June 18, 2021

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Principal's Message


Conversations with the Leadership Team


Visual Arts

From the College Captains

World Environment Day

Girl Asleep - Senior Production

Girls’ Programming Network

SCSA Inter-school Basketball Competition

The Great Book Swap

Academic Excellence Scholarships - Reminder

Year 7 2023 Enrolment

Careers News

Celebration of Excellence

Principal's Message

As the end of the term draws near, we reflect on the remarkable resiliency of the human spirit to roll with the topsy-turvy world we are all currently experiencing, and how we have learned to live our lives in different ways.  The one constant through all of the change and upheaval is the presence of our faith – sometimes resounding loudly, lighting our path forward, at other times, a small flicker of intuition, nudging us to think differently about our thoughts, feelings and actions (even though we are sometimes reluctant to pay attention).

I share below a beautiful piece of writing by Fr Ron Rolheiser, OMI.  Just as our connection with our faith can hit high and low points, so too can our relationship with Jesus.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus was surrounded by people whose relationship to him was different.  Jesus connected with and taught through many people, not just those who were most devoted to him.  Our own incompleteness in how we realise this relationship, does not diminish or erode how we are loved and accepted by our God.

“Disciples with Many Faces

In a book entitled, Jesus of Nazareth, German scripture-scholar, Gerhard Lohfink, describes how people in the Gospels relate to Jesus in different ways.

Not everyone was an apostle, not everyone was a disciple, and not everyone who contributed to Jesus’ cause even followed him.  Different individuals had their own way of connecting to Jesus.

This has implications as to how we should understand the Church, both as it is conceived in the abstract and how it is understood practically within our parish structures.  The similarity to Jesus’ time is obvious.

When we look at church life today, especially as we see it lived out concretely within parishes, it is obvious that it is made up of much more than only the core, committed congregation, namely, those who participate regularly in church life and accept (at least for the main part) the dogmatic and moral teachings of their churches.

The Church also contains a wide variety of the less-engaged:  people who practice occasionally, people who accept some of its teachings, guests who visit our churches, people who don’t explicitly commit but are sympathetic to the Church and offer it various kinds of support, and, not least, people who link themselves to God in more-privatised ways, those who are spiritual but not religious.  Lohfink points out in his book that these people were already around Jesus and “they were not unimportant” to his mission.

This does not mean that there are tiers within discipleship, where some are called to a higher holiness and others to a lower one, as if the full Gospel applies only to some. The full Gospel applies to everyone, as does Jesus’ invitation to intimacy with him. Each individual chooses how deep he or she will go and some go deeper than others, though ideally everyone is meant to go its full depth.

Each of us has his or her own history of being graced and wounded, formed and deformed, and so we all come to adulthood with very different capacities to see, understand, love, accept love, and give ourselves over to someone or something beyond us.  None of us is whole and none of us is fully mature.  All of us are limited in what we can do.

We are all around Jesus in our different ways and we must be careful not to judge each other.”

The Australian Curriculum:  Public Consultation is Open

As you may be aware, the Australian Curriculum is currently undergoing a review.  The Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum is our national curriculum which outlines the core content that all young people should be taught regardless of where they live in Australia.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) reviews the curriculum every six years and has consulted with 360 practising teachers and curriculum specialists to develop the proposed changes.  There are proposed changes across the whole of the curriculum including all eight learning areas with the aim of making the content clearer and better organised.  It is also more concise, more specific and less cluttered.  The proposals are not final but are now open to public consultation and feedback until Thursday, 8 July.  The feedback will be used to develop final revisions, which will be provided to federal, state and territory education ministers for their consideration.

Visit the public consultation website to have your say

How to have your say on the proposed revisions to the Australian Curriculum

You are invited to provide feedback as a parent.  There are 22 different surveys on the consultation website.  To start, get to know the proposed changes to a learning area of interest (or all!), the general capabilities or the cross–curriculum priorities, then fill out the relevant survey.  The online survey can be completed by individuals or groups.

General Capabilities are the understandings and skills young Australians need to successfully learn, live and work in the 21st Century.  Learn more about the proposed changes to the General Capabilities at

Cross-Curriculum Priorities make up one of the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum.  See the proposed changes at

Learning Areas include English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education and Languages.

Some Farewells

It is with sadness that we will farewell some of our colleagues at the end of this term.  I would like to wish Ms Lauren Vella all the best as she commences her maternity leave. Ms Narelle Fewster is re-locating overseas with her family and we extend our best wishes as her family begins this new adventure.  Ms Loretta Joyce has made a wonderful contribution as Acting Head of Human Resources and I would like to acknowledge the great work she has done with staff, and her support of Leadership Team members, during Semester 1.

We will welcome new staff members commencing with us for Semester 2:

  • Ms Natalia Susanty Chemistry, Science
  • Ms Sarah Singarella Health and Physical Education, Humanities
  • Mrs Jayne O’Connell Maths, Science

Mr Greg Bertuna, Head of Human Resources, will also return from Long Service Leave at the start of Term 3.

I would like to acknowledge teachers at the College who have been flexible in negotiating their Semester 2 teaching loads so that we can be creative in employing the best teachers we can at the College.

Enjoy the Term Break

Wishing everyone a safe and restful term break. We look forward to the commencement of Term 3, hopefully under freer restrictions so that we can resume all the aspects of school life that our students, staff and families enjoy.  Take care and God bless.

Message from St Columba’s Board

To all members of the College Community

On behalf of the Board, I am very pleased to update you on the outcome of the Formative Review of our Principal, Rita Grima.  As some of you know, this review was undertaken during Term 1, and was a comprehensive independent process conducted by a panel comprising Ms Kate Fogarty, Principal, Assumption College Kilmore; Mr Ray Pisani, Principal, Marian College Sunshine West; Mr Peter Kelly, Ministry Leader, Mary Aikenhead Education; and Ms Angela Killingsworth, Flourish Consultancy in Leadership, who conducted the review on behalf of the Board.

Central to the process was consultation with members of all parts of our community, including staff, students, parents and members of the Board, along with a self-reflection from Ms Grima.  The outcome was a confidential report to the Board that we received at our May meeting.  In essence, the report affirmed the outstanding leadership skills of Ms Grima.  To quote from the report “The affirmation of Rita’s leadership was overwhelmingly positive and potent.  She is an outstanding Principal”.

We are delighted to share this feedback with you, and we thank those of you who were part of the review process, as well as all members of our community who support our Principal in her vital role.

Deirdre O’Donnell, Board Chair



A prayer for refugee week 20 – 26 June 

Lord, No one is a stranger to you and no one is ever far from your loving care 

In your kindness watch over refugees and asylum seekers, 

those separated from their loved ones, 

those who are lost, 

and those who have been exiled from their homes. 

Bring them safely to the place where they long to be, 

and help us always to show your kindness to strangers and those in need. 

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

2021 Theme – Unity

Unity – The way forward. 

The volatility of life in recent times has shown us unequivocally that we need to work together often merely to survive, let alone to thrive and progress. Let’s take the opportunity to start afresh and rebuild our lives together. To count our blessings and to put them to work. Existing and emerging communities. Working together.

The powerful potential of Unity. The special brew of ideas from all over the world that created our great way of life can continue evolving if we work together. Let’s not stop now, let’s move forward unified.

In 2021, we are called to help build a more cohesive community during Refugee Week. Whether hosting a local meal, a community event or attending an online event to hear from people all over the world, join us as we call for the spirit of unity as we recover from the isolation we have all endured in 2020.

Stronger. Safer. Healthier. Happier. Together. 

You can find out more:  – Australian Catholic Migrant and refugee office – Refugee Council initiative 

Conversations with the Leadership Team

On Thursday 10 June, our second ‘Conversations with the Leadership Team’ was held. Twenty-two of our parents joined us online. Our Performance and Development Leader, Lucy Russell, spoke to the topic, “How you can use your daughter’s learning data to support her learning”. Lucy spoke about the way in which we, as educators, use the data that we gather to inform our professional practice and best support the wellbeing and learning of our students. She then described the types of internal and external learning data available to teachers. Parents were directed to PAM and where to locate information about their child’s progress in their learning. Lucy provided some instruction about the analysis of the data to enable parents to identify their child’s strengths and challenges.

Following this, we provided information about Consent education, the need for it and the delivery of it at the College. Parents engaged in some online activities and were provided with some additional resources to support them in having conversations with their children about consent and sexuality.

The PowerPoint slides can be accessed here.

Thank you to the parents who took the time to join us. Your presence, active participation and questions were much appreciated.

Links from the presentation:


The upcoming break is an opportunity to ensure that any mending or adjustments to uniform, for example, taking the hem down on a skirt, can be done in readiness for the new term. A new trend has evolved recently. We are seeing girls wearing excessively long and thick, false eyelashes. This will be addressed as of the commencement of term 3. We thank you for your support in ensuring that girls are complying with our uniform and grooming requirements.

Visual Arts

In early May, Australian students were invited to participate in the Future Leaders Awards – Photography Prize. This prize is designed to recognize talented young photographers. Year 12 students were invited to submit digital photographic work based on a theme of their choosing.  We are proud to announce that Lara Yildiz (12CTRJ3) received an Honourable Mention in the Future Leaders Photography Prize for 2021. Lara will receive a certificate and cheque for $500.00. Congratulations to Lara and to all our Year 12 students who entered the Awards.

Lara Yildiz 12CTRJ3

Honourable Mention – Future Leaders Photography Prize for 2021

From the College Captains

What a term it has been! Although we were unable to celebrate the feast of our patron, St Columba, many exciting events have been taking place over the last 10 weeks that were super successful and deserve to be celebrated. To begin however, we would like to extend a big thank you to all of our amazing teachers for helping us through these still crazy times, never failing to support us and provide us with what we need to achieve excellence no matter where we find ourselves learning from. 

This term kicked off to a fun start with karaoke Fridays taking place every second Friday alternating with live performances from the school’s very talented music ensembles. House netball was also a success bringing out the competitive girls competitive side as they each fought for the winning spot. Unfortunately Covid had other plans for the second half of the competition and we are hoping to continue the House vs House games next term. A big thank you to Mr Kelly who made all of this possible! To continue with this House spirit, our lovely house captains did some incredible work to fundraise for their House Partners throughout this term. We hope that through these events the St Columba’s students were able to acquire a deepened understanding about the vision and mission of the organisations supported by each House.

Special shoutout to Caitlyn McDonald (Cahill House Captain) and the Cahill House representatives who organised a super successful Costco cookie drive that raised $340 and was a sell out! Also, big shoutout to Molly Tyrell (Bruton House Captain) and Bruton House representatives who organised a lovely Bruton raffle. Even though there was only one lucky winner, everyone was very keen to get involved. As the College Co-Captain’s we have been overjoyed in knowing that from this fundraising, not only have the STC girls had a chance to offer something new in the community but our partners at the Good Samaritan Inn and Prague house have been able to acquire funds needed to support those who rely upon their assistance. More wonderful events like these will hopefully also be taking place next term including a Williams barbecue one Friday lunchtime and Cater’s guess the number of lollies in the jar competition, with more details to be released soon. 

In addition to all of this St Columba’s Social Justice Captains, Biddy and Carla, were incredible in organising an insightful and respectful celebration of reconciliation week, which, inspired by this year’s theme, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’ urged girls in our STC community to make a braver and more impactful stance towards reconciliation. Through attending a beautifully organised reconciliation week ceremony in the chapel, myself and other guests were able to learn that Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians, and, at the heart of this journey stands the value of forming  relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Congratulations to all those who stood up and used their voice to call for reconciliation and justice.

Finally, earlier this term the girls from the VET Events class organised another praiseworthy event as a part of their vocational studies. To allow girls at the College to celebrate their wonderful female role models, the girls held a beautiful Mother’s Day high tea which was exquisitely set up and organised for any of our girls and their female guardian on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Upon arrival we were taken by surprise with Gayip Biik’s new design, featuring; lights, colourful tea cups and high tea style table settings! It was a fantastic opportunity for us to have a day out with the special female figures in our lives. Through engaging in activities we were reminded of the true value of these women in our lives, who we would be so lost without, and it was lovely to have an opportunity to express our gratitude for them at such a lovely event! 

A huge thanks to everyone mentioned in this article today and so many more who left a great mark on our community this term, we are so proud of your efforts to embrace the truest versions of yourselves and hope you all will remain inspired to be strong and hopeful girls who are confident in their ability to leave an undefinable mark on our world! 

Please keep your eyes and ears open for more information regarding the rescheduling of STC day. The Student Executive hope you hold onto your excitement for the day as we have been planning rigorously to achieve a day that you guys love! We wish you a rejuvenating, fun filled and safe break and are looking forward to entering our final term as your student leaders. This journey has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring so far as we hope you will stand with us as we continue to celebrate our community as a collective of beautifully unique and strong women in the remainder of the year!

World Environment Day

To celebrate World Environment Day (June 5), students both at home and on campus were invited to attend a talk hosted by Clare Wilson, Environment Captain 2018 and School Dux of 2019. Clare shared her experience of her studies as a Bachelor of Science studying at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Ecology such as her subject pathway and her career plans. She touched on this year’s theme of ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ and the unique ways that we can take action to help the environment. These included adopting Indigenous land management practices and supporting genetic diversity in native populations. To follow on, I presented the girls with a resource called ‘A Student’s Guide to Sustainability’ which is available to all students through SIMON and is a comprehensive resource of tips and information targeted at students to help them be more environmentally conscious. We had a lot of great discussions with participants sharing their own tips, interesting documentaries and their favourite local natural spaces during lockdown to highlight just how beneficial protecting the environment is to us all.

Access Clare’s presentation here.

Girl Asleep - Senior Production

Tickets are now available for the St Columba’s College Senior Production of Girl Asleep.
Date: Thursday 15th July at 7:30pm & Friday 16th July at 4:30pm and 7:30pm
Location: Drama Room –  only 40 tickets available for each show.
Tickets on sale from 10am on 16th June via
Price: $12 adult / $10 concession

Girls’ Programming Network

The Girls’ Programming Network (GPN) is a free program developed and run for girls by girls. The program is managed by a group of female information technology (IT) students form the University of Melbourne. The program has been designed for high school girls interested in IT with a particular interest in programming and software development skills.

The GPN events are run once per term, the next one is scheduled for Saturday 31st July. If you are interested in attending the next event, sign up to the mailing list by clicking on the link below to be notified when registration opens. Get in quick, these events are hugely popular!


For information click here.

To sign up, click here.

Charlotte Leighton attended the event on Sunday 16th May and this is what she had to say about the day:

The venue for the event was the University of Melbourne in Parkville. We used the labs and theatre in the Electrical & Electronic Engineering Building. 

Upon arrival we were given the program for the day.  We kicked off the day with some introductory activities such as the bracket activity where we had to convince other brackets on the best flavour of ice-cream. A bracket is used to construct a programming language. It takes the form of “[]”, “()”, “{}” or “<>.” The participants followed an online program which included all the booklets and slideshow presentations for the day. We also completed a mini quiz on our current level of knowledge on coding. I learnt the basics of Python and coding fundamentals. Python is a programming language which has gained popularity recently. It is one of the easier programming languages and a great way to start programming and it is one of the basics. Python is similar to other languages which is another reason why it is a great language to start with and why they taught us that first. 

While on our lunch break, we were able to wander around the Melbourne University campus and got to see all of the different buildings, which were amazing! 

After lunch we continued coding and made the computer decrypt as well as encrypt messages. We were then given the opportunity to speak to some of the tutors (all current university students) about pathways into university, VCE, technology and computer science. Overall it was a fun experience and I encourage other students to sign up for the next event.

SCSA Inter-school Basketball Competition

On the 25th of May, two juniors, one intermediate and one senior’s teams travelled to MSAC to play a total of five round-robin games of basketball representing the college. The teams that we played against included Ave Maria, Mount St Joseph, OLSH, Santa Maria and Academy. Both of our Junior teams made it to the finals, taking home the winning plaque. The junior team’s results were Junior A’s 29 to 16 and Junior B’s 21 to 11.  The intermediates, unfortunately, didn’t make it to their finals game but tried their best. The seniors were undefeated all day and made it to the finals against Santa Maria and won 45 to 20. Congratulations to Macey Boyle for getting the best on court.
Overall it was a great day for St Columba’s. Thanks to the coaches, staff and girls, for waking up early to be at training by 7:00am to make this day possible.
2022 round two!

The Great Book Swap

Year 10 PreCal literacy students, in association with Sophia library staff, held a Great Book Swap event on the 16th and 17th June to raise much-needed funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. They provide literacy education and resources to over 400 remote communities, around Australia.

The event was a great success with many students and staff participating, making it possible to reach our goal of raising more than $500. We are so grateful to everyone who donated their time, money and books, to make the event such a success.

If you would like to make a direct donation yourself please click on the following link

Academic Excellence Scholarships - Reminder

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 in 2023 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2022. Details and online registration are available on the College website under Enrolments.

Registration closing date is Monday 12 July 2021

Scholarship testing is scheduled for Saturday 24 July 2021

Year 7 2023 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 2023 close on Friday 20 August 2021.

Careers News

Welcome to this week’s Careers News.

Topics this week:

  • School holiday career events
  • Open Days
  • Amazing skills mapping tool
  • Competitions
  • Upcoming career events

Access the full newsletter here.

Access the Pathways website here.

Celebration of Excellence

Later in the year, we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of our students throughout 2021. Not only do we want to celebrate all that they have achieved at St Columba’s College, we also want to acknowledge their achievements beyond our school setting.

If your daughter has been successful in an external endeavour (eg. passed a Music examination, represented the state in a particular sport etc) this year, please forward the following to Tanya Almeida via this email address (

  • Name of student
  • Achievement
  • If possible, a relevant photo