May 27, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Year 11 History Excursion

Year 9 Mock Interviews

Languages Club

International Women in Mathematics Day

Year 7 Swimming at VU

Year 9 Self-defence

SCSA Basketball Competitions


Principal's Message

New Child Safe Standards

As you may be aware Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards come into effect from 1 July, following approval of the Child Wellbeing and Safety (Child Safe Standards Compliance and Enforcement) Act Amendment 2021 (Vic) introducing Ministerial Order No. 1359 Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the Risk of Child Abuse in Schools and School Boarding Premises (replacing Ministerial Order 870).

The 11 new Child Safe Standards will replace Victoria’s current seven standards and are more closely aligned with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.  If you would like more detail about the 11 new standards and what is changing, you can read the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) Information Sheet, which can be found by clicking on this link.

This past week, all College staff spent time with the new standards, understanding the content of each standard and the implications for policy and practice at the College.  There was a great sense that the College is already an inherently safe child safe organisation with the safety and wellbeing of our young people a priority for all staff members.  There will be some amendments required to policy and procedure to reflect the new standards; this will certainly build on existing policy and practice at the College.

To ensure a smooth transition to the new standards, a new Child Safe Team has been established.  Its members are:

  • Rita Grima, Principal
  • Brigitte McDonald, Deputy Principal
  • Rebecca Spiteri, Acting Head of Students
  • Nicole Mazzarella, Cater House Leader
  • Oliviah Chitima, Student Counsellor

We look forward to the work which will continue to build on the culture of child safety and wellbeing that is already strong and resonant across the College.

Staff Conference

It was a pleasure to spend two days of learning and companionship at the Staff Conference last Thursday and Friday.  Our staff were inspired in their work as Catholic educators by three speakers, who were described by staff members as “prophets of our time”.

Fr Michael Trainor, spoke to us about the political, social, economic and religious context of the agrarian community that was Jesus’ world.  We were led to understand the rich symbolism in the Gospels, particularly the parables, and what gave rise to Jesus’ prophetic response at the time.  Fr Michael has a way of breaking open scripture that inspires and challenges us to reflect on the values inherent in Jesus’ message within our own lives.

Sr Cathy Meese, spoke about her vocation as a Sister of Charity and what people on the margins, who were the focus of her ministry, taught her about our response to human needs.  Sr Cathy’s humility, gentleness and profound love for those with whom she worked touched hearts, and reminded us about the tradition of service and love we have inherited from the Sisters of Charity.

Dr Dan Fleming works as an ethicist with St Vincent’s Health Australia.  He challenged us to bring values and action together – how we live is the key evidence for what we believe. Dan led us in reflecting on how we are attuned to God’s presence in our lives – the call is there all the time if we listen to it.

At this time when schools are facing heightened challenges, the opportunity to reconnect with our purpose was both timely and necessary and allowed for us to remember that as a Mary Aikenhead Ministries College, in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity, we embody a tradition that can give great goodness to the world.


God of all creation,

as we journey together in this Great Southern Land,

we pray for healing, forgiveness and unity,

creating a path of good will, with justice and compassion.

Jesus, through the power of your love, you have given us the courage, wisdom and strength to share our gifts and talents in humility.

In peace and understanding we reconcile with each other.

Creator Spirit, we come together in prayer and thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received. Allow your Spirit to wash over us and give us strength to walk together as one.

View Reconciliation posters and resources here.

Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Education Program – Sharon Torpey from Drug Education Australia

As part of our Parent Education Program, we hosted 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.

We thank the parents who took the time to be with us on the evening and it was clear that those who attended, appreciated the opportunity to hear from Sharon, share ideas with other parents and ask questions.

We provide this link to a recording of the event for those who may be interested in this session.

St. Columba’s Day – Thursday 16 June

This year we have an amazing opportunity to celebrate St Columba’s Day as a whole school group. The Student Executive is working very hard with staff to organise a meaningful and fun-filled day for students and staff.

The structure of the day will be as follows:

8:35am – 10:20amStudents meet at the river near Aberfeldie

“Walking for the Margins”

(monies raised for Sisters of Charity)

10:20am – 10:30amHouse Group
10:30am – 11:00amSetting up stalls/food/activities
11:00am – 2:00pmCarnival


Our theme of going to the margins is being embraced by students and staff alike with a special walk on the morning of our celebration day. The first Sisters of Charity were walkers! They walked to meet people in their homes, work places, on the street and in prison. In this journeying with others they become more beloved among the community and have left us with a legacy that calls us to action.

We are asking families to donate what you can between $10 – $50 through the school shop with all money going to work inspired by the Sisters. Parents will then need to login to the shop using their shop (CDF Pay) login details. Once in, select St Columba’s Shop – School Payments – Walk for the Margins. You may then select the amount you wish to donate from the list and process your payment. Students are encouraged to seek sponsorship for this money or work for these funds if they are able.

In donating towards this event, we can each participate in fundraising as ministry, as Henry Nouwen calls it. This act of financial support is investing in the good works of the Sisters through the resources that God has given you – your energy, your prayers and financial resources. In providing for others we hope to continue the legacy of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity Australia.

If the weather is inclement, the community will be advised early on that morning. In the event of this, students will be advised to arrive at school by 10.15am in time for House Group. We understand that some students may not be able to complete the walk. If this is the case for your child, you will be provided with an exemption form to complete.

More details are contained within a letter which has been sent home to families. The contents of the letter will also be shared with students via email.

We are looking forward to a wonderful celebration!

Year 11 History Excursion

On the 5th of May, our Year 11 History class was granted the opportunity to go to Melbourne University and the National Gallery of Victoria. This outing was to consolidate our understanding of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Sparta, the subjects we have been studying over the last term. The highlight was undoubtedly the Object-Based Learning Lab at Melbourne University, as entry into the lab and handling items within it is an opportunity rarely offered even to students studying at the University. Dr Monique Webber, a professor at the University, led us through a program where we examined and even held ancient artefacts and items, the oldest being from 5000 BCE. We were able to study the contextual references of the pieces and their relativity to populated stories, customs and figures through activities Dr Webber provided to further our knowledge of these archaic times and their respective ethos. Following the University, we enjoyed a tour of the major artworks in relation to Egypt, Greece and Sparta at the National Gallery. We explored the conventions of the artworks and displays, one of which was a collection of Ancient Egyptian pots over time, showcasing the development of the Ancient Egyptians functionality. Conclusively the day allowed us to approach History by more visual and interpretive means and gave our class a deeper understanding of these ancient periods by studying the makings of thousands of years ago. 

Year 9 Mock Interviews

We are looking for St Columba’s College parents who are free to interview Year 9 Students on Monday 20 June, Tuesday 21 June or Wednesday 22 June.

For more information or to get involved click here.

Languages Club

There has been a lot of activity in Languages Club over the past few weeks with students engaging in a variety of cultural activities. 


On Thusrday 5 May, students were invited to participate in celebrations for Children’s Day (子供の日, Kodomo no hi), a Japanese commemorative day that is celebrated on 5 May each year. This day is a national public holiday in Japan. The purpose of this event is to honor and celebrate the strength, happiness, and individuality of children. Carp streamers (koinobori) are placed on flagpoles outside the homes of many Japanese families, each carp representing members o the family. Japanese families may also display a samurai doll and the traditional Japanese military helmet (kabuto) . 

The St Columba’s Students who took part in the festivities of Children’s Day made samurai helmets from newspapers, an activity enjoyed by many Japanese children, and enjoyed some Japanese treats. 


On Wednesday 18 May, the Year 9 students of Japanese participated in a Manga drawing workshop with artist Kenny Chan. Kenny also attended Languages Club to work with students from different year levels across the College. Students learnt to create a variety of original Manga characters using different techniques. 

“The manga workshop we took part in during a class and over the duration of lunch was fun and engaging. Everyone got a chance to improve on their skills, and also to learn new things. Overall it was a great experience.”

Aislin Leahy Year 9 

International Women in Mathematics Day

Every year Women in Mathematics Day is celebrated on the 12th of May. This date coincides with the birthday of Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal. On this day, organisations around the world celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in mathematics and statistics. Students at the college were invited to reflect and answer the following question:

What does maths taste like and why?

Here were some of the responses:

To me, Maths tastes exactly like bitter melon. 

As we know, bitter melon doesn’t taste great but is extremely beneficial for our body as it gives us vitamin C. The same way maths can be very hard at first, but it is a great way to exercise our brain, keep it working and healthy. We may not like the taste of bitter melon, but many years ago people used it to treat diabetes and some people still eat it for that reason.
The same way we may not understand the benefits of maths or the uses of it in our daily life, but without maths we wouldn’t know such simple things like the time or date. 

-Arpita Sondhi

Maths tastes like a smoothie filled with lots of ingredients and flavours because all the flavours are hitting you at once in the smoothie, symbolising all the ways you could solve the problem coming to you at once, which can be very exciting and overwhelming at times.

Maths tastes like a swig of orange juice because it wakes you up, just like maths wakes up your brain and gets it working, thinking of new ideas and paths to take.

Maths tastes like a chocolate filled with ganache because you have to sometimes work hard to crack the shell and get to the creamy centre. Also because cracking the shell or breaking the barrier opens up new and exciting possibilities, new creative ways to solve the problem. It is like looking at the problem in a different way. 

Anne Bartolo Harding



Year 7 Swimming at VU

This term, the Year 7s have been doing a swimming unit at the Victoria University pool. We caught a bus to the pool each session and caught the bus back to school again. At the pool, we were split into 3 groups, for a half hour swimming lesson, 3 times this term. It was a fun experience, a time where we could learn loads and hang out in the pool with our friends. At the pool, we learnt 3 main strokes; breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle. We learnt how to safely jump into any kind of water, from murky and dark to poisoned and unsafe. We learnt how to do survival backstroke, and practised kicking and treading water. Overall, it was a fun experience for all.

Year 9 Self-defence

Combining Mr Bramham’s PE class and Mr Mercieca’s PE class we were able to do some partner work and understand key points about self-defence. During our self-defence incursion, Jazmine and Dat (our instructors) taught us about the importance of self-defence. Self-defence is a way to protect our family, friends, pets, selves and even people we don’t know but can see are in a dangerous situation. We learnt how to strike to the face, land a couple of kicks to the gut and even ways to get out of different holds then run straight away. This is important because if we are ever in a situation that we need to get out of, we now know how. This is a great opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zone and learn important life skills. We were taught to yell “back off” whenever we are being approached and also the importance of personal space. One of the most valuable lessons we learnt from Jazmine and Dat was that if you are ever uncomfortable with someone being near you, you can just say “this is my personal space and I need you to back off.” We feel like this is one of the major topics we do at St Columba’s College, especially with it being an all-female school. This is just what happened in the first 2 lessons. Speaking on behalf of both classes, we can’t wait for more to come.

SCSA Basketball Competitions

On the 9th and 16th of May we sent 5 teams to the inter-school basketball competition.  They were both great days of round-robin matches against sister schools from around Melbourne.  It was an amazing effort by our seniors who only just had a team on the day, playing with only one sub until they had an injury.  We had some great results – even though we didn’t take out any winning spots, we did have 4 of our 5 teams make it to the finals!
Well done to our basketball teams.


Gastroenteritis is a common condition that affects the stomach and intestines and is highly contagious.
Most common symptoms are: Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Stomach Cramps and Fever.
The best treatments are hydration with Hydralyte or Powerade/ Gatorade and lots of rest.
Anybody with Vomiting or Diarrhoea cannot attend school or a workplace until they have had no symptoms for at least 48 hours.
The best way to avoid Gastroenteritis is to wash all food and continual hand washing with soap and water.