May 29, 2020

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Principal's Message



Reconciliation Week

First Day Back After Remote Learning

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Careers News

Year 9 Virtual Mock Interviews

Library News

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2022 Enrolment

Principal's Message

It’s been an absolute pleasure to welcome back our VCE and VCAL students to onsite learning this week. The girls have certainly expressed their relief and happiness about being back at school, resuming learning as they know it and being with their friends once again.

The health and safety measures we have instituted seem to be working very well, and these will be maintained until we understand what the further easing of restrictions means for our work onsite at the College.

I would like to express my gratitude to our senior students who have been respectful of what we have asked of them in relation to the health and safety measures, and for being mindful and respectful of the spaces they are using around the College. Yet again, our students are showing us that they are young women of faith and strength, and in the footsteps of Mary Aikenhead, responding faithfully to the needs of our time.


Mobile Phones

We have had a few queries regarding mobile phones and the use of the COVID Safe app. As an interim measure, if any student has downloaded the COVID Safe app, she will be able to have her phone on her. The usual rules will apply in terms of phone use and confiscation if the phone is seen in classes or during lunchtimes and recess.



This Sunday we celebrated the great feat of Pentecost, when we recall God’s special relationship with us, the workers for the kingdom. So let us prayÉ


Come, O Spirit of God

And make within us your dwelling place and home.

May our darkness be dispelled by your light,

And our troubles calmed by your peace;

May all evils be redeemed by your love,

All pain transformed through the suffering of Christ,

And all dying glorified by his risen life.


We make this prayer in your holy name. Amen.





Parents and students are familiar with their House Leaders and often work with them to resolve issues. However, when there are multiple students involved across Houses it can be difficult to coordinate the timely and effective resolution process. As such, each House Leader has also been allocated a Year Level to assist when there are multiple students involved. Please see the list of allocation below. Parents and students may be in communication with the Year Level allocated leader if it is necessary in resolving such issues. 

Year 7 : David Bramham 

Year 8:  Nicole Mazzarella

Year 9: Elizabeth Tran

7-9 Assistant: Liliana Condello

Year 10:  Carmel Anile-Saad

Year 11:  Joan Dillon

Year 12:  Kathryn Hicks

House Teachers and then House Leaders should always be contacted in the first instance should concerns need to be raised. 


Emotional Check-ins

We have all been through an incredible alteration of lifestyles. This has brought with it increased stress and times of exhaustion. While these feelings may lessen in the coming months, they will still occur, though hopefully less frequently.



We have outlined the cycle of feelings that most people go through during these times:

  • Fear and Bewilderment
  • Anger
  • Are we there yet?

These phases of reaction may repeat several times before we are through these times.

Coming back to school after remote learning can stir up a lot of these mixed emotions and while we should encourage positive emotions it is important to acknowledge negative ones without dwelling on them. 

Parents can support their daughters by acknowledging some of their concerns, we can do this by saying, ‘I can hear you are feeling worried. What do you think is going to happen?’ 

Their responses may be, ‘I’ll get sick’ or ‘I’m behind in my work’, or they may be worried about reconnecting with friends. 

Some key questions to ask them to help identify their concerns and help them to work through these can be;

  • What are the facts?
  • What is most likely to happen?
  • Will I be able to cope?

Try not to dismiss their feelings but also avoid ‘excessive reassurance’. Steer clear of saying things like, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘You’ll be okay’ or ‘Everything will be fine’. Statements like these are not helpful and ‘you can’t truthfully guarantee that nothing bad will happen’.

Another strategy is to talk with your daughter about times in the past that they showed courage or dealt with a worry. Use what experts call ‘labelled praise’ to support their mindset by focusing on the times they are courageous and rewarding the behaviour you want to see.


Transition is always challenging. 

We need to remember that getting back to ‘normal’ is a process. We have a new normal and this is something we all have to adjust to. 

Life is full of transitions and regardless of when it happens, it is still one of the most challenging things a person has to go through. Anyone who’s gone through a transition will attest to its hardship, some of the common feelings during a transition include self-doubt, fear, anxiety (caused by uncertainty), stress ( caused by an overwhelming amount of new things) and sadness. 

Transitions in life are unavoidable. Starting secondary school, moving places,  starting a new job, starting or ending a relationship 

Supporting students to tackle the challenge of transitioning back to face to face schooling is essential to supporting their success. 

The transition back to school needs to be a positive one, most students have enjoyed the freedoms that learning from home have given them and so supporting positive conversations about school and things that they enjoy about school is important.


Some tips for assisting your daughter to make the transition back to face to face school

 1. Noticing Concerns

Noticing concerns, having empathetic conversations and initiating early intervention is key to supporting students’ positive transition back to school. If you as a parent are concerned, note these concerns or changes and speak with your daughter’s House Teacher. 

2. The Sleep Cycle

Sleep changes are a common effect of the recent times. Dreams change, schedules shift. It is time to re-establish a more usual sleep cycle. If you have ever experienced jet lag after travelling across time zones, you may know that it will take at least one day for each hour of time difference.

Depending on how out of whack your sleep has been, try to give yourself the time to re-adjust your sleep cycle before returning to school. What sets our sleep cycle most powerfully is ‘first light, first bite’. Get up at the time you would need to on a typical school day and eat breakfast soon afterwards. If you can, go for a walk outside or at least sit near a window. Getting your sleep cycle back into sync with the school day improves learning and mental health

3. Can’t wait to see you

One of the main things that helps us all to transition back is knowing there is someone there who is wanting to see us. We all look forward to catching up with good people and having some fun. Reaching out and making contact with school friends and specific teachers sets this up.

4. Restart the year

We are not looking at a resumption of the year. Most of us have had quite enough of 2020 already. What we are looking for is a whole fresh start. During the turbulence, priorities and lives have been re-structured. Social connections have changed. The orientation we need to do now, is to form new connections and to renew our attitude towards learning and success. Limbering up for learning will involve rekindling friendships, warming up our curiosity and stretching our imaginations. We will all need a few practice runs before we feel we can safely regain our full stride.

5. Plan for success

Given that the shape of the year has changed more than any of us expected, we need to plan for success. For senior students the risk is feeling that the year has got away from them and they feel they cannot succeed. Clearly this is not true. Firstly, they have all experienced the same setbacks. Secondly, there is plenty of time to catch up and succeed. Clear systems and plans will outdo slogging themselves into a frenzy or giving up.

6. Less Really is More

It is understandable that some people will feel in a rush to make up for the time and opportunities missed in the early part of the year. Cramming in as much as possible to make up for lost time is a compelling idea. It is also a certainty that if we do this, it won’t work. Given the upheaval of past months, rushing too much or putting too much in place too early is a recipe for exhaustion, disenchantment and disengagement. While we are back in business, easy does it. Taking our time now to slowly rebuild a sense of success will pay off. Take it slow and make it fun! We have all had more misery than we need this year.

This is a new beginning in the middle of the year, which is an exceptionally rare opportunity. While it brings challenges, it allows us the opportunity to reconnect with each other in a new way.

Credit: The above advice is that of Psychologist, Andrew Fuller


Reconciliation Week

‘In this together’. 

When the theme was announced last year we could never have imagined the significance this statement now takes in the midst of the covid pandemic gripping the world. The theme for reconciliation week acts to remind us that inclusivity and approaching life in unity leads to society where Christ is present in our actions.

As a FIRE Carrier school we are committed to working with the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry of Victoria (ACM) to promote reconciliation through education. In real terms this means having conversations, truth telling and most importantly listening, when we hear another person’s story we are often compelled into action. Our student leaders whole heartedly have taken up the call to walk towards reconciliation and bring that message into the homes of every student and staff member at St Columba’s College. 

Being in isolation has made us think creatively about what message needs to be shared with our community. It has forced us to delve deeper into the message of Reconciliation and what it means in relation to our Catholic faith. Students have created an array of visual images and videos which have been published on the college instagram page @stcolumbascollege_ and our student bulletin each day. They have paid particular attention to First Nations Peoples and how their talents have bridged a gap between local and western inhabitants. The leaders participated in lighting a candle to honour the people who have cared for these lands well before the British landed on the banks of Sydney harbour.  They each took a moment to pray for reconciliation and a country where we acknowledge the wrongs of the past to lay a foundation for a stronger future where we can walk on the land as a united community.  

The irony of being marginalised in a land where your ancestry dates back for 60,000 years is not lost on me. It makes me sad and angry but it also fills me with desire to be part of the conversation and movement towards genuine reconciliation. What will you be doing this year to participate in Reconciliation Week 2020?



First Day Back After Remote Learning

As of the 26th of May, the Year 11 and 12 students returned to face to face learning. Although the reunions with friends included air hugs and separated desks, students were excited to be back on campus and were enjoying the ability to be social with classmates. 

Year 11 and 12 students commented that the day was filled with mixed emotions, but the overall consensus was a feeling of joy to be back in the learning environment they have grown to love. 


‘It was a little hard to get used to, but I definitely missed seeing people and working with people, so in a way, it’s nice to be back.’ – Year 12


‘Great to see everyone again and reconnect with my fellow students.’ – Year 12


‘I am excited to be back and eager to continue to learn and adapt in these unpredictable times.’ – Year 12


‘I loved talking to friends and girls in my class – especially the girls that I didn’t think to call or text during isolation. It’s been really nice being back.’ – Year 11


Girls noted the ways in which they felt supported during isolation and conversation arose on how friendships had become stronger through separation due to unique ways of remaining in contact online. During an extended homeroom period on the senior students’ first day back, girls were able to discuss with friends the challenges and successes of online learning, with many noting that they were able to adapt with new routines and processes to use the time away from school productively. A valuable dialogue was opened in some homerooms on the importance of mental health while we were spending time at home and how on occasion, spending too much time in front of a screen may have led to stress. Thus the rest breaks introduced early in our online learning experience along with adjusted bell times were viewed as a welcome installment, allowing time between class to relax, make a coffee and prepare for the future tasks of the day. Students are happy to see these same measures being taken to ensure that the transition back to face to face learning is both manageable and comfortable.



Put Your Best Foot Forward

Welcome all students and staff to the STC Walk and/or Run Community! 

By joining this group you are committing to having your kilometres count. Your challenge each week is to try and get to the top of the leader board by consistently getting out and moving. 

For the cross country runners, this space will be used to share training ideas. Each week we will post a different training session for you to attempt outside of school hours. If you don’t feel like doing the suggested training session then no worries, just get out and walk or run using your Strava App and your kilometres will still be counted.

All you need to do is download the Strava App on your phone and add Put Your Best Foot Forward (St Columba’s College) group. Every time you get active, open up the app to track your progress.



Careers News

Welcome to the Careers News.


In this edition:

  • Upcoming virtual career expos and events
  • Federation University – new courses: physiotherapy, midwifery and international sports management
  • Skills shortage – oral health careers
  • Maths, science & engineering careers

Access the Careers News and other helpful information below.



Year 9 Virtual Mock Interviews

We are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s Year 9 Mock Interviews. 

If you are happy to help, we would love to hear from you. Information below or you can click here:




Library News

The staff of Sophia Library have been very happy to support students and staff during the recent period of online learning, and continue to do so whilst the remaining year levels learn from home. At present, the Library’s opening hours have changed slightly – from Monday to Friday, it is open from 7:45am to 4pm.

Library staff would like to remind students and their families that the Library website has been redesigned and came into being at the start of the year. From the site, the catalogue can be accessed, as well as online resources – and loads of information about books and reading. 

Knowing that the students were going to be largely “stuck” at home over the holiday break, staff created a page called Stuff to Suss Out while in Shutdown! Vast amounts of online content was made available by various organisations for people of all ages to access – particularly during times of shutdown or quarantine. Library staff collated what they considered to be both fun and educational resources for students to “suss out” over the break, and after. The page is being regularly updated with new resources that have been discovered – and staff highly recommend that students and their families keep an eye on the page for updates, even as restrictions are easing. The Library website can be found at – scroll down to see other features.

For students who are still learning from home, take a look at the eBooks section of the site. Library staff have been regularly buying new titles, given students haven’t been able to come into the Library physically for some time. Simply log in with your school details, and you can access hundreds of eBooks and eAudiobooks via OverDrive. The beauty of these books is that they are loaned out to you for two weeks, and once that time has elapsed, they return themselves! Very convenient!

For any other assistance that might be required, feel free to contact any of the Library staff – details can be found here. They are happy to help where possible, and wish students and their families good health during these unusual times!


Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2022 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2021. Details and online registration are available on the College website.

Registration closing date is Friday 17 July 2020

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 25 July 2020

Year 7 2022 Enrolment

A reminder if your daughter is currently in Grade 5 and you wish to send her to St Columba’s College, please ensure you have submitted an application form even if you already have a daughter at the College. Applications can be downloaded from the College website or collected from Reception.

 Applications for Year 7 2022 close on Friday 21 August 2020.