called Front Yard who are a crisis centre in Melbourne that deal with homelessness and they learnt about the many, and varied reasons for homelessness as they walked around the city and saw the places some people are forced to make a bed for the night, and the dangers associated with that. The students represented their college very well as they were guided around St Vincent’s Hospital, learning about its history and the service work began by our Sisters of Charity. They were challenged by and enjoyed the Cathedral Riddle Race as they learnt about the history of St Patrick’s Cathedral. They then enjoyed lunch in Collins Street before heading back to the Catholic Theological College where they took part in some art work and Ignatian Spirituality meditation.

Dear God,

We come to you today with grateful hearts for the opportunity to learn and grow in faith, both in and out of the classroom. We ask for your guidance and strength as we navigate the challenges of the world around us, and help us to be compassionate and understanding towards those who are less fortunate. Help us to recognise the efforts we can take to make better lives for others.

We thank you for the work of Front Yard and the many other organizations that strive to help those experiencing homelessness. May we continue to be inspired by the service of our Sisters of Charity and strive to make a positive difference in the lives of those in need.

We ask for your blessings on our Year 9 students who have embraced the Urban Experience program so far for those will in the future. Bless also, all those who work to spread your love and light in the world.

Venerable Mary Aikenhead, pray for us.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Education Program – Building Resilience in our Children

A reminder about our parent session which is fast approaching…

Mother’s Day High Tea

Our annual Mother’s Day High Tea was held on Saturday 13 May. Thank you to the mothers and daughters who attended this special event. It was wonderful to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing women in our students’ lives.

We were thrilled to partner with Taylor Made, who catered our event – the food was amazing! Thank you to our STEAM Leader, Sandra Boicos and our STEAM Technician, Jenn who allowed our students to create some earrings to give to their mums at the High Tea – it was a lovely surprise for them.

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC)

Our PEC is sponsoring our Father/Male Mentor & Child evening tonight. We look forward to a great night of connection and fun. Thank you, in advance, to everyone involved.

The PEC is always looking for greater parent involvement. If you are interested in coming along to the next meeting email the team at

Student Engagement Team 

This year our Student Engagement Team (SET) consisting of two house reps from each year level have been meeting regularly to discuss new ways to include student voice and opinion into the College’s goals regarding Learning & Teaching, Student wellbeing, School facilities and Co-curricular program. Previously, we came together with other House Reps at our Student Leadership training day to discuss the positives and negatives of school life which we named our ‘raps and niggles’. In our SET meetings we have been working with these niggles to collate and prioritise them and identify those most relevant to better our experience at school and those that we may be able to take action on or solve. Shortly, a survey will be sent to all of the students outlining five of the identified niggles that they will be asked to rank from 1-5. The niggles that are ranked 1 and 2 will become our priorities in making a change for this year.

Recently, Lucy Carroll, who is facilitating the College’s House Review, attended a meeting with the SET team. The team provided her with feedback about the types of questions that would be best to ask students and the format of the survey. We are looking forward to unpacking the data that Lucy collects about the House System.

Zara C, Year 10 O’Brien House Representative

Sports Update

We have three students who have been achieving amazing results with their swimming this year – both externally with their squad and also with the Catholic Girls Sport Association of Victoria.  Emily T (Year 9), Frances B (Year 9) and Katherine A (Year 7) all performed extremely well representing the college in the inter-school competition in March.  They were then invited by the CGSAV to represent them by competing in the VSAC competition last week.
The CGSAV team came in third overall with some fantastic results – Emily swimming a personal best in one of the events!
We are extremely proud of these students and look forward to continuing to follow their careers in swimming over the coming years.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Athletics Carnival results in the next edition!

Sophia Library News

This year for the first time SCC is participating in The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Shadow Judging Project. The Project aims to give students the opportunity to go through the process that a judge for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards would in order to award a book, the award of Book of the Year. The students taking part are joining students from all over Australia. 

A group of nine girls are currently reading the Older Readers Shortlist and one girl is reading the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Shortlist. Both lists are also being read by Library Staff. 

It has been interesting to see the reflections on the books from the girls. Towards the end of July, the girls will vote on a winner from each of their categories, which will be tallied with the votes of other students taking part in the Project. As a group they will also submit a creative response.

Cahill House Celebration Day

On Thursday 11 May, staff and students from Cahill House gathered together to celebrate our House and to reflect on the life and impact of our House patron Sister Mary John Cahill.

Our celebration began with a liturgy, taking a few quiet moments to consider how we can follow in the footsteps of Sister Mary John Cahill, before moving to the always popular pizza lunch and giant celebration cake.

It was a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate as a whole House, and think about our Patron:

Dear Lord,

May we be inspired by the life of Sister Mary John Cahill.

May we follow her example of leadership and courage and live justly in the same way she did.

May we show this through our actions of faith and love towards our family, friends and the community

We pray for the Cahill community and hope that we shall always walk together in the footsteps of the Sister of Charity.




Religion and Society

Students studying Unit 3 and 4 visited the Mary Mackillop Heritage centre as part of their studies. They toured around Melbourne with Sr Rita who educated them about Saint Mary Mackillop, her faith and life. The unit of study asks students to investigate how significant life experiences impact faith.

Little Shop of Horrors

Rehearsals have begun for the annual St Columba’s College and St Bernard’s College musical.

The cast will be performing their original version of the hilarious and terrifying musical comedy, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. The performance will be held at St Bernard’s in the auditorium and tickets will be on sale soon. 

Maytime Fair

On Saturday, 6 May, our Rock Band, Intermediate Band and Big Band performed at the Maytime Fair fundraiser.
Despite being a cold and miserable day, all ensembles performed exceptionally well at various locations.
For some of our students, it would have been their first experience performing outside of St Columba’s College. Other students were performing in more than one ensemble.
Hannah T and Lucia R owere both late additions to Big Band, performed for the first time with this ensemble on keyboards.
Both students have been involved in our Strings program since year 7.
The students involved were:
Saskia C
Georgia C
Ace C
Rachel D
Leila H
Annie J
Molly L
Jorja G
Mia M
ire O
Kate P
Lucia R
Taylah R
Siena S
Hannah T
Melissa T
Amelia U
Isabella V
Students, staff and parents had a wonderful time and were grateful for the performance opportunities.
To top it off, Rock Band won the Battle of the Bands. They won a 6-hour recording session at Xavier College recording studios. The students were taken on a tour to the recording studios at the end of the day.

Mock Interviews

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

Wednesday 17 May – Year 8 Reflection Day

Thursday 18 May – Cater House Representative House Partnership Excursion

Friday 19 May – Staff Resilience First Aid Training, Student Independent Learning Day

Wednesday 24 May – Fuse Cup

Friday 26 May – SCSA Athletics Competition

Monday 29 May – Principal for a Day