July 18, 2023

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Principal's Message


Mary Aikenhead Day

Kids in Space Expo

Father's Day Breakfast - Save the Date

Cater House Celebration Day

Year 9 Reflection Day

de Lacy House Celebration Day

Bike 'N' Blend

Williams House Celebration

Year 7 2025 Applications For Enrolment

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Foxford Innovation Centre

We are anticipating that works will commence for the Foxford Innovation Centre on 28 July. It’s so exciting for the College Board and the College Leadership Team to deliver this new facility for the community.

From the commencement of works there will be some restrictions around the College as the builders establish their site. Parking on College grounds will be limited, and for the duration of the project there will be no visitor parking on site.

While we will have access to the Multi-Purpose Centre (MPC), movement around the Centre will be limited, as we lose access to the outdoor court (a refurbishment of the court is a part of the project works) and access into the MPC from the front doors. We ask for everyone’s patience as this new project takes shape. For more information about the progress of the building project, please visit the College website.

Little Shop of Horrors

Congratulations to the cast and crew of our latest Musical collaboration with St Bernard’s College, Little Shop of Horrors. Opening night, on Thursday 13 July, was spectacular, truly entertaining and engaging, with laughs galore and a great deal of fun. It is delightful to watch our young people thoroughly enjoying themselves on the stage. I would highly recommend the show if you have not already secured your tickets.  Click here to direct you to TryBooking to purchase your tickets.

Communication with Families

In my letter dated 10 July, I provided an updated regarding the channels of communication we are using to keep connected and engaged with families. I have included this section of the letter in this edition of the IONA as a reminder.

Families have provided feedback that they are receiving communication from the College across several platforms, making it difficult to keep on top of information from the College.  I ask for your patience as we transition as much of our communication as possible through the SEQTA platform.  Below I will detail what communications you can expect from the College, and via which platform, as we continue to make our transition.

  1. SEQTA Engage

Your child’s Semester One Report (available from 14 July), will include a ready reference to help you access the information that is provided within the SEQTA Engage Portal.  The SEQTA Engage app is also a really great way to keep up-to-date with information in relation to the learning program for your child.  The app allows you to receive notifications so that you are aware when information in relation to your child is added.  Click App Store or Google Play to download the app.

Research continues to demonstrate that when families are actively engaged in their child’s education, overall outcomes (academic, emotional, social, wellbeing) for students are improved.  The SEQTA Engage portal allows you to access the information you need in one place, to support engagement with your child’s learning and family connection to the College.

  1. SEQTA Direqt Messages

As we shared with you in the last edition of the IONA, we will transition to the use of Direqt Message within SEQTA for teacher communication with families regarding your child’s learning and wellbeing.  Mr Heath Morris provided a “how to” video for the use of Direqt messages by families, which can be accessed here.  We have also been working on improvements to the SEQTA Engage page to make this more navigable and easier to use for families.

Within the SEQTA Direqt message tool, you will now find a message presence for Student Reception, Front Reception and Principal.  Please use the Direqt messaging system in SEQTA should you wish to direct correspondence to these College functions.  Please continue to use the absence link on the SEQTA Engage Portal Welcome Page to notify of your child’s absence.

  1. SMS

You will receive an SMS from the College for two reasons:

  • To alert you to your child’s absence
  • To provide information regarding emergency responses
  1. Email

Our Consent2Go software only works through email.  You will continue to receive consent forms for incursions and excursions via your nominated email address.  In addition, you will also receive email communication for the following:

  • Documents requiring a digital signature
  • Communication from the Finance Office
  • System login credentials, for example, Parent Teacher Online (PTO)
  • Meeting invitations
  1. General Communication

We consider ourselves to be in partnership with families in delivering a quality education for your child.  Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s House Teacher should you have any concerns or queries.  If parents require an interpreter, or information in their first language, can you please alert your child’s House Leader.

If you are unsure who to contact regarding a particular query, we have prepared a handy ready reference that can be found here.  Our Front Reception staff will also be able to direct your query to the most appropriate staff member.

As I introduced at the start of the year, the ready reference also contains a link to our new Parent Code of Conduct which outlines the expected behaviour of all adults in the St Columba’s College community.  Our Code of Conduct is values based and established on our commitment to respectful relationships and restorative practices.  It defines acceptable actions that contribute to a safe working environment for our staff, while outlining the approaches we will adopt for the resolution of issues or concerns that may arise.  I would encourage you to read the Code of Conduct as an approach that supports our positive working partnership.


On Saturday the 22nd of July, we are celebrating the 165th Anniversary of Venerable Mary Aikenhead being born into Eternal Life. As the foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity, she not only holds a special place in our hearts, but it also an inspiration to us daily, as the epitome of courage, innovation, service and love. To celebrate as a Catholic community, we prayer together

Compassionate and bountiful God,

If it be Your will, we ask You to enable us

To promote the holiness of Mary Aikenhead.

We ask for the grace to continue to make

Her love of Christ and of the poor known

Throughout the world.

Grant that we may be encouraged by the Church

To offer her public honour as one of Your saints,

We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son.


Mary Aikenhead Day

As a Mary Aikenhead Ministries school, the 22nd of July is an important day in our calendars as it marks the anniversary of Venerable Mary Aikenhead’s death in 1858. On this day, we reflect upon her legacy, spirit and history of servant leadership as we work towards embodying her faith and courage in our school community and beyond. 

I have been a student at St Columba’s College for almost six years now. During this time, I have known a particular student who was uncertain of her place in this world. She felt lost in discovering who she was and her life’s purpose. However, since beginning to learn about Mary Aikenhead’s story, she has blossomed into a strong, faithful advocate for change who immerses herself in the rich life of the College. 

I was this student, and along with many others, my time spent at St Columba’s is one that I will forever cherish.  

Thanks to Mary Aikenhead, I have recognised the importance of assisting charitable organisations, such as Caritas Australia, so that I can help make the bright futures of others a reality. Her fearless attitude towards standing up for her peers has also inspired me to call out bullying within, and outside of, the College to help preserve social harmony in our world. In addition, Mary’s devotion to servant leadership has motivated me to apply for leadership positions so that I can help spread the Word of the Lord to all.

Like this uncommon visionary, we, too, can help to solve the world’s issues while love, hope, truth, justice and compassion underpin everything we say, do and are. 

As we remember the charitable life of Mary Aikenhead on the 22nd of July, I encourage you to consider the impact that she has had on your life. In doing so, ask yourself: 

In the likeness of Mary Aikenhead, how can I contribute to the work already done to create a more just world?

Kids in Space Expo

The Kids in Space Expo was held on Thursday June 22 and what a wonderful event it proved to be. It provided a space for our students to share their ideas and designs with the St Columba’s community and their parents. Over the course of this Science unit our year 7 students used the design thinking process to design something that could help astronauts in space or help solve a problem on Earth by using space technologies. Each group set up a stall showcasing their idea and answering questions relating to the design process.

I’d like to thank Ms Emma Brown, Ms Donna Mallery and Ms Jane O’Connell for supporting their students throughout this program. Of course congratulations must go out to our Year 7’s for the wonderful work, and amazing ideas and inventions they came up with. We were all very impressed. And, as always, thank you to our parents for supporting their daughters on the night. 

The journey

The Kids in Space Expo was an eye opening competition that allowed groups to learn more about how astronauts experience life in space, and it gave us a chance to research about them and choose an idea or problem that we believed could solve problems. Groups work tirelessly through the design process to come up with a prototype that is new and original to fix the problem that they chose. This experience taught me things I never would have known otherwise, and it was a great way for me and my team to expand our creative horizons, our knowledge, and made us think outside the box to create new, original and creative ideas to help astronauts that no one would have thought of. Through this experience, we followed the design process that consisted of 5 major steps. Empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test. And our teachers made it clear to us that if we don’t like an idea we can always try and try again. Although this competition was fun and creative, there were some challenges that our group faced along the way. One big one that we faced was at the start, where for the first two weeks we contemplated our idea! I was so worried we wouldn’t come up with an idea in time however I was wrong. Ms Mallery, our teacher, helped us out and got us on track. We were then on a roll and proceeded to the next stage and before we knew it, we had finished our product. Our product was called the ‘Holobike’. A bike that allows astronauts to exercise, which is something they need in space, that when pedalled on, produces a hologram for astronauts to entertain themselves on, which is something they want. Something that I found to be interesting about this project was how it was powered. This bike was powered by NI CAD batteries which are the only batteries that work in space, since they are powered by solar cells from the sun. Other batteries would explode! I loved working on this project and with my group. It opened my eyes to new elements of creativity and new ideas for the future. I’m looking forward to the next stages and ending this project on a high note with my group. By the end of it, we will all have something to celebrate.

Camilla, Year 7

Father's Day Breakfast - Save the Date

Cater House Celebration Day

On 19 June our Cater House members gathered to celebrate their House and their patron, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater. While a pizza lunch and giant cake are a hit for our staff and students, coming together as a House and spending reflective time together is the real highlight.

Dear Lord,

May we be inspired by the life of Sister Mary Lawrence Cater.

May we follow her example of strength, courage, individuality, devotion to God and love.

May we show this through our experiences with those around us, our participation at school and throughout our daily lives.

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


Year 9 Reflection Day

On Thursday the 15th of June, the Year 9’s attended their Reflection Day. The focus of the day was Love, one of this year’s values. Throughout the day, as a year level, we explored the themes of resilience, teamwork, communication and gratitude. We were given multiple opportunities to reflect on our relationship with our cohort and we discussed how safe and accepted we felt by our peers. We looked at the “Masks” model, which is a metaphor for putting on a face that isn’t you, in order to hide from judgement, exclusion or depression. We identified that sometimes putting on a mask is essential in work related circumstances, but found that on a deeper level, putting on masks can be a negative thing. Then, we began understanding why others in our year level choose to wear masks. The cohort participated in quite an emotional activity towards the end of the day, which involved everyone writing down why they choose to wear a mask sometimes. This was an anonymous activity and at the end, every reason was read out. This raw and honest experience was quite eye opening and enabled us to get closer to our peers. We finished the day by looking at the ways others love us and we practised this love through gratitude by giving out coloured strings to tie as bracelets to those we either wanted to apologise to, felt on a deeper level or were thankful for. Overall, I felt the day was incredibly effective and on behalf of all of the Year 9’s, I would like to thank Mr Jilbert for organising the day and Tom from the Passionists for delivering an engaging and authentic presentation.

de Lacy House Celebration Day

We started Term 2 with a chance to gather together in reflection, as we celebrated the our House patron, Sister Alicia de Lacy, and her courageous spirit which is influences our House. We were joined by representatives of our House partner, Briar House, and presented them with the wonderful efforts of fundraising and donations that de Lacy House students and staff had undertaken. Of course, the celebration would not be complete without a shared lunch and celebration cake.

Dear Lord,

May we be inspired by the life of Sister Alicia de Lacy.

May we follow her example of courage, determination and strength to face the uncertainties of the world.

May we show this through our brave actions when we are dealing with unexpected challenges of our everyday lives. May we always work together with faith and wisdom in all that we do.

We pray for the de lacy community and hope hat we shall always walk together in the footsteps of the Sisters of Charity.


Bike 'N' Blend

On the 16th of June, it was St Columba’s Day. Staff and students took part in the Bike ‘N’ Blend activity which involved students making their own smoothie generating power to blend it on a stand still bicycle. Students also had the option of having a staff member hopping on the bike. This activity was held by the Year 11 Vocational Major class. 

Bike ‘N’ Blend is a pop up events company promoting cycling, sustainability, health and happiness using the Australian made blender bikes. The bike works by putting your smoothie blender on the front of the bike and then all you have to do is use your legs to cycle until your smoothie is completely blended. Some questions were sent out to students and staff to hear what they had to say about their experience and what they enjoyed most.

 “While riding the bike, my experience was that it was exciting watching how the smoothie was being made. It made me laugh and was fun to take part in. My smoothie tastes delicious and it felt like something I would make at home which made it even better.” and from a staff’s perspective, “I really enjoyed being on the bike. I would have liked to blend a few more smoothies. I myself didn’t have a smoothie but I did however talk to many students and other staff who had a smoothie and they reported that they were delicious.”

Overall it was a fun activity for our community to participate in.

Williams House Celebration

On Thursday 13 July, the staff and students of Williams House celebrated the life of Sister Mary Xavier Williams, House patron. Beginning with a liturgy, the Williams House community took time to think about how they could be more like their House patron, to be compassionate, confident, determined and willing to take risks. Staff and students then took time to together to share lunch and cake. It was a wonderful opportunity for our Williams House community reflect and celebrate.

Dear Lord,

May we be inspired by the life of Sister Mary Xavier Williams.

May her spirit protect and guide us in our everyday actions and lives. May we strive to be people of compassion, willing to take risks, endure challenges and be confident and determined in all the we do.

May we endeavour to foster caring relationships based on love, understanding and encouragement towards each other and may we be leaders strong in our faith.

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


Year 7 2025 Applications For Enrolment

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.

Important Dates

Tuesday 18 July – Senior Pathways Expo

Wednesday 19 July – SCSA Football Competition & Musical Matinee

Thursday 20 July – Evening Musical Performance

Friday 21 July – Evening Musical Performance

Saturday 22 July – Mary Aikenhead Day, Scholarship Testing, Closing Musical Performance

Monday 24 July – Year 12 Retreat begins

Tuesday 25 July – Year 9 Future Directions Day and Year 8 Fiontar Excursions

Wednesday 26 July  – Year 11 & 12 Maths Games Day

Thursday 27 July – Cunningham Celebration Day

Friday 28 July – Principal for a Day

Monday 31 July – Parent Teacher Interviews; early finish for students

Tuesday 1 August – Parent Teacher Interviews; Independent Study Day for students