Year 12 HSC Preparation Day
On Monday our Year 12 students joined the Edmund Rice Year 12 students for an HSC Preparation Day.
A session on Wellbeing and using stress to your advantage was presented by Dr Maria Zuschmann. Her session encouraged the students to consider their diet, the importance of movement and strategies to reduce stress and maintain a happy and healthy mood. She introduced a series of practical and easy to implement tools to assist the students in a practical and proactive approach to movement, mood and food.
In addition, Dr Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services (www.enhanced-learning.net) ran a study skills session with Year 12 students on the day. The session looked at advanced research about the brain and how that could be used to make their study more effective. Steps to make effective study notes were highlighted and students also examined the study techniques they traditionally used, exploring new techniques they could try this year that best suited their learning preferences. The students also discussed how much time they should allocate to schoolwork during term time (2-3 hours per night) and the type of independent learning they should consistently be doing throughout the year.
All secondary students and parents at our school also have access to a great study skills website to help students develop their skills. You can access the Study Skills Handbook via the ELES Study Skills Handbook link via the portals page in SEQTA or alternatively go directly to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au and log in with :
User name: stmarysnsw
There are lots of useful handouts on the THINGS TO PRINT page on this site and students can work through the units where they need additional help.
Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and discuss the main areas identified where changes need to be made. Parents
can also find extra study skills tips on the following website:http://studyskillstoptipsparents.com/.
Parents are also invited to see additional resources in the download section to the right.
Wollongong City Council - Lady Mayoress' Afternoon Tea Dance
Last Thursday, 14 February, St Mary’s supported the Wollongong City Council Lady Mayoress’ Afternoon Tea Dance at the Town Hall. This event was part of the annual Seniors Week celebrations.
The girls were invited to assist with the service of afternoon tea which involved serving tea and coffee and some sweet desserts. In addition, the girls enjoyed their time interacting with the seniors where they spent time talking, listening to stories and dancing with them. It was a wonderful opportunity for our girls to invigorate and energise the elderly whilst learning new skills.
We would like to acknowledge the following students for their outstanding community service and thank them for their gift of time:
Bianca Aylett, Kiara Bazaz, Olivia De Battista, Georgia Dellow, Ciara Donnelly, Georgia Dwyer, Neave Ferguson, Renee Gharib, Veronica Negro, Keira Newbold, Bronte Sohier, Megan Walton and Sophie Yates.
VET Work Placement
Our Year 12 VET students have now completed their final industry placement. Students from both the Hospitality and Business Services frameworks were provided with a range of opportunities to further develop their industry specific skills and knowledge and to gain a greater insight into their chosen area of study.
The girls returned to school exhausted but speaking positively about the opportunities they had to practise and develop on-the-job industry skills. Other benefits included the chance for students to find out more about employment and training opportunities in the industry. Some of our students were lucky enough to secure casual employment with their host employee.
We would like to thank the local host employers for their willingness to welcome our girls to their place of employment and for their supportive approach
when providing expert advice and assistance to our girls.
The Bus of Life Exercise
Defusion involves seeing thoughts and feelings for what they are (streams of words, passing sensations), not what they say they are (dangers or facts). When distressing thoughts keep repeating, it is often easy to get “hooked” on them. We start to feel stuck and hopeless.
The problem with difficult thoughts and feelings is that sometimes they interfere with our actions, behaviours or goals – they pull us away from what we really want to do and say. Using simple techniques of visualisation and metaphors can help us to see things differently. We can start to explore and entertain the idea that while we may have difficult thoughts and feelings, we are still in control and we have the power to “drive” our own bus in a direction of our choice. The road may not always be smooth, but we are in control of the steering wheel and we can choose who stays on and who gets off our bus.
Imagine that you are the driver of a bus heading in the direction of your values and along the path of wellbeing and happiness. Life (and buses) along the route pick up various passengers. Passengers represent your experiences, your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and responses to the journey.
Some of these passengers are very pleasant - is great to have them along. Many of them are neutral and this is okay too. But some passengers are not so pleasant - they are loud and negative. They warn you that you are going the wrong way and they de-motivate you from your goals and cloud your decision-making.
These passengers can be very scary to listen to and over time, they can really get us down. The temptation may be to listen to these passengers or argue with them and even try to get rid of them before driving on.
Take a daily moment to consider which passengers you have on your bus and what they might be in relation to your life. Consider the following questions to identify the passengers:
- Who are the most prominent passengers?
- who are the loudest passengers?
- What’s happening to the direction of the bus if I keep focusing on the negative passengers?
- Does engaging with the passengers make them more/less important in my life?
- How long have the passengers been on the bus? Do they stay or ever get off the bus?
- Is there space for new passengers?
- Do you feel in control of driving the bus?
- If wanting direction, who can help you with this?
- Who is helping you navigate the roads?
- How confident do you feel in empowering the passengers to support you towards your values and road to well-being?
- What needs to change and how can you ask for support?
If you would like to make a change or stop for a moment to reflect, identify a few bus stops along the way. Slow down and take a moment to identify the next turn in your road – this might be next month, next week, tomorrow or right now. Taking a moment for yourself is just as important as the journey you are on. We have plenty of roads and there is space for all of our buses – keep driving with care, safety, love and self-appreciation - you deserve it.
Poems by Year 10
This term, Year 10 students are exploring how women have used poetry to share and validate their experiences. Students in my class were invited to compose a poem of their own in which they shared an aspect of themselves.
The compositions belong to:
Madison Wilson, Kayley Ninness, Petra Badour and Alyssa Wilson
Please see the downloads section to the right.
NSW CCC Sport Awards held at SMC
St Maryâs College hosted the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Sports Blues Awards on Monday, 11 February. Bishop Brian Mascord, along with six Diocesan Directors and 19 Principals attended, with student athletes and families from all over the State. A team of volunteer students assisted with food service, ushering, dance and music performances to wow the guests. Many people commented on the wonderful facilities we have at St Maryâs and the fabulous outlook from our gymnasium toward the ocean. Country visitors were astounded at the greenery and views!
One of our SMC athletes was recognised at the presentation: Mackenzie Hawkesby was acknowledged with a Sports Blue Award for her outstanding performance in the NSW All Schools Football team. Unfortunately, Mackenzie was unable to attend the function to receive her award.
The Guest Speaker for the evening was Emma Tonegato, a past student from Holy Spirit College who represented CCC in Touch during high school, before going
onto represent Australia in Rugby at the Olympics and World Championships. Emma provided sound advice to the up and coming athletes about seizing opportunities
as they arise and how to overcome adversities while chasing your goals.
Hockey Representative Honours
Helena Tobbe, Year 12 on gaining selection in the Australian Under 21's Indoor Hockey Team to tour the Czech Republic in November this year.
What a fabulous achievement!
We wish her all the very best on tour.
From the Principal
I hope that life is treating you well as you all settle back into the routines of school. By now I am guessing that you are beginning to hear murmurings from your daughters about homework, the demands being placed on them by teachers and the ups and downs of friendship groups. For those experienced parents in the College you are well aware that these are all normal parts of beginning a new school year. From our perspective there is a calmness around the College which indicates to staff that we have had a positive start to the year and the girls are settling in well into the various areas of school life. We were delighted to have Bishop Mascord celebrate our opening Mass with us on Thursday, 14 February, where we invested our new College leaders, we presented our Year 7 students with their Bibles and, most importantly, we prayed for a happy and successful school year.
The College welcomed back our graduates from 2018 to recognise their excellent work and to congratulate them on their HSC achievements on Wednesday, 20 February. The girls and their families joined us for morning tea and for a post HSC Awards ceremony. As I mentioned in our last newsletter, our girls performed very well in the 2018 HSC and it was wonderful to welcome them back and to congratulate them on their efforts. I believe that assemblies such as this inspire our younger students to excellence as they see the outcomes that hard work and commitment to school work bring. I congratulate our Year 12 students from 2018 and thank them for their presence again in our community on Wednesday.
The College community is in the midst of rehearsing, costuming, planning and preparing for our 2019 production of Strictly Ballroom. The Creative Arts staff have been working on this production for almost 12 months and rehearsals are well underway for what should be a spectacular show. I am sure Mr Goldrick, the faculty head of Creative Arts, will be ramping up the publicity for this show in the coming weeks and months so please keep an eye out for further details. For those among us who like to be very well prepared, the show will open on Thursday, 9 May and will run through until the final performance on the evening of Saturday, 11 May.
Year 7 have been on camp from Wednesday and will return this afternoon after three days braving slightly cooler weather and a little rain. The Year 7 camp is an excellent opportunity for our new girls to broaden their friendship circles and for some of them, experience camping for the first time. The girls will no doubt return to the College feeling tired, in need of a shower and ready for the comfort of their own beds. We look forward to hearing the many stories of camp life on their return.
As you may be aware, I will be completing my tenure as principal of St Maryâs College at the end of the 2019 school year. The Board of Directors have begun a process of discernment to identify the key characteristics they are looking for in a new principal. As part of this process, small focus groups of parents, students, staff and executive team members have met with the recruitment firm this week to gain their views on what they require in a new principal. The recruitment firm will use this data to work with the Board to identify the key characteristics they will be looking for in a new principal. I would ask that you keep our Board in your prayers as they undertake this very important task of selecting a new leader for St Maryâs College.
I pray that you and your families have a peace filled and relaxing weekend.
Exploring our Artefacts
This week, our HSIE class with Ms Morris, got to explore the Collegeâs educational artefacts as Historians. We made our way around the school, documenting intriguing information that we extracted from artefacts like: plaques, statues, photographs and quotes on walls about the history of our school.
We learnt many fascinating facts which has helped develop our understanding of the College and its past. Although the school has changed tremendously throughout the years, some traditions have not changed. In the foyer of the SGN Hall, we examined multiple photographs that proved that pride in oneâs presentation is still as important today as it was more than 50 years ago! We also examined the statue of Archbishop John Bede Polding and his dog Templar, which was blessed on 1 May 2009.
Our history hunt has taught us about primary and secondary sources in a very practical way. Ms Morris has helped us to see that historians use the everyday information that is around us to uncover mysteries of the world and its history. This information has inspired us and taught us about the history and traditions of the College.
Clair Zorn's visit
On Thursday, 7 February, local Young Adult Fiction author Claire Zorn visited the PLC to speak with students and staff about how she became an author, what inspires her as a writer and how we can improve our own creative writing as students and aspiring authors.
Her talk included great tips on how to build characters and story-lines, stay positive when experiencing writer’s block and keeping the reader hooked with just a few words. Her tips included examples from her own pieces, including “Protected”, “The Sky so Heavy”, and “One would think the Deep” using our very own Illawarra region as her inspiration for many of her stories.
On behalf of all those who attended the talk, we would like to thank the school for organising the visit and the Library staff in the PLC for hosting such a lovely speaker.
City of Wollongong - Australia Day Celebration
On Tuesday, 22 January, Dr Pitt, Mrs Guillaume, Mrs Todhunter and myself attended the annual Australia Day function organised by Wollongong City Council. Citizens from the City of Wollongong were recognised for their outstanding voluntary serviceto the community. In the ‘Young Citizen’category, two very worthy Year 12 2018 students were nominated.
Some details about these generous young women:
Naomi has undertaken various leadership roles in clubs both at her school and in the wider community to enable worthwhile projects to be successfully implemented.
These not only educated and engaged members of her community but also have had wide reaching positive effects on the environment and disadvantaged
Naomi has made significant contributions in the College Conservation Club. She helped organise a petition to persuade politicians to act against climate change by reducing fossil fuel emissions, educated students about harmful micro-bead and palm oil products and has regularly attended Wollongong City Beach Cleanup activities. As 2017 St Mary’s coordinator of Blood Donations, she organised and facilitated teachers and students to donate blood which supported 75 lives. In her role as Languages Club President, she tutored students every Thursday with their Italian homework. As a member of the SCARF Homework Club, Naomi supported primary aged refugee children with their homework, most Wednesday afternoons.
Since 2015, Naomi has been an active Surf Lifesaver at Sandon Point Beach, on a fortnightly basis. She monitors the area to ensure safety for all visitors who use the beach. On Saturdays throughout the 2017 school terms, Naomi assisted primary school aged children learn Italian at the ‘Coccinella’ Italian School. Over the years, Naomi helped the St Vincent de Paul Society and its programs by assisting at the Wiggles Concerts and helping with fundraising initiatives.
Naomi was among 25 young people recognised for their outstanding care of the wider community by being awarded the John Lincoln Order of Australia commendation, by the Governor of NSW in September 2018.
Jessica is an outstanding and very generous person who has been involved in many initiatives throughout her school life both within the College and the wider Wollongong community. In her role as Pastoral Liaison Leader she worked hard to create a cohesive community and monitor numerous activities.
Perhaps the most outstanding work Jessica has done was with the SCARF organisation (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families).
Since 2016, as coordinator, Jessica has largely organised the SCARF Homework Club, every Wednesday after school to help primary school children from
refugee families with their homework. She planned rosters for other helpers, organised a collection of books and stationery for the children, attended
SCARF Family picnic days to build connections and raised funds for SCARF with a bake sale.
In 2017, as President of our Caritas Club, Jessica was involved in a number of events such as the fundraiser for Haiti to support victims afflicted by
hurricanes, Project Compassion initiatives which raised approximately $8,500 and the Hush-A-Thon which brought awareness to us about people who cannot
speak freely in their country.
Jessica held executive roles in other clubs such as the RSPCA, St Vincent de Paul Society, Conservation Club and the Wellbeing Club. Within these she faithfully
supported many fundraisers such as Zootopia Movie Day, Easter and Christmas Appeals and the screening of the movie Finding Nemo for the Great Barrier
Of note, is an initiative close to Jessica’s heart: the presentation of the petition against Climate Change that Naomi was also involved in. It contained
the most signatures from a school and the girls presented this important document of concern to Sharon Bird, Federal Member for Cunningham.
Although the girls did not win, they were outstanding role models and ambassadors of the College. Their contributions were recognised and acknowledged.
There were many important people at this event who would have taken note of how involved our girls are at the College.
We are very proud of them all and we congratulate them for all their efforts. They are shining examples of active women who embody the values brought to us by the Good Samaritan sisters 146 years ago.
Thank you to Dr Pitt, Mrs Guillaume and Mrs Todhunter for attending the function to support the girls.
Year 8 IDS-STEM
Year 8 IDS-STEM have started their 11 week unit called ‘Fly, Fly, Fly Again’. This is an interdisciplinary study combining aspects of the Science, Technology and Mathematics courses they learn at school. Hands-on activities will test their ability to draw logical conclusions using knowledge and skills from all three subjects. Collaborative pods will explore flight from paper planes to gliders.
We look forward to seeing the girls engage with this course.
Miss Brown, Dr Hack, Ms Redmond, Mrs Sheahan and Mrs Armitage.
Annual School Fee Statements have been issued to all families. Please contact the Fees Coordinator if you have not received your copy.
Our fees are due and payable within 30 days of the statement or the College offers an instalment plan option, and this provides for
fees to be paid by regular instalments over the year. To utilise this plan it is compulsory for families to complete a School Fee Agreement Form to
advise the College of their intended payment option. This Agreement gives the College advice regarding parents/carers preferred method and frequency
of payment. These forms are included with your annual school fee invoice/statement. A 'School Fee Calculator’ is also provided on the College website
to assist families to determine their regular payment.
DIRECT DEBIT OPTION - if you would like to continue or commence Direct Debit arrangements please complete the request form (included with statement) and return to the College.