Zig Zag Hub Student Enterprise Course – Innovation Through Young Eyes
In November of 2018 Darcy Cullen, Alanah Scipione and Tani Phillips from Year 10 participated in an Enterprise skill building course at Wollongong’s Zig Zag Hub. The course was designed to expose students to an entrepreneurial environment and teach them about the business start-up process. For six weeks, the students undertook sessions to enable them to identify a problem and design a unique product/service to solve it.
By the end of the course the students developed public speaking skills, entrepreneurial thinking, problem solving, time management and organisational skills all in a fun and enjoyable learning environment.
“The Zig Zag Hub Business Course was a great experience. The skills and information I learned from our mentors will greatly benefit my future and open
up many fantastic opportunities for me. Not only did I have lots of fun planning and building my own business, I also met lots of interesting people
who talked about how they reached their dream jobs and who gave us helpful tips on what we can do after graduating.” Darcy Cullen
“My time at the Zig Zag Hub will be an experience that I will remember for a long time. Over the six weeks, I had the opportunity to come up with a solution to a current issue in the world by either creating a service or a product, with the assistance of a business mentor. The mentor’s help guided us through the different stages of creating our solution by giving their advice and providing us with their wisdom. Throughout the six weeks we worked by solving problems, creating and finalising prototypes and practising pitches to potential buyers. I would thoroughly recommend this program as you learn many skills that will be valuable in the future.”Alanah Scipioni
Year 12 Workshops
Welcome back to the year and I hope by now you are all starting to feel more in the routine of school. It has certainly taken me a bit of time to get my ‘match fitness’ back up to speed, but I am getting there. The start of term for all of us has that mix of excitement, nervousness and anticipation that gives us energy but also can drain our energy some days.
This year there will certainly be many opportunities to take up and I hope that both our students and families always feel welcome to get involved in all that there is to offer. For our students the lessons have started and lunchtime clubs are also starting up. I encourage all students to consider what the clubs offer both in pursuing an area of interest along with great places to meet new people with similar interests.
Pastoral Care Program - Opportunity for Parent involvement.
As you would be aware our Pastoral Care program is a valued part of the learning experience here at the College. Within these programs, the students engage in aspects beyond the traditional academics classroom, focusing on themes that are relevant and important for each year group.
Last year as part of Year 12 Pastoral Care we introduced a series of workshops to support the students’ transition beyond school. The workshops covered a variety of areas which provided practical and real life topics including basic car maintenance, self-defence, renting, finance and health. This year we are planning for the workshops again and are seeking support from our community to add to our range of topics. The premise of the sessions is an opportunity to provide practical information to the girls as they move towards further study, expanding careers and increasing independence. Some areas we are considering including are:
- The ins and outs of buying your first car
- The basics of personal loans and finance
- Tips for independent travel
- Lodging a tax return
- Basics of Insurance
If you feel that you have something to offer in relation to these topics or another relevant topic please contact me via email.
The workshops will be held on 20 March and 8 May at Midday.
Our College Carnival will be held on Tuesday, 5 March at Corrimal Pool. All Year 7 students will attend, along with participants only in all other year groups.
Students in Years 8-12 that wish to compete must enter a minimum of two events via the online entry system that will be sent to families during next week. Students in Year 7 can enter the competition events via the online system or they can simply enter the participation events on the day. Very strong swimmers should enter the competitive events, while less experienced swimmers should enter the participation events.
Students will be transported to the carnival by bus after roll call at the College. Buses will transport students back to the College after the carnival concludes. Parents are welcome to come along to watch events.
Starting Year 7 at SMC
On Wednesday morning 200 brand new Year 7 students gathered eagerly in the SGN hall to start their high school journey. Since that time the students have been busy meeting new friends, learning about the SMC community and navigating their way through the maze of corridors and stairwells.
The days have been filled with ice-breaker games, scavenger hunts, Ipad training, SEQTA familiarisation, MYP induction and the students are now adopting a more normal pattern of College life and meeting their classroom peers and teachers.
The students all appear to have settled well but if parents or students have concerns they should feel confident in contacting the relevant House Coordinator.
Mr Michael Bee (Bashir Coordinator)
Ms Katie Fitzgerald (Gibbons Coordinator)
RSPCA Blanket and Towel Appeal
The RSPCA Club members are running a blanket and towel appeal for the RSPCA animal shelter.
If you are in a position to donate clean towels and blankets that you no longer want, please place them in the tub outside the Student Office. These
items are used to care for the animals and to keep them warm.
Thank you for your support.
RSPCA - Fund Raising Cheque Presentation
The St Mary's College RSPCA Club 2018 members and supporters raised funds throughout the year to present a cheque of $600 - to the RSPCA animal shelter at Unanderra. The money raised went towards the Princess Fund which helps rescued animals with needy operations or medical support.
Thank you to the club committee members Carla Crapis, Avannah Reynolds, Charlotte Owen and Jasmine Cutler for their organisation of events throughout the year helping to raise funds. Carla, Avannah and Charlotte have been leading the club for a few years and displayed enthusiasm and a zest for animal welfare as well as creative ideas for fund raising. Included events were the Free Range Breakfast, Million Paws Walk with their dogs, Wish List equipment donations, cupcake sales and movie day.
Jasmine Cutler, our 2019 Club President is pictured handing over the donation cheque to the Manager of the RSPCA shelter.
2019 sees the implementation of the new Australian Curriculum in PDHPE in NSW schools.
This syllabus is being implemented in Year 7 and 9 at St Mary's College.
This renewed and refreshed curriculum provides students with an array of learning opportunities to enhance and develop self-management, interpersonal and movement skills that will help them become empowered, self-confident and socially responsible citizens. Students learn in movement, about movement and through movement and are given opportunities to apply and adapt their skills across multiple contexts. These learning experiences will provide students with a foundation to actively contribute to, and advocate for, the health, safety and wellbeing of themselves and others in the community and beyond school.
More specifically students will develop skills to research, apply, appraise and critically analyse health and movement concepts and they will practice,
develop and refine the physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills that are important for engaging in movement and leading a healthy, safe and
physically active life.
We look forward to facilitating the learning of these important concepts with our students.
Further information can be found at:
Parenting Ideas Resource
Last year many of our parents found the resources provided by Parenting Ideas really valuable. These articles contain easy to read ideas on how to approach some of the tricky stuff in relation to parenting and adolescents. Throughout the year there will also be a series of webinars which you may also find helpful. This week’s article outlines five helpful strategies to assist with parenting. Each of the strategies will be supported by a related webinar that will be held throughout the year and worth noting in your diaries.
Please see the flyer in the downloads section on the right.
In January 2019, we attended the University of Wollongong Learning Labs program and participated in the Momentum Mathematics Workshop. During this workshop we were taught many tricks and tips for multiplying long numbers. The teacher made the learning atmosphere fun and inclusive which made the experience even better.
The two days were filled with amazing experiences which included; competitions, friendships and learning new skills. We thoroughly enjoyed our time and experience at Wollongong University Campus.
We would like to thank Mrs Boyle for the opportunity to participate in the Learning Labs.
Illawarra Memory Walk and Jog - Volunteer Opportunity for students and families
Dementia Australia is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help at our 2019 Illawarra Memory Walk and Jog.
This year, the Illawarra Memory Walk and Jog event will be held at Stuart Park, North Wollongong on Sunday, 3 March 2019. We need volunteers on the day from 6:00am to midday in a variety of roles. We encourage you to volunteer for the event and invite your friends, family and colleagues to join you.Please see the download section on the right for more information.
From the Principal
Welcome back for another exciting year at St Mary’s College. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and a positive start to 2019. The first week of school was very exciting as we welcomed 200 new Year 7 students into our community and they were joined by girls in Years 8 – 12 throughout last week. Your daughters appear to have had a positive beginning to the new school year and the energy and enthusiasm among the girls is infectious. Our new Year 7 students have now worked out how to use their new locks for their lockers, to navigate around a big campus and they are quickly learning the names of all of their new teachers. That’s before we begin to think about friends, SEQTA, the upcoming Year 7 camp and the many different subjects they are studying. It has been a very good start to the new school year and I am looking forward to an excellent 2019 at St Mary’s College.
As you may be aware, our girls performed exceptionally well in the 2018 HSC. We had 54 girls on the HSC Distinguished Achievers list, 96 Band 6 results achieved and outstanding results across a range of subjects. We also had Christina Chiaverini recognised as the Top Achiever in Legal Studies as she placed first in the state in this subject. Our College Dux for 2018 was Maya Francis who gained an ATAR of 99.05 and performed exceptionally well in all of her subjects. Overall, we were delighted with the effort of each student and felt very proud of our girls. One of the more pleasing aspects of the HSC was the number of girls who significantly improved their results, with many moving from Band 4’s to Band 5’s, across a range of subjects, resulting in excellent ATAR’s. We will recognise the achievements of our girls at our upcoming Alumni Assembly on 20 February.
Our opening school Mass will be held next Thursday, 14 February and we are delighted to have Bishop Mascord celebrate this Mass with us. This is always a special occasion for our community as we ask God’s blessing on another school year, we present our Year 12 College leaders with their badges and we present our Year 7 girls with their Bibles. It is a beautiful way to begin the year and our choir, musicians and liturgy team are busily preparing to make this Mass both reverent and prayerful in this 146th year of educating girls in the Good Samaritan/Benedictine tradition.
You may be aware that Sr Rita Fitt, a Good Samaritan Sister, who works with us, was recognised in the Australia Day honours list with an Order of Australia Medal. Rita exemplifies all of the characteristics of the Good Samaritan with her compassion, her commitment to serve others and her love and care of all people. Rita is a great gift to our community and we could not be more proud of her. Many of you may not know Sr Rita as she does not seek attention or acclaim. However, members of the College community who have had a sick relative, have been in need of care and support, who have been grieving, or who just need a meal or a listening ear would know her well. We thank Rita for her wonderful service to our community and to the many communities she has served over a long period of time. We are very appreciative of Rita and the many gifts she brings to her role and we give thanks for her as our very own Good Samaritan.
I hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
Dragon’s Selection for Caitlin
During the school break Caitlin Clarges, Year 10 gained selection into the St George Illawarra Dragons under 16 Women's Development Squad. Later this year the team will play in the Lisa Fiaola Challenge in Sydney, against other under 16 Women’s NRL teams. The development squad also acts as a pathway for developing young local female talent through to the open women’s teams, which Caitlin has a goal to aspire to.
Congratulations Caitlin for your hard work and commitment.
Discovery Day 2019
On Monday, 4 February, Year 11 participated in the University of Wollongongâs Discovery Day Program. Discovery Day aims to provide students with an opportunity to experience life as a student, for one day. For example, finding their way around the campus, reading timetables and attending lectures.
In speaking to some students following Discovery Day they have been able to secure their interest and focus on a particular course of study post school. Whilst other students have decided that the course they were originally interested in was not really what they want to pursue. Overall, Discovery Day was a day to reflect, and set some goals in a fun atmosphere.
Thank you to all involved.
Bridge - Join in!
Please see the flyer in the download section on the right.
Asean Bridge Program visit to Brunei
During the last 10 days of the Christmas school holidays, Ms Harris had the opportunity to visit our ASEAN Partner School in Brunei as part of the Australian Federal Government Bridge program.
While in Brunei, she attended her âsister schoolâ, taking part in the usual activities found at any comprehensive secondary high school, seeing the sites of the country with her host family, even attending a lunch with the Australian High Commissioner along with the Brunei Minister of Education.
Hopefully, with this strengthened connection, both teacher and student exchanges of culture, information and potential visits, will continue into the future.
Australian Air Force Cadets
314 Squadron will be holding information sessions on 5, 12 and 19 February at 7:00 pm. Prospective cadets and their parents or guardians are invited to attend one of our information sessions to learn more about the AAFC. Enrolment forms will be distributed on the night and those who wish to join will be required to return their completed application package by Tuesday, 26 February. They will also be required to attend a familiarisation day on Sunday, 2 March. Enrolment is open to Australian citizens and Australian residents aged between 13 and 16 years.
For more information:
(02) 4276 3906 (Tuesday nights)
The AAFC will teach you valuable life skills and will help you develop qualities including leadership, self reliance, confidence, teamwork and communication.
Please see the download section on the right .
‘In the beginning’
By now it is easy for all of us to feel that the beginning of the year is well and truly behind us. Parents have organised uniforms, transport, lunches, afternoon pick-ups, booklists, stationary requirements and re-organised families to cope with the 2019 school year. Students have re-acquainted themselves with uniforms and school rules and sorted subjects and probably teachers as well for 2019. Staff have organised the running of the school, have printed off programs, class lists, assessment tasks and planned for the year ahead. It is as if we can all tick the box marked ‘in the beginning’ and move onto more important matters.
Of course every day we get up in the morning and it is a new beginning. 2019 marks the 146th new beginning here at St Mary’s. ‘In the beginning’ is a metaphor for all the moments and experiences and journeys of our lives. For all of us, new beginnings are about our hearts, our heads and our hopes for the year ahead.
With all this in mind, the theme for the 2019 year here at St Mary’s is; ‘In the beginning.’ This will be our individual and communal way of exploring the unfolding year; of finding the new experience in every moment, of seeking out the new relationship, of embracing the new idea and celebrating the depth and breadth of learning that is possible in our complex world.
‘In the beginning’ reminds us of the very beginning, the origins of God’s unfolding love story with us and those familiar first three words of the Hebrew Scriptures in Genesis which speak of heaven meeting earth, darkness becoming light, of planning and creativity and the ongoing celebration of goodness.
‘In the beginning’ reminds us of the first three words of the Gospel of John and the beginning for Christians everywhere of their journey with Christ; the light for all humanity. It reminds us that for the second time in Christian history the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. Each day the miracle of God transforming darkness into light is enough to renew our hope and give us the strength to begin again.
We human beings like new beginnings. Each ‘in the beginning’ takes us to somewhere else. ‘In the beginning’ is about the journey that holds the possibility of dreams becoming realities. When we grab onto ‘in the beginning’ possibilities, when we are willing to allow the journey to unfold, we create something different for ourselves and for our world.
‘In the beginning’ is about embracing all the moments that provide opportunities to see, to listen, to feel, to weep, to hope, to learn, to reach out to others, to be brave, to take risks and above all to be present to what is.
Of course, we live with the tension that beginnings are also endings. We have to let go of what has been, to embrace all that beckons us into the future. So it was, at the beginning of 2019, when the world farewelled Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver. Those familiar with her work would appreciate the power of her words to make all things new, to observe and interpret the mysteries ever present in creation and to celebrate the fullness of life. Her passing gave the world another opportunity to find wisdom in her words and discover answers to her often soul disturbing questions. Her journey was always a lived example of someone who learned to live all the ‘in the beginning’ moments the world offered her.
As we embrace the nuances and possibilities of our 2019 ‘in the beginning’ we would do well to carry one of her most often quoted questions with us. (see image)
New Beginnings can be Challenging
School refusal behaviour refers to “child-motivated refusal to attend school and/or difficulties remaining in classes for an entire day” (Kearney, 2008, p. 7). It refers to a collection of different kinds of attendance problems along a spectrum. School refusal is often linked with other concepts such as school phobia (fear based absenteeism) and separation anxiety (experiencing difficulty separation from key situations). While it can be confusing keeping track of many terms regarding school refusal, fear and separation anxiety are sometimes components of school refusal.
Why is it that children and adolescents refuse to attend school?
As there are often complex and contextual variables, it helps to focus on the specific “rewards or reinforcers” that maintain a child’s school refusal behaviour over time. By understanding the rewards/reinforcers we can get better insight into the “function” - what the child is getting out of refusing the school.
Children may refuse school for more than one function and Kearney lists four main reasons kids refuse school:
- To avoid general school-related distress caused by un/known factors
- To escape aversive social and/or evaluate situations at school
- To pursue attention from significant others such as parents/carers
- To pursue tangible rewards outside of the school.
Strategies that may be helpful
While school refusal is common – it can become complex and difficult when left untreated. To understand the form and the function of their school-refusing behaviour, the first step may involve having a conversation with the young person about what is happening for them and in their world.
Brief strategies to assist or begin a conversation may include:
- Education about the nature of anxiety/distress. An example may include learning about the physical components (such as nausea, tension, trembling); thinking component (such as being self-critical and unjustified beliefs) and behavioural components (such as non-compliance, crying or avoiding certain events)
- Managing emotional distress through deep breathing, mindfulness and muscle relaxation.
- Assisting the development of more realistic, healthy and helpful thoughts by validating emotions and providing re-assurance of support to challenge unhelpful thought patterns.
- A basic model that relies on the acronym “STOP” (adapted from Silverman and Kurtines, 1996) that parents can role-play with their children includes:
- S: situations at school that bother me (example: walking into class)
- T: my thoughts in this situation (example: everyone is staring at me)
- O: other, helpful and more realistic thoughts I can have (example: I can’t read people’s mind and know what they are thinking)
- P: praise myself for thinking more realistic thoughts (example: self-verbalisatons such as “good job, that was hard but I did it and I am really proud of myself”.
- Develop a “morning routine” that gives the child enough time to get ready while also be flexible to absorb problems thus reducing stress for the family. Kearney (2008) recommends dividing the morning routine into individual components (washing, dressing, breakfast and organising the school bag) while allocating an additional 5 minutes to each activity to buffer for any set-backs. Remaining consistent and persistent in the morning routine eases the process of compliance as it assists with developing a purposeful structure with clear expectations.
- Attend to appropriate behaviours and ignore inappropriate behaviours when getting ready in the morning: Parents and carers are good role-models in the morning by getting ready themselves, minimising attention to negative behaviours and encouraging the child to continue with getting ready for school.
- Set up a contract for school attendance and include rewards and praises along the way. Become a “cheer-leader” for the child’s positive school engagement and keep the contract a collaborative process that balances rewarding behaviour with clear expectations for attending school.
- If you notice changes in your child’s behaviour and/or attendance, it is encouraged to contact their school teachers and the pastoral care team. A team approach is often helpful in feeling supported as all students have the right to learn, education and to be happy.
Please note: the above information has been extracted from the book called “Helping School Refusing Children and their Parents” by Christopher A. Kearney (2008).
Hannah Crinnion, Year 11 competed in the 2019 NSW Country Track and Field Championships at the Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale during 26-27 January. She braved the tough weather conditions of 38-42 degree temperatures and achieved the following outstanding results:
First - 400m
First - Long Jump
Second - 200m