June 12, 2020

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Principal's Message


Understanding Anxiety

Physical Distancing

Get Active and Win

Bruton House News


Reconciliation Week

Careers News

Edmund Rice Tutoring Program

Tutoring Group

From the Archives

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2022 Enrolment

Principal's Message

It’s been a welcome return to almost normal with all of the students returning this week.  We have missed the energy and the vibrancy that our students bring to the school grounds, hallways and classrooms.  Personally, I have missed the smiles and greetings I receive from students as I wander the College grounds.  In speaking with students this week, even those who really enjoyed remote learning are very happy to be back onsite and connecting with their friends and teachers.  In my address to students on Tuesday morning, I reminded all of them again about the physical distancing protocols we are expecting them to abide by, and to thank them for their enthusiasm, engagement and cooperation during our time of remote learning.  I also spoke about the value of being together as a community once again and offered them all a beautiful blessing for friendship as we resume our connections with one another:


May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where

there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.

May this change you.

May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.

May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.

May you treasure your friends.

May you be good to them and may you be there for them;

may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,

and light that you need for your journey.

May you never be isolated.

May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam _ara (soul friend).


From Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue


There has been so much going on in the world at the moment which can at times be overwhelming for people to process.  The Black Lives Matter protests highlight in stark relief the oppression, helplessness and disenfranchisement a significant proportion of our society are experiencing in their own lives, and what this means for their hopes for their own children.  If we fully accept the premise from John’s Gospel, that Jesus came so that everyone may have life, and have it to the full, then we cannot accept, and be comfortable with, the treatment that some people in our society are experiencing.  If the current state of the world tells us anything, it is that we must listen to, and engage with people, to ensure they have the capacity to have determination over their own lives, and more importantly that we agitate and advocate for the right of every human person to enjoy the freedoms and the safety that some of us are privileged enough to take for granted.




Last Sunday we celebrated that great gift of LOVE from our one God, encountered in three persons. May we be that Love for others, as we have received from our God. Let us prayÉ


God For Us, we call You Father,

God Alongside Us, we call You Jesus,

God Within Us, we call You Holy Spirit.

You are the Eternal Mystery

That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,

Even us, and even me.

Every name falls short of your

Goodness and Greatness.

We can only see who You are in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing.

As it was in the beginning, is now,

and ever shall be. Amen.


Richard Rohr, OFM


Understanding Anxiety


As students adjust to their return to school following an extended period of remote learning, some may be feeling a sense of anxiety. In a conversation with Byron Chen (Salesian College Chadstone Dean of Students), wellbeing educator Dr Jodi Richardson aims to equip teachers and parents with an understanding of how we can best support students experiencing anxiety. Jodi shares her knowledge of the signs and symptoms of anxiety, how to model positive behaviours in support of anxious children, helpful strategies to support students as they return to school and more.


Watch our ‘Understanding Anxiety: Building Family Relationships’ Virtual Conversation via


Video Key Topics and Times:


Time   Key Point


0      Introduction

3:00 Defining anxiety

4:50 Signs and symptoms of anxiety

8:50 Managing adult expectations

         Recognising individual perspective

12:10   Balancing our expectations – How hard do we push students?

16:40   How do teachers recognise the onset of anxious students in our classrooms?

20:55   How do parents model positive behaviours in support of anxious students?

24:55   How do we consume a healthy amount of social media?

28:00   What strategies can we use to support students on their return to school?

32:12   How can parents manage their own anxieties in the above process?

35:45   How can students support their parents?

40:35   Teachers and parents supporting students through the uncertainty

45:19   Teachers understanding the parent perspective

48:36   How parents who are concerned about discussing their son’s issues can engage the school.

51:45   How do we adapt to the new norm?

58:55   Implementing tangible strategies



Video compiled by Salesian College Chadstone.

Dr Jodi Richardson: Wellbeing expert Dr Jodi Richardson is a mother of two with over twenty years’ experience in wellbeing, clinical practice, elite sport and education. Jodi co-authored the parenting handbook ‘Anxious Kids – How children can turn their anxiety into resilience’ with Salesian past student and leading parenting educator, Michael Grose (Class of 1973).


Physical Distancing

There is still an expectation that students physically distance from each other during your journey to and from school. 

There have been a number of concerns raised by community members about STC students not doing this, particularly at crossings. 

Please speak to your daughters about the need to comply with this rule, as this is based on current government advice.



Get Active and Win

A huge thank you to all the students who participated in our ‘Be Active at Home’ competition. I hope it got you motivated to be active while at home.

Always exciting to see what creative ideas our students come up with! The winners have been decided and are as follows:

First Prize: Sarah Pamment


Second Prize: Kiara Evans and Madeleine Moody

Congratulations to all our winners and those that entered the competition.


I’ll be in contact with the winners to collect their prize.


Bruton House News

Last Thursday as part of the Pastoral lesson Bruton students were able to choose an activity to do at school, Years 11 and 12, or at home the rest of the House. The feedback from staff and students was very positive and it was a welcomed change from their remote learning. We are looking forward to seeing all students at the College after the long weekend. A time to stop and do something they like doing or try something new. Here are a few photos from students.




Online Learning in FIONTAR 

During the period of remote learning, the Year 8 students participated in a range of online incursions, which explored the city of Melbourne from different perspectives. The two days of learning focused on Melbourne’s Indigenous History and ‘Marginalised Melbourne’. The key focus of each day challenged students to consider whether Melbourne truly is a liveable city for all. Online incursions to the Koori Heritage Trust, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Intersection, and The Big Issue assisted the Year 8 students in their exploration of this key question. The students are to be commended for the patience they demonstrated while waiting for several technical issues to be resolved before some of these incursions could be undertaken. Please read Mia and Siena’s reports below where they outline some of the key understandings they developed during these incursions.  


Me!Bourne Indigenous Day

What I learned during this day was that indigenous people have a very strong connection with the land and they respect the land and all its beauty. We participated in an online virtual created by the Koori Heritage Trust. In the tour given by our guide, Rocky, he mentioned that indigenous people would only take part of a tree to make things like shields (for protection) so that it still had time to grow and it wouldn’t die. This is one of the great examples of how indigenous people admire their country. To the way, they hunt, to the way they use the land it is quite fascinating. It is so intriguing to me because they didn’t care that they were the odd ones out, they cared about the way in which they lived and what it truly means to represent their tribe. Materialistic things were not something that was important, but the way they connected with others, including people and the land. Rocky showed me that even the smallest things have a meaning and he showed a passion for his beliefs. I think many non-indigenous Australians can be stereotypical when it comes to different cultures, but also in that time period (around 1770) they didn’t recognise the aboriginals as the original inhabitants of the land. I don’t think they understood the importance of their lifestyle and traditions. Through Rocky, I was able to break barriers of what I thought indigenous culture was about and to get to the truth from a descendant of Aboriginal history. I found that the true indigenous culture was demonstrated in such a realistic way through Rocky and I can really feel his appreciation for his ancestors and his culture, which I think could not be described in as much detail by a non-indigenous guide. Though we can’t change the past now, we must use our knowledge about indigenous culture and start to care about others’ beliefs and lifestyles. This was also emphasised by the online NGV incursion that we participated in during the day. Overall, I gained a much deeper understanding of indigenous culture by looking at it through a different perspective.


Mia McKinley – Year 8


Marginalised Me!Bourne Day

Did you know that Melbourne is currently the second most liveable city in the world after Vienna? When we say liveable we mean for a place to be fit or enjoyable to live in. However, some people would not agree with this statement. In this lesson, we heard Peter from The Big Issue who told us in detail about his experiences with disadvantage. The Big Issue is a company which helps people get back on their feet after they have experienced challenges in their life such as addiction, divorce, violence, housing issues and job loss. Peter had ongoing challenges with various addictions and family issues throughout his life. Peter was a marginalised person; which describes a state in which individuals are living on the fringes of society with limited access to resources and opportunities. Companies like The Big Issue helps marginalised people get back in the workforce to build their social skills and experience community again. 

We also learnt that homelessness means to not have long term, safe or secure accommodation. Homelessness is a big issue in Melbourne with 116 000 people homeless every night in Australia. Out of these people, 7% (8200) are sleeping rough. The other 93% are living in cars, shelters, boarding houses, couch surfing or squatting at abandoned buildings. Women and children make up two-thirds of this number with domestic violence being the biggest cause of homelessness in Australia. Today we learnt how important it is to see beyond our needs and to assist others wherever we can. What this incursion taught us is that for many people Melbourne is a liveable city but for others, this may not be the case. 


Siena Rumoro & Mia McKinley – Year 8




Reconciliation Week

The theme for Reconciliation Week 2020 was in ‘In this Together’. This week celebrated the important role everyone has to play, when it comes to Reconciliation in Australia. This week also commemorates two important milestones in Australia’s reconciliation history, the High Court’s Mabo decision and the successful 1967 referendum.  

This year, we worked alongside our fellow specialist captains to celebrate this week through our online platforms of the school instagram and the school bulletin to accommodate for everyone working at school or at home. It also gave us the opportunity to share with the wider St Columba’s community and not just the students.

During this week, we proposed an Art Challenge, for all students, challenging them to create a piece of art showcasing the theme ‘In this Together’. We also asked that the colours of the Aboriginal flag, red, yellow and black, be incorporated in the piece as well. Special thanks to Anisa Haddad for contributing a beautiful piece of artwork.

Also, a huge thank you to Angelica Matarazzo, a Year 12 VCAL student that collaborated with us, for designing an Indigenous inspired mindfulness colouring page that is now available at the College student reception. It looks amazing!

Our Liturgy Captain, Janeca, put together a short video to close Reconciliation week. The video invites everyone to light a candle as a way of keeping the ideals of Reconciliation alive and to the forefront of our thinking. By lighting this candle we seek to keep alive the flame of Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Other posts included links to virtual tours, promotion for the film ‘In My Blood It Runs‘, highlights of esteemed Aboriginal artists, musicians and athletes, as well as photos of the school’s 2019 Indigenous immersion trip.

These can still be found on the school’s instagram page as posts and story highlights.

Thank you to Ms Fleeton and the Specialist Captains for helping to organise this important week.

2020 marks 20 years of Australia’s journey towards a more just nation. The importance of this week is to highlight the Indigenous culture and continue our journey in achieving respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. 

We respectfully acknowledge the land in which our school is built. We acknowledge the Elders, families and ancestors of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation who have been the custodians of this land for many thousands of years.


Anisa Haddad – Art piece Inspired by the 2020 Reconciliation week theme ‘In This Together


Angelica Matarazzo – Indigenous inspired Colouring page






Careers News

The Pathways Department is excited to announce a new website which will bring together information from universities, TAFEs, tertiary colleges, VTAC, expos, events and so much more, in one convenient place. This new format will provide the College community with up to date information and can be accessed via the intranet (for students) and IONA (for parents). The Pathways Department looks forward to keeping you updated via the Pathways website.


Access the website here.

View our current edition of Careers News here.


Edmund Rice Tutoring Program

As a part of the Year 11 community outreach programs, many students have been involved in the Edmund Rice Tutoring program. The Edmund Rice Community and Refugee Services, based in St Albans, is a non-for-profit organisation involved in providing free learning support and a variety of social services for students with a disadvantaged background. Many of us travelled each week to tutor primary school aged children with their homework, participate in engaging learning games and bond over some afternoon tea with the students. 

However, due to the rise of COVID-19, we have had to move our tutoring sessions online to a platform called Zoom. It is sometimes challenging with background noises of family homes, starting new discussions, and managing the minor technical issues. However, moving past these differences has enabled us to form deeper connections with the students. Additionally, being grouped with the same children each week through the use of ‘breakout rooms’ means we have been able to develop stronger relationships and watch each student’s progress.  

This experience has allowed many of us to appreciate what it means to serve other people in our community and realise the fulfilment and pleasure that comes with it.


Tutoring Group


TIME : 3.30pm- 4.30pm



The St Columba’s Tutoring Group sessions are facilitated by a Learning Support Officer and a Maths teacher. Attendance is free of charge.

Students are invited to attend with any class work they need to complete, revision or simply to get some help with understanding a topic or task.

No prior appointments need to be made. Students do not necessarily have to remain for the whole time and they will need to make their own travel arrangements after leaving the College grounds.

For further information, please contact Suzanne Krajcer, LDT Leader, either via 9331 9465 or at


From the Archives

The ‘Garryowen’ Connection


When the sisters first came to this area to take control of St Monica’s Primary School in April 1896, they were living at St Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy and had to travel to and from school by tram each day. Strangely, they were only given enough money for one way, but found that they could travel on the ‘workmen’s tram’ for half fare. You can imagine the stir that the sight of three black-habited nuns would have caused in that environment.


At the beginning of 1897, a house at 689 Mt Alexander Road, ‘Garryowen’, was rented as a temporary convent to save travelling time and inconvenience. Mother Ursula Bruton was sent from St Vincent’s, Potts Point in Sydney, where she had been Principal, to be the Superior of the community. Mother Ursula became concerned that St Monica’s catered for students only up to the eighth grade, and began to look for a suitable property to house a secondary school for girls.


She must have been quite a mover and a shaker, as it was in April that same year that the sisters secured the Gillespie mansion on our current site at auction for 4,250 pounds. The building had originally cost 8.000 to build. What a bargain!


Mother Ursula chose the name of ‘St Columba’s Convent and College’ to honour St Columba, the great scholar and exile from her native Ireland.


Recent demolitions on the corner of Homer Street, Moonee Ponds have exposed the southern wall of ‘Garryowen’, and this sparked an item in the Essendon Historical Society Newsletter.


As College Archivist, I thought you might be interested to see ‘Garryowen’, and perhaps even to go and stand outside the building which marked the beginning of the idea that became St Columba’s.



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.