June 13, 2023

< All Issues


Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Trades Hall

2023 Semester 1 Report

O'Brien House Celebration Day

2024 Year 9 Mathematics Accelerated Pathways (MAPs)

Social Justice

CGSAV Cross Country

SEQTA Engage Updates - Communicating with Teachers

Sophia Library News

Catholic School Parents Victoria Newsletter

Parent Webinar - Year 10-12 Pathway Options

Enrolments and Scholarships

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Payroll Tax Exemption

The Andrews Labor Government has been a strong supporter of Catholic education in Victoria, having delivered record capital and recurrent funding for our sector. We are grateful for the capital grant received to support the development of the new STEAM Building, as announced in the last edition of the IONA.

However, as you might be aware, the Victorian Government recently announced that ‘high fee’ non-government schools would be subject to payroll tax from 1 July 2024. It is possible that our school will be subject to the new tax.

We estimate that this decision could take at least $800,000 from our annual budget, which equates to about $800 for each student.

While we are currently working through how we may have to fund the new tax, it’s clear that it could require us to make difficult decisions relating to our teaching and learning programs, our capital works program, and our fee levels.

These are not decisions we want to have to make. We are acutely aware that many families are feeling significant cost-of-living pressures.

While our school and our peak body, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, continue to work hard to oppose the new tax, I now ask for your support.

We need your help to show the Victorian Government that our opposition to the new tax has broad community support. I ask that you consider expressing your concerns to the below Labor Members of Parliament (MPs), who serve in the government that has proposed the tax.

I will send a letter in this coming week that will contain a link to a template you are able to personalise and send to the relevant member/s of parliament.

We are grateful for the response we have received from the Victorian Liberals, who have committed to repealing this tax should they form government after the next State election. You might also choose to email MPs from the Liberal Party in support of this commitment.

I thank you for advocating for our school, and for your ongoing support of me and my team as we navigate these challenging times.

Letters and Forms Requiring the Principal’s Signature

From time to time, families require letter and forms from the College that require the Principal’s review and/or signature. I ask that you give my office at least 48 hours’ notice to return these forms to you. This will ensure that I have given what you require due consideration, and disappointment is avoided. Than you for your support with this matter.

Term Break

This is the last IONA for Term Two (and Semester One). We look back on what has been a short and very busy term, with gratitude for the learning opportunities, for our staff, for our community, and for our young people. We also look forward for the break that lies ahead – may it bring peace, rest, and replenishment.

We will welcome all students back for Term Three on 10 July.


St Columba’s Feast Day

“Love is the gate to eternity. The way to love anything is to realise that it may be lost.” Pertinent words from St Columba in our year of Love and Truth. Although there are variations of this quote, this particular version captures the essence of St. Columba’s message about the transformative power of love and the understanding that love requires an acknowledgment of its fragility and the potential for loss. While this quote does not explicitly mention truth, it emphasises the profound nature of love as a gateway to eternal truths and highlights the importance of cherishing and appreciating love in our lives.

Creator God, you turned Columba from the sound of conflict to become a bearer of the gospel of peace, putting in his mouth the song of the Trinity. Grant us that same courage, faith and joy, that we may recognise our place in the gospel story and live it in our lives. We ask this prayer in your holy name.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Parent Engagement Committee (PEC)

The PEC is always looking for greater parent involvement. If you are interested in coming along to the next meeting on Tuesday 20 June email the team at This meeting will be held online –

Parent Education Program – Building Resilience in Your Child (Maria Ruberto)

Thank you to the 80 current and 2024 incoming parents in our community for taking the time to participate in this session with Maria. The presentation was very well received. I have provided some slides relating to the presentation for these parents.

Access slides from Maria’s presentation here.

St Columba’s Day – Friday 16 June

It is with great anticipation that the College Community looks forward to celebrating St Columba’s Day on Friday 16 June. This is an important day for all of the students and staff to mark our life at St Columba’s and recognise and reflect on the legacy of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity.

The Student Executive, House Representatives, other students and staff have been working hard to organise the activities for this day and we thank them, in advance, for all their efforts. It is important to note that this is a compulsory day for students.

This important day begins with our community celebrating Eucharist together – an integral and reverent part of the day. Students will move directly to the Multi Purpose Centre to be seated by 8.40am when mass will begin. We would ask for your support in ensuring that your child/ren is/are punctual on this day. Any student that arrives at school later than 9.00am will not be permitted to disturb mass. Subsequently, if a student is not in attendance at mass, they will not be permitted to participate in the other activities throughout the day. These students will be directed to a classroom where they will be supervised by staff for the remainder of the day. They will be dismissed at the same time as all other students.

If you know, in advance, that your child has a medical or dental appointment on that morning, we ask that you contact the relevant House Leader to provide notice of this and a medical or dental be supplied on your child’s arrival at school. Should your child be unwell on this day and unable to attend school, a medical certificate will be required to be presented to her House Group Teacher on her return to school.

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 – 8:45amHouse Group
8:45am – 9:00amMovement to MPC
9:00am – 10:00amEucharist
10:00am – 11:00amService activities (by serving others we continue the legacy of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity Australia).
11:00am – 2:00pmCarnival (a range of activities have been organised)


There are a range of engaging activities planned for the day as well as food options to cater for all dietaries and tastes! Of course, students may wish to bring their own snacks and lunch. Students are advised to bring between $30.00 – $40.00 for the day – please avoid large notes. Some of the food options available on the day includes:

Banh Mi Brothers Food Van – between $10 – $20

Bertie & Co. Burgers – between $10 and $15

Twisty Potatoes Food Van – $10.00 each

Pizza – $3.00 per piece

Cater’s Sausage Sizzle – $2.00

Coffee & Waffle Food Van – between $5 and $12

Hot jam/cinnamon doughnuts – $2.50 each (for hot jam and hot cinnamon) OR $12 for 6 doughnuts

Please note that your child will be dismissed at 2.00pm on this day.

We are looking forward to a wonderful celebration! If you have any further questions please contact the relevant House Group Teacher or House Leader.

Trades Hall

On Thursday, the 25th of May, the Year 12 VCE Vocational Major students went on an excursion to the Victorian Trades Hall as part of our learning for Area of Study 2 Workplace responsibilities and rights. In this area of study, we have explored workplace relations, including the National Employment Standards and methods of determining pay and conditions. We have also gained an understanding of the characteristics and legal consequences of workplace bullying, workplace discrimination and workplace harassment. 

We started off our excursion by having shared lunch at Grill’d, to bond as a Year 12 Vocational Major team. Despite the unfortunate bad weather, we made our way to the Victorian Trades Hall. Once we arrived we had a tour of the place, where we learned about the history of the building and the rights and workplace conditions in Victoria. After the tour, we had a lesson on workplace safety at the Young Workers Centre focusing on topics like bullying, sexual harassment, and unfair work treatment. This educational session gave us valuable knowledge on how to handle difficult situations in the workplace and how to address and resolve workplace disputes. 

Overall, the excursion to the Victorian Trades Hall was a valuable experience for us. We gained insights into workplace safety issues such as bullying and harassment. This session provided us with practical knowledge and boosted our confidence for our future workplaces.

2023 Semester 1 Report

On Friday 14 July at 12:00 pm, you will receive your child’s Semester 1 Report.  To access the Semester Report log onto SEQTA Engage > Reports. As you already have access to your child’s feedback across the Semester through SEQTA, this is a good time to initiate a constructive conversation with your child about progress over the Semester. 


The Year 7-12 virtual Progress Interviews will take place on Monday 31 July, Tuesday 1 August and Thursday 10 August and Friday 11 August. We strongly believe in learning partnerships and the benefits of communication between parents, students and teachers. These interviews are designed to provide an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and how you may support learning at home. We look forward to meeting with you and your child, virtually. Further information will be provided in due course.

The General Achievement Test (GAT)

The 2023 GAT will be held on Thursday, 15 June from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The GAT is divided into two sections:

  • Section A: Literacy and Numeracy 
  • Section B: General Knowledge and Skills 

Who sits the GAT?

Both Sections A and B

Students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence, including students not planning to undertake scored assessment.

Section A only

Students enrolled in one or more VCE Vocational Major Unit 3–4 sequence but who are not enrolled in any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences.

O'Brien House Celebration Day


On Thursday 1 June, staff and students from O’Brien House gathered together to celebrate our House and to reflect on the life and impact of our House patron Sister Mary Francis De Sales O’Brien.

Our celebration began with a liturgy, taking a few quiet moments to consider how we can follow in the footsteps of Sister Mary Francis De Sales O’Brien, before moving to the always popular pizza lunch and giant celebration cake. As the celebration day fell on Sister Mary Francis De Sales O’Brien’s birthday, O’Brien House members sung Happy Birthday and played party games.

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 Mary Francis De Sales O’Brien.

May we follow her example of faith, determination, and perseverance and love.

May we show this through our everyday actions and thoughts.

May we be guided to reach our to others, willing to help and to understand the needs of our community.

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


2024 Year 9 Mathematics Accelerated Pathways (MAPs)

Ready to flourish in mathematics?

STC is once again offering year 8 students who are seeking a greater challenge in mathematics an opportunity to be a part of the Mathematics Accelerated Pathway (MAPs) Program in 2024.This enhanced curriculum will see our most talented mathematicians work on more complex tasks and learn topics to a greater depth and breadth. Our MAPs Program is intended to inspire students to make more connections between their studies and the world beyond the classroom. We hope that this will help to foster a life-long interest in mathematics that will extend far beyond VCE studies.

To qualify for this course, students must demonstrate outstanding knowledge in mathematics. We encourage students to have a discussion with their families and teachers before applying, about the challenges and expectations associated with a highly demanding course of study.

When discussions of subject selections commence, students will receive instructions on how to apply for the Year 9 MAPs program via email.

Social Justice

The Social Justice group has been meeting each Friday of this semester in A1S1 at lunchtime. Alexandra G, our Social Justice Captain has been presenting and advocating for a range of events in our assemblies and meetings. This semester, House groups and Caritas ambassadors have fundraised almost $6,000 for Caritas. We had two sausage sizzles, one raising $1069.50 for the Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund and the second fundraiser was for the Big Group Hug partner who doubled our donations to the sum of $3111.70. These contributions will help vulnerable children who are living in crisis by distributing essential items in times of need. Thank you to everyone who supported the Social Justice Sausage Sizzle at the Athletics Carnival. The many staff and students helping behind the scenes and everyone who bought a sausage- Thank You.

This term we also re-established our partnership with the Days for Girls Group after Covid. Ms Nguyen was ‘super excited’ to take our first group of year 11 students out to the Essendon Baptist church. Participating in initiatives like this not only addresses an important need but also raises awareness about menstrual hygiene and the challenges faced by girls in underserved communities. It promotes empathy, compassion, and social responsibility among students while empowering them to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

During Reconciliation Week, we wove messages of hope and healing for reconciliation into the indigenous flag which will hang in our hall of justice, students painted rocks and planted local native flora into our Indigenous Garden. We invited conversations by creating a meaningful inquiry into the Voice to Parliament written in Posca pens on the windows in the learning area and drew messages of hope and justice on the pavement. We listened to Indigenous music and created a ‘Walk with Me’ discovery tour and passport for students to discover indigenous artefacts and resources. Our highlight was having Leila Gurruwiwi from (MACS) come to our school to speak about her history and some of the issues around the referendum on the Voice to Parliament this year here are some comments from students.

“I thoroughly enjoyed Leila Gurruwiwi’s presentation. From this presentation, I gained another perspective on the importance of Aboriginal recognition, appreciation and expression and I now feel I have a greater understanding of the terms Voice, Truth and Treaty. Overall, a great experience!”

Tiana C, Year 9

“I had the pleasure of helping host reconciliation week this year. It was delightful seeing so many students come and contribute to the festivities. One activity we did was weaving an indigenous flag, and I enjoyed seeing many different people stop on their way passing through, write a meaningful message on cloth and weave it into the flag. By the end, once the flag was complete, I was proud to see a piece of art knowing it is a representation of many students being united by one cause. 

I also had the honour of washing the windows, which lead me to read almost every message written on there. My peers had so many beautiful messages of hope, love and peace, it overwhelmed me with pride. 

Thank you, Ms Breman, other students and teachers for giving me a wonderful experience.”

Alexandra G, Justice Captain

“I found Leila Gurruwiwi’s insights very inspiring and insightful. She talked about the voice to parliament and the treaties for all the language groups which was very interesting.”

Sophia D, Year 9

“Having the guest speaker Leila coming in and talking about the new Referendum was such a privilege. It was so important to learn about the importance of Voice, Treaty and Truth. “

Mikaela E, Year 12

CGSAV Cross Country

On Thursday 1st June, the St Columba’s Cross-Country Team headed out bright and early to Yarra Bend to compete against eleven other schools in the CGSAV Cross Country Event. Despite heavy rainfall the day before, we were fairly lucky with weather conditions though the wet grass meant soggy feet for most of the day and the soft ground made for some slippery and tricky parts in the course.

The day kicked off with the junior 3km race consisting of 1km followed by a 2km lap. Our team of fourteen had a promising start with Maddison and Saana positioning themselves in the front of the pack heading up the first sharp hill. Amelia, Ava and Mia followed closely behind and as the girls rounded the first bend and headed back towards the start line, Mia M moved up through the field to round out our top six. Crossing the start line and into the larger loop, our girls looked strong and started to pick up places. Our first two runners were comfortably inside the top five with our next three closing in on the competition. Up the hill on the second lap, Gemma and Teagan were working hard to get on the back of the runners in front and Bridget, spurred on by spectators’ cheers, flew past her opponents picking up three spots in the space of 20m. Milla was only just behind followed by Lola, Audrey, Alyssa and Sophia.

The 2km lap was a long out and back course and the next time the runners came past you could see they were starting to feel the pinch. Maddison was sitting in third place with roughly 500m to go and was working hard to close the gap between her and second. Lengthening her stride and using those long legs to her full advantage she moved past the Sacred Heart Geelong athlete coming in to the final stretch and held her position to take out second place. Saana came home strong finishing off a beautiful run in 5th place with Amelia in 11th place and Mia H in 14th place giving our juniors a total score of 32 – a very impressive feat and enough to secure STC first place in the Division 1 Junior competition.

Due to the change of dates and clashes with exams our intermediate team was unable to attend and whilst it was disappointing that they couldn’t compete, the determination they demonstrated at training makes me confident they will be back next year raring to run.

The final event for the day was our seniors’ race covering the same 3km course as the juniors, although slightly muddier and more churned up due to the foot traffic of earlier events. Our small but elite team consisted entirely of year 12s, all of whom were participating in their first CGSAV cross country carnival and were eager to represent the college. After what seemed like a very quick start, the girls flew through the first kilometer loop and negotiated down the muddy hill towards the finish with Tessa leading the STC crew closely followed Alessia and Matilda and Madeleine not too far behind. Coming up the tough rise early in the second lap, places hadn’t changed too much although Alessia had broken away from Matilda. By this stage the sun had started to peak through the clouds creating the perfect backdrop for some action photos and thankfully drying out the course. As the seniors rounded the top bend and embarked on the long straight back towards the finish line, Alessia kept gaining ground passing Tessa. Madeleine and Matilda continued to fight the competition further back in the field to hold on to top twenty placings in Division 1 whilst Alessia and Tessa scored themselves medals with top ten placings of 8th and 9th respectively. A huge effort by our year 12s especially considering the limited training time and experience in cross country events.

A huge congratulations to all students who participated on the day and represented St Columba’s. You should be incredibly proud of your efforts and I very much look forward to watching you continue to train and grow as athletes over the coming years.

Maddison C
Saana J
Amelia B
Mia H
Mia M
Ava M
Gemma C
Teagan N
Milla F
Bridget F
Audrey P
Alyssa HSophia B


Alessia M

Tessa C

Madeleine O

Matilda L


SEQTA Engage Updates - Communicating with Teachers

Staff at St Columba’s have been working tirelessly this year to ensure we utilise the new college learning management system; SEQTA, to its fullest potential. This means making sure that you, the students and guardians are able to access information about the learning taking place at the college, in the easiest methods possible.

In order to work towards recent government recommendations around responsible record keeping, from the beginning of term 3 all staff to student or staff to parent/guardian communication generated by staff will take place via Direqt messages on SEQTA.

Please set aside a few moments to watch the following “How To” explainers about Direqt Messages through SEQTA Engage.

Sophia Library News

Sophia Library Holiday Opening Hours June School Holidays

The Sophia Library will be open from 10am – 3pm during the first week of the school holidays (26th – 30th July). It will be closed the second week of the school holidays and resume normal opening hours Day 1 of Term 3 (10th July).

Catholic School Parents Victoria Newsletter

Access the newsletter here


Parent Webinar - Year 10-12 Pathway Options

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 14 June – 2024 Learning Tours Information Evening

Thursday 15 June – Year 9 Reflection Day

Friday 16 June – St Columba’s Day

Monday 19 June – Cater House Celebration Day

Tuesday 20 June & Wednesday 21 June – Year 9 Mock Interviews

Wednesday 21 June – Inaugural STCC Publisher Display, Sophia Library

Thursday 22 June – Kids in Space Expo

Thursday 22 June – St Columba’s & St Bernard’s Combined Concert

Friday 23 June – Term 2 Concludes

Monday 10 July – Term 3 Begins

Tuesday 11 July – De Lacy House Celebration Day

Wednesday 12 July – Little Shop of Horrors Musical Matinee

Thursday 13 July – Williams House Celebration Day

Thursday 13 July – Little Shop of Horrors Opening Night

Monday 17 July – 9.3 Urban Experience begins

Tuesday 18 July – Senior Pathways Expo